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  1. #31
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Yes, using the application's software to verify an image is all well too, and it should be done.

    But there is no replacement for testing the process in it's entirety.
    *Even for an advanced user who switches programs and wants to try a new imaging app for the first time.
    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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  2. #32
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    Let me add a word as a non-geek home user . . . in my case, many moons ago, someone here recommended testing an image to see if you could restore it using the boot disk. Now, at the time, I was using Acronis; and I know there are many happy users of Acronis; but in my case, with my Dell 4600, I couldn't restore the image. Somewhere in this blog I've detailed how long and hard Acronis tech. support worked to try to resolve my issue. They never could. I switched to Macrium paid; and it worked right out of the box for me.

    I'm not trying to plug Macrium versus Acronis. I am trying to say that if I hadn't tried to restore the image I never would have known I had a problem - until it was too late to do anything about it.

    YMMV.

    Dick

  3. #33
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    OK, I'll meet you half way then...

    Verify, mount, then test the integrity of the process in it's entirety by restoring the image with a bootable restore disk
    created specifically by your chosen imaging application.

    If all the above is successful then you have yourself, at least partly anyway, an image based backup regimen.
    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.

  4. #34
    5 Star Lounger
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    Clint:
    Who are you meeting half way?
    Dick

  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    OK, I'll meet you half way then...

    Verify, mount, then test the integrity of the process in it's entirety by restoring the image with a bootable restore disk
    created specifically by your chosen imaging application.

    If all the above is successful then you have yourself, at least partly anyway, an image based backup regimen.
    I don't disagree with you, I repeat. If a user feels confident enough, this is the way to go and I agree with you and Dick that there is no other way to find out if the whole restore process will work.

    However, actually completing the full restore, doesn't mean you get a bootable computer - that has happened to me. What if this happens to a non experienced user? How will they recover then? Imagine this happens with the very first image they create. What then?

    So I agree with all of you regarding the verifiability of the whole process. What I personally can advise, though, is that a full restore, as a test, should only be performed by users that feel they will be able to recover from a situation where the restore fails and renders the system unbootable. For those, the "lesser of evils" - to have a safe copy of their data - can be achieved simply by verifying all images made and mounting and browsing them.

    I am just being cautious about other people's systems, that's all.
    Rui
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  6. #36
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Yea, but what if they do not verify the Image by restoration, then go along for a couple months and suddenly they have a catastrophe. They try to restore and it does not work. Would it not have been better to know immediately.

    Yes, if the restore does not work, a complete reinstall may be needed, but is it better to continue along for a time period blythely thinking you are protected when you are not. It's a catch 22, but in my mind it's better to know immediately if it's not going to work.

    We have often stated that the data should be backed up separately from the OS. An image is a tool to back up the system (OS and apps) but should not generally be used as the only data back up.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  8. #37
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    However, actually completing the full restore, doesn't mean you get a bootable computer - I had it happen with a specific image. What if this happens to a non experienced user? How will they recover then? Imagine this happens with the very first image they create? What then?
    Why bother to implement imaging in the first place if you are too afraid to even test it?

    Answer: Format and clean install, or it's OEM equivalent.
    You take your chances with just about anything, and sometimes you are going to loose.


    It's all fine and dandy to stumble across the idea of drive imaging and think it's going to save your bacon, but it isn't necessarily so.
    It will be useful here to make mention of things that advanced users don't need to be told:

    *Need to have all of your OS recovery disks, be they genuine, OEM types, or other bootable media, readily available and tested well beforhand, ...not lost or damaged.
    *Need to have all of your usable programs and drivers with updated versions safely tucked away and backed up independently.
    *Need to have any "out of the ordinary" personal OS settings written down in a notepad or word docu and easily accessible so that they may be re-implemented quickly.
    *Need to test any image that you have made until you are comfortable and confident of the outcome, this includes all boot disks.
    *Need to have every scrap of personally generated data safely backed up independently of anything else.
    This includes email and all of it's settings, photos, document, or anything else you would consider as a loss if you actually did loose them.

    One needs to plan these things. If one is too lazy to do so then negative reinforcement will also work nicely, and will ultimately be inevitable.

    z.jpg
    Organize your apps and drivers, and have them backed up independently.
    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.

  9. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medico View Post
    Yea, but what if they do not verify the Image by restoration, then go along for a couple months and suddenly they have a catastrophe. They try to restore and it does not work. Would it not have been better to know immediately.
    My answer is no, if that means that right then, they need to resort to help from someone, for being unable to recover from their test.
    What is better, wait for a situation that may happen, but then may not, or risk it losing your system right now?

    I admit that the answer may vary. For me, as long as the data, which is really what can't be recovered in any other way, is safe, running the risk of not being able to restore your system right now is worse than running that risk in the future.

    I find it funny that you'd rather create a "catastrophe" now than possibly, in the future. Loss wise, I fail to see the difference. What really matters to me is that the data which, I repeat, is really what matters, since everything else can be recovered with more or less effort.
    Please take notice that the situation is different if a user has someone who can help restore the system, in case of failure. I am defending this for users who would be stuck in case of a test restore failure.
    Yes, if the restore does not work, a complete reinstall may be needed, but is it better to continue along for a time period blythely thinking you are protected when you are not. It's a catch 22, but in my mind it's better to know immediately if it's not going to work.
    Their data is protected, which is really what matters. Everything else can be recovered.
    We have often stated that the data should be backed up separately from the OS. An image is a tool to back up the system (OS and apps) but should not generally be used as the only data back up.
    Optimally, yes, but I don't see that as a justification to risk rendering someone's system unbootable for testing purposes, when the users doing the test wouldn't be able to recover on their own.

