Newbee, please help w/ info about Acronis True Image Home.

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by WBFAir, Oct 8, 2008.

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  1. WBFAir

    WBFAir Registered Member

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    Although I have been around PC’s for many years I pretty new to doing regular backups and even newer to Acronis so I was hoping someone could answer a few questions to help me in some ideas I have for setting up a full backup plan.

    As far as the way Acronis works, if I want to make a complete backup of my main C:\ drive that I can use to extract files from if I want to rebuild a clean system, can I use a “My Computer” backup as even though it’s an image file, as I see with Acronis, I can stlll explore that file and extract any file I want or should I do a second complete “My Data” backup as well ?

    Also if I want to do the same thing with a storage drive that doesn’t have an OS on it, is there any reason to do a “My Computer” backup or is just doing a “My Data” backup just as good ?

    Essentially I think it is obviously important to do a “My Computer” backup of my C:\ drive in case I would want to completely restore a working drive but if I can extract any file I want from that as well if I’m doing a rebuild I don’t see any reason for a “My Data” backup of it too.

    Then as far as the storage drive is concerned, since it has nothing but stored files on it I don’t see any reason to do a “My Computer” backup of it since I’m just saving stored files and no OS so then I can just do a “My Data” backup of that which would be smaller but still provide me with all the same info if a drive failed as a “My Computer” Backup would.

    Does all of that make sense or am I missing something ?
     
  2. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    Since you're new to this forum and to True Image, I'll make these suggestions:
    • Read the ATI user guide / manual. It is pretty comprehensive, and will give you a good understanding of what ATI can do and how it does it.
    • Browse these forums. There are many threads covering everything you have asked about, so there's no reason to repeat the answers until you've done some work yourself. Spend an hour reading threads, in conjunction with trying out techniques in ATI, and you'll learn a lot.
    • Read the beginner's guides linked to from some regular posters here, such as Grover.
    • Once you have a decent understanding of ATI, if you still have specific questions then use the forums Search tool. I'll bet that every question you can raise has already been answered here many times.
     
  3. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I agree with tuttle on going throught the guides etc to get a better understanding of TI. Since you obviously have looked into TI a bit already, I'll give you my perspective since often reference material tells you how but not why.

    You can extract files from an image and restore them. A data or what is commonly called a Files and Folders (FF) backup is not required.

    Is the storage drive an external USB or is it just a second HD in your PC - not that it really matters? An image is typically faster than a FF backup because it does not use the file system to the same extent. Only the in-use sectors are backed up so it shouldn't be much different in size.

    True, but sometimes having 2 backups isn't a bad idea in case one is faulty for some reason. Depends on your archive storage space and time to create.

    Yes, but some of us consider TI's imaging ability to be more robust than its FF ability. This probably isn't as much of an issue now as it was previously when it was introduced.

    IMO, and I'm not alone, the best way to backup data files is a straight copy to another location. This can be done in Windows or by using another program which gives you control on what gets copied like SyncBack, Karen's Replicator, Synctoy, etc. This gives you single files that are not put into a giant proprietary container file. If a file goes bad you have 1 bad file, something goes seriously wrong with the container you may have nothing.

    Take special care of your personal data files. They are available nowhere else at any price. Windows and apps can always be reinstalled but once your personal files are gone, they are really gone!

    One other thing, you must be sure you can run the TI rescue environment properly on your PC to be able to restore an image. The absolute best way of doing this is to install a spare HD into your machine and restore your image and then boot the PC. This applies to any backup program, not just TI. The rescue CD environment is Linux and while Windows TI may work fine on your PC the Linux may not usually because of poor drivers for some hardware. Don't wait until you have to do a restore to find this out!

    The next best way if you don't want to go the spare HD route is to boot up the TI rescue CD (you have created it, haven't you?) and validate the archive. This ensures the archive can be read into memory properly and the thousands of checksums recreated properly. If this succeeds, then go through the Restore Wizard up to the point where you have to click on PROCEED - Cancel out at this point.
     
  4. WBFAir

    WBFAir Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply seekforever, the info you have provided is very helpful but I do have a few further questions if you don't mind
    Actually this is really the way I would prefer to do things too and I am using a 1TB drive for the backup storage so I don't really have to worry about the space as much, also like you said, having all the individual files stored out of a container file allows for better redundancy. And just btw I do have one machine that I am able to have a spare drive on that I installed and loaded with my OS so that I could do just a file copy with. Unfortunately I have another one and a laptop that I cannot do this on though.

