Should I clone or disk image?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by kafoozalem, Dec 16, 2006.

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  1. kafoozalem

    kafoozalem Registered Member

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    I have just bought a 250G external HD in order to back up my 160G internal HD. My intention is to be able to have a copy of everything on my internal HD including files, OS, registry, email, programs and customised settings. I want to be able to restore full functionality instantly in the case of total disaster. Acronis advise against making a disk image on an external drive but making it on my internal drive seems daft to me. Firstly it will occupy 50 to 80G of my 160 HD at normal compression rates and secondly what happens if the HD fails/breaks completely?
    Would it be better for me to clone the entire drive to a 160G partition on my new external drive and create a bootable Acronis CD in case the OS fails. Will this strategy save everything I want including email etc? Will data encrypted by special software I have installed (universal shield) be recoverable? How easy is it to back up new files to a clone of the internal HD?
    I am really struggling to get my head around all this and I don't find the Acronis help guides and FAQ's very user friendly. Thanking you in advance for any help.
     
  2. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    Cloning is normally used for migrating an OS to a new HD. In your case you want to create an image of your 160GB HD, choosing normal compression. Rather than go into differential\incremental images, I would keep creating additional complete images over time and rotate. I keep three full images of my system and rotate over time. That way I can fall back on three separate complete mirrors of my system. This includes all emails, encrypted files, you name it. By all means create a bootable Rescue disk and use this to restore your images.

    Concerning emails and data, be aware that when you restore an image taken a week previous, you loose any messages or data received\created in the week since the creation of the image. The way to avoid this is to keep email message, favorites and data on a separate partition on your 160GB drive and restore only the OS partition and Track Zero & MBR as needed. How do you create an partition on your 160GB drive without using Partition Magic or Acronis Disk Director Suite? You can use the following roundabout way:

    Create an entire disk image of your drive. Now restore selected partition(s), resizing it\them down so as to generate unallocated space(s) where additional partition(s) can next be created using Windows Disk Management.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2006
  3. kafoozalem

    kafoozalem Registered Member

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    Thanks for that dld. I am still baffled though. Where are you storing your mirror images? If they are on your C drive couldn't it fail? If on an external drive Acronis warn of potential problems and the back up software doesn't seem to want to let you do it anyway. Also 80G of a 160G C drive is alot of space to give up -- I'd be better off using the full 160G clone to the new drive leaving me with a 80G more on the C drive and 90G free space on the new external drive. Or am I missing something?
     
  4. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    If your external drive is a USB2 drive, then Acronis should have no problem detecting this drive. As well the Rescue disk which Acronis has you burn, and which runs in a Linux environment, this Rescue disk should be able to detect your USB2 drive. On this external drive you only need a single partition which you format NTFS. Store all your images on this drive.

    Don't create a Secure Zone on this drive. I think that is what Acronis warns you about.

    Also note that if you clone your C: drive to your external drive, then your external drive will become your new C: drive. If you choose to have Acronis expand the source partition, you end up with a 250GB C: drive. Now Windows will not boot from this external USB2 drive. So what do you do if your 160GB drive goes belly-up? Get yourself a new 250GB internal drive, boot from the Rescue disk and try to clone the external 250GB drive to the internal 250GB drive? Forget it!

    OTOH, if your external drive is in an enclosure and that you intend on installing this external cloned drive as internal Master in case of disaster, then that's a different story. There are some who do it that way. Personally I'd rather go the imaging route.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2006
  5. kafoozalem

    kafoozalem Registered Member

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    It is a dual USB2/Firewire external HD currently configured for firewire. Are you telling me I should revert to USB2? Darn it I paid an extra £20 for the firewire option! I have converted it to NTFS and divided it into 3 drives of approx 60G 35G and 35G.
    So your advice is not to back up on the C drive but create the Acronis secure zone in the 60G partition in the new external drive?
     
  6. kafoozalem

    kafoozalem Registered Member

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    I meant 160G not 60G. Sorry.
     
  7. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    Do not, repeat, do not create a Secure Zone on this external drive. Others will have to guide you re USB2\Firewire. I meant to format NTFS rather than FAT32. I wouldn't partition this external drive except for the single initial partition needed to format. Why restrict yourself as to the space needed for your images!
     
  8. kafoozalem

    kafoozalem Registered Member

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    Now you have convinced me. Thank you so much for your time dld.
     
  9. kafoozalem

    kafoozalem Registered Member

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    Firewire is listed as supported by Acronis True Image version 10 so I'll gie it a go with firewire.
     
  10. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    Good luck! When I said to rotate the images, I meant to let Acronis overwrite the oldest image with the newer one. That way to don't have to keep deleting the older image and renaming the newer image.

