How many different versions of boot media disks do I need?

Discussion in 'Paragon Drive Backup Product Line' started by Muse2u, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. Muse2u

    Muse2u Registered Member

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    I have a three pc license of Backup & Recovery 14 Home. I have the program installed on Windows 7 Pro and Windows 8.1 Pro desktops and a Windows 7 Home Premium laptop. I want to create a PE boot media disk to perform backup & recovery. Can I create a single PE boot disk, say Win 8.1, and use it to backup and restore drives on all three PCs; or do I need to create two PE boot disks, one using the PE from a Win7 aik and another using a Win 8.1 aik, and then use the respective disk to backup and recover the corresponding os pc?
     
  2. wptski

    wptski Registered Member

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    Good question and IIRC I asked this myself but never got a reply. I noticed that one for W7 and W10TP were not the same size.
     
  3. Muse2u

    Muse2u Registered Member

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    Intuitively I would think that the objective of the program is to backup and restore the hard drive at the sector level without concern for the nature of the data. The program should have an intimate knowledge of the hardware technology, and not be concerned about whether or not it is backing up a Linux, Windows, or whatever disk. In that case what you need is a boot media disk that starts up an operating system that can run on the given pc and has the drivers to access the hard drive technology and any other unique features of that pc that you may need to use (eg. network card, video card/chip), or has the ability to add the drivers at boot media create time.

    That would suggest that the option to use a single media disk requires a choice of operating system with the appropriate drivers that will run on all your pcs and can successfully access all the PC features that are required to perform the backup & restore. That could be something as simple as a Linux boot disk or as "complicated" as a Windows 8.1 PE boot disk with hand picked drivers added at create time.

    In my case, the simplest thing would be to create a Linux boot media disk, boot it on each of the pcs and perform a backup of the the system hard drive (the one with the MBR, system reserved, and os partition; i.e. the most critical and complicated) and see if that works. Unfortunately, unless you have a spare hard drive sitting around, can do a restore and boot, you may never know if the backups were successful, but at least you know that you can access all the features of the pcs to perform a backup with a single Linux boot disk.

    (I used Paragons backup and restore suites for over two years before I had the opportunity to confirm that any of the backups I performed were indeed restorable. That's why I appreciate the comments of the members of this forum when they say "Yes, I performed a restore of a virtual-incremental-container-gobbledygook backup, and to my surprise, it worked!".)

    The most complicated thing would be to create a Windows 8.1 PE boot disk and do the same as above. The advantage being that if a particular driver is needed on any of the pcs and it is available for Win81 you can add it at boot media create time.

    Since I haven't got an intimate knowledge of how Backup & Recovery 14 works, all of my conclusions are based on intuition and common sense. Those have served me well in the past but when it comes to backing up the system drive of my pc, I get excessively paranoid.
     
  4. Muse2u

    Muse2u Registered Member

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    My apologies for going into excessive detail but I am hoping that if someone searches this forum to address a similar issue, that they may find a solution somewhere in the post. If you have the time and patience and read the whole post, the question I have today is at the end and is:

    If you have a Linux B&R14 Home recovery disk, is the "Smart Backup Wizard" on your Linux version of the disk? It is found as an option on the top left bar of the full B&R interface.

    Before committing to a 3 pc license of Backup & Recovery 14 Home, I went through several generations of Backup & Recovery 12 Free, 12 Home, 14 Compact and 14 Free. The switch from 12 to 14 came on recommendation from Paragon when I identified an issue between the desktop version of 12 and the boot version. The solution according to Paragon was to upgrade. I did and discovered that a function that I relied on in 12 has "disappeared". I can't remember what the name of the function was in 12, but in 14 it is part of the "Smart Backup Wizard". Most of Paragon B&Rs gives you the option backing up a whole drive, or a single partition, at a time. The function I needed was the ability to backup a hard drive MBR, system reserved partition, and the Windows operating system partition; to ignore a substantial data partition; and group the items backed up, into a logical group. That is what the "Smart Backup Wizard" allows you to do. And that function seemed to come and go depending what boot/desktop version I was using.

