Imaging/Backup software


N

Nil

I'm sure this subject has come up plenty of times before, but I'm
wondering what the state of opinion is today.

I'm looking for disk imaging and backup software for Windows XP and 7
systems at home. I bought and have been using Acronis True Image 11
some years ago for the XP system and I see that I can get an upgrade to
the most recent for a modest discount off the street price. I've also
tried out the free versions of Macrium Reflect and Paragon for the
Windows 7 systems.

They all seem to have some pluses and minuses...

- The interface for my old version of Acronis is goofy and not
friendly, and I hear complaints about unreliability, although I haven't
had any major problems.

- Macrium Free seems pretty good, although it appears that you can only
restore files from an image while booted up in Windows, not from the
recovery media. I'm not sure that's a real problem. I've never been
able to make the Linux recovery disk work with this system.

- I haven't used Paragon recently enough to remember whether I like it
or not. I see there's a newer version out than the one I have
installed.

Any recommendations? Should I stick with Acronis? Are there any others
I should consider? I'd be willing to get the for-pay version if it gets
me features I can use.
 
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J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

In message <[email protected]>, Nil
- Macrium Free seems pretty good, although it appears that you can only
restore files from an image while booted up in Windows, not from the
recovery media. I'm not sure that's a real problem. I've never been
able to make the Linux recovery disk work with this system.
It is a real problem if you hose your Windows system to the point it
won't boot, unless you're willing to rebuild everything from scratch, in
which case one wonders why you're backing up anyway. If you are and it's
only data you're wanting to back up, then of course copy by any means
will do.
[]
(This isn't a criticism - or endorsement - of Macrium, since I've read
of people getting its recovery system to work.)

IMO, no true backup system is much use until you've tried - and
succeeded - a reload from it, without booting the OS you're trying to
save a copy of.
 
E

Ed Cryer

Nil said:
I'm sure this subject has come up plenty of times before, but I'm
wondering what the state of opinion is today.

I'm looking for disk imaging and backup software for Windows XP and 7
systems at home. I bought and have been using Acronis True Image 11
some years ago for the XP system and I see that I can get an upgrade to
the most recent for a modest discount off the street price. I've also
tried out the free versions of Macrium Reflect and Paragon for the
Windows 7 systems.

They all seem to have some pluses and minuses...

- The interface for my old version of Acronis is goofy and not
friendly, and I hear complaints about unreliability, although I haven't
had any major problems.

- Macrium Free seems pretty good, although it appears that you can only
restore files from an image while booted up in Windows, not from the
recovery media. I'm not sure that's a real problem. I've never been
able to make the Linux recovery disk work with this system.

- I haven't used Paragon recently enough to remember whether I like it
or not. I see there's a newer version out than the one I have
installed.

Any recommendations? Should I stick with Acronis? Are there any others
I should consider? I'd be willing to get the for-pay version if it gets
me features I can use.
I'm still with Paragon. And it can write you a boot disk, so you can
restore without being in Windows. Which works too, believe you me.

Ed
 
N

Nil

It is a real problem if you hose your Windows system to the point
it won't boot, unless you're willing to rebuild everything from
scratch, in which case one wonders why you're backing up anyway.
If you are and it's only data you're wanting to back up, then of
course copy by any means will do.
I didn't state that well - what I meant to say was, you CAN restore a
complete disk image from the recovery media. What you can't do, as far
as I can tell, is restore individual files from that image while booted
up to the recovery media. You can only do that by firing up Macrium
Reflect while booted to Windows and mounting a disk image from there. I
guess that makes this more of an imaging package than a backup package.
 
N

Nil

I'm still with Paragon. And it can write you a boot disk, so you
can restore without being in Windows. Which works too, believe you
me.
Can you restore individual files from a previously-made disk image
while booted up to the boot disk? I'm not sure if that's something I'd
ever do, but Macrium won't do that. I'm curious if that's an omission
on MR's part, or common to all such software packages.

Can Paragon connect to a network resource while booted to the recovery
boot disk so that you can restore from a disk image on the network?
 
P

Paul in Houston TX

Nil said:
I'm sure this subject has come up plenty of times before, but I'm
wondering what the state of opinion is today.

I'm looking for disk imaging and backup software for Windows XP and 7
systems at home. I bought and have been using Acronis True Image 11
some years ago for the XP system and I see that I can get an upgrade to
the most recent for a modest discount off the street price. I've also
tried out the free versions of Macrium Reflect and Paragon for the
Windows 7 systems.

They all seem to have some pluses and minuses...

- The interface for my old version of Acronis is goofy and not
friendly, and I hear complaints about unreliability, although I haven't
had any major problems.

- Macrium Free seems pretty good, although it appears that you can only
restore files from an image while booted up in Windows, not from the
recovery media. I'm not sure that's a real problem. I've never been
able to make the Linux recovery disk work with this system.

