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  1. #1
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    Question Image backup - what to use??

    I'm going out to buy a new external hard drive today and am wondering, does anyone have a strong opinion on whether I should just use the built in system image in Windows 7 or go for a third party image backup program instead? I'm inclined to take cheap easy the way out and just go with what Windows 7 offers but, backups have never been well understood by me. I just drag stuff off the C drive and onto an external disk, and that's it (except for mail and contacts which I do "export" to the external drive).

    But, I keep reading about people making images of their disk on a scheduled basis, and being able to recover from a crash by just restoring the entire disk all at once.

    I don't want anything complicated or time consuming if possible.

    A family member with a Mac uses "Time Machine" which requires absolutely no effort and backs up frequently (I think every hour) but I don't know if it is an image or just data or how restoring works, I just know she never has to touch it.

    What is the easiest, simplest way to back up frequently (at least once a day if not oftener) and give me an image so that a crash becomes nothing to ever fear again. (having been through several and not wanting more). And hopefully, something that does not require me to know much in order to get it working!! <g>

  2. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Go with a 3rd party Imaging app. The Win 7 app is very basic and will not give the features to access single files, choose different back up locations, etc. I have heard some have a problem making subsequent back ups.

    I personally use Acronis TIH 2013. It seems to work well for both Win 7 and Win 8. It's not free but I have seen many links to discounts.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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    You will get a lot more from a 3rd party app. I have used Acronis and have just upgraded to an Acronis family pack (3 licenses) for TI 2013. It also has a continuous backup mode, but i haven't used it.

    If you want to keep the external driver always on, you can choose a backup scheme and schedule and Acronis will do it all for you. No worries. I do it manually, once a week.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I would say try the Windows 7 default backup application first if your needs are simplistic, it should work well enough in your instance.
    Remember to recreate your Windows 7 bootable recovery disk if it has not been done since installing service pack one.
    [The Windows 7 recovery disk may not work with SP1 if it had been created pre SP1]

    If you anticipate your backup & recovery needs to be more complex, I would recommend a 3rd party application.

    Always remember to test your backup by doing a recovery from a boot disk and NOT from within the operating system itself.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

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  5. #5
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    Macrium Reflect Free is simple to use and works well. I've had to use it on a couple of occasions and I was back in business in about 30 minutes.

    JB

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    Kelliann,

    Although I agree with both Clint & Rui, I want to point out the above statement:

    It also has a continuous backup mode, but i haven't used it.

    If you want to keep the external driver always on, you can choose a backup scheme and schedule and Acronis will do it all for you. No worries. I do it manually, once a week.
    It seems the people happiest with Acronis are those doing manual backups and erasing old backups manually; the program has a lot of additional functionality, such as scheduled backups with automatic cleanup of outdated files, but MANY users can't get them to work. You might check out the Acronis users forum to get an idea of the sheer volume of problems in the last 3 years or so. That said, for manual backups, Acronis seems to work fine, and would be a better choice than the native Win7 backup.

    Zig

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    The problem with Acronis automatic backup involved Acronis TIH 2012. Since Acronis TIH 2013 has been released so far things are working smoother.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  8. #8
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    I just finished reading everyone's opinion - thank you all, and if anyone else has any thoughts, I hope they will comment because I will keep reading.

    Medico, Ruirib, on Acronis 2013, do you do pre-scheduled backups and if you do, is it working smoothly?

    I am really envious of that Time Machine. I went hunting for it for PC but see it doesn't exist (at least not that I could find). I also found some programs that claim to be "as good" but I am not sure whether I can trust such claims. Apparently the registry is the problem. It appears that a lot of other people also wish the Time Machine worked on a PC too.

    I'm going to look at Acronis and Macrium right now and will be back later.

  9. #9
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    Kelliann,

    Be sure to check out the forums (Factory Support for Macrium, Users Forum for Acronis); might also look at Easeus Todo Backup (either free or paid).

    Zig
    Last edited by Zig; 2012-10-01 at 21:34.

