Imaging Plan Recommendations Sought

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by TryBackup, Aug 17, 2006.

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  1. TryBackup

    TryBackup Registered Member

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    This my first post to this board, but I have been reading posts for a couple of weeks. I have been every impressed with the high level of knowledge the posters have. I am very much a novice, but have been picking up alot from these boards. Hopefully not just enough to be dangerous.

    We have a two-computer home 10 Mbps ethernet network and are just now getting ready to do our first imaging. I read a post yesterday that makes me feel that my intended imaging routine is flawed. Because of this, I thought I would post my imaging plan for your comments.

    Once all the new hard drives are installed, the host PC will have a 160GB Seagate internal hard drive and a 250GB Western Digital My Book USB/Firewire 400 external hard drive. The host PC also has a DVD +-RW drive. The second PC will have an 80GB Samsung (Dell OEM) internal hard drive and a CD +-RW/DVD drive.

    My intention is to do a full image of the host 160GB internal hard drive to the firewire-attached 250GB external hard drive. I also will do a full image of the 2nd PC’s internal hard drive through the Ethernet network to the same 250GB external hard drive. To avoid possible conflicts during imaging, as stated I will be connecting the external drive to the host’s firewire port instead of a USB port. I am imaging the 2nd PC through the network because the 2nd PC does not have a firewire port.

    For additional protection I will burn a copy of the images from the 250GB external drive to DVD+R disks. To gain assurance that I have good images, I will restore the 160GB image from the DVDs to an extra 80GB Samsung internal hard drive that I have, remove the 160GB drive from the host and install the extra 80GB drive in the host, and try to boot the restore from the extra hard drive. The 160GB drive will never have more than 20GB of data on it so the 160GB drive image will easily fit on the 80GB extra drive (am I right in believing that this will work?). Then I will put the extra drive into the 2nd PC and restore the 2nd PC’s image from DVD to the extra 80GB drive that is now in the 2nd PC and try to boot the 2nd PC.

    Does all of this sound like it will work?

    I am also interested in hearing your comments regarding a couple of my concerns. I am most concerned about the ability to image (and to restore an image) through an 10 Mbps Ethernet network to (from) a firewire-port-connected external hard drive. I am also concerned about being able to restore the 160GB drive’s 15GB image onto the extra 80GB internal drive (to test the image). I had read that the hard drive accepting the restore must be the same size or larger than the hard drive being imaged. As I said, the 160GB hard drive will not have alot data (maybe never more than 20GB during the life of the drive). This will fit on the 80GB extra drive, am I missing something?

    I look forward to reading any comments you may have regarding my imaging plan. Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Bethrezen

    Bethrezen Registered Member

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    hi

    here is what I do when creating a back up image of my hd

    this is a parity robust sequence that has never failed me and has always allowed me to creates failure proof backups so following this should get you well on your way

    first I back up any important files to an alternative location I then wipe the hard drive that is to be backed up I then do a fresh install of the OS and all its drivers I then install all my security apps and make sure everything is updated

    once installation and update is complete I then verify that my system is clean and that nothing has sneaked on during the restore process by running scan with my various scanning software AV AT AS

    I then make a work in progress back up just in case anything goes wrong during the next phase of the restore process tweaking once tweaking is complete I them make my final back up and burn it to cd

    I then boot up true image from its boot disk and test the image to ensure that it has been created correctly and is not corrupted and that's it done

    now obviously this is only for one system but this process can be applied to any number of systems

    one thing you need to keep in mind with creating back up images though is that a backups made on one computer wont work on another due to each computer having different hardware so my recommendation would to make an individual restore image for each different computer that you intend to create a backup for rather than trying to make a universal image

    though I think Acronis do provide for making universal images http://www.acronis.com/enterprise/products/ATIESWin/universal-restore.html though you need a licence for this

    hope this helps
     
  3. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Hi TryBackup,

    As long as the source data is smaller than the target drive there is no problem restoring to a smaller drive as you propose.
    I have only ever used USB external drives and have never had any conflicts even with two connected at the same time plus five other USB devices. I do not have firewire. I have no experience of the WD My Book.
    I suppose it all depends on how often you will update your backups and how long you are prepared to spend doing it. You could speed up your process a lot by installing a slave drive in one or both of your computers and using them as your primary backup location. The WD drive could then be used as a second line of defence. The stack of DVDs could go next to the TV where they belong [​IMG].
    10 Mbps sounds a bit tedious for transferring data. I have never tried it though my LAN says it is capable of 100 Mbps. I would be tempted to take the My Book to each computer in turn when required.

