Imaging Differences between Backup by Files and Backup by Storage Structure

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by andylau, Dec 7, 2012.

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  1. andylau

    andylau Registered Member

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    1.Backup all sectors
    Back up all the sectors of the source partition (or volume) to the image file from beginning to the end without judging whether the partition has valid data. It'll back up valid data as well as many useless data, which fits some specific conditions. The speed is slow, for it backs up too many data. And it can only recover data to the source partition or a partition with the same size as the source one.

    2.Backup by storage structure
    Back up valid data of the source partition by file system structure to the image file without any change. It only backs up valid sectors. This way is the quickest. But when recovering data, as the first mode, this mode also requires that target partition and source partition are of the same size(not less than the size of storage structure).

    3.Backup by file
    Back up all the files and other valid data of the source partition to the image file by packaging them one by one. This mode doesn't back up invalid data either, so it's very quick. When recovering data, It can recover back-up data to the partition (or volume) whose size can be different from the original one but shouldn't be smaller than the total used size of source partition. This mode is very flexible. When you recover files, their storage location will be reordered. In general, the newly recovered partition won't have file fragments.


    Hopes this can help you to choose the most suitable imaging software for you.:D

    There are some imaging software that I know,
    -IFW is Backup by storage structure
    -Symantec Ghost is Backup by file
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  2. sm1

    sm1 Registered Member

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    Re: Imaging Differerces between Backup by Files and Backup by Storage Structure

    Thanks:)

    Can you please clarify this?

    If I have taken a backup of only the system partition using backup by file method can I use it to restore it in a new unformatted hard drive? Or do I need to first create partitions in the new hard drive? Do I also need to restore mbr from the backup? Will the restored partition be automatically bootable?
     
  3. andylau

    andylau Registered Member

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    Re: Imaging Differerces between Backup by Files and Backup by Storage Structure

    I use Symantec Ghost(comes from Symantec Ghost Solution Suite) as an example,

    Yes

    No

    As for Symantec Ghost, it will restore the MBR and set the restored partition as active automatically.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
  4. sm1

    sm1 Registered Member

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    Re: Imaging Differerces between Backup by Files and Backup by Storage Structure

    Thanks:)
     
  5. andylau

    andylau Registered Member

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    Re: Imaging Differerces between Backup by Files and Backup by Storage Structure

    If you have another imaging software that not sure theri backup method, you can tell me.:D

    I am quite disappointed that IFW is Backup by storage structure:oops:
     
  6. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    That's not quite true. The DOS Ghosts (Ghost 2003, GSS) use file based imaging. All of the hot imaging Ghosts use sector based imaging. When you have optimized the file placement on your drive, why would you want non sector based imaging to mess it up?
     
  7. andylau

    andylau Registered Member

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    Are you sure Ghost 11.5(Symantec Ghost Solution Suite) is also sector based imaging when doing hot imaging?

    People who want file based imaging because they want to restore backup file to different size of partition easier.
    I think people are not always defrag their drive or do not have a real-time defragger.
    File based imaging is more flexible which is mentioned in "3.Backup by file".

    Also, there are not all people do hot imaging, Ghost is just an example, I have not used Ghost to do hot imaging. And I think not many people use Ghost to do hot imaging.

    Microsoft Imagex is a file based imaging too.
     
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2012
  8. sm1

    sm1 Registered Member

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    Re: Imaging Differerces between Backup by Files and Backup by Storage Structure

    I use clonezilla which is included with parted magic:) . I have upgraded my system from vista to windows 8. For some reason if I give fixmbr command from windows 8 boot disk gparted tells me that my disc has gpt structures and clonezilla will not backup mbr. I am looking at drive image xml as I have seen a nice tutorial about it in bleepingcomputer.com:)

    I have read If I restore mbr of a small hard disk to a larger one the usable space will be reduced to old hard disk. Is that true?
     
  9. andylau

    andylau Registered Member

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    Re: Imaging Differerces between Backup by Files and Backup by Storage Structure

    In my memory, it will not happen on Ghost.
     
  10. pinso

    pinso Registered Member

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    So does anyone know what kind of backup methos does Paragon Backup and Recovery 12 compact does, this version was given as a giveaway and its pretty solid. imo then previous releases.

    Also i just want to stray a little from the topic and mention about Clonning , is it also file based. Since it make the exact copies of occupied sector and Clonning term is little hazy to me, can someone elaborate is in a clean and hypothetical easy term.
     
  11. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    All Paragon programs that I have used can create sector-base images or file-based images. If you are backing up a "system" partition, always use sector-based imaging. If the partition is "special" or has a non-standard file system, use the "partition raw processing" option.
     
  12. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    To clarify:

    In the Paragon programs that I use, you choose what type of backup you want to do: Disks or partitions. E-mail, Media files, Documents, Other files and folders. The program selects the backup type according to this choice. If you choose "Disks or partitions", sector-based backup is used.
     
  13. andylau

    andylau Registered Member

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    But Paragon can restore to a smaller partition
    I have made a test that IFW says partition needs 3GB space to restore
    But I created a 1GB VHD partiton, Paragon can restore into it.:argh:(IFW couldn't)
    Maybe Paragon restores to a smaller partition have different method
     
  14. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I don't regard restoring an image into a smaller partition as difficult at all. It's something that is not commonly done as mainly you restore to the same partition.

    http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=554

    In IFW you can select partition Information and you will see the sector spread which tells whether Compaction or Resizing is needed.

    [--****-*------------] will restore into
    [---------] without needing Compaction or Resizing.
     
