why not use Disk Clone as backup strategy?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by robertpri, Dec 21, 2005.

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  1. robertpri

    robertpri Registered Member

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    Seems like disk clone is ideal for making backups, but the Q&A says this"

    "When you use the "Disk Clone" tool, you effectively copy/move all of the contents of one hard disk drive onto another hard disk drive. This function allows you to transfer all the information (including operating system and installed programs) from a small hard disk drive to a large hard disk drive without having to reinstall and reconfigure all of your software. The migration takes minutes, not hours, but it is not generally used as a backup strategy."

    If it takes only minutes, why not use as a backup?
     
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    robertpri,

    A quote from Dan Goodell,

    http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/notes.htm#13
     
  3. robertpri

    robertpri Registered Member

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    Very good information, thank you.

    I am not challenging this at all, but just trying to understand it.

    "Yes, it's possible, but not very sensible..."

    If it's a true copy, then I don't understand why it's not sensible. I can swap ribbon connectors and jumpers if necessary in a few seconds and reboot to the copy. This aspect is really critical for us, so I need to be clear on it.

    "Images are files, so you can save multiple generations. A clone leaves you with just one generation."

    And if all I want is the current configuration and files? I don't want generationrs.

    "Clones are not only uncompressed, they duplicate free space in the partition, as well."

    So, this clone does not utilize VSS/VSC technologies?

    I guess this would explain it for me:
    example:
    source 100 gb drive using 40 gb
    target 120gb drive

    When I use the clone feature, will the target still be 120gb and using 40gb?

    I ask, because I've seen other clone software that would reconfigure the 120gb drive to 40 gb [or whatever the size] meaning a duplication of everything.

    "Considering how rarely you'll (hopefully) be doing this, saving a few minutes by keeping a ready-to-go clone is hardly worth the effort, IMHO. "

    Once would be a disaster, which is why I like a copy on another drive.

    thanks
    t
     
  4. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    robertpri,

    It is hard to understand. Why don't you make a disk clone, see if it boots (it may not) and let us know whether you still like the idea. Cloning is time intensive. Imaging, if done on a scheduled basis isn't. Images will save you from a hard drive failure. Your clone may not be bootable if you haven't previously tested it.
     
  5. robertpri

    robertpri Registered Member

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    Will do.

    I've heard that some clone software must have source/target the same size to be bootable later.

    Does this apply to Disk Clone?
     
  6. thebigdintx

    thebigdintx Registered Member

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    no, during the clone process, you will be able to resize the image to fit the new drive....and it will be bootable.
     
  7. Acronis Support

    Acronis Support Acronis Support Staff

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    Hello robertpri,

    Thank you for choosing Acronis Disk Backup Software.

    Please be aware that there are two approaches available:

    Clone Disk - moves the entire contents of one disk drive to another;

    Backup - creates a special archive file for backup and disaster recovery purposes;

    Please take a look at this FAQ article explaining the difference between Clone Disk and Backup approaches in more detail.

    Actually, Clone Disk approach is usually used to upgrade the hard drive (e.g. install a larger disk), while Backup approach is basically dedicated for the complete data backup and disaster recovery purposes. Since you are interested in backing up your hard drive for the disaster recovery purposes, I would recommend you to follow Backup approach.

    Moreover, there are several advantages of creating an image over the disk cloning procedure such as: you can create an image without rebooting your PC, image creation can be scheduled for the particular point in time, Acronis True Image allows you to create incremental and differential images, image archive contains only the actual data and so it has a smaller size, images are ordinary files and so they can be stored on any type of the supported media, etc.

    However, the final choice is always up to your needs.

    You can find more information on how to use Acronis True Image 9.0 in the respective User's Guide.

    Thank you.
    --
    Alexey Popov
     
  8. RetiredBri

    RetiredBri Registered Member

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    Hello robertpri,

    I want to do exactly the same as you - see my post "Peace Of Mind" that has some very useful information. As I understand things, you can clone it and then test the clone immediately to see if it's OK.

    I'm getting my PC ready (clearing the current Drive 1 80gb) to then clone Drive 0 (60Gb) with C: (root/boot) D: and E: partitions to Drive 1. Probably noe will have to be after Xmas.

