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Thread: Disk Imaging

  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger PaulB's Avatar
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    Disk Imaging

    Reading the long thread <!post=Backup Program for Vista,748555>Backup Program for Vista<!/post> has convinced me to seriously consider getting a disk imaging solution. From what I've read, it's a toss-up between True Image and Shadow Protect. While a lot of my questions were answered in the thread, I would like to pose this hypothetical situation:

    One hard disk, 320 GB, 2 partitions - C: (314 GB 40% full), D6 GB 90% full).

    Image/backup (terminology??) both partitions to 300 GB USB drive. (Question: do you image the physical hard drive or a logical partition?)

    Swap out original drive for new unformatted and unpartitioned 500GB drive.

    The task: recreate new (but bigger) C: and original size new D: on 500GB disk.

    How well can TI and SP handle backup, partition and format disk, restore?

    Are there any Windows Vista activation or WGA issues?

    Other gotchyas?

    Does anything justify SP costing twice as much as TI, and what's up with SP's $16 annual maintenance fee?

    All advice will be appreciated.

    Cheers,
    Regards,
    PaulB

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    Gold Lounger Rebel's Avatar
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    Re: Disk Imaging

    Hi Paul,
    I'm sure you'll get many different opinions (both positive and negative) for both products. I switched from TI to SP and I have not had any regrets. But in answer to a few of your questions:

    1) TI can image the complete drive in one fell swoop. With SP, you can image the complete disk, but you must specify each of the volumes to be imaged when you create the backup job.
    2) I'm not sure about TI, but SP will recreate the exact same volume sizes when you restore to a bigger disk, but then it's a simple matter (using Vista's Disk Management tools) to extend a volume once it has been restored.
    3) If you restore to a completely new machine, then yes - you will have to reactivate - but this is the same for both products. But that is a Microsoft policy, and it really has nothing to do with either product.

    As for SP costing twice as much as TI, let's clear that up (and I'm quoting prices from both the Acronis and StorageCraft sites).
    SP Desktop Edtion sells for $79.95. But please note that SP INCLUDES the ability to to a "bare metal restore" - i.e. a restore to a completely different computer (SP calls this HIR - Hardware Independent Restore). For the same functionality with Acronis (i.e. the ability to perform a bare metal restore), you must purchase the Acronis True Image Echo Workstation ($79.99) PLUS Acronis True Image Echo Workstation Univesal Restore ($29.99) PLUS you must purchase (for the first year) the Acronis Workstation Maintenance ($16.00) PLUS the Universal Restore Maintenance ($6.00).

    SP Desktop PLUS a 1 year maintenance costs $79.95 + $16 for a total of $95.95.
    TI (with the same functionality) costs $79.99 + $16 + $29.99 + $6.00 for a total of $131.98.

    So in answer to "Does anything justify SP costing twice as much as TI" - NO it doesn't because in fact it is almost 30% LESS EXPENSIVE than the equivalent version of TI.

    Certainly TI has many more "bells and whistles" than SP, but SP WORKS (at least for me). The Wilders TI forums seem to be a litany of complaints and horror stories (unsolved) regarding the latest Acronis offering. On the other hand, the ShadowProtect forum is full of answers and solutions to customer complaints and problems. Many of the questions in the SP forum are in fact answered by the software engineers who designed and coded the product. In reality, I haven't seen that level of customer service in any other forum.

    While this may seem to be a testimonial for ShadowProtect, I would really encourage you to try both products - each has a trial version which you may download and install. If you install the trial version of TI first, you MUST uninstall it prior to installing the SP trial (at least that was the case with earlier versions of TI). The TI version of "snapman.sys" conflicted with SP and caused SP to crash. If you search the SP forum for "snapman.sys", you will find complete instructions on how to remove it from your system.

    I would also recommend that you request the Full Evaluation Copy of SP. This allows you to download both the trial version and the ISO file from which you can create a bootable CD of the SP Recovery Environment. NOTE - the SP recovery CD is a VistaPE based environment (as opposed to the Linux based TI CD). The SP Recovery CD has much more up-to-date drivers, especially for SATA hard drives.

    Hopefully this has been of some assistance Paul. There are certainly pros and cons to both products, but only you can decide which is the better product for your particular needs. At the end of the day however, you will only know which one is better suited to you when you attempt a complete restore! Scary thought isn't it? Good Luck with whatever you choose!
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
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    Re: Disk Imaging

    I haven't tried Shadow Protect, but I can offer some helpful comments on TrueImage.
    <UL><LI>It can be used to backup partitions, or whole drives, or files.
    <LI>You can resize a partition during the restore, increasing or decreasing the free disk space.
    <LI>You can buy a discounted bundle that also includes Acronis Disk Director. This would make it much easier to resize your partitions.[/list]StuartR

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    5 Star Lounger PaulB's Avatar
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    Re: Disk Imaging

    John, Stuart: Thank you both for your great responses. John, you brought up some points that give me pause for thought. I haven't quite formulated the questions yet, but I think I'll be back with more.

