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Old 08-10-2010, 10:24 PM   #1
Andrew B.
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Default Acronis Strategy

I'm bogged down and can't seem to get my brain in gear. I did a full image backup and I'm not sure what I should do next. Maybe backup files that have changed since the image, assuming the archive flags were flipped. I'm not even sure how to check. And I better do something soon because it's been weeks since I made the image.

Advice please
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Old 08-11-2010, 06:22 AM   #2
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You could make another full backup. But IIRC, Acronis will make incremental backups ... ie, will back up only files that've changed since the last backup. Whether it tracks this via archive bit or its own database, I don't know.

I'm sure you already understand this but in case not: an incremental backup is of little or no use unless you also have the previous full backup AND any other incremental backups taken in the interim.

   
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Old 08-11-2010, 10:19 AM   #3
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Hmmm. Considering that Acronis can restore singles files from an image, then the ballgame changes. One could use the image as a full backup, and then do incremental file backups, assuming the image flipped the flags. But I'm stuck here wondering what to do next, because I'm not used to thinking this way, and I'm suffering from "old dog" syndrome.
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Old 08-11-2010, 03:56 PM   #4
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I guess it's worth asking whether Acronis can restore individual files from an incremental backup.

Then too, what do you want the backup to do for you?

If you want it to restore everything in the event of a drive failure, the ability to restore individual files won't be especially important. You'll want to be able to quickly bring the system back up to wherever it was at your last backup, right?

But what about your data? How much of it do you typically have on the PC at a time?

Maybe there's a simpler way of backing it up?

   
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Old 08-12-2010, 02:26 PM   #5
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Andrew,

If you are not short of hard drive space to back up to on an external hard drive -- anywhere else is useless and/or slow -- then make Full backups every time.

That way if you have a problem with Windows for example due to a Windows Update you can go back a generation of backups to before the Windows Update in question, restore that and then pull "incremented files" from the current backup even if it's Windows would be faulty after restore because of that Windows Update problem (and they do happen including currently)

Acronis is very neat for naming backup files intelligently so you can give a meaningful title like identifying the PC if you have more than one and there is also an @date @time function which automatically tacks that on at the end of the filename.

If your drive starts to fill up then you can always verify the latest drive and then delete some of it's predecessors when you have full backups.

If you are starting with a new computer then what I've done is to install Windows and update it (I built my last one) and make a full image; then I added some utilities that I always use and updated Windows again if there were any new updates and made a new full image; then I installed my applications and made a new full image; then I started using the system and I must confess I'm less regular in making a system backup image to include data files but I have very little that is critical and dupes of most of those.

Hard drives and cases for them to make your own external hard drive are very cheap -- I've been looking for someone in the Norton Forums and you can get a 3.5 in WD 320GB SATA hard drive for $50 from Best Buy (very good return policy I know from experience when I bought an EIDE 2.5 in drive for an old laptop without checking and found it needed SATA). You can get a case from NEwEgg for $10 complete with power brick and cables to connect to USB on the PC. You can get eSATA connected boxes if you have an external eSATA connection on your PC already; otherwise USB 3 is on its way and buying a new eSATA case for the srive would not be that expensive. Or you can buy dual USB / eSATA cases ....

Why it must be an external drive:
If it's a partition on an internal hard drive that also contains your OS then when the hard drive crashes (when not if) you lose everything ....

Even if it is a second internal hard drive inside the PC it can be infected

Online storage is usually slow with upload speeds much slower than download speeds and it could take hours and hours to upload a system drive backup.

Optical media are slow and inherently more unreliable than a hard drive.

   
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Old 08-12-2010, 04:48 PM   #6
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>> Optical media are slow and inherently more unreliable than a hard drive.

That made my ears twitch. I've had several HDDs die and I've had CD reader/burners die but I don't think I've ever had problems with the media itself.

I don't expect archival life of either, and suspect that of the two, CD/DVDs wouldn't last as long as an HDD but I figure either, if reasonably well treated, should outlast the technology itself. That is, before the media go bad, we'll be a couple hardware generations down the line and will have some sort of cheap removable storage that holds an order of magnitude more than DVDs.

Or so my theory goes.

It sounds as though you have a pin for my balloons. ;-)

Better to have 'em popped now than find out how wrong I am when I really need to be able to do the restore.

   
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Old 08-13-2010, 03:49 PM   #7
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Thanks Hugh. I think I'm back on track now. What do you think of continuous backups.

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Originally Posted by Hugh Wyn Griffith View Post
If your drive starts to fill up then you can always verify the latest drive and then delete some of it's predecessors when you have full backups.
How would I do that. I looked for a feature in Acronis to check the backup against the same files on the hard disk and I can't find it.
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Old 08-13-2010, 05:13 PM   #8
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Burning is definitely slower ....

Inherently more unreliable -- it's very difficult to scratch a hard drive! <g> But easy to damage optical media and especially if you are doing incremental then if any one disk is unreadable then the whole set is.

As you yourself say: << if reasonably well treated, >> but they rarely are.

   
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Old 08-13-2010, 05:26 PM   #9
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It took me a while to find it and in the end went to Help (?) up top right on the main GUI.

Index TAB and Validating backup archives
You can also validate archives using Windows Explorer. To do so, select a backup to validate, right-click the backup and select Archive -> Validate Backup Archive in the shortcut menu. The Backup Archive Validation Wizard will be launched with this archive selected.

It is possible to perform archive validation immediately after the archive is created, or before the launch of the recovery procedure if you suspect that the archive might have been corrupted.

To validate the archive after its creation:

Go to Tools & Utilities -> Options -> Local storage settings -> Archive validation and check the Validate backup archive when it is created option (disabled by default).

Or set this option in the Options step of the Backup wizard.

To validate the archive before recovery:

Go to Tools & Utilities -> Options -> Recovery options -> Files recovery options and check the Validate backup archive before recovery option (disabled by default).

Or set this option in the Options step of the Recovery wizard.

But have a look at the Help file.

In the days of Drive Image which Norton took over to replace GHOST there was a time when they had a problem in completing an image if you selected the verification as part of making the image and the workaround until they fixed it was to disable verification as a combined operation.

They said that in any case it was actually quicker to make the image and then verify as a separate operation when it was completed than if you combined them so I have tended to disable the combined operation in other imaging software -- and I see it is disabled by default ....

Hope that helps.

   
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Old 08-13-2010, 06:43 PM   #10
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>> Burning is definitely slower ....

No question there. WAY slower. And more tedious, since you're limited to a relatively small capacity; if you're backing up 100 gb of data, you can do it in one pass to an HDD. With DVDs or horrors, CDs you have a weekend project.

>> Inherently more unreliable -- it's very difficult to scratch a hard drive! <g>

Easy to drop one though. And those EMPs are hell on magnetic media.

>> But easy to damage optical media and especially if you are doing incremental then if any one disk is unreadable then the whole set is.

True. I don't do incrementals, so that's not an issue for me.

>> As you yourself say: << if reasonably well treated, >> but they rarely are.

Mine are, so that's one less worry.

But after asking, I wandered off and read up on expected CD/DVD lifespan. I can now state categorically that if treated well, my backups will last for between 2 and 100 years. Or not.

What a snakepit of conflicting and misinformation is out there. Lordy.

There's even some supposedly authoritative guy from IBM telling us that we should use magnetic tape for everything. POP goes the credibility. I've had several different types of tape backup devices. Talk about incompatibilities and sheer willful unreliability!

   
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