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Author Topic: A Summary of My WinXP Backup Strategy  (Read 8251 times)
danaltick
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evaa-xdtb@spamex.com danaltick
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« on: November 28, 2006, 08:26:29 PM »

I've been getting some requests to provide some more information regarding the strategy I use for my O/S and applications backup, so I will attempt to provide a brief summary of my current setup and what I do.  It is important to have a good solid backup/disaster recovery plan not only for your images, but also for your operating system, applications, databases, catalogs, business files, etc.

Through my own experience, I have discovered that I need both an imaging/cloning application as well as a robust backup utility to fully implement a full proof backup/disaster recovery plan.  Using both types of software, I've found that I can implement an automated backup plan keeping me from losing no more than a single day's worth of work.

To implement this plan, I recommend that you either have two networked PC's or one PC and an external hard drive (firewire, USB2.0, SATA, or eSATA) that stays connected to your PC at all times or at least when the backups are scheduled to occur.  If this is cost prohibitive, you can use a second internal SATA drive for your backups, at a slightly higher risk.  I also recommend that you have another offsite harddrive that you connect for backups on a weekly or monthly basis.  Because these harddrives are not for DAM backups, I've found that 80GB drives are sufficient.  You can purchase 80GB SATA drives today for around $45.

I've found I can implement this plan using GBM Pro v8.0 http://www.genie-soft.com/store/gbmpro.html as my backup utility software and Acronis True Image (TI) 10 Home http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/ as my imaging software.  That is not to say that other applicatons can't implement this plan as well, it's just that these have served me well for the past several years and they both appear to be well supported to-date.

My primary harddrive is divided into two partitions C and D.  I use TI to image the C partition to both of my external hard drives as a compressed image file.  By doing the partition only rather than the full disk, I can more easily upgrade to a larger hard drive in the future if necessary by just formatting and partioning the new drive however I choose.  I re-image the C partition once a month and also when the following occurs:
   1.A major upgrade or patch to the O/S such as Service Pack 2 for WindowsXP
   2.Any significant upgrade to the TI software
   3.Any significant upgrade to the GBM software
   4.Any major user changes to the O/S such as new apps or customizations

I activate the TI startup manager software that allows me to hit the F11 key on bootup and load the startup manager for quick recovery if necessary.  The startup manager occupies only a few megabytes of data in a secure place on the primary drive.  I also create a TI boot CD in case the primary hard drive fails completely and cannot be booted to the startup manager.  The TI bootloader software can access both internal and external drives for bare-metal recovery.

I schedule GBM to run a nightly incremental backup of only my C partition to my connected external drive (or in my case my networked PC drive).  GBM automatically runs a full backup weekly with 6 incrementals nightly in between.  GBM also automatically purges the backup sets going back two weeks.  My C drive only contains my O/S and applications, and it currently only contains about 13GB.  It also contains my iView catalogs, but my catalogs are not that big yet; however, I do recommend incremental backups of your catalogs, even if you keep them on a separate partition.

I use GBM mirror jobs to backup all of my non-DAM media that is kept on other drives or partitions such as internet downloads, databases, documents, etc.  I mirror these as nightly jobs to my connected external drive (or networked PC) and weekly or monthly to my off site drive depending on the criticality.

Having both imaging software combined with an O/S based backup utility allows for quick bare-metal recovery up to the previous day in case of complete hard drive failure, theft, or natural disaster.  To me this is important if you intend to run your business from your home PC.

Dan
« Last Edit: February 22, 2008, 09:45:29 PM by danaltick » Logged

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johnbeardy
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« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2006, 01:41:38 AM »

Thanks Dan. As someone who asked for a little more detail, I really appreciate this.

Why don't you just use TrueImage? Why GenieSoft as well?

John
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danaltick
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« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2006, 06:54:08 AM »

John,

In a nutshell, I use each for what it was intended.  As a backup utility GBM far exceeds the capabilities of TI.  It has much better logging and cataloging of backup jobs, automatic purging, mirror jobs, robust encryption, plug-ins, separate email backup and recovery, as well as many other capabilities.  GBM was designed from the ground up to be a backup utility.

