The perfect backup routine

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by veri, Jul 14, 2007.

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  1. veri

    veri Registered Member

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    Chime in with your $.02, folks.

    I'm currently running nightly straight backups (SyncBack = wonderful thing) of \My Documents\ along with weekly full images of C:\, courtesy of Acronis TI.

    My latest pet project is to try and streamline stuff as much as I can on my home rig. While I'm reconsidering the usual AV+FW stuff, my backup savvy isn't exactly all that fantastic; would it be easier to ditch SyncBack and just go with the occasional full backup with intermediate incrementals? How does that work?
     
  2. huntnyc

    huntnyc Registered Member

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    I use SyncBack SE along with ShadowProtect for imaging. I would keep syncBack because it is an excellent program more suited to file based backups and I believe you can use it on up to 5 computers according to license. Also, why put all eggs in one basket depending on just an imaging program, better to frequently back up data that often changes with a different program designed especially for that purchase. As to how often and when to do it, that is pretty much your preference based on your habits and how you feel you are covered in case you need to recover your system or specific files.

    Gary
     
  3. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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    I just make daily full images (using Acronis) of my data drive - Far quicker than any "backup" program that I have tried. I never bother with incremental or differential - just too much trouble. I have 2 types of image C: and data
     
  4. TonyW

    TonyW Registered Member

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    Just out of interest, where do you image to? An external drive or CD/DVDs?
     
  5. veri

    veri Registered Member

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    Currently an internal drive. Kinda wanting to get an external one of these days.

    My main drive is one big partition with about 100 gigs used (40 of which is music/videos, mostly music), so optical media is out of the question for practicality's sake.
     
  6. Jo Ann

    Jo Ann Registered Member

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    veri, I believe that huntnyc (Gary) has the right idea. My 2-cents worth is that it's best to make disk-images and file backups (as SyncBack does). That may not be the streamlined approach you are seeking, but a disk-imaging program will become your most valuable computing asset.

    You will need disk-images whenever you have to restore Windows and use SyncBack to restore your personal files/folders. Although most disk-imaging programs can also restrore individual files/folders, they don't do that job as well as dedicated file-by-file backup programs (besides which, you already have SyncBack). On the other hand, SyncBack can't restore your entire C-drive/partition, which disk-imaging programs can!

    Another 2-cents worth is to get a partitioning program that will allow you to re-partition your single 100GB partition into 2 partitions. A C-partition of about 30GB for Windows, etc. + your Program Files and a D-partition of about 70GB for your personal files. That way you will be able to create disk-images of your C-partion much faster and use less storage for the backups.

    And my final 2-cents worth is to get yourself an external USB2 drive to store your backups. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2007
  7. eniqmah

    eniqmah Registered Member

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    This should be a required basics for beginning discussions in backup strategy. Users have to really be able to do at least this partition business before playing with backing up.
     
  8. veri

    veri Registered Member

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    mhm, I should've just done it when I installed XP last, which was sometime in the Mesozoic era. It's not that I can't do it with Partition Magic or some such - just haven't done it yet.

    Now that you all bring it up, I guess I should stop twiddling my thumbs on that.
     
  9. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,

    Weekly backup (full) to second hard drive.
    Monthly backups (full) to second drive of second comp.
    Monthly backups (full) to external hard drive.
    Monthly backups (full) to DVD (at least 2 copies each time).
    Monthly images (full) with ATI.

    Applies mainly to two production machines.

    All backups are scheduled using custom written scripts.

    Mrk
     
  10. TonyW

    TonyW Registered Member

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    We might be able to since we're on a security forum, but I don't think the average Joe does. Most of my friends only have the one partition and just do generic backups of important documents to CD/DVD. Come to think of it, I only have the one partition!

    I've also noticed most of them have a recovery disk/restore CD provided by the manufacturer of their PC - that takes them back to factory reset.

    For most people, as long as they have their important documents/files backed up, I think that's all that matters. Everything else is secondary.
     
  11. eniqmah

    eniqmah Registered Member

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    That's insane. Too much work lol. My system partition is about 50GB in size (lots of games). So I try to do full backup images WHENEVER there are some significant changes to the system like software upgrades, Windows patches...For every other minor changes like configurations of programs and things of that sort...I just log it right next to the last image. Still, as you can see in my sig, more than 2TB hard drive space: 500GB movies+TV shows, 500GB Software+Music+Misc, the rest....Archives...:( I swear there must be something else to life than backing up.
     
  12. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    This thread is talking about the perfect backup routine, but as of yet there is no mention of restoring the images to make sure they work. Without that it might not only not be perfect, but it might be a waste of time.