    Hope this helps


    RetiredBri
     
  9. robertpri

    robertpri Registered Member

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    Thanks, RetiredBri, I'll check that thread.

    Here's my problem: I installed two different "backup" image type software programs on my client's three computers. Everything looked good, seemed to work well, and the two versions of the "images" went to another computer's hard drives literally placed in a closet.

    So, closet computer: ordinary C drive and 250 gb drive for images
    comuters A, B, and C had their "images" copies to the 250gb drive every night at 2am by the Scheduler.

    The three computers were stolen. Hey, no problem, the insurance will buy new computers and we had the images on the "hidden" closet computer.

    Short version: everything was lost, the images refused to install or restore on the newly purchased computers, and the customer lost mission critial files for their products, customers, taxes, payroll records, etc. A disaster!

    The images were also copied to CDs' kept off site.

    I don't know how many tens of thousands of $$ they spent trying to recover files, but I was fired. [they didn't sue, knowing that I'm just a retired IT guy with few financial resources]

    Sooooooo, you can see my hesitation to just believe anybody's software any more. I have other clients and looking for a new solution.

    I have not tried this software yet, but want to first understand how it works. I cannot lose another client!
     
  10. jeremywms

    jeremywms Registered Member

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    WOW, Robert, what a nightmare! Most computer failures are a nightmare as I have learned in my long and varied experience. Okay, I am having this same question as to how to best restore a full disk image stored on multiple DVD-RW disks to a new computer system, should something happen to the current computer. This happened to me and my business this past year. Please see my thread "Can you restore a disk image to a new hard drive?"

    May I just quote a little from that thread here:

    I may be kind of retarded here, so anyone please feel free to set me straight. I am wondering what good a backup program is if you cannot restore it to another computer if something happens to your old one. I had this problem with my business this past year. Lightening struck a power transformer (I know this sounds dramatic, but it's true) and it went right through our UPS backup system to fry everything in our computer--mother board and all.)

    In this type of situation, is a person just resigned to consider himself up the creek without a paddle? I guess I am understanding that one has to hope and pray that the only thing that fails on their computer is the hard drive and if that is the case, one can install a new hard drive on the same computer and restore the backup image and data that resided on the old/damaged hard drive?

    If this is the case, I am hoping that my dramatic experience last year is a very rare one because it took me two weeks to get up and running again. Even though I had all of my critical data backed up, we all know what a pain it is to have to transfer to a new system.

    Okay, so if I do want to transfer to a new system, I have to use the clone/migrating feature and do so when my computer is not damaged or has not failed? It kind of seems to me that this wouldn't be possible if your computer has been damaged. And what about stolen? Another reason I want to backup my computer is that if we lost it, you can imagine the devastating effects upon one's business.

    Perhaps this is when you do what someone else in this thread suggested--load all of your software programs onto a new computer and then load the Acronis software, plug in the image from your full image backup from the previous computer, and restore all of the data? This seems to me to not be a very happy prospect either, as all of the files will not correspond.

    Am I making a mountain out of a mole hill here? From long experience, I just know that computer failures are a nightmare and I am just trying to invest in a product that will somehow lessen the drama!

    SO ROBERT, WHAT YOU'RE SAYING IS THAT YOU COULDN'T RESTORE THE DATA FROM THE STOLEN COMPUTER TO THE NEW COMPUTER USING THE ARCHIVED FULL IMAGE FILE THAT YOU PLUGGED IN TO THE NEW COMPUTER? This makes me wonder whether I should not purchase the Acronis software. I am on the 30-day trial right now. It sounds as though we are both looking for the same solution? I'm not sure about Norton Ghost? Yet all of the reviews that I have read lead me to believe that Acronis is a superior product...
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2005
  11. selwynpolit

    selwynpolit Registered Member

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    I learned the hard way, that whatever backup solution you use, you need to test it. I know it seems like overkill, but the strategy is to do a test restore on another system at least once a year to make sure your backups are working. I like acronis so far. It has worked pretty well for me. I have had it since version 7 and although 9 is still settling down a bit, it seems to work fairly well. I did get bitten by a boot.ini file getting restored and not letting win xp boot, but when I edited the file to point to the correct partition, all was hunky-dory.

