Overkill for my situation?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Dazed_and_Confused, Jul 6, 2004.

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  1. Dazed_and_Confused

    Dazed_and_Confused Registered Member

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    Looking for some opinions from experienced users of Acronis True Image (ATI), please. :)

    I've been considering a purchase of ATI for the purpose of backing up my hard drive. After reading their web site literature and articles in PC magazines, I get the impression it might be overkill for my purposes.

    I have a copy of each of the programs on my PC, in addition to the operating system itself (XP Home). In case of a HD failure, all I really need to have backed up are my documents. Currently I do a simple drag-and-drop of my "My Documents" folder to my CD burner on a weekly basis. I can see how having an entire HD image might save time restoring my system after a crash, but $50 seems a little pricey for a convenience I may never use (if my HD never crashes). Besides, regarding the prospect of having to do a complete reinstall of my OS and programs, I understand it's a good idea to reinstall the operating system every so often - kind of like cleaning house. So on to my questions.

    1. Would you really recommend this software for someone who just needs to keep a current copy of documents?
    2. How long does it take (in general) to create an image of a 80MB HD?
    3. If I want to backup my documents weekly, will I have to do a completely new image, or does ATI do a good job of performing "incremental" HD images?
    4. Am I missing something here that would make imaging my HD a better backup solution that what I'm currently doing?

    Sorry for the lengthy post. Thanks in advance for your comments! :)
     
  2. optigrab

    optigrab Registered Member

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    Hi D&C,

    I don't know if I can help you make your decision, but I'd like to point out two issues that you may find relevant:
    (1) Where do you intend to store your ATI images? A separate partition or drive, or CD's? If the latter, consider the added effort (and minor cost). I went that route for a short time and hated it until I got an external HD.
    (2) Have you ever deleted a file and wished you hadn't?

    Good luck with your decision.

    -O
     
  3. Dazed_and_Confused

    Dazed_and_Confused Registered Member

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    Thanks, Opti. :)

    Answers to your questions...

    1. Hard Drive on a networked PC.
    2. Not that I can remember. :D Now I do use the Recycle Bin>Restore File feature often. :rolleyes:
     
  4. DaHen

    DaHen Registered Member

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    Hi D & C:

    Also, have you ever upgraded your favorite program only to find that you don't like it and wished you have the older version back? :rolleyes:

    Of course upgrades should be better than the previous version in most cases.

    DaHen
     
  5. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

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    Hi D & C,

    This is what I've done for my data and I'm very happy with it so far.
    I have a mid sized HD (160GB) partitioned for OS and Programs.
    My motherboard has a bulit in RAID controller which I have hooked up to 2 120GB drives in Mobile Racks which I store My Documents/Favorites/email/and My Downloads. It is set up as a RAID 1 mirror array. It seamlessly saves my data on both drives and takes no system resources like a shadow copying system would. It is all done in hardware. I made a Norton Ghost Image of my OS partition on it as well. Should all hell break loose (Tornado/Hurricane/Earthquake/Wildfire) I can turn a key, pull the lever and take my precious data with me in seconds. It costs more, but drives are getting cheap and most recent motherboards have RAID. A RAID card can also be obtained for about $50 and up. Should a drive fail, no problem, just keep working with one data drive and order a replacement for the failed drive. Put the new drive in and it can rebuild the array from the good drive. It is great, definately not overkill. It takes no time to do a backup because the backup is already done everytime you save a file, it saves it to both drives.

    It is not invulnerable to malware of course, as malware infecting one drive will also infect the mirror. After a clean OS install I will still burn a Ghost Image boot CD.

    HTH
     
  6. Dazed_and_Confused

    Dazed_and_Confused Registered Member

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    That's not a bad idea, Devinco. I was considering RAID 0 before I purchased this PC, just to speed things up. But I went the less expensive route with just a single HD. Setting up your type of RAID 1 on my bare-bones PC sounds difficult and expensive, but very attractive. ;)
     
  7. Dazed_and_Confused

    Dazed_and_Confused Registered Member

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    Hello, DaHen. :)

    I had to think about your post for a while. Yes, that has happened, and recently (with ZoneAlarm 5.0). Unfortunately, it wasn't until a number of days later that I realized the latest version was a bunch of cra*, and by then it would have been too late to do a complete 180 degree turn. In these situations I assume your only option is to completely restore the entire HD image.
     
