Recovery using a snapshot from an external drive???

Discussion in 'FirstDefense-ISR Forum' started by bellgamin, Jul 20, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2002
    Posts:
    5,648
    Location:
    Hawaii
    My C (system) drive is only 40GB. I keep all my data files on a second internal hard drive D. For back-ups I have an external drive G with 250GB.

    My goal in using FDISR is to be able to recover by using snapshots stored on my external drive G. Specifically...

    ***The following summarizes what I THINK I understand about how to archive snapshots on external drive G, & use them to recover from a disaster NOT involving hard drive failure of C drive.

    ***I intend to use FDISR in "Alternating Daily Backups" (only 3 or 4 snapshots), as described in FDISR's Help file. NO data anchoring. (PS- All my drives are NTFS)

    PROCEDURE...
    1- Make first snapshot. Call it Alpha. I presume FDISR will put this snapshot on Drive C and that it will be the *Active* one. Correct?
    2- Make a second snapshot. Call it Omega. It is my plan to put Omega on drive G, NOT on drive C.

    RESULT: Alpha snapshot active on drive C. Omega snapshot archived on external drive G.

    QUESTION: Will FDISR put Omega snapshot directly onto external drive G, if I ask it to do so? IF NOT, then I will manually copy snapshot Omega from C to external drive G, & then delete snapshot Omega from Drive C. (Is doing this okay? I want to keep C as unfilled as possible.)

    RECOVERY (by using Omega snapshot residing on drive G)
    1- Boot
    2- Hit F1 to activate FDISR
    3- Tell FDISR to copy Omega from external drive G to drive C (Will FDISR do that for me?)
    4- Tell FDISR to boot Omega (make Omega the Active snapshot.)

    POOF! I'm back in busness, with Omega rolling merrily along. I hope!

    In words understandable by a computer-doofus (namely me), PLEASE tell me my mistakes, & offer feasible options for me to be able to restore from snapshots on an external drive.
     
  2. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Posts:
    9,455
    Bellgamin,
    Some of your thoughts are good, others are wrong. It goes like this.

    1. After installing FDISR you have already a Primary Snapshot, based on your actual system partition [C:]. This is your Alpha Snapshot and that is supposed to be your healthy snapshot.

    2. Then you copy/update the Primary Snapshot to a new snapshot, called Secondary Snapshot, that is your working snapshot.

    3. Then you copy/update the Primary Snapshot to a new archive, called Omega Archived Snapshot on your external harddisk [G:]

    The F1-key allows you to boot from the Primary Snapshot OR Secondary Snapshot, because they are on your system partition [C:], but you can NOT boot from an Archived Snapshot on partition [G:].

    Why do you need at least two snapshots on partition [C:] ?
    Your Secondary Snapshot is normally your working snapshot.
    When something serious goes wrong in your Secondary Snapshot, you still can boot in your Primary Snapshot, using the F1-key in the Pre-boot Screen, to get back in business.

    As long nothing goes wrong in your Secondary Snapshot, you DAILY have to :
    1. copy/update your Secondary Snapshot to your Primary Snapshot, to keep your Primary Snapshot up-to-date
    2. copy/update your Secondary Snapshot to your Archived Snapshot, to keep your Archived Snapshot up-to-date
    This is called "refreshing" by most FDISR-users and refreshing is usually a very fast operation.

    If something serious goes wrong you can "remove" your corrupted Secondary Snapshot and re-create your Secondary Snapshot in two different ways.
    1. copy/update your Primary Snapshot to a new Secondary Snapshot.
    2. copy/update your Archived Snapshot on [G:] to a new Secondary Snapshot.
    Experienced FD-ISR-users will usually copy/update the Primary Snapshot to the corrupted Secondary Snapshot, without removing the corrupted Secondary Snapshot.
    So your Archived Snapshot on [G:] isn't really necessary, it's a kind of backup.
    If you don't do a DAILY image backup, your daily refreshed archived snapshot on [G:] will be necessary, because all your snapshots in your IMAGE BACKUP FILE will be out-of-date.
    When you restore from an IMAGE BACKUP FILE, you will be able to refresh your out-of-date snapshots via the archived snapshots.

    It is very important that you keep at least ONE healthy snapshot on your system and to keep it healthy you need a secondary snapshot for your daily work and experiments, like trying a new software.
    This is also the reason why FDISR, right after the installation, will ask you to create the secondary snapshot
    So your system partition [C:] needs at least TWO snapshots. That is the minimum and you can go upto maximum 10 snapshots, but 40 GB isn't much of course.
    However the number of archived snapshots on [G:] is unlimited until your external harddisk is full LOL.

