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Author Topic: A great PC backup utility  (Read 12122 times)
danaltick
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« on: December 13, 2005, 06:48:16 PM »

I use a PC and use this backup utility http://www.genie-soft.com/products/gbmpro/default.html.  I actually chose it over Retrospect.  I continue to be impressed by it.  It does a great job with mirroring, incrementals with rollback, and differentials.  It also has built-in purging capability on incrementals and differentials; and there is a home edition as well.  It also supports plugin scripts for backing up application settings for applications such as Outlook, Outlook Express, Photoshop (not CS2 yet though I don't think), and many others.  Just thought I would spread the word about it.  Genie-Soft is planning a major new release of the software (version 7) in the next couple of months as well.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2005, 10:12:19 PM by peterkrogh » Logged

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cabrackett
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2005, 07:55:24 PM »

I have been using Retrospect with scripts for automated operation and found it worked well enough, but the user interface is confusing and not graphically oriented. Upon the previous suggestion, I installed Genie and was so impressed I immediately bought, registered, installed and am now using it exclusively. I don't have a lot of experience in this area and the ease-of-use of the interface was very important.

Chuck
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danaltick
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« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2005, 08:01:39 PM »

Well I do know that Retrospect is rated highly in PC magazine, so I'm sure it's a good utility.  But this GBM Pro 6 has truly impressed me with it's capabilities and ease of use.  I also have the File Access Manager FAM from Genie-Soft installed along with it.  This allows GBM to back up locked O/S files and busy files to guarantee your entire O/S gets backed up.  It works great too, I've tested it.

One other thing, they have instant messenger support.  I speak with them online quite frequently and have even offered them many suggestions, some of which will be in the next release.  As many software app's as I deal with, you just can't ignore support, it's absolutely critical.
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« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2005, 05:10:11 AM »

Thanks for suggesting this. I have downloaded the trial version and it is both easier to use and more feature rich than my current backup s/w. I did note that they have a plugin for Photoshop CS2 at their web page now!

Since reading the DAM book, I am attempting to make my overal backup strategy more sophisticated (note that in some ways sophistication = simple). I want to make a bootable HD backup to an external USB2 drive of my C dirve with OS, all the installed programs and their setting, the registry, etc. No user data per say. This way if my C drive crashes I can recover without having to re-install the OS and all the programs from CD's.

Do you have such a configuration set up in Genie and could you share the details? What backup type would you use (normal or mirror, as I presume incremental/differential is not ideal). I also presume to make this work you would not want to use the compression feature.

Also, if yo backup the program files folder (which in my case inlcudes Photoshop) is there any value in also configuring the plugin controller to likewise run the Photoshop plugin in the same job?

I know this is not a Genie forum, but the questions are triggered by my attempt to match the strategies in the DAM book.

Any help is appreciated in advance ... Alan
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2005, 07:33:18 AM »

Alan,
FWIW, I am very happy to have this conversation going on here.  I can't be of much help.though, since I primarily use Macintosh.  I know you PC users are out there, though...
Peter
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danaltick
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« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2005, 12:35:28 PM »

A plugin for CS2....execellent!  Will have to download that ASAP.  By the way, these plugins are actually scripts, many of which are submitted and shared by users....another one of the big plus's of this utility.

I will be more than happy to answer your questions, which by the way, are good questions.

Here is my current approach to disaster recovery.  Because I have a Local Area Network behind a hardware and software firewall, I strive to make maximum use of it for cost savings, expediency, and hands-off automation.  In otherwords, with my current setup, I'm willing to take the risk and keep both my primary and secondary bucket systems online; supplemented with DVD bucket burning of course.  Also, keep in mind that my LAN extends to another secure building that would contain my secondary bucket system.  My primary will remain on local internal HDD's.  If my system grows one day to the scale that Peter's is, I might then consider offline SATA caddy's.  But that would be more than six months down the road, and I like Peter's six-month approach to new hardware.  Always, make sure that is in your decision making.

Genie-Soft's GBM Pro is a backup utility, it is not imaging/cloning software, nor is it bare-metal disaster recovery.  I use this software for bare-metal recovery http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/.  I find it superior to Norton Ghost 9.  It appears to support boot CD's for more motherboards and DVD media formats for disaster recovery.  In otherwords, they just handle bare-metal recovery better.  I can actually image my C drive directly to a few DVD's at minimal cost and restore my C drive using a boot CD created for my motherboard.  I can recover my CD drive from DVD's in around 20 minutes.  Of course you can do the same thing with an external boot disk as well.  That is all I use True Image (TI) for, even though it does much more.  I use GBM for everything else....it is far superior as a backup utility.