  8. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello D & C --

    First of all My Documents is a bit tricky folder :) I mean in case your filesystem is NTFS. Take a guess - if your Windows crashes and you have a copy of your documents somewhere, after you re-install the Windows will you be able to access these documents immideately? No, cause of the Windows security issue. Though if you know how to deal with that problem - it won't take a lot of time to get it working.

    Also, if you are planning to upgrade to a bigger HDD for example, Acronis True Image might be useful for you as you can "migrate" your old drive to the new one and it will be working like the old one.

    Just my 2 cc :)

    Thank you.

    --
    Best regards,
    Anton Gromov

    Acronis, Inc.
    395 Oyster Point Blvd. Suite 213
    South San Francisco
    CA 94080 USA
    http://www.acronis.com/

    Acronis... Compute with confidence
     
  9. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Anton

    Please explain in a bit more detail about the "security" issue with my documents. Does that imply there would be a better way to place data, like in some separate folder under the c: drive?

    Thanks
     
  10. JimIT

    JimIT Registered Member

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    Hi dc. Your hd *will* crash. It's just a matter of *when*. ;) Also, consider virus infection, power surge/sag, "Windows thangs"...

    Some will disagree with me on this, but I feel if your OS is properly "maintained" (registry cleaned regularly, etc.) and the hd is kept defragged--this is really unnecessary. But FWIW, it's much easier to make an image of your drive while it's "pristine", and has all the up-to-date, working drivers, etc. and "clean house" with that, rather than reinstall the OS, and build everything on top.

    I haven't used TI, but I know it's good stuff, and I would certainly recommend imaging software for pretty much *every* computer user who uses e-mail or the internet.

    All I can tell you is that once you use imaging software, you'll wonder why you didn't get it sooner. ;) (That's my *personal* opinion only...)
     
  11. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello Peter2160 --

    Well, in brief : My documents folder is associated with certain user - I believe it's clear as it is a fact.

    Now imagine your windows goes down... you reinstall it and try to access that folder from your new Windows - what will you see? NOTHING (In case the filesystem is NTFS of course). You will need to change the rights or rather not rights but the list of the users that can access that folder. It's not a common situation and I believe if it happens - guys from Microsoft will provide you with all the neccessary instructions how to access the folder.

    Thank you.

    --
    Best regards,
    Anton Gromov

    Acronis, Inc.
    395 Oyster Point Blvd. Suite 213
    South San Francisco
    CA 94080 USA
    http://www.acronis.com/

    Acronis... Compute with confidence
     
  12. f123

    f123 Guest

    Imaging a partition is one of the BEST way to recover a PC to that working state, even if you have installed a bad program that you cannot delete/repair. It will also fix HD corruption such as spyware, virus, etc. How many times did you run a windows update, only to find out that the patch is really buggy?

    I test a lot of software. Even subject my OS to virus infection. To undo these problems, I simply restore the good image file and all is back to NORMAL.

    The best time to image the OS is when it was new. This will provide you with a MASTER copy for future restoration. I like to keep ONLY my operating system in the primary C partition. Other data and programs are stored in another extended D logical partition (same hard drive). I also added another large E logical partition to house the image files.

    So why keep only the OS in the C partition? Because most corruptions are linked to the OS. By keeping the C partition small (mine is only 710MB), one can quickly create the image file of the OS prior to installing software. If you encounter problem, then simply restore the good image file and you're back to normal. A modern PC can process the image file at a speed of 700MB/minute under normal compression. You should also back up the D data partition if you've added new data. Most imaging software can automate the imaging process while you sleep. Use image compression to achieve a 50% reduction in data.

    If you generate important data on a daily basis, then I would recommend that you create another extended logical partition, says F, to house these data. Then use the imaging sofware to backup the F partition.

    I only backup the C partition when I add new hardware and/or sofware.

    Modern HDs use SMART monitoring to detect impending failure. Hopefully, this will provide adequate warning so you can transfer the good image files to another new HD. Another strategy is to add a second slave HD to the PC and use it to store the image file.