    Aside from that, doing this does have a few problems though, one, since I really don't have the time to figure out every file I might need and since I have the space, I would much rather just copy my whole C: drive, but with just using the OS and copy and paste, (even if I did pick each file) I am constantly bothered by files that need permission to be copied which halt the process until OK'ed which is a real pain. Then there is the previous point of issues of if I were to try to reduce that by picking each file, which I don't think I need to go into as to why that's has a whole bunch of problems. Then overall even with this I have found that it still gets kinda fussy about some files that it just won't copy, especially if I try to C&P the whole disk, as they are in use or have some other issue even if there not from the operating OS system disk in use. Then of course there is the other issue in that I couldn't use this as an image file to restore a corrupted disk back to a previous state.

    All in all a backup program seemed to be something that I thought would eliminate most or all of these issues. To be honest though I thought even though I know the program is called TrueImage that it would have the capability to perform some type of backup direct non-container FF backup like that but I guess it doesn't.

    I will have to look into some of the programs that you had mentioned for a direct FF copy and see if they can produce that without all the issues I was referring to and then maybe use TI for a image backup in case I want to restore a corrupted disk.

    The only issue I have with those though is that I need to be able to perform copies of things across a network, such as backing up my Laptop which doesn't have enough HD space for a BU, to my 1TB drive on my mainPC. I am able to do this with TI which is really cool, but only as a container file obviously, but I wonder if I can get a copy program like the ones you mentioned that would do that?

    Do you know if the ones you mentioned do that, or if not do you know if there are any others that do?


    Yeah I have looked into and played with this a bit, from what I see there are two options, one, the Acronis Startup Recovery Manager, which I think is the thing that you mentioned has something to do with Lunix? If this is what you are referring to, I really don't think this is an option for me as that thing wants to have a space on the hard drive which I really don't want to give up, I know (or at least I think from what I read about it) that its about the same as just storing my image files on the drive what I like but I really don't want to block it off access to the drive the way that they do this so I'd rather not use that. Plus if I understand correctly, as you mentioned, is utilizes a Lunix system to do this ? So there could be issues from that.

    The Second option seems to be the Rescue CD which I have made and successfully booted to and gone though to the point of almost rewriting my main drive with so it seems to work fine so I think that might be the way to go as it seems a lot more stream line in that I just pop in the disk, pick a image or FF file and then just restore it is using the CD (if I understand all that I read correctly).

    As I mentioned, it seems to me that using TI for Image backups and then a copy program to make a full or at least as full as possible, unattended FF backup might be the best way to go.

    Thanks again for all the help seekforever and if you have the time for any more comments about anything else I wrote here I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thanks again.
     
  5. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Since you are backing up in Windows you should be able to map a network folder as a drive which assigns it a letter an off you go with SyncBack or whatever. Google for file copy programs, replicators, etc for more choices. I happen to use SyncBack and I then bought the paid version so it will keep versions of files which is one of the risks of a copy. A copy on a PC with the same filename in the same folder results in an overwrite and sometimes you want an earlier version for the time you realize something is screwed up but the backup has run and now the backup has the same problem.

    SyncBack, has a fully operational free version (not a demo) that you can try. Others may also be free or have a free version.

    I don't know if your permissions problem is from different accounts or a Windows protected file. You can exclude files if they are system files which have no value in a backup. You may be able run as an administrator if that is a help. I always run in an administrator account so don't see a lot of the issues perhaps.

    Once you get your base data backup done which will copy the files you selected to the backup device then an incremental happens after that unless you want something different and it all just happens to the new or changed files.

    The TI Startup Recovery Manager modifies your MBR so you can hit F11 on startup and it will start a recovery. I never use it. TI's restore of the active partition always runs in Linux whether or not from the boot CD or on a reboot after the desired restore information is entered in Windows. It never does a recovery of the active partiton by Windows. The only way to recover using TI in a Windows environment is to build a BartPE or VistaPE CD.
     
  6. WBFAir

    WBFAir Registered Member

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    Hello seekforever, and thanks for the quick reply
    It sounds like since you know so much about this stuff that if you use it, SyncBack would be a great program to get and thanks for the great tip on mapping the networked folder too. Just to be clear, this is the program you are referring to?
    http://www.2brightsparks.com/syncback/sbpro-features.html

    And just one other thing to be clear on, this program can be used as just a stand alone FF backup program correct and then shut down, it does not have to run as a Sync program IE, running in the background using up resources does it?

    Yeah I don't know either, nor do I really care, I'm sure there are a whole variety of different reasons for different files, all I know is that is not a very practical option so thats why I kinda am looking for a program to figure this all out as I think that would be a much better use of my time, but thanks for the tips.