    Why is this feature important? It is a result of the hard drive data/system organization and backup scheme you adopt.

    For desktop pcs that I build for home use, I separate the system requirements from the data requirements. I buy the fastest hard drive as my system drive to hold my Windows operating system, and size it to fit the os / system files / executabels plus room for some expansion. The remainder of the drives are for storage, sized to be the biggest that my motherboard supports and partitioned into sizes that will backup to readily available external hard drives, the same size as the partition, which can be taken offsite to a safety deposit box if necessary. I use a backup and recovery program to backup the system hard drive and a synchronization program (Allways Sync) to backup the data drives.

    Why two different approaches? There is very little in the choice of how you back up the system. The backup has to represent a snapshot of the whole system at a particular point in time (even incremental backups, once the increments are applied, are a snapshot). Paragon B & R does this quite effectively. It has a very good algorithm that selects the important parts of the drive and os, and compresses it into a small package. And here is where paranoia creeps in. The information in the package is often in a proprietary format and only readily available through the program that created it. There is no guarantee that a future version of the same program can access the data in the package, or that the company that created the program will be around. So I prefer to maintain backups of the data drives/partition in a format that I can see, recognize and use Windows programs to copy, delete, view, maintain, etc. Data such as music, video, pictures doesn't compress very well anyway. Hence, I use a synchronization program to simply monitor file changes and backup the files in the same format as the original, with the option of maintaining several generations. (This approach of doing "custom" backups of data versus whole drive backups works well for me, in a home environment, but I would not recommend it in an enterprise.)

    Where am I going with this? If you want to organize data/system information into separate partitions your particular computer storage configuration may require you to share the data partition on the same drive as the system. For example, if you have limited expandability within your desktop computer and to maximize your storage capacity you buy a very large drive, allocate 1TB to the system and os, and 3TB to data, you might want to separate the backup of your system from the backup of your data. Hence the ability to use the "Smart Backup Wizard" to select the portions of the hard drive you want to backup is paramount. So when you go from one boot disk to another, and then to the desktop version of B&R, and the features comes and goes, you get kind of worried.

    The original question of the thread was how many versions of the boot disk do I need? Based on forum feedback, in a single pc environment for B&R 14, the answer is probably use the Recovery Media Builder program to create a Linux boot disk that corresponds to your OS. According to the doc, if your running a 32-bit os, the RM program defaults to creating a 32-bit Linux boot disk. If you are running a 64-bit os, the RM program is suppose to give you the choice of creating a 32-bit or 64-bit Linux boot disk. (I haven't been able to confirm the latter because the RM program will not install on my 64-bit Win7 laptop, but that's food for another post.) The other option is to use the Boot Media Builder program to create a Windows boot disk that corresponds to your OS. You need to install the Windows Automated Installation Kit (WAIK) for the OS so that the BMB has access to the PE files required to create the boot disk. (Paragon is not clear in their documentation whether or not any upgrades to the PE files have to be applied. For example, there is a Win7 SP1 WAIK supplement is available to upgrade the PE in the base WAIK. I suspect the upgrade is not necessary.) The WAIK installs both the 32-bit and 64-bit versions of PE. The BMB program determines whether you are executing a 32- or 64-bit version of Windows and picks the appropriate PE. You do not have a choice.

    In my initial post I wasn't aware of the 32-bit versus 64-bit difference being another factor in deciding whether or not a single disk can be used to backup all pcs in a multiple pc environment. My understanding is that the majority of current processors are 64-bit, regardless of the fact they are running a 32-bit version of the os. That suggests that if you create a 64-bit Win or Linux boot disk on one pc, it won't boot on an older 32-bit processor. Hinchliffe's System Information Viewer (SIV) is a free utility that can confirm the -bit operation of your processor. In my case, although only the laptop is running a 64-bit os, the desktop pcs are able to boot 64-bit versions of the B&R disks.

