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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Am I wasting my time imaging an older XP machine?

    I have a 5 + yr. old computer running XP that runs well--maybe a few things slow. Once a month I back up with Acronis True Image to a 2nd hard drive on my computer. Once a month I WinZip My Documents, favorites, and email. "Periodically" I copy an Image and one of these .zip files to a portable hard drive I keep off site.

    Someone told me that backing up files was smart but my imaging was a waste of time. Most likely I would need the image if my hard drive was fried and if that happened on my older machine I shouldn’t bother replacing the drive, but get a whole new machine. Then it would be a Windows 7 machine. In that case the image would be useless since the image would have the wrong OS and all the drivers would be wrong. So why bother?

    So am I wasting my time with my imaging?

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    You should backup all your important information. Choose the method that best suits you. If you are comfortable with imaging stick with it. You should be able to restore folders and files from the image when you need them. Just make sure that the image is readable with the version you'd need on a Windows 7 PC.

    Joe

  3. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    NO


    Purchasing a new computer based soly on a failed hard drive is just plain bad advice, unless one is so technically challenged as to not know or want to know how to replace it.
    If your planing on keeping this XP computer for a few more years then imaging is fine. I would also be doing file backups as well.
    They are both important means of preserving data and both have their uses, advantages, and disadvantages.

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    Acronis Use of Resources and time

    I backup every about every week with novabackup. I'm curious about Acronis image backup. Does Acronis use a lot of memory when automatically backing up while you are using the computer? Does it take a lot of time to do an image backup?

    I've used 82 Gb of a 300 Gb main harddrive, attached to an external harddrive which is using 205 Gb of spacout of 600 Gb. I have an XP with SP 3 and 2.5 Gb of memory. My working day uses Word, Excel and an editor for an interactive whtieboard (tends to be a bit of a memory hog, I think).

    Any thoughts about using Acronis in addition to novabackup?
    TIA

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by joeperez View Post
    You should backup all your important information. Choose the method that best suits you. If you are comfortable with imaging stick with it. You should be able to restore folders and files from the image when you need them. Just make sure that the image is readable with the version you'd need on a Windows 7 PC.

    Joe
    This means that you must know the password(s) as well. How many of us change our passwords and lose track of what we replaced?

    For the likely size of the image or backup, saving to DVD is advisable for archival purposes. Be sure in your own mind to make a distinction between data and everything else. Everything else is replaceable, however expensive it may be. Data is irreplaceable - period.

  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    THanks for this advice,
    "Just make sure that the image is readable with the version you'd need on a Windows 7 PC."

    but how is this done?

  7. #7
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    No not a waste of time

    I apologize in advance for the long post. I rewrote it twice and then gave up and let the long version post. Hope it was worth the time for you.

    I agree with Clint and the others but you are missing a bet since you have Acronis anyway. As long as you have that computer I would continue to image it as if the drive fails as already said drives are so cheap now that it would be cheaper to replace the drive if you still find the old hardware and OS acceptable. I still run XP on my netbook, and image it with Acronis whenever I take a trip and the data changes on it.

    The bet you are missing is that Acronis, at least TI 10 that I have, also will do full bootable clones of a drive. Most folks don't realize how usefull a clone is. For example I kept the hard drive which was fine when my last XP desktop computer fried last March a year ago. I have one of these now:
    http://www.amazon.com/Thermaltake-Bl.../dp/B001A4HAFS

    The HD drive dock only works with SATA drives not the older PATA drives that use the flat ribbon cable to connect.

    Internal drives are cheap today and I also use two 1 TB external drives (WD My Books) one on each computer for images.

    I just replaced both my wife's and my older XP desktop computers with new Win7 , machines. My old XP computer fried so I kept the hard drive and it is just a hard drive that I can copy all of my data from to the new Win7 machine after setup. I kept the whole computer my wife used as those drives are older ribbon drives no SATA. Hers was really old! I keep the old drive or computer for a few months top be able to quickly copy any dtat I forgot to copy when setting up a new computer and/or operating system.