    This is the only thing I think I still don't quite understand seekforever but maybe it would be easer to just clarify what I want and then you can tell me if I can do this.

    For whatever reason my PC from my main C: drive won't boot even to Windows last know good configuration, its hosed. So I pop in the TI rescue disk, boot from it and run the TI CD based program and use it to navigate to my Storage drive and select a TI "My Computer" image backup file that I made of my C drive say three weeks ago. I use the restore option of both the disk and the MBR and whatever other overwrite options there are and let TI do its thing.

    (btw I don't know, would doing a complete disk zeroed reformat to clean completely it off be better before this ?)

    I then reboot back to that drive and I now have a perfectly restored disk with all the info and correct working aspects that existed when I made that image backup.

    I then navigate to the SyncBack FF backup I made say two day before this and use that source to just copy and paste whatever more up to date files I might need to restore that are available from that

    Is all that correct?
     
  7. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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  8. bodgy

    bodgy Registered Member

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    Just a note, with 2009 you can now image to two locations at the same time, IOW's one image can be in two places.


    Colin
     
  9. WBFAir

    WBFAir Registered Member

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    Hey Seekforever, I'm not sure if you’re still subscribed to this post but I just thought I would drop you a note and tell you that I have tried the SyncBack Pro program that you recommended to me an found that it works great and works great for my needs.

    Actually I should mention that I tried the downloadable trial version and it worked great on my two PC's, root C:\ drive & D:\ storage drive to the E:\ BU storage drive copy on the same machine runs but I ran into quite a problem with it working correctly for my Laptop to the separate PC BU storage copies via a networked connection from the Laptop top a shared folder on the BU storage drive on the separate PC as for some reason during the run of that profile of making a complete copy of the Laptops root C:\ drive, it would hit a couple of files early in the run which it would fail to copy and then proceed to fail to copy everyone after that.

    Given that they have a support post form much like this one, I was able to make a post about it and within one day I received a response from a company rep who walked me through a bunch of possible fixes which didn’t resolve the problem but then set me up for a support ticket and instructed me on how to produce a debug file and submit it with that.

    Within one day of doing that I got a response that they had reviewed that file and felt that it was happening as a result of an issue with the Windows Shadow Volume system, which I gather is what allows locked or open files to be copied and provided me with a link to a new revised version that they had felt would resolve this issue.

    So I downloaded it and tried it and it work flawlessly!

    I was impressed.

    At any rate I now have what I feel is a proper backup program system for me, I have Acronis TrueImage (thank God I seem to have gotten it before the 2009 version came out huh) that I can use to make up a image backup that I can use incase of a massive failure in which I can use the rescue disk to resolve if my needs are to restore a working drive and then SyncBack Pro that I can use to make a complete File and Folder backup (or at least as much of a complete F&F backup that any program of this type can make) for the issues that would best be suited for that.

    So thank you for your help in pointing in the direction of that program. BTW I should mention that when I was going though this problem, I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to use it so I tested and evaluated many other sync and backup programs and while I know I didn’t get them all, of the ones I did, I found that SyncBack was defiantly the best program, with the most options for this…especially in its price range.

    The only other program that had as many options that I tried was GenieSofts Backup Manager but one, for some reason that program didn’t actually copy all the files it was asked to or showed in its report, to which when I posted a question about this to their own dedicated support board about a week ago, still has not even been responded to by them. Also for their most economical version, the home version, which as far as I can tell has even less abilities then SyncBack, they wanted like $114.98 for a three licenses package deal, where with SyncBack Pro you get to uses it legally on 1-4 separate machines for the single base purchase price!

    So again I just wanted to thank you for all your help, it really has helped me out a lot and is much appreciated.

    Take care.
     
  10. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Hi WBFair,
    Yes, I'm still around. Very pleased that SyncBack worked for you particularly when you had to get some support for it. Good to know they do it well. I also am impressed with their reasonable even generous licensing policy.

    Glad I could be of help.
     
  11. WBFAir

    WBFAir Registered Member

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    Hey seekforever.
    Actually I wonder now if I should have posted that.

    I can't remember but I was almost sure that I saw something on SyncBacks site that so long as it was for a home use application that a single purchase was good for 1-4 machines.

    After I posted this though I went to purchase it and found no mention of that and reduced pricing for more then one purchase which now makes me wonder if it was SyncBack that had that or maybe one of the other many programs I was trying at the time.

    Just thought I would make a note about that as I could be wrong.
     
  12. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    No, you were right, same as for SE version. This is from the Pro's features:

    Great Price
    Outstanding value
    A single user license for SyncBackPro covers its use on up to 5 computers for personal use. Volume licensing for businesses.
     
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