What is most reliable source for restoring image?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Dazed_and_Confused, Oct 18, 2005.

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  1. Dazed_and_Confused

    Dazed_and_Confused Registered Member

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    Up to now I have used my Secure Zone for saving all of my images. I am concerned (as someone noted in another thread) that if my hard drive were to fail, I would be, well, "up the creek without a paddle". So, where is the best location to save an image? And when I say "best", my primary concern is Reliability.

    So, I guess here are my options.
    1. Secure Zone (I know this is probably not going to be the winner)
    2. Networked Drive (a.k.a. another PC's hard drive connected via network)
    3. USB Hard Drive (I am considering buying one)
    4. Multiple CD's (I really hate this one)
    5. Other?
    Thanks! :D
     
  2. tachyon42

    tachyon42 Registered Member

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    Another option is a HDD mobile rack which can be inserted in a spare front case 5 1/4 inch slot. The rack is permanently connected (like a CD/DVD drive would be) via the usual cable to a IDE (or SATA or whatever) connector.
    The HDD then goes into a caddy which can be inserted into the mobile rack whenever the disk is needed (for backups or whatever). The only disadvantage of this setup is that the HDD is not hot swappable like a USB external drive would be.
    I actually have two of these mobile racks. One for the backup drive and the other for my bootable C: drive. I do not have any permanently connected disks in the machine. I have this arrangement because even though I have antivirus, firewall, etc software I'm paranoid about security on the Internet. I have a separate disk for Internet banking which is only ever inserted in the machine as the bootable drive when I access my bank's website. I therefore don't have to worry about getting spyware, trojans, etc and compromising my banking. Of course, I still have firewall software, latest OS security patches, etc on this disk.
    Sorry to get off the track a little but I figured I should explain the kind of advantages you can get from the HDD mobile rack option.
    Of course there is also the advantage of the speed and reliability of a direct connection of the disk to the motherboard for backups.
     
  3. noonie

    noonie Registered Member

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    tachyon42's suggestion is good. I put at least 1 rack in every computer. My main has 3 racks and 6 trays with hdrives mainly for video. My accounting drive never connects to the internet. Scsi and sata drives can hot swap, but it wouldn't work on the os drives.
    Best reliability for me is not to even install Ti, but to boot by cd and image to a removeable hdrive over a network with tib file sizes of 700mb. That way the image can also be burnt to cd OR dvd later, if needed and taken off site. Always burn tib files on your own and control the burning process. I don't care about Ti's other goofy features, like you, I just want to have a reliable image to replace.
    As an example;
    I repaired a friend's Gateway computer about a year ago and before I gave it back to him I imaged it to one of my networked drives. Well last week his psu died (predictable gateway) and took the hdrive with it. It took me 25 min. to get his back once connected to my network, instead of 20hrs of installing updating tweaking etc. Of course he lost all his data that he hadn't backed up, but oh well. Using this method Ti has never failed on me.
     
  4. Dazed_and_Confused

    Dazed_and_Confused Registered Member

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    Tachyon and Noonie - Thanks for the reply! :)

    That's good stuff. It sounds like y'all have a pretty nice setup. Unfortunately, my PC (a $299 off-the-shelf Dell) will probably not support multiple internal HD's. I'm pretty sure it's not expandable in that regard. I do have another (but MUCH older) PC that I once added another HD to, but that's not the one I am wanting to backup. That one is actually acting as my file (music) server. It's also the one I was thinking about saving my image to via a network connection.
     
  5. tachyon42

    tachyon42 Registered Member

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    Do you ever backup your music server? A HDD mobile rack could be an option for it.
    The problem with some of the cheaper DELLs is the limited number of front 5 1/4 inch drive slots. You'd need at least one unused for the mobile rack to be an option. You should still have the usual 2 master / 2 slave IDE connectors on the motherboard. Are you using all 4?
     
  6. Dazed_and_Confused

    Dazed_and_Confused Registered Member

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    Thanks again, tachyon. :)

    Yes, NIGHTLY. But only the data to a hard drive on another networked PC using Karen's Replicator.

    That PC is probably on it's last leg. The only thing I care about on that PC is the data. I plan to replace it with a NAS Drive once it fails, but that's a different subject.

    The PC that I have TI on I use DAILY and cannot afford to have down. And I don't want to have to spend a lot of time rebuilding it. I does not have an open bay. One is used by the HD, the other by the CD Drive.
     
  7. jeannieb360

    jeannieb360 Registered Member

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    Does your Dell PC have a firewire port (1394 port is a synonym)?

    And is your USB port USB 1.1 or USB 2.0?

