Backup Software Recommendation


P

PT

I'd like recommendations for WinXP backup software which meet all the
following criteria:

1. backs up files intact (without compression or encrypting)
2. can back up to any external drive
3. scheduling can be automated
4. easy to use
5. capable of incremental backup.
6. priced under ~ $50
 
Ad

Advertisements

B

Brian A.

PT said:
I'd like recommendations for WinXP backup software which meet all the
following criteria:

1. backs up files intact (without compression or encrypting)
2. can back up to any external drive
3. scheduling can be automated
4. easy to use
5. capable of incremental backup.
6. priced under ~ $50

Acronis True Image
http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/

--

Brian A. Sesko { MS MVP_Shell/User }
Conflicts start where information lacks.
http://basconotw.mvps.org/

Suggested posting do's/don'ts: http://www.dts-l.org/goodpost.htm
How to ask a question: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555375
 
P

Patrick Keenan

PT said:
I'd like recommendations for WinXP backup software which meet all the
following criteria:

1. backs up files intact (without compression or encrypting)

This is a raw file copy. I would suggest that you review why you specify
this; it's very inefficient and very slow. And of course, you need a very
large amount of space available at the destination.

The criteria should be the reliability of the method and the availability of
tools to correct problems - which can happen to raw file copies just as much
as anything else. You may find, in fact, that the CRC checks in
compression routies catch data problems before you would otherwise notice
them.

As an example, Backup Plus creates .bac files, which are really Zip files.
The Zip format is very reliable, very well understood, and there are many,
many tools available for zip files. Unfortunately, due to limitations in
its zip engine, it can't create files larger than 4gb.
2. can back up to any external drive
3. scheduling can be automated
4. easy to use
5. capable of incremental backup.
6. priced under ~ $50

I generally use a combination of an imaging program, such as Acronis
TrueImage, and Backup Plus. These have proven to be extremely reliable,
easy to use, and inexpensive. And they do support scheduled, incremental
backups. I've never tried them pointed at tape drives, however.

For raw file copies, I use FileSync, but it doesn't have a scheduler.

Finally, it isn't a good idea to have *one* backup. Many people use a set
of five or so DVDs, marked for the day of the week, and these are changed
every morning first thing. The backup happens during the night, so in case
one disk goes down, you're never more than a day away. And this is a lot
harder to do with a raw, uncompressed backup, simply because you're probably
going to need a set of five large hard disks to do the same thing. And
you should regularly take a safety copy and store it offsite.

HTH
-pk
 
V

v2win

Start Run -> Ntbackup.exe

Excepting your first criterion, it is a VERY reliable backup utility (I
think it was licensed from Veritas), is already included with XP. I use the
task scheduler to make backups all the time and I have had no problems,
except it is slower writing to external drives than other commercial
products. You can back up selected files, directories, drives or the whole
computer, including the System State if you wish. You can make Copy,
Incremental, Differential, etc. backups. Give it a try before laying out the
cash, but feel free to...

....send your $49.99 check to.... Just kidding!
 
Ad

Advertisements

A

Ace

Found this:

http://backup.comodo.com/




PT said:
I'd like recommendations for WinXP backup software which meet all the
following criteria:

1. backs up files intact (without compression or encrypting)
2. can back up to any external drive
3. scheduling can be automated
4. easy to use
5. capable of incremental backup.
6. priced under ~ $50
 
A

Anna

PT said:
I'd like recommendations for WinXP backup software which meet all the
following criteria:

1. backs up files intact (without compression or encrypting)
2. can back up to any external drive
3. scheduling can be automated
4. easy to use
5. capable of incremental backup.
6. priced under ~ $50


Here's some detailed information about a comprehensive backup program that
we've grown very fond of over the year or so that we've been working with
it. So you may want to add it to the list of the other recommendations
you've received. Understand that the program I'll be describing is a
"disk-to-disk cloning" program. It is basically designed to back up the
*entire* contents of your day-to-day working HDD, including your XP
operating system, all programs & applications, and, of course, your
user-created data. So it's not entirely clear from the "criteria" you
indicated whether you're interested in a comprehensive backup program along
the lines I've indicated or you're merely interested in backing up your
user-created data files. If it's the former, read on...

We've been working with this Casper 4.0 disk cloning program for nearly a
year now. Based on our experience to date with this program (primarily in an
XP environment) and after using it with a few score systems and performing
hundreds of disk-cloning operations, we have finally recommended this
program to users.

Of the few dozen users of whom we're aware who have been using the program
with some regularity, all of them - without exception - have commented
favorably about the program. In every instance it has become their
disk-cloning program of choice. Many of these users had heretofore been
using the Acronis True Image and/or Symantec's Norton Ghost programs (among
others) for their disk imaging/disk cloning needs, however, *all* of them
now prefer the Casper 4.0 program as their primary day-to-day comprehensive
backup program.