    Selwyn
     
  12. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Robert, a frightening story that could apply to any of us.

    Were the new computers "identical" to the stolen ones. As you know, unless you are restoring an image to a computer with almost identical hardware, especially motherboard, then it won't work. If the image doesn't work then a cloned HD won't either.

    What was the imaging software being used on the stolen computers?
     
  13. robertpri

    robertpri Registered Member

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    jeremywms said:

    Believe me, I am NOT condemning Acronis! I am here to learn.

    I am not a norton's fan for reasons I won't produce here.

    Me too. I will probably try the trial version on a shop computer to a blank hard drive then try to restore/recover/whatever.
     
  14. robertpri

    robertpri Registered Member

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    No, they were not the same at all, and that is a major issue with me. Assuming you buy computer "a" and some time later it suffers a total, non-recoverable failure, it is totally unreasonable [IMHO] to be forced to buy a near-identical machine. Why buy an old computer just to restore?

    This is my concern with imaging drives, but I'm not certain that it applies to Acronis. That is what I need to know.
     
  15. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I'm afraid all imaging software is in this category, Robert. The more a new computer is "different" from the old computer, the less likely an image restore will work. Fact of life I'm afraid.

    http://ghost.radified.com/ghost_3.htm see bottom of the page re "Restoring an Image from different PC".

    I've tried the process several times. All were failures. The computers need to be almost "identical".
     
  16. robertpri

    robertpri Registered Member

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    Brian K said:

    "I'm afraid all imaging software is in this category, Robert."

    And I'm just now beginning to fully understand that, after chasing this problem longer than I will admit.

    Which begs the question, why don't backup software sites explain that?

    Another major annoyance, and not Acronis as they all appear to do the same, and that is to fully explain precisely what you can and can not do with the backup. In other words, basic question: what good is it?

    A: I have created a clone copy of C:
    Can I:
    restore to a new drive on the same computer? Probably so [how?]
    restore to another drive on another computer? Hmmmm

    B: I have created an image of C:
    restore to a new drive on the same computer? Probably so, but not sure [how?]
    restore to another drive on another computer? Hmmmm

    These are critical questions to us users, and they are either not made perfectly clear, or I'm too stupid to find those answers. In other words again, I've followed the steps and feel really good about making some kind of backup, but now, how can I use it?

    I'm thinking in this direction:
    Use NTbackup to copy XP System State
    and then Acronis to merely copy folders, ie, Office, My documents, etc.

    In a restore to another machine/drive, we boot to safemode [or recover/repair/restore/etc] and get XP working and stable.

    Then use the restore to bring the clone back.

    Sound workable? I like System State because, if I understand it, this will maintain all the installed software, Office, etc, and no re-do is needed.
     
  17. Ozmaniac

    Ozmaniac Registered Member

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    Have you read the Acronis FAQs? That would answer at least some of your questions.
     
  18. robertpri

    robertpri Registered Member

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    Thank you, yes, I did, but have just gone over it again.

    It does explain the use of sysprep for migrating to another computer, which I am asking for clarification. I cannot believe anyone would actually go through those steps every day. And if you don't backup everyday, why bother?

    The FAQ's appear to be focused on having one drive make copies/clones/images to another source for safety. Which is wonderful.

    But in my world, at least, one does not need the backup until disaster strikes, and those are the questions I have, ie, using those images/clones on different drive, different computer, etc.
     
  19. Ozmaniac

    Ozmaniac Registered Member

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    Restoring an image to a different drive does not usually present a problem though there may occasionally be (solvable) driver issues e.g. if the old drive is PATA and the new one, SATA. If you need to restore to a new drive, all you normally need to do is to boot from the Rescue CD, select the required image and restore. I have done it several times without any problems as have many other people.
    I have never had to restore to very different hardware so have no first-hand knowledge of that. Many Forum threads indicate that it can be a PITA, but is generally do-able if you know what you are doing. I can't find a thread which details the ins and outs of restoring to very different hardware, but perhaps someone else is able to provide a link.:cool:
     
  20. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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  21. jeremywms

    jeremywms Registered Member

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    Here is a bit of advice that I found very helpful on another thread I posted, "Can you restore a disk image to a new hard drive?"

