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  1. #1
    Lounger
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    Question Backups vs. images

    I currently use Acronis True Image on my desktop, Comodo backup on my laptop. My backups include C:\Data and my user profile folder, backed up with highest compression. I do a full backup once a month and daily incrementals, to a 1.5 external hard drive (separate ones for each computer) and a more selective daily backup of the desktop to a local off-site service. My phone company's old wiring top DSL speed is 750K (usually much slower), and it takes nearly a week(!) to do a "full" backup to the off site; dailies are about 25 minutes.

    Most recommendations are for making images for backups, especially when installing software, doing deep cleaning, etc.

    Should I switch my external hard drive backups to images, or stick with my selective backup plan? If I switch to images, do I use the hard drive or switch to DVD disks? I am thinking of cost: I'm on a fixed income. And, what other questions/considerations have I forgotten?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Platinum Lounger
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    The two most likely scenarios for data loss are:
    1. You change a document and make a mistake.
    2. Your hard disk dies.
    To protect against 1 you need a daily backup. For 2 it's an image.
    The smallest amount of space for both of those would be a daily incremental and one image. If you don't want the incremental to get out of hand you can overwrite it every 3 to 6 months with a new incremental. How often you want an extra image is up to you, but you are reasonably safe rotating 2 image backups.

    Note: the first backup in an incremental is a full backup.

    cheers, Paul

    p.s. don't use DVDs, they are just a nuisance to change when they are full half way through a backup and they are la lot less reliable than a hard disk.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Areader,

    Welcome to the lounge as a new poster!

    Backup strategies are many and varied according to many factors.
    For Example:
    • How important is your data or any portion of it to you, e.g. how bad would you hurt if you lost it!
    • How often do you install new software.
    • How often do you download software, especially from sites of unknown reputation.
    • Etc.


    Here's my personal strategy based on those and other factors. YMMV!

    Image backup {Macrium Reflect Pro}, to External USB or NAS drive, of entire Drive(s) every 2 weeks (on my desktops the OS and Data are on different drives). BTW I keep 3 generations of these backups!

    Data backup to NAS every time critical data is changed (I use robocopy for this task and have an icon for a one click operation) like entries into MS Money (this is in addition to Money's automatic backups, yeah a bit paranoid) or changes to one of my programming projects.

    I have a shared picture folder on the NAS and it gets a file backup {also using Macrium Reflect Pro} every month and also right after a new set of vacation pictures or family pictures are loaded. I also make a CD of the new pictures. I fell down on the job on this once and of course that was when the 6 year old NAS decided to go belly up! The fall out from the other half was enough to make me be extra careful in the future.

    HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  5. #4
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    Your current strategy seems to ensure your data won't be lost. That seems to be the number 1 priority and you have it covered. If your hard drive goes south however, even with your data safe, you would have to reinstall the operation system and all your applications, besides reinstalling your documents and other files you are already backing up. This can be a time consuming task and sometimes made harder because you may have difficulties tracking your software serial numbers, or even activating apps. That's where imaging can help. With periodic images, you can ensure you have an image you can resort too if your drive malfunctions or something goes wrong with your system (virus infection, issues with updates, etc).

    With images, external drives are the best option.

    Personally I try to image every week. I also use a cloud backup and sync app for work documents and files - Cubby. This automatically syncs every file I change from a chosen set of folders between my computers and / or LogMeIn's servers. Both combinations mean I would lose very little, if anything at all, in case of a serious hardware issue. The cloud backup would ensure I wouldn't lose my most relevant files even if my computers were destroyed.
    Rui
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  6. #5
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by areader View Post
    I currently use Acronis True Image on my desktop, Comodo backup on my laptop. My backups include C:\Data and my user profile folder, backed up with highest compression. I do a full backup once a month and daily incrementals, to a 1.5 external hard drive (separate ones for each computer) and a more selective daily backup of the desktop to a local off-site service. My phone company's old wiring top DSL speed is 750K (usually much slower), and it takes nearly a week(!) to do a "full" backup to the off site; dailies are about 25 minutes.