The beauty of this program lies in its simplicity of use, speed of backup
operations, and overall effectiveness. While not totally flawless, it
certainly comes close in our experience.

Here are some details about the program for those of you who might be
interested...

First of all, potential users should note that this is a disk-cloning
program - not a disk-imaging program - in the sense that the program is
designed to create (for all practical purposes) a bit-for-bit copy of the
"source" HDD (presumably one's day-to-day boot drive) so that if the
recipient of the clone is an internal HDD, i.e., the "destination" drive,
that cloned HDD will be bootable and its data immediately accessible, unlike
the situation where a disk image is created on the recipient HDD (or other
media) and a recovery process is necessary to restore the image to a
bootable, data-accessible state.

Note, however, that should the recipient of the clone be a USB external
HDD - since that device is not ordinarily bootable in an XP environment -
its contents (although accessible from the boot HDD) would need to be
"cloned back" to an internal HDD should the recovery/restore process be
necessary to create a bootable HDD. On the other hand, should the HDD
encased in its USB enclosure be removable, it could possibly be installed as
an internal HDD in the PC thus allowing the user to have a bootable
functioning HDD.

The Casper 4.0 program also has the happy capability of cloning individual
partitions from one HDD to another HDD, not merely creating a "disk image"
of the partition(s). (See details below).

In general, the chief advantage of a disk-imaging approach rather than a
disk-cloning one has been that following the initial creation of a disk
image, subsequent incremental (or differential) disk images can be created
allowing for a significant (and desirable) increase in backup speed as
compared with the time it ordinarily takes for a user to create a disk clone
every time the user backs up his or her system.

There's also a relatively minor (in our view) advantage of creating disk
images rather than disk clones in that the resultant disk image file can be
compressed in size, thus saving some disk space. However, this advantage
generally disappears (or at least is substantially reduced) after a number
of incremental backup disk image files are created following the initial
(original) backup file ("archive"). And given today's relatively inexpensive
large-capacity hard drives we do not feel this advantage is of major import
for most users. Additionally, disk imaging obviously lends itself better to
using DVDs as the backup media, however given the rather large amount of
data usually being backed up by most users in today's systems most users
prefer to use hard drives (internal or external) as the recipient of the
disk image backup when employing that approach. In any event if for one
reason or another a user's primary or exclusive interest is in disk imaging
rather than disk cloning, then one need not consider the Casper 4.0 program.

The significant advantage of the Casper 4.0 disk cloning program over other
disk cloning programs that we're familiar with, e.g., Acronis True Image or
Symantec's Norton Ghost, is its ability to create *incremental* disk clones
following the creation of the original (first) disk clone. (We've generally
found that the first original disk clone created by the Casper 4.0 program
takes about the same amount of time to create as one would find with other
disk-cloning programs). However, and this is the crucial point, employing
what Casper calls its "SmartClone" technology the program can create
subsequent disk clones of the source HDD usually at a fraction of the time
it takes other programs to create a "full" disk clone. This results in a
decided incentive for users to undertake frequent complete backups of their
systems knowing that they can create "incremental" disk clones in a
relatively short period of time. Understand that these "incremental" disk
clones thus created are complete clones of the source HDD.

As we've indicated, the Casper 4.0 program's capability in creating these
incremental disk clones results in a significant savings of time as compared
to the usual time it takes to create a cloned disk using other disk-cloning
programs. Knowing that this incremental disk cloning process will take only
a relatively short period of time provides the user with increased
motivation to back up their systems on a much more frequent & systematic
basis than they might otherwise do - a most desirable result as I think most
all PC users would agree.

Another positive feature we've discovered with the Casper 4.0 program (at
least based upon our experience to date) is that unlike other disk cloning
programs such as the Acronis & Ghost programs, when the recipient of the
clone - the destination HDD - is an *internal* HDD, we've found it
unnecessary for the user to disconnect the source HDD from the system and
make an *initial* boot following the disk cloning operation with only the
destination HDD connected. (We're referring here to a disk cloning operation
where the recipient of the clone (the "destination" drive) has been an
*internal* HDD). We point this out since as many of us know, there has been
a problem with disk cloning programs in general in that if *immediately*
following a disk cloning operation both the (internal) source & destination
HDDs are connected and an *initial* boot is made to the source drive, while
the newly-cloned HDD is connected, there can be a subsequent problem with
that newly-cloned destination drive in that it will fail to boot if at a
later time it is the only HDD connected in the system. Because of this
anomaly our advice - as well as from others including the developers of
these disk cloning programs - has heretofore always been to disconnect the
source HDD from the system *immediately* following the disk cloning
operation and make that initial boot with *only* the newly-cloned
destination (internal) HDD connected. (And, of course, to determine that the
clone has "took" - the cloned HDD is bootable & functional).

