Some basic advice please!

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by trydit, Feb 7, 2007.

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  1. trydit

    trydit Registered Member

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    I’m running True Image 9.0 and have scheduled daily differential back-ups. The back-up seems to take forever (hours) and they appear to be bigger in size than I thought they should be.

    My OS (XP Pro) and files, photos etc take up about 40 GB on my C drive. The differential back-ups take up to 25 GB a go so seem to be eating space on my external hard drive where they are stored. I have set it up by pointing to the original full back-up I did, which I think is correct? I'm sure I get the "differential" radio button clicked when I edit/set up.

    Tonight it seems to have come to a grinding halt "locking partition C". It occasional seems to "forget" user name/password and give me an error message "completed with errors" in the log.

    Should I be checking NTFS and the other file type boxes?

    I guess I’m scheduling the the task incorrectly but I can’t work out what it is! A simple guide to what I’m supposed to do or where I’m going wrong would be very helpul!
     
  2. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I always do full images but you have to remember that a differential backup makes an archive that contains every change since the first full backup was done. So if you changes 100 files the day after you make the full, then the differential will contain the 100 files. If you add 1 file on the second day, then the second day's differential will contain 101 files.

    An incremental backup only stores the changes since the last incremental backup, not the full backup. Downside of the incrementals is that you have to restore the full plus every incremental to get you to the state of the last incremental. A differential will get you the the state of the last backup by restoring the full and only the last differential.

    AFAIK, a bug still exists in TI where you have to keep every intermediate differential in order to do a validate. You only need the last one for a restore though.
     
  3. trydit

    trydit Registered Member

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    Thanks for your reply, that's helpful.

    You say you do full images. I guess you delete previous images to conserve disc space or maybe it's possible to get your latest image to replace your last one automatically?

    How's it done!
     
  4. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I only image my C drive as a rule and it never has any valuable data on it. Because of this I only do it when I think I should or before I maybe try out some new software in case I want to cleanly revert back to the original state. My rule is to always have a separate partition for the data then you don't have to care what happens to C be it software screwups, viruses, ...

    I have a second HD installed in my PCs and I just let them accummulate until there are too many. HDs are pretty cheap these days. I do NOT believe in only having the most recent backup. I also copy some backups to a USB drive or store them on another PC for a second level of backup. I then copy the occasional one to DVD for a third level and every now and then one of the DVDs goes to a friends house in case I get robbed or the house burns down.

    I don't believe in imaging data other than as a second line of defence. One bad bit in the wrong spot can render the entire archive useless. Right now my data is mirrored each night onto the second internal drive with the free version of Syncback. Every now and then I will make a copy of the data folders to USB or DVD.
     
  5. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    seekforever,

    A great summary. I totally agree.
     
  6. trydit

    trydit Registered Member

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    OK, thanks. Looks like I have some sorting to do!

    I'm new to all of this and haven't worked out things like partitions yet. This is basically dividing up your hard drive in some way and storing different things in different partitions. The only thing that could go wrong here is a complete catatrophe like a fire or theft of your PC or complete hardware failure?

    At the moment I have my C drive; D + E (cd/dvd rives); F-J drives (called "removable disc" whatever they are); X + Y (games on my external HD) and Z (Acronis Backup on my external HD).

    I need to create some partitions on my hard drive so adding new drive letters. Do I need to buy software to do this?

    ..and I don't need to image each time. It's more important to create archives of key data and keep one C rive image?
     
  7. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    A partition is division on your disk and to the operating system it looks very much like a physical disk and it also has a drive letter assigned to it. Another name often used is "logical disk" because it looks like a disk but it isn't a real physical disk. Partitions come with various names attached to them like Primary Active, Extended etc and it can get a little confusing. One thing to remember is that when TI makes an image the smallest unit it can deal with is a partition. Because of this if you have your 350GB of data on your C drive and want to make a full image of your OS, you also have to archive the 350GB of data. Google for more information on partitions.

    The easiest time to setup partitions is when the disk is empty. The Windows partitioning software will delete any data on disk when it creates a partition but there are 3rd party solutions like Partition Magic and Acronis Disk Doctor that can repartition without destroying the contents. There is also a trick that can be done with True Image if you have sufficient space on say your C drive. Create a Secure Zone of the size you want to have for the new partition. After it is done, tell TI you want to delete the space and it will ask you if you want to return it to a partition or leave it unallocated. Leave it unallocated and then with XPs disk Management software assign a letter and format it and there is your new partition. (I hope I remembered all that correctly).

    Now, on what to backup when. You are the one who has to decide just what is important and the consequences if a failure causes everything to be lost. For the things you really want to have, my view is that the things you can't beg, borrow or steal elsewhere are the things you pay most attention to. For me those things are photos, spreadsheets, etc; the things I personally created. Sure if you lose XP you may have a PITA reloading and configuring the apps but you can do it, so for that reason the OS backup takes second place.

    Incidently: Most people panic should they have to reload an OS and apps and a lot of it is because they didn't take care of their CDs, downloaded programs, license numbers and the like. I keep my purchased CDs in a file cabinet, my downloaded program files (like TI, Nero), and patches are all part of my data files which are stored on a networked machine. Every license number I get is copied into a file which is well backed up. Once I get XP loaded and connected to my network the rest goes rather easy but it does take a bit of time. When I buy a new machine I always reload from scratch for a clean install and also as a "refresher" on XP and app configuration. Anyway, FWIW, that's how I do it.

    I always keep data and the OS/Apps separate for the reason above and like I said in another post I can blow away or lose my C partition for any reason and not worry about losing the spreadsheet I worked on for 2 hours.

    Backups of any type should not be stored on the same drive that is being backed up. - seems obvious but a backup in another partition on the same physical drive is not a real backup should the drive fail.

    I also recommend if your budget can afford it, to use a second internal drive for your primary backups. They are relatively secure, reliable and fast. However, you should also copy from this HD to an External HD or even DVDs at some interval just in case something takes out both drives or the machine gets stolen. Again, the interval depends on how important you think the material is. In this situation I would have my data stored on a non-C partition on my first drive and then store backups on the second drive.

    Always have more than just the most recent backups stored. Nothing worse to find out for some reason the last backup didn't work or got screwed up and it is the only one you have.

    This is how I see it, not everybody will think it is the brightest scheme in the world but I'm happy.
     
  8. GroverH

    GroverH Registered Member

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    seekforever,
    Nicely stated and very clear. Variations of that can work for almost everyone.
     
  9. trydit

    trydit Registered Member

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    Thanks again. Looks like a busy week-end for me! The basic message is treat your personalised data as top priority and think of some first, second and possibly third level back ups for it.

    External drives and media being more secure than additional internal drives or least of all the principal hard drive.

    I've run another differential tonight and its huge so I'm going to do a data archive next (first of regular ones) and then a new full, stored separately so I have an up to date image, that I will update at key points such as when I get new software.
     
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