Can scheduled backups overwrite old files

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Fargo, Mar 29, 2006.

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  1. Fargo

    Fargo Registered Member

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    OK so I downloaded the trial version and thought it looked like just what I wanted and so I orded the full version. Now I'm starting to have doubts.

    With previous backup software I have used (Stomp's - BackupMyPC), I can set scheduled backups to overwrite the old backup when a backup is being performed. This allows me to keep my backup files to a minimum and at a managable level. Can I do this with True Image?

    If I make scheduled full backups of my system once a week, I don't need multiple copies of it, just the latest.

    Or if I am doing a differential backup everyday, its my understanding that the differential file will backup everything that has changed since the original backup. So why doesn't it simply overwrite the old differential with the new one. If it creates a new file everytime it backs up I will have over 7 files at the end of every week (counting the original). Over 1 months time that is
    over 30 backup files. Thats way to many backups taking up space.

    I don't want to have to go into the files and remove all the old backups. Thats why I'm using the scheduler. I want it done automatically. If I wanted to remove them by hand I would have just done a manual backup everyday. Either way its a pain.

    So how do I set a scheduled backup to overwrite the previouse backup? Please tell me there is an overwrite option somewhere in the options list that I'm just not seeing.
     
  2. TheWeaz

    TheWeaz Registered Member

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    “Can I do this with True Image?”
    Yes, it will overwrite the image file if it has the same name.

    “So why doesn't it simply overwrite the old differential with the new one.”
    By not writing over the last Diff image, you have the ability to go back to multiple points in time (the creation date of each image). I consider this a plus. Under your suggestion, if I run a Full on day one and a Diff each day, at the end of the month I can only restore to yesterday or the beginning of the month – not cool.

    “That’s way to many backups taking up space.”
    Then you need to come up with a better backup scheme.
    You said you only want the latest weekly. Once you create the new weekly, all the subsequent Diffs will overwrite themselves.

    “Thats why I'm using the scheduler”
    The scheduler is for scheduling backups. File maintenance is something else.
     
  3. Fargo

    Fargo Registered Member

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    Thanks for the input Weaz. Maybe I'm not set up right, but when I'm using the scheduled backup, it changes the name to the next consecutive number instead of overwriting the old backup.

    OK I can see that benefit. I understand some people needing to keep multiple backups to be able to restore to any day. But for me its not needed. I only need the most recent day. The software should at least have the option to simply overwrite the old file.

    I'm still trying to come up with a workable backup scheme. Thats why I wanted an option to overwrite. I do need to backup everyday, but I only need the most recent backup. I do not need or want the option to backup to the in-between days.

    Allow me to go into more detail of what I want to accomplish if I may. Then maybe you can help me to find a better way of doing it.



    I want to have a complete system backup, that is updated at the end of every day. I want it backed up so if I have a complete hard drive failure I can simply go to the external harddrive holding my drive image and restore the entire system to the last day. I do not need snapshots of everyday in between. Just the most recent backup.

    But to do a complete backup everyday would be time consuming. I thought by updating a differential backup everyday, I could replicated the complete harddrive and all its partitions without having to make a new image of the entire hard drive.

    Does this make sense? Please tell me if there is a better way to do this. I guess I'm just used to overwriting the old file the way my previous software did it. This was nice because it meant I only had one file to manage.
     
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2006
  4. TheWeaz

    TheWeaz Registered Member

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    “Maybe I'm not set up right …”
    Keep in mind that only when you create a FULL backup image do you actually give the file a name. INC & DIF backups only refer to an existing image name and will therefore just tack on a number.

    “This was nice because it meant I only had one file to manage”
    If you had only 1 file, doesn’t that mean you were doing a FULL each time? If so, you could just schedule a FULL to run each night.

    You could do a FULL scheduled each Monday and schedule a DIF (or an INC) Tue - Fri. Come the next Monday, the FULL would be overwritten, as would the DIFs (or INCs) on Tue – Fri.
     
