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A couple of questions re: GoBack & Acronis True Image/PowerQuest Drive Image

Discussion in 'All Other Software' started by pcb, Dec 8, 2003.

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  1. pcb

    pcb Thread Starter

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    I am wishing to install another level of computer backup on my 98se system-either
    1. Symantec (formerly Roxio) GoBack,
    or
    2. Drive imaging. (The best rated appear to be Acronis True Image or PowerQuest Drive Image.)

    I would, however, like to know something about each method that I have not been able to discover through the respective software sites or various reviews (CNET, PCMag , etc.)

    Regarding GoBack:

    How far back would I be able to go, given that I will be setting aside roughly 4GB space to GoBack. Would it be possible to take a snapshot after setting up my system (after a format), then not run GoBack until I am about to make another major change, then close it /disable it again until the next major change, and so on?
    The reason I would want to do this, is that I find that problems often don't appear necessarily directly (or even soon) after any change to the system. Rather it can depend on when the program/process (that is causing the problem) is run. For example, I have recently had a conflict between my flatbed scanner and film scanner. I had not used the film scanner for a few months, so who knows when the cause of the conflict was first introduced, or what indeed it was?
    Apparently, Goback keeps taking its "snapshots" continuously until the allocated space is used up, then starts deleting the earliest snapshots (to release more space). To me this does not appear enough to cover months of snapshots.
    (In fact everywhere mentions a time scale of only a week or so.)

    So, to recap the question: can GoBack be run only when desired, in order to get snapshots of major system changes only, (and kept closed in-between) so as to keep snapshots of "safe points" over a much longer timespan?
    ( I have read in a post that the Goback file can be lost during heavy disk activity (eg Defrag). Could the file be backed up to a CDR and used when a restore is needed?

    Now regarding True Image/ Drive Image:

    How many CDRs might be needed to backup my drive which contains about 15/20GB of data (not including my personal work data)? I work it out to be about 20-30 CDRs, using the maximum 50% compression ratio. This is surely crazy. If I was to partition into 2 drives, then even 10-15 CDRs doesn't bear thinking about, surely?
    Is it possible to deselect unneeded folders/directories (like personal data that is already backed up in another format)?

    I know the best solution to this would be to get another hard drive to backup the images to, but this is expensive.

    Should anyone have any experience with either of these backup methods, and can answer these queastions for me, I would be very grateful,

    PcB
     
  2. raybro

    raybro

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    Pretty complex question, but I'll give it a shot.

    First let me say, I use GoBack as an ongoing process to guard against problems that may occur in the recent past (within 2 months) causing me any difficulty. GoBack does not take "snapshots" as such. Rather it records every keystroke and action that occurrs thereby enabling it to revert the drive to any specific point in time one selects within the memory capacity of the GoBack history file. I use it when I try out a utiliity download I decide not to keep. I just revert the drive and it never happened. GoBack can protect against stuff like power outages, viruses or someone (like one of the kids) messing with your PC. Again, you just revert the drive to a point in time before the event. You are running Win98SE (as I am) so you know that once in a while it will do something that's just wierd and out of left field. GoBack fixes this quite easily. You may have discerned I'm a great fan of GoBack and wouldn't be without it. It's saved my sorry butt so many times I stopped counting. :D

    Be aware there are 2 versions of GoBack. The Personal Edition (which comes bundled with other softwares) allows one to revert to "safe points" only. The Deluxe Edition (which I have) allows one to select specific points between those safe points. OWith the Deluxe Edition, one can even restore specific files lost as the result of reverting the drive.

    GoBack has 2 speeds, ON and OFF (or more accurately, enabled and disabled). When one disables Goback, the history file is erased. So the idea of establishing a historical point (i.e. a fresh install), disabling GoBack until you reach another significant point and enabling it is not feasable.

    I cannot answer your query regarding recording the GoBack history file to CD-R and restoring it. Never tried it and can find nothing in the manual about it. Interesting thought though... maybe I'll pursue that a little.

    The other software I use is Norton Ghost, which is similar to True Image in function. Both create an image (compressed or not) of the entire drive or partition. This image can be used to restore the drive/partition back to exact configuration of the drive/partition when the image was created. This is where one should store the image of a fresh install of the OS. I do exactly that and have done it rather than go through the laborious OS installation process, drivers, programs and utilities installation sequence. Takes about 5 minutes and I'm up and running. Having the backup image restored from a second HDD makes the process go considerably faster than it does when taking it from a CD.