    To answer the original post, if all you want to do is to backup MY DOCUMENT, then I would suggest that you download BOOTITNG (free 30 day trial) to add at least two extended logical partitions to your HD. The first partition will house MY DOCUMENT, while the other partition will serve as storage space for your image file. Note that you cannot store the image file in the same partition that you're trying to image. You can image a 300MB MY DOCUMENT folder in about one minute. Five minutes if you have a very old (200MHz) PC.

    So how does one move MY DOCUMENT? Just start Windows Explorer. Right click on My Document, select Properties, and use the Move tab to transfer My Documents to another location...like F:\My Documents in the Target box. Now create the image file of the OS to preseve this setting.

    TI 7 is quite good, but I don't like the way this program changes the cluster size to a default value when restoring the image file. So as of right now, I would recommend Drive Image 5. It's an older program by Powerquest. I would avoid the newer Drive Image by Symantec...bloatware!
     
  13. f123

    f123 Guest

    I only have ZA Pro 4.5.594 (high security, high ad blocking, high mobile control code, all options checked in cookie control except for privacy advisor) and an e-mail scanner running in the background. Virus definition are manually updated twice a week. Never had gremlins in my PC. There are too many bugs in IE and Outlook. That's why I disable Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer in ZA. I prefer Firefox 0.9.
     
  14. Robyn

    Robyn Registered Member

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    I Have TI and although I have never restored a backup I have asked questions on this forum about doing so. Creating the backup is easy but I have since learnt that to restore a backup perfectly it is best to completely clean the drive using something like the Disk Cleaner program Acronis has.

    I have now purchased Power Utilities and although some of this suite will just be sitting without use eg Migrate Easy
    I am actually getting a new HD installed but will be installing XP Pro on this so cannot migrate but this time as soon as I have my drive running I intend to keep a complete image and if I then had to re-install I could clean with the Disk Cleaner and then restore the image I have taken (day 1) which would include all XP updates and all my drivers etc which would be time saving.

    It does worry me when I read about the restores which do not work but hopefully when I need to do anything like this it will work as I have a quite a few Acronis tools now.

    D&C - for ease of creating backups TI is great and I believe you can select a file or folder you may need (not necessarily restoring a full image) I also have Ghost but Ghost is just not as easy for my external drive as TI is. I use ghost for backups to my 2nd HD - overkill o_O To make matters worse I am not confident that either will restore as I hope they will :oops: at least I am backing up!
     
  15. f123

    f123 Guest

    Never had to do anything to "clean" my HD prior to image restoration. Perhaps this is a unique issue with TI. I still log out of Windows when I make the image file. Better safe than sorry. I would highly recommend Drive Image 4. DI5 if you're running WXP. It's always best to restore a bootable active primary partition containing a working OS if you don't have a lot of experience in running a multi-boot PC.
     
  16. Devinco

    Devinco Registered Member

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    Hi Robyn,

    Doesn't TI have an image verification feature? I know Ghost has one so you can check the integrity of the image without having to actually do a restore.
     
  17. Robyn

    Robyn Registered Member

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    Hi

    TI does let me verify and view the image and I can see all my files and folders fine but I know someone who could also do this and when he really needed to restore the Image TI let him down and he was really confident with the software. He actually recommended it to me but when it let him down even though he was able to verify and mount the image!

    When I read the posts for help in this forum when a restore goes wrong I am worried but then I have to realise out of all the people who use TI this section will only get the cries for help so hopefully there are people who restore without any problems.

    Ghost takes me out of Windows also but I do am inclined to use TI more frequently as I am can back up my data etc to my external drive which Ghost just complicates for me. I find it is better to use this with antother internal drive (just as well I have lots of space on my drives :rolleyes: )
     
  18. f123

    f123 Guest

    I like to mount the slave internal HD on quick release HD bracket. First it's cheaper than external HD. Second, it is simple to backup and restore data. Third, it is fast. Fourth, it is immune to PC bugs if you remove the slave HD.

    I also had a problem restoring the image file with TI7. This happened during testing so I'm not sure if this was caused by my lack of experience with TI7. Been using Drive Image 4/5 since 2000. Restored hundreds of image files without a single incident. Great program but is a little slower than TI7. I do not recommend the latest version of Drive Image (now owned by Symantec).
     
