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  1. #46
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    The experience of Dick-Y in post #32 is my barometer.

    One does not know for certain that recovery from a disaster is possible without performing a recovery. I much prefer that such a recovery be attempted on my terms and timeframe.

    I also agree with CLiNT's advice that one should have all their ducks in a row. Have everything necessary at the ready, have data copied/backed up through other media to avoid loss, and restore the image to the drive from which it was created. Even non-tech home users need to know what is involved and necessary in a reformat/reinstall before the need arises.

    Not many non-tech home users have an identical standby machine to use as a test bench. Mounting an image indicates that an image can be mounted. It does not confirm that the same image can be restored to a hard drive after booting from the image apps recovery media. Neither does booting a vhd image. There have been failures.

    And I'm not being cavalier, I'm advising in favor of gaining valuable experience.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2013-11-11 at 16:57. Reason: spelling
    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. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by bbearren View Post
    The experience of Dick-Y in post #32 is my barameter.

    One does not know for certain that recovery from a disaster is possible without performing a recovery. I much prefer that such a recovery be attempted on my terms and timeframe.

    I also agree with CLiNT's advice that one should have all their ducks in a row. Have everything necessary at the ready, have data copied/backed up through other media to avoid loss, and restore the image to the drive from which it was created. Even non-tech home users need to know what is involved and necessary in a reformat/reinstall before the need arises.

    Not many non-tech home users have an identical standby machine to use as a test bench. Mounting an image indicates that an image can be mounted. It does not confirm that the same image can be restored to a hard drive after booting from the image apps recovery media. Neither does booting a vhd image. There have been failures.

    And I'm not being cavalier, I'm advising in favor of gaining valuable experience.
    Well, if you go through that path, you can say that you can never be certain of anything until you actually do it. Even if you restored an image before, you have no guarantee that it will restore successfully again. You can expect it to, but you really don't know until you do it. It can have worked 99 times and fail at the 100th. It's like the marathon runner that has run thousands of miles in training and even that is not guarantee that he will get to the end on race day. That's just how things are.

    What you always look for is a "reasonable" expectation of success. What this means to each of us will vary. I am pretty comfortable with what I do and it provides me with enough expectation of success while maintaining my systems. My goal is simple and I have stated it: my strategy is meant to allow me to recover all my data. When I present the strategy to others, as I am doing here, there is no ambiguity - this is what such a strategy will guarantee, as a minimum. It can allow more than that and so far, between multiple laptops and desktops, I must have performed around a dozen bare metal recoveries, and I never failed to recover a computer using imaging, when I tried. To the best of my recollection, probably twice I have had to resort to different images, as the ones i tried first failed to restore - and this happened during the same restore attempt, two of the images failed to return the computer to a bootable state - but that's why I keep multiple images in multiple disks. In the situation where I had to restore an older image, I then used the most recent image to recover my data and I succeeded at it.

    I am sure you will understand why I am quite happy with this strategy, that has worked for me, time and again. I am a firm believer in recommending for others what I recommend for myself. I also have the utmost care for other people's systems and, again, repeating myself, I would rather not suggest something that may render a user without a working system. While I understand everyone else's different strategies, this is a personal choice, this is where I draw the line in the sand and that line I shall not cross.

    Please take notice that I totally agree that the full cycle should be tested, for anyone that wants the best recovery assurance one can possibly have, and I encourage users to do it, if they feel confident they can overcome a catastrophic scenario or if they have someone that can help with that. I definitely do not recommend it to someone who won't be able to recover from such a situation.
    Rui
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  3. #48
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    I encourage users to do it, if they feel confident they can overcome a catastrophic scenario or if they have someone that can help with that. I definitely do not recommend it to someone who won't be able to recover from such a situation.
    I encourage users to do it, so that they can feel confident they can overcome a catastrophic scenario because they have Windows Secrets Forums that can help with that.

    My purpose in being here and contributing to these Forums is to share with other users the lessons and procedures I have learned over the years in dealing with various difficulties (many of which, admittedly, I have brought upon myself because of the things I do intentionally).