    I have the advantage of have a second HDD where I store my backup images and I also have them on CD . As a retired Reliability Engineer, I'm a believer in the value of redundancy. I strongly recommend you consider a second HDD.

    In summation... GoBack is NOT a legitimate backup program, but is rather a dynamic program with a finite storage capacity for correcting problems in the recent past. The true backup programs (Ghost, True Image), are best used with a second HDD (preferred) and/or CD-R media.

    As with most computer questions, I'm sure this narrative will prompt more questions. I shall help in whatever way I am able. I'm also confident others will contribute as well. Lots of experience available on this forum.
     
  3. pcb

    pcb Thread Starter

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    Ray,
    Many thanks for yr indepth answer to my "complex" question.
    Yes, GoBack sounds useful, indeed, but I think that what I'm really after is supplied by True Image/ Drive Image route.

    However, the "personal edition" may suite my needs, with it's "safe points"..this sounds as though the "backup" will span a longer time back into the past, than the "Deluxe edition" (given the same amount of space for the GoBack file).
    Would this be right, would you say?

    As I realised, and as you say, another HDD is invaluable for use with a Drive Imager, but I don't really want to buy another HDD.

    I have also just read a post by Artvandalay (just a few posts above mine) and several people seem to be having trouble backing up to CDR/DVDR with True Image.

    I think I shall give True Image a try-out & find out for myself.

    Once again, many thanks for your most useful reply,

    PcB
     
  4. Alwill

    Alwill

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    Ray has provided a very good explanation of the workings of GoBack.

    I have used GoBack now for longer than I can remember and, like Ray, have found it to be an invaluable program and one that I would not be without.

    To cover a couple of points you raised, no, it is not possible to backup and later restore GoBack’s history and yes, “ massive file activity” can reduce and, at times, even completely obliterate the ‘memory’ of its history file.

    GoBack is dynamic and tracks the delta changes at the sector level of each hard drive on which it is installed and continuously records these changes in its memory or history file (gobackio.bin). If this file were to be backed up or copied to a different location (e.g. a CD), it would become useless as it would no longer be an integral part of the GoBack program and could not be reinserted. Further, the history file only stores changes and not files themselves.

    Turning to the second issue, the defrag tool used by Windows 98 was a real dinosaur and could cause enough disk activity to overwrite the history file and result in GoBack suspending logging. The solution to this problem was the use a more efficient defrag tool such as that introduced with Windows ME or to turn to buyware such as Diskeeper which is the one I use.

    To finish up, the ideal situation would be to have GoBack to address immediate problems and a drive image program which would cover longer term recovery needs.

    Trust the foregoing may be of some help.
     
  5. raybro

    raybro

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    Not exactly. The Personal Edition must record all the same data in the history file as the Deluxe Edition in order to provide the "safe points". The only real difference is the Deluxe Edition allows one to access revert points between safe points. Another reason for this is one can restore specific documents lost as part of a revert process. You cannot do this with the Personal Edition.

    It's been a while since I used the Personal Edition and I don't recall if one can do the following with it. When installing the Deluxe Edition, I use the "Custom" install feature and manually set the gobackio.bin (history file) size the the maximum of 4gig. The standard install will set the file size at 10% of the hard drive capacity. The file size is the primary factor in how far back the file records data.

    Additionally (just because I'm a neat freak), I place the gobackio.bin file on it's own dedicated partition. I'm a fan of having the OS on it's own dedicated partition just big enough to contain it. My OS is 1.4 G in size and is on a 2.5g partition. This minimizes defrag time considerably. Defrag generally takes about 1 - 2 minutes. Progams and files are also on seperate partitions.
     
  6. pcb

    pcb Thread Starter

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    Raybro and Alwill, you have certainly been most helpful...many thanks.

    Raybro, I'm very glad to have the (relevant) difference between the 2 editions of GoBack clearly defined. Now I know that in fact it is the Deluxe version I should go for after all..if I decide on that route rather than Drive Imaging.

    Alwill, so...the Gobackio.bin can indeed be "obliterated". This surely leaves one a bit vulnerable?

