Disaster Recovery Solution for home PC users

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by starkom, Aug 13, 2007.

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  1. starkom

    starkom Registered Member

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    HI!!! I'm an OEM system builder and consultant for home PC users (work at home professionals with no technical knowledge but have critical applications and data on their systems) and have a set of regular customers who have had several 'disasters' where either Windows has crashed or the hard drive has crashed and I want to develop an easy to setup and maintain a backup/restore system for them so they can get up and running quickly after a crash.

    Here's what I've developed so far:

    Equipment needed:
    -External hard drive enclosure (USB) with an exact hard drive that is in desktop or laptop
    (can be larger capacity but must be at least the same)

    -Acronis True Image software


    Strategy:

    -Install Acronis True Image on to desktop/laptop
    -Connect the enclosure with the hard drive to desktop/laptop
    -Run 'Clone' to external drive
    -Periodically run 'Differential' backup against the clone
    -Burn the differential onto CD/DVD until it is too big for the CD/DVD
    -Run new clone to the external drive
    -Begin 'differentials' again

    If there is a hard disk crash, replace the crashed hard drive with the clone in the external drive
    then restore the differential to that drive, then.
    get a replacement hard drive for the external and start the process again:
    (Run Clone to the external drive,etc.)

    Will this work??
    (I'm open to all suggestions/ alternatives) :)

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    I may be wrong, but you cannot combine a Clone with a Differential. It has to be a Backup Image with a Differential.

    Whichever strategy you use, do not depend on a successful validation of a backup image and assume that if you have to restore the backup that it will be successful. Do an actual restore - to a spare drive, even in a laptop situation. So you will have to convince your clients to spring for a spare drive, whether desktop or laptop.
     
  3. starkom

    starkom Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply!!

    Part of the solution is for the customer to buy the external drive, and Acronis True Image, so that if the internal drive crashes, they (I) can swap the crashed drive with the external and their back in business with their OS, drivers, installed apps, configurations, printer settings, network settings etc.

    What I'm trying to figure out is how to close the gap if the clone is weeks old. How do I do a differential of a clone??
     
  4. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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  5. starkom

    starkom Registered Member

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    This pretty close to what I am proposing. After I clone the main drive to the external, I would swap the drives and boot from the clone drive to validate the clone. I'm still trying to figure out how to get the clone up to date without cloning every day.

    How about after cloning, do a full backup on the original drive then do incrementals of that to every day to capture changes like Windows updates, new software installs, emails, pictures, music etc.

    I know that an incremental may not restore to the clone, but you could open up the incremental and pull out your data (Emails [Outlook], pictures, music etc.)
     
  6. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    Take a look at Karen's Replicator: It will copy whatever whenever to wherever.
    http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptreplicator.asp


    Copying the original data (whole drive or individual files/folders) to an identical drive would be no problem.
    You could even set it up so you have multiple copies of the daily data so I one set was bad (virus, etc), you will have your previous days copies, etc.
     
  7. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    For the sake of keeping up to date, I would have them make a clone at the end of every day's use then use that clone for the next day. For peace of mind, it is worth it to spend the 20 or so minutes making a clone at the end of every day. And in reality, they do not have to sit there while the cloning is being carried out. Set it going, leave and do whatever, come back when it is done.
     
  8. starkom

    starkom Registered Member

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    This looks interesting - I'll check it out - Thanks!!!
     
  9. starkom

    starkom Registered Member

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    I thought of this method but I'm not sure that 20 minutes will be all it takes - here's why:

    I have a Windows 2000 server on an AMD 800 MHZ tower with 784 MB RAM on a 20 GB drive. I cloned it to a 40 GB drive and it took 30 minutes. My customers drives are in the range of 80-300 GB on P4 1.7-3.4 GHZ towers with a range of 256-512 MB DDR/DDR2 RAM. If the 300 GB takes 5 hrs (??) to clone, not sure if the customer is willing to do it every night. If because their towers are faster than mine, it would clone faster, that might work - even if they clone several times a week instead of every day.
     
  10. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    I would forget the clone. That uses one drive for one backup that cannot be updated without running the entire clone process. Since most PCs never need a new hard drive before they are replaced, it's an unneeded expense for your clients.

    Use the external drive for backup images and incrementals or differentials. These can be scheduled automatically as long as the external drive is connected and powered up.

    Since the external drive never gets put into the work PC, it doesn't have to be a 2.5 inch drive for notebooks and a 3.5 inch drive for desktops and different capacity for different machines. Pick a USB drive you like and make that your standard for holding images and incrementals/differentials. One large USB drive can hold backups for more than one computer in different folders to reduce the cost to the client.

    Confirm that you can boot each computer in Full mode from a TI Recovery CD and see all the drives. Validate an image on the USB drive. You can't get any surer of a successful restore without actually doing one. If you have any doubts (perhaps justifiable for notebooks) do an actual restore for proof.

    Leave instructions for how to restore an image using the Recovery CD with each client. Most times, the internal drive hasn't failed, so it's just a software restore that's needed.

    If the drive fails, they will want you to replace the drive. Keep a spare 3.5 inch and 2.5 inch drive on hand for when you need one. Restore the image to the new drive, and the client will be happy.

    I've never had a client want to replace a hard drive yet. Well, one or two might have wanted to do it to avoid paying me, but that would have been a disaster for them.:) Do you think that a WD drive in a USB case jumpered Master only would get switched to Master with Slave before installing in a desktop with a second hard drive? What about the screws dropped into the case and left there when the power is turned on? Hey, most clients can't even figure out how to open the case of their computer without a hacksaw.:)
     
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