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Need backup software

By npahlavan ยท 25 replies
Mar 31, 2009
  1. So what's a good backup software to use?

    I have an external HDD and I want to be able to easily backup some files I have on my internal HDD. Would be great if the backup software can essentially mirror a few folders on my internal.
  2. Ruthe

    Ruthe TS Booster Posts: 70

    It depends on whether you want to simply backup data or if you need to make a clone of your hard drive - apps and all. I don't think anyone will recommend one single product to you. It's a matter of taste and pocketbook, features and usability. There are lots of them in each category ranging from free to a couple of hundred dollars. Try a search on clone (or ghost) hard drive or backup computer data. There will be lots of hits and lots of opinions.

    Good luck.
  3. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Well here's some links to imaging (cloning)
    But I don't think he wants that :confused:

    Norton Ghost (I use this one)
    Acronis True Image (most users like this one, images and backup incrementally)
    Acronis Migrate Easy (Just disk clone - quite good!)
    Drive Image (Basically an alternative)
    DriveImage XML (This one is free!)
    MaxBlast (I haven't used this, but it's free)
    pc-disk-clone(Home Edition: Up to 2GB/min, Pro Edition: Up to 7GB/min)

    Imaging: Backs up your entire system, including Windows and data, plus your partition as well. The image can be stored on removable media, such as DVD. And usually takes under an hour (depending on size of image) to fully recover to a blank HardDrive.
  4. npahlavan

    npahlavan TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Thanks everyone!

    Let me get this right. Imaging allows for my windows operating system, including all programs I have installed down to the wallpaper I have set for my desktop to be restored?
  5. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Everything :)

    And when you restore this 4 or even 8 Gig (or more) of files upon files, it takes usually less than one hour, without you doing a thing (except starting the process)

    I image so much I've got XP on a DVD image (with Office and Adobe and all Windows Security Updates, and tons of other stuff), and it takes 30mins to restore fully

    I wouldn't be without it ;)
  6. npahlavan

    npahlavan TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    I went with Acronis True image. Doing an image of my PC right now. 237GB of data is taking 9 hours to complete!
  7. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Hmm It may have been better to clean as much stuff off first
    Certainly things such as Temp files don't need to be in the image, you can run CCleaner for that

    But there also may have been a number of "extra" programs that you probably don't use and just takes up space.

    I even go as far as removing the Windows Security updates backups as well

    I think imaging is not ideal with data either. You can't read the data until it's un-imaged again, and you are best to back up data directly (to CD or external USB drive)

    Imaging in my view is for your OS and system files, being usually under 10Gig max
  8. Bluemouse

    Bluemouse TS Rookie Posts: 195

    That's assuming that you thought ahead and partitioned your drive properly :) But I agree, you're best off just copying data to another drive/partition and imaging the OS itself.

    As for backup software on windows, I've had best results with Acronis. Try to stay away from Norton products when at all possible ;)
  9. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Just regarding Norton

    I only use the floppy boot up part, I have not got Norton installed (ohhh dread the thought)
  10. npahlavan

    npahlavan TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    I have a folder with a bunch of media in it, hence why my image was so large.

    I basically want to be able to restore my computer back to how it is now in the event my HDD crashes or a virus or whatever.

    I also want to be able to actively backup my media folder as I am constantly adding to it.

    Acronis did not give the option to image my computer and exclude my media folder. It was all or nothing.

    It would be nice to have an image of my PC, but have a mirroring type deal with my media folder. Any help with doing this using Acronis True Image?
  11. nazartp

    nazartp TS Enthusiast Posts: 178   +12

    Knowing Acronis, that's exactly what guys were talking above. It is, in general, advisable, to partition the hard drive and have one partition dedicated to the system and the second one to the data. In that case, Acronis, when you select back up "My Computer", allows you to choose which disks to backup. You chose one with the system and voila, you backup is fairly small. Run the data back-up once and the incremental ones become very small.

    I work with media files quite a bit: usually take about 200-300 pictures every weekend (obviously amount dwindles when I finished processing those) and I installed a separate drive just for the files. Allows to manage the data much more efficiently. If you are cash strapped or cannot install another drive, consider partitioning the HD and have your data on a separate partition.

    On a separate note, what compression level are you using? Through trial and error I found that high compression level typically takes roughly 150% of the time of the normal level compression for a minor gain in saving space.
  12. npahlavan

    npahlavan TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Between low, normal, high, and max. I was using high compression. I think I will partition my HDD as you said for my media files.
  13. Ruthe

    Ruthe TS Booster Posts: 70

    Funny. When I read the post it sounded just like a client I worked on last month! She thought, since she had on-line backup, that she'd be ok if the hard drive crashed. That's when I had to explain between data, applications, registry ... her eyes crossed!