Dan
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johnbeardy
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« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2006, 07:00:00 AM »

Thanks Dan.

Other readers may be interested that I emailed Dan after spending a couple of hours helping a friend over the phone. He had been doing daily backups for ages, but had never needed to restore anything - until that evening. It was only then that he discovered he couldn't work out how to do so.... Having never seen his backup program, I couldn't help much over the phone. In other words, learning how to restore is a pretty important part of your backup routine!

John
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danaltick
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« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2006, 07:52:59 AM »

John,

Yes it is.  I've actually wiped my hard drive and restored it back to the previous day just to test it.  However, do this at your own risk, or find a second hard drive to test with.

Dan
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AlanDunne
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« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2006, 11:52:46 AM »

Dan,

thanks for posting this complete description of your backup procedures. It is very helpful and well thought out. I have most of the same set up as you do. e.g. TI, GBM, FAM and use them similarily. but not quite as well thought out. Over Christmas I intend to do some work to take my backups to the "next level" and your material will be a useful reference.

One glitch I have had recently, and has been discussed in a related thread, is the ability to use TI to create an image on an external USB2 HD. It doesn't work, although the root cause seems to be more related to Microsoft than TI.

On a side note, I have a related question about imaging. If I move to a Raid 0 C drive scheme, can you image to a non Raid 0 disk and recover? I am not sure if this is technically possible or not.

Cheers ... Al
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danaltick
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« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2006, 01:27:46 PM »

Alan,

I don't own a USB drive so I can't test it; however, I thought the problem was not in imaging to the drive, but rather booting from the drive once imaged.

I'm afraid I haven't delved into Raid configurations, so I can't answer that question.

Dan
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AlanDunne
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« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2006, 06:42:08 AM »

Dan,

technically you are correct. The issue with the USD external drive was not with the imaging, but rather with the booting.

I believe that a firewire external drive does not have this limitation, and since I have one kicking around, I will give that a try.

Regarding Raid configurations, I will do some experiments and likey ask Acronis if they have an opinion as well.

As always, thanks for the support ... Alan
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danaltick
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« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2006, 11:00:59 AM »

Alan,

My approach to disaster recovery for the O/S is to boot to the Acronis Startup Manager by hitting the F11 key or, if the harddrive has failed, directly to the Acronis Boot CD.  My external harddrive would have an Acronis compressed image (.tib) file of the C partition containing the O/S.  Once the Acronis bootloader is loaded I would just tell it to recover the .tib file from the external USB drive.  I would then reboot the internal drive.  In this case just make sure you have a spare internal drive handy or can purchase one at a nearby store quickly in case the internal drive fails completely.  Usually it's just the O/S that has become corrupt.

Dan
« Last Edit: August 09, 2007, 04:09:44 PM by danaltick » Logged

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Bill Lewis
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« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2008, 10:04:01 AM »

Dan,

Your backup summary was most illuminating for a technically challenged person like myself, thanks for taking the time to post it!
I've been reading this thread as well as many others in this forum and now believe I'm ready to put a sound backup and recovery system in place. I'll be purchasing a JBOD for storage and on site backup in the near future and want to integrate your well thought out backup practices at the same time. It's been over a year since you first posted on this, so my question is; have you modified your backup and recovery strategy since your original post.

Thanks,

Bill
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danaltick
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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2008, 09:52:46 PM »

Bill,

Hard to believe it's been over a year since I posted that...time sure flies!

To answer your question, no I have not modified it.  I'm using the same plan with my new PC that I put together last year.

Dan
« Last Edit: February 22, 2008, 09:56:00 PM by danaltick » Logged

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Bill Lewis
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« Reply #11 on: February 23, 2008, 06:38:51 AM »

Dan,

Thanks for the speedy reply!

Guess I'll put the plan in place so I can sleep more soundly.

Thanks again for your original post, not only was it a great time saver but I'm sure the results will be better than something I might have cobbled up!

Bill

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