Newbie, very frustrated

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by mtroxel, Jul 6, 2006.

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  1. mtroxel

    mtroxel Registered Member

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    I don't know when I've been this frustrated with a new piece of software. I can't begin to list all the quetions I have about how to make this work. The FAQ's leave much to be desired, and the help files in the application itself don't help much.

    Is there a way I can just backup an image of my entire hard drive without spending a day reading the .pdf? When I just start a backup to a network drive (my desktop computer) it looks like it's going to take hours. I can't tell how much space it's going to take on the other hard drive..though it talks about compression.

    Is it unrealistic for me to back up this amount over a 54Mps wireless system or should I really have a USB external drive?

    How can a home user who doesn't know a lot about disk images learn to use this thing? I just don't have a day or two to learn this. It has to be easier.
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2006
  2. Mooron

    Mooron Registered Member

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    An external USB drive is definately the way to go. Trying to do a
    large backup over a wireless connection is going to slow and very
    frustrating. Wireless networks are generally not reliable enough to
    stay up for hours at a time without any failures and every time the
    network burps the backup will fail. Be sure your USB port is USB 2.0,
    doing it at USB 1.1 speed will be even more frustrating than the
    wireless network.

    - Mooron
     
  3. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    It is easy once you know how. IMO, you should be prepared to spend a bit of time trying to understand the program after all you bought it to save your precious data which you probably have considerably more time invested in. However, it is not a typical word-processor or email application, by necessity it does get down to a lower level of your disk system that many people never deal with.

    TI doesn't support wireless AFAIK. It may well work in Windows but if you need the rescue CD to restore it very likely will not work with wireless. Also, a backup generally is a large amount of data and you will find wireless very slow.

    A USB2 external is a far better idea.

    Other options are to backup to another partition on the HD and then burn the resulting archive files to DVD. You have to set the split size in Tools Options or at the options screen in the backup wizard so the file(s) will fit on DVD.

    Better still is to backup to a second internal HD.

    With build 3666 and later you can directly backup to DVD.

    IMO, you should first backup your C partition to another partition on the same drive or a partition on another internal drive and then Validate it. This is usually the most trouble-free method. After you can do that then consider saving the archive to other places if you wish.

    The program is wizard driven which doesn't do too bad a job of guiding you through the process but the first few times it will likely entail some head-scratching.

    Remember that if you are making an image you are dealing with partitions as the fundamental data unit (logical drives in simple terms). You can backup individual partitions or the entire physical disk by checking the appropriate boxes. You can also do selected Files and Folders but this will not give you a bootable system if you have to restore C on another disk, it is intended for backing up data files and is much slower than creating an image.

    The difficult part is that you don't really know how good your backups are until you do a restore. Many users recommend that you try a restore on a spare drive to make sure it works. Until you know you can restore you haven't adequately tested your backup method.
     
  4. simusphere

    simusphere Registered Member

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    mtrox, I'll take the gigabit wired lan over a USB drive any day. But if one of your PC's is a laptop that doesn't have the gigabit ethernet port then the next best thing is a USB drive.

    Amen, Seek.
     
  5. mtroxel

    mtroxel Registered Member

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    Thanks Mooron. Since then I saved a complete backup (is that an image or just a compressed backup of all my files?) to my desktop just to see how big it was going to be. My 52 Gig laptop drive with 16 Gigs of data made a 12 Gig file. So now I understand why you tell me to stay away from wireless.

    Is there an overview of this somewhere? I want to know what an image is. Is that the data and the format just like a ghost image? I don't know what the Acronis Secure Zone is. Can I just transfer this image to another hard drive? Is there a way I can test the image I saved to be sure it works?

    My impression is that Acronis assumes you are an IT person with experience with drive images. The home version needs an overview of what all this means.

    EDIT: I saw more replies after I sent that. Thanks guys. I'm not under the impression I can restore over wireless. It was just my way of getting the image file somewhere else. I assume that in the event I need to restore the image I can just put that image on an external drive and go from there. But now that I see the size of the image file, even I can figure out that wireless is not practical.
     
  6. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Disk imaging programs used to provide an exact replica of a partition by backing up the in-use sectors and then restoring them to the same place. Nowdays, TI and perhaps others, do not restore the sectors to the exact same location from which they were copied.

    The advantage of making a map of in-use sectors and then directly backing them up is a large increase in speed by not having to go through the file system (open, copy, close etc).

    So an image is a "copy" of the sectors being used to store data in a partition or partitions. You cannot read the resulting archive without the program that created it and you cannot read a Ghost archive with TI or vice-versa.

