What is the best way to backup OS + Applications?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by bob13bob, Jan 14, 2009.

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  1. bob13bob

    bob13bob Registered Member

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    Simplest, Fastest backup, fastest restore, stable and consistent? Using any software.

    I want to avoid Installation/configuration (2-3+ hours) every time I reinstall windows. I have a Fresh 63gb partition for OS windows xp + installed applications, applications and drivers eg. videocard, motherboard, comodo firewall, antivir.

    in case of:
    -hard drive failure
    -corrupted OS, virus etc.

    Questions about possible solutions
    1) Would it still need to run windows installation process before restoring backup? Would like 1step solution

    1.5) Could I run it without any windows installation, like from a cd or flash drive?

    2) Work on new motherboard machine? Use "windows prep" or something like that before backup?

    Acronis image, what options?
    BartPe?

    In the past, I tried, unsucessfully, a partial backup with Acronis since I did not have a fresh install to work with. It did not work
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showthread.php?p=1379179
     
  2. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    Look for any messge by GroverH and read some of the beginner's info. in the Links in his signature.
     
  3. philby

    philby Registered Member

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    I use Macrium Free. Definitely stable and consistent. Try it for speed...
    It images my 35GB of 250GB in about 10 minutes and restores in about 20 (including verification).

    Yes, you can restore image to new HD.

    You can just boot machine with Linux/BartPE/WinPE disk.

    You could mount and the backup image from any media, if that's what you mean (?) AFAIK Macrium itself needs to be installed on the machine to be backed up.

    You could check the "restore to new box" question out with Merlin or Nick over on the Macrium support pages. AFAIK, however, this can be tricky...

    Others will give you a steer on this...

    Hope this helps

    philby
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2009
  4. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    There are definately more than a few ways to achieve what you ask.

    I too use macrium now. As you are probably aware, it is just another imaging application, making an image of your current drive. I like to use a BartPE ramdisk image that has the macrium plugin within it. This way, I can choose from my boot.ini to boot bartPE into a ramdisk. Then I start macrium within this ramdisk, and restore my OS image from (in my case) the e: drive to the c: drive. My image I am restoring already has the boot option to start the bartPE ramdisk, so it is always there to use. You could also put bartPE on usbstick or cd to use if your hdd actually fails.

    As for how to not install over and over, you can as stated, use an image, where your baseline programs are installed and tweaked the way you like. This is the easiest method.

    You can also create an unattended cd/dvd to install, and have all your apps install themselves. Then put in place regsitry entries or .ini files to configure each app just the same way every time. This way takes some time to setup, but once it is done, you don't have to mess with it much.

    I like to strip out the program content and registry edits or profiles or .ini files or whatever, and create my own installers. This is not for browsers and things that update all the time, but for old stand-by programs that really don't change. You can use installRite to get an idea of what a program installs. Then copy everything and zip it or something. I built a program to install things via .inf and .cab files myself. I have these files on my unattended dvd. I made a small program so that after a fresh install, I can check the ones I want to install, and on the next reboot, each .inf file is ran so that my programs are put in place, including start menu and desktop shortcuts and registry settings. This is a bit extreme probably, but might give you some ideas.

    Another method I use is to create a partition on my main drive, say d:. I create a program files directory there (d:\Program Files), and then install (with installRite) games or whatever there. Then I just take things like registry values or profiles or ini files that exist on c: somewhere, and put them in the d:\program files\installed_apps folder, and after restoring an image or reinstalling from disc, put those files to where they belong on c: again, or merge reg files, whatever.

    Point is, you can make it painless with an image, but many isntalled apps makes the image very large. Or you can choose an alternate method to keep your installed apps in some manner.

    It should be noted that some apps put lot's of dependency files in many places, like sys32 etc. Or they install files that need to be registered, like .ocx or .dll files. These CAN be copied and saved, but sometimes it takes more effort than just re-installing.

    It is most helpful to have a large data drive, so you can copy entire dvd's you would install with to this other hdd. Then install is very fast, because you run setup from a hdd instead of an optical drive.

    Lot's and lot's of ways to do this. Too many.

    Sul.
     
  5. bob13bob

    bob13bob Registered Member

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    Wow, thanks for the extremely helpful posts.

    Tell me if I got this right:
    BartPE allows to boot into windows just from a cd-rom or flashdrive
    so...
    Steps Involved
    Make image of WindowsXP+applications of C:,
    transfer image to slave HD "G: (contains no OS)"
    C: fails, Plug in brand new drive D:
    Boot up in to windows from bartpe cd
    Install/Run Macrium (wouldn't Mac need to be installed on bartpe os, is this what plugin is for)? edit: nm, found guide linked below
    Restore image (from G: ) to D: [no need for separate windows installation]
    Boot up from D:, windows, drivers, and applications should all be set up.

    Know any good bartPE guides? Google brings this. http://www.mechrest.com/plugins/BartPEGuide/BartPEGuide.htm

    Macrium Reflect free here. I trust this version has the features I need to do the above. http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.asp

    Create BartPE Cd for macrium instructions
    http://www.macrium.com/blog/2008/09/22/HowToCreateABartPERescueCDForMacriumReflect.aspx
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2009
  6. raakii

    raakii Registered Member

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    Best ones according to me Drive snapshot and another Image for windows .Takes 1 minute to restore due to my small size of os partition.Around 70% of the programs i use are portable hence fast restore.
     
  7. gud4u

    gud4u Registered Member

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    These backup/restore apps have performed reliably for me:
    - Terabyte IFW/IFD
    - Acronis TrueImage (I used TI10)
    - Paragon Hard Disk Manager 2009 (A suite, much more than just image save/restore)

    Image save/restore times of OS partition approximately equal, never a failed restore.

    Hope this helps!
     
