View Full Version : Backup software

06-09-2008, 07:48 AM
After the computer stopped booting, and after rebuilding on a used computer I got from Jaderunner (thanks, Scott!), I'm kinda thinking I should take disaster recovery a bit more seriously. Duh. I got lucky this time, with a USB adapter I was able to pull off all the data. Whew.

What kind of baremetal recovery and backup software do you use, and like? I was fiddling around with Gparted per Spanky's advice, and it's cool, but not a total solution. It would be awesome to restore to a gold setup annually and then either do incremental/differential restores, or just pick and choose files.

So far, Back2Normal and Acronis True Image look pretty good. Per the reviews, True Image seems to get people who love it, or hate it. Not sure why. Maybe it was a problem with the download from CNet. :confused: True Image is supposed to rock over Ghost.

The ability to clone to a larger drive is pretty darn cool. Then my existing 80GB drive can just be the OS gold backup, sitting in a drawer. I have already segregated user data to a separate partition I made with Partition Magic, so that is easily backed up via DVD, but scheduled incrementals would be very cool - my wife is not so good about backing up the check register. :rolleyes:

06-09-2008, 07:58 AM
Get a Mac. Time Machine on Leopard is pretty nice.

I also do weekly drive dumps to external FireWire drives manually.

06-09-2008, 08:32 AM
Get a Mac. Time Machine on Leopard is pretty nice.

I also do weekly drive dumps to external FireWire drives manually.
That's our solution. Backup is seamless and built into OS X.


06-09-2008, 09:04 AM
Get a Mac. Time Machine on Leopard is pretty nice.

I also do weekly drive dumps to external FireWire drives manually.
No. BTDT. Telling me to change computers, OSs, etc. ain't helpful. There are software packages for under $50 (many under $30) that do exactly the same thing on a PC, any OS. Some are freeware.

06-09-2008, 09:19 AM
Connected data protector is a nice program to run. I personally run the software that came with my back up drive. Works fine and has not missed a beat.

In addition to that I back up all my pictures on DVDs, one copy stays with me in a CD holder and the second goes to my friends house. He has all my pictures and movies and I have his.

As for data, I have several drives that store different things but are all backed up once a week with my software that came with my back up drive. For about $100-150 you can get 1/2 a Terabyte or more now, plenty of storage.

I got a Terabyte since we have large picture files but remember they too can crash hence the DVDs as back up.

PS One more quick note on my system. We had to evacuate during the Hayman fire, I pulled my computer apart to get my HDD's out. Now if it happened again i just grab my large HDD from my desk and my CD folder and out the door I am.

06-09-2008, 10:42 AM
I bought a "network attached storage" device with 2 hard drives in it. This one (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/SearchTools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=3032610&CatId=2670) is similar. I set it up so the hard drives mirror one another.

06-09-2008, 10:49 AM
If you're looking to backup your entire machine, any of the products you've mentioned will get the job done. I second the external USB hard drive / NAS device thing. I actually backk all of my important stuff to my web server. It's in a different building, in a different city, from my home machine. :-) I also know people who keep three USB hard drives. they have 2 at home at any given time, then keep one in a safe deposit box. Off-siting your data is really the only way to get true disaster recovery.

My $.02,

06-09-2008, 12:21 PM
I use time machine on my Macintosh for backups too.

If you have an extra computer to serve as an FTP server: We clone all of our machines using G4U. This is an open source replacement for "Ghost."

Use NT backup (or whatever windoze is calling the built in backup stuff) to schedule a backup your file data to a removable drive. Take a snapshot of your fully functional rig with G4U, uploading and compressing the image file to the FTP server.

Now, when things go "windows" --er "wrong" you can restore the entire rig to a running condition using the bootable g4u CD-ROM to "slurp" the image file stored on your FTP server on your LAN. Then, re-apply your up-to-date file information from your removable data drive. Total time might be about 30 minutes depending upon how fast your LAN is, how big your computer is, and how much data you have to copy once you get the rig running again. (average time to rebuild a typical office type workstation is 30 minutes.)

06-09-2008, 01:09 PM
For starters, my system is partitioned so that C is only software and settings and D, E, F & I are data only. These are over two physical internal drives and one external USB drive.

I use BackupNow for daily automated backups of business data, which I simply do to a second internal hard drive. C and E are physically the same drive so I back-up all of D's data to E daily. Fast, full backups that run at 2AM.

