Dell XP Backup/Restore Strategy

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by MikeV99, May 25, 2009.

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  1. MikeV99

    MikeV99 Registered Member

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    I am faced with information overload -- a lot here to comprehend. I have read the FAQs, many threads, looked through the manual (whew!) and believe I may have a handle on how I should proceed. Please confirm I am using the "correct" backup plan.

    Dell XP with all SPs.

    Drive 0: 160GB, has the Dell Utility Partition and C: drive (does not have the DSR partition at the end)

    Drive 1: 160GB D: data disk
    Drive 2: 1TB G: data disk
    External 1TB I: data disk

    My backup plan has two goals:

    First, to be able to recover from a catastrophic failure of C: by either restoring (after full disk format) or replacing the C: drive with a new one. I do not need the Dell Utility Partition since it is available on the Dell CD. However, I would like to have confidence that the restore (booting from the Rescue CD) will build a MBR that will allow me to successfully boot from the restored drive.

    Second, recover data files as needed from C: and D:

    The TI install is with Rescue Media Builder to build bootable Rescue CDs. Do I need the Bart PE utility; if yes, why? Acronis Secure Zone not installed.

    One of the things which is a bit unclear to me is the comment, "Part of your usage should be to create backups both from within Windows plus when booted from the TI Rescue CD."

    Does that mean I should create a backup of the C: partition using the TI Rescue CD first? Then afterward, create full+incremental backups using Windows? How do I maintain currency between the Rescue CD backup and Windows backup and what steps would be used to do a catastrophic recovery? How does the MBR get built correctly? How often do I need to do a Rescue CD backup?

    The Windows full+incremental backups of the C: and D: drives (to the G: drive with a copy on the I: drive) will meet the second goal of recovering data.

    I tried to slim this post down, but thought that the information included would be useful for anyone offering suggestions.

    Thanks

    Mike
     
  2. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Ideally, not necessary. The TI rescue CD uses Linux and sometimes the Linux drivers are a poor fit for the hardware. The BartPE environment is Windows and thus uses the Windows drivers. Note that even if you start a restore in Windows and the active partition, typically C, is being restored, the PC will reboot and load the Linux environment off HD.

    Probably as a test that the Linux rescue environment does work. Creating an archive shows that you can read the source and write to the target disk. The other part would be to do a Validate using the TI CD which demonstrates the archive can be read into RAM properly and the thousands of checksums can be recreated and compared successfully. The best method is to do an actual full restore to a spare HD. It is imperative you know that the TI rescue CD or even a BartPE recovery CD works on your system before you have a problem. Some users prefer to make images using the CD because the HD is static. However, imaging while Windows is running works very well.

    You don't have to other than if you are using the method to test the CD. TI wants to know which Full archive to base the incremental on and it doesn't care which environment made the Full, or the incremental, for that matter. To recover you would either start the TI CD or if the system is still running Windows start the TI application and run the restore wizard which will guide you through the steps to achieve your recovery. TI makes a copy of the MBR and includes it with the image. The MBR actually looks like, and is dealt with as if it were a separate image. If your HD still has a working MBR there is no need to restore it if you are restoring partitions.

    While you can use TI to backup data either as a data (Files and Folders) backup or even as an image backup, some of us prefer to just backup data files using Windows Explorer or a program like SyncBack, Karens Replicator, etc. These programs leave the data files in their native format and folder structure rather stuff them all into a large container file.

    My advice is to always take the most backup care with your data files. You can always reload Windows and applications, your personally created data files are available nowhere else.
     
  3. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    A disk format not needed--TI will overwrite anyway--nothing is gained by the format. If you restoring to an existing drive, you can overlay your restore; or it restoring to new blank disk, restoring to blank unallocated disk works well.
    I believe this was from one of my guides or postings. The answer posted by seekforever covered it very well. It is imperative that the user knows if the Rescue CD is functioning for his system. Check the link below.

    Rescue CD plays an important role
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=1424595&postcount=3

    You do not mention your usage plans for your drives. I assume that the external drive is to be partially used for TI backups. What about drive 2? Is this available for backups also?

    If much of your data comprises videos or photographs, or audio files, etc, putting them inside a *.tib will not gain much space as they are already compressed. Seekforever stated it very well at the end of his post. Many other users copy this data to other drives and store the drives safely away.

    Here are more links to add to your information overload.

    Tatou rambling on--one large drive with many externals
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=1383642&postcount=13

    Recommend backup scheme for photos, music 32 replies--2 pages
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=164175

    When/Why do people mount
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=154735

    Clone or Restore using Resize comparison
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=1299861&postcount=9

    Xpilot backup procedure using internal disk caddies.
    Post #7
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=1414684&postcount=7

    Post #221
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=1272558&postcount=221
     
  4. MikeV99

    MikeV99 Registered Member

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    Thanks All.

    After reading, I think I will try the following approach.
    Image/differential backup of Drive 0 and 1 to Drive 2
    (I also have some dup data files copied to Drive 2).
    I will dup the backup images and select manual data files to the external drive.

    I think I will do something like diff backup at 3 AM Mon-Sat and full image on Sunday with a depth of 2 backups.

    I will then test the rescue CD to see if I can restore Drive 0 backup to an external drive (same size as drive 0). I am not sure I can boot from the external isb drive, but I will cross that pond later. I also want to see how the Dell Utility partition is going to be handled with this approach.

    Based on the many posted comments, I see no need to do a backup using the Rescue CD so long as it is able to validate the ones that are done by windows.

    I have always been a little nervous about making image backups within windows because the system has so many files locked. I guess TI gets around that with VSS. My previous approach was with an old copy of Ghost were one would boot from a CD to make image backups and to restore.

    Thanks.
     
  5. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    Restoring to the external drive will not provide a bootable drive. Do the reverse, remove your system drive form harm's way and install the blank test drive in its place.

    Then boot from the TI Rescue CD and restore one of your full disk backups archives (all partitions including the Dell within the backup).

    Since your test disk is the same size as your master system disk, you can choose the Disk option when choosing what to restore. This will restore all your original partitions in the same exact order and same size as the original.It should be successful and you now have a second disk the same as the master.

    If you were testing to a larger drive, the disk option wold not be selected but restore the partition individually. You would need to keep the same partition order as shown in the Disk Management graphical display and maintain the Dell partition as the same original size.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2009
  6. MikeV99

    MikeV99 Registered Member

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    Just for the heck of it ...

    I did a mbr, Dell partition, and System partition restore to an external USB drive using a restore CD I built. The target HD was about 10 GB larger so I increased the System partition during the restore. Everything appears to have worked correctly.

    I then rebooted and went into the Dell boot menu and selected boot from an USB device. The system started rebooting from the external USB device and got to the point that the XP Windows logo was on the screen. Unfortunately, at that point a BSOD occurred.

    I would have tested it on another internal drive, but did not have one available. Hopefully, the restore would have successfully built a drive that would boot completely.

    At least the backup worked and the restore finished, albeit the resulting restored USB drive abended upon reboot. I guess that is good news and bad news?

    Thanks

    Mike
     
  7. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    Mike:

    Windows will not boot from USB disks. You should be able to remove the disk from the external USB enclosure and swap it for your internal disk. Then you can see if it will boot correctly.
     
  8. MikeV99

    MikeV99 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the response.

    I shall give it a whirl. Periodically rebuilding the system HD will make it real easy to recover from a disaster.

    Mike
     
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