New thread on imaging options cus basic question

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Galcoolest, Nov 16, 2004.

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  1. Galcoolest

    Galcoolest Registered Member

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    I'm in the market to buy my first proper imaging software. I read through the very lengthy thread herein about Ghost 9, TI8, the various similarities and even analagousness now that Symantec has DI and incorporated its basics into the newest Ghost (right?)- plus I read through all the Acronis forums-- but a lot of this was over my head, at least at this point, and my questions (okay more than one) are pretty basic in comparison to what you guys were discussing:

    I will have XP Pro installed on a 40g hard drive, partitioned as follows: Xp on C, programs on F, temps on G, docs on H (and I think that's it- but any advice as to further breakdowns I should have, please do tell!).

    Anyway, I have no external hard memory drives, just a CD and CDRW burning capability. If I wanted to image the whole scene, and let's say that was 20 g, how does that work vis a vis getting it over to multiple CD's? I mean, assuming that the software worked right, and I have a disaster and have to revert to this image,

    1) how is that you boot ? does the newest Symantec Ghost give you that opportunity when you're about to image- let you create a boot CD? Or do you use a set of boot floppies from somewhere else? Or can you use (as I have had to many times) an original manufacturer's resource disk (I have a Dell with a CD that will "boot" you when Windows is history to an A prompt).

    2) is a multiple CD image burned in a such a way that it is broken down in its segmentation always by partitions or in some other way? how does the install of the image work:? are you supposed to be at an A prompt (which I can get to with the resource disk) and then start loading the disks in order of their creation? Does the PC just read what's happening? Or is there a program disk from Ghost that you shove in when the system is dead to the world pretty much- meaning you stick in it and turn on the PC and some magin happens?

    3) the Acronis forums say that you cannot read what's on your multiple image disks- huh? that they're working on it. Does this mean that when all is in order, I can take one of my say, Ghost image disks, and hit explore , and see what's on it- and it appears not only CAN i do that, but I can pick and choose to re-image certain sectors (and even PARTS OF sectors- like say folder "Correspondence" from the H imageo_O)

    4)) It's all Chinese to me right now. I want to purchase the simplest, best imaging software- not the fanciest. But do I really need to invest in a peripheral, removable little hard memory box- say, get another 60-100g add-on for these backups, or do CDs work ok?
    %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

    Thanks for not laughing at my ignorance and for your help.
     
  2. bigbuck

    bigbuck Registered Member

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    Hey Galcoolest,

    I really know next to nothing about this stuff...I'm sure you will get lots of really good advice very shortly....
    But in the meantime.....I have an 80GB HDD and an external USB/Firewire 80GB HDD. I am using Network Ghost V8 INTEL which I got from work (legally!...staff in High Schools can use work software at home).....Anyway it came on two (only) floppys. I boot from 1 then put in 2 and twenty minutes later I have cloned the HDD....I can clone back anytime I've got a problem. It is a great way to backup..and quite inexpensive too...cst me about $200Aus for the external drive. I think backing up to CDs would be a fair drama.
    Cheers,
    Brad.
     
  3. Galcoolest

    Galcoolest Registered Member

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    Thanks for your input Buckie-
    I have a funny feeling from what I DO understand of all of this that monkeying with/or relying on CD backups is asking for it. That just getting an external memory bit is way worth the money overall. But I'd like to get an imaging program PDQ and until I can score a proper hard memory piece at least attempt to image with CDs, so my questions on that stuff still stand- and I hope one of you experienced folks can baby feed my that info.

    (BTW - until now I have always backed up my goodies on CD- my downloaded programs, favorites, docs, art , music , photos, etc. and not freaked when I have had to wipe (only twice, and as recently) because my major software is all legit and on retail disks and the crud I want and need is all saved off site. BUT- I do lose my settings and SPEND HOURS reconfiguring which is idiotic when an image can whiz me back in 15 minutes).

    I still don't quite understand how these images get reimplanted on your fritzed machine- no matter where they are coming from... I hope a kind soul will jump in with a quick explanation and some suggestions as to which program to get given my limited needs....)


