Testing an archive

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by njsteve, Jul 23, 2006.

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  1. njsteve

    njsteve Registered Member

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    Hi,

    I am a new user and I am trying to learn how to use the software prior to experiencing any actual problems where I really need to use it.

    So far I created a full disk backup onto an external usb drive. I created a bootable CD so i can run Acronis in the event of some OS or hard disk problem. I tested booting from that CD and now I can see my external USB drive after plugging it directly into the board instead of a splitter.

    I also created a scheduled incremental backup to run every night at 4 am. When I scheduled the job it asked me to select an existing archive if one already existed. I was a little unsure which archive to pick since my original full backup was split into 7 separte files. I picked the 7th and this morning when I looked at the archive I could see that another file was created as the 8th.

    I would like to test restoring from this archive to make sure all is well. I'd appreciate any suggestions on how I might test this. I was thinking of trying to restore it to the external USB drive to see that it is working properly and then deleting it. It would also be interesting to try and boot from that external USB drive after doing a restore to it.

    Does this sound like a good test? Does my setup seem like a good setup - doing an incremental every night? Is there anything else any of the experienced users here would recommend I change about the way I am using the product?

    Thanks in advance,
    Steve
     
  2. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    What would you do if your HD failed right now? That was the question I asked myself when I had created my first few images. The answer I came up with was to remove the HD as if it really had failed. This was replaced with a spare HD and a full restore was done.
    When everthing booted up just like normal I became a true believer in the effectiveness of True Image. It may seem a bit OTT to have a spare HD on hand before there is a real disaster but it is the best way to check out that your backup stratergy really works and this can be done in a totally risk free manner. If you follow this reasoning you could actually leave out any image validations since there is nothing to go wrong at any stage.

    Xpilot
     
  3. storage_man

    storage_man Registered Member

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    Steve

    I would recommend what XPILOT said. I too do complete recovery tests everytime I upgrade True Image. Infact I go as far as performing 2 kinds of recovery. One a month I create a CLONED drive. This allows me to R&R a drive and get up and running immediately. Yes the system will be up to a month old, but I'm running. Now I also perform Image Backups on a regular basis. They are sent to a external USB hard disk. To test my backups, I install a BLANK formated hard drive in my system. I boot from the TI Recovery CD, and do my tests. If the recovered hard disk won't boot than I assume I have a problem with the new Software. I test both cloned environments and restored images. I just don't trust anything, since in a previous life I did Disaster recovery for several major data centers across the United States. And I have seen everything bad that could ever happen.

    You need an extra hard disk to test your backup procedures. Its well worth it.

    Storage_man
     
  4. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Hi storage_man,

    I have always tested new versions just like you do. That way there are never any surprises. Because it was a bit of a chore to swap drives I decided to fit my computer with exchangable hard drives. This has completely revitalised the way I do backups.
    No validations or cloning, all I do is swap over hard drives and restore the latest image. The withdrawn drive of today is the main backup and it becomes the active drive tomorrow and so on. So I have a history of several images if I want to go back in time and a ready-to-go hard drive as up to date as the latest backup image.

    Xpilot
     
  5. njsteve

    njsteve Registered Member

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    What did fitting your computer with exchangeable hard drives involve? Was it just a matter of getting a second hard drive that you can swap out by opening up the box?

    I am going to try this test in the near future so I'd appreciate any advice before I proceed with the test.

    I am a little bit afraid to mess with a system that is currently working fine. Although nothing should go wrong with pulling the existing hard drive you never know.

    Couldn't I just do a restore to the USB external drive and try to boot from that? I am guessing that the drive prefix might be a problem since it isn't seen as C: by the computer and the main os is definitely on C: . Also, I'm not sure if I could actually boot from a usb external but it seems like I should be able to.

    Thanks for the help!

    Steve
     
  6. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    I fitted one of these racks and I have two drawers to house my main swappable drives.
    http://www.startech.com/Product/Category.aspx?MLID=7&WCLID=387&WCID=190&c=UK

    You just need a spare slot on the front of your case to take the rack which uses the same connectors as your present drive. The existing drive goes in one of the removable drawers and the extra drive goes in a second drawer. Swapping drives is nearly as easy as changing a CD but a close down and reboot is needed.
    I believe ebuyer in the uk has some similar in stock at about £ 4 per rack and one drawer. I cannot vouch for the quality as I have not tried them but a pair of them for £8 is not much of a risk!

    Xpilot
     
  7. njsteve

    njsteve Registered Member

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    Thanks for the info! Looks like a pretty cool way to do backup!

    Steve
     
  8. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    They best way I have found is to make full disk images as normal. The next step is to swap over the disks and restore the latest image to the replacement disk. That way you have a perfect backup in the form of a disk that was in use a few minutes ago. You will also have a collection of backup images going back in time if an earlier restore is ever needed.

    Exchangable disks can also be use for running different OSs, trialing in safety and even having two or more windows installations available to your computer. AFAIK this would be perfectly legal as they are tied to the one computer and only one can be installed at any one time. Another way of looking at it is, withdrawing is equivalent to an uninstall and inserting the other is a reinstall. There are no problems with Windows or any other program regarding validations as they are not triggered.

    Xpilot
     
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