Just can't find anything decent

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Fontaine, May 19, 2008.

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  1. Fontaine

    Fontaine Registered Member

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    I've been searching for a decent backup utility for quite some time and have not had luck.
    At first, I wanted to just back up select files and found some good suggestions in this forum. Recently, I realized with all the customizations I've made to my OS, I really need to image my drive. That's where I've run into issues.
    I'll list what I want (it's simple, I think), and if anyone can suggest anything, please do.
    I want to take an image of my hard drive and then set the program to run a scheduler so that it creates either a differential or incremental backup every week for a month. After one month, I want the original image to be overwritten with a new one, and then the cycle to start again (a month of differential or incremental backups).

    Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I thought an image would be a master copy and then running a diff/inc. would just update the master copy with changes made since that backup. I might be wrong, because I'm not the most experienced with running backup software.

    I've tried Acronis in the recent past and I didn't like it. I received too many errors and am convinced it's not right for me. I'm sure it's good for some people, but for me, it was just too frustrating.

    I have paragon right now and it offers differential, however every differential that runs, creates a full image. It makes no sense to me. I know my way around a computer well, but again, I'm not the most experienced with backup software, so am I missing something?

    Can anyone help with the Paragon problem or suggest a new software backup package that can do what I requested above, with very little maintenance (i.e. just set it up and let it run it's cycle indefinitely).

    Thanks!
     
  2. n8chavez

    n8chavez Registered Member

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    I'm not sure what help I can be to you. But I'll do my best.

    I have used every imaging program there was including, though I'm afraid to admit it, Norton Ghost. I won a cop[y of Acronis True Image 8 gtom a contest here at Wilders a while back. It is a very good program and has never let me down.

    But recently, I decided to try a couple new programs that I'm very excited about; BCWipe and Image For Windows. The former program of course doesn't apply here, but the latter does. I think IFW would be great for everyone. It is very small, ynlike ATI or Paragon, yet extremely powerful. I like the fact that it can be run via command line or cammand console, which would make it easier to automate tasks or schedule them. Also, IFW offers byte-for-byte verification which is something I've never seen offered with any other program.

    Although command-line could be used, until you become familiar with it I recommend using the GUI.

    I have no experience with differential backups as I only make full images, but I suspect IFW could handle those without issue.
     
  3. n8chavez

    n8chavez Registered Member

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    BTW, if you order Image For Windows here you vcan get a 20% discount off the listed price on the website.
     
  4. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    The prob with diffs being as about as big as fulls can sometimes be caused by running a defrag-- which makes the backup prog think that all the sectors the defragger moved are "newly written" sectors -- system restore making/saving lots of restore data. This might be what you are experiencing.
    There are other progs Shadow PRotect uses VistaPE for the OS on the BootCD, which eliminates lots of driver issues than ATI, Paragon, and other have that use linux for the bootCD OS. It's not full featured but that might appeal to you. MOst fo the better selling backup-imaging progrs offer free trials and that's the best way to find out what you like and what works on your hardware -- remember to test restoring and not just backing up.

    good luck.
     
  5. RAD

    RAD Registered Member

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    Also, differential backups are actually SLOWER than a full backup, because of the computation and comparison required. Unless you are retricted on disk space, it is more convenient and faster to just do full backups. Hard drives are ridiculously cheap these days. I have about 6 of them. And Paragon will recognize and restore from USB drives.

    But I can't help with the problem of creating a full backup when you selected a differential. Mine doesn't do that.

    (USB drives are relatively slow though. If at all possible, add a SATA drive)
     
  6. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    i hage just tested image for dos recovery cd and successfully backed up C: to my second hard drive and also succesfuly restored it. took around 6minutes.
    the installation is definatly smaller than paragon.
    Hi Fontaine,
    btw paragon version 9 will have the same reliability and easy to use interface along with incremental images.
    with paragon drive backup 8.5 pro you can use cyclic backup, this offers the following,
    you can choose how often it occers for example i set it to do one image a day at 6pm
    you can choose how many images are stored before it deletes the first one.
    you can also choose how much hard drive space it uses before deleting the first one.
    using eiether full images or differental images.
    version 9 coming out soon should offer this option with incremental images.
    hope this helps.

    i prefer full images my self since they are completely separate but take longer to create.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2008
  7. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Just a few comments regarding differential image backups. These comments apply only to IFW.

    As Shieber mentioned, don't defrag until immediately before your next full image. The results could be disturbing.

    Differential images complete in half the time of full images.

    After one week of differential images, the differential image size is around 3% of the full image size.

    I create a full image weekly so I haven't tested the differential size beyond a week. If someone was using their computer infrequently, full images at monthly intervals or less frequently could be feasible. It would depend on the differential image size.
     
  8. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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    with external drives getting cheaper and by the hour and imaging solutions faster and faster I would question the need for differential or incremental images. Are you talking about imaging c: OS and programs with data on another drive or partition or C: everything ? If you have a separate drive /partition for data then a full image of c: should take no more than 5 minutes
     
  9. Fontaine

    Fontaine Registered Member

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    Thanks to everyone for their replies, they've been very helpful.

    I've gathered that I don't need to do a differential back up, rather just create an image each time. The reason I was trying to avoid this is because each time I run an image backup with Paragon, it takes about two hours to back up ~65GB of data. I figured with a differential backup it would be quicker. I'm backing up to an external drive that I have.
     
  10. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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  11. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    Hi long view,
    the OP earlier on used acronis which if not uninstalled properly can cause conflicts with shadow protect desktop. i think there was a post on the shadow protect forum on how to remove it completely to get rid of the conflict. hopefully someone can post the link.
    im just making sure the OP has a smooth ride with shadow protect desktop.
     
  12. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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    Thanks lodore - Had forgotten about that. Probably because I use both Acronis and SP but with the emergency CD only on one machine and only Acronis or only SP on others
     
  13. Fontaine

    Fontaine Registered Member

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    I've started using ShadowProtect for images. I run a full backup, then two incrementals, and I save two sets. Once it starts the third set, it deletes the oldest full/inc./inc. set. Works very well so far.
    Also, for critical files, I started using SyncbackSE. I set it to synchronize critical files to an external drive once/week. It works great. It checks various attributes of the source and backed up file and if anything changed on the source file, it overwrites the backup...but you can tweak it to do just about anything.
    I think I finally have good solutions..and peace of mind. :)
     
  14. huntnyc

    huntnyc Registered Member

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    @Fontaine,

    I use the same programs for backup and imaging and am well satisfied with mileage so far.

    Gary
     
  15. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    cant go wrong with paragon,image for windows,shadow protect desktop or drive snapshot. for drive snapshot see markymoo's thread about the frontend he created. link
     
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