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  1. #1
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Reminding you to make backup images

    Hey Y'all,

    I thought this would be an interesting little project for Excel.
    Keep a record of Image Backups for multiple machines on multiple devices and warn when a given machine's latest backup is 2 weeks old.
    BackupMonitor.JPG
    The top sheet is the status sheet which shows at a glance the status of the different machine's Images.
    The bottom sheet records the Images for a given machine and where the Image is located.
    The only really required field is the Date since it is used to calculate if a the Image is too old.
    Set up one sheet for each machine and use a dynamic range name for the date column then add a computer the the status sheet copy the formula and replace the range name and you're good to go.
    Here's the workbook if you're interested.

    P.S. Put a shortcut in the Startup folder and you'll get a reminder every time you boot.
    Attached Files Attached Files
    Last edited by RetiredGeek; 2012-11-30 at 16:02. Reason: Addional Info
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  3. The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to RetiredGeek For This Useful Post:

    bbearren (2013-02-13),CLiNT (2012-12-20),Medico (2012-12-01),petesmst (2012-12-27)

  4. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Thanks for the thought Bruce. I just make my Images after patch Tuesday each month. I also run File History while the Ext. HD is plugged in.

    Every once in a while I will create an intermediate Image on my PC since I am playing with my OS much more than my wife is. But generally once per month is enough. I figure right after patch Tuesday is a great time since I just updated everything, including all apps. I also clean everything up, defrag, then Image.

    This might be great for those people that never seem to get around to creating their Images.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  5. #3
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I do an image once per month, because to do more than that would fill up my external hard drive. I always keep the two newest images; so my first step is to delete the older of the two, then make a new, current image.

    Continual backups are with Memeo, another source of filler on my external hard drive.

    No need to keep track of anything using this method.

  6. #4
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Ok, maybe it's just me. But with 4 machines and some times 5 and as many backup devices with continual playing around with things I take a lot of Images and on many different devices this seemed useful. Not only for reminders of when to backup but also the individual sheets tell me which old images are save to delete when I need space. YMMV!
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  7. #5
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Like I said, this would work well for those that just seem to forget to do their Images regularly. This is too important to forget it.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  8. #6
    3 Star Lounger
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    I use the KISS principle - and I am paranoid about backups. I backup every machine every weekend at 3 AM using Acronis. Then I update the backup files stored on an external drive.
    Rick Groszkiewicz
    Life is too short to drink bad wine (or bad coffee!)

  9. #7
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I'm not quite that paranoid, but then again my needs are not great. I have very few data needs, my data does not change a lot.

    I do have to say that Imaging is so important that no matter how or when, JUST DO IT! (shouting was intended)
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  10. #8
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    The thing with me is that I don't do images on a strict schedule; but if I see that it's been over a month, I do an image.

    Meanwhile, Memeo makes sure that the data is backed up continually.

  11. #9
    2 Star Lounger
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    Basic question:

    I have tried to do images on several different (old) PC's with several different image programs, and the process has never worked correctly, for one reason or another. I know that lots of people do disk images, but my question is: how do you know that these images would reload correctly if you ever needed to use them? Do the image programs that you use have a verification option, both to check for correct creation of the images, and also to insure that the images would actually reload correctly? or do you not worry about these sorts of questions?

    Thanks for any comments. Making images always sounds like a good idea, but I have never been able to figure out how to make sure it would work if I actually needed to reload an image.

  12. #10
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    R.F.

    Yes most imaging programs do have verification options. I've use that option in all my images made with Macrium Reflect Free, it's under the Advanced Options, and also with the paid version of Acronis True Image which I used to use. The other option of checking an image is Mounting it as a drive again both of the previously mentioned programs support this feature. It merely loads up the image as a virtual drive and assigns it a letter so you can use Windows File Explorer to search for files and copy them back to your regular drives, very useful for retrieving a few data files from an image backup but if it will mount correctly and let you browse you also know that the image is good.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  13. #11
    3 Star Lounger
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    If you use Acronis for backup, recommend boot to Acronis Backup environment using Acronis boot CD/DVD, and do the image backup from there.
    Also, set the backup image bootable by itself.
    From various info and blogs, using the boot CD/DVD is most reliable. If you create the image from within Windows, it may not be as reliable. For backup, reliability is #0.9999999999999.
    It does not hurt if the image is divided into many files each fitting CD/DVD size (650M/4.4G ... I know I know, it should be 700M/4.5G; I'm paranoid and being safe). It'll give you the option to move the files to CD/DVD/BluRay when your hard drive is full. Or to store the image.