    There is also your IMAGE BACKUP, that restores all your snapshots.
    It depends on what you need. Restoring an IMAGE BACKUP takes much more time of course (in my case 40-50
    minutes). Restoring from archived snapshots is alot faster.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2006
  3. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Posts:
    1,976
    Location:
    Eastern PA, USA
    ErikAlbert, I don't agree with how you switched terminology here, it can be confusing. The terminology, to avoid confusing newbies, should remain consistent with the terminology of FD-ISR itself upon install.

    The default install arrangement is that your PRIMARY Snapshot is your "working" snapshot, i.e., the snapshot you operate in. The Secondary Snapshot would be your "main recovery" snapshot, i.e., the one most likely to exist on your system partition alongside the Primary Snapshot.

    It may simply be a matter of language or semantics but by "working" snapshot, I think most English as a first language speakers would take that to mean the snapshot that you normally boot into and work within.

    As FD-ISR says in the description box of your Primary Snapshot as installed, the Primary Snapshot is "The primary system image created by the Installer". This is all you have and what you are operating in when you first install FD-ISR. You can find this information and more on the "Getting Started" page of the FD-ISR user manual.

    You can choose to spend the bulk of your time operating within any system drive snapshot you want and call it whatever you want or even rename what FD-ISR initially calls the Primary Snapshot, but I think it's best if we stick with Raxco (Leapfrog) default terminology to avoid confusing one another.

    Otherwise, the rest of what ErikAlbert posted is golden.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2006
  4. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Posts:
    9,455
    I find it more logical that the Primary Snapshot is your healthy snapshot and that you create a secondary snapshot to work with. My last created snapshots are usually for experiments.
    I admit that for experienced FD-ISR-users each snapshot can be used as a healthy snapshot, because all snapshots are independent.
     
  5. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Posts:
    1,976
    Location:
    Eastern PA, USA
    I've got no issue with that thinking and enough experience with FD-ISR to be flexible in my thinking to accommodate your choice of terminology but I think making sure we don't confuse each other, especially the novices, takes precedence even over logic. Leapfrog/Raxco's terminology is the most logical terminology to use as a common ground, IMO.

    In other words, I think it's better for us to stick with Leapfro/Raxco standard terminology with novices and reserve the use of ErikAlbert dialect for advanced users.;) I think my point is made (hopefully, to bellgamin, if no one else) and don't intend to debate it further.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2006
  6. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Posts:
    17,048
    Hi Gang

    Erik's post is indeed Golden, but I agree with Crofttk. I think sticking with Raxco's terminalogy makes the most sense, and is least confusing.

    Bellgamin

    I do exactly what was described. I have two snapshots on my main drive, and indeed keep several archives for different reasons on external drives. This gives you a lot of flexibility. Sometimes at the end of the day, I will only "refresh" the archives. Just depends.

    Also I periodically test my archives. To do this I create a new(third) snapshot, just to test I can boot into it. Once I know it's good I remove it.

    Also I won't confuse things with the details, but these archives can also serve as a psuedo backup.

    Also note. I'd be real careful with partitioning stuff until you understand what you are doing with FDISR.

    Pete
     
  7. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Posts:
    1,850
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    You are almost correct, Bellgamin.

    What is called a snapshot is your actual working installation of Windows, you can create and boot from up to 10 snapshots.
    But there is a caveat: they can only reside on your C: partition and each snapshot can take as much space as your regular Windows installation.
    I get the feeling that disk space on your primary hard disk could be an issue.

    Archives of snapshots can reside anywhere else, and take less space, the amount of archives is not limited.

    In case of recovery from disaster, you would boot into a different snapshot and repair from their, or repair from an archive.
    In any case of disaster recovery by FD-ISR, you need to be able to boot into Windows first! Unlike regular imaging solutions that boot from floppy/CD.
    Your disaster plan depends on your disk space.
     
  8. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Posts:
    9,455
    In the very beginning, I've tested how much space I needed on my system partition [C:]. In that period my system partition was 50 gb.
    I copied one snapshot after another until I had 10 snapshots and my system partition was FULL. Even when I could, I couldn't create an 11th snapshot.
    So 40 gb will certainly be a problem, when Bellgamin has 10 snapshots in mind, like Acadia LOL.
     
