Question about software for making backups of the OS (plus some data)

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Fly, Apr 26, 2008.

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  1. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

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    I've procrastinated long enough, I think it's time to deal with this issue.

    I don't make any backups or have any software or hardware for this !

    (using Windows XP Home Edition service pack 2)

    I could do some research on my own, but my knowledge about making backups is VERY outdated.

    Saving data is nice, but I'm more concerned about a failure of the operating system with all the drivers and other software on it, or a hardware failure of my one and only harddisk. To install everything from the very beginning is so much work. Plus that I don't want to get service pack 3, and I don't know how long service pack 2 will be available. (My installation CD-ROM predates service pack 2).

    My current harddrive has about 30 GB memory, most of it is unused.

    Suggestions about software and hardware to make at least one backup, in case something goes wrong ? Including the possibility of a harddrive failure (I don't know how likely that is). It's nice if it's free, not too expensive is good too.

    ADDED LATER: I'm really not an expert at this, but since I mentiond the risk (?) of harddrive failure: recently I performed a chkdsk (without the /f) from the command line, and it showed no errors. I'm not sure how much that says. The harddrive is 4 to 5 years old, SAMSUNG SP0411N SCSI Disk Device, NTFS file system.

    Thank you for any help you can provide.
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2008
  2. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

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    I feel its good to have a second hard drive to backup onto. Personally i use an external hdd to store my OS backups on. In regards to software i use acronis trueimage which i find works great for my back up needs. However trueimage doesn't always work well for everybody so its best to trial a few different products to see which one works best for you.
     
  3. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    An external HDD is the safest solution, because you can turn if OFF, when you go on-line. I always do my backups/restores off-line.
    An internal HDD isn't that safe, because it's constantly on-line.
    One destructive malware that affects all partitions and your backups are gone.
    Image Backup/File Backup software is a matter of personal choice and testing.
    A recommended software doesn't mean it will work on YOUR computer.
    A good backup doesn't mean a good restore, so test both.
     
  4. EASTER

    EASTER Registered Member

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    Not exactly, i do it all the time, an unplugged internal Hard Drive is dead, i have a tray that holds up to 6 internal hard drives and my harness plugs have a wire-type handle that prevents pulling the plug apart like i done many times with the ones that didn't have them.

    They stay nice and cozy, all together, and completely isolated. Theres nothing at all wrong with using an external drive, but my way is more convenient i think plus you don't need an On/OFF, USB or some switch to worry about silly programs that refuse to recognize your external drive letters like i read some have had trouble with among other inconveniences. And they are so so cheap for huge GigaBytes these days!

    EASTER
     
  5. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

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    Do I understand it correctly: you can backup an entire harddisk (the part that's not empty anyway) to an external harddisk with Acronis, and do a full restore of the external harddisk back to the original harddisk without any issues ? Will the original harddisk just accept that as if nothing had happened, and will there not be an issue with Windows XP (like requiring a new activation/reactivation) ?
     
  6. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

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    1 backup solution is not enough for any personal data. If you only backup goes down you lost the lot! You need 2.

    I propose you buy a extra internal drive and also a external drive. You copy your my documents and personal data with normal copy backup onto this backup internal weekly using Karen's Replicator http://www.karenware.com/powertools/ptreplicator.asp. or Second Copy http://www.centered.com/ You then take 1 weekly image backup of C onto the internal backup and then you take daily differential image backups of C and store them on the internal backup too, and then you take a image backup of the backup internal onto your external backup. In the event the images turn out to be corrupt on the external, you still got the data on the internal backup safe. You got backup images on seperate drives :thumb:
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2008
  7. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    So you unplug an internal HDD without opening your towercase ?
     
  8. Hairy Coo

    Hairy Coo Registered Member

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    Yes-its part of the system,being connected to the mobo.
    Whether its inside the case or not is immaterial
    The other point about an external is that ,say you are away from home on holidays and a fire,burglary etc happens,you can take it with you and not lose the lot.Have never done that,but thats the theory:D
    My setup is one external for backups of the internal drives-one internal for primary backups of C and also containing all archives,plus of course the C internal drive.
    This method creates great security and minimal risk of loss.
     
  9. EASTER

    EASTER Registered Member

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    Very good question Erik and i will answer it for you because it is so easy.

    My tower case is ALWAYS OPEN!!! :D
     
  10. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    Fly,
    If you decide to use Acronis True Image, perhaps my guides can help. Links below in my signature. I'm using Version 10 and have used v 8 & 9 and it works well for me. I use a combination of external and internal drives for my backups.

    For recovery of your system to a new drive, you will need a disk image backup which is a backup of all partitions on your system drive. This is illustrated in my backup guide.

    If you are using a dual boot system or something special or vista, my guides are not geared to the special situations.
     