    I have been using the ME defrag version for some time now, so that's one plus.

    Yes, I'm sure using both GoBack and a Drive Imager is the best solution, but I would have to buy (a) an extra HDD to back up the drive image to, (or another considerably larger one to replace my present one) and then (b) the two programs-too much for me to consider right now.

    Once again, many thanks to both of you for passing on all your expertise,

    PcB
     
  7. Alwill

    Alwill

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  8. pcb

    pcb Thread Starter

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    Yes, Alwill,

    But, I would need to use so many CDR/RWs (unless I partion my drive into little chunks), that it doesn't bear thinking about. Also, I've read of failures to restore using multiple CDs..
    No (unless I go down the Goback route-which you have pretty well put me off..seems to be too much possibility of losing the .bin file),I think I'll probably go for a 2nd hand HDD to save money..with an issue like this it seems silly not to get the most secure solution, doesn't it?

    It's late now here in England, I must get to bed.

    I'll check this post in the morning if you have anything to add, though I think the various drawbacks are now clear to me.

    I much appreciate all your help.

    PcB
     
  9. DVOM

    DVOM

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    pcb, unless I've missed it you haven't said how large your hard drive is. My personal recommendation would be to have at least 2 partitions, one for the OS and programs and the other for all your data files.

    That will shrink down the necessary OS backup image to a decent size that should fit on 2 or 3 CD's. It also gives you another partition to store the image.

    Data doesn't need to be imaged, it should be burned directly to CD.

    I also recommend Norton Ghost over either DriveImage or TrueImage. DriveImage takes about twice as long to image a partition while TrueImage won't clone from one drive to another. In my experience, people who prefer DriveImage over Ghost haven't tried Ghost 2003.

    As for GoBack, I used it for a couple of years and loved it. However, once I started using Ghost, GoBack was more of a pain than anything else. It has to be either disabled or uninstalled to image with Ghost or any other imaging program. That, of course, wipes the GoBack bin files. Also it takes so long to disable and reenable GoBack it was faster to just quit using it and Ghost my OS once a week.

    And as has already been said, the additional hard drive is an added layer of protection. It's not just OS failure you're trying to protect against, it's also hard drive failure.

    Edit: Here's a US place that takes international orders, the cheapest way to buy Ghost is to get it bundled with Norton Systemworks Pro:

    http://saveateaglestore.site.yahoo.net/symnorsyspro3.html
     
  10. Alwill

    Alwill

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    pcb, I am indeed sorry if I have put you in doubt as regards GoBack. This was certainly never my intention as I am a great advocate of GoBack and regard it as my #1 piece of software; it has saved me many times and has never let me down. Apart from losing the history log when using the old Win 98 defrag tool in the early stages, I have never encountered any other problems. Maybe I should have made it clear that should the history be erased and logging suspended because of “massive file activity”, GoBack immediately starts logging again when this activity ceases.

    DVOM, I think that the shortcomings which have been the subject of complaint as regards Acronis True Image, have been addressed in the new version (V7) as outlined here http://www.acronis.com/products/trueimage/#disk cloning. It is due for release any day now.
     
  11. pcb

    pcb Thread Starter

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    Alwill & DVOM,

    Alwill: No you haven't really put me off Goback, it's just that I intend to go for only one method-and I feel that Drive Imaging will give me the overall best solution, esp in case of severe problems.
    Thanks for the advice to wait for the new version of True Image.



    DVOM,

    My HDD is 40 Gbs.
    I have not done any partitioning before, but I have kept Partition Magic 5 (came free with magazine), feeling that one day I might wish to try.
    Any advice on potential problems I might encouter, if I do?

    I have decided to get another HDD both to use for the Drive Image, but also as you say, a replacement in case of complete failure.


    By the way, I haven't asked this before..but I presume that restoring from a A HDD Drive Image will get rid of any (pre-existing)(but subsequent to the last Image, of course) software glitches, errors, and conflicts??

    I am very grateful for all the advice and information I have been given. You are very kind to have given so much of your time,

    PcB
     
  12. slipe

    slipe

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    I agree with DVOM. I have pretty much stopped using GoBack as Ghost is the better alternative for me and it is a hassle to disable GoBack to use Ghost.

