Proprietary Backup Files: Pro or Con?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Randle McMurphy, Jun 26, 2015.

  1. Randle McMurphy

    Randle McMurphy Registered Member

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    For the past several years I've used Genie backup software and recently the latest version of Acronis. I like to have the ability to explore and copy out documents from their resulting backup sets from another PC (other than my primary one with the backup software installed). It means that should my primary PC catastrophically fail, I can simply hook up my external hard drive to any PC and explore and recover documents. Granted, it is not as easy as using the restore wizard in the software, but the point is, I can have immediate access to my documents via any another PC now and worry about the failed PC later. It gives me an good amount of comfort that I can do this.

    At the encouragement of a co-worker, I just recently began trialing Macrium Reflect 6. I have never used the software before and am quite impressed with the user interface and the way things are laid out. In fact, the trial period may actually convince me to switch. However, it appears Macrium is like some other backup software (NovaBackup, for example) where one must have the software installed on a PC to mount and read the backup file (in this case the temp PC being used to access the backup set on the external drive, created from the failed PC).

    So I'd like to hear some feedback and thoughts from those that use Macrium or any other backup software where the software must be installed to access files in the backup sets. Obviously there are tons of people using Macrium as it is a very popular back up tool, so maybe my concern over the convenience I describe above unwarranted? How would those of you that use Macrium access your backed up documents within a few minutes of a catastrophic hard drive failure (i.e. - the hard drive is toast and needs to be replaced). Since most of us don't have extra internal hard drives just sitting around to pop in, my assumption the failed PC could be out of commission for a hours to days. Please give your answer based on the perspective of a single machine license of Macrium, not a multiple license, because that is the easy answer. I cannot afford a multi-machine license at this time and have no need for one (I'll just stick with Acronis then).

    I'm trying to convince myself to give Macrium a try beyond the trial, but I'm really getting hung up on this.

    Thanks all.
     
  2. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    The same would be true of any backup program. what you can do is boot to the recovery environment, then mount the image and copy files off to another disk. You simply have to have other disks, or machines.
     
  3. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Randle McMurphy,

    I prefer my data backups to be in native format rather than proprietary format. So any Windows computer can read the data files on the external HD.
     
  4. TheRollbackFrog

    TheRollbackFrog Registered Member

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    :thumb:+1

    I also use native OS formats for all my important data. For me, proprietary imaging is primarily used for putting humpty (my system) back together again when needed... and with Macrium v6's RAPID DATA RESTORE, I also use it as a System snapshot tool.
     
  5. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    well I do rely on Macrium, but i also do native data backups.
     
  6. Randle McMurphy

    Randle McMurphy Registered Member

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    Peter2150, I appreciate your take on this, but could you please expound on "The same would be true of any backup program"? Not sure I follow and I may be missing your point. I can make a full or incremental file/folder backup set with Acronis or Genie Backup Manager (or Genie Timeline) on my Western Digital external hard drive, unplug it from the USB port of my machine, walk across the room and plug it into my son's school laptop, go to Windows Explorer and browse / copy out any document in those back ups. So if I'm following correctly, this certainly wouldn't be true of any backup program. But again, I may be missing your point.

    To me, that is the definition of "quick and easy recovery" of files. This certainly has nothing to do with recovering the dead machine - which would need to be addressed - but if my rig needs a new hard drive that needs to be shipped, having the option to access my files during that time without having to install software on another machine and having to contact a company to "activate" its use on a different rig is most attractive.

    I really like Macrium, its UI, its features, and I may very well wind up buying it after the trial expires. I suppose I could simply manually copy my critical files once a week to the external HDD, but then I might as well just give my money to Acronis or Genie and have that comfort zone.

    Still trying to be convinced in STL.
     
  7. taotoo

    taotoo Registered Member

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    I use Macrium together with a free file sync utility (of which there are dozens to choose from). I'd rather see the data in native format than a proprietary one, even if the latter can be opened on any pc. If you only want one backup though, then maybe Acronis or similar is right for you.
     
  8. garry35

    garry35 Registered Member

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    unless i am mistaken genie timeline stores its backup file(s) in standard zip format so any program that can work with zip archives will work. i think the poster is looking for backup software that stores its backups in a standard format and doesnt need any special program to work with backups. as far as i am aware most software that makes image files needs the original software even if its only to convert to a standard format that can be used by other programs
     
  9. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    Count me in on the 2 program solution too. I use either GoodSync or SyncBack for file backups and other programs (including Macrium) for disc/partition images for system recovery. Works great and very reliable.
     
  10. Randle McMurphy

    Randle McMurphy Registered Member

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    So it would appear some prefer more than one program to achieve a comprehensive backup solution: 1 for imaging the system, and one for end-user files, such as documents, music, photos and videos. I may then give Macrium a try after the trial for image files, and use another file oriented backup program for end-user files so that I can achieve native file accessibility.

    Thank you all for taking time out of your busy day to help me with my decision.
     
  11. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    This is a personal approach but many of us prefer to have the OS in one partition and data files in another partition. The OS is backed up with imaging and the data partition is backed up in native format. An advantage is the OS is small (no user data) and can be backed up and restored quickly. Two minutes.
     
  12. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Randie

    Sorry for short reply, traveling. But I am also of the multi solution backup strategy types.

    Pete
     
  13. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

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    FreeFileSync, DirSync, and Acronis boot disc for the win.
     
  14. treehouse786

    treehouse786 Registered Member

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    i do this too
     
  15. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

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    Yes. If I haven't mentioned it. The USER DATA part of the backup, when it is in its native form of 500 million little files is that you can access/update/read/write/restore just 1 or 2 of those files without disturbing or digging through a huge container file. You don't have to re-image and rebuild it for want of a change of say 5MB out of 500GB. You don't have to decompress the whole thing to get at them either.
     
  16. Randle McMurphy

    Randle McMurphy Registered Member

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    Thanks again for all your help, everyone. I have decided to continue on my evaluation of Macrium. In a little experimentation, I loaded Macrium Free on another PC, then made a file and folder backup with Macrium Reflect 6 (Trial) to my external HDD. Then I plugged that external into the other PC with Macrium Free and was able to mount and navigate to all the files and folders in explorer. I could then copy out whatever files I wanted onto the new PC.

    So that gives me some comfort level that in a pinch and quick file recovery is warranted, I can "almost" plug and play into another PC with Macrium Free installed until I have time to deal with a dead machine.

    I do have another question that has come up during my trial of Macrium, but I will start another thread to keep things segregated.

    Thanks again all!
     
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