Trials, Convictions, Tears of Joy

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by phasechange, Jul 31, 2006.

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  1. phasechange

    phasechange Registered Member

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    I had the following setup:

    IDE Controller: ASZ on 80GB IDE HDD
    SATA 1 CNTLR: 150Gb Raptor (C: boot)
    SATA 2 CNTLR: 160Gb Data + 320Gb eSATA for offline backups

    when I developed a problem with my PC on Sunday I tried restoring my backup from ASZ (latest increment). It would fail during the boot sequence and just keep rebooting at Windows startup with the rolling blue bar. So I tried other backups from ASZ. I also tried windoze recovery CD and fixmbr/fixboot. I tried Startup Recovery Manager and CD no luck!

    So, I tried my old full backup on external HDD (eSATA). Same problem. By this time I was loosing faith in Acronis. I acidentally messed up my data CD at some point during this.

    I then tried installing XP (with SP2), which would kind of work, all the way through initial boot ok. As soon as I installed some updates and rebooted it would fail to boot. I repeated this process until bald. While installing XP it insisted on my formating and storing temp files on my IDE hard disk drive so I lost my ASZ :mad:

    THEN I thought hmmm this has something to do with boot loaders and maybe with drive letters remapping... so I removed my IDE HDD which used to store my ASZ and installed XP. It worked... perfectly. I installed other programs. No problems :D

    I backed up this simple patched install with FF and Thunderbird. I then installed more programs and tried reverting back to this backup (stored on external drive). I had no faith left in ATI but surprise it worked nicely! So I then tried my old image stored on the eSATA drive. It worked! I didn't restore the MBR and track 0 as I had changed the SATA controller that my system disk was attached to at one point (swapping with data disk controller).

    Well all works fine again. I have my internal IDE hard disk disconnected and I have not reinstalled the Recovery Manager as I don't know if it was part of the problem? Is it safe to install it or can it mess up the MBR?

    I have no ASZ now that the IDE hard disk is unplugged should I partition my boot drive to have a secure zone?

    Am I better off just using my external disk and full backups?

    I am slowly getting my ATI confidence back. I was disappointed at finding the ASZ backups useless and the drive letter problems but maybe they were windoze fault. Life without the IDE HDD seams safer.

    What do you guys recommend I do for for a future setup? I used to have windows set to backup incrementally to the ASZ on shutdown.

    Thanks,
    Fairy
     
  2. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    OK, here are my personal preferences.

    1. Don't use the Recovery Manager. It rewrites the MBR to allow use of the F11 key on booting. I like a standard MBR, and you can always boot from the Recovery CD, so who needs Recovery Manager. Absolutely do not use Recovery Manager with a SecureZone on an external drive. You won't be able to boot the machine without the external drive connected and running.

    2. Don't use a SecureZone. It's only needed for people with only one drive and no software to repartition it. Instead use a second hard drive (your IDE drive), an external hard drive or a second partition on your hard drive to store images. Images stored in a SecureZone can't be copied to DVDs or CDs or other drives or even deleted when you want. Images on a standard drive/partition are just ordinary files that you can move around as needed.

    3. Don't mess with Incremental backups. Incrementals of a boot drive are fairly big, but they depend on every other incremental as well as the base full image. Lose one and your goose is cooked. Just make full backup images. Also, unless you are changing your hardware and software on a daily basis, you don't need daily full images. Weekly or monthly should be adequate.

    4. Use data file backups in TrueImage for your data if it changes daily enough that you want to back it up. These will be much smaller than full system backups unless you have loads of data on the boot drive. Also, incremental or differential file backups are much smaller than the full backup if space is important. However, incrementals and differentials still depend on the full backup being available.

    These are my opinions, and you have to decide what's best for you, but this is some stuff to think about.
     
  3. phasechange

    phasechange Registered Member

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    1-3 are exactly what I am planning now (except I am using my external SATA drive for backup and the IDE drive remains unconnected as it seamed to have been the culprit that messed up the boot loading).

    on point 4. See the file backups, do they allow me to defrag a disk without increasing the size of the incremental backup? I've got some files on a network drive to backup.

    Fairy
     
  4. Tabvla

    Tabvla Registered Member

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    As another opinion... based on post by jmk94903
    Agree
    Agree
    Agree.... with comment...

    a) System Disk/Partition. Make a Full Backup after changes like major updates or new software installation. Keep the previous backup for insurance.

    b) Data Disk/Partition. Make a Full Backup and then daily differentials. Do a fresh Full Backup periodically e.g. once a month

    c) Defrag. Always do a Full Backup after a defrag.
     
  5. shieber

    shieber Registered Member

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    File backup will backup the files and it doesn't matter when they were last written to.

    If you were doing an incremental or diff, then the defragging would matter since they "backup" all sectors written too, and when you defrag, you write to a lot of sectors.

    Someone correct me if this is at all inaccurate.

    sh
     
  6. Tabvla

    Tabvla Registered Member

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    Hi Shieber,

    If I have understood correctly then what you say is correct.

    An incremental or differential backup created after a disk is defragmented will usually be very large because the defrag changes the file locations on the disk and the TI9 backup image reflects these changes. Therefore, you should always start afresh after a defrag.
     
  7. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    I wouldn't argue with that approach at all.
     
  8. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    The IDE drive may be affecting the drive order and causing Windows to look to the wrong drive for the boot files. You may be able to edit the BOOT.INI file to point Windows to the correct drive so that it boots normally.

    When you do image backups of whole partitions, a defrag will move lots of files around and cause an incremental or differential to be much larger than expected.

    When you do file backups, TrueImage looks at the archive bit for the file not its position on the disk. If the file is new or has been edited since the last backup, the archive bit will be set and the file will therefore be backed up. Defragging doesn't change the archive bit, so it has no effect on file backups. Incremental and differential backups will be the same size they would have been before the defrag.
     
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