Can I Maintain Duplicate Internal HD's with 2009 TIH?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by DLCPhoto, Oct 8, 2008.

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  1. DLCPhoto

    DLCPhoto Registered Member

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    I am about to purchase a new Vista, 64-bit Dell system. I was originally considering a dual internal HD in Raid 1 configuration for data and OS security, but for reasons I won't go into, that isn't an option for the system I want. So I'm looking for a different way to accomplish the same thing.

    Basically, I'll have a primary HD, which I will divide into a small partition for the OS, and the remaining partition for Data.

    I will then install a second internal HD, same size, and want to have that one be a duplicate of the primary HD, including both partitions, giving me the same net effect as Raid 1, although not in real-time. Nightly updates would be fine. Then, if my primary HD fails, I can just connect the second HD where the primary was, reboot, and I'm back where I was.

    This is slightly different from the usual create/restore an Image (which I've done with past systems, using Drive Image). So:

    1. Is 2009 TIH compatible with 64-bit Vista?

    2. Can I use 2009 TIH in the way I describe above, to give the functional equivalent of a Raid 1 configuration (again, realizing it won't be in real time, with scheduled nightly updates perfectly acceptable).

    3. Will this scheme work as desired?

    4. Are there other/better ways to accomplish this?

    Many thanks.

    Don
     
  2. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I haven't a clue about TI2009 but I think the short answer is no. You basically want to make a clone of the first drive during the night. Even, if it is possible to schedule such an operation you can have big trouble booting the HD with the original and the clone in place together until after the first sucessful boot with only one drive in place.

    You could consider installing caddies for your drives but you are dealing with manual intervention each night, not something that happens automatically.

    I don't want to pretend I understand your rationale but is there really a need for this instant fall back drive? If you create a suitable backup each night and you know you can restore properly on your system, isn't that enough? Hard-drives do fail but all my restores have been because I'm trying software and wish to wipe out all traces of the trial, never because of a HD failure in years.

    Xpilot, a regular poster on this forum has a method where he uses 2 caddies on his PC. He creates an image and then immediately restores the image onto a second HD. The second HD is immediately put into service and the original one remains intact until the next night. So for a backup at any time he has the original drive, and the image on his archive drive. He doesn't validate any images because he will find out about a restore problem immediately. Again, this scheme is good but requires manual intervention.

    You could put an image of the OS on the second drive and then assuming that the OS doesn't change much or you can tolerate it being a bit behind (ie, you aren't installing a lot of apps frequently) just run one of the programs like SyncBack, Synctoy, etc that does incremental updates of the data files on the second drive. If the first HD dies, then you would put in the second and do the appropriate OS updates and app updates. The updating could be minimized by restoring a fresh image to it at some interval.
     
  3. DLCPhoto

    DLCPhoto Registered Member

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    Your reply is much appreciated.

    For the last several years, what you suggest is what I have been doing. I used Drive Image to periodically create an image of the OS partition, and I kept copies of that in a couple of places for restoration when needed. I used SynchroMagic to do daily updates of the Data files. All of this was stored in 2 internal hard drives, and also on an external HD kept off-site, and updated weekly.

    When looking at a new system, I became aware of the Raid 1 option, and this caught my attention. When this became less attractive because of hassle (and possible unreliability), I wondered about accomplishing the same thing, using software - hence my original question.

    Bottom line, I think you're right, and Ill be returning to my original strategy: image the OS (updating periodically when significant system changes occur), and keep copies of this available for restoration when needed. And use a synchronizing utility to do daily updates of Data files.

    So now, I have to decide between Acronis True Image, Norton Ghost, Shadow Protect, Paragon, etc. Not surprisingly, different reviews disclose different problems with each, and there doesn't seem to be one clear winner. Looking through the forums here, there are obviously problems and dissatisfactions with the various versions of True Image. Support forums for the other products would undoubtedly show the same.

    I lean toward Acronis based on my research thus far, but haven't made any firm decision, and am still open to others' experience, valid factors distinguishing these products, etc.

    Thanks again for taking the time to reply.

    Don
     
  4. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello DLCPhoto,

    Thank you for your interest in Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    We are sorry for delayed response.

    Acronis True Image Home 2009 supports all versions of Windows Vista.

    I would recommend you to download and install the free trial version of Acronis True Image Home 2009 to see how the software works on your computer. With the trial version of the product you will be able to fully use the Windows version for 15 days. The bootable rescue media will be limited to restore function.