While this problem does not *always* happen along the lines described above,
it does occur with sufficient frequency that we feel this cautionary note is
required. Note that where the recipient of the cloned contents of the source
HDD is an *external* HDD, such as a USB external HDD, this potential problem
does not exist since the USB external HDD is not ordinarily a bootable
device. Again - based on our experience with the Casper 4.0 program to date
using a fairly wide variety of systems together with both PATA & SATA HDDs
in a variety of combinations, e.g., SATA-to-SATA, PATA-to-PATA,
SATA-to-PATA, etc., we haven't experienced a single problem (as described
above) relative to this area.

Using the Casper program is simplicity itself, another substantial advantage
of this program. There's virtually no learning curve in undertaking the disk
cloning process as one navigates through the few easy-to-understand screens
with a final mouse-click on the button which will trigger the disk-cloning
process. After undertaking one or two disk-cloning operations it should take
the user no more than 20 seconds or so to get to that point. Simply stated,
the program is a joy to use.

Here's a more-or-less typical example of using the program to clone the
contents of one HDD to another HDD (internal or external)...
1. Access the Casper 4.0 program.
2. Click on the opening screen's "Copy Drive" icon.
3. Click on the Next button on the "Welcome..." window.
4. Select the "Copy an entire hard disk" option, then the Next button.
5. The next window will reflect the HDD to be copied, presumably your boot
drive. Click Next.
6. The next window will list the "destination" HDD, i.e., the drive that
will be the recipient of the cloned contents of the drive you're copying.
Highlight that drive listing and Click Next.
7. A warning screen will appear indicating the destination HDD is "currently
in use" and that "all data on that disk may be lost if you continue". It's
just a cautionary note so click Next.
8. Since you're cloning the entire contents of your source HDD to the
destination HDD, just click Next on the next screen to accomplish that.
9. Select the "Perform the copy now" option and click Next and then Next
again on the following screen.

The disk-cloning operation will proceed with a final screen indicating its
successful conclusion.

BTW, the program is also capable of scheduling the disk-cloning process on a
daily, weekly, or other time period selected by the user.

The program is not particularly inexpensive as disk cloning programs go.
Cost for a single-license is $49.95. AFAIK, the program is available for
download only from the developer at http://www.fssdev.com and this does not
include the "Casper Startup Disk" which sells for an additional $9.95. That
"Startup Disk" is a really essential piece of the program since in many
cases it would be the only way to effect a recovery of the system when the
installed Casper program could not be accessed from the Windows environment
because the program resides on a HDD that has failed or has become
unbootable. The usual scenario for using the Startup Disk is when the
recipient of the clone has been an external HDD - most likely a USB external
HDD - and the original source disk has become defective or dysfunctional
(unbootable) so that there is no opportunity to access the installed Casper
program. Since the USB external HDD containing the cloned contents of the
source drive is not bootable, one must use the Startup Disk in that
situation in order to clone the contents of the external HDD back to a
non-defective internal HDD in order to recover the system.

The developer does have a 30-day trial version available - see
http://www.fssdev.com/products/casper/trial/. The trial version is somewhat
crippled in that the cloned partition on the destination drive will be the
same
size as the partition on the source drive - they will not be expanded to a
larger size or to fill up available space on the new hard drive. However,
the trial version should give one some reasonable insight as to how the
program works. Note, however, that the trial version does not include the
program to create the "Startup Disk" described above. It must be purchased
separately.

This Casper 4.0 program is advertised as being compatible with Vista,
however, except for some cursory experience we've had using Casper with that
operating system, we feel we haven't had sufficient experience with that OS
to form any absolute judgment as to its effectiveness (or lack of) in that
environment. I will say the relatively few times we've used Casper in the
Vista OS with a number of different systems it has performed flawlessly. And
we've received favorable reports from users who have been using the program
in a Vista environment.


Using the Startup Disk...
The Startup Disk will ordinarily be employed in those recovery-type
situations where the user cannot gain access to the installed Casper program
because the HDD to be restored (on which the Casper program resides) is
unbootable due to a corrupted operating system or has become
mechanically/electronically defective, and the drive that contains the disk
clone is a USB or Firewire external HDD which is ordinarily unbootable thus
preventing access to the installed Casper program from that device.

