Scheduling a series of full+other backups

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by mcepek, Dec 19, 2007.

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  1. mcepek

    mcepek Registered Member

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    I currently have the following backup Scheduled Tasks set up:
    Mon - Full
    Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri - Differential

    It's been running for 1.5 weeks, and my Acronis "Backup Archives" screen shows me what I expect:

    12/10/2007 - Full
    12/11/2007 - Differential
    12/12/2007 - Differential
    12/13/2007 - Differential
    12/14/2007 - Differential
    12/17/2007 - Full
    12/18/2007 - Differential

    That seems all warm and fuzzy, until I look at the actual Acronis backup files on disk:

    12/17/2007 - DriveC1.tib
    12/17/2007 - DriveC2.tib
    12/17/2007 - DriveC3.tib
    12/18/2007 - DriveC4.tib
    12/13/2007 - DriveC5.tib
    12/14/2007 - DriveC6.tib

    The problem is that the Full backup this week seems to overwrite the Full backup from last week. This of course invalidates all the Differentials from last week. I confirmed this by trying to restore from Friday, which failed.

    What I want is to have a brand new, Full backup each Monday, completely independent and separate from any other Full backup I've done. Then I want the Differentials for the rest of the week to always have a valid Full as their basis.

    The first thing I thought of was a post-command to rename things, but I've read in other forums here that you can't just rename the files and/or directories without hosing your ability to easily to restores.

    So my question is this: how to I do what I want?

    Version: Acronis True Image Home v11.0 (build 8,053), licensed
    OS: Win XP Pro sp2
    Backup device: 160GB external USB hard drive
    RAID: no
     
  2. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello mcepek,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Please notice that you can set up the desired schedule by creating Acronis Backup Location with no limits set, an scheduling "Create a full backup after every 4 differential backups" with execution scheduled "Weekly at Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday".

    Please see chapter 8 "Backup location management" of Acronis True Image 11 Home User's Guide for detailed instructions.

    If you have any further questions concerning Acronis software, please feel free to submit a request for technical support or post any of them on this forum. We will certainly try to help you in resolving any issues.

    Thank you.
    --
    Marat Setdikov
     
  3. dsn

    dsn Registered Member

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    Those file names suggest that you may have fallen into the trap that many of us, including me, have done. You selected your backup location from the "my computer" drive tree, instead of the "backup locations" tree that appears at the top of the list that appears when you are choosing a backup location. You have to select the folder from the Backup Locations area, even though the same folder appears again under "My Computer". When you select a location from the Backup Locations tree, you get much more flexibility on scheduling full and incremental/differential backups, and the backup files are automatically named. Some details in this thread:

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=172470#13
     
  4. mcepek

    mcepek Registered Member

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    I'm amazed that Acronis hasn't done a better job making this clear. The various posts on this issue in this forum make it clear that this feature should be documented better in the product.

    dsn: Thank you for the extremely helpful links. :thumb: I see that other users had to document this clearly, since the product documentation doesn't.

    Marat/Acronis Support: I certainly hope that improving the documentation about this is on your list. To help you in this regard, I'll list the specific areas you need to work on below:

    1) I looked at chapter 8 "Backup location management" of the User Guide as you suggested above. That chapter does not discuss how to do this. It does mention that this is a feature, but it does not tell me how to property configure the product to use this feature. It does point me to section 3.5 however...

    2) Section 3.5 of the PDF Users Guide does contain a cryptic note about this issue at the end of the Setting rules for backup locations section:

    When creating a backup task, be sure to select the backup location from the Backup Locations list, near the top of the directory tree. Doing so will enable the above processing of backups. If you select a backup location as a normal folder, the processing will not be performed.

    But it's a mistake to bury this (without a screen shot) in the Acronis Backup Locations section of Chapter 3. This issue has to do with properly configuring a Scheduled Backup task. It's so out of context here as to be useless. o_O

    3) So let's have a look at Chapter 9, Scheduling Tasks. Again this feature is mentioned, but there isn't even a screen shot of the wizard page that is critical to configuring this properly. It sure seems like it belongs here. There are references to 5.2.1 - 5.2.4, and to 5.2.6 - 5.2.8, so let's have a look there...

    4) In 5.2.5 Selecting the backup destination (the one section not mentioned in Chapter 9!) we finally see a screen shot of the critical part of the wizard. But the screen shot shows "My Computer" expanded instead - the exact wrong thing to do (in order to properly configure this feature). Further, the text of 5.2.5 doesn't give the user any clue that the sneaky "Backup Locations" line of the tree browser is important - the screen shot doesn't even show it expanded.

    I strongly recommend that Acronis update this section (5.2.5) with a screen shot highlighting the "Backup Locations" part of the tree browser, leaving "My Computer" unexpanded. I also strongly recommend adding clear text to 5.2.5 which points out that additional features will be available on the subsequent "Backup Policy" page of the wizard if a "Backup Location" is specified.

    If it's important to discuss non-"Backup Locations" separately, then do so with a separate screen shot and text that differentiates them.

    5) Why is your on-line help so different from the downloadable PDF user guide? There are no chapter numbers, for example, so when your reply (above) directed me to Chapter 8, I could not use the product documentation already on my computer, I had to download a separate 10.5Mb PDF from your web site. :ouch: That's not user friendly.