    You can find the detailed instructions on how to use Acronis True Image Home 2009 in the respective User's Guide.

    Please visit Acronis online store to purchase the full version of the product. Notice that if you already own a previous version of Acronis True Image, you can purchase an upgrade license at reduced price (as compared to independent license).

    Thank you.
    --
    Marat Setdikov
     
  5. DLCPhoto

    DLCPhoto Registered Member

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    Well, while I appreciate the quite belated reply, it didn't address any of the specific questions I had, nor say anything more than I learned from the Acronis website.

    Be that as it may, I have found another product, Casper 5.0, which actually does what I originally asked about in my question: it maintains duplicate copies of hard drives, runs quite easily from within windows, doesn't require any 3rd party software to restore, makes the clone fully bootable, etc. I can schedule updates at my chosen frequency as well.

    This way, if my primary hard drive fails, I can immediately switch to the other drive, boot up immediately, and not skip a beat. No images to restore, no booting into a proprietary program to restore, etc. This might not meet everyone's backup needs, but it meets mine perfectly.

    Thanks again.

    Don
     
  6. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    ATI can make a duplicate of a Hdisk as well as Casper. The issue mentioned above applies to Casper, ATI and any other cloning prog as it is a Windows issue and not a backup program issue.

    Windows will not tolerate two hdisks marked as system (and marked as boot drive, which isn't quite the same things but for most purposes can be considered the same). If you boot with two of hidsks connected that are system/boot drives, Win leave one marked as the boot/system drive and will mark the other as not and it won't be bootable after that. Sometimes, Win will mark one as the system drive and the other as the boot drive and that's when things get a bit wonky. Then your porgrams will look for files on one drive will running the program exe and dlls from the other.

    This is not a backup program issue. The two drives can be absolutely identical to starts with, regardless of what product made them that way, and if you boot with both attached, one of them will no longer be bootable, which kind of defeats the usual purpose of cloning a boot/system drive. And, as noted worse things can.
     
  7. DLCPhoto

    DLCPhoto Registered Member

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    Well, after creating the backup clone, I disconnected the original drive, leaving the newly cloned drive the only one physically connected. Windows (Vista, 64-bit) booted up and everything (including drive letters) was identical as if I had booted with the original.

    I then reconnected the original HD, so they were both connected, and when Windows booted, it "remembered" which one it used last, and booted up from the clone I created, and the original HD was seen as well, with higher drive letters as expected. Everything still fine.

    I then reversed, leaving the original HD connected, and disconnecting the cloned HD, and Windows once again booted without problem.

    So as far as I can see, Windows is not creating any issues for me in this regard, and I can use either or both drives in any way that I want.

    In the form of an image that has to be restored, or as "regular files" that can be seen and used the same as any other drive? I am aware of the imaging capability, but was under the impression that creating a normally formated copy, with "regular files" wasn't an option. Please correct me if that is wrong, as I'd like to know.

    Thanks.
     
  8. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello DLCPhoto,

    Please be aware that there are two approaches available:

    Backup - creates a special archive file for backup and disaster recovery purposes;

    Clone Disk - migrates/copies the entire contents of one disk drive to another;

    Please take a look at this FAQ article explaining the difference between Clone Disk and Backup approaches in more detail.

    You can find details on performing cloning operation in chapter 13 "Transferring the system to a
    new disk" of Acronis True Image Home 2009 User's Guide.

    Thank you.
    --
    Marat Setdikov
     
  9. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    So long as you realize that, now that you have both connected Hdisks, once you boot, one of them will no longer be bootable -- Windows won't accept both drives being marked as system/boot drive and it will correct by marking one as described above.


     
  10. DLCPhoto

    DLCPhoto Registered Member

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    If I'm understanding you correctly, my experience seems to indicate that this is not correct.

    With both connected, one is obviously the one I booted with; the other is accessible in the usual fashion.

    I can connect either drive by itself, and Windows will boot normally, recognizing either as a legitimate bootable drive.

    So where's the problem??
     
  11. DLCPhoto

    DLCPhoto Registered Member

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    Thanks for the clarification. This does appear to be what I'm accomplishing with Casper. Good to know.

    In any case, since I've already purchased Casper, tried it out and found it to work as advertised, I'll stick with it.
     
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