    In other words with a drive dock, you can clone a drive to the dock with an under 40 buck 300GB internal HD, then remove it and store in a safe place. Just make sure you use the same size and type drive (3.5" usually for a desktop and 2.5 for a laptop.) I redo the clones of in use computers only when I make significant changes add a new program, or once a month when I am doing windows updates. Clones take longer than the 15-30 minutes it takes to do an image, so I use clones to have all but my most current data and apps ready to pop in. My cloned drives are stored in bubble wrap in the cabinet. With the drive dock I can sync them more often if I choose but I like to keep it simple and not spend all my time worrying about my data.

    I do not like to keep either clones or images turned on or installed on the running computer like you are doing for several reasons.
    1. If the electronics are destroyed by a massive lightning strike that takes out my UPS' etc then any powered up spare is probably going to be damaged, internal or external. IN that scenario the removed clones are safest, the drives attached but not powered up next safest, and the powered up or installed least safe.
    2. If the computer is infected with a zero day infection there is also a chance that any turned on attached drives and installed internal drives will be infected as well.
    3. If the image fails, then I at least have a clone to pop in or copy from that is readable by any newer Windows computer and can be connected to it with the dock via eSATA which is as fast as an internal drive installed inside, or via the much slower USB (Up to 3 Gbs eSATA vs 480Mbs USB theoretical.)

    In other words a clone made from an XP computer can be accessed by an XP, Vista, or Win7 computer to easily copy the files from if attached externally in addition to being able to pop it into the computer if only a hard drive fails or everything turned on was infected.

    There is only one data set we must back up daily or when updated. Our Quicken home and biz data. It is backed up to a 2 GB dedicated thumb drive which is done by Quicken before exiting in less than a minute. We just upgraded to the 2011 version of quicken and after download and install it took the thumb drive back ups and restored and converted all the data perfectly last month. It also did the same when we had a drive or computer failure. Other than that I am willing to do a weeks worth of data loss since I am retired and don't have business critical data anymore.

    For biz critical data or other data that you are backing up currently daily, 8 GB thumb drives are available cheap now too and many ways to use programs like Sync toy and others to quickly back up data since the last sync. I don't do that for anything but the financial data others may need to daily back up.

    What most do is an all or nothing approach with no prioritizartion of data. If anybody is generating more than 8 GB of data to be backed up weekly then there are larger thumb drives that can be used, some large enough for images and clones. But that too is going overboard.

    I do weekly automatic backups of each computer to the attached 1TB external drives. They are scheduled in Acronis for late at night when we are sleeping, with all power saver settings set appropriately so it won't hibernate, sleep or otherwise not work unattended. We turn the external drives on every Friday, and the images are done at 2 AM Sat morning. We turn the external drives off on Saturday first use after checking that the images completed successfully. My computer is always on for the home VoIP phone anyway so all my images and malware scans are automated, I just check that they completed successfully. We turn on her external drive and leave her computer on that day when done for the day and check that one on first use but turn it off the rest of the week.

    If you leave your computer on 24/7 then full images time and automating them is no longer an issue.

    I don't do incremental or differential backups as a full image is more reliable and still only takes from 15-30 minutes to do.

    The drive dock above does both 3.5" desktop drives, and 2.5" laptop drives.

    One more thing. I did an image of a VIsta computer with Acronis TI 10 and was horrified when the emergency disk would not work. I thought I could not restore it. After checking everywhere for days I finally downloaded TI 2011 to one of my win7 computers for the free trial, and made a new boot disk from that. Then uninstalled the program. You see, Acronis TI 10 emergency disk does not have newer hardware on it so it can't start a newer machine in Vista or XP. But the new boot disk from 2011 will work with TI 10 images. Just remember that TI 10 won't load on Win7, but TI 2011 will read and extract data from older versions of TI.

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSwanson View Post
    THanks for this advice,
    "Just make sure that the image is readable with the version you'd need on a Windows 7 PC."

    but how is this done?
    I think Joe was referring to extracting your personal data files from an image of your system partition. An image of your XP partition would not be of much use on a new Windows 7 computer due to the hardware being so different as well as the Registry, etc., unless the system partition image included your personal data files which can be extracted to transfer to a Windows 7 PC.

    However, as Clint has already advised, it would be best to also maintain current file backups of your personal data, which in my thinking would not be an image backup, but simply copies of the files made to an external USB disk, DVDs, or a network drive. Another alternative would be to investigate backup software that guarantees your ability to read data backups (not images) made on XP machines by the Windows 7 OS.

