questions before backing up hard drive

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by brainwreck, Oct 18, 2007.

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  1. brainwreck

    brainwreck Registered Member

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    first time poster. hello all.

    my boss handed me a usb hard drive and a copy of true image 11 home to backup a clients soon to fail hard drive (making all kinds of racket but is working fine). the client has years of data on this drive and i really don't want to find out about a bug in true image after i send him off with his backup. simple plan: backup the ill system drive to the usb drive so that the client can use the image on his new system drive when it arrives (the drive was under warranty). i plan to create a bootable cd within true image rather than making the backup in windows. i read a thread here about lots of folks having issues with restoring backups created with true image 10 in windows. has this been fixed in true image 11? either way, i don't want to take any chances. also, i'm trying to figure out if there would be any difference in using the image backup feature vs. the clone disk feature. i've read the faq at the acronis site but my questions weren't answered. when using the image backup feature for an entire drive, is the mbr imaged? if so, what exactly is the difference in the two features, assuming i use the image backup feature to image the entire drive? are there any bugs in true image 11 that i should watch out for before proceeding? the clients machine will only be available for a few hours and i must not screw it up. btw, the copy of true image 11 home will go with the client for his personal use.

    thanks in advance for any help.
     
  2. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    The bulk of probs aren't from making backups within windows but backing up or restoring from the BooCD, which uses linux and linux drivers for your hardware.

    With ATI cloning is making a target drive have the same image as a source drive -- it's a one to one correspendence, one cloning takes up an entire target disk.

    Making backup images with ATI, the image of the source is saved to a file that can be on any other drive -- you can have as many backup files as will fit on your target drive.

    ATI 11 has some probs that earlier versions do not, particularly not being able to deal with drives on Intel southbridge chips (Intel RAID).

    The next build of ATI will/should hopefully have most major bugs corrected.
     
  3. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    You said the client has "years of data" on the drive. I take the term data to mean just that, data files instead of a bunch of installed programs then the prudent thing is to connect the external and copy the files using Windows Explorer to the external first. This is the safest way to get data files off the drive. Do it first since the HD will get worse not better with use. Restoring these files does not rely on TI or anyother backup with proprietary container-file formats to be able to do the job; just a straight copy will do it.

    Now make all the images and whatever else you want. If you can't restore the image of the OS and apps, they can be reinstalled. A bit of time but it can be done - the real data files exist nowhere else possibly.

    If this person has years of important data on a drive with no backups then he/she needs a lesson on how to backup!
     
  4. brainwreck

    brainwreck Registered Member

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    thanks for the replies guys.

    seekforever, i think i'll backup the data first. good point. the client had a backup system in place but it hasn't been working for a while, which we just found out about. not a good time to find that out. we'll see what's going there after getting his drive backed up.

    shieber, i've read that maxblast 5 is a limited version of ti 10 so i think i'll just use that for now. i only need the functionality that's included in maxblast to do this backup. the usb hard drive that will be used for the backup destination is a maxtor drive.
     
  5. brainwreck

    brainwreck Registered Member

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    wow. i just wasted nearly a full day on this and it didn't work. even though i'm a very software orientated guy, i did my homework first, and even asked about any potential pitfalls before proceeding, the software still failed. i'm done with acronis. if anyone has any recommendations on software similar to ti that really works, please pm me. shieber and seekforever, thanks for the effort.
     
  6. jonyjoe81

    jonyjoe81 Registered Member

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    Is this computer windows xp or vista, ide/sata/raids? How large hard drive?

    My recommendation is similar to "seekforever", just create a folder in the external drive name it "data" and using windows explorer to transfer the important files over.

    All imaging software have their strong/weak points, I only use true image 9.0 because it works most of the time, and when it doesn't work I can use some simple utilitys to make it work. I have yet to run into a hard drive that I couldn't restore.

    But doing imaging backups and restores is not something that you will learn in one day, it took me 2 or 3 restores to finally reach the point where I was confident it would work everytime. And even if you have created a backup to the external hard drive. The client probably won't be able to recover it onto a new hard drive especially if he/she has no computer backup expierence and has never use true image.
    If you do find another imaging program to try out, my recommendation is to get a spare hard drive and restore it. The only way you will be confident that it will work is to restore the backup to another hard drive and make sure it boots up the computer. Nothing will substitue for a complete test.
     
  7. brainwreck

    brainwreck Registered Member

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    the mentioned computer is xp pro with a 80 gb ide.

    jonyjoe81, i planned to backup all the clients data first thing but the boss said it would take too long. now the client has nothing but an unusable disk image and is back on the road with his soon to fail hard drive.

    imo, a piece of software like this shouldn't require any practice; the user follows directions and it works. i'm looking for something that will just work reliably. of course i'll try out the next piece of software before going thru a mess like this again. i came out looking like a stooge in front of the client even though i didn't have a real choice with the software, i didn't get to copy the data files first (can't blame the software for that one), and i followed the directions as given in the software. it just didn't work. i'd have to be insane to use this software again. after reading so many complaints about true image on this board, i'd have to say that acronis seems to be just as confused as their users about true image.

    thanks for chiming in jonyjoe81.
     
