Simple Answer Requested - Backup XP/Vista dual boot

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by 2geer, Aug 5, 2007.

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  1. 2geer

    2geer Registered Member

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    Hello everyone,

    I spent the morning reading the numerous forum posts regarding XP/Vista dual boot configurations etc. I am still unable to determine whether I can safely and predictably image a baseline configuration of XP/Vista and restore.

    I have a 150 mb SATA drive that has been configured with two partitions. I installed XP Pro first, installed the thousand or so Microsoft updates, and installed all current drivers. I then installed Vista (from XP) to the remaining partition, installed updates and drivers. Vista's bootloader has picked up both operating systems and all is working normally.

    My basic question is - Now that I have my baseline, can I use TI home V10 to create an image of the disk that will restore without repair, manipulation, or a PHD in computer science? And if not, does anyone make a product that will?

    I hate to sound jaded on this, however with the amount of time required to reinstall everything from scratch (having done so many times) - it seems that a solution should be available for protecting the baseline.

    Thanks to all for your time.

    dg
     
  2. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    If you do an entire disk backup (check the Disk # checkbox) then you should be able to restore the entire disk image without any problems.

    If the partition that you installed Vista into was created with XP (Disk Director or some other program besides Vista) then you shouldn't have any problems restoring just the Vista partition and having it boot correctly. If the partition was created with Vista during the install, then you would probably have to boot to the Vista DVD and run Repair to boot it after a partition restore. You should only have to to this one time (if needed). Further backups and restores shouldn't require a repair.

    Hopefully you have already tested the restore procedure and know it works correctly on your computer. If not, then I would suggest you do so (use a spare hard drive if you want). I ususally like to test restoring just after installing Windows (before updating, installing programs, etc.). That way I know if it will work correctly or not before I need it.
     
  3. 2geer

    2geer Registered Member

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    Thanks for your help. I am concerned about the restore process messing around with Vista's boot loader - not using a third party product. Restoring a test image means whacking the original disk unless I use another disk, correct?

    dg
     
  4. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    If you restore to the original disk then you risk losing the data if the restore fails. Using a spare drive allows you to test the restore works correctly and it also allows you to have a spare drive on hand if the original fails. You can then be up and running quickly if necessary.

    So far, TI 10 seems to do well at restoring the entire drive image without causing any Vista problems. If you do have any problems, you should be able to boot from the Vista DVD and do the repair to fix it (the repair only takes a few seconds to do after the DVD is booted).

    The bottom line is that if you haven't actually done a restore, you won't know if it will work 100% without any problems.
     
  5. CorkyG

    CorkyG Registered Member

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    IMHO, the best baseline you can do is a complete creation of a duplicate drive using the Rescue Disk clone funtion. The "reserve" target drive is identical to the source drive and can replace it to test it. I leave a just such a reserve drive on every one of my systems, and all it takes is a swap of the power connectors to quickly move on.

    This is especially useful for a dual boot or other complete system backup. Don't think back up and restore - think clone!

    Backup and restore is great for continuous backup of data, but for drive failure, it does not provide immediate relief.
     
  6. K0LO

    K0LO Registered Member

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    While having a complete clone is fine for the purpose that you have described, if you are not creating image backups then you're missing some of the best features that TI has to offer; automatic image scheduling, browsing the contents of an image to view/copy a single file or files, restoring only 1 of many partitions, etc.

    The problem with a clone is that it is limited to being an exact copy of your disk at the time that the clone was made. If you have more than one partition on the disk then this may not be the best way to go. For example, a common partitioning scheme is to put the OS on one partition and your data files on another. Let's say you've done that and then made a clone of the disk. Two weeks go by and you've created/modified a lot of your user files and then something goes wrong with Windows that you can't easily fix. If you have a backup image you can restore only the OS partition without touching your user files. If you have a clone then you swap the clone for your existing drive and in the process you lose all of the changes to your user files made since the clone.

    In a multiboot PC with Windows and Linux, having an image created with TI10 is even more useful. If you are working in Windows and want to have a look at one of your Linux files you can simply double-click on the image file and have a look. Without the image file you would have to reboot the PC into Linux and browse to the file to look at it, then reboot to go back into Windows.

    You can keep many images on your backup drive (preferably an external USB drive) but if you clone you only have one backup per drive.

    To each his own, I suppose. I can understand the attractiveness of having a cloned drive to just swap in if there is any problem, but I vastly prefer making images because of their versatility.
     
  7. CorkyG

    CorkyG Registered Member

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    Good points, Mark. And that leads me to this. The very best solution is to do BOTH!

    One should have a duplicate system drive in case of a drive failure. That can enable you to do a restore of data that might otherwise not be available.

    I have used duplicate drives for over 10 years - before Acronis ever existed. I used to use Powerquest Drive Copy - but that was buried by Symantec. Then Acronis comes along and does it better.

    I keep all my DATA on a RAID 1 array, and I use Acronis to back that up to an external USB drive regularly. but I still have a reserve OS drive always ready to go that is never more than a week old.

    I believe in defense in depth. Use everything available and you'll usually always win.
     
  8. 2geer

    2geer Registered Member

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    Great input - thanks guys.

    dg
     
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