When using the Startup Disk remember to connect only the two HDDs that will
be involved in the disk-cloning (recovery) process; disconnect any other
storage device(s) from the system. The booting-up process with the Startup
Disk is usually quite lengthy - we've generally found that it takes between
6 to 9 minutes before the program loads and the disk-cloning process can
begin. Thereafter the disk-cloning operation (recovery) should go reasonably
quickly & smoothly.
Anna


(Addendum re potential problem with the recipient drive of the clone...)
Based on our experience to date with the Casper 4.0 program (about a year
now), we have yet to run into that potential problem as we did with every
disk cloning program we've used in the past. We've probably performed more
than one hundred disk cloning operations over this time using the Casper
program with a variety of systems using a variety of PATA - SATA HDDs in
various configurations. In every case immediately following the disk-cloning
operation, we booted the system with *both* drives (source & destination)
connected - something we ordinarily would not do with the other disk cloning
programs because of the (potential) problem I've detailed. In every case
where we later booted to the newly-cloned solely-connected drive we did not
encounter a boot problem as we sometimes experienced with other disk cloning
programs when both the source & destination drives were still connected
immediately following the disk-cloning operation and a boot was made to the
source HDD while those two drives were connected. I'm hopeful that this
unbroken string of successes will continue since this is a real advantage to
this program as compared with other disk-cloning programs.


Cloning partitions with Casper 4.0

Using XP's Disk Management utility, set up desired partitions on the
destination hard drive (see example following these steps).

1. Access the Casper program and click on the "Copy Drive" icon.
2. Following the "Welcome to the Casper..." screen, select the option "Copy
a specific drive". Click Next.
3. On the "Select Drive" window that opens, select (highlight) the source
hard drive containing the specific partition you want to copy. Click Next.
4. On the "Select Copy Destination" window that opens, select the option
"Copy to an existing drive" and click Next.
5. On the "Select Destination Drive" window that opens, select (highlight)
the destination hard drive containing the partition that will be the
recipient of the clone. Ensure that you've selected the correct destination
drive and partition. Click Next.
6. On the next screen, click Next to confirm that you want to overwrite the
data on the destination drive.
7. On the next screen, select the option "Perform the copy now" and click
Next and then Next again to start the cloning process.

As an example...
1. Let's say you want to clone the contents of your old 40 GB HDD to a
newly-purchased 200 GB HDD (roughly 170 GB in binary terms).
2. You plan to set up your 200 GB HDD with three partitions - one of 50 GB,
one of 55 GB, and the third of 65 GB.
3. After installing the 200 GB HDD in your current system in preparation for
the disk (partition)-cloning operation, use the XP Disk Management utility
to create the desired three partitions on that disk. Assign whatever drive
letters are available to each of the three partitions and ensure that the
first partition (presumably the partition that will be the recipient of the
cloned operating system) is designated "Active" during the process. You
needn't be concerned that you assign a drive letter other C: to that first
partition. The disk-cloning process will assign the C: drive letter to that
partition. Also, you can later change the drive letters of the other
partitions using the Disk Management utility on the newly-cloned HDD.
4. Then, using the above "Cloning partitions..." steps, clone the contents
of your 40 GB HDD to the first partition of the destination HDD.
5. Shut down the system, disconnect the old 40 GB HDD, and if not already so
connected, connect the 200 GB HDD as Primary Master if it's a PATA HDD, or
to the first SATA connector on the motherboard if the disk is a SATA drive.
Boot with only the new 200 GB HDD connected to assure that the drive boots &
functions without problems.
6. Reconnect the 40 GB HDD if you plan to continue to use that disk as a
secondary drive in your system.
 
B

Brian A.

That's a sales pitch if I ever saw one, both of the latest versions of Ghost and
ATI do everything plus of what you mentioned.

Ghost 12
http://www.symantec.com/norton/products/overview.jsp?pcid=br&pvid=ghost12

Ghost 12 review
http://www.gcn.com/print/26_22/44927-1.html

Acronis True Image 11 Home
http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/

--

Brian A. Sesko { MS MVP_Shell/User }
Conflicts start where information lacks.
http://basconotw.mvps.org/

Suggested posting do's/don'ts: http://www.dts-l.org/goodpost.htm
How to ask a question: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/555375
 
I

inkleputDEL

PT said:
I'd like recommendations for WinXP backup software which meet all the
following criteria:

Since you require something very complicated and which never cleans up
outdated data, I recommend Acronis True Image Home 10. ;-)

JimL
 
Ad

Advertisements

A

Anna

Brian:
Since you didn't refer to a specific posting I'm uncertain if you're
referring to my response to the OP in which I touted the Casper 4.0
disk-cloning program and provided details concerning its use.

In the event your comment re "a sales pitch" does *not* refer to my post,
then please ignore the following...

However, if you *are* referring to my comments re the Casper 4.0 program,
then let me state the following...

I have absolutely no connection with the developer of that program -
commercial or otherwise. My comments are based solely on the experience we
have had using that program (together with the experience of other Casper
4.0 users with whom I'm familiar) over the past year or so.

