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Ghosting approaches - summary because of popular demand

(69 posts)
  • Started 8 years ago by whs
  • Latest reply from mikisu
  • Topic Viewed 34131 times

whs
Posts: 0

Definition of Ghosting:

Ghosting, also referred to as Imaging, is the process of backing up the whole system drive(s) to an external disk. That is the OS drive and also possibly the Recovery drive. It is different from Backups in the sense that it does not only save the data files, but also all the system settings, installed programs and actually everything that is on the system. It should be done periodically (e.g., once a week). In case of problems with the system (e.g., a virus infection or the replacement of the hard disk) it enables you to recover the system from the ghost image – the last one or any earlier one if available. For that you also need a recovery CD. This CD boots from the optical drive (because your system is inoperable or non-existent in case of a disk replacement). For that you need to change the boot sequence in the BIOS to allow booting from the optical drive in lieu of the system disk partition. Ghosting programs that you buy as a boxed version, come with this recovery disk. The ones you download from the web, require that you burn the CD yourself.
There are basically 3 scenarios on how you can approach the subject:

1. The easy way

Buy yourself a Maxtor One Touch disk like this one ( http://www.newegg.com/product/.....C8Junction"). It contains all the Ghosting and file backup software, plus the recovery CD and it is really very easy to use. They also have a 250GB 2.5 inch model that I bought on black Friday for $50 and a 3.5 inch model with 640GBs that I saw on sale around Christmas 08 for $89. Once you set it up, and there are only 2 parameters to define, you can run it from a switch on the disk and don’t even have to load the program. My wife uses it on her systems and loves it. The other advantage is, their program also works with Seagate disks (Maxtor is part of the Seagate Company). So if you have a friend that has a Maxtor, you can load the program from there onto your system and run it with your Seagate disk (if you have one).

2. The cheapest way

There are a few programs on the web that do ghosting and are free. Macrium is one of them ( http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.asp ) Another one, but more complicated, is Clonezilla ( http://www.clonezilla.org/ ). The disadvantage of those is that you have to do some work (e.g., burn your own recovery disk).

3. The traditional way

There are a whole number of commercial programs out there that cost between $40 to $70. Norton Ghost and Acronis are the most prominent. I use Norton Ghost and it does a pretty good job. Here you have to make sure that you get a boxed version because that comes with the recovery CD – don’t download it from the web. Burning the CD can be a nightmare. A comparison of what’s on the market you can find here ( http://data-backup-software-re.....views.com/ )

Any questions?

Posted 8 years ago
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Scott
Posts: 0

You want this sticky for a while?

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
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That may be a good idea. For a couple of weeks and then lets see.

Posted 8 years ago
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0zSpitt
Posts: 0

i took the first one on the list, marcrium, and installed it to test. be sure to restart after installing because it didn't pick up my external hard drive or flash drive. but it worked perfectly after that. i created a disk image on 3 dvd's in about 20 minutes. i'll give it a week then see how it works.
thanks whs, i'm sure a lot of people could use this.

also, i do have norton ghost already on here. i just want to see if i can help someone out by testing it

Posted 8 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 0

Does the Maxtor software come with the ability to restore individual files from the image if needed?
I got a "Western Digital My Passport Essential WDME5000TN 500GB" drive myself so I have no idea what image backup other software does.
Last I read most all the drives like Western Digital come with File Backup only and a few people on other sites have had many programs with Ghost and TrueImage. I'm looking into the lesser known image software because of that with the idea that it would work better.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 0

1. In Maxtor you cannot restore individual files from the image. But it also comes with a file backup that we run at the same time. And there you can retrieve any saved file or folder.
2. In Norton Ghost, you have a "show versions" in the right click menu. That allows you to restore any file or folder from the images.
3. I have not yet seen that kind of program on a WD (and I have several of those). Maybe I should have a look. But the Maxtor Manager works also with my Seagate - same company (although there I use Ghost). The Maxtor is for the wife. She likes the one button deal.
4. For a more comprehensive overview of what's on the market, you might want to look at that. The Genie Backup Manager looks very good too.
5. I have seen many complaints about Acronis, but I have no own experience. Norton Ghost is OK - it does what I want, but is has it's "operational challenges". But the Norton guys at their IM chatline are very good. They have always helped me out in a swift manner.

