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What Backup Software do you Use?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I've been messing around with some imaging programs in a virtual environment to test the backup and restore capabilities of certain backup software. I just got through testing DriveImage XML and it seemed to backup fine, but the image didn't retain the boot partition, though restored successfully after an easy fix using system repair. It uses Volume Shadow Copy and creates an XML file of all of the data to allow browsing and extracting of individual files.

Post the program you're currently using/have used to protect your data and how well it worked for you.
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post #2 of 16
Macrium Reflect Free to back up my boot drive (OS and programs only; Here is a good tutorial on how to use Macrium Reflect). I used imaging rather than cloning. It has yet to fail to restore an image. I did have an image fail to verify once but, when I reimaged it, the image verified without a hitch (stuff happens, I suppose). Imaging works so well for me, I use it to replace System Restore (which I have had problems with).

To backup my data drives, I used to use Macrium Reflect to clone the drive to another one. However, when I approached 1TB, it was taking too long (up to three hours) and was putting too much unnecessary wear and tear on the destination drive. I only did weekly backups because of the tile element and the wear and tear on the destination drive. So I tried FreeFileSync and have never looked back. It's a Folder/File syncing program (similar to SyncToy, a popular Folder/File syncing program) that finds data that has changed or added to the source drive and copies it to the destination drive. It also deletes data from the destination drive that had been deleted from the source drive. One option FreeFileSync has that SyncToy doesn't is the ability to tell it to send data deleted from the source drive to a versioning folder. That way, you can recover accidentally deleted data. Using FreeFileSync is much, much faster than cloning. After comparing the two drives (which doesn't take long), it quickly deals with only the data that is different between the two drives which is vastly faster than having to recopy vast amounts of static data.

I also maintain multiple backups, both onsite and offsite. That helps protects my data from HDD failure and operator error (it happened once; the extra backup saved my ample asset...er...data).
Edited by Lady Fitzgerald - 3/21/14 at 2:03pm
     
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post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
I just installed FreeFileSync and it's exactly what I've been looking for to mirror my files onto a shared folder. The only thing I noticed about the program is that the installer contains adware, which in my experience is rare to find on SourceForge. Despite that, it's still a great program.

I'll probably give Macrium Reflect a go as well.
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post #4 of 16
The reason for imaging the OS and programs is, unlike data files, you can't just copy those files back to restore them. To be able to image the OS and program, they have to be on a drive or partitions separate from your data. If you need to restore an image, you will need to have rescue media (CD or USB stick) to restore the image. Macrium Reflect will make that media for you.
     
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post #5 of 16
I run Macrium Reflect Pro here and I've been very happy with it...great software and very reliable. I have it setup to do weekly incremental images of my system drive, incremental images of my documents every 3 days and then full backups monthly. With the few dozen restores I've done over the years, I've never had a single issue - just restore, reboot and carry on. thumb.gif

Also, I like to keep very important stuff (home videos, pictures, etc... all the stuff I can't replace) off site. I've been using Live Drive for this. $6/month for unlimited storage and you don't have to rearrange your file structure or anything - just check off the folders/files you want to be uploaded and the software takes care of it.
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post #6 of 16
I was one of the first employees of a data backup company that now has 250 employees and 75 petabytes of data in their data-centers so I know a little bit about this topic smile.gif

Data backup software generally falls into two main categories:
1. File Level Backup
2. Disk Level Backup

File level backup is simple, basically it backs up your files and directories that you specify to back up.

Disk Level Backup is more complex and typically operates at the block level of the hard disk to take a snapshot of an entire volume, disk, or array from a point in time. Most software that performs this style backup uses the Microsoft Shadow Copy system and it's VSS Writers which are application aware, meaning that it can backup specific applications such as SQL, Exchange, Sharepoint, etc while the the applications are in a production state. The better backup software in this category such as ShadowProtect & Acronis actually create their own VSS Writers which operate independently of the Microsoft VSS Writers.

With ShadowProtect and Acronis you can generate virtual machines from these backups as well. To do this on a Windows 7, Server 2008r2, and any newer OS it is important to protect the 100MB SRP partition at the beginning of the OS volume or else the VM won't boot. You may want to check out sysinternal's free VHD creator which I've used to quickly generate a virtual image of my system to see how this works.
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by francisw19 View Post

I run Macrium Reflect Pro here and I've been very happy with it...great software and very reliable. I have it setup to do weekly incremental images of my system drive, incremental images of my documents every 3 days and then full backups monthly. With the few dozen restores I've done over the years, I've never had a single issue - just restore, reboot and carry on. thumb.gif

Also, I like to keep very important stuff (home videos, pictures, etc... all the stuff I can't replace) off site. I've been using Live Drive for this. $6/month for unlimited storage and you don't have to rearrange your file structure or anything - just check off the folders/files you want to be uploaded and the software takes care of it.