    So it sounds like Nazartp is taken care of. For those of you casually reading this post:
    data backup is just that. You create data when you download pictures or music, create a document or spreadsheet, write email or text, or use a whole range of applications too numerous to list. If you only want to save what YOU produced, you only need to backup data.

    BUT, if you can not get back your applications, operating system, current setup - all the things that came with your machine or you purchased and installed on your machine and you want to be able to get back to where you were RIGHT THIS MOMENT - you need to clone (ghost).

    Having said that, there are people more knowledgeable than I that can explain about hardware IDs (and other things) that may prevent you from installing a clone. Or installing data depending on your filesystem. Meaning, if you have to buy a whole new machine, neither backup is guaranteed. There are ways, but that's for another topic.

    Thanks Kimsland (again!) for your list.
  14. nazartp

    nazartp TS Enthusiast Posts: 178   +12

    Not sure, Ruthe, what you mean by your post. I was suggesting that npahlavan can possibly cut on the time spent backing things up by partitioning the drive.

    You keep your system and software on one partition. It will not change too often or too much. Back it up either on a schedule or when you make changes to a system. I run an incremental back-up once a month and system state weekly.

    You then keep your data on a separate partition and back it up frequently since it changes likely every day. I back it up weekly along with the system state.

    Therefore, ghosting the entire machine very frequently is not necessary. In addition, you lose one partition to hardware malfunction, infestation, etc. you don't need to restore the entire image.
  15. npahlavan

    npahlavan TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    ^^ Just got done partitioning my drives. Now I have my OS on one partition and all my media/data on another. I think this will make backing up much easier!! Thanks for the advice nazartp.

    Back to what Ruthe was saying about my OS partition. If my system ever crashes for whatever the reason, I would like to restore my system back to exactly the way it is right now. Same wallpaper, programs, settings, etc. You're saying I need a clone (ghost), not an image? Are they the same thing? This image or ghost is going on an external just so you know.

    Thanks in advance!
  16. nazartp

    nazartp TS Enthusiast Posts: 178   +12

    Ghosting is creating the full clone of your main drive. Acronis has an option for that. Means that if you lose your entire hard drive, you will have a workable copy of it sitting around, i.e., you will be able to swap the HD and be off and running immediately.

    For what you are doing backing up the system partition, system state and your data would achieve similar results. If your system crashes, you will be able to restore the system files (OS and programs) and the system state, i.e., their settings. Your data partition becomes corrupted, you will have that.

    Anyone with me experience than me wants to pitch in?
  17. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    Acronis will definately clone or ghost your HD.

    If it's just a few files or folders, use windows backup or the tons of opensource freeware out there.

    sourceforge.net is a good place to look.
  18. npahlavan

    npahlavan TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Great, thanks guys!

    Have a question about Acronis TI. There is an option to make an image of my disk as well as an option to backup the System State. By creating an image, will it include everything in a system state too?
  19. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    You may better off this one if you just want to clone disk to disk
    Acronis also have an excellent support page h e r e
    And an active official support forum h e r e
  20. npahlavan

    npahlavan TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    I'm thinking a clone may not work for me. My usb external HDD will be connected to the computer at all times. I would like it to contain daily backups of my media data, and weekly backups of my OS. They are on different partitions. The OS backups I expect to contain all programs, settings, drivers, etc so that I can restore my pc exactly how i left it. I think a clone may render my external unusable for backups of other data.
  21. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,524

    Oh I see
    Yes I agree, if you were "cloning" then I would suggest both hard drives to be connected internally
    For incremental backups and synchronous data backup Acronis True Image would be best
  22. Char_X

    Char_X TS Rookie Posts: 170

    Well, i agree Acronis is the best for it.
  23. npahlavan

    npahlavan TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 25

    I'm on the Acronis forums right now. Me and many others are having issues with the scheduling not working and backing up to an external HDD not working when a schedule is set. It just doesn't do anything if you backup to an external on a schedule, or if you add to an existing backup on the acronis secure zone itself on a schedule. Hopefully they can help me and others resolve this.
  24. Row1

    Row1 TS Guru Posts: 343   +13

    how do you re-install the clone image?

    while on the topic:
    if the main partiiton with the op system does die, how do you get the clone in place?

    are y'all ghosting the image to another hard drive, then just plugging that hard drive into the machine, where the dead hard drive was?

    or is there a routine on a backup external drive or backup burded dvd that runs itself?
  25. mscrx

    mscrx TS Rookie Posts: 310

    with ghost you can created a bootable cd/dvd which can restore the backed up image to a new drive almost automatically - if that was what you mean
    I believe other programs can do the same ....
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