Am I really backing up files?


W

W. eWatson

I thought I'd check what I'm backing up according to Backup and Restore.
I went to Change settings and found my way to "What do you want to
backup". I had the three check boxes under Data Files checked, but none
under Computer. Under HP(C:), I found Admin Guide, MatLab, MSOCache,
Program Files, Python27, Users, and others. I would gather all of these
items are related to programs, and not data. It would then seem they do
not need backing up, since they likely can be re-installed. Maybe.

Comments?
 
J

Jason

I thought I'd check what I'm backing up according to Backup and Restore.
I went to Change settings and found my way to "What do you want to
backup". I had the three check boxes under Data Files checked, but none
under Computer. Under HP(C:), I found Admin Guide, MatLab, MSOCache,
Program Files, Python27, Users, and others. I would gather all of these
items are related to programs, and not data. It would then seem they do
not need backing up, since they likely can be re-installed. Maybe.

Comments?
Backing up user data files is a great idea...but it won't save your bacon
if your disk fails. Windows Backup is marginally worthwhile. Consider an
image backup program--Acronis is one--that will let you restore
everything needed, say, to populate a new disk after the old one fails.
 
R

richard

Backing up user data files is a great idea...but it won't save your bacon
if your disk fails. Windows Backup is marginally worthwhile. Consider an
image backup program--Acronis is one--that will let you restore
everything needed, say, to populate a new disk after the old one fails.
what good is it to back up on the same disk in the same partition?
if the disk fails, you're screwed two ways.
better to back up on a seperate drive.

I worked at a trucking company and every day before he left the office, the
guy backed up his computer on tape.
personally, tape sucks.
as tape becomes damaged over time and more susceptible to other damage.
I'd at least consider a secondary drive just for that purpose.

With 2 TB drives being less than $200, hey, buy several.
 
P

Paul

W. eWatson said:
I thought I'd check what I'm backing up according to Backup and Restore.
I went to Change settings and found my way to "What do you want to
backup". I had the three check boxes under Data Files checked, but none
under Computer. Under HP(C:), I found Admin Guide, MatLab, MSOCache,
Program Files, Python27, Users, and others. I would gather all of these
items are related to programs, and not data. It would then seem they do
not need backing up, since they likely can be re-installed. Maybe.

Comments?
If you look under Users, your username (and your data) are under
there.

There are other places that programs store data, so there are a few
places you should be backing up things.

The problem is, finding a tutorial that will identify everything that
should be a candidate for backup. This tutorial doesn't really spell
it out.

http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/615-backup-user-system-files.html

An "image" gets everything, if you have doubts. Whereas, picking
and choosing, is for when you're infinitely familiar with
the folder structure. For example, I know I need to back up
my Firefox bookmarks, my Thunderbird email stuff, as well as
my Downloads folder. I have a pretty good idea what constitutes
my "data". Some of the programs on the machine, have two areas
they store stuff, so you do have to keep notes about them,
if you expect to keep every scrap in a backup.

And then, once you have your list of things worth backing up,
you have to translate those into the terms used in the
backup dialog.

I have some backups here, which are the entire disk. And, they
don't use VSS. I'm in the process of compressing one of those
right now (I'm doing a verify, to prove the thing I've got,
is the same as the original snapshot). That would be done from
outside Windows. I have a mixture of backups, for all occasions.
(Some backups, are just a Robocopy of C:.) More than one method.
Different periods between backups, for each method (some more frequent
than others).

And my scheme is not "designed" - it just happens :) I'll be
watching TV, and all of a sudden it'll occur to me "let's do a
backup". That sort of thing. It's not like I have these loaded
in a Scheduler or something. I'm not that organized.

Paul
 
J

Jason

- snip -

The problem is, finding a tutorial that will identify everything that
should be a candidate for backup. This tutorial doesn't really spell
it out.
- further snip -

Why not [image]backup everything? Sure, the first time will take a while
(about an hour on my system with 2+ TB to a local partition) and then do
incremental backups (I have it set to five) before it does another full
one. The incremental backups take just a few minutes. I copy all of them
to an external drive - via a .bat file. Once you get it set up, it's
easy. If you have business-critcal data (as I do), it's a good idea to
make a third copy and take it Somewhere Else in case your house burns
down. It happens... I do that monthly. I have not lost a byte in 15 years
(uhoh ... I think I just jinxed myself!)