  5. TheWeaz

    TheWeaz Registered Member

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    Also, remember that each consecutive DIF will get bigger and take longer to run. INCs tend to be smaller and less time consuming.
     
  6. Fargo

    Fargo Registered Member

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    Nope. The software called it an incremental backup. But it just ammended the file that was there so I only had one file at all times.

    If I set it up this way. Would the scheduled FULL automatically overwrite the old file? Also are you sure the DIF (or INC) would overwrite on the otherdays? In my test run it just added another file.

    Thanks for all the help Weaz. Maybe I just need to play with it some more after I get the registered version. (I'm using the trial version waiting for the UPS man to get here)

    If anyone else knows of how to overwrite the existing files please let me know.
     
  7. TheWeaz

    TheWeaz Registered Member

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    “If I set it up this way. Would the scheduled FULL automatically overwrite the old file? Also are you sure the DIF (or INC) would overwrite on the otherdays? In my test run it just added another file.”

    Yes, if you schedule a FULL task to run every Monday and create an image file named “MONDAY”, each Monday that image file will be overwritten.
    Once the FULL image is overwritten, all existing DIF/INC images become orphaned and will be overwritten the next time their schedule rolls around. I do this very thing, only on a monthly basis.
    In your test, I assume that you did NOT recreate the FULL image; that’s why the DIF just tacked on the next number. Its parent image still existed.
     
  8. Fargo

    Fargo Registered Member

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    OK thats starting to make sense. I did not recreate the Full in my test.

    So if you named each increment by the day of the week, you would have to schedule the FULL backup and 6 seperate INC or DIfs right?

    So if I setup a FULL backup on Monday and one incremental backup (call it DAILY) to run the other 6 days, would it just add consecutive numbers to the incrementals until the FULL is overwriten next Monday? Thus giving me - FULL, DAILY, DAILY1, DAILY2...etc?

    How do you have your Monthly schedule setup? I might use that schedule so I don't have to take the time to do Full backups once a week.

    Thank you again.
     
  9. TheWeaz

    TheWeaz Registered Member

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    “So if you named each increment by the day of the week … ”
    No, you never really ‘name’ an INC or DIF. When you set up the task, you refer to an existing FULL. If the FULL name does not exist, TI will create a FULL image the first time the task runs even though the task is an INC or DIF. So ...
    Create a task to run a FULL, run weekly, on Monday, and name the image file XYZZY.
    Create a task to run an INC, run weekly on Tue – Fri and use XYZZY as the file name.
    On Monday you will have XYZZY, on Tuesday XYZZY & XYZZY2, on Wednesday XYZZY & XYZZY2 & XYZZY3 yada yada yada ….
    At the end of week you’ll have 5 files, 1 FULL and 4 INCs.
    Next Monday, XYZZY will be overwritten. On Tuesday, XYZZY2 will be overwritten, again yada yada yada …

    “Thus giving me - FULL, DAILY, DAILY1, DAILY2...etc?”
    Nope; see above. They will be named FULL, FULL2, FULL3 …

    “How do you have your Monthly schedule setup?”
    Well, the monthly schedule I actually do manually*. I do, however, use the exact same logic to create other backups with cyclic retentions.

    * The tasks are already set up, they're just not scheduled; I launch them myself.
     
  10. Fargo

    Fargo Registered Member

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    OK thats how I kind of thought it was to begin with. I still don't like this system because if my harddrive fails on Wednessday (XYZZY3) I have 5 files to sift through to figure out which is the most recent backup. Logic would tell me its the largest number (XYZZY5). But that wouldn't be the case, the most recent backup would be XYZZ2. The backup made the day before the crash. This would really be confusing if I did a Full backup once a month and increments daily. Now you have 30 increments to chose from. Each of them using maybe 1 or 2 gigs of hard drive space. It seems like over redundancy and a waste of harddrive space to me.