As you may possibly have noted from my past postings, we have had extensive
experience using a variety of disk cloning/disk imaging programs over a
period of many years, including various versions of Symantec's Ghost &
Acronis True Image programs. I do not denigrate those programs (with the
possible exception of some earlier versions of the Ghost program) and have,
on a number of occasions recommended those programs when responding to
posters' queries re disk-cloning/disk-imaging programs.

We have, however, found the Casper 4.0 a superior disk-cloning program for
the detailed reasons I've indicated in my previous post. We highly recommend
this program to users who are casting about for a comprehensive backup
program related to disk-to- disk cloning operations. We have, however,
always encouraged potential users to insofar as possible try out various
disk-cloning or other backup-type programs to determine if one or the other
programs meets their particular interest.
Anna
 
W

WaIIy

We've been working with this Casper 4.0 disk cloning program for nearly a
year now. Based on our experience to date with this program (primarily in an
XP environment) and after using it with a few score systems and performing
hundreds of disk-cloning operations, we have finally recommended this
program to users.

What affiliation / interest do you have with Future Systems?
 
B

beamish

Anna said:
Here's some detailed information about a comprehensive backup program that
we've grown very fond of over the year or so that we've been working with
it. So you may want to add it to the list of the other recommendations
you've received. Understand that the program I'll be describing is a
"disk-to-disk cloning" program. It is basically designed to back up the
*entire* contents of your day-to-day working HDD, including your XP
operating system, all programs & applications, and, of course, your
user-created data. So it's not entirely clear from the "criteria" you
indicated whether you're interested in a comprehensive backup program along
the lines I've indicated or you're merely interested in backing up your
user-created data files. If it's the former, read on...

We've been working with this Casper 4.0 disk cloning program for nearly a
year now. Based on our experience to date with this program (primarily in an
XP environment) and after using it with a few score systems and performing
hundreds of disk-cloning operations, we have finally recommended this
program to users.

Of the few dozen users of whom we're aware who have been using the program
with some regularity, all of them - without exception - have commented
favorably about the program. In every instance it has become their
disk-cloning program of choice. Many of these users had heretofore been
using the Acronis True Image and/or Symantec's Norton Ghost programs (among
others) for their disk imaging/disk cloning needs, however, *all* of them
now prefer the Casper 4.0 program as their primary day-to-day comprehensive
backup program.

The beauty of this program lies in its simplicity of use, speed of backup
operations, and overall effectiveness. While not totally flawless, it
certainly comes close in our experience.

Here are some details about the program for those of you who might be
interested...

First of all, potential users should note that this is a disk-cloning
program - not a disk-imaging program - in the sense that the program is
designed to create (for all practical purposes) a bit-for-bit copy of the
"source" HDD (presumably one's day-to-day boot drive) so that if the
recipient of the clone is an internal HDD, i.e., the "destination" drive,
that cloned HDD will be bootable and its data immediately accessible, unlike
the situation where a disk image is created on the recipient HDD (or other
media) and a recovery process is necessary to restore the image to a
bootable, data-accessible state.

Note, however, that should the recipient of the clone be a USB external
HDD - since that device is not ordinarily bootable in an XP environment -
its contents (although accessible from the boot HDD) would need to be
"cloned back" to an internal HDD should the recovery/restore process be
necessary to create a bootable HDD. On the other hand, should the HDD
encased in its USB enclosure be removable, it could possibly be installed as
an internal HDD in the PC thus allowing the user to have a bootable
functioning HDD.

The Casper 4.0 program also has the happy capability of cloning individual
partitions from one HDD to another HDD, not merely creating a "disk image"
of the partition(s). (See details below).

In general, the chief advantage of a disk-imaging approach rather than a
disk-cloning one has been that following the initial creation of a disk
image, subsequent incremental (or differential) disk images can be created
allowing for a significant (and desirable) increase in backup speed as
compared with the time it ordinarily takes for a user to create a disk clone
every time the user backs up his or her system.

There's also a relatively minor (in our view) advantage of creating disk
images rather than disk clones in that the resultant disk image file can be
compressed in size, thus saving some disk space. However, this advantage
generally disappears (or at least is substantially reduced) after a number
of incremental backup disk image files are created following the initial
(original) backup file ("archive"). And given today's relatively inexpensive
large-capacity hard drives we do not feel this advantage is of major import
for most users. Additionally, disk imaging obviously lends itself better to
using DVDs as the backup media, however given the rather large amount of
data usually being backed up by most users in today's systems most users
prefer to use hard drives (internal or external) as the recipient of the
disk image backup when employing that approach. In any event if for one
reason or another a user's primary or exclusive interest is in disk imaging
rather than disk cloning, then one need not consider the Casper 4.0 program.