  9. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Posts:
    17,048
    Hi Bellgamin

    Let me spell out two scenario's I have worked out.

    First of all I have Images of the complete drive I've taken with both ATI and IFW/IFD. These images have FDISR installed, and in one case even a 2nd snapshot I only do these on occasion.

    Then I have several redundant Archives of FDISR on external USB drives. I "refresh" these snapshots daily, as it is so quick.

    Both scenario's relate to either a hard disk failure or something trashing not only a snapshot, but FDISR.

    Scenario 1.

    Step 1. I successfully restore one of my images, but end up with a system that could way out of date.

    Step 2. If the image doesn't have a 2nd snapshot, I use FDISR and create one from an archive. If it did have a 2nd snapshot, I "refresh" it from the archive.

    Step 3. Boot to the 2nd snapshot and "refresh" the way out of date primary.

    Done.

    Scenario 2.

    NONE of my images work. EEK.

    Step 1. Either use my computers recovery disk, or just install Windows.
    Step 2. Install drivers that came with my external USB drives. (Have CD)
    Step 3 Get FDISR install file off external drive and install FDISR.
    Step 4 Don't let FDISR create a 2nd snapshot, but create one from one of the archives on the USB drive.
    Step 5 Refresh the primary snapshot

    Done.


    Obviously scenario 1 is quicker. But Scenario 2 is a viable fall back.

    This is also why it isn't a bad idea to test archives by creating a snapshot from them to ensure you can boot to them.

    Pete
     
  10. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Posts:
    1,976
    Location:
    Eastern PA, USA
    But he doesn't, according to his post, he has only 3 or 4 in mind. I must be thick, I don't get the significance or humor either one.
     
  11. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2004
    Posts:
    1,850
    Location:
    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Doesn't it make you wonder what's wrong with math?
    'used diskspace' x 'number of snapshots' <=> disk capacity
     
  12. bellgamin

    bellgamin Very Frequent Poster

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2002
    Posts:
    5,648
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Thanks to everyone for the EXTREMELY helpful comments you have offered. I hope that the Leapfrog folks recognize that this strong community of FDISR users is a major MAJOR reason for people to buy their product.

    Companies can buy advertisements but this kind of unpaid help from volunteers is (in the words of Mastercard) PRICELESS!
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Background
    *My drive C has only ONE partition & I plan to keep it that way.
    **My *Working System* on drive C is only ~4Gb in size. I mostly use my computer to maintain websites, counsel folks via email, & visit security forums. Based on 8+ years of such usage, plus the fact that all data files are on drive D, my *Working System* won't ever get bigger than ~7 or 8 Gb.
    ***I understand that I can have 10 FDISR snapshots, but my plan is to only have Primary & Secondary snapshots (drive C) & Omega snapshot (drive G).
    ****Since I will be using ATI or BING or IFW, I will also have one or more images of drive C residing on drive G.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Based on all your comments & guidance, here is what I THINK is the case. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    #1- My *Working System* and the Primary Snapshot are basically 2 names for the same thing. That is, the Primary Snapshot is ~4Gb & is Active.

    #2- Secondary snapshot MUST be located on drive C. Thus, if I have ONLY a Primary snapshot & a Secondary snapshot residing on drive C (& keep one snapshot Omega on external drive G) then I will be using ~8Gb on drive C & ~4Gb on G.

    #3- IF disaster strikes the Primary Snapshot...
    > I reboot & press F1.
    > I tell FDISR to boot to the Secondary snapshot. (Once it is booted the Secondary snapshot REPLACES/BECOMES the *Working System*/Primary Snapshot. The old Primary snapshot no longer exists).
    > I load snapshot Omega from G onto C. Omega now BECOMES Secondary snapshot.
    > In due time, I create a new Omega snapshot on drive G -- & the beat goes on.

    #4- ASSUMPTION- When restarting after a disaster, there is no way that I can get FDISR to directly boot into Omega on drive G. That is --- FDISR will only boot into a snapshot on C. True?

    #5- ASSUMPTION- If I have (on drive g) a *good drive C Image* made by ATI &/or BING, then FDISR is more of a convenience rather than being an absolute necessity for recovering from disaster. Agree or disagree?
     
  13. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Posts:
    17,048
    Based on all your comments & guidance, here is what I THINK is the case. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    #1- My *Working System* and the Primary Snapshot are basically 2 names for the same thing. That is, the Primary Snapshot is ~4Gb & is Active.

