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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    I really had high hopes for Win7. It almost succeeded. There is one huge defect. It is Backup/Restore. I do it religiously but have absolutely zero faith that when the day comes, that it will be anything but useless.
    I have been programming computers since 1968. I have known IBM mainframes of all sizes. Apple][s, Lisas, Macs, PCs of many generations, PDP equipment, Raytheon equipment, CPM machines.
    Simple things trouble me. Like when a backup fails, does the backup system know that that backup doesn't count because it is useless? If backup is performing an incremental backup, if the last backup fails, does the next backup think the bad backup was OK and not backup the changes since the last good backup?
    Since these backups were made on a Release Candidate, can I really restore my files to my version of XP-Pro as the warning message implies, or does that really mean Vista or Win7? If my backups were made under 64 bit, will they install on a 32 bit version of Win7? How can that be? the program files are 64 bit versions, how can they work on a 32 bit version of Win7? I bet I will have to scare up compatible 32 bit versions or stay with 64 bit!
    I have a USB hard drive which has FAT32, NTFS(XP? or Fedora?) (fedora pretends that it can read and write to the partition using SAMBA) and 32 bit fedora 11 upgraded to fedora 12. I can boot from this drive and cross boot Win7 from it. But if I do that, Win7 backup reliably fails even when I tell Win7 backup nothing about this drive. I have to unplug the drive, change the boot configuration or re-boot windows at least 3 times before backup will work correctly. The messages mention something about not being able to find files...
    I can have an external hard drive connected via eSATA with 64 bit fedora 12 on it and Win7 backup doesn't seem to have any problems with it! I can tell you from my vast personal experience that this behavior is due to programming which has failed to realize that there is an interaction, no matter how unintended or how logical. It doesn't make sense from a user point of view. By definition, it is a design flaw. Any bets on how long it will take Microsoft people to find and fix it?
    Tip #1 & 2. Keep ALL your data on a separate partition or drive. Back it ALL up. Keep and catalog install copies for ALL installed software; including updates. When you have to rebuild which almost invariably involves a different machine, you will need them. Including all activation codes and admin passwords and config info. Motherboards get obsoleted about every two years! Different Motherboard means different machine! Even if it is on warranty! Even if it is still your one and only machine!

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Win 7 Backup/Restore is very basic. It is an attempt to provide Backup for those that make Images occassionally but not, I think, for those that do every day incremental backups. It is also somewhat slow when compared to 3rd party apps. For those looking for better back up apps, 3rd party apps are always a better choice. I chose Acronis True Image Home 2010, but there are many, some of which are very good, and some of which are free. Most of us do not have the extensive back up system you have, but still want reliable back ups or images. Yes, Win 7 Back up is not the best, but most OS apps do not have anything better. For some, this is all that is necessary. Overall, Win 7 is a huge success, in my opinion. One of MS a-la-carte apps,MSE, is also a huge success, in my opinion. So, I guess, if Backup/Restore is somewhat less than needed, so what, use a 3rd party app!
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  3. #3
    5 Star Lounger
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    Seems like the principles of backup and the principles of imaging are being mixed together here but I can't tell for sure. Each has its own advantages but also distinct limitations, which will always be the nature of the beast(s). For instance, Acronis TI is a good choice but even there on a system like that of wmfay1, I would never run it from within Windows 7 but rather from a boot disc so that it is OS and partition agnostic. Also, of course, trying to move to a new system with a completely different configuration is very problematic for any image made anywhere other than virtual. Like I said, its the nature of the beast.

  4. #4
    5 Star Lounger
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    I gave up on backup software ages ago. I still have somewhere some 3.5" floppies with backups I made back in the DOS days. Even the old machine I had that still had a floppy drive could not access the data off of those floppies because of the format used by the backup software. Now I use file synchronization software, or even xcopy. Now my backup is not a huge file that I need the backup software to read (at least, that is what the older backup sw created, don't know if that is still the case) - I can simply plug in the USB drive with the backup and access what I need via Explorer. I also occasionally image my system partition; this way is I lose my system disk I have the option of restoring to a prior image (though in practice I usually end up reinstalling because that offers me the chance to get rid of accumulated junk that I no longer use).

    "catalog install copies for ALL installed software; including updates."

    This is very good advice, especially for software you purchase over the internet. And keep a list of product keys somewhere (mine are in a spreadsheet). Most likely when it comes time to reinstall your software the old version will no longer be available online and your product keys won't work with the new versions. So unless you like paying for upgrades when you don't have to, having an old version available to install is a good thing. I am running a lot of old software on my Win7 64-bit machine without any problems.

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    The rule of thumb that I use is that if one has data that one doesn't want to lose then there should be at least three independant copies.

    Also I keep the data uncompressed and use file synchronisation software not backup software (although I use that too).
    Rapidly changing data I have day-of-week backups.

    Paranoia rules.

    Nick

  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    Here's another vote for multiple, uncompressed copies - not backups made in proprietary formats - stored on external hard drives. The price of a reasonably sized external hard drive is the same as most decent backup software, and synchronization software like the excellent SyncToy from Microsoft is free of charge. Synchronization software is also a must if you work on several computers regularly like I do.
    Cheers,
    Peter

  7. #7
    5 Star Lounger
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    We've been told for so long to "backup, backup, backup" that we often forget the most important thing about backing up, recovery. If you can't recover, it doesn't matter how good your strategy is, or what software you use. What I'm saying here is regular recovery tests are critical. Even directory syncing is not immune to file corruption and drive failure. As has been suggested, multiple copies are critical. Most important, make it a point to test every so often. Can you actually restore that image? Can you open the files you so religiously backup with a syncing tool? I have found on more than one occasion that I had corruption of synced files, and failed backups. A good strategy dramatically increases the likelihood of full recovery. And yes, an important part of that strategy is keeping hard copies of serial #s, and separate copies of install software.

    wmfay1, I respectfully submit that your USB/SATA issue is not one that a "normal" user would ever encounter. In fact, the only people I know that would ever have a setup like that are programmers and techies. That being the case I don't believe its a bug, simply because the developers built Windows backup for use by average users, not programmers or techies.
    Chuck

  8. #8
    Lounger
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    Recently I got this message
    your copy of windows 7 beta will cease to work in one hour. So i ran a backup to my backup hard drive. Then I bought a new version of win 7 upgrade, did a clean install and used the restore function. It found the 2 different computers I back up to that hard drive and asked which one. I selected and got all my data back. I think if you keep backing up your hard drive, you will be fine. Certainly there are no guarantees, but my actual experience suggests your worries are for naught...

  9. #9
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I rather like the W7 "Backup & Restore" it is a very simple drive imaging tool for simple non complicated setups.
    I've used it on a few occasions thus far with good result; It did what it is supposed to do, restore a drive image I had made.
    If you have more complex needs then "backup & Restore" would fall somewhat short. BootIt NG is the best choice for the tech suave.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
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