Snapshots, Archives & Images - I need a plan

Discussion in 'FirstDefense-ISR Forum' started by beethoven, May 28, 2008.

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  1. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    Sofar I have only used Fd_ISR with a few snapshots and a number of archives. I am now trying to get familiar with imaging software and I wonder how to best manage this.

    Here is what I am thinking but please correct me if I am wrong.

    1) Snapshots are convenient for immediate rebooting into another set-up, however they do take up some space. This is not so much an issue on the harddrive (enough space nowadays), but will increase scanning times for AV or imaging times for creating images. So I guess I will reduce my snapshots to Work, Secondary (to reboot quickly) and possibly one special function snapshot.

    2) Archives - useful for quick recovery of earlier setups - stored on a separate internal and external drive for security

    3) Images - as additional backup in case of hardware failure, again stored on separate harddrive and external drive
    My intention is to only image the OS as my data is on a separate internal harddrive with backup to an external drive. Does anyone use images for "data drives"?

    Now I realise that some users here have their own finetuned strategy,probably developed and improved over time. If someone would like to share their back up plan, I would be very interested - primarily how to combine the three, how many snapshots/archives/images to keep, how or when to prefer one over the other ...

    I am sure there are many aspects I have not yet thought about.
     
  2. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Beethoven

    I use a simple plan.

    Only one partition for everything. I only keep a second snapshot, and it is totally stripped down. It's only purpose is a place to boot. I use the archives, and have one for my main snapshot, and one for my secondary. I almost never update either my secondary snapshot or archive. I update the primary archive frequently.

    As to imaging, I use shadowprotect, and I take complete images everyother week, and let the continous incremental function run every thirty minutes during the day.

    Doing this I have all kinds of options. If I need I can pull something from one of the incrementals, and one end of the extreme, and the other is complete recovery by doing a windows install, installing FDISR, and restoring the archives.

    Pete
     
  3. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    that's what I like and sounds like an excellent movie title ;)

    So the secondary snapshot & archive are pure recovery for booting and restoring (from other sources, ie the frequently backed up primary archive) but not to backup anything valuable.

    This then is your first "rescue" solution - using this archive to update the secondary if you needed to roll back?

    So I take it you don't see much point in having additional archives as points in time, relying much more on SP? I guess one of the reasons is that you don't separate OS and data?
     
  4. chrome_sturmen

    chrome_sturmen Registered Member

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    how long have you been using fdisr?
     
  5. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    I explained mine already so many times and
    1. Who wants to separate system from data ? Nobody, except a few users.
    2. Who wants to use a frozen system partition ? Nobody, except a few users.
    3. Who wants to change his backup habits ? Nobody, except a few users.
    Users only want to change the names of their softwares, mostly security and recovery softwares, not the rest.
     
  6. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    about 6 months :D
     
  7. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    To be honest I like your approach but as it is the most "radical" way to operate, at this stage I prefer to learn a bit more about both Fd_ISR and imaging and become more comfortable with everything. Still, I already took step 1 (for almost everything though there are some programs that I still find difficult to manipulate with respect to data) and step 3. Give me a few months and I might start testing your strategy :D
     
  8. chrome_sturmen

    chrome_sturmen Registered Member

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    one must always seperate their data from the operating system- not doing so is suicide
     
  9. chrome_sturmen

    chrome_sturmen Registered Member

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    beethoven - i'll be honest, all of us know how to answer your questions and then some- we are waiting for you to ask kindly- prove yourself worthy, then you'll have the understanding of the fdisr..
     
  10. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    o_O I am afraid I do not understand this at all? How do I prove myself worthy :doubt:
     
  11. chrome_sturmen

    chrome_sturmen Registered Member

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    albert will begin it :D
     
  12. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    The 3 steps I described are independent from eachother, you can do #1 first without doing #2 and #3. Separating system and data, doesn't mean you have to change your security or backup also, you can do this much later.

    Separating system and data has to be COMPLETE, not partial, otherwise you have no freedom in your system partition and your data will always be an obstacle.
    The bottom line is that even when you wipe out your system partition completely, you may not lose any data file.
    If you didn't succeed in this, the separation wasn't successfull and this will cause problems later.

    In my case I had only 2 problems : Firefox and Thunderbird.
    All the rest was a matter of changing the default folder settings in the software.

    My problem with Firefox was how to keep the bookmarks and you can do this in several ways. After trying several ways, I finally found an easy solution : extension "Delicious Bookmarks", which allows you to store your bookmarks on the internet, instead of on your harddisk.
    So I didn't move Firefox partially to my data partition, I installed Firefox completely on my system partition and my bookmarks are now stored and organized on internet.