    Most recommendations are for making images for backups, especially when installing software, doing deep cleaning, etc.

    Should I switch my external hard drive backups to images, or stick with my selective backup plan? If I switch to images, do I use the hard drive or switch to DVD disks? I am thinking of cost: I'm on a fixed income. And, what other questions/considerations have I forgotten?

    Thanks in advance.
    The best backup strategy is the one that works for you. It certainly looks like your doing well enough as it is.
    Don't forget about having backup copies of all your valuable programs, as this is often neglected by many.
    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.

  7. #6
    Silver Lounger
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    Ya, what Ruirib says but simpler maybe. Keep on trucking with the data backups and add an image of the system so you can recover easily right back to full operations with all your programs in the event of disk failure or OS corruption. Doesn't have to be very often either, one to start and then if you have a mature system that doesn't change much in terms of installing and uninstalling programs, only make another one if you do change something major. I haven't made any for myself since March and it would still restore my system about 99% to what it is right now, and I've probably run 3 terabytes of data through in the meantime.

  8. #7
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I create a new Image once per month after patch Tuesday. This is sufficient for my OS backup needs. I then back up my data use File History each month and by backing each of our PCs to the other PC (mine to wife's and vice versa). Since our data needs are far less than many others we do not have the back up needs that others might have.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  9. #8
    Gold Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by areader View Post
    Most recommendations are for making images for backups, especially when installing software, doing deep cleaning, etc.

    Should I switch my external hard drive backups to images
    areader,

    Hello... simple question ...that only you can answer ...

    1. What "Data" if you loose it, can you live with?.. cause at some point ....you will. Regards Fred
    PlainFred

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free (J. W. Von Goethe)

  10. #9
    Lounger
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    Thank you all. I think I'm going to:

    1. Get both computers physically cleaned again (dusty neighborhood & no air conditioning) and have Windows reinstalled. Image that ("naked" Windows).
    2. Install all my software and set up the computers the way I like, and image that.
    3. Return to my usual backup routine, adding imaging only if there are major changes in software.

    Comments?

    To Just Plain Fred: the local off-site backup is for that: the data I don't want to lose, and that's done daily The only thing it doesn't include is copies of my software installation disks. If my DSL wasn't so darn slow I'd rip the CDs/DVDs and include them in the off-site backups. I'm also going to bug the phone company yet again about upgrading the lines in my neighborhood, which they've been promising for 5+ years!

    Again, thank you all.

  11. #10
    Gold Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by areader View Post
    I think I'm going to:

    Return to my usual backup routine, adding imaging only if there are major changes in software.

    Comments?
    "a"

    Hello.. There is another scenario that you might consider... "about only Imaging after changes in software".. hears a "What If"

    1. Something of a Malware "thingy" gets on to your OS ... If you do Images at the least once a week ..not really a problem ... If the OS's last Image is 6 months old... could be a real pain to play catchup. I would opt to Image (full OS type) every week and keep at least a months worth ...With some 3rd party programs you can set this on "Auto Pilot" ... Just a thought Regards Fred

    PS: Keep any Images on a 2nd hard drive ..preferably an external
    PlainFred

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free (J. W. Von Goethe)

  12. #11
    Lounger
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    Have you any idea how many I'll be able to keep on a 1T external drive? My laptop hard drive is 111GB and has about 65GB of stuff on it. The desktop is 1T and has about 70GB of stuff on it. And I still have to do the daily incremental backups. Please don't forget the fixed income: there's no way I can buy second external hard drives in the near future.

  13. #12
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    Images take around 50%-60% of the used size of an imaged disk, so you will be able to keep a few on a 1T external drive.
    Rui
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  14. #13
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    I have a dedicated 1TB internal HDD for images. It has two sets for my laptop, six sets for my desktop (I dual boot), and still has 368GB free. I also store images on a 3TB Network Addressed Storage drive, and backup MS Money to DVD (in addition to the HDD default backup) every time I update my checkbook.
    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

  15. #14
    Lounger
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    I'm happy now. I have what I need from your collective experience/knowledge. Thanks, one and all.

  16. #15
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I'm glad we were able to collectively help.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
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