    For me it would just work better if each differential backup would simply overwrite the one before.

    Maybe I don't understand how the differential backup works. My understanding is that the differential backup will 'view' the original full backup and make any changes that have taken place on the hard drive since that backup. If thats the case the full backup and the latest differential backup should be all I need to restore my system to its current state. I shouldn't need any of the differerentials between the FULL backup and the last DIFF to restore my system to its current setting will I?

    Increments I understand build on each other and each one is needed to restore. But doesn't a DIFF look at the original only and make changes from there?

    Thank you for your help. I'm sorry for wasting your valuable time.
     
  11. Mem

    Mem Registered Member

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    You are correct that to get to the LAST PC state you would use the last differential and full. From my perspective, if a user catches a trojan two days ago, I can use the differential from three days ago to get to a clean state. If I only had the LAST one, it wouldn't be a clean state. That's what makes the differentials handy.

    Our scheme is similar to what TheWeaz has already mentioned and they are scheduled. Two directories - week1 and week2 which rotate the week saved and the respective differentials are contained within each. They overwrite exactly as explained previously. The file dates easily let us select the necessary differential when needed.
     
  12. TheWeaz

    TheWeaz Registered Member

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    “I have 5 files to sift through to figure out which is the most recent backup”
    Well, other than the fact that 2 is always Tuesday, 3 is always Wednesday … , TI will show you the dates when you step through the restore process. And so will the Create/Modify Date in Explorer.

    “Now you have 30 increments to chose from”
    Yes, but again, I just look at the create dates either in TI or Explorer.

    “It seems like over redundancy and a waste of harddrive space to me.”
    There is no redundancy with INC backups. There IS, however, with DIFs.

    “I shouldn't need any of the differerentials between the FULL backup and the last DIFF to restore my system to its current setting will I?”
    No, that’s all you need. But like Mem stated, that may not be all you wish you had.

    “Increments I understand build on each other and each one is needed to restore. But doesn't a DIFF look at the original only and make changes from there?”
    Correct. But again, as time goes on each DIF gets bigger and bigger and takes more time to create.
     
  13. Fargo

    Fargo Registered Member

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    OK so I saw that with this software I can write command codes in the scheduler. Would it be possible to write a code to simply delete the previous DIFF file after the new one is completed?


    I know you guys are probably thinking "Man this guy is determined to sabotage himself with only one DIFF file". But I am also planning on using a 2nd backup software that copies the files uncompressed to my external drive as well. This way if for some reason my Acronis image is currupt I have an uncompressed backup of all my data files. I will then use an image file of my fresh install along with all my programs to get my system back to good. Then I can just copy my data files back. But thats only a secondary precaution.

    I would most like to be able to do a complete install with all my data and programs from the Acronis image. But I still don't feel like I need the extra files.
     
  14. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello Fargo,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Please note that you can use pre/post commands of Acronis True Image 9.0 in order to delete backups you do not need automatically. For example you can create a batch file or specify the command before process in backup options to delete the previous differential backup.

    Additional information can be found in the Chapter 4.3.3 "Pre/post commands" in Acronis True Image User Guide which is available at http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/download/docs/

    Thank you.
    --
    Aleksandr Isakov
     
  15. Fargo

    Fargo Registered Member

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    Thank you all for your help.

    I guess I can figure out how to write a batch file to delete unneeded backups. But an option to automatically overwrite might be a good feature to consider for future releases.

    But after all your responses maybe I will try it for a while with mulitiple DIFF files for added security. But at least I know I can delete the unneeded DIFFs with a batchfile now. Thanks again.
     
  16. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hello Fargo,

    Just be aware that there is a bug in TI 9 that requires all intermediate Diff files to be present when verifying a particular differential restore point (e.g. delete Diffs #1 & #2 and you wont be able to verify Diff #3 or later although you will be able to restore it/them).

    Regards
     
  17. Fargo

    Fargo Registered Member

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    Thanks for the tip.
     
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