    :rolleyes:
     
  4. nod32_9

    nod32_9 Guest

    You must keep it as simple as possible when it comes to imaging software. An image file is a compressed copy a partition in your HD. To obtain a STABLE image file so that it can be restored at a later date, the software must copy EVERYTHING in the partition, as is without change. It is possible to corrupt the image file if the data on the copied partition change during the image creation. That's why mfrs of windows imaging software (run from windows environment) use various techniques to lock a partition while the image file is being created.

    The most robust imaging software is one that DOES NOT run from within windows environment. This excludes Ghost, TI, and all others that run from windows. The only non-windows imaging software that I would recommend is Bootit ng. Because Bootit does not run in windows, all partitions in your HD remain 100% static AND accessible during image creation. There is no need to lock, snapshot, or freeze any file! You can access the Bootit screen during PC boot or with a boot disc. Bootit is so simple, the download file takes less than 500 KB, and that includes a partitioning software. You can try the full version (image AND restore) for free during the 30 days trial period. The program costs $35. Make sure that you can image AND restore the data on your system BEFORE you fork over any $!!!

    http://bootitng.com/bootitng.html

    You can write the image file on removable media CDs or another HD. It appears that you have one primary C partition (WXP), and several extended logical partitions. You can also create another large extended logical partition Z to house the image files. Note that you cannot put the image file in the same location as the copied partition. A modern HD will usually warn you of impending failure (SMART monitor).

    For example, the user may want to image partition C and dump the image file to partition Z for safe keeping. If there is a problem with windows in partition C, then the user can restore the image file of C from Z. The image file will restore the C partition to the exact state when the image file was created. I would also keep a copy of an as-loaded and optimized C partitions on CD-Rs. The imaging software will automatically span the data to multiple discs.

    Most issues come from windows. Therefore, it is imperative that you regularly backup the C partition. Put the pagefile in the temps partition to reduce the size of your C image file. You don't need to image the pagefile. By putting everything else in the other partitions, the size of your C partition should be around 2GB or less. The imaging software will further reduce the size of the image file by another 40%. Remember to image C prior to any hardware/software upgrade. Some software will automatically install stuffs in C.

    My C partition is only 700 MB. Set the size of your trash bin to 1% of the partition size. Reduce the size of IE's cache to 9MB (1MB if you're not using IE). Advanced users can also disable windows file protection and empty the C:\WINDOWS\system32\dllcache. It is also possible to move C:\WINDOWS\Driver Cache to another partition.

    Good programs rarely go bad. Plus you can always reload them. I would keep one or two image files of the F programs partition, just for quick restoration. Gamers should create a separate partition for games. Personally, I don't waste time backing up games.

    Put the pagefile in temps G. I probably would not image this partition.

    Backup docs H when you've added new data to this partition. Keep personal stuffs that you don't want to lose in this partition.

    I use the following format to label my image file...year/month/day/partition...041116C

    If you're not a pack rat, then the 40GB may be large enough to store image files from the C, F, and G partitions at HIGH compression. You can always add another 60GB slave internal HD for less than $30. Reboot the PC and you will be presented with an opportunity to enter the Bootit ng screen. Once you're in this screen, you can elect to create the image file of the C partition and store the image file in the Z partition. Give the image file a name and the program will take over.

    Image restoration is just the opposite...select the image file that you want to restore from the Z partition and choose C for the destination partition. Exit Bootit screen upon completion and windows will reload.

    If you have the image files on CDs, then you need to load the first CD and you will see a screen that will guide you thru the image restoration procedure.

    Writing the image file to CDs will take a long time. That's why I prefer to use the extended logical partition method. A modern PC can process data north of 2GB/min. The partition to partition transfer speed of my 600 MHz PIII is 300MB/min.

    Post back for more help.
     
  5. nod32_9

    nod32_9 Guest

    You can relabel the partitions and optical drives in WXP. Go to Administrative tools\Computer Management\Disk Management (set Logical Disk Manager in services to AUTO if you see an error) to change the letter of the drives and partitions.

    I like to go with partitions C, D, E, F, G, H....

    Start the optical drive at M, then N....

    The use of FAT32 will yield a slight improvement in speed. On the downside, a large partition (>40GB) will result in bigger cluster size, and more wasted space.
     
  6. Galcoolest

    Galcoolest Registered Member

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    WOW! How thoughtful of Nod to write that much in explanation to me- and so clearly, understandably, helpfully! Bless your heart, friend!

    I thoroughly comprehend what you just relayed- and have but a couple of questions.

