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-   -   Backup software/imaging or clone? (http://www.hardwarecanucks.com/forum/o-ss-drivers-general-software/45724-backup-software-imaging-clone.html)

Mac29 August 18, 2011 06:49 AM

Backup software/imaging or clone?
I'm finalizing a backup procedure. Crucial for school. Nobody answers because backup's not sexy, like a new build. Sucks to be me. Deciding between Acronis True Image, Eraseus Todo BU (free ed.) or maybe Ghost. Macrium Reflect free doesn't do incrementals. People swear Windows7 backup is ok or many say it's given them problems on a full restore.

Comes down to this: if Acronis True Image makes a partition on C: that is proprietary and unreadable (except by itself) then is that data vulnerable to virus/etc. simply by being on the same drive. I think yes. But this partition is 'hidden'. Do viruses not cross partitions?

If I can restore from the hidden partition on the same drive that's good. I plan on using DVD images and possibly a clone of the entire hard drive. I know Acronis can burn to DVD and clone. I'll deal with any resizing of paritions if neccessary. Here's what I have to work with: a 320GB w/ Win7 Pro (3 years old) & a new 500GB.

I want images on DVD that I can easily restore. I don't want to use the 500GB as a clone because I want to load another OS on it (I use a drive bay). My plan is to: A) move the data from C: to a new partition D, thereby downsizing the 'system' size, then B) save images of C: to DVD and to a partition on the new drive (same for data & incrementals).

I've read and read. Some people swear only a clone is 100% (re: disk signatures) but I imagine that view may be due to what imaging software gave them issues. Others use Acronis, etc. and imaging and say restore 100%. I'm guarding against virus and if this 3 yr old drive were to fail, & obviously restore to a different hard drive. Would I be safe from viruses if image or clone to another internal hard drive?

IF imaging/restore from DVD will not fail me, does anyone have recommendations? Anyone feel strongly that clone is the only way to go? I like the fact Acronis True Image can image the system stuff while Windows is running. I think it can also resize an image. Ghost creates a bootable DVD to restore from (using an image). Which of these is easiest to use to restore?

Thanks for the help,


francisw19 August 18, 2011 12:38 PM

OK...lot's of questions in there...I'll take a stab and see if I can answer a few. :)

I'm quite paranoid about losing my data, so I've got a setup that's working very well for me and I feel is quite reliable.

Firstly, if I understood you correctly about restoring from the hidden partition on your system drive, I'm guessing this is the factory restore image for your PC? Regardless, NEVER store a disk image on another partition on the same drive. The only thing you'll really be protected from is just accidentally deleting a file, for instance. But, if your drive dies, then your backup goes along with it.

Personally, I'm not a fan of using optical storage for backups (such as a DVD, for example). The disks are quite fragile and I don't like to keep things that important on them. It gets worse if the image archive is too large to fit on one DVD. If having a reliable backup solution is important to you, get another external hard drive. You can make a partition to keep several backups of your data in one place. Keeping your backup images on another separate hard drive is the best way to go...even better if you have a few drives in RAID1 for redundancy.

On my system, I use the 2x 1.5TB WD Caviar Greens to store my backups. They are in a RAID1 setup so that if one drive fails, there is still a second drive to fall back on. To take the images, I use Image For Windows: Drive Image Backup Software for Windows :: Image for Windows.

I've tried a lot of imaging software and Image for Windows is easily one of the most reliable, IMO. After literally hundreds of restores, I've never had a bad image. The only down-side I can think of is that the Image for Linux restore disk (if you had to restore your system image) can be a bit intimidating for a novice. So, that's just something to keep in mind.

I've also used Shadow Protect Desktop: Windows backup, disaster recovery and drive image software. It's also very reliable, easy to use and has very good management of incremental backups. It can be set to automatically take incremental backups as little as 15 minutes apart and then merge them to daily, weekly, and monthly images. The only major complaint I have is their product activation if you want to install it in Windows. I got a lot of hassle from them if I reinstalled Windows and wanted to re-activate the software...this is what eventually pushed me to Image for Windows. Also, you didn't mention a budget, but if you want to keep this on the cheap, this is not your software as it's quite expensive. But, again I do stand by it's reliability...when I used this, it was absolutely flawless - no problems whatsoever.

I've tried out the built-in imaging too in Windows and while it seemed to work OK, I really didn't like the lack of options. Also, IIRC, you must always capture the system partition in the Image which was something that didn't jive with my method. I've also tried out O&O Disk Image, Macrium Free, and Acronis True Image. I used to really like Acronis back in the version 8 and 9 days, but newer versions seemed to not work as well for me. I've been burned a few times using Acronis and had a few issues with the restore disk detecting my hardware. That's not to say that it won't work for you, but I don't have the same trust in it as I do with my other favorites.

I hope this clears up a few things. Be sure to post back if you have any more questions. :thumb:

Herne August 18, 2011 12:57 PM

That is big, but if you don't mind a couple of clarification questions.

First, when you say 'Crucial for school' you mean, you are going to school and don't want to lose work? Just because its a very different problem then 'I am responsible for the back-ups at my school, and the staff won't keep all the files on network drives'

Second, how much do you need to back up? If you are backing up other people's workstations you likely need to back up the O/S for a fast restore. If its for yourself, unless you have a load of apps/games you might want to concentrate on the data. I used Ghost way back when restoring my system meant reinstalling for hours and hours, and then scrounging up all the apps I use but don't actually have around. Now I find its easier to back my data online and/or between drives, and manually reinstall my O/S from scratch if needed.

And for any DEV work where I am more likely to have restore back to a good state, I just use a VM.

lcdguy August 22, 2011 12:13 PM

i second some the options expressed here.

1. Get an external drive. If your really paranoid take up a level and get an iosafe.
2. The windows back is fine. I used to be truly horrible back in the 98 days. But i believe IIRC (so don't quote me on this) that windows back up is basically a veritas backup system rebranded for Windows. Also keep in mind that home premium can not backup to a network location.
3. I have used 2 other backup programs and they worked just as well (paragon drive image 9 pro, Acronis True Image)

I wouldn't bother with a whole drive backup as you will run out of backup space quickly. first i would look at what data is non-replaceable (ie: Itunes Downloads, Pictures, School Work, etc) then if i still have room put other things on there.

I would get an IO safe and just backup to that. They are fairly rugged and can stand up to alot on punishment.

CMetaphor August 22, 2011 12:38 PM

May I suggest an alternate software?
Free Backup Software: Paragon Backup & Recovery Free Edition - Overview

Free, Excellent backup software that I would highly recommend over any other.

lechumbl August 23, 2011 11:01 AM

Hi Mac29,

I have tried your 3 mentioned backup softwares and I use Ghost 15 only now.

I have used it for quite a while, backed up and restored several times and it is rock solid.

Had some issues with Acronis True Image, as on my external drive, the image was corrupt when I tried to restore backup several times. Threw Acronis away!!
Thank god I had a current Ghost 15 image to use instead, or I would have been screwed.

The external drive works fine and I have other files on it, with no corrupt issues, so it is not my drive.

Hope this helps you.

Take care..........

Paul_tech September 16, 2011 03:10 AM

Iím a big fan of backup solutuins, and I recommend Handy Backup (Handy Backup Software 6.9 | Back up Windows PC and Servers). It's reliable and easy to use backup software for Windows.

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