My Backup/Restore Procedures With TI

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by mike_wells, Aug 12, 2004.

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  1. mike_wells

    mike_wells Registered Member

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    I was asked to post this procedure by another one of our members. I have tried to be concise but given the space and the time this will have to do for starters. If you have specific questions about any of this please private message or email me before you proceed! I prefer email xxxxxx@cox.net) because I always forget to check my private messages at the Forum. In order to insure that any solid backup/restore procedure will work every time you may have to make concessions. Do it! If you have a one drive system with no supported backup device you need to regroup! This is not for you. This strategy will work with any bootable backup/restore software (even file-oriented). Bend it to fit your environment! NEVER create an image on the drive that you are taking the images from!

    About images; type, manuals vs. scheduled, how often, number to keep, security and so on. This is a totally separate issue and if you need help get back to me.

    If you are having any problems with TI (Win or bootable) do not proceed. Period. Resolve all of them first!
    If you have not done so recently, insure that your BIOS is configured properly for your system (ALL of it).
    Before you start you must have an error-free environment. By that, I mean error-free! Hardware and OS. If this is not the case, fix all of it before going any further! You can not make silk out of a sow's ear!
    Read ALL of this several times beginning-to-end to become familiar with the concepts. PRINT it.
    The words drive/partition are synonomous here.
    Omitting/modifying the basic concepts of this procedure gets you a "Good Luck" from me and that is all you get!
    For TI operation consult your .pdf User's Guide (if you do not have one, GET one).
    Read your TI User's Guide cover to cover (if the luxury presents itself, PRINT it)
    Linux users; get back to me if you have questions, you are "special"!
    Insure that your BIOS is configured properly for your drive devices. DO NOT rely on what you see in Windows!
    Create 2 copies of the TI Bootable Rescue Media (preferably NOT on floppy), e.g., Zip and CD-R (with your TI CD this gives you 3 pieces of media to boot from).
    After creation reconfigure your BIOS to each boot device (1 at a time) and test all 3 copies for proper boot to TI.
    DO NOT be concerned with drive letter assignment in bootable TI. This may well differ from Win. Continue on.
    Insure that TI "works" for all 3 by running thru the Create/Restore wizards up to "Proceed".
    Insure that TI can see all of your partitions/drives. This is CRITICAL and must be resolved!
    Save 1 Rescue Media out for day-to-day operation, store the remaining 2 safely and in a place you wont forget!
    To insure a clutter free "work area" run Chkdsk /r on ALL of your partitions/drives. Do whatever you have to, to gain 100% error free drives (free space included)! If Chkdsk "hangs" for say 12-15 minutes note the partition, terminate the run, and get back to me!
    If you have a bootable (floppy) copy of DOS with the executable commands, TEST it and then put it with your stored Rescue Media (for those of you that have it, you know why). If you dont have one continue on.
    If you have bootable partitioning software (NOT FDisk) get it ready, TEST it, and store it with the rest.
    If you make any significant changes to your computing environment after you have completed this exercise, repeat ALL of this, beginning at the top and continuing right down to the very last step. Examples; adding/removing a drive of any kind, "repairing" an OS installation. DO NOT blow this step off, it could cost you dearly!
    About the Acronis SZ: newbies; create one and use it (if possible). Oldies; you should not have read this far!

    STOP: Do not proceed until meeting all of the conditions above, EVERY last one! If you can not or will not, and you choose not to seek help, proceed with caution, you are on your own!

    For the remainder we will be assuming HDD to HDD restore and a 2 drive system. Obviously, your configuration or needs may require slight adjustments to the procedure. Bend accordingly, but STILL follow the basics I have described! As a side note, there is absolutely NO reason for not imaging to a HDD sans network, space and security. Large drives are inexpensive today (in comparison to "yesterday"). If you can fit another biggie into your system and your budget, do it! The results pay off. Reliability and speed to name the top 2. Be creative, get yourself set up so that you can physically swap out your 2nd drive with a mobile rack for $15. Just imagine the possibilities!

    About the drives; most of us have our systems configured for 1 main bootable drive with our OS and applications and the 2nd is used for who knows what. My only concern is the the main bootable drive. Again, system configurations are like you know what, everyone has one, so adjust accordingly.