    In professional systems, where the data is even more relevant, the recommended procedure is to test in similar hardware, not the actual system under test (or in virtualized systems). I don't see a single reason for this to be different with someone who wouldn't be able to recover from a testing disaster.

    This is not only what I think, but this what I have always done with my systems. The first time I tried to restore an image it was following a motherboard failure. It worked. If it didn't, all my data was safe and I would have been able to install the OS, apps and recover the data.

    I totally admit this is a personal choice. I will never place myself in a position where I recommend something and my advice "renders" the system unbootable and the user is then unable to access the system for whatever amount of time. I am careful with my systems, but especially careful with others's systems.
    Rui
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    R4

  10. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    Why bother to implement imaging in the first place if you are too afraid to even test it?

    Answer: Format and clean install, or it's OEM equivalent.
    You take your chances with just about anything, and sometimes you are going to loose.
    I accept that you choose to be so cavalier with someone else's systems. I can't be.

    I will never be able to say "tough" on something that is elective and ends preventing users to use their systems. It's just my choice and I think I have explained exhaustively why. I will also point that my position covers only those users who feel they won't be able to recover from a disaster on their own. The others should test their systems in the way you recommend.

    One needs to plan these things. If one is too lazy to do so then negative reinforcement will also work nicely, and will ultimately be inevitable.
    This is not about lazyness. It's about systems availability for users who otherwise have no way to recover on their own. It's about deciding what is acceptable for any given user. For me, the minimum acceptable standard, for such users, is to make sure their data is never at risk. I accept that you set a higher standard, have nothing against it.

    In the case of my systems, I agree, it may be seen as laziness. Setting up a system for me usually takes me two days to add all the usual stuff (OS, Office), plus SQL Server, Visual Studio, MySQL, toolkits and help systems with several GB and then restore a great number of customer databases, websites etc. I will do it only if I have to. I call it a wise use of the available resources, not lazyness, though . That's why I also upgrade Windows instead of clean installing it.

    Delaying the restore is the same gamble that restoring to test, if you are able to recover either way, the only difference being the choice of the most adequate time to do it - in a test restore you choose the time, in a restore by need, the time chooses you. If the end result is the same, the choice of time depends on your preferences.

    Again, I will repeat, this doesn't mean that I disagree on what should be the recommended procedure. Let's not forget that. Also, in a professional environment, regular restoration is a must, but it should not mean compromising system availability, which can be achieved either through virtualization or hardware redundancy - and you test with those.
    Rui
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  11. #40
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I suppose you have one point here, and that is, it's better to have an image in place than not having anything at all.
    (so much for the bar)

    The emphasis here should be on what many of us take for granted, and that is the proper planning and implementation
    of potential system failures;


    *The need to have all of your OS recovery disks, be they genuine, OEM types, or other bootable media, readily available and tested well beforhand, ...not lost or damaged.
    *The need to have all of your usable programs and drivers with updated versions safely tucked away and backed up independently.
    *The need to have any "out of the ordinary" personal OS settings written down in a notepad or word docu and easily accessible so that they may be re-implemented quickly.
    *The need to test any image that you have made until you are comfortable and confident of the outcome, this includes all boot disks.
    *The need to have every scrap of personally generated data safely backed up independently of anything else.
    This includes email and all of it's settings, photos, document, or anything else you would consider as a loss if you actually did loose them.
    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.

  12. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    I suppose you have one point here, and that is, it's better to have an image in place than not having anything at all.
    (so much for the bar)

    The emphasis here should be on what many of us take for granted, and that is the proper planning and implementation
    of potential system failures;
    I agree with you, once again . I would actually say that, if possible, users should have more than one verified image and, if possible, too, backup their relevant data in yet a different way. I think backup storage should be diversified enough to include off-site storage, be that the cloud or a physical disk kept elsewhere.
    Rui
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  13. #42
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    ...Then one would not need to worry about a failed restoration of an image, because everything will not have been lost, and the means
    to recover would be a lessor worry, albeit a more time consuming one.
    And the lessons learned through trying will ultimately be the best teacher.


    I guess it's the prepper mentality brought over to computing.
    Not that I hoard weapons and food in a compound somewhere. LOL
    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.

  14. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    ...Then one would not need to worry about a failed restoration of an image, because everything will not have been lost, and the means
    to recover would be a lessor worry, albeit a more time consuming one.
    And the lessons learned through trying will ultimately be the best teacher.
    The means to recover are, indeed, a slightly less worry, if you have some assurances - images verified, "mountable", browsable. As I said before, I confess I am thinking about changing slightly my recommendations to favor imaging systems that, one way or the other, may provide you with a .vhd that you can then boot from, using Windows 7 or 8. This means a totally verifiable way, from image creation to system boot, in a totally non destructive manner - basically riskless. I will definitely test it with my systems, just need to get another external drive.

    I guess it's the prepper mentality brought over to computing.
    Not that I hoard weapons and food in a compound somewhere. LOL
    I cannot comment on that. It seems that phenomenon is much more prevalent in the US than on this side of the pond
    Rui
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  15. #44
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    I think you'll find that nothing is without risk.
    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.

  16. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    OK, I'll meet you half way then...

    Verify, mount, then test the integrity of the process in it's entirety by restoring the image with a bootable restore disk
    created specifically by your chosen imaging application.

    If all the above is successful then you have yourself, at least partly anyway, an image based backup regimen.
    This seems the most sensible, if one is going to restore over the current system the image was made from it would be best to mount it first just to verify the contents are commensurate with what the image is supposed to contain.

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