Verifying All is Well

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by aarond38, May 3, 2006.

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  1. aarond38

    aarond38 Registered Member

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    I recently purchased TI-9.0 and everything seems to be functioning OK. I have an image on my Internal HD & an image on my USB HD. Both images were verified and no warning messages on the TI log. I feel comfortable but am a little apprehensive after suffering a complete crash of my computer prior to obtaining TI-9. After reading the numerous problems experienced by others on this forum, how can I test my images to be certain they will work when or if needed? I am afraid if I replace my present info. with one of my "verified images" I might be setting myself up for some unforseen problems and I do not need that right now as I am a relative newcomer to computers.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions you may have.

    Aarond38
     
  2. mark3

    mark3 Registered Member

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    You could further verify the integrity of your image by mounting it.

    But the best test would be to get yourself another hard disk and restore the image to it.(Plenty of cheap ones on eBay). Then you would be absolutely sure that you have an uncorrupted image. You would also have a backup of your system on a hard disk, albeit a bit out of date, sitting in your desk draw for that unforseen problem. The hard disk does need to be of the same size. It could be even smaller as long as the current used space on your main one is able to fit on it.

    Reading in another thread, don't run defragmenter on the drive/partition where your image resides as, apperently, it could corrupt the image.

    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=130056
     
  3. aarond38

    aarond38 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the speedy reply and suggestion Mark3. I recently purchased a USB Hard Drive for the purpose of placing an image that could be kept isolated (I keep it at a separate location not hooked up to my XP computer) and had hoped I would not have to make any more purchases at this time.

    There must be another way to be relatively certain that my image will do what it is supposed to do if needed? I did however mount the image as you suggested and copied several files to make sure that I could do that without any difficulty.
     
  4. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    If you have one, you could image a partition containing non-essential data other than your C drive and verify it. Then restore it. If it doesn't work your system will still run. This can be done from both your internal drive and your USB drive. To do the restore I would do it from the recovery CD because that version is the one you'll need if your drive dies. Also, it is the one that may have the most trouble with USB drivers.

    You should also make a backup and verify using the standalone recovery disk if you haven't done so for the reason above.
     
  5. aarond38

    aarond38 Registered Member

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    Thanks a lot for those suggestions Seekforever, I'll give them a try and see how I come out. I'd rather find out there is a complication sooner than later. Having recently "crashed my computer" to the point where I had to do a complete reinstall etc. I don't ever want to go through that again.
    Have a great day.

    Aarond
     
  6. Chutsman

    Chutsman Registered Member

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    You said you have the Image on your Internal drive ... is this a second internal drive? If it is you can Restore the Image from the external to this drive, remove or disconnect the original and see if the second drive will boot.

    If it is NOT a second internal drive, and you can take the external drive out of the enclosure, install it as an internal and Restore from the Image on the first internal. Of course you will lose the Image and everything else on the external drive.

    You can do all of these procedures using the bootable TI cd.
     
  7. aarond38

    aarond38 Registered Member

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    Thanks Chutsman for the reply. I have only 2 drives, 1 internal & 1 USB 2.0 External. The external HD is just that, not an enclosure and I am not very mechanical as pertains computers as I am relatively new at this so I had probably better not try & remove any HD's.

    I have an image on both HD's & have been able to mount, unmount & replace items from both drives and look over their folders. Everything is workind so good (recently due to problems encountered had to reinstsall the entire system before acquiring TI )so don't want to upset the apple cart. Just want to feel comfortable if the next crash comes I will be in a position to restore my image without much difficulty.

    Have a pleasant day!

    Aarond38
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2006
  8. Chutsman

    Chutsman Registered Member

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    Ah, yes, unfortunately with this software you need to be a little "geeky" to make sure it will work when you need it to. Because even though your images are successfully created, you're relying on it restoring as it should when it comes to crunch time. And there have been reports that it does not do so.