    If you have a firewire port, buy a portable external firewire drive, because it's faster than USB 2.0.

    If you have a USB 2.0 port, but not a firewire port, buy a portable external USB 2.0 drive.

    If you ONLY have a USB 1.1 port, do you have room in your computer to add another card? I just bought an add-on card that adds 2 firewire ports and 2 USB 2.0 ports for a friend; I got it on Ebay for less than $18 (while the equivalent card is $49.99 on Amazon and $40.99 on Buy.Com).

    If you ONLY have a USB 1.1 port, you CAN back up your computer to an external USB hard drive. (I'm told that any external USB hard drive is compatible with USB 1.1.)

    Also, if you want to be able to restore from the Acronis Boot Rescue CD, make sure your system can boot from a CD. (Try creating the Acronis Boot Rescue CD and then see if you can actually boot from it.) If you CAN'T boot from the CD, then you need to change a setting in your BIOS to enable that.

    If you buy an external hard drive, bigger is better. I had two 120 GB external combo firewire/USB drives that I bought a couple of years ago, and I could create half a dozen full backups for my laptop and my desktop (each with 40 GB hard drives) with Norton Ghost 2003, and then I'd start erasing old backups to make room for new ones. I've just replaced them with a 250 GB LaCie firewire external hard drive that I bought from Buy.com for about $160; you might be able to do better than that on Ebay, but I couldn't when I was looking about a week ago. I'm formatting my new drive as I write this; I'm selling my old drives to friends who need backups set up for them.

    I just bought Acronis True Image 9.0 last week, and I'm recommending it for the friends who are buying my old external hard drives. I'd originally planned on getting them set up with Ghost 2003, but I like Acronis much better!
     
  8. Dazed_and_Confused

    Dazed_and_Confused Registered Member

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    Thanks, jeannieb. :)

    No Firewire, but I do have USB 2.0.
     
  9. jeannieb360

    jeannieb360 Registered Member

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    Good luck! Sorry I missed the part of your original posting that said you didn't have any available PCI slots in your PC.

    You might want to look at the following post, since it concerns restoring from an external USB2 hard drive with the Acronis True Image 9.0 Rescue Boot CD:
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?t=102579
    The person who posted the thread has found that his MAXTOR external hard drive is extremely slow when he's using the Rescue Boot CD, even though some people have said that the brand of external hard drive shouldn't matter. Something to think about if you're in the market for that external hard drive!

    But I woudn't worry too much about the speed of the external hard drive if you ever have a disaster and have to restore your computer from an external hard drive and the Rescue CD - even if it takes one to two hours to restore, that sure beats having to re-install your operating system and all your software and re-apply all the Windows patches! I've been there/done that a few times, and it usually took me many days to get my system back in working order. That's why I bought an external hard drive and imaging software (originally I used Norton Ghost) a couple of years ago. When my laptop crashed last winter when I was downloading and installing Windows XP Service Pack 2, I got my system back in working order in less than an hour.
     
  10. Dazed_and_Confused

    Dazed_and_Confused Registered Member

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    I think that's what I'm going to do, JeannieB. I really like the idea of a mobile rack that tachyon (and noonie) suggested, but a USB drive seems to be the next best bet.
     
  11. noonie

    noonie Registered Member

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    The music one is the computer you could put a mobile rack in. Buy 2 trays for it and 1 extra drive and you can switch drives easily and reliably. Usb and firewire is horribly slow compared to ide buss.
    But if you have covinced yourself to go external, get this enclosure http://www.meritline.com/firewire-usb-external-enclosure-5-25-cd-dvd-drive-hdd.html
    I keep a dvd writer in one, works great, and gives your good portability with both firewire and usb2. Internal psu is handy. Has oxford chipset for reliability. Just supply your own hdrive. I got a 200gig Seagate last week for $59.00 w5yr waranty. I would suggest staying away from Maxtor.
    Much cheaper this way than a prebuilt unit.
    BTW, on a 30 gig copy the difference between firewire 400 and usb2 is only less tha 1 minute.
     
  12. Dazed_and_Confused

    Dazed_and_Confused Registered Member

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    Thanks once again, noonie. :)

    That's not a bad idea, but I am wanting to image the drives on MY pc, not the drives on the server. Of course, I could save the image of MY pc to a drive on the server (in a mobile rack or not), but isn't it more reliable to restore an image from a non-networked drive (such as USB)?
     
