Recommendations for an easy to use backup system needed

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by schrisp, Sep 21, 2011.

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  1. schrisp

    schrisp Registered Member

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    Hello to all from a new member - I'm in need of advice and/or recommendations on a disk backup that is very easy to use for my new Dell laptop (XPS L702X, i7 2.20 GHz Processor, 8 GB Ram, Windows 7 64 bits, Home Premium.) Previously, I've always relied on GoBack, which has served me well for many years, but since I'm now using Windows 7, I very much doubt it's compatible.

    I have used Rollback RX on an older laptop, but am not sure whether that's the best option and I'm sure I would need to upgrade my version. I did make rescue discs using Dell Local Backup, but from what I've read online, it's not always reliable and there is no support. Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!
     
  2. napoleon1815

    napoleon1815 Registered Member

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    You will get many opinions here about this. Let me ask you this...how comfortable are you with the technology? Do you consider yourself not very technical or really handy? Also, are you open to buying something or are you looking for something free? For disk imaging, I recommend:

    1. Image for Windows/Image for Linux from TerabyteUnlimited (paid)
    2. DriveSnapshot 1.40 (paid)
    3. ShadowProtect (paid...the most expensive)

    Again, let us know more about your needs and experience as that will help groom opinions.
     
  3. schrisp

    schrisp Registered Member

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    I'm fairly experienced as far as knowing my way around my computer and software, comfortable with editing the registry (only when absolutely necessary, of course), applying tweaks and customizations, etc. But I absolutely dread having to format and reinstall, therefore I'm looking for a way to avoid that by disk imaging. I'm a total newbie to that type of program though, so that's why I specified something easy to use.

    I'm open to purchasing, as long as the cost is reasonable, and I'd like something that can make incremental backups as well.

    I'll check out the 3 you recommended in the meantime, thanks :)
     
  4. sded

    sded Registered Member

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    Free Macrium Reflect http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx is about as easy to use as any. I use it for both Vista and W7 with no problems. Does not do incremental backups (unless you upgrade to paid), but has the usual image generation and restore, along with browsing for individual files and a boot disk for when the system fails completely.
     
  5. napoleon1815

    napoleon1815 Registered Member

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    OK let us know how it goes. IFW might be a good match for you...Macrium (as cited above) is also a good tool I have used before. Most have fully functional trials you can kick around.
     
  6. Osaban

    Osaban Registered Member

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    You can try Windows 7 own backup, having a laptop you might need a USB external hard drive or alternatively a flash drive. I use Shadow Protect which is very simple once one creates the recovery CD, unfortunately it is expensive.
     
  7. tgell

    tgell Registered Member

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    :thumb: 100% agree on Windows 7 own backup solution. For creating a simple system image, it does it's job very well and it has never failed me. The images can also be mounted in Device Manager. I am surprised that more people do not use or know about it.
     
  8. schrisp

    schrisp Registered Member

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    Thanks for your input, everyone, and I'm sorry for my late reply. Had an veterinary emergency yesterday - sick kitty, vet could find nothing wrong but he is still unwell :-( Anyway, I've been looking over the various options and find it rather confusing. Ideally, what I would prefer is to be able to have an image backup that I could use to restore my laptop in case of it not being able to boot, etc., and also have the ability to restore from incremental backups in case of user screwups (accidentally deleted files, etc.)

    That's one reason I loved GoBack, because for example, if I had installed a program that I didn't care for or it caused problems, what have you, I was able to revert the drive back to prior to the install. However, this didn't help me when I had my recent catastrophic total failure to boot on my 6 yr old homebuilt (but not by me, lol) desktop system, hence the new laptop. I have 2 external drives connected to it via USB which are used for storage only and where I plan to keep my image backups.

    I notice this laptop has a recovery partition - is it necessary to include it in an image backup? I've uploaded a screenshot of my drives from within Disk Management - could someone please explain exactly what I need to include in a backup?

    http://i.imgur.com/lBNF4.jpg
     
  9. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    schrisp,

    That is how Dell present their Win 7 computers. The booting files are in the Recovery Partition, so for the sake of 50 MB of files you have to backup a 20 GB partition. You will need to image all 3 partitions but you only need to image the first two partitions once.

    You might not like this idea but if you don't intend to revert your computer to the Factory Setup, you don't need the Recovery partition. I copy the booting files to the C: drive, delete the Recovery partition and use the space for something else.


    Edit.... Is the D: partition on an internal HD?
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011
  10. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I'd be grateful for any comments on the Win7 imaging app. If you have a simple system it does the job of imaging and restoring to the same HD although it has less options than even 10 year old imaging apps. A few drawbacks I noticed...

    It doesn't image FAT/FAT32 partitions. Since most (?all) Dell computers have a OEM Diagnostic partition (FAT16) this won't be included in the image and if you have to restore the image to a new HD (due to HD failure), the Dell Diagnostic app will be missing.

    The images aren't compressed and are roughly double the size of images created by other imaging software.

    There is no option for creating differential or incremental images.

    There is no option for scheduling image creation. Images must be created manually.

    There is no option for resizing the restored partition.

    The images can't be Validated/Verified.

    But it is better than not backing up at all.
     
  11. schrisp

    schrisp Registered Member

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    How exactly were you able to move those booting files to the C drive? I'm not terribly concerned about keeping the restore to factory settings function as I put too much time into my own personal customization to want to lose it all by doing that. Also, I don't use many of the preinstalled Dell programs other than the McAfee Security Suite, which seems okay so far...

    Yes, the D partition is an internal HD.
     
  12. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I adapted this...

    http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/article.php?id=409

    Ask questions if it doesn't make sense. I've used the method on my friends' and family's Dells and then deleted the Recovery partition.

    I like second HDs. I write all of my images to the second HD. Occasionally I copy the latest image to an external HD.

    I just noticed your OEM partition is empty. Strange. If that's the case you could delete that partition too.
     
  13. napoleon1815

    napoleon1815 Registered Member

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    I would say it might not hurt to image the recovery partition once to have it...but I generally don't.
     
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