    The Acronis Secure Zone (SZ) is an area that can be setup with Acronis on the main HD or a second HD or even a USB drive. It is called secure because the contents are not accessibly without going through TI. However, if you store your backups in it and the drive goes bad then the backups are lost as well. You do not need to use the SZ although some users find it handy because it will automatically delete old backups according to a set of rules. I don't use it.

    The SZ does also provide a way for people who only have one disk with one partition on it to create a second partition for archive storage and this is likely why the the feature was created. Now that drives are so large (likely partitioned) and cheap the need for this feature is diminished.

    The disadvantage of the SZ is that you can only see what is in it with TI. You cannot delete, move or copy archives into or out of it with Windows Explorer. You, for example, cannot copy an image to a DVD.

    I would recommend you create your images to a normal partition until you get a better grip on TI. After you get the basic functionality understood you can try setting up a SZ if you wish, and explore things like incremental and differential backups. Walk before you run!
     
  7. mtroxel

    mtroxel Registered Member

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    Nice post Seek. That gives me some background. From what you said, I don't see a big reason to use SZ. My plan is to store the image on another drive across the network. I have backups of my data in several locations. I want the image because I end up rebuilding every few months and if I can just store an image of a clean, fresh, good running partition and restore from that, I can always recover data from my ntbackups.

    Is there an easy way for me to confirm that the image is not corrupt...outside of buying an extra empty drive just to restore it?

    EDIT: OK, I copied my image to a USB HD, then copied it to my other computer. Now I can mount the image through the wireless network and see all of the usual folders that are on the hard drive now. Is that pretty good proof that the image is not corrupt?
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2006
  8. ptoney

    ptoney Registered Member

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    Re: Very frustrated too

    I too, am very frustrated. I used the trial version of true image to copy or clone my 40gb "c" drive onto an external usb 250gb. The process took hours and when I turned on the laptop this morning my computer said the "e" drive was the size of the c drive. I want to scream I'm so ticked off. I formatted the e drive thinking that would take care of the problem but it didn't. I would appreciate some advice.:(
     
  9. Mooron

    Mooron Registered Member

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    You will eventually figure eveything out as you play with it.
    I guess you could describe an image as picture of what's on
    your hard drive. I stay away from secure zone, it seems pointless.
    The main reason you make a backup of your hard drive is so you
    can get your stuff back when something happens to the drive,
    crash or whatever. Putting the backup copy on the same drive
    seems like a dangerous thing to do.

    I use USB drives a lot. I don't buy the ready-made ones because
    they are way overpriced for what they are. You can buy an
    external enclosure for $35 and an IDE drive and make your own.
    Or buy just an IDE to USB cable plus power supply for $20 and
    lay the loose drive on your desk while you do that backup.
    Staples and Office Depot have really good deals on IDE drives
    once in a while. The last one I bought was $60 for a 200GB drive.

    I backup my notebook with an external USB drive and tell
    acronis to make DVD size image files. Then I can connect
    the USB drive to a computer with a DVD burner and burn
    the files. It's very simple.

    Acronis has a verify image tool BTW. I generally don't bother with it.
    I just make sure my DVDs are readable.

    - Mooron
     
  10. mtroxel

    mtroxel Registered Member

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    ptoney, if you cloned your c: drive wouldn't the result be the same size as the original? That's what clone means. I think you meant to back it up. And if you reformatted after the clone, I'm betting your external drive is back to 250 Gigs of empty space.

    I think you want to do what I'm doing, make a backup image of your c: drive. That will be one file that can sit on your 250 Gig external.
     
  11. Mooron

    Mooron Registered Member

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    Re: Very frustrated too

    What exactly were you trying to do?
    If you were trying to make a backup, clone is the wrong thing to do.
    If you really wanted a copy of the drive, clone is the right thing
    to do but, you should have resized the partition(s).

    - Mooron
     
  12. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Re: Very frustrated too

    Hello ptoney,

    I guess you must have "Cloned" your C: drive to your external USB drive without resizing (manually or automatically) rather than creating a disk "Image" of it. Otherwise I don't see how the external drive would end up the same size as your C: drive. Was the intention to replace your 40GB internal disk with the 250GB disk out of the external USB enclosure? If not, then you shouldn't have used TI's Clone function - use the Backup Wizard instead.

    Anyway, one way to recover the now unallocated space is to carry out the following:

    - Use the Manage Acronis SecureZone Wizard to create a small temporary Secure Zone (SZ) in the unallocated space on your external USB drive.
    - Once the SZ has been created, use the Manage Acronis Secure Zone Wizard once more to remove the SZ and opt to assign the space it used to the 40GB partition.
    - Reboot your system and you should now find you have a 250GB external drive again.

    Regards
     
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