Posted 8 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 0

1. Ok. Then the Maxtor and the Windows Vista software are out. I don't want to do a seperate file backup.
2. That is good.
3. Not a problem. I figured I would need to get backup software that did what I want anyways.
4. The is a nice list but it's not all the programs out there. In my search I also found: Storagecraft ShadowProtect, Terabyte Unlimted Image for Windows and Driveimage XML.
So far those are the ones I'm trying out (30-day trial for ShadowProtect/IFW and Free for DriveImage XML) to see what works for me.
5. Indeed, the Norton guys have good support. I talked to Norton AntiVirus support the other day and it worked out well.
I upgraded Norton AntiVirus 2008 to Norton AntiVirus 2009 because the web site said it was a free upgrade.
What I didn't relize it if the copy was bought and installed by the BestBuy GeekSquad (I was working on someone elses computer, I wouldn't use the GeekSquad if they payed me), it's a different edition entriely and can't be activated with the BestBuy GeekSquad Product Key. Instead I need to wait for the BestBuy GeekSquad 2009 edition to come out.
I called Norton AntiVirus support, I was told that and the support person was able to connect remotely (with my permission of course) to revert the computer to Norton AntiVirus 2008.
The support person even extended the subscription by 20 days because of the trouble that caused (Waste of my time upgrading to an edition that wouldn't accept the product key and activate).

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 0

ad 1. You are right. The Maxtor is not a sophisticated piece of software. But the upside is, for setup you only check 2 boxes and off you go. And next time, you just push the button on the disk and it backs up. I bought this 250GB, 2.5inch on black Friday for $50. For the wife it is a good deal. She likes the simplicity.
ad 2. I forgot to mention that Ghost can also save the images on an upload site on the web. I never tried that. I would imagine that you need an awfully fast connection to dump 35GBs (like some of those cable DSLs).
ad 4. When you are done with your trials, maybe you can post your findings. I am sure that would be helpful for others.
ad 5. Yes, the Symantec people are good people. I have Norton IS 2009 (for myself and Kaspersky for the wife) - a world of difference from previous versions. That is really amazing. It now does all it's scans when the system is at idle and as soon as you resume your work, it pauses and continues next idle time. And it keeps you informed of what it is doing with a bubble by the system tray. Plus, the whole user interface is a lot nicer too. AND, it has not yet stuttered a single time. I used to get that a lot with previous versions and had to reinstall it now and then. I was at the point where I threw it out and installed Kaspersky. But that was at odds with my Ghost. So I am back to Norton, and now I am really in good shape.

Posted 8 years ago
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Spacegold
Posts: 0

Suppose you are using one of these techniques to regularly clone the contents of the onboard drive. Then the main drive crashes irretrievably. Can the Bios be set to boot from the external, so that the computer will run Vista as normal until a new drive can be obtained? And when a new drive is installed, what must be done put everything on it and give it control?

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 0

Yes, I do an image (clone) once a week. But you can do it as often as you like. The recovery in case of a crash of the OS disk, however, works a little differently. All the boxed programs come with a recovery CD (for the programs you download from the web, you have to first burn this yourself). This recovery CD contains a program (usually a Linux based program) that reloads the OS disk image from the backup disk back to the Internal OS disk that you replaced. For that you boot the Recovery CD from the CD reader (you have to change the boot sequence in the BIOS). Once the recovery program reloaded the internal OS disk, your system is exactly the way it was when the backup image was taken (e.g. like last week or whatever frequency you chose). But you can also choose an earlier recovery point (as available on your backup disk). Once this is done, you stop the recovery disk and reboot from the newly recovered OS disk (no change of the BIOS necessary in this case because booting from the internal OS disk is default).
Running your system from the external image is not possible. This is not a Vista installation, but a disk image with the controls of the ghosting (imaging) program.

Posted 8 years ago
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jd2066
Posts: 0

You can't run Windows Vista from an image file though Windows 7 will support running from a VHD file which is the format the Windows Vista Complete PC Backup uses.
As to whether it will support running from a VHD file that is on an external drive I don't know. Will have to see when Windows 7 comes out.

