Backup Strategy Guidance Needed

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Chamlin, Dec 20, 2013.

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  1. Chamlin

    Chamlin Registered Member

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    I have failed in the past to follow my backup strategies, in part because I never automated them and I was unreliable.

    So I'd like some help getting clarity about how to move forward on my new Win 7 Pro PC and Win 7 Pro laptop. I'll list my drives here and then what I'm planning (and I'm not that tech savvy so bear with me):

    My PC drives:
    c: OS & programs (160 GB SSD)
    e: General data (2 TB)
    f: Recording Audio data (600 GB)
    g: This drive is intended to be a clone of my old XP drive so I can run legacy programs that I won't be able to run even in Win 7's XP mode. (150 GB)
    h: 2 TB external USB 3.0 drive for general data backup, images
    i: 2 TB external USB 3.0 drive for audio data backup, images

    Laptop:
    c: Everything on this drive (500 GB)

    Strategy for your consideration:
    1. Already using CrashPlan online backup on both systems for data backup. Happy with it.

    2. Starting to use AX64, doing hourly snaps, and manual shots prior to any system changes/software installation.

    3a. I think I also need a traditional image backup and need it now. Maybe Macrium Reflect Standard; EaseUs? Your thoughts on the need and the choices?

    3b. Do I do a total backup monthly and incremental or differential backups weekly?

    3c. If I can't leave my PC on overnight, how much will doing these incrementals or differentials impact my system performance? (Intel Core i5, 3.4GHz Quad Core w/16GB RAM)

    3d. Can these programs automate the backup process and do it for these multiple drives? (I'll have a license for each computer, of course.)

    4. Do I also need to do real time data backup via Macrium or EaseUs or is the imaging combined with online data backup sufficient?

    Thanks for your help!
    Chamlin
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  2. Baldrick

    Baldrick Registered Member

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    Hi Chamlin

    My thoughts...for what they are worth:

    1. Already using CrashPlan online backup on both systems for data backup. Happy with it.

    >> Good...it is always good to be happy.

    2. Starting to use AX64, doing hourly snaps, and manual shots prior to any system changes/software installation.

    >> Excellent...but why not 'convert' an auto snap to a manual, i.e., stop it from merging, if you install/change just after an hourly snap? To do so just edit/give the auto snap a bespoke description.

    3a. I think I also need a traditional image backup and need it now. Maybe Macrium Reflect Standard; EaseUs? Your thoughts on the need and the choices?

    >> Macrium Reflect...freeware edition...covers all the bases needed IMHO.

    3b. Do I do a total backup monthly and incremental or differential backups weekly?

    >> Differentials are quicker to take but slower to restore than incrementals, and vice versa. But as you are using AXTM then why do you need to be quick, as you have the hourly snapshot for that...so monthly +incrementals...if you really feel that you need to.

    3c. If I can't leave my PC on overnight, how much will doing these incrementals or differentials impact my system performance? (Intel Core i5, 3.4GHz Quad Core w/16GB RAM)

    >> Difficult to say as my rig is different BUT what cause the backup process to take more time is running it with AV/IS active, as they will check every back up action for every file backed up. When I do a full image...I do nothing else, I cut the internet connection, and then disable security and the back up, whether image or incremental is quicker.

    3d. Can these programs automate the backup process and do it for these multiple drives? (I'll have a license for each computer, of course.)

    >> They should have a scheduler in them but you should check that if yo go for freeware versions as sometimes the freeware version is the paid version MINUS scheduler.

    4. Do I also need to do real time data backup via Macrium or EaseUs or is the imaging combined with online data backup sufficient?

    >> I would say that AXTM, plus a backup secondary image weekly plus online data backup should be more than sufficient. With that yo will have triple redundancy or there abouts...as the online data backup would be vulnerable to ransomeware like CryptoLocker, if the online backup is automatic (and therefore permanently connected to you system) and occurs relatively regularly (as this nasty piece of malware works silently for a a few days before revealing itself...assuming that it has got past your security).

