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Using Disk images for computer back up

Discussion in 'All Other Software' started by muckmail, Feb 15, 2013.

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  1. muckmail

    muckmail Thread Starter

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    Once a computer is setup the way someone wants it is there any software to
    back it up? Where I can make a disk image of the computer setup and the
    place it on a CD for backup. I would need to make the CD bootable. Is there
    any good free software that does that?
    Thank you,
     
  2. ETech7

    ETech7

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    Good - ShadowProtect 5.0
    Free - Clonezilla.
     
  3. DCM1519

    DCM1519

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    If you want an image of everything on the drive, Drive Image XML is free and does a good job. It is provided free by a data recovery company. I have used it for years and never had a problem. You can extract individual files too if needed instead of a full recovery.
     
  4. raybro

    raybro

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  5. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    If you have an external drive (and you can use DVD's, too, as a slightly less desirable option), you can make an exact image of your drive, with all its operating system, programs, and files, when it is running well, and use that image to restore your sysem if need be. It can even be restored to a new hard drive should yours fail. Actually, the recovery disks from the manufacturer are often drive images. But they only allow you to restore to day 1.

    If you have an image of that original installation to go back to if necessary, and then also make an occasional image so that changes are recorded, you can even restore your entire system to a more recent date if you choose. No more starting from scratch and reinstalling everything. And the images can even be mounted as drives in Computer so that you can get back individual files and folders. So no other type of backup is needed.

    Most (all the commercial ones) have scheduling options so they can run in the background and make regular drive backups. And they can also create "differential" backups, meaning that only the changes from the original are recorded in the backup, and that small file when combined with the original, full backup gives you date options, like System Restore, for restoring your system. Since the differental backups are so small typically, you have have many backups on an external drive without using the space that would be needed for that number of full ones.

    These are free, and so don't have the full options, of course:

    Macrium Reflect
    Paragon Drive Backup Express


    Some more choices, if you think that $29 or $49 is a good amount to pay for peace of mind (Most of us use Acronis, but I'm using Paragon Drive Backup 9 at the moment):

    Commercial Apps:

    Paragon Drive Backup
    Easy Image
    [email protected] Disk Image
    O&O DiskImage
    Acronis True Image Home

    (PS. An image usually occupies about 60% of the used space on your drive. So if you have 20 GB's used on your drive, an image will be around 12 GB's, so many can be fit on an external drive.

    [​IMG]

    A few more choices:

    Free Drive Cloners/Imagers:

    HDD Raw Copy Tool
    Minitool Drive Copy
    Easeus Disk Copy
    O&O DiskImage Express
    FOG (a free cloning/imaging solution)
    Redo Backup & Recovery
    Terabyte CopyWipe (Can securely remove a drive's contents, or it can copy an old drive to a new one)
    Disk Wizard (reduced, free Acronis for WD drives)
    Runtime Shadow Copy
    Dr. Freeware boot CD (also has file recovery, Avast scanner, and partitioning tools)
    EASEUS Todo Backup (Partition and drive imaging)
    EASEUS Disk Copy (Partition and drive cloning)
    Farstone Driveclone Express
    Macrium Reflect
    Paragon Drive Backup Express
    G4U - Ghost For Unix (Platform-independent, floppy or CD)
    Clonezilla (Bare-metal restoration from image)
    Partimage
    Dubaron Diskimage
    SystemRescueCD
    EaseUs Disk Copy (Copies disks or partitions)
    XXClone
    CloneZilla GParted LiveCD (Complete partitioning and drive imaging/restoration tools)
    Drive Image XML
    Partition Saving
    PCI CloneMaxx
    HDClone
    DriveClonerXP
    Self-Image
    copyr.dma (Copies disk with bad sectors for recovery)
    DiscWizard (For Seagate or Maxtor drives - contains reduced version of Acronis)

    [​IMG]

    The great disk, Parted Magic, also makes images.

    Parted Magic disk partitioning, PC repair, and file recovery tool (Bootable CD or USB image)
    If you prefer a bootable USB key, download and run Linux Live USB Creator. Choose the Parted Magic distro, and it will download it and automatically create a bootable USB key.

    This CD (or key) contains many useful tools. You can partition, recover files, recover lost partitions, make disk images (by several different methods), transfer files between media, scan for viruses (It can serve as an Alternative Trusted Platform for search and elimination of rootkits and bootkits), examine and benchmark hardware, access the internet, and much more.
     
  6. muckmail

    muckmail Thread Starter

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    So can a person restore from an external USB drive or are they restricted to using CD's for .
    their backup?
     
  7. raybro

    raybro

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    An external USB hard drive is the most advisable storage medium for backup images. Although one can use CD's or DVD's for this purpose, it's not advisable for multiple reasons. They are easily damaged, it takes multiple discs to store the image and they have been known to deteriorate over extended periods of time. Additionally, an external drive is just so much simpler to use and faster.

    The proper role of a CD/DVD or USB Flash drive in this process is to function as a boot device which will allow you access to the stored backup images in the event you have need to recover you internal drive to an image.
     
  8. Elvandil

    Elvandil

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    Just to clarify the good advice from raybro:

    You can store the images on any medium you choose. An extra drive is the best place because they hold more and, if connected all the time, it is far easier to make regular or scheduled backups. Very old backups will not be as useful as recent ones that reflect your recent work.

    But to restore the images, you need to boot from something. Making a boot CD for the backup program you choose is probably the best idea. Some programs actually put a copy of the program in the same location as the images, and you can boot from that. But it is a better idea to have the bootable CD in case your other doesn't boot for some reason, or even because a new machine or different one may not be able to boot from some medium, but most all can boot from CD.

    It's a good idea, after having made an image, to boot from your recovery medium and make sure that it recognizes the backup. If it has a "verify" function to check the integrity of the backup, use that, too. A backup that can't be restored is worse than none since it also wastes your time. The procedure will also check that the needed drivers for the involved hardware are located on the boot CD.
     
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