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 0

The answer to this thread lies in making a Boot CD from a Boot Dos Image File and including (2) Small Program Files which can handle HD Structuring plus Partition / Full HD Imaging. Though I have never tried the method with Vista, it works for XP3 down. Supported file systems are ALL FAT, ALL NTFS, and EXT2/3. Also USB HDs may not be detected unless the Machine Bios Supports Boot from USB as a HD. (MB / Chipset Architectures)
Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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Spacegold
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I probably do not belong on this thread because I am clearly the least knowledgable one here. But I am understanding a little over half what is being discussed. I do not quite understand the difference between a Vista install and an image. Once the machine is bebooted with a new drive using the recovery disk, how is the image transferred to it from the external? Is this the job of the external's CD?

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 0

Yes, the CD contains a plain old copy program (maybe with a few specials) that copies the ghost image from the external back onto the system disk. It knows where the boot records are and where they belong, which part is the OS disk partition, which part is another disk partition (e.g. the recovery partition) etc. As I said, imaging the internal disk to the external disk does not equal an operating system installation. Think of Ghosting (or imaging) like a disassembly and the CD copy job does a reassembly. That's one reason why you cannot boot Vista from the external.
But keep asking the questions - everybody belongs on any thread. That may help other readers to better understand the mechanism.

Posted 8 years ago
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Spacegold
Posts: 0

Thanks, whs, I think I will be receiving a 320G seagate external from a friend who is upgrading to the latest thing. I would want to use it as a backup drive, and imaging the C: drive seems like good idea.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 0

That sounds good. Once you have the disk, let's discuss which program you might want to use for imaging because there are only a few free options. Most of the good ones are for $$$. Also check around with your friends whether anybody has a Maxtor One Touch disk. Because from there you could install the Maxtor Manager on your system - that works also with Seagate disks and is extremely easy to setup and use. You just would have to borrow the Maxtor for an hour or so.

Posted 8 years ago
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InDiSent
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What version of Norton Ghost do you use? I still use 8 and i'm thinking of trying the latest today or sometime this week.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
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InDiSent, I use V14. But if V8 works for you, why change. All you want is a proper image that you can recover from.

Posted 8 years ago
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ScottW
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InDiSent, whs is right -- if you are able to make and restore images, then Ghost v8 is sufficient. However, if you do wish to update to a newer version, there are some things that you should know.

Ghost v8 and it's immediate successor Ghost 2003 both save images in the .gho format. 2003 was the last version to support this. Starting with Ghost v9, the program changed to use the PowerQuest code that Symantec acquired which saves in .v2i format. Ghost v9 and beyond do not read .gho files, so v9 and v10 came with a free version of Ghost 2003 in the box. Ghost v12 and v14 (latest) no longer come with 2003 and, by themselves, cannot read .gho files. So, you could transition to using the new style, phasing out the old style, but you would need to keep both versions around for a while. If you have some .gho files that you were hoping to keep forever, you need to hang on to your old Ghost version. Just know that you would have a transition period to deal with.

There are upsides to the newer versions. You can image from Windows without needing to boot into a special DOS environment, make incremental backups, restore individual files from an image, and there are other nifty features that you might be interested in. The latest versions (12+) have better support for Vista, SATA hard drives, and use a nice Windows PE recovery disk. I still use version v12 because there are no features in v14 that I need. I frequently see Ghost v14 on sale and with rebates, so it can be found inexpensively if you are patient.

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 0

What (FREE) Program(s) most closely duplicates all the features found in Ghost V12 / V14 ????
Thanks,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 0

Rick, I really don't know about "all the functions". There is really only 4 functions you need:
1. A proper imaging to an external device
2. A proper recovery procedure from the external device
3. Management of the space you allocate on the external device
4. The ability to write increments rather than full images all the time
As far as free programs goes, there is not a big selection. I found: (but I am sure there are more)
1. Macrium which looks pretty decent in it's free version (there is also a paid version)
2. Clonezilla which seems to be a bit more complicated to use
In addition to that you have the Maxtor Manager which comes for free with the Maxtor One Touch disks - which is a pretty good deal considering you can by a 160GB version for $47. That approach makes most sense if you need an external disk anyhow. Plus, the Maxtor Manager is really easy to use and it already comes with the recovery program disk. For comparison. a typical boxed program costs $50. But as ScottW said, there are deals available.