    My own backup solution is probably considered as being a bit off the wall. I use an internal drive for images of the main drive. Using exchangable drawers and a rack fitting I swap main hard drives and restore to the replacement. Thus I have a series of images going back in time and two identical main drives. One in the computer and the other ready to go if needed. This one will be refreshed at the next swap over and so on.
     
  4. TryBackup

    TryBackup Registered Member

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    Bethrezen,

    Thank you for your suggestions. Your method of backup/restore certainly is the best way to keep any system clean (gets rid of all the garbage that accumulates on a PC over time). How often do you perform this process?
     
  5. TryBackup

    TryBackup Registered Member

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    Xpilot,

    It is great to hear that the size of the source data is the determining factor when restoing to a drive. Since my uncompressed source data currently is only 12GB, I will be able to test-restore it to my extra 80GB drive.

    Based on your and a number of other poster's positive experiences with USB port connected external drives, I will take your suggestion to simply connect each PC to the external drive directly (avoiding doing a backup through my 10Mbps ethernet network).

    I always planned on keeping a secondary image backup on DVD, but now it seems that I will be required to. I did my first backup yesterday and found that the bootable TI Rescue Disk in Full Version mode did not "see" my WD My Book external drive. I found a posting on this forum that shows others with WD My Book's are having the same problem. Others and I have been able to create images while in Windows, but not while booted through the TI boot disk. I assume this means that if my primary hard drive becomes corrupt, since the TI boot DVD will not see the external drive, that I will need to restore my image via back up DVDs. Please let me know if I am wrong.

    Thank you for sharing your imaging strategy. I guess if I were to use removable internal drives to house images, I would be able to avoid the external drive conflict.
     
  6. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    I do not know why there is a problem with WD Mybook when you boot from the recovery CD. As this is not a one off Acronis support and or WD should get on the case.
    My random thoughts on the problem are that the Mybook has quite a large cache which could be having an adverse effect though it should not. The cache can be disabled from the drive properties in Windows. It is something like enable quick removal. If any backup software that came with the drive has been installed you could try to disable or uninstall it.
    A work around that should definitely work would be to create and use a Bart PE with TI plugin CD instead of the Acronis rescue CD.
     
  7. TryBackup

    TryBackup Registered Member

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    Xpilot,

    I tried something today that did get the WD My Book external drive recognized, although what I tried would not be reality for me if my hard drive became corupt.

    I started windows normally and attached the My Book drive as instructed (waiting for windows to fully load, then waiting for the drive to fully spin up before attaching the USB cable to the computer USB port). The PC then recognizes the My Book as usual when I start the PC normally. Then I turned off the PC, as usual the My Book turned off as well. Then I booted from the TI rescue DVD. This time the WD My Book was recognized by the TI rescue disk while in the full version. I haven't yet done a second image (this one will be through the TI Rescue DVD to see if it works).

    The differences between yesterday and today are that yesterday I had not yet backed up to the My Book. I did the image through TI after starting my PC normally and starting TI through Windows (I did not use the TI Rescue DVD). The meaning of this is that there was no TI image on the My Book yesterday. Maybe the image being on the My Book today helped TI recognize that external drive. The other thing that was different was that yesterday I did not have the My Book attached to the PC when I shut down the PC. I usually "Safely Remove" the My Book before each disconnect. Maybe the TI Rescue DVD was able to see the My Book because I left the My Book attached when I shutdown the PC.

    I will try to do more experimenting. I am hoping to disconnect the My Book from the PC after each full backup so that it is not attached should my whole PC get "zapped" by something. If the TI Rescue Disk will only recognize the WD My Book if it was attached just prior to the last shutdown, having the My Book after a disaster will do me little good.
     
  8. TryBackup

    TryBackup Registered Member

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    Xpilot,

    For the rest of 8/21/06, I did more testing to see if I could get the WD My Book recognized by the PC when booting with the TI Rescue Disk. I needed assurance that the boot disk would recognize the My Book after sitting on a shelf for a couple of months not connected to the PC at the time my PC become corrupted. I found a method that I describe in detail in a separate thread for the benefit of any owners of TI who also become owners of a WD My Book external drive.

    I know you do not have a My Book, but I wanted to share this link with you.

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=144460
     
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