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I don't use any. . .
of the so called "backup programs" for a few simple reasons.
1. None that I know of back up the registry.
2. Someone is always having trouble with them, I would be one too.
3. Backing up running programs does not work, period, because of reason number one.
Once a week I back up my photos, emails, favorites, documents, etc. If I have a major failure I'll just reinstall the OS. And I have every program installer I have running on my PC. It's just too easy to reinstall a program rather than try to "restore" it.
A good program for backing up Outlook Express, if you use it, is called Outlook Express Freebie Backup. It's at my site below.
Click here to see the CNet faces, learn a little about internet
connections and data, and download free software.
If you're reading this, thank a teacher. If you're reading this in English, thank a U.S. soldier.
Backing up to multipe DVDs - data vs system
Thanks for the info, and suggestion. For my purposes, I'm making a distinction between archiving data, and backing up/restoring the system state.
What I'm working on for the moment is archiving some large sets of data files. For this purpose (i.e. for now) I?m not so much worried about backing up the registry etc..
Anyone have any suggestions for programs that solve this (data archiving) part of the problem well?
[ Of course, many backup programs are advertised as being able to create bootable system backups for a system. I haven't tested them, but for the moment, for my needs that's another (separate) problem.
For restoring system state in the event of a complete crash, I would do as you mentioned - re-install the OS and my (MANY) applications and all their respective data & config. files. This would be a _major_ pain, and I'd probably miss some things, but for right now, my priority is a way to archive some large and generally irreplaceable sets of data (photos etc.). ]
create a DVD
"but for right now, my priority is a way to archive some large and generally irreplaceable sets of data (photos etc.)"
Make a DVD(s) using your DVD burning software. All you need to do is select the files and folders you want. Most programs have a default folder for saving data. Figure out where they are and make a copy. The same thing for your photos and downloads. Then if there is ever a hard drive failure, your data will be saved.
Backing up to multiple DVDs - automatically
"Make a DVD(s) using your DVD burning software. All you need to do is select the files and folders you want."
The problem/limitation with this is that it only works for as much data as will fit on a single DVD at a time. Then you must keep track of what fit on the last volume, and create a new set/DVD.
Suppose that you have a folder with say 50 sub-folders containing photos organized by say location & date. Using the approach of manually selecting a (sub)set of data that will fit on one DVD would of course work, but is rather cumbersome.
Also my DVD burning software doesn't support many of the features that a good backup program would - incremental backup, compression, scheduled backups, etc.
So, I'm looking for a progam that supports automatic "disk-spanning" of data sets (not necessarily files).
Backing up to multiple DVDs - articles, reviews
OK, so after doing considerable additional research, I found the following reviews/summaries which may be of use to others:
Backup Software Reviews: http://www.backup-software-reviews.com/review-novabackup.htm
PC World article Better Backups 05-Aug-04: http://www.pcworld.com/howto/article/0,aid,116995,00.asp
PC World article Pick Your Backup Software Aug, 2004: http://www.pcworld.com/reviews/article/0,aid,117255,00.asp
PC Magazine article June, 2004: http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,1591392,00.asp
Some key differences include:
- Disk imaging software vs. file backup
- Ability to create bootable CDs/DVDs or not
- Ability to write to DVDs and tape (oddly, some cannot)
- Programs that automatically find & backup the registry, e-mail archives, etc. vs. those that must be told by the user where all files reside
- Zip format vs. proprietary format
- Disk spanning or not
I hope this helps (others).
An Approach to Laptop Backup
Before hitting the road, I use Drive Image 7 to make a compressed (Standard Compression) copy of my active partition. The image is spanned to fit on multiple DVDs and stored on a separate partition used only for this purpose. The image segments are also burned onto DVDs using NERO.
Thus, if my active partition gets fouled up I can boot from the Drive Image boot CD and easily restore from the compressed files in the backup partition. I have had to do this once and it worked perfectly.
If the HD takes a total dive, I can replace it with a new one, boot from the boot CD and then use the DVDs that are with me to restore the system completely.
I believe that Symantec, who bought the makers of Drive Image, are now selling a version of their Norton Ghost software that is based upon Drive Image and has some improvements.
Backing up to multipe DVDs - data vs system
Once you rebuild the system. It would be a great idea to backup the os/programs. Once you have accomplished this then place place your data back on the system. This two step process will save you time in the future.
Next time when you have to rebuild your system you can use the System Backup DVD vs. installing all applications + OS.
backing up to DVD, registry
I use Dantz Retrospect Professional for my backup system. It does span multiple DVD's, and it will span multiple hard disk's also, and it DOES backup the registry. I can restore any/all files, to different previous states, I can restore my entire "C" drive to any previous state that I choose, going as far back as my backup sets go. I have been using this system for several years, and I wouldn't be without a good backup system in place, I have recovered from a total "C" drive failure using this software. Real backup software isn't cheap, but neither is all the data on my computer! Protect your data...
I disagree with the backup complaint.