Posted 8 years ago
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Spacegold
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Anyone else have any leads on imaging freeware? WHS's four minimum requirements are pretty clear.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
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This Link, courtesy of Scott who found it, describes a few more options. I have not yet studied them in detail and the webpage does not talk about prices. But it is worth investigating those too.

Posted 8 years ago
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ScottW
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We have discussed this before and, so far, no one has found a free solution that covers all 4 of the functions that whs lists above. The free version of Macrium Reflect does not do incremental backups (#4) according to their website. I don't know about space management, #3, but the free version has a scheduler so that's a positive sign.

Clonezilla looks complicated, as whs points out. If you are willing to put in the time, it looks like you can create a recovery disc, so Clonezilla looks like it will do 1 and 2, but probably not 3 and 4.

DriveImage XML is also free and will create complete images, but not incrementals. The easiest way to make a bootable recovery disc is to just make a UBCD4win disc which includes DriveImage XML on it.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
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To complete the discussion: The Maxtor does 1,2 and 3, but not 4. It does, however, do some light compression. A full image is about 20MB versus 35MB with Ghost.

PS: I just noticed that I have two times #4 in my numbering and cannot correct it any more. I hate that they took the Edit away from us and left such a short window. It's ridiculous - especially for someone like me who makes typos all the time.

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 0

Whs, ScottW,
Thanks !!
You know I use old Ghost in a low level environment with complicated command line to (HARD) Structure and Work with Hard Dives, Etc.. BEFORE applying an O/S.
Also use old Ghost to Image / Clone Partitions and Full HDs, Etc.. to Archive and Restore systems.
Have Developed my Own Boot CDs with the above programs and others to accomplish above complicated tasks.
------------------------
Anticipate a problem coming shortly as there appears to be NO universal program to low-level work with HDs per ScottW's posting concerning the differences in the new Ghost Versions and different archive extensions, compression methods, 64 bit o/s, 4-terabyte limits, etc., etc.. plus there doesn't appear to be a lot of free software available as you said in your post.
------------------------
A Builder is "dead in the water" without the necessary utilities to work with the Hardware.
Best Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 0

Rick, you are too old fashioned. Go with the times. As ScottW said, most of the good programs can be had with a discount. One that looks really good to me (at least on paper) is Genie Backup Manager 8. What is good with Ghost though, the Symantec help lines work very well and the people are quite competent.

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 0

@whs,
(LOL) No not old fashion, on the contrary, looking for complicated modern "New and Improved" software that will work with HDs, I.E. Master File Tables, MBRs, partitioning, wiping, Super Hidden Partitions, on and on ........... (LOL)
Best Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 0

Hmm, I guess it is a matter of trying. Who knows whether all that stuff works.

Posted 8 years ago
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ScottW
Posts: 0

whs, what compression setting do you use in Norton Ghost? You can't make a fair comparison of compression ability without trying all of the available choices in Ghost.

I did notice the typos, 1, 2, 4, 4. Anyone who can count should be able to figure it out. Also, it's amazing that your C: partition will fit in an archive that is only 20 or 35 *mega*bytes (MB). Sadly, another typo that can't be corrected.

Rick, I hadn't thought of it much but you are right. There are fewer tools today that work down at the bare metal hardware that can be run stand-alone. Back in the old-fashioned times that whs speaks of, there used to be a DOS utility or command line tool for just about anything you wanted to manipulate or diagnose. Now I'm racking my brain trying to think of ones to work on the sub-systems that you listed. :(

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 0

ScottW, It was not supposed to be a comparison. In Ghost I do not compress (recommended - if I remember right). Maxtor, however, does it without asking for input.
Damned, I hate those typos and the fact that I cannot correct them. It used to be easier around here. Well, the good old days.

Posted 8 years ago
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ScottW
Posts: 0

whs, I don't know about your Ghost, v14, but on my Ghost v12, compression is recommended and the default as shown here:

I always use compression, except when backing up data files that are already compressed. For example music (e.g. MP3), pictures (e.g. JPG), and video (e.g. AVI) files are already compressed. There should be little time penalty, if any, on a modern system. A typical CPU can run compression algorithms much faster than a hard drive can read data and write it to an archive.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 0

ScottW, You are right. In V14 it says "Standard" too. I thought that was "no compression". Thought to have read that somewhere in their documentation, but maybe I am mixing this up with some other program. Never gave it much thought, because I have ample space available. All my backup disks have 250GB and are dedicated to imaging. I would think that the time penalty you pay for compression is easily compensated by the time gain you make because there is less data written to the external disk.