Jason

PS - Image backups, like Acronis creates, also allow you to retrieve
individual files/folders. You don't need to restore entire partitions.
(And, I am not an Acronis employee! ... I've had some issues with them
over the years and found their support to be quite good.)
 
P

Paul

Jason said:
article said:
The problem is, finding a tutorial that will identify everything that
should be a candidate for backup. This tutorial doesn't really spell
it out.
- further snip -

Why not [image]backup everything? Sure, the first time will take a while
(about an hour on my system with 2+ TB to a local partition) and then do
incremental backups (I have it set to five) before it does another full
one. The incremental backups take just a few minutes. I copy all of them
to an external drive - via a .bat file. Once you get it set up, it's
easy. If you have business-critcal data (as I do), it's a good idea to
make a third copy and take it Somewhere Else in case your house burns
down. It happens... I do that monthly. I have not lost a byte in 15 years
(uhoh ... I think I just jinxed myself!)

Jason

PS - Image backups, like Acronis creates, also allow you to retrieve
individual files/folders. You don't need to restore entire partitions.
(And, I am not an Acronis employee! ... I've had some issues with them
over the years and found their support to be quite good.)
I have a rather low opinion of Acronis right now.

It has to do with the driver they provide for 3TB disks.
It can't be removed. It doesn't work right. And the staff
at that company, just will not take any advice from customers.
(Somebody figured out, how to remove the Acronis driver
for them.)

And that's the Acronis TIH OEM they sold to Seagate and WD,
for their disk drives. So now I have a 3TB drive under WinXP
(no GPT), where I can't use above the 2.2TB mark. And I needed
that space today - I could access it from Linux, but the
transfer rate there was only 10-15MB/sec (on a 140MB/sec disk!).

*******

You can use Macrium Reflect Free to image your hard drive, and
that works good. It's based on VSS and only backs up the
sectors with data in them. On "foreign" or "unrecognized"
file systems, it backs up all the sectors.

Any backup system that is based on VSS (and many of them are),
are in .vhd or .vhdx format, and those can even be mounted
in Windows 8 like they were a disk drive. So being able
to randomly access one of those things should not come as
a surprise. It's the same kind of disk format used by some
of the virtual machines. (In fact, I regularly take the
Windows 7 System Image file from my laptop backup, and
mount it as a disk in VPC2007. That's how I get at copies
of my laptop files, without needing to power up the laptop.
Just grab a backup from the backup disk.)

Paul
 
J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

W. eWatson said:
I thought I'd check what I'm backing up according to Backup and
Restore. I went to Change settings and found my way to "What do you
want to backup". I had the three check boxes under Data Files checked,
but none under Computer. Under HP(C:), I found Admin Guide, MatLab,
MSOCache, Program Files, Python27, Users, and others. I would gather
all of these items are related to programs, and not data. It would then
seem they do not need backing up, since they likely can be
re-installed. Maybe.

Comments?
Even if you manage to track down all the places some software does store
data (Firefox bookmarks, for example), then "they likely can be
re-installed. Maybe" (a) requires you still to have all the original
discs (assuming you even got them on a disc), _and_ the
passwords/keys/whatever if they are bought ones, (b) will take you
_ages_ to get them all back how you like them, unless you're one of
those frightening people who only uses a handful of prog.s and stays
near the default configuration in all of them.

Backing up - or rather imaging - the whole system is a safer bet. (And
make sure you have a bootable way of restoring from the backup without
using Windows; most backup/imaging S/W offers to make a bootable
something.) And make sure it's something that - I presume you're using 7
since you are posting here - restores 7 in such a way that 7 is happy
with itself.
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)Ar@T+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

TV and radio presenters are just like many people, except they tend to wear
make-up all the time. Especially the radio presenters. - Eddie Mair, in Radio
Times 25-31 August 2012
 