    Again, thanks.
    Regards,
    PaulB

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    Re: Disk Imaging

    Something for you to consider - Introducing Windows Home Server. You can buy it from an OEM, build one yourself, or repurpose an old PC if you've got a spare. Sites that have lots of good information MS Windows Home Server, We Got Served | Windows Home Server & Your Digital Home, & Home Server Hacks.

    I've been using WHS since late summer and really like it. It backs up all (3) PCs on my home network automatically every day. Disk storage is easily expandable. I've got a media server if I care to use it that way. If you want to you can register a <img src=/S/free.gif border=0 alt=free width=30 height=15> website that you can access from any PC. The website allows you access to any of your music, photos, or video on the server. Last and certainly not least, as long as I care to run it I don't have to pay any more <img src=/S/money.gif border=0 alt=money width=17 height=15> for backup software.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Re: Disk Imaging

    Joe

    Is it possible to use Windows Home Server on a domain (at work)?
    BATcher

    Time prevents everything happening all at once...

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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Disk Imaging

    See this thread for some information from users...

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    Re: Disk Imaging

    I would guess it is possible. WHS is just Windows Server 2003 (SP-2 I think) with some added 'stuff' to make it easy for a home users to configure and administer. There is a limit of 10 PCs attaching to WHS. You must install an agent on the client PCs to see the WHS box. See Join Windows Home Server To A Domain - WGSWiki & Wiki: Join Windows Home Server To A Domain - We Got Served Forums.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Disk Imaging

    Paul,
    As a long time user of True Image, up to Ver 11, ( NOT the 2009 version ) I have always been satisfied with Acronis.

    When I upgraded my system recently, it was clear that TI wasn't going to be able to do the transition for me to a brand new set of hardware.
    I contacted Shadow Protect and with the cooperation of one of their engineers, I was able to get a FULL evaluation copy for business. He assured me that SP would do the bare metal restore with no problems at all.
    Unfortunately, that wasn't the case for me at least!

    See: starting <post#=746,896>post 746,896</post#> and in particular <post#=747,572>post 747,572</post#>

    Maybe it was just TOO bare metal? Possibly if it was just a move to a larger HD, it would have gone fine but I did change MOST of the other hardware at the same time and that may have been too much to ask?

    John's post had a few items to consider but one is that the free SP TRIAL copy does everything BUT an HIR restore!
    So possibly, SP would do it for your purposes. Possibly!
    BOB
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    Re: Disk Imaging

    Hi Bob,
    You say that "the free SP TRIAL copy does everything BUT an HIR restore!" Exactly, and that's why I suggested that Paul (or anyone else who wishes) request the Full Evaluation copy (which includes the ISO to create the bootable CD recovery environment). According to StorageCraft, this full evaluation "includes all functionality of the full product."
    John
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    Never Regains Its Original Dimensions

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    5 Star Lounger PaulB's Avatar
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    Re: Disk Imaging

    Looks like a great solution, Joe, but one I can't really justify... at least not to She who must be obeyed <img src=/S/sad.gif border=0 alt=sad width=15 height=15> .

    Cheers,
    Regards,
    PaulB

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    Re: Disk Imaging

    Bob said
    <hr>I contacted Shadow Protect and with the cooperation of one of their engineers, I was able to get a FULL evaluation copy for business. He assured me that SP would do the bare metal restore with no problems at all.<hr>
    The biggest issue with a bare metal restore is the definition. If you are just replacing a disk drive you are probably going to be OK. If you are replacing a system as Bob was you probably would have to repair your installation so that hal.dll is rebuilt. See Windows NT Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) & Windows library files - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia for more information on hal.dll.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Disk Imaging

    It is a great solution. If you have an older PC that meets the minimum requirements for WHS (which is not much) you can find the WHS software on-line for $99.99 USD at Newegg.com or Amazon.com. Otherwise, I know the issues with the Auditor-in-chief.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
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    Re: Disk Imaging

    Exactly right, John.
    Just wanted to emphasize the important item left out of the trial version.
    BOB
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    5 Star Lounger PaulB's Avatar
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    Re: Disk Imaging

    Thanks to all for the great input. I wanted to deal with this yesterday but I had to contend with all the chaos brought about by a 25 cm snowfall coupled with a public transit strike, not to mention having to clear the driveway.

    Based on the feedback, I will download and evaluate both TI and SP. I'm leaning towards SP right now but I will give TI a try.

    Thank you all.

    Cheers,
    Regards,
    PaulB

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