Easiest, most *Reliable* BU method - disregarding cost?

By Debbie23
Jan 31, 2010
  1. I'm looking for easiest & MOST RELIABLE method to BU OS & installed programs partitions, AND the restore or copying BUs to original partitions / HDDs ACTUALLY works.

    I just spent days w/ HP printer software / registry issues. HP support was useless this time.

    1) Imaging software seems to always have potential glitches. Any new program installed or Windows update, as examples (Vista x 32 / 64) seems to potentially cause BU software problems - Acronis, Ghost, etc. - read the thousands of posts on the subject.

    2) I don't care WHAT the best method / solution costs, long as it's easy as possible (scheduled automatic is better), AND most reliable method available.

    I'm partially disabled & though have advance ability to figure out almost any computer problem, have NO time or physical ability for such. I have NO time to trouble shoot why Acronis, Ghost, etc., is no longer working / restoring properly.

    3) What do IT pros use for simplest, most reliable BU & restore?

    4) My desktop has open bays for several more HDDs (but not my laptop). Maybe buying 1 or more giagantic HDDs & just copying the entire partitions & have DOS prgm(s) capable of copying entire partitions back, if windows or HDD fails completely?

    For laptop, maybe large external HDD?

    Thanks for suggestions.
  2. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,681   +86

    I've been using computers since so long that i am not sure :) and personally I have never bothered with any BU software; i like to keep things simple i.e. there is only one major folder which contains all my personal data (it has further sub-folders accordingly). I use Always Sync n go to synchronize data with my external passport hdd. Simple and hassle free at least for me.
  3. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    A simple and automatic method is an online backup subscription such as Carbonite. See here:

    I've never used it myself so I'm not endorsing it but check it out and see if it meets your needs. There are other similar competing services available as well.
  4. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,681   +86

    Probably is worth a try, 100$ for two years are pretty nice offer.
  5. compdata

    compdata TechSpot Paladin Posts: 526

    I use Mozy for backup (chose it over Carbonite as Carbonite doesn't let you back up external drives). Not sure either of these would really solve your issue of quick restore though as they can take a while to redownload files if you have an issue. An extra harddrive might be more appropriate in your case. The main reason i go with the web backup is that i have client files that i need to have remote site backup in case something happened to my house/computer etc. .
  6. Archean

    Archean TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,681   +86

    That is a fair point comp; however, instead of using internal drive i choose to use external to improve the probability of survival of the data; as putting two hdd's in the same casing mean you'll have the backup one plugged on always reducing its life obviously and if something went dangerously wrong with the system (e.g. power surge or something like that) you may end up loosing everything. About 10 years ago; I saw a case where due to power surge every single computer (along with its components) and printers etc. got fried, so since then just as a precaution i use external media, CDs / DVDs or HDDs. Ironically all the computers was HP so were the printers :D

    That was one of the reason's I felt web base service may be a good idea.
  7. hughva

    hughva TS Rookie Posts: 58

  8. gguerra

    gguerra TS Maniac Posts: 317

    Offsite Backup is fine but not always necessary and expensive. I would recommend using Acronis Differential backup to an external HDD using the scheduling service to backup daily, weekly or whatever you want. It is reliable and I speak from experience. I use it here at work to backup all of my PC's and servers. Once you set it up correctly it is pretty much seamless. Using the differential (or incremental) method of backing up will assure you will always have an up to date backup. The more often you backup the more up to date it will be. You dont even have to remember to do it if you schedule it. As long as your PC is on it will backup.
  9. hughva

    hughva TS Rookie Posts: 58

    Here's the problem, and I see it all the time.
    Hard drives fail, and external drives fail more than internal drives. They are almost worthless for backing up important data.
    If your data is worth anything at all, you need at least two copies on different media.

  10. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    Just to throw out another suggestion. In Debbie's case having someone build a low end PC in a good mid tower or full tower case and put Windows Home Server on it might be a decent option.
  11. gguerra

    gguerra TS Maniac Posts: 317

    ALL hard drives (mechanical) will fail at one point or another. It's not a matter of IF but WHEN.. Two copies is sufficient (under most circumstances), One on your internal drive that you use on a daily basis and one on external media (meaning outside the box). The external can be a regular USB HD, Network Attached Storage (NAS), a hard drive on another computer (peer to peer), or a file server of some type. If you think they will all fail at the same time (it is possible but not likely) and your data is important enough then by all means implement some type of off site backup.

    The key is will they all fail AT THE SAME TIME). In all my years of working in IT I have never seen this (25+ years).

    Many companies use a multi-generation backup to tape and remove the tapes from the premises on a regular basis. I use a newer approach here at my company. I have two 500gb NAS boxes. I will use one for one week and have my PC's and Servers backup to it, then I swap it with another identical NAS and leave one in a fire-proof safe.. That way I have multi generation backups and in the worst case scenario (the building burns down), I have at least a one week old backup available. I could improve this scenario by swapping it on a daily basis. I have been using these NAS boxes for 3 years now with no problems. That's not to mention all of our servers are RAID 10 which already have 4 hard drives mirrored and striped. The key here is redundancy. So in order for me to permanently lose any data all of the 4 hard drives on my RAID servers, both of my NAS boxes would have to fail at the same time. Again only likely if they are stolen or the building burns down.
  12. hughva

    hughva TS Rookie Posts: 58

    We're talking about a home user here, so tape, NAS and RAID would be overkill-nice, but overkill.
    When I say two copies, I mean two copies of the backup.
    If I were this user I'd get an Image backup solution like Acronis and back it up to an external drive, then supplement this with an on line backup solution and/or copy the data to a DVD.
    In the end, it's all about how important the data is to the user.
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