    "rbmorse" states:

    IF you're using a retail version Windows XP or 2K AND you have the distribution CD and it's original authentication code at hand it's pretty simple despite the length of this thread. The full retail versions of XP and 2K can be transfered to another machine.

    If you have an OEM version of Windows XP or 2K your license is tied to a specific machine and maybe even a specific machine configuration. That means you cannot transfer your old Windows OEM operating system to a new machine.

    If your new machine came with, or you bought a new not previously authorized Windows OEM distribution disk to use with it, the following should work just fine. If you try to use the OEM Windows that came with your old machine (i.e., previously activated) it will probably not authenticate or you will be in violation of your license agreement.

    1. Install Acronis on the old computer, create the bootable rescue CD, image the drive onto optical disks/external HDD/secondary internal HDD (something that can be transfered to the new machine).

    When it's time to migrate:

    2. Boot the NEW machine from the bootable rescue DC created in step 1.

    3. Restore the image of the drive from the old machine to the new machine (don't try and boot it afterwards)

    4. Remove the bootable Rescue CD and insert the Windows XP/2K retail or not previously activated OEM distribution CD. Make sure you have the authentication code and any drivers for RAID/SCSI, etc required handy.

    5. Boot the Windows distribution disk. At the first menu select "install Windows." Do not select the option to boot to a repair console from this menu. Do the "F6" for drivers option if required. Windows will begin copying files (don't worry) but, after awhile, a second menu will appear indicating the installer has found a previous installation of Windows. It will offer to:

    "repair (or restore, I forget) the existing Windows installation"
    "install another copy of Windows" or
    "Exit setup."

    Each previous installation of Windows detected is enumerated. You should only have one and the menu prompt will be to select the windows installation for repair. You do that by pressing "1"

    Or, something very similar to that. Working from memory here and it's early. The bottom line at this screen is to press "1" to repair the existing Windows, not install a new one or quit.

    6. Follow the prompts from There. The Windows installer will detect and install drivers for the new hardware environment. In theory the software portions of the registry will be unaffected and your old software will be usable on the new system

    7. When this is finished, remove the CD and boot Windows from the hard drive. Install SP-2 (if not already incorporated into the distribution disk) and the latest chip set driver for your new motherboard from either the utility CD that came with the board or the board's web site. Follow with other driver updates that may be required. When that's done, connect to Windows Update site and install ALL the critical updates available (it should be damn near all of them because the "repair" process will back level many Windows system files to the version on the distribution CD).

    Operation note: You WILL be asked to re authenticate Windows during the repair install and if the two machines are very different the automated authentication routine will fail. You will be asked to call a telephone number that will connect you to someone in India who will ask you to repeat the long string of numbers that appear on the screen (49 I think) and then read to you an even longer string of numbers (55?) that you will have to enter into the computer. Don't bother preserving these beyond the install, the strings change for every re authentication attempt.

    Also, --- IF you use the retail distribution package of Windows, don't be concerned that re authentication will not be "approved." They have to, it cannot be denied. The process just slows things down to make it more difficult to "clone" large numbers of machines with illegal copies. Like many other case, the honest party (that's you and me) gets punished and treated like a criminal.

    A previously unactivated OEM version will probably authenticate automatically. You should not have to call anyone.

    IF you use the OEM version of Windows that came with your old machine and are asked to authenticate by phone do not be surprised if you hear, "this version of the Windows operating system cannot be transfered to a new machine. Thank you for calling Microsoft. Click."
     
  22. ndmartin

    ndmartin Registered Member

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    Actually, I think both the clone approach and the image have merits.

    I have an extra 200GB drive installed and I clone it once a week.
    If I have a crash.... it's a simple matter to boot directly directly from it.

    I also like to archive and have a couple of images of my system do
    this every other day or so :)


    BTW..... Using TI8, I once made an image file from my desktop (which
    was a P4) to a USB drive and used that image to restore to a "bare
    metal" Athlon system I hadn't used in a while. After several trial and
    errors (can't remember exactly what I did), it finally completed and
    I had TWO systems exactly the same. I didn't think it was supposed
    to do it, but trust me IT DID. Any others have similar experiences?
     