  8. eniqmah

    eniqmah Registered Member

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    All these answers are wrong.


    F
    D
    I
    S
    R.
    QED.
     
  9. philby

    philby Registered Member

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  10. bob13bob

    bob13bob Registered Member

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    so 2 votes for Macrium Free + bartPE
    and 2 votes for FD-ISR Rescue

    would the FDISR need bartpe or is it a all in one?
     
  11. TonyW

    TonyW Registered Member

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    No, they are not necessarily wrong. FD-ISR is meant to be an instant recovery solution, not a total backup solution.

    Bob13bob, you don't need BartPE with FD-ISR.
     
  12. bob13bob

    bob13bob Registered Member

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    Does it work on OS: windows xp + installed applications, applications and drivers eg. videocard, motherboard, comodo firewall, antivir.
     
  13. rdsu

    rdsu Registered Member

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    This one seems to be a great program to compete with Paragon Drive Backup Express...

    Thanks ;)
     
  14. TonyW

    TonyW Registered Member

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    FD-ISR takes a snapshot of your system when it is installed which includes the OS, applications and drivers. A secondary snapshot can be created, which will then be identical to the first and is bootable.

    The original FD-ISR program is no longer available to purchase, but FD-ISR Rescue is still offered by Horizon DataSys. It is a stripped down version allowing only two snapshots, an Original and a Rescue. Both snapshots will be identical upon installation. If something goes wrong whilst working in the Original snapshot, you reboot the computer into the Rescue snapshot and refresh the Original snapshot to get rid of the changes made. It can be done the other way also.
     
  15. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    Again, there are many ways. I am using Macrium because I tried it's free version, and it works well and fast.

    As to your questions.

    BartPE is a pre-environment. Meaning it is sort of like a very stripped down version of windows, that loads from a cd/usb/hdd and consumes RAM to operate it. Normally your media is needed to run the programs (plugins) that you put into your BartPE. Running from a ramdisk means that your media is your RAM, so it is all there and very fast.

    Your steps in this situation with Macrium and BartPE would be. 1) install and setup your base system. No programs etc. 2) Make an image with Macrium onto a different hdd or network drive.

    Now, you have a very basic install to fall back to, should be about 2.4gb or so. Next, build up your install, whatever you want. Bear in mind that the size of your image file create with macrium will be relative to the size of your c: when you make it. In other words, leave the games out to keep the image down in size. Preferrably under 4.3gb, so you can back it up to a dvd. Your choise though of course.

    Next, make a BartPE image. There are many tutorials, it is pretty easy. Just have your source, get the drivers for your ide/sata chipset and your nic drivers. Should be about all you need. Macrium has an option to crate the BartPE plugin, so that is pretty easy too. Make your image, burn it from the resluting .iso to a cd and test. If the image boots and does what you expect, meaning has access to your drives and network access, then you can put it into your boot.ini with the image on the c:. If you get so far as to get the cd working the way you want, I can help with the rest. You could also put it on a USB stick and boot that way too.

    And the rest you have correct. You boot into bartPE. You start the macrium plugin, choosing an image on say d:, and restoring image to c:. Because you booted into bartPE, you should be using something like x:, so that allows you to write to c: without problems.

    Once you have a couple baseline images, and have the working boot.ini for RAMdisk, it is very easy to modify one of your images (new programs, settings, etc) and then make a new image with those changes.

    Using FD-ISR or any of the other imaging tools is all the same. You choose the one that you like the best, as long as it works. There is no 'this is better' or 'that is worse'. If it does what you want without error, you got yourself a winner.

    Good luck.

    Sul.
     
  16. bgfalconboy

    bgfalconboy Registered Member

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    I have a question about these imaging programs. Do you have to have some kind of other storage media for these to work like a usb storage or backup HD?
     
  17. TonyW

    TonyW Registered Member

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    You can use external hard drives to back images up to.
     
  18. TonyW

    TonyW Registered Member

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    Just been browsing about Macrium Reflect, and found this link which discusses the Restore process. To quote:
    Do all image programs work in this manner i.e. files are deleted before re-added? I can't say I've noticed Paragon's Drive Backup or Storagecraft's ShadowProtect show erasure of files during a restore process.
     
  19. Warlockz

    Warlockz Registered Member

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    Paragon Hard Disk Manager is the best in my opinion + it has much more included like partitioning tools ect!
     
  20. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Tony

    They don't erase the files perse, but the effect is the same. Once they start writing back to the disk, they over write what's there so if the process aborted early on you still have a trashed disk.

    Although not necessary out of habit with ShadowProtect, I always delete the volume(I only have 1 partition) and then restore.

    Pete
     
  21. Sully

    Sully Registered Member

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    There are mostly one method. You make an image, a whole image of a drive. You then copy that image, back to the drive. Whatever is on the drive is gone, replaced with the old data. You must be careful to choose the right partition/drive, but generally this is the way it works. I think there are some programs, maybe higher end versions, that allow incrmental or some such called feature, that lets you restore what has not been changed. I think Macrium paid for has a few features like that that let you do a kind of 'update restore' instead of full out restore.

    Usually you cannot write an image to the same hdd you are making the image of. You can use any external media usually, usb hdd, usb thumbdrive, cd/dvd, network share, etc. Same goes for restoring, normally you must be booted into a drive other than the one you are restoring, thus the bartPE or similar. Although I believe there are some programs that get around this.

    I have used this, and it is a nice program. I just like the more simplistic nature of Macrium free.

    Sul.
     
  22. TonyW

    TonyW Registered Member

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    Thanks to Peter & Sully for their take on this. It just threw me when reading that review the way the guy said "watch helplessly as all your files are erased", which I thought meant you see the files being deleted on screen as the restore process begins. As I said before, I never noticed this action when testing the other two imaging programs.
     
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