  9. #9
    3 Star Lounger
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    My two cents:
    Clone or backup with Acronis 2011 using its Plus Pack. This allows you to move the backup/image to new PC hardware.
    Some data file is software and OS specific (example: 1995 tax return by a tax software). You may have to keep your XP OS and the specific software in order to read the data file. The above method keeps everything and you can access your data in the foreseeable future.
    Alternatively, virtualize the XP backup/image, making it a part of a Windows 7 machine. Now you can keep your data forever.
    On virtualization, search or google it.

  10. #10
    New Lounger
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    Multiple Backup Strategies

    I also apologize for the lenght of my post, but I wish to be thorough. I use several backup strategies:

    1. I use Acronis TrueImage 11 (henceforth TI 11) to make images of my laptop hard drive to an external HD AT LEAST monthly, prior to Patch Tuesday and the corresponding Adobe updates. I usually make a second similar backup after several days, when I am reasonably assured that all updates are working well & have caused no glitches. I try to do intermediate backups whenever I make other major program changes. I used to do a TI 11 backup to DVD once monthly- although this occasionally is more like bimonthly- in case a surge fries EVERYTHING connected to a power outlet, but now do this rarely, as I have a 2+ year old computer running XP Pro, and, in such an instance, would have to replace the computer and reinstall all programs, anyway, and would only be replacing my data.

    2. Instead, I have a pair of portable external HD's. Every month, I do all of the following to this HD- a TI 11 disk image, a TI 11 D drive backup, AND an actual copy of all the contents in my D drive. (My laptop HD is logically partitioned, with OS and all programs on the C partition, and all data (documents, pictures, music, Quicken files, DYMO LabelWriter address books, etc., all placed on the logical D partition.) I also have TI 11 set up to make an incremental backup to the TI 11 D drive backup automatically in the early morning. Nomally, I'll delete the TI 11 initial and incremental D drive backups every 1-2 weeks and start anew, so there won't be too many incremental backups to restore, should I need to. (I usually do the incremental backup manually every evening and shut down the computer and power to peripherals before bedtime to be "green", very easy to do manually in TI 11, but have this set for those nights when I forget to do this, so the backup gets made, regardless) I also update all backups immediately before a trip, so that if my HD fries along the way, I can order a new HD, get it express-delivered in 1-2 days to my hotel, and restore the bakup & be up & running quickly. This happened TWICE with my prior laptop, but fortunately not yet with my current machine.

    3. The reason that I have TWO external HD's is that I switch tem out monthly, keeping one in my safe deposit box and one at home. This gives me a readily-accessible offsite backup in case of a home disaster.

    4. I also have a 64GB flash drive plugged in to my computer. Whenever I do ANY major work in Quicken, I back up the account to this drive. I also back up any document I change, photo I add, new video or music file, new address in DYMO, etc. This way, if I mess up a file, I don't even have to go back to my backup of the evening before, but can immediately restore the immediately-most-recent copy, and not even have to do a partial day's file reconstruction, download, etc. I realized while writing this that I should be unplugging that flash drive every evening when I shut the computer down to protect it from any power surges that may occur during the night, and shall do so starting tonight.

    5. As another lounger mentioned, HD crash is not the only reason to do a backup. Two days ago, I fortuitously did a drive image in the early afternoon- just felt I hadn't done one for a while. That evening, something glitzed in IE8, and I couln't access the web with it- although Firefox & Chrome had no problem. After a few fixit tries- System Restore, IE repair tool, & IE8 reinstall didn't fix the problem, I reinstalled the C drive portion of the backup (not the D portion, too- another advantage of drive partitioning) and was up and running again in less than an hour.

  11. #11
    3 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarkGuy12 View Post
    I backup every about every week with novabackup. I'm curious about Acronis image backup. Does Acronis use a lot of memory when automatically backing up while you are using the computer? Does it take a lot of time to do an image backup?
    You can specify how much of your CPU that Acronis consumes while it is backing up. I would rather have it run as fast as possible, so it uses 100% of my CPU - it is NOT really productive to do anything while it is running.

    To back up my 45 GB drive with Windows and Programs (no data), it takes about 10 minutes and creates a 15 GB backup image.
    Rick Groszkiewicz
    Life is too short to drink bad wine (or bad coffee!)