    Well, hope that helps...for what it is worth.

    Merry Festive Season to you. :D


    Baldrick
     
  3. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    I would combine "e: General data (2 TB)" and "f: Recording Audio data (600 GB)" into 1 partition, unless you have a good reason to have separate partitions.
     
  4. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    Hi Chamlin,

    You really have sensibly divided your two OS (disks) from your two data disks. So, I don't see the need for the cloud (CrashPlan) for data backup and I see it as waste of money. And, waste of network resources.

    I see that you have 3 requirements.

    Requirement 1:

    Backup of two data disks f and g to two 2TB external USB 3.0, which are drives h and i.

    For this simple backup, you need something like Second Copy, a cheap program and very easy to use. You can backup your data conscientiously once or twice daily.

    This is enough security as now your data is on two different drives e > h and f > i.

    Anything more is overkill. Set it with Second Copy and forget.

    http://www.secondcopy.com/

    Requirement 2:

    Backup your two OS, drives c and g. For this you need two imaging programs.

    I am glad that you are using AX64, which is the best imaging program and with automatic incremental imaging and automatic merging. Of course, you will install AX64 on both OS, drives c and g. Drive c will backup up to drive h and drive g will backup i.

    For a second imaging program, I will use Macrium Reflect FREE. Again, you will install it on both OS, drives c and g. I will automatically schedule it to make a complete image once or twice a month for each OS, and manually delete the old image after a while.

    http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx

    Requirement 3:

    Some current data files to be shared between the desktop and laptop. For this you can use Dropbox for FREE, and it is one of the best. One of the strength of Dropbox is that on the other machine, it syncs over the local LAN, rather than over the network.

    https://www.dropbox.com/

    Best regards,

    Mohamed
     
  5. Chamlin

    Chamlin Registered Member

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    Baldrick, thanks for the entirety of your response. And, regarding:
    Makes a lot of sense. Will do.
    Are you suggesting that the monthly and incrementals are overkill? I'd prefer to do less but want to get a sense of the general consensus of how much (if ever it could be) is enough or too much. Your thoughts?
    You literally disconnect from your router when doing the full image?

    Thanks,
    Chamlin
     
  6. Chamlin

    Chamlin Registered Member

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    MonsieurBrian, the e drive and f drives are actual separate physical hard drives, not partitions, intentionally separated to minimize any potential incursion of other data to the recorded audio files or increasing fragmentation.

    Thanks for the suggestion,
    Chamlin
     
  7. Chamlin

    Chamlin Registered Member

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    Great. Really clear and precise. Helps me to map out what I'll be doing.

    Regarding Second Copy, an associate wants to gift me with Macrium Reflect Standard. Would MR Std. take care of both the imaging and data backups? Or does it not do what Second Copy would do (and letting me set and forget)?

    Edit: So it seems like I would put Macrium Reflect Std. on the Win 7 OS, and it could image the OS, and handle the data backups for the two data drives. Then, I guess I'd need Macrium Free for the old XP drive (probably can't use the Standard version on both OS drives?). Yes?

    Thanks,
    Chamlin
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
  8. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    Hi Chamlin,

    I own lots of imaging programs including Macrium Reflect PRO and many file backup programs including SyncBackSE. I have found Second Copy easiest to use and very easy to set up. It will take you less than 3 minutes to setup and then no more worries. It works in the background and without fail, basically set and forget. The money you will save from dropping CrashPlan will pay more than for Second Copy.

    I believe you can download a 30 days trail and use it to see how it fits your needs.

    Best regards,

    Mohamed
     
  9. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    Try both Macrium Reflect Std and Second Copy 8 and see which fits your needs.

    Best regards,

    Mohamed
     
  10. Chamlin

    Chamlin Registered Member

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    Will do! Thanks, Mohamed.
     
