General discussion

System Backup/Image Software.

I'm trying to find a system image/backup software that runs from a bootable CD/Flash Drive that can be used to make create a complete system recovery CD and restore an image using CDs/DVDs. I would prefer the backup media to be such that it can be used to boot and restore the media but if a separate disk for booting and backup will work.

I've looked around some but before I buy anything I would like to get some opinions. I want to use it to create recovery media for systems that I send to customers. That way the customer can repair the system in the event of a system failure. Currently all systems have XP but will soon be Windows 7.

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Why not Acronis?

Seems to make such media that can boot and restore. (in fact it does!)

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Snapshot is great

For 39 Euros Drive Snapshot is the best I found so far:

Very small program, run under any Windows flavor, back up from Windows while yoiu're still working, includes files in use, restore partition after booting from a FreeDOS boot disk (included), restore individual files from Windows, open a backup set as a virtual drive, extensive command prompt interface to use in batch files.

Has never failed me in 10 years.

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Drive Snapshot website looks suspicious?

I noticed that the link mentioned above for Drive Snapshot is not a US site (.de?). ...might be Ok, though. ...but I am afraid to click it.

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Highly Recommend Acronis

Acronis programs are very impressive. I purchased an upgrade version of Acronis 2011. I was using a Acronis OEM that is part of Seagate Tools vers. 5.? Paid 24.95 for the upgrade. Can backup a Disk image via installed program version, or a bootable dos program that you burn/load to CD/FDD/USBThumb. It even backs up your email. Better than using Windows System Restore in most cases. After purchasing Acronis, and having the full version, I re-installed Windows, and had a "just installed template.", but unlike OEM recovery partitions, this is a image of YOUR hdd, not of the "factory" settings. And it really does a great job of compressing files. So your 15 GB install of Windows saves at around 6-7 GB. With my system it takes approx. 15-20 mins, for a backup, and verify file Backup. Later after installing all the programs I do another disc image, and have my "All installed" template. Keeping both of those files seperate makes things safe. I can easily go from "Oh Darn, what the f--- did I do, my computer won't boot to.....being up and running in about 20 mins. Also having a backup is good if you need to install your OS on a new drive....or upgrade, and need to clone to a SSD.

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Image Backup

I agree to the Acronis. I have used it a few times. I presently use a program called Macrium for this specific purpose. It will also make an xml file you can use for doing the restore if you wish. It does the job well and I have quite a few people set up to do their restore in case of disaster.

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Rain on your parade, but

I hate to rain on your parade, but, it will take many DVDs to do an image backup after a PC has been used for a while. A DVD can hold 4.7 GBytes of data, maybe 8 GBytes compressed. If you divided the disk space used in your system (in GBytes) by by 8 you will get the approximate number of DVDs you will have to use for an image backup, assuming 2 to 1 compression.
I use Symantec Backup Exec. A full backup of my system is about 250 GBytes, even an incremental backup is about 20 GBytes. The only practical media, if you want to do image backups is disk. Consider a 1 TBytes or larger external disk. My backup media is a 4 TByte RAID 5 array on another PC.

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Rain on my parade???

Msgale, I know from your post that you have not used the Macrium product. I have been in data processing, programming, repairing, building, you name it and I well know what it takes to back up a computer system from the old mainframes to the current gig capacity systems. I was chief of Computer operations for about 20 years before retirement.

With that said, macrium will handle just about any backup media you throw at it. Got a terabyte usb drive, use it, got a large enough thumb drive, use it, got an extra hard drive in your system, use it.

Man, at least check out a product before Rain on My Parade.

I will agree with you on one thing you said. If you use Cd/DVD's, yes, you will need a number of disks. But, that isn't my call. It's the user/operator call. I informed the inquirer of a program that will do exactly what he/she asked for.

However, I have not utilized the XML file for the image backup purpose.

Your Symantec exec is a good product also but costs a great deal more than the macrium which does the job just as well and does not take up as much space on your operational disk.

Try the macrium, you may like it even better.

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So have I

I started as a programmer in 1967, and retired as such in 2001. I too have utilized Mainfreams, IBM and CDC, minis HP, SUN etc. I never made a reccomedation about a backup program. What I bascically discussed was backup media, and I pointed was DVDs are not the way to go.

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I did not recommend Backup Exec, in fact I wouldn't for the typicall user. I however use it since I have to backup a Windows 2008R2 Enterprise server I have at home, in addition to two Windows 7 Ultimate PCs. All I stateed was what I used. Nor do I suggest that the typical user invest in a 4 TB RAID 5 array.

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It really depends on whether you have seperate data drives

My example I sighted earlier is a 80GB SSD for boot....with 1 TB Documents Drive, and 1 TB Music windows installation tops out at 44.5 GB. The Latest Backup file is 28.2gb including mail. So no it wouldn't be wise to use DVD, but an external USB hdd or alternate drive in the system could be used, and that is what I do use.

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Correct, it depends

Great Lakephillip. I appears you are pretty well set. Msgale said he didn't recommend backup exec. Neither do do I, it is overkill for the average user. I do recommend that ANY user have a valid image backup regardless of the program they use to do it with. I happen to like the Macrium I mentioned but have, in fact, used others, like the Acronis, The Seagate, a few versions of Norton Ghost, maker of the Symantec Exec msgale mentioned. There are others if you want to look. The macrium I use all the time now and until it quits doing the job I'll stick with it. It will handle any job most users will throw at it.

Most users now days have much larger systems that do require more than a few CD/DVD disks so I do not recommend that route, nor use it myself nor for the MANY systems I support. But, there are a few that could get away with 4-5 DVD if you/they wish to take the chance of a corrupted disk. I have seen that a few times and it isn't worth the risk. I personally prefer the current crop of usb Free Agent drives by Seagate. I'm not saying the others are no good I just prefer the Seagate and have used Seagate products since the 60's.

You will save yourself a lot of time should the instance arise that you need to restore your whole system due to disk failure.

I personally do not use incremental backups due to the fact you would need to restore them after you done your image restore. I prefer to do the complete image backup each time. But, that is my choice.

When I was actually working for an employer, I/we done backups every day. With the current raid systems mentioned by msgale, you actually have a hot spare that is used if you have a failure. It gets a little involved explaining how it works so I'll leave that to you to look up. Most all the newer systems have the ability to perform the full raid if a person was interested in that. I don't use it now myself.

Anway, I'm happy you have yourself covered.

nuff said I'm gone

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I will agree with you on one thing you said.

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