    6) The on-line help also doesn't seem to even come close to addressing this issue. I actually read quite a lot of it, after installing Acronis True Image, and prior to configuring the product. I strongly recommend that this issue be better documented in the on-line help system also.

    7) The "Schedule Task Wizard" itself could be smarter too. Consider this: selecting a location somewhere OTHER than a "Backup Location" on the "Backup Archive Location" page could pop up an informational dialog letting the user know the disadvantages of their selection, and/or linking them to more info in the on-line help. The current context-sensitive help link for that page of the wizard doesn't even come close to addressing this issue.

    I think this is a really important (and excellent) feature of Acronis True Image, and I would hope that Acronis can see that their documentation needs to be more clear about explaining it. Although I'm a frustrated user, the above is meant in the most constructive sense. Thanks for listening to your users through this forum.
     
  5. Strangeman

    Strangeman Registered Member

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    I would tend to agree - I think Acronis are shooting themselves in the foot a little by having anything other than 'backup locations' available in the 'choose backup location' dialog. Even when you are aware of what needs to be chosen, choosing a 'backup location' is not instinctive, because it isn't the default choice.
     
  6. A J kadashevich

    A J kadashevich Registered Member

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    Just wanted to post thanks to those who posted instruction on how to do this. I am a very experienced compuer user and I was not able to figure out how to do this after reading the help that came with the software as well as on-line manual.

    It was not obvious to me that
    (1) that what I had to select was at the top of the tree "backup location" especially since it had no options out of the box
    (2) that backup location had to be created first in a separate step, before I can do step (1) first.

    Please correct the manual and on-line instructions. They not clear even to the most experienced users!!!

    Better yet, make backup location part of the wizard and make the option that it has to be created more clear, rather than leading the person towards creating an explicit name. This is clearly not what most users want to do, they don't want to overwrite backups! It should be a hard to find option, not the thing that seems the best choice from UI.
     
  7. jehill1949

    jehill1949 Registered Member

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    Thanks to mcepek for your work on documenting the documentation. I have been struggling with this issue and Acronis since TI 11 was released. When ever I asked them a question, I just was referred to the usless documentation.
    I may hang in there a bit longer now that others have also taken up the cause. This software isn't so expensive that I won't consider changing again.
    My final comment for today is that TI v.10 worked very well for me. I believe that Acronis turned out an inferrior product with TI v.11. Maybe the corporate customers fare better.

    jehill
     
  8. mcepek

    mcepek Registered Member

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    Just wanted to mention that I submitted a support request to Acronis requesting an improvement to their documentation, pointing them at this thread. I'll include their response below. Thanks to those those who've confirmed my concerns.

    ~Private email removed. See the TOS for clarification.~
    >
    > As made clear in this Acronis Support Forum thread and others:
    >
    > https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=195095
    >
    > the Acronis documentation really needs to be improved to clarify how
    > users can properly configure incremental and differential backups.
    >
    > If users don't happen to notice the "Backup Locations" in the tree
    > browser when configuring Scheduled Backups, then they are not given
    > choices about re-creating Full backups every N times, which then
    > causes prior archives to be trashed.
    >
    > Please improve both the on-line and PDF versions of your product
    > documentation to be more clear about this. Feel free to contact me
    > with further questions.
    >
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 31, 2007
  9. sparkymachine

    sparkymachine Registered Member

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    Would like to comment I had absolutely no problem at all understanding how to use backup locations and found the documentation adequate.
     
  10. mcepek

    mcepek Registered Member

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    sparkymachine: I'm wondering what version of the product you're using. I'm also curious about exactly where in the documentation you found enough information about Backup Locations to use them properly for incremental or differential backups (the key issue in this thread). It's not that I doubt you (really!), it's that I'm trying to understand what I missed when I read it. :) Thanks.
     
  11. DS3

    DS3 Registered Member

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    Great thread! I have finally finished pulling my hair out over this. My backup schedule works as desired. No useful help from Acronis support. It is amazing to me how companies continue to provide inadequate documentation for their software. Now if I can only get the TI 11 e-mail notification to work...
     
  12. sparkymachine

    sparkymachine Registered Member

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    TI11 8053

    I just flicked around the help topics in TI. Perhaps its because I've been in IT since 1980 that I knew what I was looking for and I plead guilty sometimes of not realising that some people have never even heard of incrementals and differentials.
    So as far as how helpful the help is I'm probably not best to judge. I guess it could be explained better to the uninitiated.
     
  13. Strangeman

    Strangeman Registered Member

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    Must have been something in the water between 1980 and 1982 (when I started in IT) because I didn't register the significance of that small paragraph about backup locations straight away.
     
  14. sparkymachine

    sparkymachine Registered Member

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    There certainly was something in the water where I was - alcohol lol. Nothing like it to stimulate the 'ask loads of questions about absolutely everything' part of the brain when on the many courses and stuff I was sent on. That was seen as brownie points on the 'class reports' the bosses got back - the questioning that is, not the alcohol consumption because the tutors drunk more than we did!!
     
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