Image vs. file-based backup

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Howard Kaikow, Jul 6, 2006.

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  1. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    Now that image bckup programs allow recovery of individual files and directories, why would someone want to use a file-based backup, which is much slower than an image based backup?
     
  2. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    I find them only to be faster if I can do incremental or differential backups with the imaging program. I have yet to find an inc/diff capable imaging program that is reliable enough on my machines.

    The two programs that are reliable on my machines are Image for Windows/DOS and Retrospect.
     
  3. furballi

    furballi Registered Member

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    I would also avoid the incremental backup option because this feature is not as reliable as a FULL partition backup.

    Drive Image 5 used to be my default imaging program. Unfortunately, this application fails to image a modern overclocked NF3/NF4 MB. Bootit NG has passed all my torture tests without a single failure. This 800KB program has no bells and whistles. IFW/IFD is another excellent application. Unfortunately, you will need to use a boot disc if restoring the image file from a primary active partition.
     
  4. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    If you wipe out the harddisk of your primary active partition with zeroes, you will need a boot disc to restore the image file anyway. Acronis True Image passed my tortured tests also.

    Like with all softwares, if your system likes your image backup software, you can use any backup software. All the rest are personal preferences.
     
  5. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    I bought IFW/IFD and BootItNG as a package but have only tried BootItNG for backup and restore one time -- found it hard to distinguish from IFW/IFD -- no surprise there. Having to use a boot CD for system parittion restore is no real inconvenience, IMO, considering how rare I would hope to HAVE to do it.

    HOWEVER, I did read your prior post(s) (in other thread(s)) about being able to restore the system partition from the BING EMBR, i.e., without a boot cd/floppy. I have my EMBR at the front of my drive and am not sure that makes any difference versus your recommendation to have it at the end of the drive. Anyways, you've got me thinking and curious to do a little more testing of BING image/restore versus IFW/IFD.

    Sorry, Howard, I know that was a bit OT.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2006
  6. NGRhodes

    NGRhodes Registered Member

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    When the computers run totally different Filesystems ?
    Highey Frequent backups ?
    When data changes a LOT ?
    When you don't need to back up your entire hdd ?

    We use imaging at work for the OS + program install, I then backup (file based)(only other option is manually) my files to network drives which are in turn imaged.
     
  7. furballi

    furballi Registered Member

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    There are many advantages in giving Bootit NG its own primary FAT16 (8MB size) at the end of the HDD.

    1. You can still use Bootit NG if you've wiped the Primary Active C partition containing Windows. The Bootit NG splash screen will appear during reboot allowing the user to format the unused space and restore a good image file of windows to this partition. Remember that Bootit can also be used as a Boot loader and a non-destructive partitioning program.

    2. You don't need to use the boot disc to restore ANY partition on your PC. The only exception is when you've deleted the Bootit primary FAT16 partition at the end of the HDD. The best method of imaging a primary active partition is to image this partition when it is NOT IN USE.

    3. You can quickly backup/restore the MBR from the Bootit screen. This is a very valuable tool when the PC's MBR has been altered, preventing windows from loading.

    4. The delay in PC boot time is one to three seconds with Bootit NG. The Bootit splash screen that appear during PC boot is adjustable from one second to XX seconds. I use the one second delay. Set for a 3 seconds delay if you don't want to tap on the arrow down key to pause the splash screen.

    The majority of data corruption occurs in the WINDOWS partition. I delete the DLL CACHE folder and move the pagefile, i386, MY DOCUMENT, and X:\Documents and Settings\USERNAME\Application Data folders to another partition. The OS partition is around 900MB. 40 seconds to image/restore this partition.
     
  8. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    Nothing new for me there, furballi, but I WOULD like to know why you specify the END of the HDD. I've done all of the above with my EMBR at the FRONT of the HDD.
     
  9. furballi

    furballi Registered Member

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    You can create the Bootit NG primary partition at the beginning of the drive. Placing the Bootit primary partition at the end of the HDD eliminates the chance of altering a partition drive letter. Also, the innermost surface of a drive's disc platter is rarely used by windows.

    By default, the Bootit NG files will load in the Primary Active C partition along with Windows. If this partition is damaged, then you will need a boot disc to run Bootit NG.
     
  10. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    Odd that Terabyte would have it default to that. Doesn't make sense...

    Anyways, Howard, to get back OT, the reason the incremental backups I referred to in my first post are important is that I'm backing up 6 machines more or less nightly and, to have the margin of comfort I want, I have found that the incrementals with the snapshots that Retrospect does are quite reliable and I can keep nightly backups readily accessible for upwards of 60 days and more (with decreasing frequency back through time, combined with grooming the backup sets) on all six of those machines with my 750 MB external storage I have.

    Those reasons of mine for using a file based backup program are not, I realize, very technical. Retrospect just happens to be a program that fits the bill for the combination of backup frequency and reliability with limited storage that I'm currently comfortable with.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2006
  11. furballi

    furballi Registered Member

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    The default configuration (AUTO) is best for the average user because it does not require the creation of ANOTHER primary partition to house Bootit NG. All the partition drive letters remain unchanged. Adding another primary partition to house Bootit will require the resizing of a partition to create FREE SPACE.

