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Backup software/imaging or clone?

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#1 Mac29


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Posted 18 August 2011 - 08:56 AM

I'm finalizing a backup procedure. Crucial for school. Nobody answers because backup's not sexy, like a new build. Sucks to be me. Deciding between Acronis True Image, Eraseus Todo BU (free ed.) or maybe Ghost. Macrium Reflect free doesn't do incrementals. People swear Windows7 backup is ok or many say it's given them problems on a full restore.

Comes down to this: if Acronis True Image makes a partition on C: that is proprietary and unreadable (except by itself) then is that data vulnerable to virus/etc. simply by being on the same drive. I think yes. But this partition is 'hidden'. Do viruses not cross partitions?

If I can restore from the hidden partition on the same drive that's good. I plan on using DVD images and possibly a clone of the entire hard drive. I know Acronis can burn to DVD and clone. I'll deal with any resizing of paritions if neccessary. Here's what I have to work with: a 320GB w/ Win7 Pro (3 years old) & a new 500GB.

I want images on DVD that I can easily restore. I don't want to use the 500GB as a clone because I want to load another OS on it (I use a drive bay). My plan is to: A) move the data from C: to a new partition D thereby downsizing the 'system' size, then B save images of C: to DVD and to a partition on the new drive (same for data & incrementals).

I've read and read. Some people swear only a clone is 100% (re: disk signatures) but I imagine that view may be due to what imaging software gave them issues. Others use Acronis, etc. and imaging and say restore 100%. I'm guarding against virus and if this 3 yr old drive were to fail, & obviously restore to a different hard drive. Would I be safe from viruses if image or clone to another internal hard drive?

IF imaging/restore from DVD will not fail me, does anyone have recommendations? Anyone feel strongly that clone is the only way to go? I like the fact Acronis True Image can image the system stuff while Windows is running. I think it can also resize an image. Ghost creates a bootable DVD to restore from (using an image). Which of these is easiest to use to restore?

Thanks for the help,


Edited by Mac29, 18 August 2011 - 08:57 AM.

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#2 hamluis



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Posted 19 August 2011 - 11:15 AM

IMO...it's all a matter of personal preference, as are most computing questions that are not problematical.

A user can make it as simple or as complex as he/she desires...the important thing is to accomplish some procedure that overcomes the possible frustration that results when things go wrong in a system's functioning.


#3 tos226



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Posted 19 August 2011 - 04:36 PM

Acronis imaging on XP has never failed me. Use v9 and v10. So I'll list my experiences, in no particular order.

I've restored OS and data from a USB drive using boot CD made by Acronis application just for this purpose. It runs Linux.
It can bring back an image, resize partitions, can bring back differential to any date you want - so ling as the first full image is intact.
I have never used incrementals - just don't like the concept that if one incremental in the chain breaks the whole thing is off.
Differentials are more forgiving.

Very important - Linux view will misname partitions. You may think of it as a C drive or Z drive. Linux will call'm something else. So, make sure to NAME each of your partitions in a way that will be clear when restoring. Something like "C-system", "Z-data", whatever. So you will know it came from C, when Linux may call it D.

You can do imaging on DVDs, but I have no experience with it.

Cloning means a complete sector-by-sector copy of the current drive, all of it.
I think it's useful when you want to replace the current drive with a new one and make it totally identical. I have no experience with cloning.

Imaging permits you to image a partition. And in the event of the need for total drive replacement, works just fine. I've done it twice in the past few years.

I would advise you NOT to even think about putting images on the same drive you're backing up. When a drive goes down, it goes down. A live Linux CD might help recover things, but might not.

Using Acronis I have two Windows partitions, one for OS and Windows junk, another for all my data, utilities, installers, etc. Acronis helped me repartition. After that I installed a Linux OS, which created its own three partitions. Linux rewrote the boot loader, so that I can login to either OS. If I want to image the Linux partitions - no issue for Acronis. The only issue is Windows can't read Linux stuff, which doesn't bother me. Windows can read entire images or individual files that Acronis made because they install a driver which hooks explorer.exe.

Differential vs incremental

Clone vs image

Making a boot disk - requires you to have CD burning application in order to make a disc from the .ISO file Acronis makes

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