    I don't want to discourage users from gaining valuable experience and confidence. There is a difference between "I think I can" and "I know I can". And again, I point to the experience of Dick-Y and his own failed recovery as outlined in post #32. And all this goes hand-in-hand with:

    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    *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.
    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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  4. #49
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    Again, I don't disagree. I don't know what happened with Dick in his specific situation, not sure whether his system was bootable or not as a result of his attempts and whether he knew that could happen. I am glad Dick has learned from the Lounge (just a few days ago I told him he is now one of the Lounge advanced users), but users aren't all like him.

    I just feel that this full force recommendations - test your images, restore them, etc., without being clear on the caveats can be dangerous and I won't make them. As I said, I want for others what I want for myself and I don't test my images through restores. There is a risk in a restore as there is a risk in testing them the way I do. It's for the users to choose which they prefer. I'd rather have a user know exactly what the risks are and that's why I have been so vocal about it here.
    Rui
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  5. #50
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I have often said in various threads that the first time someone restores an Image, it is a nail biting experience. If a person does not feel comfortable doing this on their own, work with a professional this first time to see how things should work and gain the experience.

    I have also said the Image SHOULD NOT be the only way an individual backs up their all important data. Firstly, their data should be backed up much more often than their Images are created. For example we read all the time that someone needs to restore an Image, but their most recent is several months or more old. I would certainly hope their data backups are more recent than that. Secondly, their data should be backed up on/in different media/partitions/places than their Images.

    DO NOT DEPEND ON AN IMAGE TO BACK UP YOUR DATA!

    With all this said, I will continue to recommend testing your Images. If you believe opening the Image to graze through the folders is sufficient, then so be it. Restoring the Image not only tests the Image as valid, it tests the restoration method and media. All Imaging apps I am aware of require a Boot/Rescue disk that allows a non-bootable PC to boot to the Imaging app to allow this restoration. Just booting to this disk does not prove it will work when the time comes for restoration.

    It's obvious that some of us recommend restoring an Image and some of us do not. This is one of those topics that seems to have good ideas from both sides. Each person has to decide for themselves what is the best method for them. As I said, if you want to restore your Image to validate it, but are afraid to do so, work with a professional to get past this. If all fails the professional can help restore your system using a re-installation.

    The bottom line here is to create Images and keep an up to date Image so that if something bad happens you are ready.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  6. #51
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    Thanks for the compliments here and elsewhere, RUI. Here's "the rest of the story":
    When I first tried to restore my Acronis image I had a bootable system both before and after the attempt.
    I was trying to follow the good advice (in my opinion) that I had gleaned from this board of trying to do the restore from a good, working system ahead of time; rather than taking an image, and going merrily along until something bad happened, and then finding out I was up the creek with an Acronis paddle that didn't work. Again, that's not meant as a knock on Acronis, because, just because it didn't work for me, doesn't mean that there aren't many happy users of Acronis here (Medico for one) and elsewhere.

    Dick

  7. #52
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    Ya, the ONLY thing I would change if I were recommending is that the inexperienced restore to a different drive than swap them; only problem with that is it requires just a modicum of physical technical expertise, which also may be lacking so nothing is perfect or COMPLETELY safe. Which again is why mounting first is a good idea, to know at least the data is recoverable in case of fubar.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medico View Post
    DO NOT DEPEND ON AN IMAGE TO BACK UP YOUR DATA!
    This is arguable, because it depends on what users do and the frequency their data changes and what they are prepared to lose. A weekly image can cover many situations. There are members here who take an incremental image every day. That will get them coverered just as a daily data backup.

    I agree with a multilayer backup strategy, but I don't believe in being so prescriptive as your statement implies. I'd rather explain the pros and cons of each alternative and let users choose for themselves what best suits them. We choose what best suits us, why not let users do that as well?
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  10. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dick-Y View Post
    Thanks for the compliments here and elsewhere, RUI. Here's "the rest of the story":
    When I first tried to restore my Acronis image I had a bootable system both before and after the attempt.
    I was trying to follow the good advice (in my opinion) that I had gleaned from this board of trying to do the restore from a good, working system ahead of time; rather than taking an image, and going merrily along until something bad happened, and then finding out I was up the creek with an Acronis paddle that didn't work. Again, that's not meant as a knock on Acronis, because, just because it didn't work for me, doesn't mean that there aren't many happy users of Acronis here (Medico for one) and elsewhere.