I also use GBM to completely back up my O/S and registry over my LAN.  I use incremental with rollback for this job, and use compression.  This allows me to go back in time up to two weeks if necessary (I tell GBM to purge after two weeks), which is critical for the O/S.  This runs nightly and completes in under 30 minutes.  Because I do this, I am able to disable WindowsXP System Restore, which reduces overhead on my disk and CPU.  If for some reason my O/S refuses to boot (due to power failure, virus, corrupt O/S files, etc.), I boot to an alternate copy of the O/S that I have also installed on my C drive.  This copy has GBM installed in it as well and has access to my LAN.  From there I recover my latest incremental from the night before over my LAN and I'm back in business quickly, with a current copy of my O/S....unlike my boot DVD's (or boot drive), which could be outdated if not backed up regularly.

If I actually do have a harddrive failure, then I resort to TI for my disaster bare-metal recovery.  Once that is complete, I then boot to the alternate O/S and use GBM as before to bring my O/S up to date.  Regardless of what happens, I can keep my O/S current.  I don't like the thought of having to go back in time with my O/S recovery.  Because my O/S backup also contains all my applications (except games, they are on CD's anyway:)), my O/S and apps are dynamic and need to be current.

About GBM plugins.  Just backing up the Program Files folder may not be sufficient.  Many applications store much data in the registry and other directories.  Plugins ensure it all gets backed up....a very nice feature.  And yes, just add the plugin as part of the O/S job.

For media, I use separate GBM jobs that are mirror jobs over my LAN without compression....media is already compressed.  Mirror jobs lend themselve well to huge media backups because their only function is to synchronize the primary with the secondary (i.e. additions and deletions)....very fast and independent of backup size (except maybe for the backup search operation to find out what's changed).  The only drawback is no incremental capability; however, how many times do you need to go back in time with images....my current thinking is it's worth the price/risk.

I intend to create a separate GBM job for the Working Files folder in the DAM system.  That will be a mirror as well.  I will run this job manually from my desktop after a new shoot.  I plan to take Peter's advice and make sure, that at any given time, my images and working files exist in at least three places.

Hope that helps.  Also, if anybody sees any holes in this setup, please inform me.

Best Regards,
Dan 
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Steve Miller
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« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2006, 07:18:34 PM »

Dan,

So I was off and running with GBM in no time. I did a full backup (uncompressed) of my music files that sit on a NAS in my home (backing up to my desktop). I was surprised with only one thing. I wanted it to put all of the files in E:\music\ (then followed by group folders, then album sub-folders), but instead found that it made its own sub-folder within that folder, E:\music\music backup\etc. No big deal for my music files, but when I use it for my photo files, I'd like it to replicate the exact folder structure. Did I miss something really basic when I set up the backup? Just checked again and still don't see why it's adding the subfolder. The only thing I can think of is that if I name the job "music", etc. (rather than music backup) and point it to the E: drive (but not in a sub-folder), it will create a "music" folder in E:, or copy to that sub-folder if it already exists. Make sense?

Oh yeah, just curious, it took 2 1/2 hours to do a full uncompressed backup of 30 GB of music. Does that sound long on a 100 -LAN (non-gigE)?

Thanks,

Steve
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danaltick
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« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2006, 07:57:15 PM »

Steve,

You are correct; a folder will be created and named after the job name.  Genie-Soft does that so you can identify the job from the folder name.  For compressed backups this is not an issue because zip files are actually created named after the job name with a sequence number appended....maike sense?

I haven't yet tried to backup that much data (30GB) yet.  However, if you were actually transferring at 100Mbit/sec, it would take approximately 45 minutes to complete.  The fact that it is taking roughly three times that long does not really surprise me.  There are a lot of factors that come into play in calculating real throughput drive-to-drive.  Do make sure your auto-protect is disabled on your anti-virus software though, and you've minimized other traffic on your LAN.  Also, switches on your LAN are much better than Hubs.