- I haven't used Paragon recently enough to remember whether I like it
or not. I see there's a newer version out than the one I have
installed.

Any recommendations? Should I stick with Acronis? Are there any others
I should consider? I'd be willing to get the for-pay version if it gets
me features I can use.
I will stick with Acronis. It does what I need it to do.
No reason to change.
 
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P

Paul

Nil said:
Can you restore individual files from a previously-made disk image
while booted up to the boot disk? I'm not sure if that's something I'd
ever do, but Macrium won't do that. I'm curious if that's an omission
on MR's part, or common to all such software packages.
Start Macrium. Find the Help item on the right.
That takes you here, a web page with the manual
in it.

http://www.macrium.com/help/v5/reflect_v5.htm

In the "What is Macrium Reflect" section, it says:

Recovery Media - Windows PE 3.1 and 4.0

...You can then recover partitions, entire disk images
or individual files with just a few clicks of the mouse.

But that means doing whatever is necessary to build
the WinPE CD for it. You'll need some version of
either WAIK or ADK (WAIK for Windows 8).

The download size claimed by the manual, suggests not
all of ADK is being downloaded. The entire ADK is a
lot larger than that. And people in the past have
mentioned a "Gigabyte download" for WAIK. Both WAIK
and ADK are huge.

Paul
 
J

Jason

I'm sure this subject has come up plenty of times before, but I'm
wondering what the state of opinion is today.

I'm looking for disk imaging and backup software for Windows XP and 7
systems at home. I bought and have been using Acronis True Image 11
some years ago for the XP system and I see that I can get an upgrade to
the most recent for a modest discount off the street price. I've also
tried out the free versions of Macrium Reflect and Paragon for the
Windows 7 systems.

They all seem to have some pluses and minuses...

- The interface for my old version of Acronis is goofy and not
friendly, and I hear complaints about unreliability, although I haven't
had any major problems.

- Macrium Free seems pretty good, although it appears that you can only
restore files from an image while booted up in Windows, not from the
recovery media. I'm not sure that's a real problem. I've never been
able to make the Linux recovery disk work with this system.

- I haven't used Paragon recently enough to remember whether I like it
or not. I see there's a newer version out than the one I have
installed.

Any recommendations? Should I stick with Acronis? Are there any others
I should consider? I'd be willing to get the for-pay version if it gets
me features I can use.
I have not had problems with newer versions of Acronis. It has saved the
day more than once when I had to restore a whole partition after
something terrible happened... And it can recover individual files if
the backup was made that way (rather than sector-by-sector).

Paragon also works. I use that on another machine. Like Acronis, earlier
versions had some problems, particularly with the bootable recover CD.
(So did Acronis, but the last few releases seem to have fixed that.)

Jason
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

I didn't state that well - what I meant to say was, you CAN restore a
complete disk image from the recovery media. What you can't do, as far
as I can tell, is restore individual files from that image while booted
up to the recovery media. You can only do that by firing up Macrium
Reflect while booted to Windows and mounting a disk image from there. I
guess that makes this more of an imaging package than a backup package.
The paid version does do that.

The recovery boot disk in the free version will not mount an image; the
paid version's CD is much more flexible.

I might run a test just to verify the above, but of course I can't do
that while on Usenet...
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

The paid version does do that.

The recovery boot disk in the free version will not mount an image; the
paid version's CD is much more flexible.

I might run a test just to verify the above, but of course I can't do
that while on Usenet...
Paul, in
Message-ID: <[email protected]>

did some research and resolved my doubts, so I won't bother to try the
boot disk.
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

I have not had problems with newer versions of Acronis. It has saved the
day more than once when I had to restore a whole partition after
something terrible happened... And it can recover individual files if
the backup was made that way (rather than sector-by-sector).
Maybe I don't know what you mean by a sector-by-sector backup, but if I
am correct in interpreting it to mean the same thing as a clone, you
could just look at the disk with Windows Explorer and copy the desired
file(s).

I know that I can do that with Macrium.
 
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S

SC Tom

Nil said:
I'm sure this subject has come up plenty of times before, but I'm
wondering what the state of opinion is today.

I'm looking for disk imaging and backup software for Windows XP and 7
systems at home. I bought and have been using Acronis True Image 11
some years ago for the XP system and I see that I can get an upgrade to
the most recent for a modest discount off the street price. I've also
tried out the free versions of Macrium Reflect and Paragon for the
Windows 7 systems.

They all seem to have some pluses and minuses...

- The interface for my old version of Acronis is goofy and not
friendly, and I hear complaints about unreliability, although I haven't
had any major problems.

- Macrium Free seems pretty good, although it appears that you can only
restore files from an image while booted up in Windows, not from the
recovery media. I'm not sure that's a real problem. I've never been
able to make the Linux recovery disk work with this system.

