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O/T - Totally backing up a computer

Discussion in 'CycleChat Cafe' started by beanzontoast, 19 Apr 2008.

  1. beanzontoast

    beanzontoast Veteran

    Location:
    South of The Peaks
    You know how it is. Everything on both my computers is working perfectly and it's taken ages to get stuff installed, devices working etc. I would really like to make a total backups / images of the entire set-ups - programmes, data, settings, the lot - so that if my hard drive dies or some other catastrophe happens, I can rebuild the entire computer from a single (hopefully automated) reinstall.

    I know that Maplins et al sell external hard drives, but I've never attempted the kind of backup I'm after here, and don't know where to start. To complicate matters, I run Xp on one machine, Vista on another and have been known to dabble with Linux.

    Any recommendations as to hardware/software solutions that really work please?
     
  2. Desert Orchid

    Desert Orchid Senior Member

    Location:
    Ibiza of the North
    Norton ghost or Acronis true image are the programs, I use acronis.
    It makes a mirror image of your drive which can be saved and restored onto a new drive.
     
  3. beanzontoast

    beanzontoast Veteran

    Location:
    South of The Peaks
    Does the new drive have to be the same size as the old one? What happens if the old drive was partitioned? Does the imaging software replicate the whole drive?
     
  4. Desert Orchid

    Desert Orchid Senior Member

    Location:
    Ibiza of the North
    of the top of my head, as its early!
    it doesn't matter about drive size as long as it will fit,
    as for partitions you make an image of the partitions you want to save and then replace image on the newly partitioned drive.
     
  5. Desert Orchid

    Desert Orchid Senior Member

    Location:
    Ibiza of the North
    or you can save all images on a spare hard drive and then replace them back onto your original partitioned drive if it goes pear shaped.
    it depends if you just want to save it as a backup or place the mirror onto say, a new bigger hard drive
     
  6. beanzontoast

    beanzontoast Veteran

    Location:
    South of The Peaks
    Thanks DO - I really must sort something out, as I can't face spending a day rebuilding either of my systems and I'm fed up backing up data to dvd and memory sticks.

    Hmm... I notice on Amazon that a number of Vista users reviews say they have had issues with Acronis. Why is nothing ever strightforward!
     
  7. Desert Orchid

    Desert Orchid Senior Member

    Location:
    Ibiza of the North
    Ah Vista, not good

    Micros**t* in their wisdom have made the vista file system so that it is difficult to take Vista off and replace it with another OS ie even XP, it will not let some programs find the partition. I didn't realise Acronis was one of them.
     
  8. beanzontoast

    beanzontoast Veteran

    Location:
    South of The Peaks
    Just looking at Paragon Drive Backup 8.51 - any experience of this one?
     
  9. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    Location:
    South Manchester
    Have/ or does your PC's have the ability for RAID - my PC is about 3 years old and the HD's are RAID - i.e. have two drives storing the same information, if one fails, you pop in another and it rebuilds itself.

    Saved my bacon twice - two drives of same make failed -now have two other drives (both the same) installed.
     
  10. Desert Orchid

    Desert Orchid Senior Member

    Location:
    Ibiza of the North
  11. beanzontoast

    beanzontoast Veteran

    Location:
    South of The Peaks
    RAID? Ooo-errr.... dunno. I suspect the older machine (it's 5 this year) doesn't, but the new one might. How does RAID work? Does it literally keep two identical copies of everything - OS and data? - and does it have to be started from when the computer is first used or can it be installed / set up retrospectively on a machine that already has one hd running?
     
  12. beanzontoast

    beanzontoast Veteran

    Location:
    South of The Peaks
    RAID - dunno to be honest. I suspect the older machine (5) may not support it. Will do some digging in manuals. Does RAID enable retrospective installation /configuration of a second drive for this purpose and will it back up OS as well as data?

    Cheers for the PM, DO - am about to head into town so will do some investigating upon my return.
     
  13. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    Location:
    South Manchester
    You'll need to check the manual.

    If your board has the necessary chips in it, you can 'build it' - you'll need to get the drivers and a program from the boards manufacturer.

    I built my pc with one drive, and when I could afford it, bought another drive, fitted it and ran the utility to enable the 'mirroring' - pretty simple.

    Keeps two copies, but if one drive fails, it won't boot - the system will tell you the drive has failed. You go out and buy another drive or one with a similar or greater capacity, remove the broken one, and then start the computer again. It will then tell you it needs rebuilding, and off it goes.

    There is a good chance the newer one will have it.
     
  14. Crackle

    Crackle Pah Staff Member

    Location:
    Wirral
    Since the advent of XP I don't image my PC's. XP hardly ever catastrophically fails and if it does a rebuild is inconvenient but does pair down all the stuff you've added but don't use anymore.

    Of much more concern to me is backing up my data, pics and ripped music. I used to just, 'remember' to do it but a much better solution is to use an online backup. I use www.mozy.com take a look at the home version. I've got 21Gb backed up with them now and for office files it holds 30 days of incremental versions i.e. want that spreadsheet from 10 days ago, pre-changes, Mozy has it.

    Also a word on RAID. It's great when it works but a decent controller and bios is key on a home PC. I built one on a shuttle and the bios kept failing to recognise one disk and it continually swapped disks and rebuilt itself, all very fast and seamless but it did get a bit messy when a few files got left on one disk and not rebuilt to the other.
     
  15. beanzontoast

    beanzontoast Veteran

    Location:
    South of The Peaks
    Cheers Crackle - Agree - I find XP pretty stable. Haven't been overly impressed by Vista SP1 which hasn't made any difference to the speed or hardware compatability issues I've had (scanner, printer - both not very old, but unsupported in Vista). RAID sounds a bit over complex for what I'm trying to do.

    DO - have PM'd you.