    For most PCs, it is much faster to create 8MB of free space at the END of the HDD because all the data are located at the beginning of the HDD. The reduced angular velocity of the inner disc platter is irrelevant because the Bootit program is under 800KB (less than one second to load the program).

    Search for BOOTITNG in your HDD. It's probably located in the C PRIMARY ACTIVE PARTITION if you used Bootit's recommended installation protocol.
     
  12. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    No, furballi, no need for that. Although I said my BING EMBR is at the front of my drive, it would have been more complete and correct for me to say that I purposely created a hole for and placed a BING partition at the front of my drive. It may be in an average user's Windows partition, but it ain't on mine.

    No concerns about speed on my part as that's inconsequential. I could have sworn that Terabyte recommended, however, that it be installed at the physical front of the drive in it's own partition.
     
  13. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    Any image based backup will be much faster than a file based backup for a FULL backup.

    THe incremental backups in TRue Image seem to work, and you can vrify this by using the programs at http://www.standards.com/index.html?CompareDrives

    and http://www.standards.com/index.html?GetFileTypeDistribution.
     
  14. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    Isn't Drive Image the predecesor of Ghost?

    If so, it was my understanding that Ghost did not have a "viable" incremental backup until Ghost 10, but see http://forums.hardwareguys.com/ikonboard.cgi?s=4492619c5fa1ffff;act=ST;f=13;t=4573.

    Any image based backup will be much faster than a file based backup for a FULL backup.

    THe incremental backups in TRue Image seem to work, and you can vrify this by using the programs at http://www.standards.com/index.html?CompareDrives

    and http://www.standards.com/index.html?GetFileTypeDistribution.
     
  15. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    What! Off-topic, would I ever do that?

    AFAIK, IFW/IWD are both good programs, but I have not used them because they do not yet allow for the mounting of volumes in an image.
     
  16. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    I don't understand.

    Image backup is far superior in all the cases cited supra.
     
  17. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    I used Retrospect until Feb 2006.

    For very small incremental backups, it can be faster than an incremental image backup, but, in recent releases, TI has somehow significantly reduced the time taken by an incremental backup. And you know how difficult for me it is to say anything positive abot tI. Ouch that hurt!
     
  18. bktII

    bktII Registered Member

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    I image my windows and linux partitions with IFW/IFD on a frequency of every 1 to 4 weeks, averaging about 3 weeks. I do this to avoid a total reinstall of Windows AND Linux (I dual-boot) from scratch as, in addition to the operating systems, I have MANY applications and the usual assortment of drivers. I also use a dial-up modum so downloading applications is quite time-consuming. Imaging all my partitions/volumes takes about 40-45 minutes for both OSs.

    When I am programming and/or or doing data analysis at home, I use a backup utility, Snap Backup, to backup important directories/files in between images. This takes no more than a small handfull (read less than five) of minutes. I do backups daily or every other day.

    I see no need to spend 40-45 minutes imaging my partitions/volumes every day. In fact, this would be a waste of time <FOR ME. I am not trying to judge anyone elses use of their own time.>.

    bktII
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2006
  19. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    I run the backups when I am sleeping. out running errands, preparing/eating a meal, watching TV (or oterwise wasting my time), etc. In no way interferes with my using the computer.
     
  20. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    Understood. I'm sure ATI performs better all around when it works on one's system. Unfortunately, I have been on the outs with ATI for almost a year now because I got really antsy about one build working flawlessly on my machine and then the next one not. Even if I had fallen back to a build of ATI that worked OK, I just had problems remaining confident in it.

    I honestly don't know how ATI will do on my system now, because I just haven't had time to retest it in a structured thorough way (Erik Albert, do you do consulting work ? I'll be in Belgium the second week of August !;) ).

    I think, actually, the way the add on network client licenses are priced for Retrospect, I may have outfitted my 6 machines with automated backup for less than all the licenses of ATI would have cost.

    Anyways, that nightly backup is important for my household. When I'm on the road with my laptop, I image with IFW/IFD about once, maybe twice a week. But with 4 desktops in the house and 5 kids using them and my wife still on the learning curve to use her new laptop, you can bet I'll do it nightly whether it's overkill or not.
     
  21. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    File based backups are too slow and some may have the problems I raised in http://www.standards.com/index.html?CreatefileFailure

    I have not done a full file-based backup in over 3 years. When I first got TI, I guess it was build 2337, I had far less files than now. As I recall, a full file-based backup with TI took about the same amount of time as with Retrospect 6.5, but Retrospect actually compares file content in the verify phase, I do not recall what TI does with a file-based backup in the verify.

    On my system, I expect that such a backup, including verify, would now take 24+ hours. And, in the case of TI, unless they fixed the problem I just mentioned, I know that it would not back up certain files

    Also, to play safe, I use Ghost 10 as well, and eye am investigating yet another program.
     
  22. bktII

    bktII Registered Member

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    This is when, using my dial-up modem, I download and install Linux patches on my two PCs. Last night, I downloaded 121 MBs including a Linux kernel upgrade in response to a security vulnerability.

    I consider being up to date on OS and application patches to be MUCH more important than daily partition images. In fact, this is one of the strongest recommendations made by OS vendors and security web sites. This is a security web site isn't it?
     
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