Backup software compatible with whole disk encryption

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by chileverde, Mar 21, 2018.

  1. chileverde

    chileverde Registered Member

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    I am looking for a backup program that works well with whole disk encryption to use on four laptops. Each laptop has an encrypted virtual drive. I currently back up to G-Drives and like them; I do not want to back up to the cloud.

    For several years I have used PGP (and its successor, Symantec Encryption) to create virtual drives and provide WDE and used Casper Secure Drive Backup for BU. In fact, in 2011 I posted here very positively about Casper SDB, but in recent months I have had numerous problems with it, including failure to back up, failure to access BU images, and most recently failure to restore any of three different backups of my C: drive created three different ways. (Fortunately, I also had backups made with Symantec System Recovery 2013, but that program no longer exists and does not support encrypted drives.)

    If Casper worked as it should, it would be the perfect solution. But it doesn't.

    Besides looking for a new backup program, I am wondering if I should switch from Symantec Encryption to BitLocker. At one time I thought PGP might be more secure than software provided by Microsoft, but now that Symantec has bought it, I'm not sure.

    Recently I spent an incredible amount of time struggling with problems that arose on one Windows 10 laptop after (under pressure from Microsoft) upgrading to the Fall Creators Update 1709—only to discover that these were known conflicts with Symantec Encryption, and since then (on 3/1/18 ) Symantec announced: "Symantec Encryption Desktop currently does not support the Fall Creators Update (version 1709)"—in other words, it is not compatible with the current version of Windows 10! (https://support.symantec.com/en_US/article.HOWTO125876.html) This is one reason to consider switching to BitLocker.

    Another reason is that the only other backup program I have found that unequivocally claims to be compatible with WDE is Paragon BU & Recovery, which only supports BitLocker, not Symantec Encryption. But there are a lot of negative reviews of Paragon. What I have seen about compatibility of Acronis with WDE is contradictory.

    I am not an IT pro. So I am asking here if anyone knows of a backup program that is reliable and works well with WDE and also for comments on whether to switch from Symantec Encryption to BitLocker.
     
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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  3. chileverde

    chileverde Registered Member

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    Brian,

    Thanks. IFW looks promising. I know almost nothing about BitLocker, but from my quick read, it looks like you did a Type B backup. Main advantage of Type A would be you can look for a particular file (and copy it?) without restoring the entire BU, and apparently you can encrypt the image in IFW or save it to an encrypted partition. Are the contents still accessible in the Viewer if this is done?

    In any case, my priority is something that works, can store BU in an encrypted state, and easily restore them to an encrypted drive. Sounds like IFW does that. And it can be used to restore only one partition to the laptop's hard drive, leaving the other partitions unchanged?

    Can the boot disk used for recovery be a USB flash drive?

    I noticed they offer this add-on:
    Image for UEFI
    Image for UEFI provides imaging support in the UEFI environment used in newer systems — create boot media or manually configure to run in the raw UEFI pre-boot environment. (Requires UEFI x64 version 2.1 or later.)

    My two laptops running Windows 10 operate with UEFI and Secure Boot enabled. Does that mean I would use Image for UEFI to create the boot disk for runing WinPE or is Image for UEFI used for more advanced operations than I need?

    Do virtual drives in BitLocker work pretty much how they work in PGP?

    I know I've asked a lot of questions. I really appreciate your help, and any ideas from anyone else.
     
  4. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    chileverde,

    I did a Type A backup. I checked my notes and I was doing an Entire Drive backup but only the OS was encrypted.

    The easiest boot disk is USB flash drive TBWinRE.

    http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/howto/tbwinre_tutorial.htm

    Forget Image for UEFI. It is very hardware dependent and I've only see it boot in one computer. TBWinRE/PE and IFL will boot in UEFI mode so you aren't missing anything by not having Image for UEFI.

    I haven't tried virtual drives with BitLocker.

    Here are some jottings I made along the way...

    Win10 (if no TPM)

    gpedit.msc
    Admin templates
    Windows components
    Bitlocker drive encryption
    OS drives
    Require additional authentication at startup
    Enabled, tick in Allow

    R click C: drive
    Turn on BitLocker
    2 options... Insert USB or Enter a PW
    choose PW
    needs 8 characters
    Save to file (not in a root)
    Backup by USB or print etc
    Encrypt used disk space
    New encryption method
    remove tick from Run BL system check
    (if you run it a restart is requested. PW is needed. Encryption auto starts)
    Start encrypting (few minutes)

    Restart
    enter PW
    Win10 loads




    BitLocker in Win10. IFW V3
    VSS Entire Drive backup
    TBWinRE
    unlock Win10 partition
    restore Win10 image
    boot Win10
    BitLocker ON



    SUMMARY... Only works if you restore the Win10 image to the Win10 partition on the same HD. Must restore to an unlocked partition. The backup image can be partition or entire drive (but you only restore the partition). Image is created by IFW VSS or TBWinRE with "Read from Volume".

    TBWinRE image of Unlocked partition with Read from Volume.... works. Must unlock before creating image.

    Suspend protection only works for OS partition. Lets you do a restart without entering pw. Need pw for next restart.

    In TBWinRE C: shows no files or folders until it is unlocked. Then you see everything.

    If you want to restore multiple partitions... On the "Select the drive or partition(s) to restore:" window, select the desired partitions but don't tick Drive (HD 0). Drive will then have a greyed out tick but that's OK. On the next window, "Select where to restore the partition(s):" you have to select Drive (HD 0).
     
