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  1. #1
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    Backing Up Large Partitions.

    Hello, I hope this is the right forum. I'm just wondering how people back up large partitions - in the 200-400 gm range.Is it best to take an image of the partition using something like Acronis and store it on a a large external hard drive or use something like Karen's replicator and copy the partitions directly file by file? Which would be quicker assuming a USB2 connection to the external drive?

    Thanks,

    Chris (Hunt)

  2. #2
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Re: Backing Up Large Partitions.

    Think of it the other way round!

    How would you want to restore the data? In one enormous chunk, or by individual files?

    And even so, how many copies of the backup data do you want to make?
    BATcher

    Time prevents everything happening all at once...

  3. #3
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    Re: Backing Up Large Partitions.

    I have one 200 gig partition but it doesn't have close to 100 gig of data on it, so I really can't authoritatively answer your question. I do know this, I would choose an image methodology over file-by-file copying any time, simply for speed and ease of administration. In both True Image and Shadow Protect, selected individual files can be restored, so that doesn't concern me. My 80 gig boot drive, about 2/3 full, backs up in minutes with SP and I can't believe that would be true with a "file copying" method.

    PS I only recently bought two new USB externals of 500 gig each, so I'm prepared if I need to be!

  4. #4
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    Re: Backing Up Large Partitions.

    >in the 200-400 gm range
    I have just clarified my Robocopy/Truecrypt/Batch file suite for backing up large partitions
    (1) to multiple backup drives
    (2) from multiple networked computers
    (3) TrueCrypt encrypted backup devices
    (4) automatic shutdown/reboot/stay
    If you'd like to take a look, let me know and I'll post the batch files here (zipped).
    I am currently testing it, nightly, with a view to its first (paid!) installation at my accountant's office early November.
    ( Looking for willing beta-testers!)

  5. #5
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Re: Backing Up Large Partitions.

    How coincidental!

    I have just finished the same thing, and am backing up from two servers to Truecrypt volumes on multiple PCs on a round-robin basis using ROBOCOPY! It's been working fine for about three weeks...
    BATcher

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  6. #6
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    Re: Backing Up Large Partitions.

    OK.
    You show me yours and I'll show you mine.
    Attached Files Attached Files

  7. #7
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    Re: Backing Up Large Partitions.

    Thanks BATcher, that was a useful question. Dealing with individual files is much more straightforward than dealing with images. I need admin rights to launch and use True Image, but not to launch and use Karen's Replicator.

    Cheers,

    Chris (Hunt)

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    Re: Backing Up Large Partitions.

    Thanks for the reply Big Al. I started a test with True Image but cancelled it after around 10 minutes. It seemed apparent that it was not going to save me any significant time over using Karen's Replicator and the final image is less convenient because of needing admin rights to access it. That could be a security feature but as I'm not going to leave the hard drive connected to the computer that is not so important.

    Best wishes,

    Chris

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    5 Star Lounger ibe98765's Avatar
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    Re: Backing Up Large Partitions.

    It's been a quite a while since I last used Karen's Replicator. However, one problem I remember was that it couldn't back up open files and didn't log that it hadn't backed up these files. You should check this point (and please let me/us know if this is still a problem) as it could cause a lot of problems when the need arises to restore a file.

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    Re: Backing Up Large Partitions.

    Thanks for the tip. As it happens a new version of the Replicator 3.6.2 was released On October 1th. It HAS the bug you describe. I ran it after creating a text file. It copied the file but none of the contents. As it happens I usually only run Karen's Replicator as part of my shut-down routine so I never have any open files but still I wonder if I should be looking for an alternative. Do you know of any?

    Thanks again,

    Chris

  11. #11
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    Re: (TrueCrypt) Backing Up Large Partitions.

    >to Truecrypt volumes
    Furthermore, since you are the acknowledged expert on TrueCrypt .... <img src=/S/sneaky.gif border=0 alt=sneaky width=15 height=15>
    I've not been able to locate this in the documentation or forums:
    With a brand-new fresh-out-of-the-box USB 2.0 External drive, does one have to format it (takes perhaps 2 hours) or can TrueCrypt do its magic straight away (takes about 2 hours)?

    I no longer have any fresh-out-of-the-box drives, and am not sure that interrupting a reformat of one of my backup drives would be a fair experiment.

    I'm writing up a little user guide for me, and perhaps others, and am reluctant to advise them to format the drive(s) prior to TrueCrypting them, if the lengthy formatting task is unnecessary.

    I dragged a 400GB IDE, TrueCrypted, out of the safe yesterday, and noticed (Control Panel, .. Computer management) that the drive showed up as UnAssigned or something. No sign of it in Windows Explorer until after I had formatted it. But then I don't see drives once they have been TrueCrypted anyway.

    Am I making sense?

    It seems to me that formatting a drive before TrueCrypting it does give one the option to perform a full disk scan on that drive prior to investing further time in/on it.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Re: (TrueCrypt) Backing Up Large Partitions.

    On reading the documentation I came to the conclusion that I would be happier just creating a TrueCrypt volume (using 99% of the free space) on a pre-formatted disk partition, rather than using the entire disk for TrueCrypt. I've forgotten why!
    BATcher

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  13. #13
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    Re: (TrueCrypt) Backing Up Large Partitions.

    >'ve forgotten why!

    I started off with file-based (and still do that for two encrypted files on my partition D, but used volumes for the two backup drives.
    Initially I felt more comfort being able to see my "Greave" and "Pers" files, and liked the idea that I could easily make a snapshot backup by right-click, copy, paste when they weren't mounted.

    I recall seeing somewhere that access via Volume was significantly faster than File, although on skimming the TrueCrypt User's Guide just now I cannot find that text.

    I did find (page 72) "The shared volume may be only file-hosted (not partition/device-hosted). ". Also "The volume must be mounted in read-only mode under each of the systems".

    Still, for external USB backup drives, mounted for 20 minutes at the end of each day, Volume seems easy enough.

  14. #14
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    Re: Backing Up Large Partitions.

    I'd recommend you look into Introducing Windows Home Server. It will automatically backup all PCs (up to 10) where you install the Connector software. There is a <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> addin to backup the backups. You can get a link to it at Windows Home Server Addins. There are lots of other addins available also - many <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15>, some acutally pretty interesting.

    WHS is based on Windows Server 2003. I've got it running at home (HP Media Server EX475) with two PCs currently being backed up. I'm also in the process of getting music and photos into the media sharing 'stuff' so it can be a streaming media server. You can register for a free website at yoursitename.homeserver.com to share what you wish.

    I'm not sure what it would cost in your part of the world. You can buy an HP EX475 from HP in the USA for $599.99 USD after $50 USD rebate. There are probably other interesting designs and form factors available in Japan. You could also build your own if you really want to. However, you'd probably be hard pressed to match the prices.

    I just got real tired of paying Symantec for Ghost, then Powerquest for Drive Image, then Acronis for True Image Home. WHS will run as long and back up my PCs as long as I want and the server keeps running. Plus the storage is easily expandable and I get to have a streaming media server too.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Backing Up Large Partitions.

    Thanks for the suggestion, Joe. I think it is a little bit too much for me. Wouldn't having a server increase or change security considerations? Currently I'm only just getting used to running a limited user account. This sounds like stepping in the other direction.

    Cheers,

    Chris

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