  10. #10
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    On my laptop I do not do these pre-scheduled back ups since I do not leave my Ext. HD connected. I have not read of any problems with this feature in this updated app.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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    Have never sheduled one, either. Will check it, though.

  12. #12
    3 Star Lounger
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    I stumbled across this thread discussing a lot of backup programs. I wonder if anyone has any opinions http://superuser.com/questions/7423/...st-for-windows It's a kinda old thread, though. But it asks the question I'm asking.

    This is a rather interesting site - it provides "alternatives to" whatever you are asking about. There's a ton of backup programs mentioned, too. My eyes are now rolling around in my head like pinballs <g>
    http://alternativeto.net/software/time-machine/

    I
    see Drive Image, Rollback RX and Comodo Time Machine on the alternativeto website. Anyone tried any of these? Opinons?

    I read the Acronis True Image Home 2013 page
    http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing...age/#whats-new and see they offered a free trial, so, downloaded that. Got busy and could not try it out (natch!) and could not get out to buy the new external drive either but hope to before the weekend if possible.

    I see Acronis offers cloud storage -- I take a somewhat dim view of that -- just never quite trust "my stuff" in someone else's hands, I guess, and I see it also offers free trial but then you pay $49.99 a year for 250 GB storage for your files. So, it looks like if you are making an image of your whole drive, it doesn't get stored there? Has anyone tried this service? If my hard drive says 349GB of it is used, how do I tell how much of that is used by the operating system and how much by my files? Just go to the Windows directory and see how big it is? From what I have read, if you are making an image of the whole drive, you need not AS much space as the # of GB currently in use, but, you need more than 50 percent of that number. Guess I am wondering if 250GB for $50 a year is enough or if I'd need even more than that. There's a limit to what I can afford.

    Acronis cloud storage:
    http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/#add-cloud-storage.



  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zig View Post
    Kelliann,

    Be sure to check out the forums (Factory Support for Macrium, Users Forum for Acronis); might also look at Easeus Todo Backup (either free or paid).

    Zig
    So far I looked at all three and whatever comments there were on the alternativesto.com website, and if I can get time tonight, will look at factory support and user's forum as you suggested.

  14. #14
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    I wonder how much space I need to have available on an external drive for an image of a hard disk C drive which says it haS 907GB total, 407 in use, 499 free.

    Do I need images of these next two partitions too?

    The D Drive which says "Restore" on it says it has 20 GB, 18 in use, 2 free.

    The E Drive says "HP TOOLS" says it has 4GB, 3 in use, 1 free.

    Making an image of a disk is something I never learned anything about.

    I still have not picked a program to use for this. I'm reading some of the Macrium program's forum right now.

    Thanks!!

  15. #15
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Don't worry about Imaging the Recovery partition. You can just leave it alone. I Imaged mine only because I deleted the Recovery partition and reclaimed the space. I suppose I would leave the HP tools alone as well. I personally do not use any of the branded S/W and got rid of that stuff as well, but it does not seem you have a need for the space.

    With 407 Gb used, assuming you only Image the used space, your Image will be substantial (depending on the compression you use) probably somewhere around 150 to 200 GB. Obviously the more compression, the smaller the Image. I think the default in Acronis is around 2 or 3: 1. It will take a while for you to create an Image.

    I have to believe much of this used space is data. Including data in the Image will be time consuming, and the data will get out of date quickly. This is why I like to keep all my data on a separate partition. Then I can Image just the OS and apps (including any customizations I have made) while leaving the data alone. There are 2 camps on this as well. Others prefer to keep everything on one big partition. I move all data that is movable to a separate partition. I do back up my data differently than my OS. Data tends to change more quickly and thus needs to be backed up more often. Acronis also has auto back up options for data.

    Using a dual partition setup, your Image will be much smaller, and much quicker to create. My OS and apps are around 20 to 30 Gb. I can create an Image in less than half hour and it takes around 10 to 15 GB of space to store each Image on my Ext. HD.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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