There are some great programs out there that will actually backup data, even on the fly. They are usually quite cheap compared to having to rebuild a drive from scratch making it worthwhile in the long run.
They will even backup only the differential data which speeds up the entire process. Check them out, they do work.
I get the teacher comment but WTF!! does a U.S. Grunt have to do with backups?? They are taking a tough job and doing a great job of it, but they are not the saviours of the "Free World". Get a life.
Backing up to multiple DVD's
Just a suggestion, the program that I use and find extremely complete in it's ability to backup and schedule backups of all my file needs is "Genie Backup Manager Pro." You can find it @ http://www.genie-soft.com/.
Once you try it and enjoy it's simplicity you will find it a total solution for your backup needs especially in a home office or small business environment, enjoy.
Here is a novel approach that may be slightly more expensive; but, in the long run save a lot of time and aggravation: Instead of DVDs I use two external hard drives: one for BACKUPS and another for INTERNET. Everything internet related goes to the INTERNET drive; and, every backup I need goes to the backup drive. All this frees up my main Hard drive and provides added security.
Be careful with hard drives
Although backing up to secondary hard drives is quick and simple, it is not the safest mehtod available. Within the past year, I have had two external 250 GB LaCie hard drives fail and one internal secondary hard drive from Dell failed. In all three cases, if I did not have my cd and dvd backups in addition to the hard drives, much data would have been permanently lost. In mid September, as I was dealing with the two bad LaCie drives, the C drive suddenly went. This meant my backup data was now critical and fortunately, I did not rely upon the external or secondary internal hard drives. Hard drives, although convenient, are far from secure.
Why not bite the bullet and get an external hard drive? In addition to backing up you will be able to save drive images and thus make restoration much simpler.
External hard disks are not backup. Just copies. Here's why
Since all the drives I've seen have no WRITE PROTECT and we can't make multiple copies to be removed from the site this system is not a backup.
But it's better than nothing.
Sadly, a slip of the delete key, virus, trojan can delete what's on an external drive too quickly.
Yes, I agree with Joe Sage, the best solution is to backup to an external drive. I use PowerQuest Drive Image 7 to make an image and it works every time provided you check the drive you are backing up for errors beforehand. (e.g. select My Computer > Drive C > right click and select Properties > select the Tools tab and then select Error Checking > Check now). PowerQuest was taken over by Symantec about 6-12 months ago so I don't know how it can be purchased now.
Backing up to multiple DVD's
I use Nero for teh backing up of 57 gigs of music and pictures. Nero does support multiple DVD's and it is an automatic scheduler. The files are compressed and the user has to insert the next DVD to continue the back up. The best thing is that all of this is multisession and can be password locked.
Most important is to check the box that verifies the backup to insure that there was a legitimate backup made.
Like a previous response I do not backup programs just the files because of the registry. The backup DVD's work even on new installations because you can determine where the backup is installed.
A glitch in the pie.
I like that software, but had to stop noting it when it failed to work on machines that the owner had installed the Intel Acceleration driver package.
I have not heard if they fixed that.
I liked the design of the Stomp software, but must point out a potentially serious probelem. If you have files that use a language other than English, your files may not get backed up. I have some files that are in Russian Cyrillic alphabet. Those files will not back up using Stomp software. Curiously, the older BackupExec had no problems. Stomp tech support ignored the problem, so I gave up.
I had to stop using backupmypc when I purchased external hard drives to be part of a backup solution. In addition, backupmypc files are in a proprietary format that can not be restored by Windows explorer. If you ever need the backup copies of files, a format that can be restored by Windows explorer is much easier and simpler to use. Even if not restoring the backup files, you will find that backups that can be seen in explorer are a whole lot easier to verify and maintain.
Backupmypc and the Intel Accelerator issue
I had to stop mentioning this software after it failed with the Intel Accelerator software.
AFAIK, the issue was never resolved.
spanned DVD backups with incremental backups
I recently started using Acronis TrueImage 8. It will create a bootable CD that can format drives in FAT, FAT32, NTFS and Linux. It also will clone partitions and hard drives. It autodetects ethernet and media, such as external hard drives, CDR/CDRW/DVDR/DVDRW, USB thumbdrives, and even network drives. These images can be spanned across the DVD media with a fairly decent compression rate. I especially like the incremental image backup feature. Restore is just as easy, using the bootable CD to restore entire partitions, or using the program itself to selectively restore files. No, I do not work for Acronis, but I think this program is a bargain at $49 US. It has replaced GHOST in my arsenal.
Wayne Peeples, CEO
Backing up many (data) files to multiple DVDs
Thanks for all the ideas, and feedback on which programs work well. A couple of comments
1) I do use a second (internal) drive for backup. It is susceptible to virus or fire, and doesn't help when I'm traveling.
I could use another external drive, that's only connected some of the time, and that I bring when I travel, However it would need a large capacity, and therefore be expensive, and potentially bulky. I would prefer an archivable format that I can store offsite for this purpose.