- I haven't used Paragon recently enough to remember whether I like it
or not. I see there's a newer version out than the one I have
installed.

Any recommendations? Should I stick with Acronis? Are there any others
I should consider? I'd be willing to get the for-pay version if it gets
me features I can use.
I bought the upgrade from ATI2010 to ATI2013 when it was on special for
$19.95, and am very happy with it. I don't do anything from within Windows,
though- I boot from the CD and create my images from there. I'm not that
concerned about data backups; I am concerned however about having an image
of my drive in case of catastrophe. I make a couple of images a month on 2
different external drives that are *only* connected during the imaging
process. I start it before I go shopping or playing tennis or whatever and
it's done by the time I get home.

It's also possible to restore individual files or folders from the boot
disk. I've had to do that a couple of times. It's a fairly lengthy process,
but hey, if you gotta have, you gotta have it :)

Both of my externals are USB2 drives, and ATI recognizes them just fine on
my SO's XP machine and both my Win8.1(x64) laptop and my Win7(x86) desktop.
As Paul in Houston posted, I have no reason to change- it's always worked
for me.
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

Paul, in
Message-ID: <[email protected]>

did some research and resolved my doubts, so I won't bother to try the
boot disk.
Well, I can't always resist an experiment :)

I booted to a Macrium recovery CD and I 'restored' a file from a backup.
In quotes because I just copied an arbitrary file to the desktop, rather
than truly restoring something. It was a small PDF, and I had no trouble
reading it in Adobe when I got back here.

But the process was funny (amusing) and took a while:

1. The CD didn't boot, so I went to the BIOS to check the boot order.

2. But I thought the BIOS key was F2. It's Delete.

3. However, that wasn't the only problem. Apparently, once I looked up
the right key, the BIOS still couldn't read my wireless keyboard, so I
had to track down an old tethered one.

4. When I finally booted to the Macrium CD, the program didn't recognize
my backup drive, which was USB 3. I had used a CD from May 2011, rather
than try to figure out where I put the latest version. I don't know if
the new one will recognize USB 3, but the od one sure doesn't...

5. The program has no refresh option, so after I moved the drive to a
USB 2 port, I had to reboot one more time.

6. Success at last.

I hope you guys appreciate all that I went through for you :)

Fact is, I'm still laughing at that whole adventure.
 
N

Nil

Well, I can't always resist an experiment :)

I booted to a Macrium recovery CD and I 'restored' a file from a
backup. In quotes because I just copied an arbitrary file to the
desktop, rather than truly restoring something. It was a small
PDF, and I had no trouble reading it in Adobe when I got back
here.

But the process was funny (amusing) and took a while:

1. The CD didn't boot, so I went to the BIOS to check the boot
order.

2. But I thought the BIOS key was F2. It's Delete.

3. However, that wasn't the only problem. Apparently, once I
looked up the right key, the BIOS still couldn't read my wireless
keyboard, so I had to track down an old tethered one.

4. When I finally booted to the Macrium CD, the program didn't
recognize my backup drive, which was USB 3. I had used a CD from
May 2011, rather than try to figure out where I put the latest
version. I don't know if the new one will recognize USB 3, but the
od one sure doesn't...

5. The program has no refresh option, so after I moved the drive
to a USB 2 port, I had to reboot one more time.

6. Success at last.

I hope you guys appreciate all that I went through for you :)

Fact is, I'm still laughing at that whole adventure.
I don't think that's insignificant. In my test, I made a Macrium
recovery disk using WindowsPE 3.2. When I booted up with it, it
wouldn't see my USB3 backup drive or the network adapter. I was able to
have the recovery CD look on the hard disk for the drivers, but that
took about 10 minutes (I think I could have supplied them on a diskette
or flash drive.) Quite inconvenient. I could not figure out how to add
drivers to the recovery disk. I think that may only be possible with
the for-pay version, not the free one.

I then made another recovery disk with WinPE 4.0. This one came with
appropriate drivers built-in. I was able to boot it up and start an
image backup or restore. However I still couldn't see how to restore a
single file from the image when booted up with the recovery disk (but I
can when booted up to Windows.) Maybe that's something else only the
paid version can do?
 
W

...winston

Nil said:
I'm sure this subject has come up plenty of times before, but I'm
wondering what the state of opinion is today.

I'm looking for disk imaging and backup software for Windows XP and 7
systems at home. I bought and have been using Acronis True Image 11
some years ago for the XP system and I see that I can get an upgrade to
the most recent for a modest discount off the street price. I've also
tried out the free versions of Macrium Reflect and Paragon for the
Windows 7 systems.

They all seem to have some pluses and minuses...

- The interface for my old version of Acronis is goofy and not
friendly, and I hear complaints about unreliability, although I haven't
had any major problems.

