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  1. #16
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I have had a catastrophic hard drive failure - the PC would not even power up. Using a series of troubleshooting techniques, I finally unplugged the drive and the PC powered up, with the "no valid boot disk" warning from the BIOS. Plugged the drive back in, dead PC.

    Replaced the drive, restored my images to the new drive (no formatting or partitioning needed; the imaging software does all that with the restoration) and about an hour after I had installed the new drive, it was like nothing ever happened.

    Imaging software doesn't necessarily add an extra level of complexity, it adds convenience and security.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
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  2. #17
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I do not consider Imaging complex at all. As bbearren has done, I have restored numerous times on various PCs with various OSs without problem. Creating and Restoring Images is very easy.

    I can insert my Rescue Boot disk and Restore back a year if I wish in 10 minutes. How is that complex. It takes a few clicks of the mouse. Not complex at all. Yes I back up my data separately (my data drive is on a separate partition and is backed up simply by copying the data to 2 other PCs and my Ext HD) Since my data needs are minimal this is not a problem either. The newer OSs will do this chore automatically. Not complex at all.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  3. #18
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    For system backups (i.e. an easily restorable image of the whole drive), EaseUS Todo Backup is my choice. They used to offer a free version for personal use. Do a system backup. You can then mount the image like a disk drive and copy files out of it.

    I do a system backup about once a month; it takes about an hour, depending on the PC.

    For data backups, you can use Memeo for continual backups of anything that changes in specific folders. You have to pay for Memeo; it isn't free. But it's well worth it.

    As I said, Memeo continually checks the folders I have specified, and if anything is changed or added, it backs it up. And the backed up copies are in standard format; you don't have to use Memeo to read them.
    Last edited by mrjimphelps; 2012-10-16 at 13:23.

  4. #19
    4 Star Lounger
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    Jim,

    Just a reminder to you and others that, with Easeus Todo Backup, a System Image only backs up those partition(s) necessary to boot up (usually the OS partition and System Reserved, if present). Other partitions are not backed up. To backup everything, do a Disk/Partition Backup.

    Zig

  5. #20
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    When I have done a system image with EaseUS Todo Backup ver. 4, and I have then mounted the image, all of my data files (documents, jpgs, etc) are there, and I can easily copy them to my actual hard drive. A few months ago, I mounted a system image I had made, and I copied out the auto complete database for Outlook.

    If the system image also has the boot up info (and I'm sure it does), then it seems to me that I have everything I need to do a recovery.

  6. #21
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
    When I have done a system image with EaseUS Todo Backup ver. 4, and I have then mounted the image, all of my data files (documents, jpgs, etc) are there, and I can easily copy them to my actual hard drive. A few months ago, I mounted a system image I had made, and I copied out the auto complete database for Outlook.

    If the system image also has the boot up info (and I'm sure it does), then it seems to me that I have everything I need to do a recovery.
    I do an actual restore of my backup images from time to time, and mine do indeed work correctly. Until you have done an actual restore, you don't know for certain what you have.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
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  7. #22
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    To add to what bbearren has stated, whenever I create an Image, I then Restore that Image. The only way to prove your Images work is to actually Restore them. The first time this is pretty scary, but gets much easier the second time. You have to trust your Images to work.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  8. #23
    3 Star Lounger
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    Cool "Complex" doesn't mean it's hard for an experienced user

    Quote Originally Posted by jwitalka View Post
    To each his own. Personally I find one single image backup of both data and system files is much easier to manage than separate backups. Individual data files and folders are easy to retrieve from the image.
    Quote Originally Posted by Medico View Post
    I do not consider Imaging complex at all. As bbearren has done, I have restored numerous times on various PCs with various OSs without problem. Creating and Restoring Images is very easy.

    I can insert my Rescue Boot disk and Restore back a year if I wish in 10 minutes. How is that complex. It takes a few clicks of the mouse. Not complex at all. Yes I back up my data separately (my data drive is on a separate partition and is backed up simply by copying the data to 2 other PCs and my Ext HD) Since my data needs are minimal this is not a problem either. The newer OSs will do this chore automatically. Not complex at all.
    Y'all are highly-experienced users, as are many of the frequent contributors on this forum. Perhaps you've forgotten, however, all the steps of learning (and all the time) that got you where you are today. Coming from a combined tech and instructional design background, I know how much of a gap there really is between the experts and the (relatively) inexperienced, and that the experts are the ones who have the hardest time appreciating the size of that gap and how daunting it looks. Also, having done backups since the days of floppies and tapes, I'm aware how much I've learned over time (so I'm pretty sure what your path to knowledge looked like).