  11. Dark Shadow

    Dark Shadow Registered Member

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    You must not have kids unless grown, other wise your back ups would be bubble gum.:D
     
  12. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    I've used true image 9.0. But recently I've puirchased a new program (easy image) that is easier to use than true image and less expensive (19.00). The one backup and restore that I did worked on my windows xp test computer, with the computer booting up with no problems.

    This program is very basic, it just backups individual partitions or the entire hard drive (sector by sector). It doesnt do incrementals and it doesn't offer the option to schedule your backups. The program is slower to do backups than true image but quicker than paragon drive backup. 20gb partition (6.5 gb in use) true image = 3 minutes, easy image = 6 minutes, paragon drive backup 11 minutes. (using normal compression on all software and amd 4800 x2 dual core).

    But it does do "hot backups" (you can backup from windows and still use the computer during the backup) and you can mount the images you have backup and browse them. You can also do the backups and restores through the recovery cd.

    You might want to try out the 15 day demo of this program (especially the recovery cd) to see if it works on your computer. This is the simplest image backup program that I have used. The only drawback with this program is you have to remember to manually do your backups but it wasn't a deal breaker for me.

    http://www.eazsolution.com/en/easyimage.php
     
  13. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,

    I'll say something silly - but you should also backup your most crucial data to DVDs. It's old and out of fashion, but if you have 3-4 copies of your data on DVDs, the chances of data failure and loss goes down drastically.

    You can always give a small pack of burned DVDs to a friend or family and keep offline. Lugging a hard disk about is less practical. Plus, someone might steal your hard disks, but no one will steal your marker-labeled DVDs.

    Finally, if you use external hard disks - encrypt them.

    If you are interested, here's my uber-paranoid backup strategy:

    - Main work machine, data saved on each of 2 hard disks.
    - Secondary work machine, data from main machine saved to second hard disk.
    - Constant external backup, connected 24/7, encrypted, contains all data from both main and secondary.
    - Periodical external backup, connected on demand, encrypted, contains all data from both main and secondary, kept in bedroom.
    - Encrypted usb drive (very small, 256MB), contains the most of the most important data, two such keys, one in bedroom, one always with me.
    - Monthly backups, full, personal data and hard disk images to DVDs, two copies, one kept in comp room, one in bedroom. Old copies are never thrown away, but archived.
    - Occasional backups to DVD to offline site (brother).

    Am considering uploading some of the most important data to email and buying a small safe - not against burglars, but against fire. Just a fireproof metal box, really.

    Mrk
     
  14. Huupi

    Huupi Registered Member

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    I keep tiny pets around my place,always they curl up(warmth ?) behind my rigs,can you imagine if i open.............!! lol :D
     
  15. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

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    On my desktop i use a second internal hard drive for my backups and the way i have it setup is quite safe and doesn't require having to open the case. All i do is disable that particular channel that the second drive is connected to in the bios which keeps it safe during my regular computer use. If i need to backup/restore i enable that channel, boot up acronis and do my backup/restore then disable that channel again.
     
  16. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I don't think the majority of users has an open tower case, they don't even know how to open it or where to unplug the internal harddisk(s). :)
     
  17. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

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    An external harddisk plus software is probably not really cheap (especially since I don't know how much longer I'll keep this Windows XP (Home Edition)system/computer), so the following question popped up in my mind:

    Since my system/programs/data take only a small part of my harddisk, is there a way (assuming I won't have a total harddisk failure) to back up my system and data to another part of the harddisk, with the capability to do a full restore, without any problems ? (Don't ask me how, but I once ended up with TWO more or less active Windows XP systems (not accounts, but systems) on my harddisk, which was an unmanagable situation, so in the end I reformatted the drive).
     
  18. Fly

    Fly Registered Member

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    I've had another idea: I happen to have a bunch of empty CD-R 's.

    It seems I would need more than one to put my entire system (harddisk) on those, but is this an option ? (Windows XP Home Edition)

    Btw, I don't have the hardware to burn to DVDs.
     
  19. markymoo

    markymoo Registered Member

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    Yes but that is not a backup that's a gamble. Is your data not worth more than the price of the cheapest hard drive? It be a question of time before you lose the lot. You don't need a hard drive failure to lose your data backing up to the same drive or different partition. If you create another partition and image backup to that you can restore back the system. Whats the price of your data? and not to mention the time reinstalling everything again.

    Backing up 30GB of data will take 42 cds or 7 DVD's lol Pray they all are good when you come to restore. My advice if you not going to invest in another hard drive is just backup My Documents and a few other essential folders to CD-R you need now and reinstall from scratch when the time comes. To backup to the same hard drive you need to split your system partition into 2 with software such as Partition Magic, Disk Director or the free GParted but you meant to backup before you do this as it comes with a risk of data loss.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2008
  20. farmerlee

    farmerlee Registered Member

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    Many backup products lets you create a hidden backup storage area. Acronis trueimage allows me to allocate a portion of my hard drive to a secure zone. This secure zone is hidden and contains my backup images and a bootable version of the trueimage app for doing backups and restores.
     
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