- Macrium Free seems pretty good, although it appears that you can only
restore files from an image while booted up in Windows, not from the
recovery media. I'm not sure that's a real problem. I've never been
able to make the Linux recovery disk work with this system.

- I haven't used Paragon recently enough to remember whether I like it
or not. I see there's a newer version out than the one I have
installed.

Any recommendations? Should I stick with Acronis? Are there any others
I should consider? I'd be willing to get the for-pay version if it gets
me features I can use.
Actually, imo, ATI10 and ATI11's UI was much more intuitive than ATI13
(and now 14). The latter versions are backward compatible.

Imo...the ability to use bootable recovery media is a must for any
imaging application.
 
P

Paul

Nil said:
I then made another recovery disk with WinPE 4.0. This one came with
appropriate drivers built-in. I was able to boot it up and start an
image backup or restore. However I still couldn't see how to restore a
single file from the image when booted up with the recovery disk (but I
can when booted up to Windows.) Maybe that's something else only the
paid version can do?
I tested it. You can do it.

When the WinPE disc boots, you may see a list with the .mrimg
file in it. To the right of the image entry you see...

Browse Image Restore Image

Verify Image Other Actions

Select "Browse Image". A copy of PEexplorer opens, a
file explorer for the WinPE environment. It's a simplified
file browser.

Navigate to the folder containing the file of interest.
Right click it and select "Copy".

Now, you're probably asking yourself "how do I get the
file to the destination ?".

Go to the top of the PEexplorer window, to the bar containing
the current folder path. For example, my source folder was
F:\Users\IeUser\Downloads.

Overtype that field, and enter "C:\" or some other path
of your choice. I entered C:\ and then navigated
to the destination. For the sake of this experiment,
I created a new test folder, then I selected "Paste"
from the right-click menu.

The end result, was a copy of the recovered file, was
placed in the destination folder. We could pretend we
were repairing C: contents at the time.

Obviously, multiplexing source-dest folder addressing
through that single file window, sucks. If you had
a lot of random files to copy, it's not a drag and
drop picnic. It might work better, if you needed to
restore a tree of files (all in one shot), than
true random access. Like say, copy and paste the entire
Windows folder.

(Screenshots of steps... Macrium Random File Recovery)

http://imageshack.us/a/img593/1927/dyu.gif

Paul
 
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N

Nil

(my short comment is below...)

When the WinPE disc boots, you may see a list with the .mrimg
file in it. To the right of the image entry you see...

Browse Image Restore Image

Verify Image Other Actions

Select "Browse Image". A copy of PEexplorer opens, a
file explorer for the WinPE environment. It's a simplified
file browser.

Navigate to the folder containing the file of interest.
Right click it and select "Copy".

Now, you're probably asking yourself "how do I get the
file to the destination ?".
Yes! That's exactly where I got stuck. Thanks for your instructions -
I'll try it out tonight.
 
E

Ed Cryer

Nil said:
Can you restore individual files from a previously-made disk image
while booted up to the boot disk? I'm not sure if that's something I'd
ever do, but Macrium won't do that. I'm curious if that's an omission
on MR's part, or common to all such software packages.

Can Paragon connect to a network resource while booted to the recovery
boot disk so that you can restore from a disk image on the network?
It certainly finds backups on external HDs plugged into the box being
booted on. Whether or not it can scan a network without loading Windows,
I don't know.
I think I know now why I continue taking Windows sys images as well;
belt and braces.

Ed
 
B

Barry Schwarz

I bought the upgrade from ATI2010 to ATI2013 when it was on special for
$19.95, and am very happy with it.
Did the 2013 version resolve any of the performance and user interface
issues that plagued the 2012 version? Such as:

After backing up a partition, the ATI process continues to
consume 50% of my CPU.

After backing up a partition and completely closing all ATI
windows, the ATI process remains resident and still consumes 50% of
the CPU.

Partition backups routinely fail with the wonderfully
uninformative message "stream failed to open".

Partition backups validate all backups even when the option is
deselected.

Explorer will not sort an any column. The display always shows
file names sorted a-z.

None of the popups will accept the enter key as OK or the escape
key as cancel.

Every time a log entry is deleted, the list of entries
repositions itself to some "random" entry.
 
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S

s|b

- Macrium Free seems pretty good, although it appears that you can only
restore files from an image while booted up in Windows, not from the
recovery media. I'm not sure that's a real problem. I've never been
able to make the Linux recovery disk work with this system.
I've been using Macrium Reflect Free for a while now, but I haven't
tried this. AFAIK you should be able to explore images when you boot
with the Rescue Media (USB or CD).

If this isn't what you mean and you mean really /restore/ an image, then
YES, it can be done using Rescue Media. I have done this several times.
 

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