I also use the Pro version of Macrium Reflect. Most users recommend against using incremental imaging but I have used it in the past without any problems. One just has to be very careful to not lose any of the images in an image set and keep track of what is what. However, if one has their OS and programs on a separate drive or partition, it wouldn't take very long to make a full image of the OS and programs once a week, which is what I do. My boot drive is using 60.2GB (24GB of that is the hyberfil.sys file since I have 32GB and depend on UPS using Hibernation to protect any work in progress should a power outage force the UPS to the computer down), which results in a 24.06GB image, and takes only 9.5 minutes to make the image.

By using FreeFileSync to backup my data, I can backup a 1.03TB in just a few minutes. It takes FreeFileSync only one minute to compare the data on the internal drive to be backed up with the data on the external drive the backup is going to. The amount of time it takes to the actual backup after comparing the drives typically ranges from a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on how much data was added, changed, or deleted. Deleted files and the old version of changed files can be deleted, sent to the recycling bin, or sent to a versioning folder (the option I use). Since syncing is so much faster than imaging and cloning, I can do daily backups or even unscheduled backups if I put some really critical data on the internal drive. I also maintain a second local backup drive. Another advantage to syncing is I get backups I can actually use in the computer if my internal drive dies and cannot be restored. I just remove the dead drive (a ten minute job at worst) and pop one of the backups into a hot swap bay on the front of the computer (I also use the bay for making the backups; an external dock could also be used) and keep on chugging along until I can get and install a replacement drive (I don't keep spares fore the internally installed drives because the warranty clock starts ticking from the day I buy it and prices pretty much keep going down so waiting until I need a drive gives me a longer usable warranty and saves money). When I get the replacement drive, I can just install it, then use Reflect to clone the backup drive to it.

I also use offsite backups. I keep two backup drives in a safe deposit box at my credit union, which get swapped with the local backup drives at least once a month, and use Carbonite to cover the data added or change since the previous offsite back had been made.
     
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post #8 of 16
Incremental backups are popular, however the risk is always that if one link in the backup chain breaks then the integrity of any backup taken after that is lost. At the data backup company we would take full backups and store them on a Ubuntu system that ran the ZFS file system which would allow us to deduplicate and compress the backups so that an entire chain containing hundreds of full backups would occupy the disk space of just one backup.

I do like your off-site backup
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post

I also use the Pro version of Macrium Reflect. Most users recommend against using incremental imaging but I have used it in the past without any problems. One just has to be very careful to not lose any of the images in an image set and keep track of what is what. However, if one has their OS and programs on a separate drive or partition, it wouldn't take very long to make a full image of the OS and programs once a week, which is what I do. My boot drive is using 60.2GB (24GB of that is the hyberfil.sys file since I have 32GB and depend on UPS using Hibernation to protect any work in progress should a power outage force the UPS to the computer down), which results in a 24.06GB image, and takes only 9.5 minutes to make the image.

By using FreeFileSync to backup my data, I can backup a 1.03TB in just a few minutes. It takes FreeFileSync only one minute to compare the data on the internal drive to be backed up with the data on the external drive the backup is going to. The amount of time it takes to the actual backup after comparing the drives typically ranges from a few seconds to a few minutes, depending on how much data was added, changed, or deleted. Deleted files and the old version of changed files can be deleted, sent to the recycling bin, or sent to a versioning folder (the option I use). Since syncing is so much faster than imaging and cloning, I can do daily backups or even unscheduled backups if I put some really critical data on the internal drive. I also maintain a second local backup drive. Another advantage to syncing is I get backups I can actually use in the computer if my internal drive dies and cannot be restored. I just remove the dead drive (a ten minute job at worst) and pop one of the backups into a hot swap bay on the front of the computer (I also use the bay for making the backups; an external dock could also be used) and keep on chugging along until I can get and install a replacement drive (I don't keep spares fore the internally installed drives because the warranty clock starts ticking from the day I buy it and prices pretty much keep going down so waiting until I need a drive gives me a longer usable warranty and saves money). When I get the replacement drive, I can just install it, then use Reflect to clone the backup drive to it.

I also use offsite backups. I keep two backup drives in a safe deposit box at my credit union, which get swapped with the local backup drives at least once a month, and use Carbonite to cover the data added or change since the previous offsite back had been made.

Incremental backups are popular, however the risk is always that if one link in the backup chain breaks then the integrity of any backup taken after that is lost. At the data backup company we would take full backups and store them on a Ubuntu system that ran the ZFS file system which would allow us to deduplicate and compress the backups so that an entire chain containing hundreds of full backups would occupy the disk space of just one backup.