Posted 8 years ago
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raphoenix
Posts: 0

@ScottW, @whs,
I always compress and check all Archives for CRC Integrity.
Appreciate your understanding of the TOOLS issue as my stack of Boot CDs with a different tool found "here and there" is now about 1 inch high and the documentation is only from memory in many cases.
Regards,
Rick P.

Posted 8 years ago
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HappyPaul
Posts: 0

Hi:

I use Acronis True Image Home edition and am very happy with it. As the new owner of a NetBook with no Optical drive, I particularly appreciate how easy it is to create a bootable USB flash drive from the software.

Paul

Posted 8 years ago
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ScottW
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A new member mentioned another free program that is available, Paragon Drive Backup Express. Using the previous scale, it does 1 and 2, but not 3 or 4. Here are the pros and cons that stand out to me:

Pros: Vista including x64 compatible, backup while Windows is running, comes with ability to create a restore disc.
Cons: no incremental or differential backups; cannot backup to CD/DVD; cannot backup files and folders; doesn't have a scheduler.

Posted 8 years ago
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Bartman
Posts: 0

I'm thinking about buying the Maxtor One Touch to use strictly for an image backup (in case of crash, etc.).
I'm guessing 160GB would be large enough. Am I guessing correctly? Saw it at Tiger Direct for $49.95.
Sounded like a good deal. Any thoughts/opinions?

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 0

I paid 49.95 for my 250GB One Touch at Staples (on black Friday). I think right now they sell for $69.95. But 160GBs are tight. At some time my images (from Ghost) were 62GBs. I now have a 640GB unit on each of my desktops for the purpose. That may be a slight overkill, but they are 3.5 inch and hardly more expensive. I paid $70. The wife still uses the 250GB 2.5. inch unit with her laptops and loves it. It could not be easier to operate. But she does only file backup because her system setup is so simple and could be reinstalled in no time. Be aware that the USB powered unit needs 2 USB ports - one for data and one for power.

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
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Or even 1 for for Data and 2 for Power :)

Posted 8 years ago
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Bartman
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USB ports won't be a problem. I have 4 that I'm not using.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
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LH, 2 for power I have not yet seen - do you have one of those?

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
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Yes. 1 is used for data and power. The other used for just the extra power needed.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
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OK, understand. So there are 2 in total, not 3. Maybe mine uses the first one for power too. I never really checked that. Just assumed that the second one was power.

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
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You will have to build yourself a breakout box. And have the current meter handy :)

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
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To tell you the truth, I am not that curious.

Posted 8 years ago
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Sly
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I use Acronis True Image and I love it! You should try. (buffalo TeraStation)

Sly
edit by mod, strike 2
We welcome your comments, not your blog spam.

Posted 8 years ago
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rroberto18
Posts: 0

Read all of the above,, looking for one solution to the aforementioned goals #1 thru 4.

Seems nothing free will.

So is the choice limited to Acronis vs Ghost vs Maxtor 1-Touch?

a) I am not crazy about Maxtor 1-Touch as I've had two of them that died after 2-3 months.

b) I also have had very bad experiences with many Symantec products (and their support) including an earlier version of Ghost. Has Symantec truly gone back to the old Norton days of dependable product & support? If so, I'll try Ghost again...but which version?

Or should I go with Acronis? Which version?

And in the meantime, how does one make a boot disk that can simply reboot ? I didn't see instructions here detailed enough for me other than to follow directions of your ISO-making application when you get one.

There's a lot here so please forgive me if I overlooked something.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
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It is, of course, not only a question of Ghost or Acronis. If you follow the links you will see a lot of others. I happen to use Ghost and Maxtor One Touch (with no problems at all). For Ghost I would recommend V12 because they are available for little money on the web. The latest V14 has additional function that you would probably never use (but check it out). But I am not an agent of Symantec and encourage you to check the other options too. I just cannot add too much personal logic to them because I never used them - just know some things from hearsay.
Regarding the boot disk I always recommend to buy the boxed version because it comes with the boot disk (and so does Maxtor One Touch). If you download any of the programs, you have to study the product information for guidance on how to burn the disk. It is different for every product.