J

J. P. Gilliver (John)

In message <MPG.2c2c47241593db2c989782@news.eternal-september.org>,
Jason said:
make a third copy and take it Somewhere Else in case your house burns
down. It happens... I do that monthly. I have not lost a byte in 15 years
(uhoh ... I think I just jinxed myself!)
[]
You burn your house down monthly? (-:
--
J. P. Gilliver. UMRA: 1960/<1985 MB++G()AL-IS-Ch++(p)Ar@T+H+Sh0!:`)DNAf

TV and radio presenters are just like many people, except they tend to wear
make-up all the time. Especially the radio presenters. - Eddie Mair, in Radio
Times 25-31 August 2012
 
E

Evan Platt

With 2 TB drives being less than $200, hey, buy several.
I don't know where you're shopping, but I can easily find 2 TB drives
under $100.

3 TB drives can be had for very close to $100.
 
W

W. eWatson

....
what good is it to back up on the same disk in the same partition?
if the disk fails, you're screwed two ways.
better to back up on a seperate drive.

I worked at a trucking company and every day before he left the office, the
guy backed up his computer on tape.
personally, tape sucks.
as tape becomes damaged over time and more susceptible to other damage.
I'd at least consider a secondary drive just for that purpose.

With 2 TB drives being less than $200, hey, buy several.
I do not backup to the C: drive, but to a terra drive.
 
C

Char Jackson

With 2 TB drives being less than $200, hey, buy several.
2TB drives are well under $100 again, even if they still aren't as cheap as
they were before the Thailand floods.
 
G

Gene E. Bloch

I've had no problems with Macrium Reflect.
I use the paid version. I like it, but:

I do have a bit of trouble with the user interface, some parts of which
are confusing; in fact some things got confusing after an upgrade... It
also doesn't deal gracefully with drives that might have a different
letter the next time you use them.

But the thing I really hate is when I do an incremental backup which
proceeds smoothly for 93 minutes and then says "Aborted - no room on
destination drive" or similar words. EaseUS has the courtesy to estimate
the needed space before proceeding and aborting right away :)

OK, 93 minutes *might* :) be an exaggeration, but when I've made a lot
of changes and waited a long time since my last backup (yes, mea culpa),
the incremental file is large and the backup does take a long time. And
I actually *have* modified my procedures lately :)

I still like it better than EaseUS and Acronis...
 
A

Anthony Buckland

Even if you manage to track down all the places some software does store
data (Firefox bookmarks, for example), then "they likely can be
re-installed. Maybe" (a) requires you still to have all the original
discs (assuming you even got them on a disc), _and_ the
passwords/keys/whatever if they are bought ones, (b) will take you
_ages_ to get them all back how you like them, unless you're one of
those frightening people who only uses a handful of prog.s and stays
near the default configuration in all of them.

Backing up - or rather imaging - the whole system is a safer bet. (And
make sure you have a bootable way of restoring from the backup without
using Windows; most backup/imaging S/W offers to make a bootable
something.) And make sure it's something that - I presume you're using 7
since you are posting here - restores 7 in such a way that 7 is happy
with itself.
I've used Acronis for several years, and have recovered
from disaster more than once (in two cases, from a
failed hard drive). I heartily agree with the idea
that an image backup is the simple way of recovering
everything. You don't have to think about what was there,
what might need to be installed, whether you still have
the source from which to install, how hard any individual
thing might be to reinstall, and so on. You just recover
the entire state of affairs, down to the last byte and its
contents.

Do I image every week or whatever? No, but I do image
after doing something "important" (would cost money or
inordinate amounts of time to re-do, or just contains
something I couldn't obtain again at all). I use two
USB-attached external drives. One: away from the
machine, immune to electrical faults and so on. Two:
away from the property, immune to fire, theft (more
likely), flood (very unlikely here, but think of
people in Calgary this morning with their machine
and local backups under a meter of muddy water),
cars crashing into house, really small asteroids).
At intervals, I swap the two drives: even a two-month
old system state is better than a boat anchor and
horrible regrets.

At more frequent intervals, I independently back up
my data on thumb drives, from which it would be easy
to become current after restoring from an image.

There are of course other imaging programs, but I'm
used to Acronis and it has saved me from total
loss more than once, the real acid test. And it
does have the bonus feature of permitting restores
of chosen files and folders.

And to repeat: imaging makes recovery so very
simple.
 

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