Do any of you "clone" as opposed to using Smart Backup?

Discussion in 'Paragon Drive Backup Product Line' started by ratchet, Jun 8, 2013.

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  1. ratchet

    ratchet Registered Member

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    If so, how long does it take? I use Smart Backup (B&R 12) weekly. SSD C to a 60gb SSD. Takes around four minutes. Restores take about five minutes. Cloning would be obsessive as I also keep a weekly W7 Backup utility on another drive. In fact, Paragon failed once but the W7 backup didn't. I didn't try the other Paragon image (I keep two) nor did I try use the same archive again. Sorry, I digress! Anyway, what are your thoughts on cloning? Thank you!
     
  2. wptski

    wptski Registered Member

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    By clone, you mean a raw copy? That would take a long time.

    I use keep a Paragon images and a W7 image as well. One time the Paragon failed so I tried the W7 image and it failed also. Funny thing is that I had restored before using the same Paragon image. I keep about a half dozen Paragon images so I tried an earlier one that worked.

    I keep about a half dozen Paragon images but stopped saving a W7 image when I had that problem over two years ago. I've only had to restore once about six months ago when I got some nasty malware and Paragon image worked just fine.
     
  3. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    My comments are somewhat based on my experience with Acronis and the use of their term "clone". Clone means different things to different people and to different backup programs. Quite often you will hear of what is an image archive referred to as a clone.

    Generally, a clone is an identical copy of something but in the disk backup business "identical" is often not the case; usually it means that the "identical" item will function the same as the source but if you compare it carefully it is not identical usually because the data may not reside in the same sector address as in the source.

    So in my definition a drive that is a clone looks like the original drive and I believe Paragon refers to this operation as Copying but resizing and exclusions can be done in the process as well as using a RAW copy which would take extra time as pointed out.

    Given that, it means the target drive will look like the original drive and this is great for migrating to a new drive. For backup purposes it isn't so great because it means you have 1 copy of your source drive on the clone drive. Normally, you can have several copies of images on the backup drive depending on its size.

    The copy process and the imaging (made by the Smart Wizard) essentially are doing the same R/W stuff so I see no inherent benefit for reliability and a big downside on only having one copy if that is what Paragon allows in the Copy.

    So why do backups fail?

    First reason is that for some reason it wasn't written or stored correctly. Programs like Paragon and others use a system of included checksums to ensure the data is being read from the archive properly. The archive is read into RAM and the checksum included in the archive is compared to the one calculated based on the RAM data. If they differ the archive is declared bad. Reasons for this can be bad RAM (typical PCs have no check on data to/from RAM), bad data coming off the disk and into RAM in other words the whole chain not just what the disk controller presents.

    I had a failure with Acronis which was due to a flakey SATA cable which was picked up with their archive verify command. Looking in the Windows Event Viewer showed some previous problems with Windows and the error said "change the cable" to correct!

    Another cause can be a sector going bad on the archive drive. I had this problem on one backup drive. The archive was known to be good after creation but failed when I went to use it. Diagnostics showed bad sectors on the disk and I had to go back about 3 or 4 previously verified archives before I found one that would work. In this case, a single clone as a backup would have been disaster.

    Note that if you have an internal backup mechanical drive, it may be getting defragged automatically. Defraggng a drive that has huge images on it that are unlikely to ever get accessed is nothing but a time-waster and an increased hazard. Even if the image is fragmented what is a few extra seconds to a process that is measured in minutes or longer.

    Images should be verified after writing to ensure that they are indeed readable at least when created. IMO, this is where Paragon falls down since it has no automatic way of verifying an image within the backup process unless you are using its arcane scripting language. You have to do it manually after creation and yes, it does take some extra time.

    Perhaps one of the safest ways of determining if a archive is good was done by a person frequenting the Acronis forum. He would image to an internal drive then immediately restore the image to another drive (he used caddies for his drives). The freshly restored drive was then used as the operating drive until the next imaging cycle when the next image would be restored to a second drive which was placed in operation. He knew immediately if he could restore his archive and it would indeed boot and run.


    I image my C drive (OS and apps only, no important data files) to a second internal drive. I occasionally copy selected archives to an external drive or make an image to the external drive. I also use more than one external which I rotate. This gives me copies of images and also a history of images.
     
  4. ratchet

    ratchet Registered Member

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    Thank you for both replies! I might add, if I recall correctly, the failed recovery was after I removed some orphan drivers I removed months ago. I've had a couple of successful recoveries since using Paragon so I don't have any qualms using it!
     
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