Dan
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« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2006, 03:41:41 PM »

Although I've now switched to a mac, a great pc backup program is smartsync pro http://www.smsync.com/ which I still use on my work PC. Very affordable and easy to setup.
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Steve Miller
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« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2006, 10:45:00 AM »

Dan,

I played around with GBM last night and found it was great for mirroring changes made to my primary drive. I had already run a job that copied originals from the primary drive to an external HD. Subsequent to that, as part of my migration plan, I had moved most of the files/folders from my old Original Photos folder/sub-folders to a new Archived Files folder hierarchy. Because I still have some work to do, I still have ca. 3,000 files in the Original Photos structure, and have 9,000 in the Archived Files structure. I used GBM to mirror the first backup of the Original Photos (expecting it to delete roughly 9,000 files and keep the remaining 3,000 files). It worked just as I expected, with one small problem. All of the old folders/sub-folders in the backed-up Orignal Photos (on the external HD) were still there after the mirror job. The 9,000 files were correctly deleted but I was left with a bunch of orphaned folders that I had to manually delete.

Is this how the program is supposed to work? I think I had to have done something wrong when I setup the backup.

Thanks in advance,

Steve

P.S. For anyone wondering, I'm not crazy. I didn't delete 9,000 original files without having other backups (run a RAID 1 for the primary and also have a complete copy on my NAS).
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robcar
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« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2006, 05:35:37 PM »

Do any of these PC backup softwares actually make files that are the same filetype as the originals?

I just bought Acronis True Image because I need (as Dan so nicely puts it) a "bare-metal" backup with a boot CD if my main hard drive ever fails.  Pretty simple to use BUT it only creates it's own proprietary .TIB files even without any compression.

I would like my backups to be the same file format as my originals, (i.e., DNGs or TIFs or JPGs etc.).  Maybe I'm just being a Nervous Nellie but relying on proprietary files is the big reason why I convert my NEFs to DNG now.  Plus I would like to open and check those backup files once in a while to reassure myself.

I would also like software that I can schedule to backup ONLY the files that have changed, not the entire 100 Gigs of my RAW folders!!

Does GBM handle this job?

Thanks to all the big backup brains that post here.  Peter's book, seminars and forum are without a doubt the most important tools I'm using these days.

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Steve Miller
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« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2006, 06:45:31 PM »

Rob,

When you do a backup of your data files with GBM, the resulting files are the same as the originals (CR2, TIF, JPG, MP3, whatever). I'm still getting used to the program so I haven't necessarily learned the best way to do things (I'll defer to Dan for that), but it definitely allows you to backup a large directory and update only the files that have changed since the previous backup. As for backing up a boot drive, I use Norton Ghost (similar to Acronis but probably a little less user friendly) to make an exact image of my C:drive which holds XP and my apps. I know that the resulting file is definitely proprietary, but is used for a totally different purpose (it may even provide Explorer-like functionality to let you look at individual files inside the Ghost image file - not that I've ever done this).

Hope this helps,

Steve
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peterkrogh
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« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2006, 07:26:45 PM »

rob,
In general, I think the difference between what you describe is between backup, or mirroring, software, and backup archiving software.  In general, I share your aversion to the archive software for a number of reasons, including lack of transparency, time lag to recover files, and general unease with the file structure.
Norton Ghost can create exact bootable copies of drives.
Peter
« Last Edit: January 19, 2006, 09:13:48 PM by peterkrogh » Logged
danaltick
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« Reply #13 on: January 19, 2006, 08:35:57 PM »

Steve,

Quote
It worked just as I expected, with one small problem. All of the old folders/sub-folders in the backed-up Orignal Photos (on the external HD) were still there after the mirror job. The 9,000 files were correctly deleted but I was left with a bunch of orphaned folders that I had to manually delete.

Is this how the program is supposed to work? I think I had to have done something wrong when I setup the backup.

This feature works fine for me; however, I have not tried it yet with thousands of folders.  It could be a bug.  If you are certain your settings for your mirror job are correct, you might want to chat online with one of the GBM techs or fill out a trouble report at their website.

robcar,

Read my third post above carefully.  If it doesn't answer most of your questions, please post back.  Thanks.

Dan
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danaltick
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« Reply #14 on: January 24, 2006, 07:10:14 AM »

Steve,

I just wanted you to know, I experienced the same problem after removing a few top-level folders from one of my mirror jobs.  I spoke with Genie-Soft about this, and they said it was done by design and that the folders would not get restored and were considered virtual folders.  However, they realized the flaw in this design and said it will be fixed in the next release due out in the next month or two.

Dan
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