  23. bobdat

    bobdat Registered Member

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    Acronis Support's reply and the FAQ's pretty much say all there is to say about when to use cloning and when to use image creation. The rest of the horror stories pretty well share that restoring ANY image to substantially different hardware is a crapshoot at best.

    My solution is to use TrueImage for the purposes Acronis designed it for.

    As for what would I do if I had to restore my software to substantially different hardware, my solution is the oldest, most cumbersome and only reliable one:

    I regularly back up all my files to CD's and I keep copies of my original program install disks available for the day when my current hardware dies and I have to replace it with substantially different equipment. Laborious but 100% effective.

    As for RobertPri's tales of woe, I offer the following comments:

    1) I mean no disrespect to you but you mistakenly offered an amateur solution instead of a professional hardware/software disaster recovery plan and you precipitated the expected outcome - a complete, unrecoverable disaster for your client.

    2) For high-value clients like you described, there are server solutions with hot-swappable hard drive/failsafe software disaster recovery suites which are costly but effective. You failed to provide one to your client and you both lost when it mattered most.

    I have seen many cases where a client took a low cost short cut and hired an IT person or firm who would work cheap, overpromise and underdeliver at crunch time. Your case sounds like one of those. I'd bet you knew it and recommended more costly solutions to your client but the client wouldn't go along. So, you hung in there and hoped for the best. As a result, your reputation took a big hit and the client will now make you the scapegoat, which you enabled them to do.

    Your story is an eye-opener for all the personable little guys who sell their services at cut rates and quickly find themselves in way over their heads with clients who refuse to allocate the funds necessary to do the job professionally and correctly. A word to the wise.....
    :eek:
     
  24. noonie

    noonie Registered Member

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    That's probably the best advice you'll find here.

    I would just like to add that Acronis does imply with the use of the word backup in their advertising, that Ti is a backup solution for files, data etc. I would never rely on it for that, but it is a very good imaging prog that can save you hours and hours of os and prog installations (and if the data comes with it, that is a bonus). It is primarily meant for hdrive failures and not machine replacements.

    I keep a clone drive as well as images at different stages. Clones and/or images can be moved to new hardware if the repair method as described above is used. Have done it many times, but with winxp, activation is almost assured, but you will have enough time to gather data at least.

    As bobdat indicated, this is not the ideal situation, especially with clients' valuable data.
    Data should always be at least copied separately to other drives, locations, and media.
    I use 2 extra drives for data alone, just for my personal machine.

    I could relay countless horror stories, and they all boil down to clients being too thrifty and not realizing what their data is really worth.

    It is insane to think that a $50.00 program can replace solutions costing thousands.

    You can google for "backup methods" and find many solutions that incorporate several methods, not just one program.
     
  25. jeremywms

    jeremywms Registered Member

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    I certainly appreciate all of the comments from the particpants in this thread who obviously have had a lot of horrific experiences such as I. Although I am not a professional IT contractor, I am in charge of all of the IT for my business that I own. Without re-quoting my horror story that I shared earlier on in this thread, may I pose a simple and direct question to everyone here?

    Using Acronis TI9, what is the best method for transferring your data to a new computer system should the current system fail? If I am processing everyone's comments correctly here, am I to understand that one should create a CLONE of your current, internal hard drive (which will capture all of the data) to a removable or external HD (or possibly to optical disks). Then, if you have to transfer to a new system, swap the removable or external HD to that new system to transfer the data to the new internal HD?

    Am I to understand that this will ensure that all of the data is transferred and will not interfere with the different hardware and device drivers on the new system? Should this work?

    I say CLONE instead of IMAGE, because I understand that IMAGING is the best and easiset thing to do if you are recovering to a new, internal hard drive FROM the original system TO the original system. Whereas CLONING is the best thing to do if you are moving FROM an old, damaged system to a NEW system such as I had to do when my entire computer failed.

    Someone please share your kind wisdom on this and tell me whether I am on the right track here...
     
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