Need some clarity

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by thewolfe, Jul 17, 2006.

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  1. thewolfe

    thewolfe Registered Member

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    I'm using True Image 9.

    I want to make sure that I'm doing my backup/clone to accomplish my goal. The terminology is throwing me a bit also.

    I want to create a file, on a separate HD, that I can use to re-create my current system. OS, files/folders, programs, etc.

    What process do I use to create that file?

    Then, is there a way to backup/clone the same system a month later? Do I have to create the whole file again or can I do a incremental/differential backup? Again the terminology is confusing to me at this point.
     
  2. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    A clone is just like in genetics, a exact copy of one drive on another. It is typically used when a new drive is purchased and you want to transfer all the contents of the old drive to it.

    An image archive is a large file or series of files that contains all of the information to restore the partition(s) or disk it was created from. It may be compressed if you wish and it does not include the swapfile or hibernation file (?); instead a few bytes called a placeholder are put in their place.

    An image is typically the method used to be able to restore the system in case of a disaster. You can have several image files on a disk whereas you can only make one clone.

    A full image is just that, a new image archive of all the files in the partition or other entity you desire. For an image the smallest unit is a partition.

    An incremental must be based on a full image and it will contain all the changes made since the full (if it is the first incremental) or last incremental. To restore the system to the state it was when the lastest incremental was taken requires restoring all the incrementals in the chain. TI will do this automatically.

    A differential contains all the changes since the full image was done. Since it contains all the changes it takes longer to do than an incremental but if you have to restore the system you only need the full and the last differential.

    You can validate an archive. TI does not do a bit-by-bit comparison but rather calculates a checksum which is compared to a checksum recorded in the archive when it was created. For this reason you can validate an archive any time. IMO, it is a good idea to validate when created and prior to using the archive to restore since it will not wipe the partition being restored if it can't validate the archive.

    The rescue CD (boot CD) runs TI in a Linux environment and on many systems runs slower. To restore a C partition, TI will reboot your system and run the stand-alone Linux environment since Windows can't be running to do a restore. You can backup in Windows and it works well although some users prefer to use the rescue CD version for an additional margin of safety.

    The best way to get familiar with TI is to creat an archive on another partition or internal HD. This is the least problematic way since it avoids USB drive chipsets and optical media problems. You can try them after you are convinced all is well using an internal drive. You can also try the Secure Zone later if you wish, I never use it. My opinion again.

    The other type of backup is a Files and Folders backup where you select the files and folders you want to backup. This is best for data files and will not restore a bootable volume if your disk fails. Since it uses the file system it is slower than doing an image (very much slower)

    An image records the in-use sectors of the disk and bypasses the file system. Because of this if you create a full backup, defrag, and then create an incremental, the incremental may be very large. The data may not have changed much but the sectors have been re-arranged so TI sees them as new data to backup since they aren't where they were.

    Now you know as much as I do.
     
  3. thewolfe

    thewolfe Registered Member

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    Wow! Think I got it.

    See if this is correct. To restore my OS and all files/folders I should make a "Full Backup". And then down the line when I've added programs, etc I should make an incremental backup and add it to the same folder.

    I did not originally install the "Rescue Media Builder". Is that what I need to use to make a bootable rescue disk?
     
  4. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    Yes, and it's imperative that you burn your Rescue CD real soon or you'll be in trouble when Windows crashes regardless how many images you will have still stored on another drive. In such a situation you boot from the Rescue CD and restore the system partition/disk, while if you don't have the Rescue CD, you need to reinstall Windows and TI before being able to proceed with the restoration.

    Moreover, you should burn a new Rescue CD from every new TI build you install later on.
     
  5. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Yes. I usually just make Full backups but you can make incrementals if it is your wish. I don't think I would recommend a big long chain of incrementals because if you have a problem with any one of them that is as far as you can go in your recovery. I think a lot of people do a Full about every week and then incrementals each day for the rest of the week. It really depends on your requirements and preferences and there are various correct ways of doing it.

    You create the rescue (boot CD) by running the Media builder. If you update True Image at any time, you should always make a new rescue CD so it includes the fixes and features provided by the new build.

    One other thing you can do (while I am telling you everything I know :D ) is Mount an image. The command is on the main screen under Operations. The image is mounted as if it were a drive and you can use Windows Explorer to copy desired files from the image without having to restore the entire image. You can also specify to mount it as Read/Write (R/W) and you can modifiy the image by adding files to it or deleting files. The actual image is not really altered, the modifications cause an incremental backup to be generated containing the additions or deletions.
     
  6. thewolfe

    thewolfe Registered Member

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    Seekforever,

    How did you choose your user name?

    If I'm using a Full backup Image can I still mount it. You said "copy desired files from the image without having to restore the entire image".

    I was under the impression that am "image" was one file. Can I break it down if I've created a file which includes the OS and programs?

    Before I forget, thanks for the post Seekforever & bVolk..
     
  7. Bill U

    Bill U Registered Member

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    SeekForever,
    I admire your ability to explain things. Your post was an excellent description and should be included in the manual.
    Bill
     
  8. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Seekforever is a bit of a play on disk terminology. The command to move a disk's heads to the cylinder (the tracks on a multi-surface disk) the data is located at is called a seek. So you can say I am forever seeking data. However, it really came from a friend I used to work with who had written on his blackboard, "On a clear disk you can seek forever" which is a play on the old song lyrics, "On a clear day you can see forever".

    An image can be stored in one file or stored in several smaller files. The one file or collection of smaller files, or a full backup and its subsequent incrementals or differentials is properly called an archive. TI considers each file (.tib file) in an archive to be a volume.

    There is another feature in TI called Archive splitting. This allows you to set the maximum file size you want the archive to be. If you set the split size to 1 GB and the archive is 2.5GB in size, then TI will produce 2 - 1GB files and one 0.5GB file. Splitting is handy if you want to make sure your archive can be copied to a CD or DVD later.

    Note that if you create your archive on a FAT32 formatted disk, TI will split the files at 4GB since that is the largest size FAT32 supports. If you don't like this then you have to change the disks format to NTFS.

    You don't really want to break down an image into the OS and programs, mounting is just a handy way of pulling out a few files you might need without having to do a full restore.

    Since a partition is the unit an image works on, putting some thought into the layout of your disk can provide some real benefits when imaging.

    I like to keep the OS and installed programs on one partition, data I create on another partition or partitions. This is the number 1 rule, always keep the data you create separate from the OS and installed applications. If you have any trouble with C due to viruses, hardware failures, bad application install, etc, you can just restore the last good image and not have to worry about your digital photos, spreadsheet or whatever.

    Some have the OS in one partition and the installed apps in another. I don't care for this because the installed apps write into the registry on C and also tend to create a lot of files on C so I see the OS and installed apps as the same entity.

    One way I do violate the above, is that I have some large games which I install on a different partition. The reason is that they are very large and thus if installed on C would cause the backup to take longer and be larger. The other reason that makes this feasible is that they really never change. However, you might want to find where they keep the files that keep track of your progress and make sure they get backed up.
     
  9. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Thanks very much for the kind words, Bill.
     
  10. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    G'morning seekforever,

    Respect. A nice, lucid (as usual), series of posts from you that'll help thewolfe (and other TI newbies) to get under way.

    Kind regards
     
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