Best Practices for HDM?

Discussion in 'Paragon Drive Backup Product Line' started by Sandunes, Dec 2, 2013.

  1. Sandunes

    Sandunes Registered Member

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    Primary goal - backup and restoration of the OS partition

    What are the best practices for the backup and restore when using the WinPE boot disk?
     
  2. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    Keep everything simple. Always back up to external USB disks, do not use optical disks. Keep images in two different external disks, use them alternately. Do not copy images to other disks. Keep each image in a separate folder. Use only full images, not incremental or differential. And consider using an alternate imaging program.
     
  3. Volare

    Volare Registered Member

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    Thanks Robyn,

    Why is that? It appears many prefer full-images over differential or incremental. Would be interesting to know why.

    I personally feel more comfortable restoring a full system image, rather than a differential, but maybe I'm just paranoid about restoring differentials :doubt:
     
  4. Sandunes

    Sandunes Registered Member

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    What is the downside to copying?

    Suggestions for restoring the OS? Should the partition be formatted before the restore?
     
  5. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    I listed my "personal best practices". I think there are not "universal best practices" in this case.

    Differentials or incremental images are useful if you do scheduled backups. I don´t.

    I don´t see a downside to copy images. The probability of introducing errors in the copy process must be very small, and a validation can be run after the copy. But it´s an additional process that shouldn´t be necessary if the backup process is planned with some care. I just leave the images alone until I restore or delete them.

    I forgot to mention that I only back up the "system" with images. That is, I only do "sector" images. I keep data separate, back up them with a file synchronizer.
     
  6. JosephB

    JosephB Registered Member

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    Robin A.,

    BTW,
    1. Do you mean that you keep "data separate" by having your data files in a "Data Partition" ?

    2. Which file synchronizer do you use ?
     
  7. Sandunes

    Sandunes Registered Member

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    With sector based images are all of the prior contents of the target restore volume wiped out during the restore?
     
  8. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    Yes, data files are in a separate partition. The file syncrhonizer that I am currently using is FreeFileSync (have used it for more than 2 years).
    Yes, the prior contents are deleted.
     
  9. Sandunes

    Sandunes Registered Member

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    Are the sector based images larger than a file based image?
     
  10. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I only do full images. Nothing necessarily wrong with incrementals or differentials other than if an incremental goes bad every incremental made past it is useless so keep the chains relatively short.

    If you don't verify every time, you should at least do it every now and then. It is a good check on your RAM and some backup disk functions.

    I also only image my C drive which contains only the OS and apps. I store my important data files elsewhere. I also use a file synchronizing type program for backing up my data files. In my case I use SyncBack Pro which is a paid product although they have a free one. The reason I paid the money is to get file versioning - it keeps old versions of updated files. No reason in particular for SyncBack other than I started using it and kept with it. I don't use a program like Paragon, Acronis, MR, etc for my data files because I want to keep them in their native file and folder fromat - not stuffed into a proprietary container file. Some people with only 1 archive of their data files have found it useless because of some failure.

    An advantage of removing data files to at least a different partition is that C drive images can be made more quickly. You also don't even have to bother doing them all the frequently in most cases. If I had to put back a 2 week old image all that would likely need to be done is perhaps some Windows or software updates. If I have installed/updated a bunch of apps then I will definitely make an image.

    This brings us to another best practice. Ignore the urge to clean up old archives until you really need the space. Having only 1 backup is risky. Ideally, you will also have more than 1 backup device and rotate them so a device failure isn't a common point of failure. If you really want to get into it then you will have a diversity of media which could mean an external USB drive(s) as well as an internal HD or a NAS. I have no use for DVDs.

    I have copied archives and given they are just big files there is nothing inherently wrong but I also tend to verify the copy. This brings up an issue that I had with Paragon. It likes things in its cursed database so if you use the database views you will have to enter your copy. If you split your archives into 4GB or some other setting, there is a a physical pointer at the end of each slice pointing to the next slice. I found this when verifying a copy, it would do the first piece I copied to the USB drive and then jump to the original second slice. You can get around this by not splitting the archive or by verifying on a different machine that does not have the original archive, IIRC. Deleting the original probably works too but that may not be your intention. I apologize if this is since been corrected by a later version from 12.

    There is no point formatting a partition before an image restore. The first thing a restore does is delete the partition and then rebuilds it according to the image data. A format on a modern (and this has been for a long time) does not really do anything special to the disk like a low-level did on the old RLL disk days. It really should be called "setup a new filesystem". The full format just does a readcheck of all the sectors, This is why recovery programs can get back data after a format, it doesn't get overwritten.
     
  11. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I would imagine they are about the same size if the number of files are being backed up. The big difference is that the file based backup will be slower since the program has to make more use of the file system structure. An image does need to understand the filesystem to a certain extent but once it gets its bitmap snapshot done it directly accesses the disk AFAIK.
     
  12. Sandunes

    Sandunes Registered Member

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    I must be misunderstanding something, this is what I see in the Restore Wizard.

    "When restoring files that already exist on your computer

    - Leave existing files
    - Replace existing files"
     
  13. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    That's for a files and folders restore not a disk image restore.
     
  14. Sandunes

    Sandunes Registered Member

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    Does it always show that option?
     
  15. JosephB

    JosephB Registered Member

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    Sandunes,

    yes, at least on my older version of B&R - Home, and it is confusing for first-time users of the pgm.

    1. On the What to Restore Screen:
    .... Do NOT check any Folder, as a matter of fact there is NO need to expand the drive folder tree (no need to click the '+" next to the drive).

    .... With NO Folders checked, a Full Image: Sector by Sector - Partition Restore is done, from the Backup Disk Image.

    2. When 1 or more folders (or the Drive Letter) is checked, a File Level (File-by-File) Restore of the selected folder(s) or selected drive is performed, from the Backup Disk Image.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  16. JosephB

    JosephB Registered Member

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    Sandunes,

    Actually, if you have multiple partitions on your drive (i.e. system partition, and a data partition, etc) and you create a Backup Image (aka "sector based") of just 1 partition (i.e. system partition) and restore back to that same partition, then the other partition(s) (i.e. data partition, etc) on the drive are NOT effected / NOT wiped.

    However, if your "selected" to created a Backup Image of the Entire Hard Drive (all its Partitions), then the entire drive is wiped, upon the Restore, if you select/highlight the "entire hard disk" (which will restore ALL of the partitions contained in the Backup Image). However, you can select/highlight (to restore) just 1 of the multiple backed up partitions contained in the Backup Image.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  17. Sandunes

    Sandunes Registered Member

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    Big thanks for this detailed explanation. I've been expanding which caused a file by file restore. Now I know why the restores were so slow. With luck this will help with some other problems I've been having.
     
  18. JosephB

    JosephB Registered Member

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    Sandunes,

    Check above post, I clarified it.
    BTW, does you drive have more than 1 partition on it ?