Let's get serious

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Antifreeze, Mar 1, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Antifreeze

    Antifreeze Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Posts:
    67
    I'm willing to spend hundreds of dollars to have a 100% fail safe method of imaging and restoring my laptop's hard drive. Ghost, Acronis and Paragon are all complete sh**t; frankly I trust OUTLOOK with my data more than these three programs, based on my experiences this week.

    Surely these crappy 60$ programs CANNOT be what serious writers, musicians, executives, lawyers, businesses, corporations, or universities rely on for backing up their disk drives?

    I want that sort of disk protection; serious, automatic, infallible disk protection. I'm obviously looking in the wrong place and wasting my time researching and testing this type of silly software solution.

    Can anyone point me in the right direction? What kind of solution should I be researching? What is 'the next step up' from this crap they're fobbing off to home users?

    Sorry for my tone, but I've spent my week's vacation doing nothing but testing backup software, and I'm tired, frustrated, disappointed and getting a little angry now.

    Thanks.
     
  2. lesterf1020

    lesterf1020 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Posts:
    63
    Location:
    Trinidad and Tobago
    Perhaps if you would describe your current software situation and your backup needs and maybe let us know what problems you are having you might get some productive assistance. As it stands all I know is that you are for some reason very unhappy with Ghost, Acronis and Paragon.

    Given your posting history I will speculate that you are having problems scheduling automatic incremental backups from your laptop to a usb drive. This does not surprise me since I doubt any disk imaging program has catered for that scenario. I again speculate that what you actually wish to do is regular backups of your data which I suspect is not very large. If my wild guesses are correct then you are misusing the programs you are unhappy with. You will probably be better served by using a backup program on a daily basis to handle your data and using a disk imaging program occasionally to take a snapshot of your system after you have made major changes to the operating system or installed and uninstalled several programs. If the data you wish to backup is not large then a cheap (or even free!) backup program perhaps even an archiving program like winzip might serve your needs.

    If all you want to do is backup data then disk imaging programs are overkill. Acronis , Ghost and Paragon while capable of doing data backups are primarily disk imaging software.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009
  3. bodgy

    bodgy Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Posts:
    2,387
    Location:
    Qld.
    A largish medical device research manufacturer (living in southern California) uses Acronis products as their imaging system - and this product is in pharmaceutical labs, hospitals, universities, research institutes around the world.

    As Lester says, post the problem, and who knows it might be easily fixed.

    There is, by the way, no such thing as absolutely failsafe!

    Colin
     
  4. Antifreeze

    Antifreeze Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Posts:
    67
    Based on what equipment I have now, and what little I know about disk imaging:

    · HP Pavillion Laptop with 230gb hard drive
    · external usb drive

    I would like an automatic disk image taken every evening From my laptop to the usb drive. Incremental, so it usually takes no more than 10 minutes at the end of each work day, but I can afford a couple of hours at the weekend for a fresh full backup. When the schedule runs and I have not connected the usb disk drive, I'd like to be prompted to connect the drive or cancel the task for that day. I need for the backups to be 99% reliable (in other words, only 1/100 will be corrupt). In case the laptop is damaged or stolen, I need the image on the usb drive to be restored onto another laptop.

    As you can see, nothing out of the ordinary - there are many millions of laptop users who require this kind of protection. Yet from my experience this week, none of the 'top three' software solutions can provide it due to design, reliability and/or instability issues.

    I'm fed up messing around and need a solution that works, 'corporate strength' if necessary. I'm willing to invest in new hardware if that's what it takes.

    Thanks for any advice.
     
  5. Antifreeze

    Antifreeze Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Posts:
    67
    > A largish medical device research manufacturer (living in southern
    > California) uses Acronis products as their imaging system - and this
    > product is in pharmaceutical labs, hospitals, universities, research
    > institutes around the world.

    I find that very hard to believe. From my experience of any of these programs over the last week, it would be literally criminal to trust this quality of software in those sorts of situations.
     
  6. bodgy

    bodgy Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2005
    Posts:
    2,387
    Location:
    Qld.
    OK, this is a programming enhancement in that you'd like a message box to pop up if the drive path can't be found.

    At the moment that isn't possible as TI checks at instatiation for drives mounted, not at the beginning of a task. However, there is a possible work around - either tick the 'if missed run at next' box, the only error message you'll get is in the log of task missed or if email log is set up via an email. As I mentioned in another of your threads, if this is TI 2009, then there is a default location option, this doesn't have to be your C partition or to the folder it mentions, though of course having a umpteen gigabyte image on the drive you're imaging is rather pointless.


    The only way to be sure of this is to check the image by restoring it to a spare drive.