  19. Dazed_and_Confused

    Dazed_and_Confused Registered Member

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    Thanks to everyone for all the feedback. I tried Norton Ghost a few years ago and it left a bad taste in my mouth regarding imaging software. I have read that TI is better. However, some of the comments regarding the occassional inability to restore an image concerns me. :( With backup software, the ability to restore a perfect image EVERY time is obviously critical. Drag-and-drop to a CD works every time. :) In my case, I would rather it take a little while longer to gain access to my files, knowing there is a 100% probability I am going to be able to get to them. Reliability is #1 to me. :)
     
  20. f123

    f123 Guest

    Imaging the data is the best way to protect critical information. Per my previous post, Drive Image 4 or 5 is 100% reliable (hundreds of successful read and write sessions with may PC configurations). I agree with you that Ghost is a very clunky piece of software.

    Windows can lock up with large file transfer resulting in corrupted data. That's why I don't trust drag n drop when dealing with large chunk of data.

    Learn how to image data in the HD and you will never have to worry about data corruption and PC gremlins.
     
  21. nick s

    nick s Registered Member

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    Ghost was awkward a few years ago, but I've been pleased with Ghost 2003. For me, TI6 restored flawlessly, but when I ran into problems with TI7's restore CDs, I bought Ghost 2003. You still have to reboot with Ghost, but it images and verifies my 120 GB drive (85% free space) in 15 minutes, and the restores have been perfect.

    Nick
     
  22. TheQuest

    TheQuest Registered Member

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    Hi, f123

    When you delete a Partition it does not delete the data it is still there. [full of dros]
    Some people keep deleteing Partitions and do installs or restoring Images time after time,
    and then wonder why they are have trouble with , slow start and shutdowns, and data corruption.

    So Robyn was only saying what I told her for a trouble free system to wipe the HDD,
    as I think it is best Practice. IM[no H]O

    Take Care,
    TheQuest :cool:
     
  23. TheQuest

    TheQuest Registered Member

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    Hi, Dazed_and_Confused

    Most of what was in my lost post has been said, Daisey.

    No software will work on every system in the world without bugs, there are as you know so many combinations of
    hardware, then when you add in all the software programs it can become a look to the sky for help.
    But most problems can be sorted with help.

    Some people have trouble with burning Images to CD's this is not usually the softwares fault, but the Optical Drives inability to use the media.[usually the media is at fault]

    It is best advice to go to the Optical Drive Manufactures site,and see what Media was has been tested in their drives. [Most have a list]

    You asked how long it takes to make an Image depends on the amount of data on the Partition to be Imaged, also so the speed of the system hardware.

    On my Two 80gb SATA Maxtor's HHD in Raid0, Seeen as one 160gb HHD.
    I have Two Partitions C:\20gb[Used 5.47gb] and D:\152gb[used 9.12gb] which is about 14.5gb used.
    It take about 26mins to Creat the Image to a 80gb Maxtor [133] PATA in [ViPower Mobile SuperRacks] and 4mins to Verfire the Image and 5mins to restore the Image.

    This is all done with the CD-BootDisk so there is no interferance [there is all ways chance of this happening] from the OS or other software programs.

    There is one considertion in my system, I only recently build the system myself and took my time to find the best compaterbilty with all the parts,[and the media] takes time but worth for the end result.

    Take Care,
    TheQuest :cool:
     
  24. f123

    f123 Guest

    The imaging software copies everything in the selected partition...good and bad 0s and 1s. If there are bad data in the partition, then the restored partition will also contain bad data. Same principle as disc cloning. You don't want to clone a sick OS to a brand new HD.

    However, if you have a CLEAN image file, then you can restore the clean image file over the corrupt partition to wipe out the problem.
     
  25. Dazed_and_Confused

    Dazed_and_Confused Registered Member

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    Wow. :eek: Lots of good information. Thanks again for the feedback. :)

    One of the advantages that I can see of conventional backup software is that you can automate backups. One of the comments above (I believe by F123) gives me the impression that to make an image of your HD using TI you must exit Windows. I do remember having to do this with Ghost. I also seem to remember reading somewhere that exiting Windows was not a requirement for TI. I would think having to exit Windows would eliminate the option of making automated backups using TI. What's the story here?
     
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