Massive 29 Disc Backup Appears OK, but a question..

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by ac2334, Jul 12, 2008.

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  1. ac2334

    ac2334 Registered Member

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    Hello,

    I bought Acronis True Image 11 and ran the program from the recovery cd to do my complete backup. I already own an external drive and information on that disc was part of my backup, so it was not an option to back up to. I also liked that DVD media had a "permanent" aspect to it, whereas a hard drive always has the potential to not work. (Plus I didn't want to shell out money on a new external)

    Anyway, over the course of several days I did the backup, it completed successfully and did the validation as part of the backup (I checked the option to do it after the backup completed) and that completed ok as well saying that it was completely successful.

    Now, I have heard about the nightmare that disc-swapping can pose because of files spanning multiple discs and we are talking 29 double-layer discs here, so I know that it would probably be an EXTREME amount of disc swapping. However, I searched these forums and it seemed that one user had advised another to simply transfer the data from the dvds to another hard drive (which if I had to do a restore, I would be willing to buy) and then to restore from there.

    My question is: can anyone on these forums tell me if I should be able to copy the data from these 29 discs to one folder, on an external hard drive, and then restore from there? I would like to think that I wasn't wasting my time over these past several days.

    I appreciate any help that you can provide. :thumb:
     
  2. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    In theory you should be able to copy the 29 double layer disks to a hard drive and then restore from there.

    In practice you probably would be the first person to attempt such a task so there is no other experience to draw on.

    It is a bit of a myth that home produced double layer DVDs are long lived. A while ago Microsoft gathered a whole lot of statistics on the reliability of DVDs in general. I cannot now find the link but it made rather depressing reading for DVD advocates.
    In theory data can "fade" on hard drives. It certainly can "fade" particularly on home produced DVDs.
    Apart form the sheer convenience of hard drives it would be unusual to leave them on a shelf for years. A far better practice would be to add new backup images from time to time and eventually the oldest and redundant images would be overwritten,

    When you aquire an extra hard drive I suggest that you forget about copying the DVDs to it. Instead start over with a new full image of your computer saved to the new HDD.
    Also start saving for a second hard drive so that you will be able to make at least practice restores in complete safety. If you really value your system and data the expense of a couple of HDDs is well worth it.

    Xpilot
     
  3. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    My advice for you is to always partition your hard drive in 2. Make a 20gb partition for your "system" and use the remainder of the hard drive as a "data" partition. Only install the important small programs on your "system" partition, everything else goes on the "data" partition. This way your "system" partition can fit in less than 3 DVD's instead of 29 DVD's (I can fit my "system" partition in 1 single layer DVD).

    Your data partition can be backed up with true image or just use a simple "drag and drop" method and burn to dvd. The safest way to backup important data is with no compression. Any "programs" installed on the data partition will work when "restored" since the registry entries will still be on the "system" partition.

    I've read too many "horror stories" of 1 disc out of a 10 disc DVD backup being corrupted causing the entire backup to be useless ( and since the data was compressed it was next to impossable to retrieve indidvual files from the uncorrupted discs).

    I don't think true image was design to backup a 500gb hard drive onto DVD's, it can do it but it will take forever to backup and restore. Even if you backup and restore a 500gb hard drive to an external hard drive it will still take hours to complete the task. But if you just have a simple 20gb system partition to backup or restore that's more manageable and quick. When your hard drive crashes you don't want to spend hours or days trying to restore to a new hard drive. I never spend more than 30 minutes to restore my system partition, once that is complete I can take my time in restoring my "data" partition.

    Have you done a "DVD quality test" on your balnk media? You can use "nero" it will be under extras/disc quality test. It will spinup your dvd and give you a score on the quality of your burned DVD. Any score over 90 would be excellent DVD media.
     
  4. ac2334

    ac2334 Registered Member

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    My reason for such a large backup is many apps (games, programs, etc.) that have been specially tweaked to all work in harmony on my dual-boot system - not a process that I want to repeat any time soon.

    Well, I am happy that the backup completed without a hitch and feel that if I am in a position where I need to restore it, I could copy all files to an external if the standard restore didn't work.

    If it was going to be corrupted, wouldn't the validation check have caught that?

    I am doing the disc test currently and will post the result when it is done.

    Thanks for the help
     
  5. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    ac2334,
    Congratulations for your effort. I hope your strategy works for you.
    One bad read or a small scratch on one of the media will render your entire backup set useless. Another drive is a much better solution.
     
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2008
  6. bodgy

    bodgy Registered Member

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    I think I'd want to copy those 29 DVD's onto another drive as soon as possible and try mounting them just to make sure they work, that way you have some redundancy should any of your DVD's become tea coasters. Of course your arm might wear out by nth hundred swap out, in which case an external drive or similar might just become your next bestest friend.

    Colin
     
  7. ac2334

    ac2334 Registered Member

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    Well, I invested in a $120 external drive as well - USB 2.0. My only question is that when I do the backup from the recovery cd, how should my drive be formatted? Everything I am backing up is NFTS so I assume I should format the external to NFTS as well?

    Thanks
     
  8. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I would format the USB drive as NTFS so that the image backups could be in one file. If you use FAT32, the image files will be in 4GB splits because of the 4GB file size limit.

    The format of any partitions being backed up don't make any difference to the destination partition's format as the image file is just a file being saved there.
     
  9. ac2334

    ac2334 Registered Member

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    Cool, thank you
     
  10. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    The backup to 29 DL DVDs must be around 236 GB total. I wouldn't want that in one file anywhere since large files can cause problems in many ways. You said the backup is of more than one partition, so I would start by backing up the partitions separately to reduce the size of the backup files.

    You shold have at least a 500GB external drive, so you can always have two full backups on it.

    If you have a lot of music, photos or video, those files do not compress much, if at all, when backed up because they are already compressed. If you can put all files of that type on one drive/partition, you might just want to copy those instead of using True Image.
     
  11. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    Commercially produced CDs and DVDs have an embossed data layer(s) while homemade jobs have dye layer(s). While the emobssed disks can remain stable for many many years if stored under proper conditions (especially temperature), the dye-type disks are much less stable and you should probably figure that they are on average good for about 3-5 years or about as along as a hard disk. Note that the rewritables are much less stabile than the write-once types.

    Also, of course, stability varies greatly with the quality of the disks. Archival quality disks can cost many dollars per disk (mofi makes some good ones). Since there are only a few manufacturers making disks with dozens and dozens of diff brand names and for dozens of diff disk "makers" it can be hard to know which ones are better and which are worse. There's tons of stuff about this all over the web.

    Of, course, the quality of the burner, too, can affect the quality of the burn.

    However you archive, mulitple copies are always a good idea, and keeping them in diff geographic locations is a good idea too.

     
  12. ac2334

    ac2334 Registered Member

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    Ok, so my 750GB external hard drive is now here. I am going to format it as NTFS first and then back up each partition individually from the recovery CD as I was advised to do earlier. Does this sound like I'm missing anything? I will opt to verify the backup as well.

    Also, since I now have the dedicated space to do it, should I just make the backup uncompressed since I heard that is best? Is uncompressed still different somehow than just cutting and pasting everything?

    Thank you for the help! :thumb:
     
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