Posted 8 years ago
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mikisu
Posts: 0

The term Ghosting really isnt in common usage for any software other than Norton Ghost.

"Disk Imaging" or "Disk Backup" is more appropriate,as opposed to disk copying which is cloning or data copying only.

There are quite a few disk imaging applications and a review HERE.

Have tried most and my choice without question, is ShadowProtect available for a full evaluation HERE.

Shadow Protect generally has superior speed, industrial strength reliability and some unique features.

Would not recommend Acronis because of reliability problems for some,including me.

If you have a laptop you are forced to use an external drive to store your backup images,but you can choose any make or size HDD you like.

Buy a HDD enclosure and fit any disk of your choice-its simple to do and usually cheaper than buying a package.

I am using an Antec fan cooled enclosure with a Seagate 500gb drive.

If you have a desktop,you are better off using a second HDD internally for image storage.

The connection to an external drive is either by USB or by eSATA cable..

For a start USB is going to result in slower backup speeds and in both cases there can be problems.

Posted 8 years ago
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ScottW
Posts: 0

This seems to be the thread that will never end since the features of these programs keep changing.

New on the scene with a free app is Easeus Todo Backup. It supports 64-bit Windows, comes with a rescue CD, supports backup to CD/DVD, can mount image files as virtual drives, BUT sadly lacks the ability to do incremental backups.

One other very noteworthy feature of Todo Backup is that they provide a BartPE plugin that allows you to create a bootable Windows PE-based rescue CD that can also do backups! As far as I know, none of the other free backup solutions provide assistance or support in making a WinPE-based backup disc. In addition, Easeus says that this BartPE disc with Todo Backup is not just a *recovery* disc but can be used to make backups! This is a very nice feature that is missing from some commercial packages (Norton Ghost dropped the ability to make backups from the bootable media a while back and it is sorely missed).

BTW, be careful about making backups of an internal drive to another internal drive. This is an all-your-eggs-in-one-basket solution where the original data and the backup can both be lost at the same time. It does provide protection from a failure of the primary hard drive, but not against a catastrophic loss of the system, such as theft, fire, lightning, or blunt force trauma. The farther away the backup data is, the safer it is. An external drive is better than an internal, but could still burn up in the same fire. An offsite backup, in a different building or stored online, is better yet.

Posted 8 years ago
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mikisu
Posts: 0

Scott

Dont agree with the you at all

It certainly is not eggs in one basket,the chances of two disks destructing at the same time are very small indeed.

Whats blunt force trauma-a hippo falling on it?

Its like insurance-if you are a belt and braces type, you no doubt will insure against a giraffe falling from the sky and injuring you.!

Can't see any logic whatsoever to your strange statement that "The farther away the backup data is, the safer it is".

Its actually worse because the connections aren't as efficient as the internal ones,certainly with USB and in my case- had problems downloading and restoring with it.

Therefore the dangers of a corrupted restore are greater.

It still is going to be stolen (unless you take it with you ),burn in case of fire and if connected to the computer,be damaged if the other disks are going to be damaged.

The problem with externals in my experience is that they are either connected using USB,which is very slow compared to SATA,or problems may exist as when using Acronis .
In the case of eSATA,there are the occasional incompatibilities with other most unlikely apps. and unless AHCI is the chosen mode will only start on reboot.

Compared to internals,they also have size limitations and are not cooled as well.

In case of burglary to use your sort of unlikely scenario,an external may be the first thing to go ,before the computer itself.

Lets not get pedantic here-if a fire happened within the computer (which Ive never heard of)and no one was present,in all probability the external would also be destroyed.

But no doubt the majority of users are happy with externals.

You are saying that the long accepted practice of a spare internal disk for backups is wrong.

Re TODO check its Forum-there are problems with faulty disk sectors,but all in all its good.

I have used it quite a bit and for freeware has great potential,but probably would classify the current version as a Beta.

In any case, if you are prepared to pay,there are certainly better alternatives

Posted 8 years ago
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ScottW
Posts: 0

No need to clutter this thread with a tangential discussion. Starting a new thread titled "backup data to internal or external location?"

Posted 8 years ago
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mikisu
Posts: 0

The gist is here already.

One issue with your recommendation of an offsite backup;

Many if not most restores are required because the system wont boot,which can indicate a serious problem.

How do you then get on the net to retrieve your backup?

