Simple Question: Which drive aspects to choose for Backup?

Discussion in 'Paragon Drive Backup Product Line' started by Data8, Jan 16, 2013.

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  1. Data8

    Data8 Registered Member

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    Given:
    XPpro on a Pentium4 system (my 'online chores' computer)
    1 hard drive split into three (3) partitions:
    C:\ XPpro SP3 operating system and program files
    D:\ data
    E:\ small partition for secondary swap file / paging file​

    QUESTION 1
    To back up System partition C:, should I select only item 4 "XPnew (C):" as depicted in the image below?
    Note that in this scenario, First Hard Disk Track and Master Boot Record will not be backed up.

    http://www.itomburgess.com/hdm2012/c-only.jpg

    OR...should I select item 1, the entire hard disk, and then deselect partitions D and E as depicted below?
    In this scenario, First Hard Disk Track and Master Boot Record will be backed up with the C: partition.
    HDM2012 reports creating a "complex archive".

    http://www.itomburgess.com/hdm2012/disk0_minus_d+e.jpg


    QUESTION 2
    If the second method is the correct method ('complex' archive containing C: partition + First Hard Disk Track + Master Boot Record), will the Restore be a straightforward matter of simply choosing that 'complex' archive - same as choosing and restoring any other archive?


    QUESTION 3
    item 5, "Data (D): contains only stored data files. To back it up, do I select only item 5, "Data (D):"?
    I assume so...


    I know these are 'rudimentary' questions, but necessary as I'd hate to find out I chose wrongly when 'Restore Time'(!) comes.

    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  2. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    Question 1: It´s not necessary to backup the MBR or the Track0. Paragon can create a generic MBR if needed. But... if your MBR is "special" (not generic) it may be a good idea to backup it and the Track0.

    Question 2: Yes, and I think you can also restore any of the components of the archive independently. But I haven´t used complex archives in a long time.

    Question 3: Yes. But Paragon is not the best tool to backup files. Consider using a file synchronizer.
     
  3. Data8

    Data8 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the reply, Robin. I don't know if my MBR is in any way special; I've done nothing (knowingly ;)) to make it so... The only anomaly is that the mobo's onboard SATA controller is an early implementation and requires the drivers be added to the HDM emergency boot CD (otherwise, HDM can't find the hard drive).


    Can anyone confirm Robin's answer for sure? It sounds like I can create a fully functional/reliable/restorable backup of the C:\ operating system drive by selecting ONLY item 4 "XPnew (C):" from the drives list. Am I right?


    Thanks for referring me to "File Synchronizers" as a strategy. I may implement one, but this particular D:\ data drive contains a lot of large, rather permanent "data libraries" necessary to the operation of the apps on the C:\ drive. So in this case, a static backup will do.
     
  4. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    You can confirm it by yourself. Create an image with MBR and Track0 and try to restore it, to see what options you have.
     
  5. JosephB

    JosephB Registered Member

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    Data8,
    Just to be on the safe side, in case you have a "special mbr/track 0", include MBR and First Track Option with the C: in your (complex) Archive it takes very little space to backup the MBR and First Track. (special mbr would be if you have a "boot menu" (boot mgr) appearing for booting multiple operating systems
    --OR-- , your pc oem modified the mbr/first track in a special way, so that when a key pressed, during bootup will bring up a "Hidden" (no drive letter) OEM "Recovery Partition", etc).
    --- Or, as another method, create a one-time separate Backup Archive of just backing up/select checking the MBR/First Track to backup, in case its needed. However, my personal preference is always to include it the Archive with the C: Drive.
    P.S.
    ... I noticed that in your "snapshot" it says your C: Drive is a "Promise Stripe - Raid 0 SCSI". Is there any chance that to support this hard drive that your MBR/First Track (Track 0) was modified ? I have no idea, so its best to be safe than sorry and backup the MBR and First Track along with your C: , just in case you need to restore it after restoring your c: from the Complex Backup Archive.

    .... Since, my "MBR/First Track" is "special", I create a backup image with the mbr\first track options both checked "on" and the C: Drive checked on.
    .... Then when I restore, I first select the to Restore the C: from the complex backup acrhive. Then after the C: restore is finished, I proceed to select in the complex backup archive, just the MBR/First Track to restore. (Of course, if your MBR/first track is "generic" you won't have to do the 2nd restore).
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  6. Data8

    Data8 Registered Member

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    Robin.
    Thanks for posting again. I received a reply from Paragon tech support, and her answer is very similar to your original post. So thanks.

    (see the Paragon engineer's reply below)​

    As for your suggestion to test it myself, I hadn't done so because I'm "chicken". :D After a long and trecherous WinXP reinstall, I finally have this system running well. The true test of the Restore would be to do it from the "Disaster Boot CD" and I'm not sure at what point in the process one actually "pulls the trigger" (starts the process). I'd hate to actually Restore the system without intending to... I know. It sounds stupid, but there've been so many problems with this XPpro re-install that now I "expect trouble" at every turn...:eek:


    JosephB
    You think the way I do (for better or worse :D). Murphy's Law is always a factor, so including the First Hard Disk Track and Master Boot Record in the backup seems like the best approach (belt AND suspenders, sez I).