I do like your off-site backup plan as your ass will be safe in the even that the building your PC is in gets hit by tornado, hurricane, fire, nuclear war, alien invasion, etc. But this can be pretty costly to upkeep for just home users. Also be careful with off-site storage, a lot of startups offer unlimited storage for a flat rate - and 100% of them within a year will either go out of business or they will suddenly change their pricing model to that of x GB storage for x $ a month. So if you are going to go for off-site storage, stay away from companies that offer "unlimited" backup for a flat rate fee, you'll regret before long, I guarantee that smile.gif
post #9 of 16
I use Acronis and have it set to backup an entire disc image of my SSD to a NAS. After the initial full backup, it does incremental ones at specific times when the PC is idle.
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post #10 of 16
I'm using mostly CrashPlan without subscription backing up into a network drive mounted with sshfs as a removable drive. Mostly because CrashPlan was relatively easy and I can encrypt the contents with a custom key. Before that used some kind Rsync based stuff but it tended to get confused for me and encryption was awkward. That is then in Windows 7 environment. The network drive is in Linux based server where I am not administrator. Data amount is approx 1 TB atm.
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3M Ergonomic 
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Intel Core i7 3820 X79-UP4 Gigabyte 390X G1 Club3D 7870 Eyefinity 6 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
64 GB Barracuda 3 TB WD Green 3 TB Crucial M4 256 GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Crucial M4 64 GB Barracuda 4 TB Sythe big shuriken rev B Windows 7 Pro 64 bit 
MonitorMonitorMonitorMonitor
DELL U2311H (x3) DELL U2312HM (x2) 9.7'' 2048x1536 (x3) IPAD3 retina Asus PB287Q 4K 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
CM Quickfire TK (red) Corsair AX-1200i Modded Sharkoon VS-3 Logitech G700s 
Mouse Pad
3M Ergonomic 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i7 3820 X79-UP4 Sapphire 7950 FleX OC XFX 6770 Eyefinity 5 
GraphicsRAMHard DriveHard Drive
Club3D 7870 Eyefinity 6 64 GB Samsung 750 GB F3 Barracuda 3 TB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
WD Green 3 TB Crucial M4 256 GB Crucial M4 64 GB Barracuda 4 TB 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
Custom loop Windows 7 Pro 64 bit DELL U2311H (x3) DELL U2312HM (x2) 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
9.7'' 2048x1536 (x3) IPAD3 retina Asus PB287Q 4K CM Quickfire TK (red) Corsair AX-1200i 
CaseMouseMouse Pad
Modded Chieftec Smart WH-02B-B-OB Logitech G700s 3M Ergonomic 
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Kohver v.4
(25 items)
 
Kohver v.3
(21 items)
 
Soliton
(23 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i7 3820 X79-UP4 Gigabyte 390X G1 Club3D 7870 Eyefinity 6 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
64 GB Barracuda 3 TB WD Green 3 TB Crucial M4 256 GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Crucial M4 64 GB Barracuda 4 TB Corsair LE 480HB Sythe big shuriken rev B 
CoolingCoolingCoolingOS
Nexxos 280mm radiator DC-LT Alphacool GPX 390M04 Windows 7 Pro 64 bit 
MonitorMonitorMonitorMonitor
DELL U2311H (x3) DELL U2312HM (x2) 9.7'' 2048x1536 (x3) IPAD3 retina Asus PB287Q 4K 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
CM Quickfire TK (red) Corsair AX-1200i Significantly modded Jupiter .. something alumi... Logitech G700s 
Mouse Pad
3M Ergonomic 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i7 3820 X79-UP4 Gigabyte 390X G1 Club3D 7870 Eyefinity 6 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
64 GB Barracuda 3 TB WD Green 3 TB Crucial M4 256 GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Crucial M4 64 GB Barracuda 4 TB Sythe big shuriken rev B Windows 7 Pro 64 bit 
MonitorMonitorMonitorMonitor
DELL U2311H (x3) DELL U2312HM (x2) 9.7'' 2048x1536 (x3) IPAD3 retina Asus PB287Q 4K 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
CM Quickfire TK (red) Corsair AX-1200i Modded Sharkoon VS-3 Logitech G700s 
Mouse Pad
3M Ergonomic 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i7 3820 X79-UP4 Sapphire 7950 FleX OC XFX 6770 Eyefinity 5 
GraphicsRAMHard DriveHard Drive
Club3D 7870 Eyefinity 6 64 GB Samsung 750 GB F3 Barracuda 3 TB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
WD Green 3 TB Crucial M4 256 GB Crucial M4 64 GB Barracuda 4 TB 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
Custom loop Windows 7 Pro 64 bit DELL U2311H (x3) DELL U2312HM (x2) 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
9.7'' 2048x1536 (x3) IPAD3 retina Asus PB287Q 4K CM Quickfire TK (red) Corsair AX-1200i 
CaseMouseMouse Pad
Modded Chieftec Smart WH-02B-B-OB Logitech G700s 3M Ergonomic 
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