    Pete
     
  13. Long View

    Long View Registered Member

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    Peter - be gentle with us - yes it is so blindingly obvious that many would forget to mention this point. Every now and then I read of someone who has made and validated their first system image saying "I hope that I never have to use this"
    and a shiver goes down my spine.

    When I first started with Acronis 6 I did not know enough to worry. So I simply made an image of C: validated it and then immediately restored. After a few days I got bored with validating but I frequently restore C: just to be sure that it works. If a particular C: failed then I would go to the previous C: and if that failed....
     
  14. Mrkvonic

    Mrkvonic Linux Systems Expert

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    Hello,

    enigmah, I invest about 15-20 min doing active backups a month, and that's to burn dvds and plug in the external hdd. Everything else is automated.

    I have separate partitions for system, gmaes, docs, vmware, music etc. I only backup important stuff, which is about 8GB + systems, between 3-5GB, depending on the OS.

    Mrk
     
  15. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I still restore every image i make, and I restore directly to the drive. That way I am confident I have a good image. I've done it so many times now, I now longer even hold my breath.

    I know I beat on this message, but what's the point, of going to the effort, and then having it fail when you need it. It's so much better to image the first time, prepare for a failed restore, and then restore. You are certainly better equiped to cope with the failure if you've prepared, then being surprised,. And when it doesn't fail, and you do it many times, then you have a high degree of confidence.

    Pete
     
  16. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    i just do weekly backups of my pc using paragon to an external usb drive.
    on my new pc i will use three partitions and make daily backups of C:
    lodore
     
  17. Jo Ann

    Jo Ann Registered Member

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    Yes, but Pete's point is that unless you actually restore the image, you really don't know if it will restore (if and when necessary). While there's no arguing that logic, it seems to me that a far less risky approach (than possibly restoring a bad image to your system drive) would be to buy a spare internal hard drive for that purpose, as they are so cheap now. Then you could temporarily bootup the spare drive to see if it works. ;)
     
  18. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    You are right, that is a bit risky, but once you get over doing it for real, so to speak, it empowers you.

    I wanted to test some timing with Ghost 2003, so first I imaged, verified, and restored a fresh Shadowprotect image. Now I am confident I am protected. I then imaged and restored the ghost image. Didn't at all like the result. It created a brand new mbr, which I didn't want, and also shrunk the partition way down, which I also didn't want. I consider the result of that restore bad. So I just restored the Shadowprotect image and all was back normal again.

    It may be a bit more risky, but once past the first time, the confidence level soars.

    Pete
     
  19. Jo Ann

    Jo Ann Registered Member

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    Hi Pete,

    I really wasn't addressing the confidence factor, just the risk factor. Anytime someone creaes a disk-image there's a chance that it may be corrupt, etc., so restoring that image to your system drive could result in wiping out your system and replacing it with a corrupt image!

    Seems to me that since you can probably buy a spare internal drive for less than the cost of your imaging software, it's a very good investment in establishing a perfect backup routine.

    And speaking of confidence in restoring, don't forget Pete, "familiarity breeds contempt". ;)
     
  20. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    Hi Jo ann,
    I installed all the programs i would have running during a backup active on my test pc aka diskeeper and kis7.0
    then i done a backup image and then restored it.
    it restored perfectly and has every image on that pc has.
    I get it to check consistensy for every image it creates.
    it may take longer but i would rather have a perfect image.
    so far it hasnt reported any error creating images.
    i know that this pc could have a problem which means the image wont restore but i have confidence in paragon creating images.
    i might create an image tomorrow when i go out using the paragon winpe cd so no background tasks are running.
    lodore
     
  21. Jo Ann

    Jo Ann Registered Member

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    Hi lodore,

    Just to make sure I understand that, are you saying that you create an image (with Paragon) of your main PC's hard drive and then you test it by restoring the image to the hard drive on your test PC? :doubt:

    Jo Ann
     
  22. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    Hi Jo ann,
    No what i do is install the programs i would have active on my main pc installed and active on my test pc.
    then i create an image on my test pc and restore that image.
    this way i know i can leave diskeeper and kis7.0 active while creating an image knowing the image will restore perfectly when needed since ive tested it on my test pc.
    lodore
     
  23. Jo Ann

    Jo Ann Registered Member

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    I think I now understand. While your procedure will determine if those programs running at the time of image creation (DK & KIS) will or won't adversely affect the image, I don't see how you assure yourself that an image created on your main PC can be restored on that PC! :doubt:
     
  24. lodore

    lodore Registered Member

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    yes i understand your concern.
    but i dont see why the image wouldnt restore.
    lodore
     
  25. Jo Ann

    Jo Ann Registered Member

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    Unfortunately, that does happen sometimes (usually when you are really relying on that image)!
     
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