  8. FBMachines

    FBMachines Registered Member

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    Hey Brainwreck,
    It might be too late now for the client but can you give any details about why it wouldn't work? Is the image corrupt? Did you receive any errors? What method did you use to create the image? If you provide more info the participants in this forum are very helpful.
     
  9. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    If you still have the image on an external, try using another PC with TI to mount/explore the image. If the problem is a validation error, you may still be able to recover the data files although not restore a bootable OS.

    True Image is a great product but only after you have confirmed it works with your hardware and this is done by doing a backup, validate and some test restores. However, I would never trust any backup product until I have done some test restores to confirm proper operation on the system. Saying it works on PC A does not always mean it works on PC B and this is indeed a problem exacerbated usually by the TI Linux recovery environment.

    Failure of the process is exactly why I said to get the files backed up natively first.
     
  10. brainwreck

    brainwreck Registered Member

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    boss figured out that the image was no good. nice to know but doesn't help our current situation since it's after the fact.

    seekforever, so you're saying that ti doesn't work with some hardware? does acronis know which hardware might be problematic? is this a problem in both the linux and windows environments?
     
  11. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I have no idea if Acronis knows other than when they get a lot of problems reported. A case in point, is the P35 chipset with TI10 and it has no been fixed in TI11 apparently. Issues can range from chipsets, typically the new ones, USB and Firewire drive chipsets, network cards for those using that method, and then there are problems reported in TI11 for some RAID controllers. Problems have been reported for add-on IDE controllers and eSATA controllers. In fairness to Acronis, it is impossible to test every possible bit of PC hardware on the market and it is even worse when you consider all of the combinations and permutations of the hardware. Now, factor in all the software variants. I have never seen them publish a list of recommended hardware.

    IMO, making backups in Windows has not been much of an issue but there seems to be more of an issue right now with TI11 since they changed the engine. There seem to be more recommendations to download the Snapapi.dll drivers as a solution and this only applies to Windows usage.

    The TI recovery environment is a memory-resident Linux implementation. This is what you get when you boot the rescue CD and it is also what you get when restore the active partition even if you start the restore in Windows. There will be a reboot request and the Linux environment will be loaded. Windows cannot be running when the active partition is restored.

    The Achilles Heel of TI is this Linux environment as the drivers tend to lag the Windows drivers in availability and performance. This is why you see lots of posts saying that the backup, which can be done totally in Windows, completed successfully and the validate was successful but the archive cannot be restored, usually because it is shown to be corrupted or the recovery environment won't start or the storage device is not seen. This also means that you can't trust a Validation done in Windows until you've done a few test cases in the Linux environment to show that the Linux environment is also able to read the archive properly. A lot of people get unstuck on this since they think if they validated in Windows all is well - and why shouldn't they think so if they understandably don't know about the Linux requirement.

    External USB drives can be a problem that only shows up when TI is used because most people don't transfer multi-gigabyte files in normal use. There are various chipsets that didn't like large files and so when it failed TI was seen to blame because smaller files worked fine. IMO, this is less of a problem these days as these older externals are weeded out.

    Thus the advice to do a test restore to another HD to ensure that TI works with your hardware and as I said previously, that is what should be done with every backup program, not just TI. Until you've restored, you don't know if it will work for sure. Where I used to work the people responsible for data backups used to do test restores for weeks and then run the new backup in parallel with the old backup program for weeks until they were convinced it worked properly.

    You may have noticed various recommendations to make a BartPE CD. BartPE is a Windows environment that works similarly to Microsoft's Windows PE (Preparation Environment) that is made available to corporate customer's under their licensing agreement. Bart developed this and a number of products have plug-ins that run under BartPE. Acronis provides a plug-in and Mustang, who frequents this forum has also developed one. Since BartPE works with Windows it doesn't have the Linux driver issue and since you build it using an automated script, you can also add any special drivers your hardware requires. It looks a bit intimidating to do but once you get into it, it isn't too bad. However, it isn't something I would tell my technically illiterate sister to do. Why doesn't Acronis just provide a BartPE or similar Windows environment to start with? Don't know, but likely has something to do with licensing costs. OTOH, this cheapo Linux environment isn't doing them any favors.

    My experience with TI has been excellent and remember that the vast majority come to this forum because they have a problem, not to say how lovely everything is. There is no way of knowing the real ratio of happy/unhappy users. If TI works on your system, it will continue to work on your system until the hardware goes bad.
     
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