  15. andylau

    andylau Registered Member

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    Nowadys, many people restore their images to SSD.
    As for files based imaging, it is very easy to restore to a smaller partition, like Ghost and Microsoft Imagex. They need not to do compaction or resizing. If target partition has enough space, it can simply restore into a smaller partition.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2012
  16. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    But Ghost 11.5 is prohibitively expensive and ImageX isn't user friendly and has limited functions compared with current imaging apps.

    Many people cloning to a SSD will need their hand held anyway. One of the SSD companies supplies Ghost 15 in the purchase but not good directions about its use. We have to accept most imaging apps used will now be sector based apps.
     
  17. andylau

    andylau Registered Member

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    I know Ghost 11.5 is expensive, but its just an example. There are some free of charge, and some of them not expensive like Acronis(some HDD vendros provide free OEM version) and Active Disk Image.
    ImageX's command line is easy to use. There are some GUI for Imagex like Gimagex, you can use it for backup. Also you can use WinNTSetup for restoring.
    Symantec Ghost 11.5 and Norton Ghost 15 are not the same thing. You can see them as two different products.

    There are some imaging apps that I know can restore to smaller partition as below :
    -ImageX (free)
    -Ghost
    -HDClone
    -Active Disk Image
    -Acronis (some HDD vendros provide free OEM version)
    -Paragon(it has a free version)

    The last four seem sector based. But they can restore to smaller partition, that means there are some methods to restore sectors not in source partition's sector spread.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  18. pinso

    pinso Registered Member

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    hhmmm... Imagex from MS, i checked and found it required a steep learning curve and although i have WAIK for Vista and Win7 i am guessing the tiny imagex.exe is same in each WAIK flavour, and following the command line was daunting affair.

    I would like know this much instead of going further and deciding if its worth my time and effort to learn and know something new.
    Does Imagex.exe restore the image (file based imaging ) to a blank partition. Seeing its file based i came to know it was meant to be deployed in manufacturing or IT environment. Why does everything about WINPE is a pain to me.
    If it can be restored to a blank destination partition being the destination and the source partition to be the same and all is it possible. o_O:ninja:
     
  19. Jim1cor13

    Jim1cor13 Registered Member

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    Hi pinso :)

    Perhaps this older article may be of some help to you in regards to deploying imagex wim images. I have never used imagex, but this article appears to have some useful details.

    http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd744531(v=ws.10).aspx

    Have a good day :)

    Jim
     
  20. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    From what I've seen in forums, the main issue in cloning to a SSD is people don't understand how to deal with the hidden partitions on the old drive. They need help with several steps and not just the smaller partition on the SSD.
     
  21. Jim1cor13

    Jim1cor13 Registered Member

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    Hi Brian :)

    Is it because the hidden part's are not being seen by the utilities they are using? I guess I assumed it was a matter of either copying the entire drive or imaging an entire disk image to the SSD, but it doesn't sound as if it is that easy. Should not something like IFL/IFW, etc., see and copy all parts over?

    Or is it more often an issue of trying to clone a generally larger HDD to a smaller overall SSD? Should it be done part by part and not entire disk? I would think Compacting within IFL, etc., would assist in restoring to smaller drive as you have mentioned, but sometimes it does sound like quite a challenge. Have you had issues in transferring your system to SSD?

    Thank you for your help! :)

    Jim
     
  22. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Jim,

    I've had no issues with SSDs. I copied 10 OS onto my first SSD and it was only 120 GB. I used IFL.

    People have problems as they look at their partitions in Windows Explorer rather than in Disk Management and miss they have hidden partitions. Cloning is no longer a simple procedure for beginners.

    Each partition layout needs a unique approach but in general, copy/restore one partition at a time.

    Edit.... The imaging apps do not necessarily show the hidden partitions. For example, in Ghost 15 you must select Show Hidden Drives. Many beginners ignore this option.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
  23. Jim1cor13

    Jim1cor13 Registered Member

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    Thank you Brian. So due to the overall drive size (SSD smaller) than the drive that is being copied over, one partition at a time must be copied/cloned and if using IFL, did you use the Compact feature to resize before cloning? i can see how some apps would not see the hidden parts.

    So in the case of one cloning/restoring a drive image to the same or larger disk, not an SSD, it is simply one action, cloning or restoring an entire disk image, or several actions if cloning individual partitions of course. But in the case of SSD, it must be one at a time which makes sense due to the size difference. Am I understanding this correctly?

    In other words, if one bought an SSD of the same or larger size, it would be no different than restoring to a new regular HDD, but because SSD is usually smaller, it takes one step at a time to get the data to restore after resizing.

    I would think it would be easiest to maybe perform all the resizing or compacting on the old HDD parttition(s), to reach the size of the new SSD, then one could perform the copy/restore to the new SSD?

    Appreciate your help and your time Brian. Have a nice evening. :)

    Jim
     
  24. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Jim,

    I resized the source partitions and didn't Compact.

    Whenever I upgrade to a new HD or SSD I usually want partitions different from the source so I copy/restore partitions individually. Apart from tests, I don't copy the entire drive in a single step. Even if the SSD was larger than the HD I'd still use the same method. Individual steps.
     
  25. andylau

    andylau Registered Member

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    If your HDD/SSD is partitioned before you install your OS, there will not have a hidden partition.
    Or if you use WIM installers like WinNTSetup to install your OS in WinPE, no hidden partition will occur.
    And I remember you have posted a link that talking "How to Remove the Windows 7 System Reserved Partition"
    http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=409

    I know there are some sector based imaging softwares that can restore smaller partition without using compaction or resizing partition.
    I think they are rearranged sectors to fit the free space of partition.
    But the fact is that, IFW is unable to do so.

    Now, there is a feature called "Migrate OS to SSD/HDD", but I am not sure if it can also deal with the hidden partition or not.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2012
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