What is the best way to backup my Dell XPS M1330

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by Sparky9292, Aug 31, 2008.

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  1. Sparky9292

    Sparky9292 Registered Member

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    I have True Image Home v11.

    I'd like to create a complete hard drive backup. If the hard drive goes to crap, I want to be able to simply slam in a new drive, put in the Acronis Boot DVD, plug the external drive, and everything goes back.

    So in the CREATE BACKUP WIZARD, i have the following:

    Disk 1

    OS (C: ) Pri,Act. 173.7GB NTFS
    RECOVERY (D: ) Pri 10GB NTFS
    FAT16 Pri 78.41MB FAT16
    MEDIADIRECT 2.499GB FAT32


    Do I simply put checkboxes next to everything?

    Dells have a way of restoring to Vista without needed DVD's. You press F8 during boot, and one of the options allows you to install Vista fresh.

    Can I trust Acronis True Image v11 to clone this type of harddrive? o_O

    I'm worried about posts like this:
    http://forum.notebookreview.com/showthread.php?t=224211

    I worry that Dell has done something so special to it's master boot sector? that Acronis will screw something up during restore.

    Please advise.
     
  2. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    I see your Dell has the Media Direct feature, ..... there are unique problems associated with it. In any case, the safest way to go about what you want to achieve, imho, is this:
    1. Create a Windows Restore Point before installing True Image.
    2. Install True Image and make the Bootable Rescue Media cd. During the installation, do not let True Image modify your MBR.
    3. Uninstall True Image via the Control Panel/Add Remove Programs.
    4. Restore your system using the Restore Point created in step 1.
    5. Boot with the TI Rescue cd and make a backup of the entire drive - put the check mark against Disk 1. A usb drive is the easiest device to use as a destination for the Backup Image.

    NOTE: You should do an actual test restore to a spare hard drive so you're confident that your Backup will restore correctly. Don't wait until you have to do a restore to find out it does not go as planned. Hard drives are cheap enough these days to invest in a spare one. You can always use it afterwards by putting it in a usb enclosure to store pics, mp3s etc.
     
  3. Sparky9292

    Sparky9292 Registered Member

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    I already installed TI 11 and it did not break the restore feature. I have not test if the media direct feature was destroyed by true image.
     
  4. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Sparky9292,

    In Disk Management, the Disk 0 rectangle, in what order do these partitions appear?
     
  5. Sparky9292

    Sparky9292 Registered Member

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    Hi Brian, thanks for taking the time to help me out.

    Here's the photo:

    View attachment 202657

    If I tell True Image 11 to back up the entire Disk 0, will it restore everything back ok?
     
  6. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    Yes. It's important to select the entire hard drive (all four partitions) to ensure that the restored disk is bootable.

    Since you have TI installed, you can make backups from within Windows. You should create the Rescue media/CD and boot from that. Validate the backup image after booting from the CD. If you can validate successfully, you can probably restore the image successfully although yhe only proof is to do a restore as DwnNDrty described.
     
  7. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Sparky9292,

    Pretty much whatever you do will work. Or should work. I've never done a full disk backup and never will. Just imaging and restoring the OS partition is sufficient. Any data partitions can be backed up as data, not as images.

    If you have no need for the Recovery and MediaDirect partitions, delete them. You can even delete the Diagnostic partition if you are feeling aggressive as diagnostics can be run from the Dell CD.
     
  8. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    Try restoring to a new hard drive before claiming that "whatever" will work.

    When you just restore the C: partition to a good drive you aren't changing the order of the partitions on the drive or the MBR. When you do that to a new drive, it's very likely that it won't boot. Restoring the MBR won't make it bootable either because the partitions are different and Windows can't find the boot files.

    The safe procedure is to make an image of the entire hard disk. Restoring that will give you a bootable new disk. This is particularly important when there are partitions in front of the Windows partition as there are on this Dell hard disk.
     
  9. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    John, I have. It doesn't matter if the OS is WinXP or Vista, you can restore a partition image to a new HD, any partition order, and it will boot. It will require a few minutes of extra work but the OS will boot.
     
  10. jmk94903

    jmk94903 Registered Member

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    Yes, but I think you are under estimating what doing that few minutes of extra work means to a less experiened user. :)

    Most users buy systems without a Windows boot CD/DVD which makes life more difficult when there are boot problems.
     
  11. Sparky9292

    Sparky9292 Registered Member

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    Yes, that's the recurring theme in the notebook forums about the Dell series of laptops. They say that non-noobie users simply throw off the training wheels and destroy the recovery partition. But, I don't want to spend the time chasing down all of the drivers right now.

    To make things worse, Dell doesn't provide a DVD version of the recovery partition. You have to order that separately. I guess they have alot of faith

    It's argueable about how useful the MediaDirect stuff is. It's meant to be an eepeecee way of checking email, watching movies without killing your battery by not loading Vista, but just by loading a stripped down version of it.

    For anyone researching how Dell laptops should be backed up, just know that the newer 3.0 and 4.0 versions of MediaDirect don't have a proprietary HPA Boot sector, and that Acronis True Image 11 can back them up just fine.

    The older HPA technology that Dell used gave True Image fits.

    A super geeky explanation can be found here:

    http://www.goodells.net/dellrestore/mediadirect.htm

    Back in the HPA days, just installing True Image would destroy the ability to activate MediaDirect or worse, disable the CTRL F11 method of activating the Vista recovery partition.
     
  12. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    Are you sure? That sounds unlikely. Perhaps you mean that installing ATI's Secure Zone caused those problems. I doubt that simply installing and running the ATI application would.
     
  13. Sparky9292

    Sparky9292 Registered Member

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    Right, specifically Secure Zone did this. That's not the case with the newer Dell laptops. I know because I have it running now on my Dell
     
  14. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    Right, so it's not the installation of ATI that caused it, just the creation of the Secure Zone.

    Many of us recommend users not to create a Secure Zone. It can sometimes cause problems, but more significantly it doesn't offer any backup against disk failure, disk damage or loss of PC due to theft, fire, etc. It's far better to backup to an external hard drive.
     
  15. Sparky9292

    Sparky9292 Registered Member

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    Yes, but what do you recommend for my clients who spend over 50% of the month on the road? Lugging around a Maxtor OneTouch that adds a good 3lbs is not a viable solution to restoring.

    Would be nice if True Image support some kind of method to store an incremental backup to an FTP server. Right now, it stores it locally which is fragile if the entire drive goes FUBAR.
     
  16. tuttle

    tuttle Registered Member

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    That's a straw man argument. Nobody suggested lugging a heavy desktop drive.

    My Western Digital Passport drive weighs only 6 ounces and requires no external power supply. You could easily carry that in your luggage and periodically backup your laptop.
     
  17. Sparky9292

    Sparky9292 Registered Member

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    Good point
     
  18. nb47

    nb47 Registered Member

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    Exactly what I've been doing for almost 2 years! :D
     
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