How do you backup your system?

Discussion in 'Networking and Security' started by 64c2, Aug 22, 2005.

  1. 64c2


    I run Windows 2K and need a good way to backup my 2 PC's -- any recommendations that are easy and not too expensive?

    Can both computers be backed up to 1 external drive?

    I did buy an external drive but don't know which software is best.

    I am not interested in an online system where my data is offsite.
  2. RAID1+ a 3rd HD in each computer has proven a good investment so far.
  3. Yes, everything can go on the same external drive (usb2/firewire). Most backup-systems put the images in files that go in your external disk partition(s).

    The best software is Acronis TrueImage.
    Best is to run your backups with the OS down. Good backup systems run of bootable CD's.

    If you can't or won't cough up the dough for Acronis, get a livecd linux disc, like Knoppix. They have a program 'partimage' that does a very decent job. It doesn't matter that your system to be backed up is M$. You backup up disk-images, so it won't matter.

    PS: It's a real shame that windoz after growing rich of users for so many years, doesn't include a decent disk backup system.

    Don't agree. This is only good for exceptional cicumstance real-time applications.

    In fact, the reliabllity of disks is so high these days that the probability of loss through accident (fire) or theft of your computer is higher than that of technical disk failure. Also think about the possibility of power supply accidents of your PC killing your 2 or 3 HD's. Power supplies have a lower reliability than disk drives.

    So if you want true protection, you MUST REMOVE THE DATA PHYSICALLY FROM YOUR PC AND STORE IT AWAY FROM THE PC IN A SAFE LOCATION. Raid comes second to external drive backup for most users.
  4. gnome


    Ditto on Acronis. You can buy a dowload version at Newegg for $29.99.

    A faster method is a 2nd internal HD in each machine + Casper XP 3.0.
  5. I'm also thinking about backup of my entire hard drive. I'm going to buy a second internal hard drive to clone the data on the other one. The backup drive is disconnected unless in backup process, so a power failure won't hurt it. If the main drive is damaged, the backup can replace it immediately. Can Acronis help me do this?
  6. I use two identical 200GB external hard drives. One is kept off site in a secure location. The other is doing automated daily incremental backups and weekly full backups using shell scripts under Linux. I swap the drives once a month.

    I have heard good things about Dantz Retrospect for Windows.

    RAID is not backup!!!! RAID is intended for online fault tolerance and IO performance. It mitigates some threats to your data (drive failure), leaves some unaffected (physical security), and introduces serious new threats (administrator error).

  7. gnome


    Yes, Acronis can do this. So can Casper XP 3.0.

    As HDs are so cheap, let me suggest:
    a. Have 3 HDs (I have 4 for each machine)
    b. Have 2 mounted at all times and make quick backups as often as you need with a 3rd out of the machine in case of catastrophic loss.
    c. Periodically, rotate the 2nd and 3rd HDs to keep the 3rd relatively current.

    Casper XP 3.0 does an "incremental clone" process where only changed files are overwritten on updates.... very fast. Acronis will copy the entire drive at each cloning.

    One more thing.... If you have or buy a new WD HD, you can get Data Lifeguard Tools* software which will also clone. The good part is that it's free. The possible bad part is that it may not make perfect copies with your system because of a curious hardware issue. However, your original HD will not be at risk if you try.

    If the WD software works for you, it is very good and relatively fast if your system supports DMA.

    *Seagate and Maxtor also have free installation software, but WD's is superior for ease of use. The software for each HD maker is a version of Kroll OnTrack Disk Manager. If WDs software won't work properly, the others will not either... in that case, you'll want to use Acronis or Casper. Both are very good at cloning.
  8. Poncho


    ditto on the power supply, I have had two hardrives on a machine ruined due to power supply failure. I have used Ghost, a Norton Product with some success several years ago, although I used it to create an entire image of the hard drive as it seemed the cleanest option.

    Of late, I have used the USB / Firewire detachable hard drives for backup and have only backed up specific folders. However, the price for Acronus and the recommendations are causing me to rethink my backup practices.
  9. 64c2


    Anyone have experience with Back Up My PC?
  10. gnome


    #10     Aug 22, 2005