  5. chileverde

    chileverde Registered Member

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    Brian,

    Thanks so much for your detailed reply.

    I have been reading the IFW manual, which is very detailed and generally very clear. Looks like a good solution.

    If my hard drive fails and I need to replace it, will I not be able to restore the BU? Or will it work as long as the new HD is in the same computer?

    I note you specified: "Image is created by IFW VSS or TBWinRE with 'Read from Volume'." My understanding is that this method allows you to view files in TBWinRE and that to secure backups on an external USB drive, I would use IFW to encrypt the backups rather than applying BitLocker to the external USB drive.

    I came across an old review (http://www.snapfiles.com/userreviews/108047/imageforwin.html) which states: “The recommended recovery disk is the GUI version of Image for DOS, which loads almost instantly and makes recovery probably the fastest. Whilst others are still loading, the job has almost finished.” What about using the Image for DOS recovery disk? Does it still allow you to mount encrypted disk images and access individual files?

    My last question is about Macrium Reflect, another backup program I have come across which is reported to also work with BitLocker. Have you used Macrium, and if so, do you have any comments on it compared with IFW?

    Thanks again for your help.
     
  6. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    chileverde,

    Your image can be restored to any HD but if it isn't the original HD, the OS will need to be re-encrypted.

    Same here.

    IFL, IFW and IFD create and restore the same backup. IFL is the fastest, IFW maybe 80% the speed and IFD maybe 50% the speed. I haven't used IFD for years.

    I've used Macrium Reflect in test situations but never with BitLocker. Macrium Reflect is very popular in this forum.

    In TBWinRE/PE you have to unlock the OS partition....

    I use a batch file on the UFD or a HD partition. My TBWinRE/PE contains a File Explorer to quickly find the batch file...

    http://vault32.com/a56/
     
  7. chileverde

    chileverde Registered Member

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    The reason I looked for help here is that over several years, whenever I have asked local techs about using Casper with PGP or more generally about backing up and restoring an encrypted system disk, no one I talked to was familiar with this.

    A few days ago I called one shop to see if things had changed, and to my amazement, I was connected with a tech who actually encrypted his own computers with BitLocker and backed them up—and had tested restoring them—with Acronis True Image. I had not considered Acronis, because the first pages I found on their site about BitLocker said their programs had problems with it. But then I found another page that said Acronis True Image 2018 does work with BitLocker (https://kb.acronis.com/content/56619) and a page here on Wilders that reports the same.

    After all I have read about Image for Windows, that was going to be my choice, but I think I might do well to buy a program a local person can help me with if I have trouble. (No one local knew Casper, and I had one laptop out of service for a week while I waited for Casper to answer my e-mail seeking help.)

    Brian—do you know how IFW compares with Acronis True Image for this use? If you think IFW would be more reliable or better in another way, I'll buy both.

    Does anyone else have a comment about using either IFW or Acronis True Image? I will appreciate whatever help you can offer.
     
  8. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I think several (many) of us are prejudiced against Acronis. I haven't used it in years. Earlier versions were buggy and bloated and instead of fixing the bugs a new (paid) version was released with a new set of bugs. Maybe it's OK now but I can't say.
     
  9. chileverde

    chileverde Registered Member

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    Thanks, Brian. I'll try both programs.
     
  10. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Acronis 2018 is a horrible bloated goat with all kinds of crap on board. Worse still it uses PowerShell as part of the install process. I have it and it is in my dust bin of history. On the plus side they have gotten better about releasing bug fixes
     
  11. Chuck57

    Chuck57 Registered Member

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    A backup software that I haven't seen mentioned here is Ashampoo. It used to be Ocster. I'm trialing Ashampoo Backup Pro 11. On this laptop, it backed up 58.5 G of data in 22 minutes. I crossed my fingers and did a successful restore in less than half that time. That's considerably faster than Macrium Free, which I also have. The Ashampoo Backup Pro 11 also offers 256 encryption. Overall, for $15 bucks, it's hard to beat.
     
  12. askmark

    askmark Registered Member

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    You can also get a 3-PC license for only $19.99
     
  13. Chuck57

    Chuck57 Registered Member

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    Yeah, and it comes up for free occasionally. Of course, never when I'm looking. I might grab the 3 license deal though. Maybe I can convince my wife to use it, and put one license aside.
     
  14. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Where did you find the 3 license deal?

    Thanks
     
  15. Chuck57

    Chuck57 Registered Member

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  16. oliverjia

    oliverjia Registered Member

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    full backup/restore speed has always been a big negative for Macrium, so no surprise here. problem is, I never heard of Ocster and have no idea how good it is.
     
  17. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Tested. Speed for me for a full was a bit slower then Macrium. Then I looked at the files created. 80gb back broken into files about the 600mb each. that's crazy . Then booted the recovery Env. Very confused. I pass.
     
  18. chileverde

    chileverde Registered Member

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    I tried Acronis True Image 2018 and it failed four important ways my first day using it. At least they have offered me a refund. I posted details in the thread on Acronis and BitLocker: https://www.wilderssecurity.com/posts/2750703

    I am using Image for Windows now (still testing on Windows 7; have not upgraded to Win 10 yet). So far, it works well, except that any BU including the Windows Recovery partition does not work with VSS, but I can use the program's own PHYLock to lock the drives I am backing up. The manual is very clear and detailed.

    (I plan to ask Support about the VSS issue, but I have not contacted them yet.)
     
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