Best way to backup using 3 external drives?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by wysocki, Feb 17, 2006.

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  1. wysocki

    wysocki Registered Member

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    I have a customer that has an XP/sp2 computer that they'd like backed up daily and want to insure short downtime in case of disaster. They'd also like to be able to recover single files from time to time. They have 3 sata drives mounted in a removable caddy. At the end of the day, they'd like to initiate a backup of their entire drive to the backup drive and then take it off-site for safety, replacing it with another of the three.

    I considered doing a ghost or clone of the drive to the removable, but it appears that with TI there's quite a bit of intervention required, including a reboot. Also, it appears that the target drive has to already have a partition on it otherwise the clone tool can't see it. Could be a hassle if new drives are added to the cycle.

    Doing a weekly disk image backup with daily incrementals then rotating the drives may work but I want this to be a no-brainer for this customer. Is there any command line interface to permit a simple "backup now" desktop shortcut when they're done for the day? Using TI for most operations is a lengthy and very decision-intensive process unless defined in the scheduler.

    I think I want to avoid using the Secure Zone feature because of their novice level. They'd have to know about adding it if they introduced a new drive to the cycle and it'd be invisible to the OS - meaning they wouldn't be able to check the volume label of the disk nor it's remaining capacity from "My Computer". TI doesn't tell me the backup won't fit until it's too late - at the end of the backup it says "not enough disk space".

    Given all this, what method would be best to use to create full backups to the three "generations" of external disks?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2006
  2. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello wysocki,

    Thank you for your interest in Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Please accept our apologies for the delay with the response.

    Please be aware that Acronis True Image 9.0 does not need your destination hard drive to be partitioned for the cloning procedure. If it cannot detect the hard drive intended for the clone then please clarify the following information:

    - Where from you were trying to perform the cloning, from under Windows or booting from Acronis Bootable Rescue Media?

    - How does Windows recognizes this external hard drive - as a removable device or as an internal hard drive?

    Please create Acronis Report having this hard drive installed as it is described in Acronis Help Post and submit a request for technical support. Attach the collected report file to your request along with the link to this thread. We will investigate the problem and try to provide you with the solution.

    I'm afraid that Acronis True Image 9.0 does not allow you to use the command line mode for backing up. You can obtain this possibility of usage of "one button backup" by scheduling a special task and setting it to "do not start automatically". After that you will not need to specify all the settings for the task and just run it from the list of the tasks in the main dialog menu of Acronis True Image 9.0.

    If these three external hard drives are identical then we do not expect any difficulties for you to replace them and run the scheduled tasks. Please remember that the letter assigned to these drives should be the same, only in this case the scheduled task will work properly.

    Thank you.
    --
    Kirill Omelchenko
     
  3. Chutsman

    Chutsman Registered Member

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    Try the Xcopy command from within Windows. I have a number of clients who use it in Win98 (yes, win98 is still useful), but I have not tried it with XP and I'm not at home right now to do so.

    In win98 the clients backup to a removable hard drive - some make a complete bootable backup while others backup only data folders. The complete bootable backup can be swapped for the C drive in seconds.

    The initial backup takes the longest, afterwards subsequent backups will backup only the files that have changed so it could take as little as 15 seconds to complete. The command is run from a batch file so all the client has to do is click an icon on the desktop to initiate the backup.
     
  4. wysocki

    wysocki Registered Member

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    That's the way I have it set up right now. The customer can't really "schedule" the backup because the machines are all turned off when they're out of the office but we don't know a specifict "time" for that event. Likewise, the computer may be started and stopped more than once during the day. So I'd like to have a desktop shortcut that will manually start the backup (and then the backup script could even shut the computer down automatically after backing up). I would just rather that the user (generally a computer illiterate secretary) doesn't even see the list of tasks (which could be edited or deleted) on a daily basis, just click the shortcut and leave. I strongly suggest a command line interface for future versions, something like:

    "C:\Program Files\Acronis\TrueImage\TrueImage.exe" /T:SERVER_BACKUP

    I'd also like the option of initializing (deltree) the backup disk from within a full backup operation. Now it just creates another full backup on the drive, but in my 3-disk cycling process (a full followed by a series of incrementals on each disk) I would like to force a clean disk on each full backup. Otherwise, with multiple sets, I run the risk of running out of space at some point during an incovenient time.
     
  5. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello wysocki,

    Please be aware that Acronis True Image 9.0 allows you to select "When my computer shuts down" option while scheduling a task so that this task will be executed automatically before every PC shutdown or reboot. Please see Chapter 9 of Acronis True Image 9.0 User's Guide for details.

    Please note that Acronis True Image 8.0 Corporate Workstation and Acronis True Image 8.0 Enterprise Server for Windows have a command line interface and allow you to create a special batch file containing the script which initializes the image creation process with the prescribed parameters. Please see Chapter 11 of Acronis True Image 8.0 Corporate Workstation User's Guide for details.

    Could you please describe the desired actions in more detail?

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexey Popov
     
  6. wysocki

    wysocki Registered Member

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    If I setup a job to do an "Entire Disk, Full backup" to a file named data.tib and then do two subsequent incremental backups, I end up with three files:
    data.tib
    data2.tib
    data3.tib

    If I do another Full backup, data.tib is overwritten by a new data.tib but data2.tib and data3.tib remain there, confusing the issue as to what is backed up on that backup drive and taking up space. I would suggest that when data.tib was overwritten by the second Full backup, that it would have deleted all associated incrementals as well.

    To automate this backup process for a full backup, I was going to create a batch file that would delete all .tib files and then run the full backup job. Unfortunately I found out that I can not run TI from a batch file and pass it a parameter to have it run the desired task without intervention so I'm still looking for a way to automate this process.

    [EDIT:]
    So I decided to just give up on the automation thing and have the user start TI and run the task manually. In the Full Backup task, I wanted to get rid of all the incremental files on the target disk so I entered a command for "before backup process" like this:
    del /q T:\data*.tib
    But I got an error when I went to run the task. So I split the command "del" and its arguments "/q T:\data*.tib" on the command/argument lines in the dialog. That didn't work either. How am I supposed to run this command before the task?
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2006
  7. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello wysocki,

    Please accept our apologies for the delay with the response.

    Please be aware that in case you want to create a batch file then I would like to recommend you to create it in the same folder where all the incrementals are saved to. This file will have the following content:

    del data2.tib
    del data3.tib

    You should specify the exact name of the files which you want to delete. Please do not try to use the "del data*.tib" command, because it will delete the full image too.

    If the file I have mentioned does not work. Then please collect the log with the operation which has this batch file as a pre-command.

    - Start Acronis True Image;
    - Select Tools -> Show log;
    - Choose the log entry;
    - Click on the diskette icon, choose the location (folder) and save there;
    - Collect the log.

    Please submit a request for technical support. Attach the collected log file to your request along with the step-by-step description of the actions taken before the problem appears and the link to this thread. We will investigate the problem and try to provide you with the solution.

    Thank you.
    --
    Kirill Omelchenko
     
  8. wysocki

    wysocki Registered Member

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    My point about the pre-command was that it would not accept
    "del /q T:\data*.tib" but instead, I had to put the del command inside a batch file to run it. Not a big thing, just slightly irritating.

    If I'm about to do a Full Backup why does it matter that I would delete the full image beforehand? The task would overwrite the full image (and it should offer to remove the related incrementals as well).
     
  9. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello wysocki,

    I'm sorry. I've missed that you wished to run this batch file as a pre-command. You are right, in this case it is possiblt to use "del data*.tib" command, because after that a new full image will be created.

    Thank you.
    --
    Kirill Omelchenko
     
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