The significant advantage of the Casper 4.0 disk cloning program over other
disk cloning programs that we're familiar with, e.g., Acronis True Image or
Symantec's Norton Ghost, is its ability to create *incremental* disk clones
following the creation of the original (first) disk clone. (We've generally
found that the first original disk clone created by the Casper 4.0 program
takes about the same amount of time to create as one would find with other
disk-cloning programs). However, and this is the crucial point, employing
what Casper calls its "SmartClone" technology the program can create
subsequent disk clones of the source HDD usually at a fraction of the time
it takes other programs to create a "full" disk clone. This results in a
decided incentive for users to undertake frequent complete backups of their
systems knowing that they can create "incremental" disk clones in a
relatively short period of time. Understand that these "incremental" disk
clones thus created are complete clones of the source HDD.

As we've indicated, the Casper 4.0 program's capability in creating these
incremental disk clones results in a significant savings of time as compared
to the usual time it takes to create a cloned disk using other disk-cloning
programs. Knowing that this incremental disk cloning process will take only
a relatively short period of time provides the user with increased
motivation to back up their systems on a much more frequent & systematic
basis than they might otherwise do - a most desirable result as I think most
all PC users would agree.

Another positive feature we've discovered with the Casper 4.0 program (at
least based upon our experience to date) is that unlike other disk cloning
programs such as the Acronis & Ghost programs, when the recipient of the
clone - the destination HDD - is an *internal* HDD, we've found it
unnecessary for the user to disconnect the source HDD from the system and
make an *initial* boot following the disk cloning operation with only the
destination HDD connected. (We're referring here to a disk cloning operation
where the recipient of the clone (the "destination" drive) has been an
*internal* HDD). We point this out since as many of us know, there has been
a problem with disk cloning programs in general in that if *immediately*
following a disk cloning operation both the (internal) source & destination
HDDs are connected and an *initial* boot is made to the source drive, while
the newly-cloned HDD is connected, there can be a subsequent problem with
that newly-cloned destination drive in that it will fail to boot if at a
later time it is the only HDD connected in the system. Because of this
anomaly our advice - as well as from others including the developers of
these disk cloning programs - has heretofore always been to disconnect the
source HDD from the system *immediately* following the disk cloning
operation and make that initial boot with *only* the newly-cloned
destination (internal) HDD connected. (And, of course, to determine that the
clone has "took" - the cloned HDD is bootable & functional).

While this problem does not *always* happen along the lines described above,
it does occur with sufficient frequency that we feel this cautionary note is
required. Note that where the recipient of the cloned contents of the source
HDD is an *external* HDD, such as a USB external HDD, this potential problem
does not exist since the USB external HDD is not ordinarily a bootable
device. Again - based on our experience with the Casper 4.0 program to date
using a fairly wide variety of systems together with both PATA & SATA HDDs
in a variety of combinations, e.g., SATA-to-SATA, PATA-to-PATA,
SATA-to-PATA, etc., we haven't experienced a single problem (as described
above) relative to this area.

Using the Casper program is simplicity itself, another substantial advantage
of this program. There's virtually no learning curve in undertaking the disk
cloning process as one navigates through the few easy-to-understand screens
with a final mouse-click on the button which will trigger the disk-cloning
process. After undertaking one or two disk-cloning operations it should take
the user no more than 20 seconds or so to get to that point. Simply stated,
the program is a joy to use.

Here's a more-or-less typical example of using the program to clone the
contents of one HDD to another HDD (internal or external)...
1. Access the Casper 4.0 program.
2. Click on the opening screen's "Copy Drive" icon.
3. Click on the Next button on the "Welcome..." window.
4. Select the "Copy an entire hard disk" option, then the Next button.
5. The next window will reflect the HDD to be copied, presumably your boot
drive. Click Next.
6. The next window will list the "destination" HDD, i.e., the drive that
will be the recipient of the cloned contents of the drive you're copying.
Highlight that drive listing and Click Next.
7. A warning screen will appear indicating the destination HDD is "currently
in use" and that "all data on that disk may be lost if you continue". It's
just a cautionary note so click Next.
8. Since you're cloning the entire contents of your source HDD to the
destination HDD, just click Next on the next screen to accomplish that.
9. Select the "Perform the copy now" option and click Next and then Next
again on the following screen.

The disk-cloning operation will proceed with a final screen indicating its
successful conclusion.

BTW, the program is also capable of scheduling the disk-cloning process on a
daily, weekly, or other time period selected by the user.