  14. #12
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I have always used the Rescue Disk to create my monthly Images. Never had a failure with Acronic TI 2010, 2011 and 2013.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  15. #13
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rfarmer View Post
    Basic question:

    I have tried to do images on several different (old) PC's with several different image programs, and the process has never worked correctly, for one reason or another. I know that lots of people do disk images, but my question is: how do you know that these images would reload correctly if you ever needed to use them? Do the image programs that you use have a verification option, both to check for correct creation of the images, and also to insure that the images would actually reload correctly? or do you not worry about these sorts of questions?

    Thanks for any comments. Making images always sounds like a good idea, but I have never been able to figure out how to make sure it would work if I actually needed to reload an image.
    If your new to drive imaging, then not only should you be selecting the "verify" image integrity option, but you should also test it by restoring the image as well via a bootable disk of either CD/DVD or USB.


    GET OUT OF THE BAD HABBIT OF DOING RESTORES FROM WITHIN THE OS ITSELF.

    *Choose your 3rd party imaging application and make sure it's version is qualified on your OS.
    *Look for the option in your 3rd party imaging app's creation properties to "verify" the newly created image.
    *Never store an image to the same partition your OS resides on. (Always another internal drive independent of your OS, or on an external drive)
    *Ensure your BIOS is setup so that you can boot to CD/DVD and or USB. (know your computers boot options key)
    *ALWAYS make a bootable disk with either CD/DVD, USB, or both.
    *Always restore images by booting to your newly created rescue disc that your 3rd party imaging app has nagged you to create.
    *TEST your image by immediately RESTORING it with the BOOT DISK you just created.

    *Imaging applications are useless without a rescue boot disk*
    Last edited by CLiNT; 2012-12-20 at 19:52.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

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  17. #14
    3 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    If your new to drive imaging, then not only should you be selecting the "verify" image integrity option, but you should also test it by restoring the image as well via a bootable disk of either CD/DVD or USB.

    GET OUT OF THE BAD HABBIT OF DOING RESTORES FROM WITHIN THE OS ITSELF.

    *Imaging applications are useless without a rescue boot disk*
    I am using Acronis TIH 2010 on most of my computers. For a few computers, I no longer can restore from within Windows, because the computer would not boot properly. I think I just get a blank screen - can't remember now

    If I use the Acronis boot CD to restore the image, then everything works as expected.
    Rick Groszkiewicz
    Life is too short to drink bad wine (or bad coffee!)

  18. #15
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Imaging from within Windows

    I snagged the spreadsheet - it'll come in handy for me, if I can manage to work it into my routine. Thanks!

    I use Image for Windows from TeraByte Unlimited (as I've mentioned a number of times). I go way back with TeraByte, and have never been disappointed in any way. An email to tech support gets an answer in less than 24 hours, and it's generally right on target. If I'm confused, I'll reply to the tech, and get an answer back almost immediately.

    All that being said, Image for Windows uses PHYLock, a driver that locks the drive when Windows has stopped writing to it, and that enables Image for Windows to make an image as if one is booting from a CD. In this thread and this thread what I was trying to do led to lots and lots of imaging and restoring, almost all done from within Windows to and from NAS, and not a single problem either way. I also used a TBWinRE bootable USB to restore an image from NAS to an empty hdd converted from MBR to GPT, and then booted that drive without issue.

    Drive imaging will literally allow one to completely disassemble the software side of a PC and rebuild it to suit. I went from MBR to UEFI/GPT on my laptop and recreated a dual boot setup using drive images (and some other software/partition machinations because of the way I like my Windows setup). I did do a "seed" reinstall of Windows at one point (to save a gob of time that would have been spent editting the registry), but quickly wiped it out with an image restore. There is so much security and flexibility in drive image backups that it allows one to let the creative juices start flowing.

    I am comfortable and confident with Image for Windows in creating and restoring drive images from within Windows. But I still have the bootable CD (Image for DOS - same image files) and the TBWinRE bootable USB that has networking capabilities. I store images on both a dedicated 1TB internal hdd and a networked 3TB NAS. I do a test restore frequently (and sometimes several times in one day!) and when I don't do a test restore I do an image mount. Additionally, I backup my financial files to DVD religiously, and from time to time do a restore with them, too.

    So yes, the spreadsheet will come in handy for me to keep up with a desktop and two laptops. Thanks again, RG.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2013-02-13 at 22:58. Reason: punctuation
    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

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