    Dick
    Thanks for sharing that as well, Dick. Your experience with Acronis is just as valuable as ours. It didn't work, you picked an app that did. What really matters is that you found a backup strategy that works for you and you are applying it. Win for you, win for the Lounge, as that is what the Lounge is here for.
    Rui
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  11. #55
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    Thanks RUI.

    Dick

  12. #56
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    OK, fair enough, I will amend my statement and add "For the average user DO NOT DEPEND ON AN IMAGE TO BACK UP YOUR DATA!". The average user might make an Image every few months, if even that. Those users that do incremental Images daily are not those users I would consider the "average user". These are, IMO, advanced users from a backup standpoint. They are using Images for their daily routine. Most of us I consider "average users" might make a weekly or monthly Image and use alternative methods to back up data on a daily basis. Heck, most "average users" probably have never heard of Imaging. I just hope these users are backing up their data some how. Nuff' on this subject, moving on!
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  14. #57
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    For those 'young' enough, the word (or program script) 'Mount' is old and is reused, sort of, kind of, today. (It is not meant to 'mount a horse' kind of thing.)
    In old days, fast-access storage was extremely expensive. A hard drive was the size of a room bigger than bed room. The huge disc is spinned by horse power motor. So the more abundant and cheap storage is magnetic tape on reel. Racks and racks of them in a 'Tape Room'.
    How did many computer terminal users access specific tapes? And the tape+computer room was far away? Sometimes you just had to walk there and mounted the reel yourself, if nobody was on duty.
    When a user wanted to access specific data, he typed text something like 'mount tape xxx' on his monochrome CRT terminal. In the 'Computer Room' on duty person saw on his screen the same text. He found the tape and *mounted* the requested reel onto the tape machine. Mounting action: Put the reel on tape machine. Pulled tape out, snaked tape through the read head assembly, and then wound the tape tight. Now typed on his terminal, "Tape xxx ready".
    You may want to watch old movies, 60s to late 70s, to have a visual of this 'mounting' in action.
    Today, the same terminology is used for accessing 'hardware-like' data format. The 'mounting,' today, is done by a little man inside the computer. An image file, such as ISO, a real DVD disc, a hard drive, or an image file of a DVD, will be accessed by the same script 'mount'. Yes, today, we 'mount' the disc, and we 'mount' the disc image as well.
    The mounting is no longer physical but virtual. Unix, Linux still use the same script.

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  16. #58
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    O.P. here.

    Holy mackerel. No sooner do I wander away than my thread goes Big Time. Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts.

    Since my last visit here, I've managed two complete Macrium system images, which I've been able to verify, mount, paw through, and copy from. Small 'taters to you giants, but a triumph for Yours Truly.

    I still backup my personal data (including all third-party setup files) to DVD on a weekly basis, and backup new or changed personal data to thumb drives every day. Not an elegant backup solution, but unless the building burns down, my personal data is probably okay.

    For reasons discussed on this thread, I'm reluctant to test an image restore on my one and only computer. When the laptop was new, it took me ten(!) days to make a brand-new OEM installation feel like home, and the thought of having to reinstall and tweak Windows 7 gives me hives. (Plus, I've never reinstalled Windows without professional help, and that's an expense I can't afford right now.)

    All that being said, it makes sense that the only way to be 100% sure about the integrity of my Macrium images is to try restoring them.

    F.U.N.'s post got my attention, and I'd like to pick your collective brains on this:

    Quote Originally Posted by F.U.N. downtown View Post
    ...the ONLY thing I would change if I were recommending is that the inexperienced restore to a different drive than swap them; only problem with that is it requires just a modicum of physical technical expertise, which also may be lacking....
    "Physical technical expertise" is definitely lacking. However, the laptop's hard drive seems to snap in and snap out pretty easily. Could I buy an extra hard drive, swap it for my primary drive, and try restoring to the new drive? Would that be safe, or could a corrupted image screw up some part of the machine that's not the hard drive?