    According to Ms Fedorova's comments, quoted below, simply backing up the C:\ partition is sufficient, BUT...the onboard Promise SATA controller has caused LOTS of confusion in the past, and I have no clear understanding of whether a non-standard MBR is a factor... Since Ms Fedorova seems to state that a Restore from the resulting 'complex' archive would be a very simple process, I think I'll stick with the 'complex" version with First Hard Disk Track and Master Boot Record included.

    The 'complex' motif is a perfect match for the rest of my ensemble. :D



    Paragon Tech Support Reply to my intial post

    Q1) you can select only item 4: partition C, that would be enough,
    and in this case see 2)

    Q2) restore is very simple and straightforward

    Q3) yes, item 5 - partition D - is enough

    With best regards, Anastasia Fedorova
    Support Engineer Paragon Software Group
     
  7. JosephB

    JosephB Registered Member

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    Data8,

    Its extremely important to make sure your paragon boot cd or boot usb can boot your system and see the Backup Archives on your External USB drive (if that is where your placing your Backups) !!!

    You do *not* want to wait until you need to restore to find out whether or not, when you Boot from Recovery Media that you can or can not access your backup Archives, at that point. If *not* you are then ....... (well you know, what i mean).

    ... So, are you using Free or Paid - Paragon backup product ?
     
  8. Data8

    Data8 Registered Member

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    Point taken, Joseph. I think "SOL" is the appropriate term (grin).

    I will have to run through the Restore process to test everything, as Robin and you both recommend. Do you know if the Restore process on the Boot Recovery CD gives a very clear indication/warning such as, "SELECTING THIS BUTTON WILL RESTORE YOUR PARTITION (NO TURNING BACK)!".

    I do need to confirm everything up to actually launching the restore process.

    My HDM 1012 was free, for taking part in an online Paragon survey (I bought HDM 2010 a couple of years back).
     
  9. JosephB

    JosephB Registered Member

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    Data8,

    1. Since, you have then the "paid" product, have you created both the Linux And WinPE Recovery on DVD DVD (or USB) o_O (Note: WinPE not in free versions) and in newer versions of B&R or HDM, no longer included as software image to burn to dvd, but rather you have to run a Paragon WinPE Builder to create the WinPE on your DVD or USB.

    The Linux Recovery does *not* support as much pc configurations as the WinPE Recovery CD/DVD/USB media. WinPE has more drivers to suuport more hardware and you can add specific drivers to support hard disks, usb, if the included drivers are not sufficent to recognize your pc configuration.

    2. Yes, you can backout, just before the Restore. If you boot from the Recovery media and you can access your Backup Archives and you can go thru the screens where it shows your archive and its contents layout, then chances are very good that a Restore will succeed. Of course, assuming that you do not have any errors on the hard disk - should check it with chkdsk.
    .... However, there is *no* way to be 100% sure without doing an actual restore. But, in the worst case scenario, Are you stiill at the point in time, where you can reinstall winxp if you needed to, if the Restore did not work ? Suppose in 3 months form now things went sour and only choice is to restore and it does not work and you had to reinstall winxp would be harder to go thru the proceess then or is it easier to do now while you still have the procedure down pat ? ,,,, So, the question is risk a restore now or take your chances down the road , when you need to restore ? ... Only, you can decide.

    All I can add is that over the past few years, I had 2 bad virus infections and 1 windows change which fully screwed up win xp and I did restores and I was back in business quickly and with the level of rootkit viruses these days, its nice knowing you can restore at anytime.
    Yes, I was really scared the first time I did a restore not knowing whether a restore would work on not on my pc, but I prepared ahead of how I would go about re-installing win xp, if it did not work and I had to. Luckily, restored worked for me and now I have the peace of mind that I can restore at anytime should win xp get messed up again by a virus or bad software install/uninstall.
    .... But, only you can decide at what point to take the risk, now or in the future should you need to restore.

    3. BTW, another Option is to buy a new extra spare hard drive (and possibily get one larger, if you wish). Create a Backup of the Entire Hard Disk (all the partitions). Next, remove your current Hard Drive from the pc and replace it with the New Hard Drive and then Restore from the Backup Archive to the new hard drive. If the Restore should Fail, you could re-insert your original hard drive. On the hand, if the Restore works, you could even keep in the New hard drive, especially if its larger it would be a benefit.
    ... P.S. I have *not* done this procedure yet, myself,but others on this forum have and should be able to give tips on this procedure.
     