    Correct


    #2- Secondary snapshot MUST be located on drive C. Thus, if I have ONLY a Primary snapshot & a Secondary snapshot residing on drive C (& keep one snapshot Omega on external drive G) then I will be using ~8Gb on drive C & ~4Gb on G.

    You can't have a snapshot on G. It would be an archive.

    #3- IF disaster strikes the Primary Snapshot...
    > I reboot & press F1.
    > I tell FDISR to boot to the Secondary snapshot. (Once it is booted the Secondary snapshot REPLACES/BECOMES the *Working System*/Primary Snapshot. The old Primary snapshot no longer exists).
    > I load snapshot Omega from G onto C. Omega now BECOMES Secondary snapshot.
    > In due time, I create a new Omega snapshot on drive G -- & the beat goes on.


    NO. You boot to the secondary Snapshot. It is still Secondary, but now you are working in it. The old Primary still exists, but in its damaged state.
    Omega as an Archive still is an Archive. You now have two options. 1) Copy/update "refresh" your primary snapshot from Secondary, or 2) you can Copy/Update Primary from Archive Omega. Primary is still Primary, Secondary is still Secondary, and Omega is still Omega. Nothing has changed except you have repaired Primary.


    #4- ASSUMPTION- When restarting after a disaster, there is no way that I can get FDISR to directly boot into Omega on drive G. That is --- FDISR will only boot into a snapshot on C. True?

    Yes.

    #5- ASSUMPTION- If I have (on drive g) a *good drive C Image* made by ATI &/or BING, then FDISR is more of a convenience rather than being an absolute necessity for recovering from disaster. Agree or disagree?

    Yes and No. True you could recover from the Image. But the image wipes out the c: partition before restoring. FDISR gives you a bit more flexibility.
    Plus Disaster Recovery is only one aspect of FDISR.
     
  14. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Posts:
    9,455
    After rebooting and pressing F1, you have to boot in the healthy secondary snapshot, but the corrupted primary snapshot
    is still there.
    You can correct the primary snapshot is several ways :
    1. Method 1
    Copy/Update the healthy secondary snapshot to the corrupted primary snapshot and both snapshot will be identical
    and healthy again.
    2. Method 2
    copy/Update the healthy Archived Snapshot (Omega on [G:]) to the corrupted primary snapshot and it will be healthy again.
    3. Method 3
    Remove the corrupted primary snapshot.
    Copy/Update the healthy secondary snapshot to a new snapshot called Primary Snapshot.

    That is true.

    That depends. When are you going to do your IMAGE BACKUP with BING ?
    Daily, weekly, monthly, ,,, ?
     
  15. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Posts:
    1,976
    Location:
    Eastern PA, USA
    :eek: Nope. The last time I got a peek at bellgamin's system partition he had between 3 and 4 GB used and it was a total size of something like 30ish GB (sorry, I'm too lazy to look it up right now, just quoting from possibly faulty memory), so 3 or 4 snapshots is not unreasonable. Sorry, I'm still not gettin' it.:ninja:

    Off to run memtest86 or whatever the heck it's called on myself.

    P.S. Ooooh, I think I just got it. If I'm right, mum's the word.
     
  16. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

    Joined:
    May 15, 2004
    Posts:
    1,976
    Location:
    Eastern PA, USA
    Hooooo, hold the presses ! Peter2150, that is uncharacteristically picky behavior for you !

    I'm afraid you've been hanging around ErikAlbert long !:D :D :D


    P.S. Yes, it's me being silly again, don't take it personally ErikAlbert. I respect all of you guys.
     
  17. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2003
    Posts:
    17,048
    Not sure why it's picky. Just keeping nomenclature from being confusing. Snapshots you can boot to, archives you can't. FDISR, can be confusing enough for a newbie without randomizing nomenclature. I am afraid I am already guilty of that with the "refresh" term.
     
  18. screamer

    screamer Registered Member

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2006
    Posts:
    921
    Location:
    Big Apple USA
    Bellgamin,
    Since space is an issue for you, you may want to reduce the size of your System Restore Folder from 12% to 6 or 3%. You won't need as many (if any) restore points since you now have FD-ISR.
    I keep it at 3% as a "just in case" kinda thing ;)

    hth,

    ...screamer
     
  19. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2005
    Posts:
    9,455
    Besides that, the next version of FDISR will most probably allow you to compress snapshots, which will reduce the required space significantly.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.