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 0

Since this discussion is going into more detail, let me add some own approaches for clarification:

1. An internal Sata is an option for imaging the system. I have done that for a while on one of my systems. Advantage is speed - disadvantage is that it could be corrupted by some smart malware since it is not easy to disconnect it.
2. An eSata is a pretty rare animal. Most external disks are USB2. Those are completely sufficient. The backup takes about 3 times as long as on an internal Sata (40 to 60 minutes for a full image in my case), but that is still not bad as it can run in the background. I only run full images (once a week) - no incrementals. I have dedicated 640GB disks (3.5") to each of my desktops and 250GBs (2.5" One Touch) to the laptops. I disconnect my desktop disks after each backup (with an electric remote switch from Home Depot) - the laptop disks are just disconnected with the USB cable.
3. I have played around with Shadow Protect (I got a license for free). It has quite a different user interface but the incremental backups are extremely fast. I think it was designed with servers in mind where you make incrementals every hour or at least several times per day. It is also the most expensive imaging program ($80 last time I looked)
4. Here is another list of free imaging options: http://www.winvistaclub.com/d75.html

Posted 8 years ago
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mikisu
Posts: 0

WHS,

In current motherboards and systems, eSata is either available in the higher grade mobos, or can easily be added as an add on for budget boards.

Backups and restores take a similar time to using an internal SATA disk-the e represents "external",but is hooked up to the same ports.

Shadow Protect is industrial strength backup-but the desktop version is also for private use.

Once you get used to the layout its extremely simple in my opinion and has some unique features.

The incremental backups in the background are amazing,you dont even know they are being made and may take a matter of seconds,depending how often they are carried out-say every 15 minutes,but can be a lot less,almost continuous!

My backup times for about 5gb is just over 1 minute at up to 86mb a second!

It does cost more than some ,but worth every cent.Its just about 100% reliable.

Posted 8 years ago
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mikisu
Posts: 0

PS .

Many external HDD cases,such as Antec,Vantec,Coolermaster and others have provision for USB and eSata connections.

Posted 8 years ago
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wmk
Posts: 0

Hello all.

whs, is Kaspersky at odds with Acronis? Boot sequence in the BIOS - do I change it now to enable booting from the optical drive and keep it that way in anticipation of any future crashes? The 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch refer to what?

ScottW, Does Acronis support eSATA hard drive?

Paul, is there any documentation/guide from Acronis about creating a bootable USB flash drive?

Mikisu, what are the problems associated with using both Acronis and external hard disk? I plan to buy an external HD. Apart from 3 USB ports, my laptop also has an express card slot that can accommodate eSATA external HD. What do I have to watch out for re incompatibilities with other most unlikely apps.? and what is AHCI? Is eSATA really better than USB2?

Are deferential backups preferable to incremental ones?

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 0

wmk,

1. I am not aware of any problems running KIS and Acronis together. But I myself do not use Acronis. I run KIS with Ghost on one system without problems.
2. The boot sequence you change the day you want to boot from the CD.
3. 2.5" are the USB powered external disks. 3.5" are the larger external disks that have a transformer for power from the house outlet. For laptops, the 2.5" is usually handier. For a more permanent installation and a desktop, the 3.5" are preferred - they have a lower price per Gigabyte. But in both cases I recommend at least 250GBs.
I myself have dedicated 640GBs for images. But I always make full backups (once per week). I don't trust the incremental/differential (which I think means the same thing) approach.

Posted 8 years ago
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wmk
Posts: 0

whs,

After a crash, can you still change the boot sequence or is it too late?

Posted 8 years ago
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LH
Posts: 0

Yes. You can change the boot sequence in the BIOS.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 0

The boot sequence is changed in the BIOS (which is so to speak the operating system of the motherboard). It operates completely independent of the operating system and works at all times (unless the hardware is on a blink) - even if there is no OS at all. Imagine you have a brand new piece of hardware with nothing on it. The first thing you do is call the BIOS, set the boot sequence to CD - normally (or USB - in special cases) and load the OS.
I give you another example: I have one system with 2 internal Sata disks. Disk A has Vista and disk B has Windows7. I switch the operating system by changing the boot sequence to either A or B.

PS: I just realize that this was a long answer to a simple question.