    In conclusion, as long as all the Backup & Recovery 14 Home programs, on all the versions of the boot disks, have the same features, I could pick any of the boot disks and accomplish backups and restores on any of my pcs. And there's the rub. To confirm that conclusion, I created a Win7 PE 32-bit, 64-bit and Linux 32-bit boot disks. The Backup & Recovery 14 Home program on the Linux boot disk appears to have a different version of the program. For one it doesn't have a "Smart Backup Wizard", which I need.

    If you have a Linux B&R14 Home recovery disk, is the "Smart Backup Wizard" on your Linux version of the disk? It is found as an option on the top left bar of the full B&R interface.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  5. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    Why, why, why the WOT?
     
  6. Muse2u

    Muse2u Registered Member

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    Valid point! I'd be inclined to WftMtCO (wait for the movie to come out)!
     
  7. tzr916

    tzr916 Registered Member

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    I'm very new here but can say that when I tried to create a boot cd in Win7 64, the process failed with error cannot copy files. I actually had to install Windows 8 ADK on the Win7 64 machine then point the boot cd creation tool to the newly created 8.1 PE directory. So it appears that the OS in use doesn't matter. Not too happy that I added 5GB worth of MS programs that I will never use, but I suppose I could uninstall it now that the boot cd is created. Probably just copy the 8.1 PE directory to a safe location.
     
  8. quietman

    quietman Registered Member

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    Thank you very much for that post !

    I ran into the exact same problem , and was wondering if I may have to do exactly what you did.
    And I also was less than delighted to have a bunch of MS programs installed for a one-time-only purpose.

    From what I've read* on here , this only seems to be an issue with W7 64-bit machines.
    Everyone else who posted appeared to have no problems , and didn't need anything extra from MS

    * see related thread :-
    AOMEI Backupper & AOMEI Partition Assistant
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
  9. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    You can do these operations in shadow mode, using Shadow Defender. After a reboot, all the traces of the WADK/WAIK software will be gone, no need to uninstall anything.

    According to my experience, you can build a WinPE 5.0/5.1 using WAIK 8.1/8.1 Update in Windows 7 x64 or Windows 8.1 and use it in other machines. If you use USB 3.0 in Windows 7, the operation can be somewhat slow due to the USB 3.0 drivers integrated in Windows 8.1.
     
  10. Muse2u

    Muse2u Registered Member

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    It appears that there is a great degree of flexibility with respect to a particular Win OS PE being used to boot up a PC running a different version of the OS. I assume that we don't see a of of formal documentation of that because of Microsoft licensing restrictions.

    As for the amount of hard drive territory occupied, the Paragon doc doesn't tell you that you don't need to install the whole WADK/WAIK. You have the option at installation to only install the PE portion which reduces the territory to 2.3 GB for Win 7 and 1.6 GB for Win 8.1.
    Interesting idea to move the PE somewhere else. I assume that the only effect will be that the Boot Media create program will not automatically find the Kit so all you have to do is manually point to it.

    The approach I have taken is to create Win PE ISO's, after which the AIK can be uninstalled. A Win 7 PE ISO is only about 200 MB while a Win 8.1 is 240 MB. If the disk is damaged, I would just burn another disk. At the beginning of the post I was under the impression that it was critical at the boot media create time, to include all the necessary drivers. But it seems from what I have seen of the booted interface, there is opportunity to install drivers temporarily after the disk has been booted. Has any one made use of that feature? Does it work? Having all the drivers in the ISO is the ideal but if the feature works you could continue to use the boot media disk even after the PC hardware has changed somewhat, without having to crank out another ISO.

    I am "glad" to hear that I'm not the only one having problems with the Win 7 64bit boot create. I thought that I was doing something fundamentally wrong. No mention of the problem on Paragon site as far as I can tell.
     
  11. david banner

    david banner Registered Member

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    Is that error 18?
     
  12. david banner

    david banner Registered Member

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    Could you recommend a linux that will boot vista 32 bit from usb? Thanks
     
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