    To safeguard yourself, make copies of all your data/documents using Windows Explorer. Put these copies on your usb drive or burn them to cd or dvd. Well worth the peace of mind for the cost of a few CDs or DVDs.
     
  9. aarond38

    aarond38 Registered Member

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    Great advise, I'm going to make a back-up copy to DVD outside of TI just to be on the safe side as you suggested. Thanks
     
  10. Larry M

    Larry M Registered Member

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    I've been working my ATI archive files to death trying to sort out my restore time issues between build 2337 and 3567 and have restored my entire disk like 5 or 10 times in the last week and have sort of settled on what I will use as a standard procedure below. I don't recommend this actual procedure/schedule for everyone since if you're trying to do backups with 100GB it's probably not practible and IMHO the backups should only have OS/program information and quickly changing data type info in them. Also, this is again IMHO only applicable to personal single computers/laptops.

    For info my laptop internal HDD and external HDD are both 80GB and my internal HDD has 4 partitions C:(30GB) for OS files, D:(40GB) programs and temp use, G:(2GB) FAT32 space holder that is empty, H:(3GB) for working data files such as Word processing, etc. I have an external 2.0 HDD that is basically dedicated for my backup archive storage (plus some small stuff held to be transferred to my third HDD which is another 2.0 HDD) attached when I'm not on the internet and have the modem (dial up for me) disconnected. I also make all my archive backup files read only and always run McAfee security suite.

    1. I make a full backup to a single archive file every 10 days and do an immediate archive verification of that file twice. I also simply copy both my current "My documents" and contents of my H: drive into a directory on my external HDD. For these files (in my case around 500mb) I only keep the last two data sets, deleting the third since I also have them in my ATI backup files.

    2. Every thirty days I first do a virus scan of my computer (this is in addition to my weekly scan) with my external HDD connected. Then in addition to the single file back up, I do a split archive backup splitting the archive at 4.3 GB. I then do a double archive verification on all these files.

    3. I then burn the split archive backup to DVDs using Nero and do a double verification of those using the DVD drive. Next I create a temp directory on my external HDD and xfr those tib files on my DVDs to my external 2.0 HDD which I use as the main storage for all my archives and do a double verification again on those transferred files in that temp directory.

    4. Then I do a full system restore using the single file backup and the rescue CD and if things go well there I do the same for the split archive files that I transferred from the DVD copies to the temp directory on my HDD and if things go well there I establish that as my good "current baseline" restore files.

    5. I then simply delete the files in that temp directory and now have what should be five complete system backups, three single file backups, one spit archive backup on my HDD and one split archive backup set on DVDs.

    6. I then go back and delete the previous backup session that has the single plus the split archive files ... ie the the one with the single and split sets made 40 days eariler

    This results in my have three single file backups and a split archive backup (this is also on DVDs). I don't even mess with incremental type backups. Now if I do something major I will do a single file backup and then after any changes I'm comfortable I will do my regular 10 day backup and keep the special backup until it's date falls before my next full and split archive backup and verifiication/intall session.

    My system might not work for everybody since my current system for a single file backup is just under 7GB. I also have a third HD that I keep all my permanent type stuff on such as pictures, etc. that I have previously made either a CD or DVD of.

    Some of this is overkill, I'm sure, but not being real versed in all this what I have come up with seems to be as good as I can make things based on my particular needs and thus far using build 2337 things have been "smokin". A typical single file based backup and two verifications takes around 1 hr and the singe/split backup set can take up to 3-4 hrs or so including the DVD production which I burn first to an image file and then when burning to the DVD do it at 4X, but I generally start the process and use a high priority for the work and go off and do something else.

    Any comments/suggestions would be welcome and I aarond38, I'm not trying to hijack your thread, but give you some more ideas in developing your "BACKUP STRATEGY". I've been a little concerned reading some the the not so successful stories of others backup/restore problems in trying to educated myself more over the last month or so.