Posted 8 years ago
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mikisu
Posts: 0

wmk

re Incremental Backups;

Represents only the changed sectors of the volume since the last full or incremental backup was taken. Each incremental backup image is dependent on all prior incremental backup images and the full backup image related to the backup job. By selecting to mount or restore an incremental backup image, you are incorporating the contents of the full backup image and any prior incremental backup images to create a complete representation of the volume at the point-in-time of the incremental image you are using.

Because incremental backup images only involve the changed sectors, these backup images can be written very fast compared to full or differential backup images.
With Shadow Protect for example,a background incremental may take only seconds

Differential;

Represent the changes relative to another backup image file. Differential backup images can be taken against a full backup image.

A differential backup requires approximately the same amount of time to generate as a full backup image, but will require less space since it only consists of the changed sectors relative to the image file the differential was generated against.

A lot of non commercial users just settle for full backups,as it doesn't normally take long ,takes up little actual space , isn't dependent on all the links in the chain being OK or on amalgamating all the separate images into one to conserve space

re speeds;

An external drive using an usb 2.0 interface will achieve 20-30 Mps(megabytes per second) vs 75-85 Mps for eSATA

re problems;

Acronis users have reported problems when using USB-see their forums.

My problem with eSata was for some unknown reason ,it seemed to be incompatible with Creative software and card,if plugged in continuously,causing hardware interrupts.
I now plug in only when required and copy the backup image there,rather than backup direct.

My main backup archives are the different separate internal partitions

You may have no problems whatsoever with either and eSata should not have any problems normally at all-so dont be put off!

However,I would recommend using eSata.

re AHCI;

AHCI is the acronym for the Advanced Host Controller Interface. It enables advanced SATA features like Native Command Queuing (NCQ) and hot-plugging. Unless it is specifically enabled, the SATA controller will run in IDE emulation mode.

With Hot Plugging eSATA can be activated anytime,but in IDE mode only at computer boot up.

If its not a selectable mode on your computer,it indicates that the required Intel software isnt present.

Difficult to install and not really required.

Posted 8 years ago
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wmk
Posts: 0

Just for argument's sake, since the BIOS goes through a preconfigured list of devices until it finds one that is bootable, why need a change in the boot sequence for a bootable CD? My previous IBM desktop's default sequence was floppy to CD to hard disk.

Posted 8 years ago
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mikisu
Posts: 0

My BIOS is set to boot as your example and you are correct, the computer doesn't need a change from this boot sequence normally.

This setting saves a lot of time.

But obviously if you set the Hard disk as the first,then you wont be able to boot from the other options until reset.

Posted 8 years ago
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wmk
Posts: 0

So I could set my laptop to boot from CD followed by hard disk and leave it at that, then I can boot from the CD anytime when needed to.

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 0

I guess you could. But it increases your normal (from HDD) boot time. The BIOS will always check the CD reader first - and that takes time. I would set the HDD first. It is even worse if there is still a floppy on top. Who has a floppy in this day and age. That is a complete waste of boot time.

Posted 8 years ago
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wmk
Posts: 0

My laptop came with recovery CDs and an Acronis CD that is labelled bootable CD. My internal HDD is partitioned into 2.

If I did a system backup to an external HDD, can I just use the Acronis CD to boot and the external HDD to recover my system settings, etc., including the partitioning in the event of a crash?

Posted 8 years ago
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whs
Posts: 0

If you backup your system with Acronis and you need to reset your system to an Acronis recovery point, you boot the Acronis CD from the CD reader. That will load a wizard (and a minimal operating environment). You just follow the wizard to recover from an Acronis recovery point of your choice. The recovered system will then look exactly the same as it was at the time the recovery point was taken.
The recovery CD that came with your system does not play any role in this operation. That is for reinstalling or correcting a defunct system.

Posted 8 years ago
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mikisu
Posts: 0

Yes you could!

Boot time for the HDD, if set CD then HDD,in my experience is only minimally more than if set HDD first,if at all.

If this is not the case,the computer needs more power,but test it out yourself.

Much more convenient!

Cant remember the circumstances,but its also a safeguard in case the BIOS cant be accessed and if you have to use a recovery CD.

The Acronis bootable CD allows all the options,such as backup and restore

Floppys are still used for specialised apps-like boot managers etcetc.,but not normally required.

Posted 8 years ago
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