The program is not particularly inexpensive as disk cloning programs go.
Cost for a single-license is $49.95. AFAIK, the program is available for
download only from the developer at http://www.fssdev.com and this does not
include the "Casper Startup Disk" which sells for an additional $9.95. That
"Startup Disk" is a really essential piece of the program since in many
cases it would be the only way to effect a recovery of the system when the
installed Casper program could not be accessed from the Windows environment
because the program resides on a HDD that has failed or has become
unbootable. The usual scenario for using the Startup Disk is when the
recipient of the clone has been an external HDD - most likely a USB external
HDD - and the original source disk has become defective or dysfunctional
(unbootable) so that there is no opportunity to access the installed Casper
program. Since the USB external HDD containing the cloned contents of the
source drive is not bootable, one must use the Startup Disk in that
situation in order to clone the contents of the external HDD back to a
non-defective internal HDD in order to recover the system.

The developer does have a 30-day trial version available - see
http://www.fssdev.com/products/casper/trial/. The trial version is somewhat
crippled in that the cloned partition on the destination drive will be the
same
size as the partition on the source drive - they will not be expanded to a
larger size or to fill up available space on the new hard drive. However,
the trial version should give one some reasonable insight as to how the
program works. Note, however, that the trial version does not include the
program to create the "Startup Disk" described above. It must be purchased
separately.

This Casper 4.0 program is advertised as being compatible with Vista,
however, except for some cursory experience we've had using Casper with that
operating system, we feel we haven't had sufficient experience with that OS
to form any absolute judgment as to its effectiveness (or lack of) in that
environment. I will say the relatively few times we've used Casper in the
Vista OS with a number of different systems it has performed flawlessly. And
we've received favorable reports from users who have been using the program
in a Vista environment.


Using the Startup Disk...
The Startup Disk will ordinarily be employed in those recovery-type
situations where the user cannot gain access to the installed Casper program
because the HDD to be restored (on which the Casper program resides) is
unbootable due to a corrupted operating system or has become
mechanically/electronically defective, and the drive that contains the disk
clone is a USB or Firewire external HDD which is ordinarily unbootable thus
preventing access to the installed Casper program from that device.

When using the Startup Disk remember to connect only the two HDDs that will
be involved in the disk-cloning (recovery) process; disconnect any other
storage device(s) from the system. The booting-up process with the Startup
Disk is usually quite lengthy - we've generally found that it takes between
6 to 9 minutes before the program loads and the disk-cloning process can
begin. Thereafter the disk-cloning operation (recovery) should go reasonably
quickly & smoothly.
Anna


(Addendum re potential problem with the recipient drive of the clone...)
Based on our experience to date with the Casper 4.0 program (about a year
now), we have yet to run into that potential problem as we did with every
disk cloning program we've used in the past. We've probably performed more
than one hundred disk cloning operations over this time using the Casper
program with a variety of systems using a variety of PATA - SATA HDDs in
various configurations. In every case immediately following the disk-cloning
operation, we booted the system with *both* drives (source & destination)
connected - something we ordinarily would not do with the other disk cloning
programs because of the (potential) problem I've detailed. In every case
where we later booted to the newly-cloned solely-connected drive we did not
encounter a boot problem as we sometimes experienced with other disk cloning
programs when both the source & destination drives were still connected
immediately following the disk-cloning operation and a boot was made to the
source HDD while those two drives were connected. I'm hopeful that this
unbroken string of successes will continue since this is a real advantage to
this program as compared with other disk-cloning programs.


Cloning partitions with Casper 4.0

Using XP's Disk Management utility, set up desired partitions on the
destination hard drive (see example following these steps).

1. Access the Casper program and click on the "Copy Drive" icon.
2. Following the "Welcome to the Casper..." screen, select the option "Copy
a specific drive". Click Next.
3. On the "Select Drive" window that opens, select (highlight) the source
hard drive containing the specific partition you want to copy. Click Next.
4. On the "Select Copy Destination" window that opens, select the option
"Copy to an existing drive" and click Next.
5. On the "Select Destination Drive" window that opens, select (highlight)
the destination hard drive containing the partition that will be the
recipient of the clone. Ensure that you've selected the correct destination
drive and partition. Click Next.
6. On the next screen, click Next to confirm that you want to overwrite the
data on the destination drive.
7. On the next screen, select the option "Perform the copy now" and click
Next and then Next again to start the cloning process.

As an example...
1. Let's say you want to clone the contents of your old 40 GB HDD to a
newly-purchased 200 GB HDD (roughly 170 GB in binary terms).
2. You plan to set up your 200 GB HDD with three partitions - one of 50 GB,
one of 55 GB, and the third of 65 GB.
3. After installing the 200 GB HDD in your current system in preparation for
the disk (partition)-cloning operation, use the XP Disk Management utility
to create the desired three partitions on that disk. Assign whatever drive
letters are available to each of the three partitions and ensure that the
first partition (presumably the partition that will be the recipient of the
cloned operating system) is designated "Active" during the process. You
needn't be concerned that you assign a drive letter other C: to that first
partition. The disk-cloning process will assign the C: drive letter to that
partition. Also, you can later change the drive letters of the other
partitions using the Disk Management utility on the newly-cloned HDD.
4. Then, using the above "Cloning partitions..." steps, clone the contents
of your 40 GB HDD to the first partition of the destination HDD.

