Please advise safest way to protect myself in case of OS failure

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by roystont5038, Mar 31, 2009.

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  1. roystont5038

    roystont5038 Registered Member

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    Hi,

    Just installed Acronis True Image Home 2009 (ATIH).

    I have two operating systems on two hard drives in their own partitions on the drives. I am able to select which OS I want to boot into. Let us call them Primary OS (POS) and Secondary OS (SOS).

    My object is to be able to restore the POS in case it is too damaged to start, or I just want to restore it to the condition it was in before it became corrupted.

    I have space for Acronis Secure Zone on yet another hard drive. I also understand about Acronis Startup Recovery Manager. Additionally, I have another computer networked to this computer by cable and a router. ATIH is installed on that computer also.

    I understand most things about ATIH, but I cannot decide on the best strategy to enable assured, safe, easy, no problems, no failures, restoration of my POS whenever I need to.

    Please advise how I should use ATIH to achieve my objective.

    Thank you
    Roystont5038
     
  2. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I don't use the Acronis Startup Recovery Manager nor the Secure Zone. Doesn't mean they are bad, I just don't want them. The ASRM modifies the boot record and I don't see using it all that much to make it worth the bother. The SZ requires you manage your archives via TI not Windows Explorer. You can't copy an archive into or out of the SZ by normal methods.

    I would make a whole disk image of your HD and store it on the second internal HD. You could also make individual images of each partition too. Either case will also incorporate the MBR into the archive which could be restored if it gets corrupted. When restoring a partition, TI doesn't automatically restore the MBR but you do have the option of requesting it be restored if necessary - normally it isn't necessary.

    For extra security you could copy the archive on the HD to the other computer as well. You can also copy it to a USB HD or DVDs. I always split my images so the files will fit on a DVD just in case but I consider DVDs to be the least desireable of media for such a purpose.

    This how I do my images. Fast easy access on the second HD and selected ones stored elsewhere for more security.

    Until you've done a test restore you don't have any confidence. Do it to a spare HD if you have one. This is important since the rescue CD is Linux not Windows.

    If you don't want to do a restore to a spare HD (there is a chance it can fail and you will have nothing) then the next best thing is to:
    Boot the TI CD and make an image with it.
    Validate the image with the TI CD.
    If it works, then it is likely to work when you need it.
     
  3. roystont5038

    roystont5038 Registered Member

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    seekforever,

    Sounds good.

    Anyone else?

    Thanks
    Roystont5038.
     
  4. roystont5038

    roystont5038 Registered Member

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    seekforever, hello again,

    Do I boot into the SOS to make these partition images and whole disk images? Or do I make them while in the POS?

    I rather feel that I cannot make an image of the OS I am booted into, while I am using it, or even the hard drive it is on?

    Many thanks
    Roystont5038.
     
  5. anettis

    anettis Registered Member

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    I too don't use the Acronis Startup Recovery Manager nor the Secure Zone. Currently I make image copies and data backups to a NAS drive configured for RAID. I like the idea of using a completely separate device for backups in case the PC in question crashes really hard i.e. water spill, overheat, massive surge, etc. as this could impact more than one hard drive in the PC. Also with the NAS approach you can access your backups from any PC on your home LAN.
     
  6. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    You can make an image of the Windows OS you are running. TI is capable of handling the changing disk while doing the image. Some people do prefer to always use the TI rescue CD to make their images because they are dealing with a static HD. Can't argue with the idea that working on a static HD is better but the number of issues that are caused by doing live imaging within Windows is very, very small, if that.

    anettis is correct in saying that a backup kept off the machine is safer. However, my experience indicates that most catastrophic HD failures are limited to a single HD; this is not to say that getting more than one is impossible. This is the reason I copy selected backups to a different device.

    NAS is good but is slower unless you are running a gigabit network version. Also, be very careful that the TI rescue CD can indeed recover the images from a NAS device. Of course, if you have second operational PC you can copy the files off the NAS using it and then put them onto some other device to do a recovery on the dead machine.

    NAS also suffers from the fact that it is connected to the PCs via the network. I have heard of cases of lightning strikes taking out everything on a home network. The safest is probably USB HD storage put in a drawer or stored off-site in case of fire or theft.