    Larry
     
  11. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    If you believe in my theory "a system only fails when you don't have a backup", you are good for life! :D

    If you want to tighten it up a bit, run chkdsk every 10 days as well, or maybe you do this.

    You have to assess the level of data security required for your own situation. I personally will survive if I have to rebuild my C drive even though I'd be severely annoyed. Somebody with a business isn't likely to have the same perspective.

    If I lost my spreadsheets, photos and other stuff I created then I really would have a problem. That is why I pay more attention to backup these files than my C drive. Everything on C I either have or can get again so it only is a time factor if it isn't properly backed up.

    The nice thing about plain data files is that you can back them up with a simple copy, a partition image or a file backup program.
     
  12. Larry M

    Larry M Registered Member

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    I see wisdom in what you say and being a real "newbie" here could you enlighten us on the real advantage of doing the chkdsk thing. This lost data thing is why I not only do a full image backup, but a simple file save to my backup HDD of "My Documents" and my "H Drive" were all my wp/spreadsheets, etc. reside. Thus I have those backed up twice once in the archive file and also in a simple directory on my external "backup HDD".

    I have another laptop with a dying drive and ran into all sorts of problems doing a backup on whick basically made me get this current laptop (my older one also had moden, CD problems, sound card issues so a lot was going one there and just not reliable anymore IMO). On that failing HD I would get backup read errors etc., but on this one I have not had a single problem issue. As I said things have been running great under build 2337 ... now 3567 is a whole other issue for some reason with my hardware setup.

    Larry
     
  13. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    chkdsk is Windows' disk health checking utility as you probably know. It has various switches to configure it to test various aspects of the file system. Although it checks the disk it probably is more properly described as a file system checking utility.

    TI and other image programs are somewhat more immune to file system problems when doing their task since they don't rely heavily on the file system for an image. Although they do have to find out which sectors are "in-use" and also have to be able to extract a file when it is mounted or plugged.

    If you have a disk that has a bad file system on it and then you back it up, at best you are going to restore an image that will give you a bad file system back. What's worse is that there is a chance the corruption of the file system is going to cause your backup image to get screwed up such that you can't do any kind of a restore. So ideally you fix file system problems before you do a backup. Chkdsk will do this for you.

    The /r option used with chkdsk causes it to do a comprehensive file system check check and repair and also to scan the remainder of the disk to make sure each sector is readable. If it can't read it I think it maps it out of actively used sectors so it won't cause a problem.

    So from time-to-time you should run chkdsk on the partitions you want to backup and also run it on the drive and partitions you are creating the image on. If you have a bad sector on the drive you are storing the image on, it will cause a problem.

    Chkdsk is a fairly good utility but it is not a total disk diagnostic like those provided by the manufacturer and there may be third-party equivalents to chkdsk that may do some more stringent testing but I haven't tried to find them.

    If you do get bad sectors reported by chkdsk and they get "fixed", keep a sharp eye on the disk and run chkdsk frequently. In most cases, bad sectors can be a warning of a disk that is failing. You can also monitor the XP Event Viewer System log for disk errors as well.
     
  14. jimshu1

    jimshu1 Registered Member

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    While I manage four systems in my life, I'm only personally using two: a desktop with two hard drives, and a work laptop with one hard drive.

    I have six partitions on the two HD's on my desktop, three per disk. On my laptop, I have three partitions. On both systems I use, I have an "Image" partion. From my Ghost days, both are formated in FAT32.

    I start every day on the work laptop with a PerfectDisk defrag and a TI image of my OS partition where I keep all of my data. I end every day on my desktop with the same.

    It's great! I have had numerous software, driver, my own tweaking (always preceded with an image), and hardware problems. My image is never more than day old. I can't even imagine having more than a day old image. This has saved me numerous times.

    What is so great about TI is that it is so quick. The above is no problem at all. Remember the number of partitions I have. My OS partition is rarely over 3Gb. I back up the other partitions too, but less frequently.

    TI has never, never failed me.
     
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