    I don’t see any big deal about being able to go to a specific restore point in GoBack. You can manually set a restore point before installing any software or making changes. And it makes frequent restore points. The disadvantage of the home edition to me is that you have to restore the whole computer rather than just your boot drive – or program drive and boot drive if you separate them.

    You keep saying Drive Image is a better solution than Ghost. It does the same thing in making an image of a drive you can restore. Some people liked the Windows interface better with Drive Image compared to earlier versions of Ghost, but starting with version 2003 Ghost has a similar interface. I use Ghost from the floppy and could care less about the Windows interface, but some people prefer it. I think Drive Image is a better solution only if you can get it cheaper.

    That is all true. Put the Ghost image (or Drive Image) on a partition or drive and it becomes exactly the way it was when you made the image.

    Partition Magic is very easy and intuitive to use. You shouldn’t have any problems. Defrag before you use it. Problems do occur with partitions made with Partition Magic but they are rare.

    You can store a Ghost image on a second partition you make until you get the second hard drive. Make a 6 Gig partition for your C drive and move all of your data to the second partition (you would need a larger boot partition for XP). If you move everything but the programs and operating system you might be able to fit the boot drive compressed ghost on a couple of CDs. Also make a ghost to the second partition. The boot drive will likely be in the 2 Gig range. Ghost takes only as much space as the data – it doesn’t ghost the entire space of the drive like a Nero image. Back up your important data to CD separately.

    I don’t know how much it costs to ship overseas, but the System Works CD that DVOM linked is a good deal.
     
  13. pcb

    pcb Thread Starter

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    Slipe,

    My thanks to you for your additional advice.

    I'm actually in the middle of a reformat/re-installation....which I hope to be for the last time for a long time, owing to the new back-up system I choose!

    I've still got Palenty to do to get my comp back to it's former glory,

    Please excuse me while I get on with it..

    Be back soon(ish!!)

    PcB
     
  14. raybro

    raybro

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    Hello DVOM and slipe..... Just to clarify a point regarding GoBack as it works with Ghost. There are only 2 operations performed with Ghost that requires one disable GoBack. You cannot clone a drive nor can you restore a drive with GoBack enabled. You CAN create a Ghost image with GoBack enabled. I've done it many times. All one must do is load the GoBack drivers when booting from a Ghost boot floppy. I almost never use the Windows Ghost interface.

    To load the GoBack drivers, one waits for the initial GoBack screen (with the decreasing blue progress bar right after POST) and hit the space bar. Insert the Ghost boot floppy and click the "boot with floppy" button. This will load the GoBack drivers and you will boot into the Ghost DOS screen and proceed as normal to create an image.

    To me, the primary advantage of GoBack is the ability to revert to any specific point with ease. One would need to create a backup image before doing anything with the slightest unknown in order to cover the same thing. I don't consider GoBack and Ghost (or any other imaging soft) to be at odds with each other. Rather, they compliment each other. Backups are for catastrophic events like your HDD crashing or creating an image of a fresh install of the OS with all the updates and drivers installed. GoBack covers all the little stuff in between backups.

    I'm in th process right now of doing a fresh install of my OS. The first program I installed was GoBack and am I ever glad I did. Had some problems with a couple of drivers, Norton SystemWorks (NAV wouldn't install) and the software for my satellite system. GoBack just makes it all go away like it never happened. Made a Ghost image to CD of the OS just prior to installing NSW using the method previously described.

    Slipe... I assume your reference to creating restore points relates to either ME or XP. My old Win98SE doesn't have that capability. I suppose that's why it matters to me.

    In any event, we all go with our experience and everyone makes good points in this discussion.
     
  15. slipe

    slipe

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    Ray – If I had the deluxe edition I would likely use it. I don’t like having to restore the whole computer. I don’t disagree at all that it is the better program. Or that Ghost is as convenient or is a complete replacement.

    I haven’t used the home edition since Win98SE. You could open the software when in Windows and establish a restore point if you wanted – probably to make up for the limited restore ability. Don’t remember what version I was using but I think it came on the 2001 SW Pro CD.

    pcb Most “experts” recommend partitioning with fdisk when you format if you can rather than make one partition and then use Partition Magic. Partitioning when you format is more reliable. Partition Magic partitions have always worked for me, but I read it isn’t perfect. Good luck with the installation.
     
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