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Thread: Backing Up

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    Backing Up

    So a new year's resolution this year is to practice safer computer, and that includes getting religious on backing up. Bought myself an external hard drive and now I need to figure out what to do with it.
    Imaging my computer sounds the safest, but there is a great deal of conflicting information about the reliability and usability of Norton Ghost 10.0. I am a bit nervous about buying it.
    If I use Accessories ! System Tools ! Backup, and select "Backup everything on my computer" is that like doing an image?
    Otherwise, I can do a simple backup of "My Documents" which is about 9 GB. I have used 65.5 GB of a 146 GB drive.
    Any suggestions? Thanks.

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    Re: Backing Up

    Most loungers will recommend you not use Microsoft Backup. Many here recommend Acronis TrueImage. Find it & more information at Backup software for data backup and disaster recovery - Acronis.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Re: Backing Up

    Here's something I learned from my Dad's backup woes. If your external drive is formatted as FAT32, which probably is the most common "off the shelf" format, then the maximum file size is something like 4GB. As you noted, that's not enough for a complete backup. If you use a backup program that is not smart enough to break up the files to fit under that limit (and apparently Windows XP home's built-in backup is such a not-so-smart program), all of your backup jobs will fail. You can work around this by backing up smaller chunks of files, or by getting other software.

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    Re: Backing Up

    ...or by (re-)formatting the external drive as NTFS?

    John
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    Re: Backing Up

    I think NTFS would work. Haven't tried it with my big drives.

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    Re: Backing Up

    I would approach backup from the exact opposite angle -- restore.

    What do you consider you would want to restore from the external hard drive? Probably: <UL><LI>the entire system disk -- in which case you want an image backup such as produced by Acronis TrueImage or Norton Ghost<LI>files you may have inadvertently deleted or modified significantly at an arbitrary time in the past -- in which case a number of 'mirror' images/snapshots of the whole disk or likely folders/directories such as produced by ROBOCOPY or (gasp!) Microsoft Backup would be useful<LI>other requirements specific to yourself[/list]Having decided what you want to restore, you then have to decide what backup interval to chose - daily? weekly? monthly? This will probably vary according to what you are backing up - you might not want to do an image backup on a daily basis, perhaps. Perhaps consider a backup scheme such as used for servers and tape backup, such as 12 x monthly backups, 5 x weekly backups, and 7 x daily backups (but your kilometreage may vary).

    Then finally -- how do you back up the external hard drive itself? Or more precisely, you need to think about what you would do if the external drive fails (they do, you know!). Would you lose anything vital that isn't on your system drive? Then you want to consider the occasional writing of stuff to DVD as well as to the external hard drive. And maybe use a USB Flash Drive (I've seen up to 8GB in size, at significant prices!) for short-term backups of rapidly-changing files.

    What I'm suggesting might be well over the top for your requirements, so reject what is inappropriate and keep the applicable bits!

    John
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    Re: Backing Up

    I don't see any reason to use any file system other than NTFS, if you don't really need any backward compatibility. I have a pair of RAID-1 disks (373 GB each, 25 GB used) and an external 273 GB drive, all formatted with NTFS.

    John

    PS The unusual disparity between main and backup disk is because the nominal 400 GB system drives were a warranty-replacement for the original pair of nominal 120 GB drives - perhaps Dell had run out of 120 GB drives at the time the boot sector (I reckon it was) got overwritten!
    <font face="Script MT Bold"><font color=blue><big><big>John</big></big></font color=blue></font face=script>

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    Re: Backing Up

    I'm gonna move this to the Software forum as others might chime in over there and this has already involved Ghost and Acronis and the choice of file system.

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    Re: Backing Up

    Well, I'm with Joe and one of "those" who highly recommends Acronis True Image (10.0). It will do ALL your backup requirements including scheduled backups of the system, individual folders/files, etc., etc. To recover an individual file, all one needs to do is launch True Image, click on "Explore and Validate Backup Archives" and then "Mount Image" and the backup image is displayed as a virtual drive in Windows Explorer. From there you can easily drag & drop whatever you want to copy over to your C: or X: drive. Then just click on "Unmount image". DONE. There are many other features available, e.g., cloning to a new replacement HDD, etc. The best thing to do is to download the "Trial" version and try it out. Any incompatibility issues with your system and/or configuration will be immediately apparent. Support is quite good from Acronis as well as on the Support Board. <IMG SRC=http://www.the-highway.com/Smileys/BigThumbUp.gif>

    ADDENDUM: I format all my HDD's with NTFS, including my external drives. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    Jeff
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    Re: Backing Up

    Add my vote for Acronis True Image 10.
    No doubt it outshines Ghost and others.