    So please understand that "complex" is a relative term, and that using any backup software (whether file-based or image-based) involves a significantly greater level of complexity compared to just firing up Explorer and copying files. That doesn't mean that it's not easy for us, but we can't assume that it will be easy for everyone else.

    I'm not arguing against imaging backups--I use them. What I am saying is that, while there was a point (about 4-5 years ago?) where my imaging program at the time was truly the best compromise of data security and ease of use that I could find (given my bias toward more data security than ease of use!), I no longer think that imaging for data backups is the easiest solution to learn how to use for those with only a few years' experience with computers. And let's face it--the reason most people don't back up at all is because they see it as being too difficult (even if they appreciate that it's important, in a theoretical way).

    So by all means go the way "imaging only" if it works well for you (because it will work just fine), but perhaps be open to the possibility that "what's best for me" isn't necessarily "what's best for you" when dealing with less-experienced users.

    Because, with backups, the "best" program is the one you'll actually use.

    And that's really the only point I'm trying to make.

  9. #24
    4 Star Lounger
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    Because, with backups, the "best" program is the one you'll actually use.
    Amen to that, especially if it's automagic.

    Zig

  10. #25
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bethel95 View Post
    ...So please understand that "complex" is a relative term, and that using any backup software (whether file-based or image-based) involves a significantly greater level of complexity compared to just firing up Explorer and copying files. That doesn't mean that it's not easy for us, but we can't assume that it will be easy for everyone else...

    ...So by all means go the way "imaging only" if it works well for you (because it will work just fine), but perhaps be open to the possibility that "what's best for me" isn't necessarily "what's best for you" when dealing with less-experienced users....

    Because, with backups, the "best" program is the one you'll actually use.

    And that's really the only point I'm trying to make.
    I think what we are all trying to do in answering questions and offering advice is to compress the timeline and convey the experience. That's not to say that there is no learning curve, but I think we are all here to encourage and support someone's efforts in trying to add to their own level of experience.

    For backing up, the "best" program (regimen) is the one you'll actually use to recover from a catastrophic failure without losing anything.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

  11. #26
    New Lounger monkeylove's Avatar
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    I find the ff. very helpful:

    1. system backup (so that I can restore the system easily given major failure) scheduled

    2. file backup (so that I can recover files) scheduled

    3. partial backups (preferably differential, so that I can restore the latest version of the system or recover the latest files, and continuous if I can afford to get more hard drives)

    4. option to backup files to their original format or compressed using ZIP (so that I can access the files easily without having to use the backup program or using another machine)

    5. automatic cleaning of old versions ("set and forget"), with settings for number of days old or partial backups allowed, or storage space allocated

    6. online backup (preferably with a free plan, even if the storage space is limited, for the most important files; with encryption so that no one else can access them, and with versioning and automatic cleaning of old versions if storage space is exceeded)

    7. several settings for performance and compression, in case the system slows down during backups

    8. multiple backup jobs allowed

    and preferably with one program instead of several, so that if I need to do a system restore to an empty HD, the program can restore from the latest system image and the latest file backups.

  12. #27
    New Lounger patdrummond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post
    For backing up, the "best" program (regimen) is the one you'll actually use to recover from a catastrophic failure without losing anything.
    Perfectly said. But backup software has come a long way and now is easy to use. I use Acronis True Image to create an image file once a month for both my system partition and my data partition. My husband's computer gets an image made less often. These image files are written to a NAS drive connected directly to the home network router so any device can use it. I then copy both these images to 64gb thumb drive which I carry with me always in case the house goes up in flames. ($40 and cheaper all the time) (I don't use the backup software that came with the NAS drive because it would be always running - for daily backups I use the robocopy batch program described above scheduled daily using Windows Task Scheduler. For someone who just wants easy backup, using the supplied NAS software is preferable.) NAS drives are very cheap - I paid about $150 on sale for a brand name 3TB drive (personal cloud they call it) and have only managed to fill a third of it in 2 years. I also move photos to DVDs occasionally. Since everything is backed up on the NAS drive, as well as the thumb drive - that's 3 copies of all photos. I've started using offsite cloud storage but it's not wise to use it for private files. I have encrypted some individual files using fSekrit (freeware software).
    Hope I'm not just adding to the noise as I'm the dreaded experienced user that used to write help files but still forgets now little the average user has patience for. KISS - use Acrnonis. It's not free but it easy to use and easy to "recover" if you have a CD drive in your computer. I haven't had time to put the software on a bootable USB drive yet. I personally think they should sell it on one.

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