  11. MrBrian

    MrBrian Registered Member

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    I recommend using three external drives for data file backup on a rotating schedule as described at https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=357500. You can use a sync program such as FreeFileSync (or aladdin's suggestion of Second Copy) in conjunction with this method.
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2013
  12. Chamlin

    Chamlin Registered Member

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    Thanks for the ideas and link to that thread, MrBrian.
     
  13. andylau

    andylau Registered Member

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    As for OS(c:) backup, I suggest to use imaging software likes Macrium, etc...

    As for file-based(e: & f:) backup, I suggest to use sync software likes FreeFileSync, SyncBack, etc...

    I think some members have mentioned above.


    I do not recommend online backup as it is too slow
     
  14. Chamlin

    Chamlin Registered Member

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    Thanks, Andy. :)
     
  15. Chamlin

    Chamlin Registered Member

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    Current decision unless someone talks me off the cliff, with all backups going to my external drives as Aladdin detailed above:

    1. Will use AX64 hourly (with some manual) on:
    c: PC Win 7 Pro OS drive and Laptop Win 7 Pro OS drive

    2. Will use Macrium Reflect Free every 2 to 4 weeks on:
    c: PC's Win 7 Pro OS drive
    g: PC's XP Pro OS drive
    c: Laptop's Win 7 Pro OS drive

    3. Will use Second Copy (seriously easy...thanks, Aladdin) automatically 2x/day on:
    e: General data (2 TB)
    f: Recording Audio data (600 GB)

    Now, Aladdin, I was looking at Easy BCD so I could boot to:
    ~ Win 7 system by default;
    ~ XP system when needed;
    ~ AX64 if needed;
    ~ Macrium Reflect if needed.

    But got very intimidated reading a lot of threads on the Easy BCD forum, seeing so many people having trouble setting XP and other systems up. Often with BIOS issues having to do with something called AHCI settings. Looks VERY confusing.

    Have you used it a lot? Anything you can share here that would support my giving it a shot?

    Thanks,
    Chamlin
     
  16. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    Whatever software is used to backup, speed and simplicity should be the essence. For example, I also own SnycBackSE.

    Second Copy 8: "Compares the date and time stamp of the source and destination files, and it copies new and changed files."

    http://www.secondcopy.com/reviewguide.html

    SyncBack: "All the SyncBack family are based from the ground up on building and populating a 'scan & compare' table which then drives all the remaining logic, and it thus needs to do so (scan & compare)."

    http://www.2brightsparks.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=8075

    One can claim that SyncBack is more reliable, but I haven't found it as such. If the 'scan & compare' table is lost or it thinks the drives are changed or something else, there goes one for rebuilding this 'scan & compare' table, which takes hours and hours.

    Best regards,

    Mohamed
     
  17. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    Hi Chamlin,

    Excellent Plan. On EasyBCD and XP, I have to come back later. Haven't used XP in a long, long time.

    One question in the meantime.

    Do you change your BIOS setting from ACHI to IDE when you boot into XP?

    Best regards,

    Mohamed
     
  18. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    Hi Chamlin,

    One suggestion. Each month manually rename the AXTM directory to let us say AXTM13_12 (for December 2013), AXTM14_01 (for January 2014), AXTM14_02 (for February 201) and so forth. When you will do this, it will automatically crate a new directory AXTM on next backup. Keep just the current month the numbers of months you need.

    I just keep the current and the old. So, I have AXTM and AXTMold. For me more than 2 directories of backups is too excessive and I don't restore too much back in time. I don't it monthly, I do it when I feel the urge that the initial backup is too old, and I need to start a new chain of backups.

    Best regards,

    Mohamed
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2013
  19. Chamlin

    Chamlin Registered Member

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    Right now, my XP system is a stand alone system. I stay as far away from the BIOS as I can, so I have no idea about ACHI or IDE BIOS settings.

    Once I REDEPLOY the XP OS to the open g: drive in the Windows 7 Pro system, is it possible that Win 7 will recognize that and add it to a boot up menu?

    That would help, then I guess using Easy BCD would not be so challenging to add AX64 and Macrium to the menu.