    Edited to Add:
    >>>Backup everything on my computer" is that like doing an image?

    No it's not . A backup will back up files . An Image will back up everything. Settings, reg and any other custom settings you may use.
    BOB
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    Re: Backing Up

    As Pilgrim and Viking have already said, I also use Acronis TrueImage and can echo their opinions in spades. As you will no doubt see in searching The Lounge, many of us use this product and rely heavily on it, successfully I might add.

    I also have two external USB drives to which I run my images (backups) and both drives are formatted with the NTFS file system. Strangely enough, when I bought them they arrived pre-formatted with FAT32 and I used the CONVERT command to change 'em to NTFS. As recently as yesterday, I "mounted" an image in order to extract some needed files to my primary hard drive. No sweat at all!

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    Re: Backing Up

    THe built-in windows backup is a weak file based backup, not worth using.

    I was using both TI 9 and Ghost 10, but have not used Ghost since 3 Nov 2006.
    See [url]http://forums.hardwareguys.com/ikonboard.cgi?s=4492619c5fa1ffff;act=ST;f=13;t=457 3[url].

    TI 9 has the features I want.
    Image backup with the option of real incremental/differential backups.
    Ability to mount volumes from a backup archive in either read or read/write mode.

    On my system, TI 9 is much slower than Ghost 10.

    I would choose TI over Ghost.

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    Re: Backing Up

    I cannot think of a reason to NOT use NTFS on a drive these daze, most certainly on a backup drive.

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    Re: Backing Up

    I can see that many people regard Acronis TrueImage as the complete solution to all known problems <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> but I would argue that you are putting all your (backup) eggs in one basket. This is potentially dangerous (remember risk assessments?!), because all software (and hardware) is fallible to a greater or lesser extent. There are accounts on many bulletin boards of (a very few) people who have had problems with TrueImage and found their lovely data to be unrestorable when they needed to do a restore. Nobody wants to be in that situation.

    Diversity of backup must be the way to go. The more (apparently redundant) methods you have of backing up, and the more locations and media types you do it to, the more chance that more than zero of these methods will enable you to restore the data when the time comes. So it's a complete pain, but any backup is a pain! Mostly it's automatable, and all you have to do is regular checks that it's working.

    And to put in a Good Word for Microsoft Backup (on Windows Server 2003), I have been very satisfied with it over the past 17 months, using it to back up our server to a DDS4 tape drive (see scheme in my previous post). And yes, I've had to restore files and directories from tape on several occasions. I use a very excellent 'front end' to Backup, called BackupAssist, some Australian software which is backed up (<groan!>) by the most helpful technical support people I have ever encountered.

    But I'm also using ROBOCOPY to back up user data to external hard disks (in fact the empty D: partitions of several of the PCs). And there is a bare-metal restore method within MS Backup. And I'll be looking at an 'image backup' method for the server (the difficulty being the amount of data to be backed up). I may well consider Acronis Trueimage Server (but not if it actually costs our charity $699...).

    John
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    Re: Backing Up

    I Used to use Ghost 10, as well as TI 9, but I stopped using GHost 10 as of 3 Nov 2005.

    IF TI works on your computer, and you learn to use the tools at:

    http://www.standards.com/index.html?ReadFile
    http://www.standards.com./index.html...peDistribution
    http://www.standards.com./index.html?CompareDrives

    And you maintain multiple backups, each on a separate external drive, for the most part, TI 9 does the job.

    THere are bugs.
    In my case, I can restore a drive only from the rescue CD.
    If I try to restore from within Windows, I get a BSOD.

    TI, at least on my system, is much slower than GHost.

    TI does incremental/differential backups properly, see http://forums.hardwareguys.com/ikonboard.c...=ST;f=13;t=4573.

    TI allows the mounting of volumes, from a backup archive, in eithe read or read/write mode.

    Technically, I believe that ShadowProtect is better, but SP has the problem I described for GHost in http://forums.hardwareguys.com/ikonboard.c...=ST;f=13;t=4573.

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