    Having said all that, the odds of needing anything that is further removed than the primary backup, be it internal, networked, off-line or off-site are very small.
     
  7. jehosophat

    jehosophat Registered Member

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    I agree with all the good advice given here. I do regular full backups of the whole system using a boot disk to an external drives. I also do a scheduled Acronis daily automated backup of Data only to a 2nd hard disk.

    I dont backup to DVD's as there is too much swapping of media. If I did backup to dvd's then I would do a 2 step approach creating 4gb size files on a hard disk and then copy these to dvd's.

    I think that it is important to store your backups away from your pc in case of pc theft or fire.
     
  8. dwalby

    dwalby Registered Member

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    There's a practical limitation to this approach, the fact that ATI can only reliably restore the system image to the same PC it was taken from. If your PC goes up in flames or is stolen, the replacement will have a different mobo, drivers, etc. and when you put the old system image on the new machine it won't necessarily work. (it may work, but only if you're lucky). You can always restore data partitions to any machine, so this is good advice for images of your data partitions.

    Acronis Echo enterprise claims to be able to restore to any new hardware, so it doesn't have the limitation of plain old ATI with the system partition.
     
  9. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    While I would sooner just take my data files and application installation files and setup a new PC with them from scratch, it isn't impossible to get a new PC to run with the old PC's configuration.

    It requires doing a Windows repair to get the appropriate drivers but a lot of people have done it. Acronis also sells and add-on product called Universal Restore for restoring to different hardware but you need the Workstation version of TI rather than Home to use it.

    I only image my C drive and do other form of backup for my data files. I was preparing a HD to take to a friend's house for off-site storage just in case it all gets stolen or burns up. I also was thinking that having an image of C on the archive HD wasn't really all that important.
     
  10. anettis

    anettis Registered Member

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    Here is my backup summary:

    1) Periodic image copy stored on NAS RAID.
    2) Daily incremental backup of data files stored on NAS RAID.
    3) Monthly full backup of data files stored on NAS RAID.
    4) Keep two USB sticks in car - each one with an identical collection of recent full monthly data backups.
    5) Some image copies on an external drive at my folks house.

    I think I am covered. :cool:
     
  11. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    Do you live in a place where, on hot days, it gets to 80F (27C)? If you do, inside the car may well get to over 100F (38C).
     
  12. anettis

    anettis Registered Member

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    I live in Florida so that would be a big yes. :) The USB sticks stay in a closed compartment between the front seats. My car is typically in the garage but of course not all the time. Your concern is certainly valid. Although to be honest, it seems like those USB sticks are nearly indestructible. I would not bet my life on it but I suspect the better ones can withstand quite a bit of torture.
     
  13. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Another wrinkle for data backup security. Are any files that have sensitive information encrypted?
     
  14. anettis

    anettis Registered Member

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    I typically password protect and encrypt my backups / image copies via TI options.
     
  15. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    Ouch! As you can see from my location, I'm also in Florida (near Tampa) and I'm had some music CDs kept in the car, not play well after a while. Of course it could have been bad quality media as most of the CDs still play well. If you are going to depend on those USB sticks, and you park in, say, a shopping center in the heat of our Summer, I would try to make those sticks a little more "comfortable".

    Have you gone through a Summer with those sticks in the car?
     
  16. anettis

    anettis Registered Member

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    I have a 3rd USB stick in my car with my entire CD collection on it - been using it regularly since the end of June - no problems. I did some poking around and have concluded that in most cases a hot car is not even close to being problematic for a well made USB flash drive. CD's and DVD's on the other hand are known to melt.

    In the following article some USB flash drives were put through both performance tests and torture tests including placed into a cup of water in the freezer overnight (block of ice next day), dropped into a cup of boiling coffee, 3 washing machine cycles (reaching up to 90 Celcius), and even accessing the USB stick (via USB extension and laptop) while a car is parked on top of it. End result - no problems accessing data. Granted not every USB stick will be this robust, but you get the general picture that this type of media is very resilient.

    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/review/975/1037975/corsair-has-indestructible-yule-gadget
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2009
  17. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    Wow! That's comforting to know.
     
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