Every month or so I (1) copy each of the data partitions to the external drive and (2) use DriveBackup to make a recovery disc set of C (spans 2 DVD's). I also make a fresh system image before any major software installs. Finally, I only install what I need and try to keep my machine as lean as possible.

I have my office in a converted detatched garage so the CD/DVD's go into the house. Not ideal off-site storage but one day I will set that up.

Drives WILL fail (its just a matter of when) and I have used my system to restore data and to restore the system in only a few hours.

As you noted, you can also use the system drive image to switch over to a new machine or install a new hard drive in your existing machine. The switch to a new machine is difficult because of different drivers and CPU id (which will take a call to Microsoft to get help). But, with all data segregated its really easy to move data to a new machine.


06-09-2008, 04:04 PM
Yep, at least the data is now segregated on a separate partition, if not a drive. So far all user data fits on one DVD. Handy. Simple copy.

I found a Western Digital 320GB USB2.0 at Office Depot for $80, hard to beat.

That will do me for a while. I want to make a gold image of my machine already set up, software installed, disk defragged, which is the bulk of my time in rebuilding. That's what I did over my weekend instead of a dirt bike event in Buena Vista. :(

Then do incrementals on a schedule.

I do have a USB box for IDE drives I could use to make a second USB portable. Thinking about my laptop now... :eek::rolleyes:

06-09-2008, 04:05 PM
Interesting, PCMag Editor's Choice:
Not quite as powerful as True Image, but really good forum based support and fewer issues. Hmmm...

Ewww, kinda pricey though. ~$75

06-09-2008, 04:34 PM
Have any idea what HD recovery costs? $75 is about 5% of the cost.

06-09-2008, 04:58 PM
Seagate Half Terabyte (485GB) external USB Harddrive-$120 Office Depot

You won't run out of space for a while

06-10-2008, 06:52 AM
This reminds me that I need to backup my pics and vids. My one and only HD crashed last year and needless to say it was not a pleasant experience. It would run for 30 seconds then shut off.

I was barely able to get most of my stuff off of it over the course of several days.

I think I may just buy another USB drive and use the software that comes with it since it sounds like that works OK.

06-10-2008, 09:08 AM
Have any idea what HD recovery costs? $75 is about 5% of the cost.
And True Image, which does more, is 2/3 the cost of ShadowProtect. $47 or so shrink wrapped, or $39 downloadable or from NewEgg.
And it's now sitting on my desk.

Also went for the WD Essential Book 320GB external HD, USB2.0, for $80. You have to tell them it's advertised on OfficeDepot.com, then they will say
"Huh. That's the price then!" Comes FAT32 with some software I don't need (FAT32 for those Mac folks I guess... :rolleyes: or Linux) but should format to NTFS pretty quickly.

Helpful folks, and knowledgeable. :thumb: Kinda surprising really. I appreciated their helpfulness so paid $10 more for the shrink wrapped version from them.

06-10-2008, 10:58 AM
Data recovery can cost upwards of 10K. We send of drives to a company in FL that recovers data for us if we aren't able too. You should see the faces of the users and managers when they hear the price........:eek:

This of course is not the norm but it does happen about 1-2 times a year.

Bill looks like you are well on your way to getting everything set up and backed up. Once it is set up to your liking there is nothing to do except leave your system on.:thumb:

06-10-2008, 12:38 PM
Well, this is interesting. The only downside to True Image (which I of course purchased, but have not opened yet) in the reviews was a cumbersome interface.

The guy at work with a computer sideline said he uses both it, and Ghost v.12. He said to take True Image back and get Ghost. Said the full recovery is tricky, Ghost is much less so, and in a pinch it is easy to do the wrong thing. They do have an easy return policy, nice part of a brick and mortar. Dunno.

Anybody else use True Image and Ghost?
These folks seem to disagree with my friend:
And yes, I do know the anatomical simile for opinions...

06-10-2008, 03:34 PM
Not exactly sure what all these things do, but they have a really nice plastic bezel on the front of them http://www.xiotech.com/Products-and-Services_ISE.aspx

"1 Petabyte capable ISE Technology storage systems" How many baby pictures is that?

06-10-2008, 05:31 PM
I would avoid Xiotech. Just buy a NetApp array if you really can't afford the data loss. iSCSI with massive redundancy for the win. AFter all, it's only money. :)