    IF safe (and assuming I can purchase an identical hard drive from the laptop's manufacturer) how would I prepare the new drive for a system restore test? Would I need to install anything on the drive before attempting the restore?

    Thanks so much for all the help.

    Brooks
    Last edited by BrooksNYC; 2013-11-14 at 13:30.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooksNYC View Post
    O.P. here.

    Holy mackerel. No sooner do I wander away than my thread goes Big Time. Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts.
    We were quite noisy, sorry about that .

    Since my last visit here, I've managed two complete Macrium system images, which I've been able to verify, mount, paw through, and copy from. Small 'taters to you giants, but a triumph for Yours Truly.
    Well done .

    I still backup my personal data (including all third-party setup files) to DVD on a weekly basis, and backup new or changed personal data to thumb drives every day. Not an elegant backup solution, but unless the building burns down, my personal data is probably okay.
    That's a good thing to do, and you should keep doing it.

    For reasons discussed on this thread, I'm reluctant to test an image restore on my one and only computer. When the laptop was new, it took me ten(!) days to make a brand-new OEM installation feel like home, and thought of having to reinstall and tweak Windows 7 gives me hives. (Plus, I've never reinstalled Windows without professional help, and that's an expense I can't afford right now.)
    That's totally understandable and it goes with my own opinion about it.


    All that being said, it makes sense that the only way to be 100% sure about the integrity of my Macrium images is to try restoring them.

    F.U.N.'s post got my attention, and I'd like to pick your collective brains on this:



    "Physical technical expertise" is definitely lacking. However, the laptop's hard drive seems to snap in and snap out pretty easily. Could I buy an extra hard drive, swap it for my primary drive, and try restoring to the new drive? Would that be safe, or could a corrupted image screw up some part of the machine that's not the hard drive?

    IF safe (and assuming I can purchase an identical hard drive from the laptop's manufacturer) how would I prepare the new drive for a system restore test? Would I need to install anything on the drive before attempting the restore?

    Thanks so much for all the help.

    Brooks
    You should be able to swap disks without any issues and the risk is very small. Usually laptop disks require a that you attach them to some frame, but that's it. You should also be careful with the cable connections, while inserting and removing the SATA connector from the disk. Other than that, with a boot disk or flash drive (not sure if Macrium creates one, probably it does), you should be able to boot with Macrium and restore the image from your existing disk -provided that you buy a SATA / USB connector or, even better, an external enclosure for your new disk, where you could place that disk and rotate it into your imaging routine.

    Well, I gotta say this, this whole procedure is elective, of course.
    Rui
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    Thanks, ruirib!

    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    You should also be careful with the cable connections, while inserting and removing the SATA connector from the disk.
    I've never tried removing a laptop hard drive, and didn't realize cables and connectors were involved. With luck, the bits that need connecting or disconnecting will be obvious and not require the skill of a neurosurgeon. (Was hoping a hard drive swap would be as straightforward as swapping a battery. Ha!)

    Other than that, with a boot disk or flash drive....
    Boot disc.

    .....you should be able to boot with Macrium and restore the image from your existing disk - provided that you buy a SATA / USB connector.....
    The "existing disk" to which my images are saved is a Western Digital external drive that plugs into the laptop's USB port. Where does the SATA connector come into play?

    ...or, even better, an external enclosure for your new disk, where you could place that disk and rotate it into your imaging routine.
    If I get an extra hard drive, its sole function will be to provide a test environment for image restoration. As mentioned above, my image backups will be stored on an external USB drive.

    Would the drive housed in the external enclosure be fully functional as a test environment? 'Cuz it would be dandy if I didn't have to do an actual hard drive SWAP. Am wondering if I could I plug the Western Digital USB drive (containing my Macrium images) into one port, and the "enclosure-contained" new hard drive into another? Could I run a test restore with that Rube Goldberg setup?



    I've no idea what I'm talking about.

    Anyway! Am grateful for your input.
    Last edited by BrooksNYC; 2013-11-14 at 15:14.

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