    1) I have not yet partitioned this Maxtor hard drive beyond 3 divisions, but now I realize that my labeling in the post was off- that D will be what I called F, etc- that the CD drives will no longer be D and E. I have always done an fdisk with "a maximum" size C created, which I then delete when the XP install disk was loaded and repartition- and this was mainly because I have no ther software to do it and as you may know the fdisk function will not let you divide up the drive pre-OS ..or I'm an idiot, missing something. Can you tell me about partitioning into those various segments Before popping in the XP install disk- and whether I'd want to or need a utility for that (cus I don't want to spend more money, and Powermax used to lowlevel wipe won't do it.)??

    2) Although I was very proud myself a 3 years ago when I singlehandedly installed a second 256 card, doubling my RAM, I have no clue about installing another internal hard memory gizmo. Of course I can find out from Dell, etc., but would that be cheaper or easier than obtaining a removable memory bit- cus if not, why would you want your image on the same electrical pipeline- tie in to the same juicing- as your operational stuff?
    If there is a catastrophic surge or fire or flood or whatever, you lose it all, right?, whereas with a pop on, pop off guy that you can secure in a fireproof filing cabinet nearby, aren't you way safero_O And that begs the question about imaging to a partition on your current 40g deal- why would you risk that, for the same and maybe more reasonso_O

    3) When CD-Rs were mentioned as media for backup, I thought they can take one write only (vs CDRWs) and if you want to image regularly, you're gonna plow through piles of CD-rs, right?

    4) What is a firewire setup and can I use it if all I have is USB ports (don't think so, but thought I'd ask) - I admit I haven't bothered at all to suss that one out. Duh on that. Alternatively, what kind of zippy deal do you get if you're going external with memory- what product is really good and cheap for its class to plug into a USB port and offload data?

    5) Is there any place on the Web worth a damn where one might want to store data- I know you can get tons of space for cheap, but is that just idiotic beyond belief to say, back up not so critical stuff out there somewhere for the outta sight outta mind factor?

    6) I have actually been tempted to follow a cheapskate friend's advice and use my Roxio Media Creator 7 backup utility for all the programs and data stuff I need to save , and then run FAST off the XP disk regularly just selecting settings, and if I need to, I can reload the settings from the FAST backup and then just throw on the Roxio stuff.

    BUT___ I have a funny feeling that if XP is history, if I'd have a hope of success, I'd have to have the files/settings transfer backup include all programs too, (and I have no idea- does FAST do that at all or wello_O) cus Roxio created disks don't talk to my system unless Roxio is loaded (well, I have been able to get around it like right lately with photos on Roxio made CDs initially rejected by ME by fooling the system in Win Explorer, and other nonsense,) but in a disaster scenario, I doubt some Roxio image of any programs would work real well, right?
    And such a plan just to use what I have would be so labor intensive even if feasible that it's a nutty idea, right?

    7) I got XP Pro off of eBay at a pretty good savings. If I can get an internal or externel piece is it okay to snoop there, or is getting hardware off of that source risky as opposed to sealed, new software (mine from a vendor with scores of sales and a 99% approval rating). And where DO you go to get either internal or external memory- aside form your high-priced pals at Dell (whose site tells you WHAT to get but isn't so great on being FROM WHOM to get...)

    That's enough for now! Thanks for your help Nod or anyone else!
    :cool:
     
  7. bigbuck

    bigbuck Registered Member

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    It's just another method of data transfer....
    I think it's suposed to be faster.
    My backup drive came with 2 cables (1 usb and 1 firewire)....I've used both with little difference in speed. You need a firewire port (IEEE 1394) to use firewire.
    Cheers,
    Buck.
     
  8. nod32_9

    nod32_9 Guest

    Another financially-challenged PC enthusiast? That's okay. There are many ways to go from A to B. Perhaps you can create a junk MSN account and post it here so I can give you more help. Can't send you a private message cause I'm not a member of this forum.

    Since you're starting from scratch, I would suggest that you wipe your current setup and create one big FAT32 primary active partition. Reboot with the WXP disc and install windows. This should be old stuffs for ya. Order a copy of the WXP SP2 upgrade disc from MS and update the OS to SP2 should you desire to do so (I'm still running SP1 with a firewall and AV). DO NOT add any harware software at this point.