    Whadaya think?
     
  20. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    Hi Chamlin,

    Can you check in your BIOS to see if it is set for IDE or ACHI?


    The below link is for information only. The registry changes in Win7 and XP are very easy:


    http://superuser.com/questions/427340/how-to-enable-ahci-in-windows-xp-without-reinstalling

    Best regards,

    Mohamed
     
  21. Chamlin

    Chamlin Registered Member

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    Mohamed, thanks for this. Trying to grok it.

    Questions:
    1. If my XP drive is a traditional drive (not an SSD) do I still need to do this for Easy BCD?

    2. How do I check the BIOS for IDE or ACHI?

    3. Read that thread and links from that thread and my head is now officially eggnog...but with too many air bubbles, each one representing something I didn't understand. :p
     
  22. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    Hi Chamlin,

    EasyBCD it is an editor for Microsoft BCD Store and it doesn't matter if it is transitional drive or SSD. Microsoft started Boot Configuration Data (BCD) from Windows Vista. At that time no SSDs were available.

    Each machine has a different way to enter the BIOS. When the machine is started at the time, one can push F1, F2, DEL, some key to enter the BIOS. Your machine will tell you which key to press to enter BIOS. Once in BIOS you can check to see if it is set for IDE or ACHI.

    Don't change the settings from one to another, or you will have BSOD. Just report the settings. I have setup in my machines in the registry for both IDE and ACHI, so if by mistake someone change the setting in BIOS, I won't get BSOD.

    Since, you have Windows 7 on SSD, then most probably your machine in BIOS is set for ACHI.

    Best regards,

    Mohamed
     
  23. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    BTW, did you install XP after you installed Windows 7?

    Best regards,

    Mohamed
     
  24. Chamlin

    Chamlin Registered Member

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    Okay, for clarity:
    Right now, I have two separate machines/computers:
    1. My old PC which still operates and has the XP sp3 HDD drive.
    2. My new PC which is Windows 7, which I am in the process of adding software to, and when done, I will transfer all my data from the XP drive to one of my data drives on the Windows 7 system.

    Then, I am going to get help to redeploy my old XP drive onto a new blank drive on the Win 7 system, so my new system will look like this:

    c: OS & programs (160 GB SSD)
    e: General data (2 TB)
    f: Recording Audio data (600 GB)
    g: The old XP drive (150 GB)

    h: 2 TB external USB 3.0 drive for general data backup, images
    i: 2 TB external USB 3.0 drive for audio data backup, images

    So, I guess you could say that I will be installing the XP drive after the Windows 7 installation. Yes?

    Now I'll reboot and look at the BIOS. I'm pretty sure it will be IDE but we'll see. Be right back. :)

    Yes, it is set to IDE in the BIOS.

    I also, in case it's needed, went to the ASUS site and got this BIOS update. Needed when redeployingo_O

    Beta Version 1212

    P5B Deluxe BIOS version 1212
    3. Enable support for SATA hot plug function under AHCI mode
    816,1 (KBytes) 2007.07.09 update
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
  25. aladdin

    aladdin Registered Member

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    Your system is very simple and on your new machine you only have one operating system, which is Windows 7. In Windows 7, you want to have XP Mode, which you call Redeploy (threw me off a while there).

    1. For your machine with SSD to work efficiently, you need to enable ACHI in BIOS. Doing so will cause BSOD. So, you need to do the following:

    a. Make two backup images with two imaging programs, with AX64 and Macrium Reflect Free.
    b. Then we will add entries in the registry for ACHI drivers.
    c. Restart and enable ACHI in BIOS.
    d. Hopefully, it will boot and not BSOD.
    e. If it doesn't, then we need to restore the image and try again.

    Then setting up the entries in BCD Store with EasyBCD editor will be very simple. For EasyBCD is doesn't matter if it is IDE or ACHI drivers. The ACHI drivers are for the newer hard disks and SSDs.

    Best regards,

    Mohamed
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2013
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