Hello, Always appreciate the information and the way you dispense such
information, when you post.
Thank you.
take care.
beamish.
 
J

John Waller

I have absolutely no connection with the developer of that program -
commercial or otherwise

Anna,

If that's the case, it's good practice to state it clearly at the top of
your post when you submit a lengthy, detailed in-depth post such as yours
about Casper.

I started reading your post about Casper but quickly got the impression from
the language and tone that it was the output of the product's marketing
department.

Lines such as:

"The beauty of this program lies in its simplicity of use, speed of backup
operations, and overall effectiveness. While not totally flawless, it
certainly comes close in our experience."

sound like they're cut-and-pasted from the product's website.

It's a standard tactic of viral marketers to post glowing reviews,
purportedly from a happy end user, in forums such as these.
 
A

Anna

WaIIy said:
What affiliation / interest do you have with Future Systems?


Wally:
None whatsoever. See my response to Brian earlier today.

If you (and perhaps others who might think I'm "shilling" for some
commercial entity) would peruse these MS newsgroups dealing with XP issues
you would come across various postings of mine over the years in which I
recommended certain of Symantec's Ghost programs as well as the Acronis True
Image program. And in many cases, in so doing I provided detailed
step-by-step instructions for using those programs. I've done so, and will
continue to do so, where I believe my comments will be useful to a specific
query or to the group at large.

For a number of years I've been asked to speak before a number of local
computer clubs in our area on various PC topics including different backup
programs, including, of course, disk-cloning & disk-imaging programs. In so
doing I ordinarily prepare (as a handout to the attendees) a detailed
background statement as to why I prefer this or that program together with
detailed step-by-step instructions for using the program under discussion.
I've done this for the Symantec, Acronis, and various other backup-type
programs. I might add this material frequently is also published in a
computer club's newsletter.

So my posts relative to a particular disk-cloning and/or disk-imaging
program where I provide that detailed information is pretty much a "copy &
paste" job since I can use the material that I've previous prepared on this
or that program. The comments & statements I make in a post are solely my
own opinion based upon my experience with a particular program. I have no
affiliation - commercial or otherwise - with the developer or purveyor of
whatever program on which I'm commenting.

I trust the above explanation satisfies your curiosity.
Anna
 
Ad

Advertisements

J

John Barnett MVP

Personally the only backup software I use is Acronis True Image.


--
--
John Barnett MVP
Associate Expert
Windows - Shell/User

Web: http://xphelpandsupport.mvps.org
Web: http://vistasupport.mvps.org

The information in this mail/post is supplied "as is". No warranty of any
kind, either expressed or implied, is made in relation to the accuracy,
reliability or content of this mail/post. The Author shall not be liable for
any direct, indirect, incidental or consequential damages arising out of the
use of, or inability to use, information or opinions expressed in this
mail/post..
 
A

Anna

beamish said:
Hello, Always appreciate the information and the way you dispense such
information, when you post.
Thank you.
take care.
beamish.


Thanks for gracious comment. I must admit it's been somewhat distressing to
me reading a number of posters' comments accusing me either directly or in
some snide manner of having a commercial interest in the program I'm
recommending. I'm beginning to wonder whether I should preface my posts - at
least those posts in which I recommend a particular product and provide
detailed instructions for using said product - with some "boilerplate" to
the effect that I have no commercial interest in the product I'm
recommending.
Anna
 
R

RA

Thanks for gracious comment. I must admit it's been somewhat
distressing to me reading a number of posters' comments accusing me
either directly or in some snide manner of having a commercial
interest in the program I'm recommending. I'm beginning to wonder
whether I should preface my posts - at least those posts in which I
recommend a particular product and provide detailed instructions for
using said product - with some "boilerplate" to the effect that I
have no commercial interest in the product I'm recommending.
Anna

Anna, anytime I see your name on a post, I immediately read it even if the
topic isn't one I am focusing on because I know I will always learn
something. I can't say enough about the excellent quality of information
that I find in your posts. The same is true for Malke.
I think that maybe some folks haven't spent enough time here over the years
to recognize your work.
 
Ad

Advertisements

A

Anna

RA said:
Anna, anytime I see your name on a post, I immediately read it even if the
topic isn't one I am focusing on because I know I will always learn
something. I can't say enough about the excellent quality of information
that I find in your posts. The same is true for Malke.
I think that maybe some folks haven't spent enough time here over the
years to recognize your work.


RA:
My thanks for your gracious comment as well. And I certainly agree with you
concerning the always-illuminating comments made by Malke.
Anna
 

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments. After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.

Ask a Question

Top