    At this point we need to plan for the worst possible thing that could happen and derive our procedure based on that 1 catastrophe! NEVER deviate, regardless of the incident. So, your main drive has melted down for whatever reason. Period. That would mean no Recovery Manager, no F11, no, no, no! With this disaster fixed in our minds we can back track to get to our starting point which is taking the image. What we are shooting for is eventually restoring the drive (new or old) to the point of the last image taken and making it bootable (as in nothing ever happened!)

    Grab your day-to-day Rescue Media, reboot your machine configuring your BIOS to boot from the Rescue Media device and boot to TI.
    Create a Full image of your entire main drive (if you can). We need to capture the MBR and every OS boot sector as well. If you can not, then you will need to put procedures in place to recover your MBR and insure that all OS partition boot sectors are in place after a restore. I can not walk you thru this because I have no clue whatsoever as to your configuration! If you do not know what I am talking about do not go any further (ask for help). Those with 3rd party boot managers, know well what it is that you are doing! Note that we are NOT taking our critical drive image from the Windows environment. I do, but I strongly DO NOT recommend it, unless you are one of those who does not need to read any further! Certainly, you can backup your non-critical partitions in the Win environment and by all means do so.

    Check the image you have just created using the Check Image procedure in bootable TI. Reboot your machine configuring the BIOS to boot from your main drive. When Windows is up recheck the image using the Check Image procedure from Windows TI. Do this because what is coming next will weed out the faint-hearted!

    If you have encountered any obstacles up to this point PLEASE do not go any further until they have been resolved. To do so would be insane!

    Your main drive is GONE! Period! Now, if this was really the case obviously we would be installing a new drive, getting our BIOS up to speed, etc. Try to read between the lines.

    Shut down your machine (as in power down). Power back up, insert your day-to-day Rescue Media, configure your BIOS to boot from the Rescue Media device and boot to TI. Since this illustration is only dealing with HDD to HDD we will not concern ourselves with CD's, DVD's or the like. Again, bend it to fit YOU!

    Check the newly created image AGAIN using the Check Image procedure and if all is well execute the Restore Image procedure from TI selecting the image (should be the only one) we have just created above. Sit back and try to enjoy that horrible feeling in the pit of your stomach that will stay with you until the restoration is complete and you have successfully rebooted! After the restoration has completed shut down TI and reboot configuring your BIOS to boot from for your main HDD that you just RESTORED. IF you have done every last thing per my description you are "good to go" and your procedure has been tried and TESTED and you are now seeing your Desktop just as it appeared before we took the image.

    DO NOT substitute a non-critical partition for this exercise thinking that it is all the same. It is NOT! You must "simulate" disaster in its entirety. Better to find out now when you can do something about it, rather then when it might just be too late!

    If you have reached this point you are now secure in the fact that you can preserve and restore your data. For drives containing data other than the OS/applications you can provide your own backup/restore strategy based on this one.

    I have been using variations of this procedure for about 10 years now with different backup software, different machine configurations and file-oriented backup/restores as well. Obviously, we have to bend a little to fit our exact configurations at the given moment. It has never let me down. Not once, not even a close call!

    If in the beginning you stashed that DOS floppy and the bootable partitioning software, you already know what they will be used for, if and when the need arises. If you did not, it is perfectly OK. The procedure remains the same and will work regardless.

    If you have questions, comments, suggestions or derogatory remarks, get 'em to me. *puppy*

    e-mail edited to prevent possible adress harvesting==bigc
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2004
  2. RLK

    RLK Registered Member

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    Thanks Mike!
     
  3. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

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    Good post Mike! The core concepts are solid but adaptable. I can't tell you how many times over the years I've been let down by flaky backup software and flaky backup media. After learning the hard way, I would test it before implementing.
    I (personally) would expand it to incorporate 3 drives (2 backups) so you could rotate between the two backups and keep one offsite. This would cover you in case of fire, theft, or the ocassional car falling out of the sky.

    Thanks.
     
  4. mike_wells

    mike_wells Registered Member

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    Devinco,

    Thanks for the kind words. Core concepts is the best I could do considering the infinite number of possible combinations given hardware and software configurations. I briefly touched on retention strategy but as you yourself have learned that is a whole topic in itself and I primarily wrote this for the newbies and did not want to muddy the waters. If it takes hold I will add retention, security and who knows what else!