  12. #12
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    I just schedule the task to run Acronis Imaging automatically once a week, on early Saturday morning at 3AM. Of course the computer must be left on overnight. Mine is on 24/7 anyway.

  13. #13
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    I run Acronis full image backups once a week. My working files are copied to and from my latpop and desktop by Windows Live Mesh.

    I have no problems working on my desktop or laptop while Acronis backs up. The laptop disk is a bit slower, so I can't do anything very intensive, but using a browser, email or writing a document can be done without issues, in my experience. With the desktop, I can just work normally while the back with TI 2010 proceeds.

  14. #14
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    I use Windows Home Server. It automatically does a full backup every day of the three PCs in the house. I have control of how many backups to keep and how long to keep them. Periodically (i.e. that means when I happen to remember it), I backup the backups on a USB drive.

    Joe

  15. #15
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Cool

    Wow! Lots of long posts and my eyes are hurting, but having said that, I've developed my own data preservation scheme over many years and with several different programs.
    What the OP says he's doing closely approximates my own scheme. There is nothing wrong with a PC running XP. Hopefully it will still be running XP ten years from now. That's my personal hope anyway, because my main PC, five years old and my backup PC, ten years old, both run XP-Pro-SP3 and run it very effectively. I have absolutely NO need or desire to change my daily driver to win-7.

    Personally, I've tried ATI and just can't warm up to it. It's free from both Seagate and Maxtor.
    Since 1997, I've been using Ghost to back up my hard drives and in all those years I've never lost one single file, due to hard drive failures.
    Now today, I've upgraded to Ghost 2003 for backing up my XP machines and Ghost 11.5, booting from a DOS formatted Flash Drive for backing up either Vista or Win-7.
    The advantage of using Ghost 2003, booted from a floppy disk, is that Ghost will offer to put the entire floppy disk on a backup DVD, thus making it boot just like the original Ghost boot floppy. Then I can use Ghost to restore the Backup Image File.
    For the quickie backup, I boot to Ghost, in DOS, do my Partition to Image backup, which takes less than ten minutes and I direct the placement of the image file to my secondary hard drive. It could just as easily be an external drive, although the time required to write to a USB drive is greatly extended.

    But, the most important thing is.... that when your main hard drive has totally gone up in smoke, you can reboot your computer with some media that will run your backup program so you can restore your last image file to a new hard drive. Nothing is worse than having a backup that you can't restore from, when needed. Or even worse, having your Backup Image File on the drive that just croaked.
    Equally bad, in my estimation, is having your backup/restore program only on your main hard drive. How will you run the restore program on that drive when that drive has gone up in smoke? Eh?

    So, thinking about this problem, I decided many years ago that I would never have my own backup/restore program installed on my main drive....and I never have.

    Even when I tested Acronis True Image, I installed it on my C: drive only long enough to make the recovery CD and then I deleted it off of my HD. When you really need it, it's worth nothing, ZERO, ZIP, if its on the drive that just crashed. Eh?

    For daily data file backups, I use a simple batch file using the old DOS program "XCOPY" .
    Here's a sample of a line from my own daily backup batch file:

    xcopy "C:\Documents and Settings\Alexi\My Documents\*.*" "D:\My Documents\" /s /y /H /R /D

    Why install another program to your PC, to do what is already built into Windows. (actually, DOS) And, when you write the program yourself, you can be as specific or as inclusive as you want or need it to be.

    My daily backups are directed to my second hard drive. Since XCOPY, the way I have it programmed, only backs up those files that are new or have been changed, my data backup only takes a few seconds. Want even simpler backups? Then write your own batch file, or get help from a friend who knows DOS, and put a shortcut to that batch file in your Startup folder, for a FREE daily backup and leave a shortcut to the batch file on your desktop, so you can run it any time you want.

    I do the same thing with a "XPCleanup.bat" file that I wrote, to keep my HD clean of junk. I call that my FREE Daily Maid Service.
    Any batch file like that, usually has to be customized to the computer it will be run on. I've done this for many of my own customers and they really love it.

    I didn't mean for this post to run so long. Sorry guys!

    Y'all have a great day now, Y'hear?
    The Doctor
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

  16. The Following User Says Thank You to DrWho For This Useful Post:

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