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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Seattle, WA
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    Update: More on testing and verifying backups


    Update: More on testing and verifying backups

    By Fred Langa

    The only way to know for certain whether your backup system is doing its job is to test it. Here's an update on safely verifying backups for any current Windows version. Plus: Correcting the app-breaking "missing Api-Ms-Win-Runtime-|1.1.0.dll" Windows error.

    The full text of this column is posted at (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Acronis True Image can be FREE

    You mention Acronis True Image.
    They provide a free version provided you have a Seagate/WesternDigital drive, internal or external (just so it can see it)
    Go to the respective Hard Drive web site, and download the FREE DiskWizard program.
    Install it, and immediately build a bootable CD
    (There is an option that you can set, so that by default it chooses to open the Wizard, instead of Windows. Trust me you should make that choice)
    So I can sleep peacefully, never create an image whilst Windows is running (so many of you do, TCH! TCH!), always use the bootable CD.
    After the image is created, you should immediately Verify/validate it.

    Rob Down Under

  3. #3
    I create images while Windows is running and have never had an issue.

    Volume Shadow Copy enables the creation of point-in-time backups.

    I also recommend (no matter which approach is used) doing a byte-for-byte validation when doing disk images as a method of verifying they are good.

  4. #4
    WS Lounge VIP
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Thanked 952 Times in 883 Posts
    I only ever create backups while Windows is running, anything else is too much like hard work, not to mention unnecessary.

    cheers, Paul

  5. #5
    New Lounger
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Tujunga, Los Angeles, CA
    Thanked 2 Times in 1 Post

    Different ways to backup.

    I have never been a fan of backup software. The reason is it always seems to require the app you backed up with to access the files. Further, I never understood the full plus incrementals in that if I wanted to find a backed up file I wouldn't know where to look. Now please understand because of these issues, or perceived by me issues, I never actually did any work with backup software until I set a client up with a Buffalo Linkstation NAS that came with Nova Stor. After I had done it I hated it.

    Later on, as a RoboForm user I kept seeing their GoodSync and tried it. Now that makes sense to me in that it back ups my data as a Sync action, and I can go to the location of the synced files using Windows Explorer and they are there as if I had simply copied them, meaning I didn't need GoodSync to access my files. GoodSync can do multiple version backups, and has mini apps built in to sync to Amazon Cloud, OneDrive, DropBox, AWS, Google Drive, FTP, and others. What it doesn't do is compress or encrypt, however, protecting data can be done at the backup location.

    I have multiple automated jobs to backup to the NAS, and one to backup one special folder to One Drive using GoodSync.

    Now for the system backup. First, I always use a separate partition for the system and software, and one, or more, for the data. I use a 120gb SSD for the system drive and a 2.5 inch 120 gb cheap, used HDD to clone the system drive to using Partition Wizard, and then I make sure I can boot to it before I remove it to store it elsewhere. To facilitate this I have an ICY DOC 2.5 & 3.5 external drives bay mounted in a 5.25 bay in the front of the desktop tower that connects the drives directly to the motherboard. For laptops, I use a removable 2.5 inch drive bay in place of the optical drive.

    This way, if I or one of my clients lose their system partion to a virus or whatever, they can simply insert the backed up drive and go, which works especially well if you have a client sitting there for an editing session and your system goes down. One client even backs up to an SSD for that purpose as the HDD backup system drive is so slow, which is bad when a client is sitting there twidling their thumbs.

    Most of my clients have Digital Audio/Video Workstations that I custom build for them.

  6. #6
    5 Star Lounger
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanked 137 Times in 128 Posts
    While it is critical you test your backup solution real world now before you really need it, I would not quite do it in the manner recommended.

    While the procedure is a way to test if your backup solution works or not, I don't think the proposed method is a data safe way to test whether your backup solution works or not.

    Step 1 is to make a backup. Well yes, but if something goes horribly wrong then why would I expect this backup work to restore the screwup if the test backup didn't?

    Testing two backup solutions seems silly too. Test whatever system you already have implemented. Now with no Windows OS to boot to can you restore a boot drive to transparent functionality as if nothing bad had happened?

    If you have not implemented a backup solution yet then choose one and see if it passes the real world test.

    Step 4 is to destroy the drive information stored on the platters (sort of) by (presumably quick) reformating and test the backup to see if it works to restore the information. That is fairly risky. What if it doesn't work? Better to pull the drive and run the restore on a spare drive (even if you need pay for one) whose contents are not critical. That way if it doesn't work you can reconnect the old drive and find another backup solution.

    That points to one other thing that can foul up a backup...some backup apps need to restore to a drive or partition of at least equal size to the drive or partition being restored. A very few backup apps are smarter than that.
    Last edited by Fascist Nation; 2015-11-12 at 12:02.

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