    This from Wikipedia:

    FireWire 800 (Apple's name for the 9-pin "S800 bilingual" version of the IEEE 1394b standard) was introduced commercially by Apple in 2003. This newer 1394 specification and corresponding products allow a transfer rate of 786.432 Mbit/s with backwards compatibility to the slower rates and 6-pin connectors of FireWire 400.

    The full IEEE 1394b specification supports optical connections up to 100 metres in length and data rates all the way to 3.2 Gbit/s. Standard category-5 unshielded twisted pair supports 100 metres at S100, and the new p1394c technology goes all the way to S800. The original 1394 and 1394a standards used data/strobe (D/S) encoding (called legacy mode) on the signal wires, while 1394b adds a data encoding scheme called 8B10B (also referred to as beta mode). With this new technology, FireWire, which was already slightly faster [6], is now substantially faster than Hi-Speed USB.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2006
  11. dbknox

    dbknox Registered Member

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    Just to add to did's good advice. I would keep a copy of your first image handy just in case. I keep three images on my internal drive and 4 on my external drive and I back up using Nero to DVD every once in a while.
    A bit of overkill but what the "H" with the price of DVD's now.

    I create a new folder with the date of my image. One never knows when a worm or virus infects your computer and you never noticed until after a couple of images.
     
  12. dld

    dld Registered Member

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    kafoozalem.. One final bit of advice. I would disable Windows System Restore which you really won't need any more once you have ATI up and running. The space occupied by the restore points created by WSR just bloats your images.
     
  13. dklass

    dklass Registered Member

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    I have a HP Hpnx6125 portable and TI 9.0 build 3854 and have found that backing it up to a USB 2.0 where the hard drive has about 60 Gb takes 10 hours. If I clone it to an external USB 2.0 hard drive which is a portable drive in a case this takes about 1.5 hours, likely because the clone locks the hard drive. The difference in time is significant to me although I would like to have the backup to be able to restore individual files. I decided to create 2 clones on 2 different external cased portable HDs and now use one of the clones as a real clone in that I can replace my hard drive with it and the other as a backup in that I can use it to copy files to the internal hard drive. As a backup drive it ceases to be the C:\ drive once the operating system sees it and then assigns it a different drive number. This seems to work for me as the cloning time is so much more rapid than backing up.
     
  14. dbknox

    dbknox Registered Member

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    dklass Wow! 10 hours, something is wrong, I do 10 gigs in less then 10 minutes. From both the rescue disk and windows environment. I have seen many posts here where apperoximate 1 gig per minute is more of the norm.
    I have been trying to figure out what causes some computers to be so much faster then others. I have been wondering if it could be the amount of memory. Do you mind telling me what size Ram memory you have?
     
  15. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    Any drive can fail.
    You must use at least two external backup drives, alternate amongst them, and NEVER have all connected simultaneously.

    NEVER backup to an internal drive.
     
  16. geoffp

    geoffp Registered Member

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    What about a swappable (hot or not) internal drive bay plus two removable drives. Alternate weekly (or how often you want) and store one off site.
     
  17. dklass

    dklass Registered Member

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    I have 1gig of memory and a fairly fast processor. But it is very clear that the clone is about 5 times faster than the regular backup. I have noticed that with the newer builds of TI9.0 the backups have become much slower, but not the clone which now is not buggy like it used to be.
     
  18. jelenko

    jelenko Registered Member

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    By this you mean that an internal drive should not count as one of two independent backups - yes? I.e., there is nothing wrong per se with backing up to an internal drive?

    Thanks
     
  19. Howard Kaikow

    Howard Kaikow Registered Member

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    Internal drives are more at risk to damage from power problems.
    And it is far easier to move an external drive to another computer.
     
  20. Granger

    Granger Registered Member

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    I build PC systems from scratch for friends, family, work and of course for myself, I do about 2-3 systems per year. I am a heavy user of Photoshop and Premiere mkaing processing logn videos and photos. I used to build large systems for myself with about 4-6 HDs since I wanted the space both for work and for backing up. This usually became the network backup server for my family's PCs on Friday nights as well.
    But I started expereincing failures in some 250GB drives every several months. I figured out why...just drive fatigue. Whenever this PC was on all these drives were powered up and humming away and using up their lifetimes. So I switched to a home-built NAS. I used an old AMD 2Ghz PC and loaded it up with fresh HDs (now 400-500GB) connected it to the home network and I only power it up once a week to do all the TrueImage backups. I downsized all the "fulltime" PCs to 2 HDs (in my vide work I still use 3, but they don't need to be massive). And I use a pair of external HDs in a RAID box to back up my large video projects nightly, so worst case I only lose 1 day of work.
    Now I don't need backups on the PC itself anymore. My images are all external, and the external drives only get revved up when I do the backup or need to download an image (hasn't happened yet), so I have extended their lifetimes by a factor of 7 (easy math: they are on only 1 day in 7 currently). And yes, I have a clone of the server boot HD because I am paranoid.
    Granger
     
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