    Realise that here, Windows will throw a curved ball - if you restore the image to another laptop even if the same brand and model you will almost certainly get a Windows Sulk (copyright CDB :eek: ) at first boot, due to Windows security features, harddrive s/n etc - access to Windows install files would be needed to get around the blue screen of death. No imaging software can get around this particular annoyance.


    You might want to checkout Echo Workstation, only because it has a few extra options such as backup locations - though TI 11 had this facility as well.

    Hope that helps

    Colin
     
  7. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2005
    Posts:
    2,318
    A 100% backup solution cannot be obtained by software alone. As this is an Acronis forum I will assume that a copy is installed on the laptop.

    The minimum equipment to secure your laptop would be :-
    An extra spare laptop drive complete with its holder.
    An external hard drive to store several full backup images.
    An Acronis bootable rescue CD.

    The actual method of working is dead simple and is what I have been using for years for PCs and laptops.
    Step one - Create a full image of the laptop drive and store it on the external drive.
    Step two - Remove the laptop drive and put it safely to one side.
    Step three - Insert the extra laptop drive, boot with the Acronis rescue CD and restore the current image.

    So now you have got a working hard drive safely tucked away and a fully operational replacement drive in the laptop. Further you also have a stock of backup images on the external hard drive to give the facility to go back in time should the need arise.

    The joy of this method is that you always have 100% security and the current drive is never put at risk. I actually have a rotation of three main harddrives for extra redundancy and the ability to retain 100% operational ability without having to wait for a new drive should one fail.

    The rest is mere detail. It is up to you how frequently you image the laptop and whether you restore each and every one or do as I now do which is to image daily and just restore one a week. I chose these intervals as my backup drive can contain up to nine full images.

    Because the backup images are proved by making actual restores I feel no need to run any other form of validation.

    If you laptop can support a second hard drive, as some can, the whole image processing can be made completely automatic and un-attended. The only manual intervention is from time to time swap over harddrives and run a restore.

    Any questions?

    Xpilot
     
  8. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2007
    Posts:
    829
    The only way to trust the software is to do actual restores to a new drive and making sure it boots the laptop, if it doesn't boot the first time, this is where you learn how to make it work.

    Some laptops require the new drive be install in the laptop when restored (chs geometry) to properly work.

    Xp and vista each have there different methods to restoring and problems you might encounter. You have to learn the different ways to work around hardware problems.

    Once you learn all these techniques from actually doing backups and restores, you will have a 100 percent success rate everytime. All the imaging softwares will have the same problems, all the troubleshooting techniques are basically the same.

    In my case I do a weekly full backup of my c: drive (6gb of data) takes 10 minutes, and I use the software "secondcopy" (program is rock solid and has never let me down) to backup any data folders on a daily/hourly basis to an external. I have a 100 percent success rate everytime. To me 99 percent isn't good enough, I demand 100 percent.

    other software that I use and will help you troubleshoot a restored drive that won't boot.
    1. bartpe bootcd
    2. vista installation dvd
    3. boot corrector

    With these utilitys, I never spend more than 5 minutes to get a failed restored drive to boot up. I never redo a restoration, I always fix the problem on the restored drive which in most cases is a simple repair.
     
  9. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Posts:
    3,329
    Location:
    San Rafael, CA
    What you are missing is that you have no protection against fire or theft. When homes are robbed, computer equipment of all kinds is a top target. So, how do you plan to get backups offsite?

    If you go to work at a different location, simply taking one of two backup drives with you every day or once a week may be entirely adequate. It's not automatic, so you have to discipline yourself to do it.

    Online backup over the Internet with a program such as Mozy or DataDepositBox or Carbonite is another option. Only data gets backed up, but it's safe against fire and theft. The initial backup is slow, 3-4GB per day, but once that's over, daily or hourly backups are usually quick since only changes are uploaded. You can save several versions of each document not just the most recent version.
     
  10. bgoodman4

    bgoodman4 Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Posts:
    3,132
    As has been indicated there is no such thing as 100% reliability but you can take steps to reduce a possible catastrophe to a very small %.

    Here is how I do it.

    I use ATI to image my drive weekly and do incrementals daily. I have a Terabyte drive that will allow me to store 4 weeks worth of images created in this way.

    In addition I create a full ATI image on a portable drive which I keep in a safe deposit box in the bank. Every 2 weeks I do a full ATI image to a 2nd portable drive and then swap the drive with the one in the bank so there is always a full image not more than 2 weeks old off site.