    Download and install Bootit ng. This program contains the software that will allow you to add extended logical partitions to the HD without destroying the data in partition C! You will need to reduce the size of the C primary active partition to create free space. Use this free space to add an unlimited number of extended logical partitions. I would suggest three...a D for programs, E for important data, and F (largest partition) to store the pagefile, image files, games and junk stuffs that you don't need to backup.

    Suggested initial partition size:

    C (3 GB)
    D (3 GB)
    E (? cause I don't know how much stuffs you want to protect)
    F (remainder of the HD)

    Note that you can use Bootit ng to reallocate space from one partition to another. C, D, and E can grow in size if you free up more space in F. And you can do this without destroying/altering the data in any partition.

    Once you have created the F extended logical partition, use Bootit ng to create an image file of the C partition and dump the image file in the F partition. Label the image file MASTER_XP. This will represent a "virgin" copy of WXP without any tweak and/or mod. You can quickly restore MASTER_XP image file to the C partition to bring the PC back to "factory condition" to test hardware/software compatibility.

    Also instruct Bootit to image the C partition, but this time, put the CD writer as the destination drive. This will burn the image file on multiple CDs. The program will automatically ask for a new blank disc if required. With these recovery CDs, you now have the ability to restore WXP on any new HD if the HD is connected as the primary HD in your PC.

    The software that you have will not be able to modify the size of individual partition once you've installed windows. Remember that you have FULL ACCESS to Bootit ng during the first 30 days!

    I agree that the safest method of backup is to put the data on another removable HD or media (CDs, DVDs). If you have the $ (hehehehhh), then you can add a $15 quick-release internal HD bracket to an unused 5 1/4" drive bay (what model of DELL do you have and what is the speed of the CPU?). This set up will allow you to use an internal HD, which is much cheaper than an external HD. Plus, it will yield the highest throughput speed. I've seen a 7200 rpm 60 GB internal drive on sale for less than $30. It takes less than 5 seconds to remove the quick-release bracket. I could probably walk U thru the installation if you know how to use a screwdriver.

    Per my previous post, 99% of the problems are caused by corruption in the C windows partition. This can be overcome with a good image file in the F partition. I have yet to come across a bug that could destroy the image file in another partition. A modern HD will often warn you with an alert if it is not working properly. The goal is to make the process of backing up data simple and fast, so you will use it more often. If you're really paranoid, then you could image the C, D, and E partitions once a day, remove the quick-release bracket, and store it in a safety deposit box. Have at least two QR brackets so you can swap out disc.

    CD-Rs are not re-usable, but they will burn at a much faster speed than CD-RWs. The dye found in CD-Rs also has a much longer shelf-life. I normally wait for a sale to pickup a 100 spindle package of CD-Rs for the cost of sale tax (after rebate).

    Forget about Roxio. You're on the right path with the imaging software. Just get me a working email account and you'll be set to go.

    I'm on a 56K connection so I don't think about online storage.
     
  9. Galcoolest

    Galcoolest Registered Member

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    I am curious why Nod9 is not a member- why not? What's difficult, dangerous or undesirable with being a member here? Kind of makes me suspicious, to be perfectly honest.
    Notwithstanding, I appreciate the help. I know you're recommending proprietary software with which you an affiliation, which is okay. But I also realized a while ago tonight that I have the Ultimate Boot program which has partitioning utilities on it- can anyone advise of the quality of those if they are familiar with them?
    I think I will pop in some memory for the image if I can- still need to go snoop the Dell site- but I suspect it can be done with my Dell Dimension 4100 (2001) 933mhz, 512RAM...
    I'll get back when I have researched all the Dell stuff.
    In the meantime, if anyone has other ideas...?
    And thanks Nod...You can use galcoolest@yahoo.com as an email.
     
  10. nod32_9

    nod32_9 Guest

    Attempted to response to your last post but received the following error:

    Remote host said: 554 delivery error: dd Sorry your message to galcoolest@yahoo.com cannot be delivered. This account has been disabled or discontinued [#102]. - mta101.mail.dcn.yahoo.com

    BTW, you can sign-up for a FREE yahoo.co.uk account that will support POP. Current users of yahoo.com must fork over $ to activate the POP option. With POP3 enabled, one can receive/send mails with Outlook/OE/Thunderbird/Eudora and many other email proggies.
     
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