    Mike *puppy*
     
  5. jsl

    jsl Guest

    Devinco, I agree that any backup process should include a backup that is at least outside the system (off site is best of course). To not do this is probably just delaying a loss. There are just to many possible things that have the potential of impacting more than one drive (like user error, viruses, hardware faults, system level bugs, power issues, theft, etc). I do agree with Mike that testing the restore is required. But I would advise someone to test to a scratch disk rather than over a known good disk (just in case!). A third disk is cheap. Restore a test image to it and make sure it boots and all is well. An external fire-wire or USB enclosure is cheap too. I advise keeping copies of your image (and any file level backups as well) on it so that it is outside the system. To be really safe, swap that drive with one kept off site as needed. On top of that, throw in some backups to DVD and you are really protected!
     
  6. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

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    Good point jsl,

    Until you know for sure that your fancy new backup software (or hardware) really works it's a good idea to prove it. A third drive could be used initially to "prove" safely that the backup works. After that, the drive could be put into service as a rotating backup.
     
  7. mike_wells

    mike_wells Registered Member

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    jsl,

    You beat the living tar out of me on another thread when I stated "that $50 was chump change for software today"! Now you're suggesting that everyone run out and buy a scratch HDD to test on ("a third disk is cheap"). I said before that you have always talked out of both sides of your mouth and I am saying it again now! jsl, you certainly did not invent the "wheel" with your suggestion, you just managed to muddy the waters one more time for the newbies!

    Have a nice evening! *puppy*
     
  8. jsl

    jsl Registered Member

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    Hey Mike, what's your problem? I "beat the living tar out of you"? You've got to be kidding!!! I didn't event the wheel? Where do you get this stuffo_O I simply post a reply to add my two cents to a discussion. Just like I did in the "We, The Few, The Knowledgeable, The Experienced" thread. And YOU immediately jump all over me like I committed some sin by trying to discuss a thread you started. Now you say I "always talk out of both sides of my mouth"? I found this forum two days ago when looking into TI for my backup needs! I don't understand people like you.

    Honestly... does anyone see ANYTHING wrong with my post in this thread? If so I'd sure like to know and I WILL attempt to fix it if I'm doing something wrong. Same with the "other" thread. I just don't get it!
     
  9. gerardwil

    gerardwil Registered Member

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    Hi Mike and JSL,

    I see the post of JSL as an addition to Mike's thread starter (a good one), nothing wrong with it. If you two want to write any personal things to eachother please do it somewhere else or at least in a different letter colour, so I know I do not have to read that part.
    Cheers,

    Gerard
     
  10. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

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    Hi Guys,

    Could I get your opinion on something in another thread please?
    It is directly related to backup/restore procedure, but it is not related to TI.
    So I put it in the software and services forum.

    Thanks.

    How to backup using RAID 1 without software
     
  11. mike_wells

    mike_wells Registered Member

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    Hey Devinco,

    Wish I could help ya here but I don't do RAID and after reading the thread I feel it would be best left for someone with a good RAID background.

    Sorry!
     
  12. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

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    Thanks.
     
  13. MICRO

    MICRO Registered Member

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    Thanks Mike for your very helpful restore procedures rundown.
    Can I just check re. the above line from your article please.
    TheQuest and a couple of the other lads were kind enough to get me through
    the necessity of changing the BIOS setting before I took a TI 7 of my C:drive.

    On my 98se I needed to change the BIOS settings to,
    1) Floppy
    2) CD-ROM
    3) C:drive

    So is there any specific necessity to change that setting to cover your quoted line ?

    I would prefer to leave them as is if possible, so long as I can Restore the OS image from outside Windows in the same way as I took the image ?

    Regards.
     
  14. mike_wells

    mike_wells Registered Member

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    Hey MICRO,

    Boot configuration in the BIOS can be a matter of personal choice. Mine is set to boot from the HDD as first device. I do not like waiting on the increased boot time when it goes after the floppy first! Matter of preference. The only "change" you need to make regarding the "line" I quoted is to make sure that nothing is in the floppy or CD-ROM drives when you do the final reboot! Then, by default your BIOS will choose Door Number 3 which is your HDD (restored I hope!)
     
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