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2 partition hdd for quick restore?


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4 replies to this topic

#1 tim_ver

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 01:39 PM

I wanted to know if this was possible or not. I would like to have a hdd with two partitions one is C: (Main boot and use) other is D: (The backup / image "ghost") So if the main C: ever messes up and I want to start from scratch I just ghost over the image from D: to C: and I am right back up and running no issues.


If this is not possible how can I archive this to avoid long down times and headaches from issues that may come up?

Thanks

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 02:02 PM

Hi :thumbsup:.

It's possible, I have a system with such...but I don't have it that way for the reasons you suggest.

I really don't care if I have to do a clean install because I do backups of my data files (and the boot partition) to a totally different drive. I created this cloned partition just as a sort of experiment to ensure that my software still does what it would do 8 years ago.

The fallacy that I see putting the backup on the same drive is...what makes a user that any portion of a bad hard drive is going to be accessible in the future? It does happen, but I would not want to count on it. Some defects/accidents render the entire drive useless/inaccessible...to discount such would be a great display of faith in the unexpected (that being the assumption that things never go wrong).

If a user is going to only have one hard drive, I believe it's better to partition it and hope for the best...but the optimum solution would be to create the cloned partition...and store it somewhere other than a drive used for daily business. I prefer hard drives (because I have an excess number of such), but there are various other media which can be used to store a cloned backup, with the key aspect of a backup being that it is capable of being retrieved intact when things go wrong.

Lots of opinions on the Web about backing up...how, when, why, etc...that have more validity than mine :flowers:.

Louis

#3 Platypus

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Posted 16 January 2009 - 07:32 PM

I second hamluis' caution that such a system on its own doesn't protect against failure of the hard drive, or corruption of the partition table making both partitions inaccessible.

However I use the proposed plan myself - I have Acronis images of all my systems in pristine working condition on another partition, or another drive if the system has more than one hard drive. If the Windows installation becomes unstable or is corrupted I can simply reinstate the backup image. However the images are also backed up to two other locations also (a DVD and a portable HDD), in case a drive simply fails. Then I can re-image a new drive and immediately be back in action.

Edited by Platypus, 16 January 2009 - 07:33 PM.

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#4 Hawkeye4

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 01:51 AM

I second hamluis' caution that such a system on its own doesn't protect against failure of the hard drive, or corruption of the partition table making both partitions inaccessible.

However I use the proposed plan myself - I have Acronis images of all my systems in pristine working condition on another partition, or another drive if the system has more than one hard drive. If the Windows installation becomes unstable or is corrupted I can simply reinstate the backup image. However the images are also backed up to two other locations also (a DVD and a portable HDD), in case a drive simply fails. Then I can re-image a new drive and immediately be back in action.


For those that don't know (like me), what's the difference (in time demands too) between just making a backup of the drive by just copying it or making an image of it. Any pros and cons for each?

Oh, and how's Acronis compared to the others? Thanks!

Edited by Hawkeye4, 17 January 2009 - 01:53 AM.


#5 hamluis

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Posted 17 January 2009 - 12:11 PM

I don't use Acronis, but I can try to answer with comments about some of the differences between a backup and a clone of the system.

A backup is ordinarily dependent upon the install of a program and it consists of making copies of some/all of the files that the user points to. The content of a backup depends primarily on the program chosen and the manner in which that program operates. There is no standard that I can perceive in the programs that I have tried/used...each is a little different in what they will backup, how they backup/copy files, the repository of the backup, etc.

XP comes with a backup program of its own but it has limitations that other backup programs will not have.

A user would have to review the documentation of a given program in order to fully understand what happens and what will not happen when using backup software.

OTOH...a disk image is a cloned copy (exact copy) of the contents of a given partition/drive. If I clone the boot partition (C:) on this system, I will have an exact copy of my C: partition. The size of the partition (and it's contents) may determine what type of media is used for storing that clone, IMO.

Both a backup and an imaging/cloning program...will afford the user the opportunity to use compression to reduce the size of the resulting file(s).

I have a program that does both, it will backup whatever I want and it will also make a disk image of my partitions, if I so desire. I can backup today and clone today...I just cannot do both at the same time.

Restoration of the backup is dependent upon using the program which created the backup.

There is no restoration involved in a disk image...all I have to do is insert the hard drive on which I've saved the image...or transfer that image to a blank hard drive...and it will work, since the cloned copy/image has all the files needed to boot my system, in the proper places.

One other difference which I can think of...I can restore individual files from my backups, if I so desire, to my current XP install. I don't have to restore them to the same location, I can restore them anywhere I like, as long as I have free space there. I do this restoration with the same software I used to originally make the backup.

With the disk image...I can copy individual files from the image (if I so desire) but I don't have to use any software to do such. It's just a normal copy operation that most of us do every day.

The one thing that I would advise anyone doing either backups or disk-imaging...test the product after the operation is complete. Some persons make what they think are backups or useable disk-images...and they don't discover until later that there was corruption or something else went wrong in the effort...so the prospective backup or clone may be useless and unable to be accessed as anticipated.

Nothing worse than grabbing a life preserver that leaks and cannot do what it was intended to do.

As for pros and cons...I think it's user preference.

I prefer to rely on my backups because I do them routinely, I know that the ones I save work...and I don't mind the time it takes me to reinstall or use such. But many of the persons here have more complex lives than mine and for them...time is of the essence. For such persons, cloning probably is a more efficient choice because it's near-instant.

Louis




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