    Last edited: Jan 17, 2013
  10. Data8

    Data8 Registered Member

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    Joseph ==

    Many thanks for your detailed post #9! My responses are per your enumerated paragraphs (thanks for making it easy that way):

    1. I downloaded all available HDM2010 files. Created a "Windows PE Recovery CD" and a "Linux/DOS Recovery CD". Those CDs are available to me now, but in using HDM2012, I created only the standard "Recovery Media Builder" CD, which appears to be the "Linux/DOS" version - and added one driver set.

    I don't need much firepower. I run a basic 4-node router for simple file sharing and printing. The only unusual aspect is the onboard Promise SATA "RAID" controller (a single-hard drive is set up as "RAID 1+0"). So I added the Promise SATA drivers to the HDM2012 Recovery Media CD - and when I boot from that CD, it does find the hard drive connected to the SATA controller. It takes about 4 minutes of searching/analyzing, but the Recovery CD does make use of those added drivers. :D YES!


    2. I cannot begin to recount the 1001 Steps involved in getting all aspects of the XPpro SP3 reinstall to work properly. What a nightmare! So I DO appreciate the points you make regarding "never knowing for sure" without testing a Restore...BUT!...I absolutely will not risk a failed Restore at this point. The only people who understand my apprehension (FEAR) are those who've suffered through the AGONY of rebuilding everything on an outdated system...:blink:

    I WILL work through the RESTORE-from-Recovery-CD scenario right up to the "trigger point" as you outlined. Thanks.


    3. Excellent idea about having a 2nd swappable HD. I doubt I'll do exactly that though, because funds are tight and this XPpro Pentium4 system is well past its prime (but working very well).

    In the scenario you outlined, would it be possible to simply use "Migrate OS to SSD" to clone the contents of the existing HD to the new/2nd HD? Follow this path to see exactly what I mean:

    HDM2012 > Express Mode interface > Copying and Migration > Migrate OS to SSD
    "Copy the operating system, programs and data to another HDD or SSD"

    Thanks,
    Tom
     
  11. Data8

    Data8 Registered Member

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    CLARIFICATION:

    I wrote back to Ms Fedorova, the Paragon support engineer, asking whether her comments referred to:
    a) backing up ONLY the C:\ system partition, or

    b) backing up the C:\ system partition PLUS the MasterBootRecord and first track. ​
    Her original comments appear below, edited to clarify -
    backing up C:\ only will serve to Restore the system completely.
    No need to backup the MBR or 1st track:

    Paragon Tech Support...you can select only partition C, that would be enough,
    and in this case restore is very simple and straightforward...


    She also wrote that restoring from a 'complex archive' including MBR and 1st track would not be difficult.
     
  12. JosephB

    JosephB Registered Member

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    Sorry, but I do *not* have experience with this aspect of the paragon pgm, as I have not tried migrating to another hard drive yet.
    ... Best to wait for some one else, on this forum, to answer this question for you.
    ... It might be best to ask this as a new thread subject - re migrating to a new hard drive question.
     
  13. Data8

    Data8 Registered Member

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    EPILOGUE

    EPILOGUE

    It turns out I was able to 'appropriate' a second hard drive (Western Digital 160GB) and did indeed RESTORE my current 60GB C:\ System partition to a 20 GB partition H:\ on the second drive (per JosephB's recommended test).

    Contents of C:\ are only about 14GB, so the 20GB partition H:\ is fine.

    I conducted the RESTORE using the standard "Recovery CD" which HDM2012 prompts you to create. It worked very well; the process was trouble-free and easy.


    Next I used Windows "Disk Management" to set Partition H:\ to ACTIVE, and rebooted the computer.
    (Control Panel > Admin Tools > Comp Mgmt > Disk Mgmt)

    At re-boot, I used the motherboard's onboard SATA controller utility to easily switch "Boot Drive" from the current 500GB disk to the alternate 160GB disk. The system booted into the alternate Windows XP Pro SP3 PERFECTLY!

    Ahhhhhhh! :D

    At first I wasn't sure whether I was seeing my original OS or the alternate Restored version on the alternate drive. The proof: Windows Explorer identified the original 60GB system C:\ partition as H:\ and identified the alternate 20GB system H:\ partition as C:\ - opposite the way the drives appear when using the original/typical OS partition.

    What a RELIEF!

    FWIW, I checked Properties for the original C: system contents against the alternate, restored H: system contents:
    The restored H: contents contained 8 fewer files...AND surprisingly, the total size of its data was larger.

    I don't know why that is, and considering the vast number of files involved, I expect I'll never know. No problem. :D

    THANK YOU, Robin A. and JosephB, and Ms Fedorova, too. This is the first time in two years that I feel confident about being able to keep this XP Pro system running properly.

    Tom
     
  14. JosephB

    JosephB Registered Member

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    Data8,

    Glad to hear it ! ... You've got the "power" ! .... to recover.
     
  15. Data8

    Data8 Registered Member

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