  13. noonie

    noonie Registered Member

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    Absolutely not. Usb has always been problematic and not just because of TI. I preferr to do all my imaging over a network. Much easier, faster and more reliable. Use a router and 2 cables. Just use the boot cd in the box you want to image and send the tib files elsewhwere. As I said in an earlier response, I have 6 hdrives in trays and can add as many as needed, unlimited. The only advantage of the external is I could come to your place with it and exchange many gigs. A drive in a rack is not connected when not needed, so no wear, lightning, browns, viri etc.
    You have read about many problems here concerning external enclosure use.
    Have you read about any problems with mobile racks?
    Imaging should be reliable first.
     
  14. tachyon42

    tachyon42 Registered Member

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    If I understand you correctly you've got the HD installed in one of the front cover 5 1/4 slots. I guess you've used drive rails or similar to install it. It should be a simple matter to replace it with a mobile rack - really not much longer than it would be to replace the drive, say 15 minutes?
    Incidentally, I've got one in a DELL case which also has two front slots (Dimension 2400, 3000, 4600 all have same case). I bought a black mobile rack so it matches the colour scheme.
     
  15. Dazed_and_Confused

    Dazed_and_Confused Registered Member

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    I may be wrong, but I seem to remember reading threads here that made me think restoring images from a networked drive was preblematic. If I'm mistaken, then THAT is surely the best option.
     
  16. noonie

    noonie Registered Member

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    It's the best option, all thing considered.
     
  17. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    Networked drives are fine, but the speed is 100Mbps which is quite a bit slower than USB 2.0.

    Go with the USB 2.0 drive. The Dells that I have tested worked well with Western Digital USB 2.0 drives that come in 80, 120 and 160MB sizes.

    Make a backup and check it in Windows and from the Recovery CD and also Explore it in Windows. If both the checks and the Explore are successful, you have a good image and can rely on it for successul restores.

    Be sure to backup all the partitions on your hard drive so that the MBR is included in the backup to guearantee that the restored drive will be both bootable and have all the Dell utilities available.
     
  18. Dazed_and_Confused

    Dazed_and_Confused Registered Member

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    Thanks, jmk. :) My overriding concern is reliability and accuracy. To that speed takes a back seat. No matter how slow it is, it's got to be faster than complete rebuilding and retweaking the PC. ;)
     
  19. thebigdintx

    thebigdintx Registered Member

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  20. jeannieb360

    jeannieb360 Registered Member

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    I seem to remember reading posts about that, too, if you're trying to restore from the boot CD.
     
  21. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    That's the reason for using an imaging program. :)

    I've had no problem restoring from DVD disks (slow but allows the backup to be stored remotely until needed), USB 2.0 drives (even on PCs that only support USB 1.1 although that's slow) and internal hard drives.

    The real answer is to try it and see if your hardware works unless you can find an identical system that has been tested. If you try an external USB 2.0 drive from Western Digital and have any problem, you add a USB PCI card from Adaptec, and that has always worked perfectly for me.

    If you want an extra guarantee, buy a dual USB 2.0/Firewire drive from Western Digital. If the USB doesn't work, install a USB/Firewire combo PCI card from Adaptec. Firewire is faster in actual use than USB and more reliable.

    If you have a network drive available, then you can use the external drive to backup both (all) systems which is an added advantage.

    Go with the USB or USB/Firewire combo drive.
     
  22. milleron

    milleron Registered Member

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    I can see you going round and round about what kind of external drive to use, but you've never explained why you can't just slip another internal drive in there. I've never heard of a Dell, other than the SFF business units, that couldn't take one more internal drive. That's by far the least expensive method available to you. Just make your image files on that drive, and then if you ever need to restore, the images are immediately at hand. If you want off-site storage, just burn the image files to a DVD+RW once a week and put them somewhere else.

    Please explain why this wouldn't work for you.

    Ron
     
  23. thebigdintx

    thebigdintx Registered Member

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    A question about using a second internal drive rather than an external one for storing T.I. images on.....Is there a way to dismount the second internal drive or something after you image to it so that it can not be affected by a virus, windows crash, etc?
     
  24. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    The second internal drive is where I have the TI secure zone. This is an area where it can not be affected by any of the above.
    It also allows me to schedule backups to happen automatically from within Windows with no manual intervention. When the zone is full the oldest backups are automatically deleted.

    As it happens I also have an external USB HDD where I also store backup images. Fire proof or what!!



    Xpilot
     
  25. tachyon42

    tachyon42 Registered Member

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    Windows disk management lets a user account with administrator rights dismount a partition. I imagine a virus/trojan or whatever running in an acount with administrator rights could also mount the volume and do anything to it.

    The disadvantage of using a second internal drive for this purpose is that fire/theft would mean loss of both the live drive and the backup image. This is also a disadvantage of using the Secure Zone feature.
     
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