OT: Disk Imaging Software

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Susan Smith
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OT: Disk Imaging Software

Postby Susan Smith » Fri Jun 03, 2011 11:49 am

Hi all,

After a nasty hard drive crash last Friday, I'm looking for new disk imaging software. I faithfully backup online (with Jungledisk) every night, which saved my bacon this time. But when you have to restore 300+gb over the internet, AND reinstall your O/S and well over 100 different applications, you quickly find out that you should have had a reliable local image copy of your drive. So I've learned my lesson.

Two packages I've eliminated from the list are Acronis True Image 11 and Norton Ghost. I've had trouble with these in the past. Any recommendations? I'm open to freeware OR to paid software. I've seen some positive reviews of the following (most of which happen to be free):

Paragon Backup & Recovery 2011 (Advanced)

Macrium Reflect Free Edition http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.asp

PING (PartImage Is Not Ghost) http://ping.windowsdream.com/

Clonezilla http://clonezilla.org/

Seagate Disk Wizard program which is a stripped down version of Acronis. I have downloaded it in the hopes that it might be more reliable than the full blown True Image 11, but if any of you have used it, I'd love to know. I DO have Seagate hard drives, which this software requires. I'll give it a whirl as soon as my file restore is complete.

Most of these that I've mentioned are free, but paid is fine too. RELIABILITY is the most important feature. Simplicity helps too. When you lose everything in a hard drive crash, your mental state is pretty close to the edge and complicated software could be enough to push you over.

I'd love the option to Image and to Clone, but having both in the same application would be icing on the cake. If you have something that you really like - especially if you've had to restore with it, please let me know.


-- Susan

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Joined: Wed Apr 29, 2009 5:51 am

Postby GomezL » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:17 pm

If you want an "Enterprise Solution", I like Backup Exec.

http://www.symantec.com/business/produc ... backupexec

You will pretty much need a "Backup Server", there is a Desktop Agent that backs up your workstations, and several options for the server.

I presume that you want the "Free Or Nearly Free Option"

I have been using http://easeus.com/ They have a very nice free option, and scale up to some very nice high end products.

With the Free Version, you can easily perform an Image Backup to a USB drive. The nice thing is later, besides restoring, you can actually "Mount the Backup" and it looks just like a drive!, just use windows explorer, and drag whatever you want.

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Location: Concord, Massachusetts

Postby gtisdale » Fri Jun 03, 2011 12:56 pm

I have tried a few things over the years and have now been using a very simple solution using Xcopy and scheduled tasks on my Windows machines.

Every other day at two o'clock in the morning my automatic routine kicks in and does an Xcopy to an alternate directory on my backup machines. I called the directories data and dataodd.

The crux of the XCOPY command is

xcopy w:\*.* \\(IPADDRESS)\users\server\wintext\ /s/d/c/y/h
xcopy k:\*.* \\(IPADDRESS)users\server\data\ /s/d/c/y/h
xcopy L:\*.* \\(IPADDRESS)\users\server\programs\ /s/d/c/y/h

So anything with a more recent date overwrites what was there before. It is not a s secure as a formal back-up and does not create a bootable image. But with my office set up it has worked very well for me ever since I realized that backing up the tapes was a waste of time because tapes stretch. It also does not reinsall things like Word or other software that need to be installed and registered. But my data is multiple copied and easily retrieved.

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Postby bluesfannoz » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:05 pm

I have been using an application call Genie Timeline that works similar to Apple's TimeMachine. It keeps multiple copies of your files so you can actually go back in time. I have restored files but cross my fingers, I have not yet had to recover my entire machine.

Steve Koger
Computer Specialist

Susan Smith
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Joined: Sun Aug 10, 2008 4:24 am
Location: Southern California

Postby Susan Smith » Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:32 pm

Thanks guys. I may check out the http://easeus.com/ option that Luis mentioned. I've seen some reviews for it recently. My need is definitely for imaging software, and I do like the idea that I can mount the Easeus image without having to restore the image first (presumably to restore selected files?). I don't use a file server (yet). This is all on a single primary workstation with several physical drives and multiple partitions. Nothing is on the C: drive except Windows and application data for Email (Thunderbird) and my browser (Firefox). Ironically, those were the most painless to reinstall. LOVE those applications!

I have eight Seagate 7200 rpm Barracuda raw drives (1.5 terabytes each) which I can use in my ESATA Hard Drive dock just like they were cartridges. So I thought that I could either CLONE my drives or IMAGE them to the external hard drives in a rotation. One of them will be moved off the premises. Then if my primary drive ever fails again, I can simply switch to the clone or restore the image and all of my applications and O/S will be up and running instantly. You haven't lived til you tried to find all of the install files (or in a few cases, CDs) for more than 100 applications (assuming you can remember WHAT the applications were that you had installed). And then you have to apply all subsequent updates. A nightmare to be sure. It took more than an hour yesterday just to download the updates from Quickbooks that had been published since my install file.

Another issue is trying to REMEMBER what you have to reinstall. Things I use every day are no problem. But there are LOADS of utilities and other useful applications that I don't want to lose. David Blankenship suggested a very simple thing that I am now doing: I am doing a DIR of my C:\Programs folder and directing it to a file and saving that with my File by File backups. (I printed a copy as well.) This way, I have an easy list of all installed programs, with a few exceptions (like BR) which aren't actually "installed". This is a huge timesaver. Another thing I'm doing is saving the contents of my DESKTOP folder in another place so I can see what desktop shortcuts were on the desktop. I have always saved every single downloaded program (I don't buy much on CDs or DVDs anymore) into it's own folder inside of my downloads folder. I have a spreadsheet with my license codes for the software. These things are helping me reinstall my applications.

All "My documents" folders and user folders were backed up as well, so I really had all critical things backed up. But I have 100+gb of photos, and as much video that has to be restored from my backup. What I learned from this (and I hope some of YOU learn, if you haven't already) that it's not just the good backup that you need. No matter how many good File-by-File backups you have - local or offsite, if you don't have an image or a clone of your boot drive, then the process to get all of those applications and data files back online, can still effectively put you out of business for a while.

It's been a solid week that I've been reinstalling Windows, application programs and downloading my backups over the internet (splitting the job between two machines simultaneously). I still have another week to go before I can recover everything. A local image of my drive would have made this process painless and fast.

-- Susan, much smarter now...

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