    I also subscribe to a service called idrive which is a remote storage facility. Once a day a full on-line update (via the Internet) is done of all of my critical files. idrive also has the ability to do what they call "continuous backup". That is the program will monitor the files you have selected and if they are smaller than 50 mg it will back them up every 10 min if it finds they have changed in any way. Files over this size will only be backed up daily. A nice feature of idrive is that it will keep up to 30 versions of your monitored files. Thats a nice bonus in case you need to access a file that has been deleted or modified. All this for $49 per year for up to 150 gigs. The 150 gigs sounds nice but you must keep in mind that uploads are slow so to backup 150 gigs would take a very very long time. Still, it is doubtful that critical data files will get anywhere near this size. As a way to sort of get around this issue you can send DVDs of your files to idrive and they will add them to your account, then you can set idrive to monitor for changes to these files without having to spend the time uploading them to your account. I am not sure how this works exactly but I have read about it on the services website. OH yes, I almost forgot, you can have as many PCs as you want able to access your stored documents (or backup to your account), or, you can even access your account using any PC with a browser and an Internet connection. All you need to do is to set your account up to enable this. The program is very simple to use and works very well (or has for me for as long as I have used it).

    Another tool which you might find of value is a program called RollBack RX. This program will take snapshots of your PC every hour if you wish so short of hardware failure you can quickly and easily restore you drive to a point in the past before any problem occurred. The nice thing about RB is that if you do need to RollBack the PC you can create a snapshot before you do so, then roll the PC back in time, mount the last snapshot and copy any critical data files from the snapshot to your main drive. The one fly in the ointment is that in order to image a drive with RB installed you will need to use RBs companion drive imaging program called Drive Cloner. You cannot image a drive with RB installed using a program like ATI although there are folks who say that if you do a sector by sector backup with ATI (or some sudh program) you will be able to image the full drive. If you wanted to use something other than RBs companion imaging program what you should do is periodically uninstall RB, image the drive using the program of your choice, and then reinstall RB. One of the real nice things about RB is its speed. A snapshot takes less than 5 seconds and will happen regardless if you are using the PC or not and it will not interrupt your work flow. Restoring to an earlier state will take less than 5 min.

    I am considering adding another layer of security and that is to employ a 2nd imaging program besides ATI (I have RB on my laptop and use its imaginer as a 2nd imager for that PC, I do not have RB on my desktop however and for reasons I will not go into I will not be installing it there - I assure you this is not because I have any issues with RB, its a very fine program as far as I am concerned). As a 2nd imaging program I am considering Paragon Drive Backup.

    Given all of the steps taken above the chances of me not being able to recover my system and data in just about any conceivable event is quite remote I think.

    If you want even more security you can opt to go for the enterprise versions of any of the programs mentioned, indeed there are folks on Wilders who recommend just that. Enterprise versions of these programs generally have a few extra features and arguably support will be better for these products than for the home versions.

    A lot of bandwidth has been expended on the Wilders software & services forum on this subject. If you are looking for a lot more detail and suggestions you might want to take some time to browse around there. This is a serious subject and it would be wise of you to get as much info as you can when setting up a protection regime.

    One last thing, no program works all the time for everybody, the flip side is that just about all programs work fine for a lot of folks most of the time. None of these programs are simple and they pretty well all require you to carefully read the users guides so as to be able to use the program effectively. If you do not do this, if you do not put in some serious effort to understand how to use the program, odds are good that you will be frustrated. I have been using ATI for the most part without issue for many years. I learned long ago to keep multiple copies of my backups on different drives or media because I have experienced the inability to restore from an image on occasion. Thats why i have the regime I outlined above. Trust no image completely, trust no program without reservation. Spread the risk and you will effectively, for all extents and purposes, eliminate it.

    I hope this helps.

    RollBack RX
    http://www.rollbacksoftware.com/

    idrive
    http://www.idrive.com/

    Paragon Drive Backup 9.0
    http://www.paragon-software.com/home/db-personal/
     
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2009
  11. alexint

    alexint Registered Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2009
    Posts:
    4
    Firstly I did not read the OP's operating system, if it is XP or lower then ntbackup to a file is pretty good, there are tons of freeware backup applications out there to choose from. Personally Image based backups (e.g. Acronis) are for doing more than simple backups. Robocopy is a very good simple way to script backups, Hobocopy is based around the same idea as Robocopy but has VSS (Volume Shadow Copy) support, Even listfile stuff in 7zip is good enough for simple backups.

    Regards

    Alex
     
  12. Antifreeze

    Antifreeze Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Posts:
    67
    Thanks for all the verbose answers.

    However, apart from all the problems of the previous week which led to me posting this thread, I've now noticed that explorer quite often stops working on wake-up from sleep, and I have to kill the power to the laptop. On first reboot I get a BSOD. It takes another reboot to get Vista loaded properly.

    This has happened four times since installing ATI, and no times beforehand. Paragon was just as bad (actually, slightly worse). I guess this approach to backup is just not going to work out. I'm at a bit of a loss what to try next. I'll look carefully at some of the alternate suggestions above.

    Thanks.
     
  13. zooburner

    zooburner Registered Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    Posts:
    43
    Location:
    England
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.