    My problem with Thunderbird was how to keep my emails and email-address-book. To solve this problem, I cut/pasted the profiles folder to my data partition and changed the file "profiles.ini" to tell Thunderbird where to store my emails and address-book and that worked also.

    Each time I'm looking for a new software (non-security), I always verify, if I can store the output-files, created by this software, automatically on my data partition. If not, I look for another similar software.
    Until now this was never a problem, because most recent developped softwares allow you to store their output-files on another partition.

    P.S.: software settings are not to be considered as data, because that is a one-time job.
    Once your system partition (Windows + Applications) is configured, you don't have to change settings anymore, unless you made a mistake, but in the end all your settings will be OK.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2008
  13. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    He has asked a legitimate question as a new user. The one's who have to prove themselves worthy are the responders.
     
  14. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Why. I've been operating with data and system on one partition for over 5 years, without a single problem.

    Pete

    PS. With a bit of planning and forethought there is no issue with just one partition. Never lost data period.
    PPS Let me clarify one thing. To me data is stuff like from office,Quickbooks etc. If I had large collections of big stuff like movies, and huge photo collections, yes I would keep those elsewhere, just because of their size. But business data, personal data, I keep all on the system partition, no problem.
     
    Last edited: May 29, 2008
  15. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Absolutely for backing up valuable stuff. The primary
     
  16. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    Thank you Peter - as always very helpful :)

    I see your use of the secondary snapshot/archive is quite different from my current use. Certainly your way is simpler and more straightforward than my juggling with a number of snapshots and/or archives in time.

    More importantly I now start understanding the relationship between FDISR and Image. I considered Images as a further backup in case FDISR is not able to help. I assumed my image would have to be current but in fact an older image will do provided I can still access an updated archive from another drive.
     
  17. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Yep. In fact you can start with a clean windows install, install FDISR, and then get current with the archives. Way too cool.
     
  18. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    Beethoven,

    I have two 'regular' snapshots on my systems and one 'giveawayoftheday' snapshot.
    I also have two archives, one 'regular' and one 'giveawayoftheway'.

    The giveawayoftheday is a growing collection of commercial software that is offered on the giveawayoftheday website for free during one day. The restriction is that you have to activate it the same day of the offer. I don't know if I will use the free software, so I won't clutter my regular installation with it.

    The 'regular' snapshots are pretty much identical. When I get Windows updates or security updates I update the regular archive.
    I test or evaluate software to my liking and when I don't like the software I restore the snapshot from the up-to-date archive as opposed to uninstalling the software.

    For distaster recovery you should export your archive to an external disk.

    There are many ways to use your computer, and with the ideas here, I'm sure that you develop a way that you feel comfortable with.
     
  19. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    Thanks Wilbert, interesting comment about the giveawayoftheday snapshot. I am familiar with this site and check it out frequently. Most of the programs are not for me but once in a while I would like to test but maybe not immediately. This is an interesting work-around. However, once "installed" in the giveaway snapshot, can you "migrate" it to your main in case you want to continue using it? I would have thought that this is like a second installation and being on a different date it would fail?
     
  20. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    Well, my idea is that I do have the software activated in a separate snapshot.
    For migrating to different snapshots (or even different computers) my first thought is to use Altiris SVS.
     
  21. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    Very interesting link - I feel I must have been blinkered not to have noticed any thread about this SVS option before o_O

    Seems like a great way to minimise threat exposure. What are the drawbacks? I guess there must be some:doubt:
     
  22. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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  23. chrome_sturmen

    chrome_sturmen Registered Member

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    beethoven- asvs isn't designed for testing of potentially harmful programs or executables - it's made for testing software in a sterile environment, hence has no security implications.

    for testing software that may bring on harm, fdisr, vmware, sandboxie, or a virtualization program such as shadowdefender would be what's called for.

    hark, else suffer...

    regards,

    chrome
     
  24. chrome_sturmen

    chrome_sturmen Registered Member

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    Well, Beethoven, you've a proper understanding now of the secretive powers of the fdisr, or nay?
     
  25. Woody777

    Woody777 Registered Member

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    To preserve your Give Away apps try backing up with a backup program Norton for instance uses VSS so does Paragon or Acronis. You can also preserve the Serial number if it gives you one & download a trial version of the software from the authors site. An additional way would be to make up a portable app using Thinstall or Altiris or use pluglab from REATOGO & make a PE portable app. Preserving the sn ought to allow you to uninstall the app & use the portable one.
     
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