2) Disk imaging tools are great for a slightly different purpose. For this purpose, my problem is that they are not such a great solution for backing 100 or 300 GB drives. That's a lot of DVDs <g>. Backing up the actual data (with options for incremental backup) fit this particular purpose better.
So I'm leaning toward a program that supports backing up files as opposed to capturing disk images, and writes to removable media (like DVDs).
If the program can also create a bootable system recovery CD, that's great. It looks like there are several good choices to choose from. I'll check those out, thanks.
Fyi, for my next system (or after my next full backup of this one I'm planning to create a reasonably sized system/boot partition, so I can use drive imaging software to capture an image of the boot partition.
Thanks again for the suggestions and feedback on the various programs.
Backing up to multiple DVD's - (using MSBACKUP & HJSPLIT)
I use the MS BACKUP utility ("NTBACKUP.EXE" as supplied by Microsoft) and save the .bkf file on a fixed drive first. The SINGLE 12-15GB .bkf (typical size for my backup) file must be "parsed" or "split" out into smaller files before the DVDs can be burned. Only the smaller parsed files are burned to DVD. Prior to the MS BACKUP "restore" operation, the "parsed" files then must be copied from the DVDs into a temporary folder on the destination fixed drive. The SAME parsing utility program is used to "Join" the parsed files. I found a freeware utility "HJSPLIT" that does both the "splitting" and "joining". Works Fine for me as long as I take thses precautions: 1) I must specify that each of the "parsed" files are limited to the size that can fit onto a regular CD-ROM (I specify 680M in hjsplit) Any parsed file size larger results in failure to burn the DVDs. I can fit 5 or 6 of the parsed files onto ONE DVD DATA ROM. 2) If MSBACKUP creates a .bkf file LARGER THAN 4.7GB (the capacity of a typical DVD) then the fixed disk must be NTFS-formatted on both the source and destination PCs. Of course there must be plenty of free space available before using HJSPLIT (You should have at least 2x the size of the .bkf file before splitting or joining). I must remember to manually delete .bkf and parsed files, after they are no longer needed, to reclaim HD free space. It's time consuming and rather cumbersome if I have to burn more than 2 or 3 DVD's, but it sure beats burning 5 to 6 times as many CD's. If my backups get much larger, I plan to shop for something better.
Using FIRESTREAMER add-on to MS Backup util
I found a pretty good add-on to allow spanning of DVD's in the Win XP backup util. It's called "Firestreamer-DVD" and will allow spanning DVD's without manual parsing and will fill up a DVD before requesting another. Once installed, it integrates automatically with "NTBACKUP.EXE" and one can then use the utility pretty much normally. One peculiarity - the choice for backing up to DVD is listed as an IBM tape drive. Apparently, this software emulates a tape drive, but it seems to work well. I backed up 120 GB of files to 28 DVD+R disks in about 4 3/4 hours on a NEC 2500 (6X)in a Firewire external enclosure. To check out the restore capability, I arbitrarily chose some folders in about the middle of the backup set and retored them to another HDD in the same Firewire external enclosure. It did this without a hiccup, so I conditionally called it good (I didn't want to take another 9 1/2 hours at that point for verification). If you choose to verify the writes, it takes about twice as long to do as the original backup. It costs $30, with a 30-day free trial.
rwalsh959, thank you for your review. Just one note - you apparently had the compression switched off, otherwise the backup should have taken less time and media. Make sure you have the compression set to "Backup utility selects" in Firestreamer Control Panel, and "Use compression if available" is checked in NTBackup.
Where do you download this software?
Multiple Backups to spanned DVDs
Nero 6 Backitup is the way to go. No fuss no muss. I use DVD-RWs Great stuff.
Verification error problems with Nero Backitup
I had been using Nero Backitup successfully until recently. Lately I am getting lots of errors. I upgraded my firmware on the DVD drive, updated the Nero, and still no help. I get write errors, read errors on verification. Anyone have any ideas? I would like to try a different program, similar to this, that may not have these glitches. I am trying to back up 6G-10G mpeg videos over several dvds. Any ideas appreciated.
Verification error problems with Nero Backitup
Used nd-1300 for a while now, always with errors. Bought resently two benq-1620 drives for backup a lot of data, so also bought a lot of dvd's and got writing.
...old machine 440BX chipset and old OS (w2k) en newest version of backupitup 18.104.22.168 (within set of 22.214.171.124). All worked well but could not write with two drives at once. So got nd-1300 out of my newer machine (well at that time then) 2.4 GHZ asus p4p800 and put a benq writer in it (benq writer was working perfectly in older machine). When I begon writing I always got "Verification error problems" after one or two DVD's.....changed settings, changed DVD's, changed cables and now even changed machine (soltek SL-65kv2-ct with 2.4 GHZ AMD XP with via chipset) ... I can write DVD'S without errors, but not as many as I want. Now even some nice to, nd-1300 is working in older machine perfectly writing backups on many DVD's.......ANY Idea's?
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