Recommend image making back up software for me

Discussion in 'Windows Vista' started by ezhik, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. ezhik

    ezhik MDL Junior Member

    Oct 23, 2007
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    I'm sending a laptop overseas to my daughter and want to give her some back facility in case of future problems. The manufacturer (HP) managed to include a restore partition of only 9Gb, but I've reformatted, put on Vista Ultimate instead of Home, not bothered with all the rubbish that HP included, and now she has a clean installation with all the programs she'll need and use.

    Can you recommend a back/restore/image making software solution I can include for her to get back to this 'virgin' condition I've created? I'm not interested in the original restore partition (its gone now anyway), I would never want her to have had the laptop in that condition! Whats the best software to use to get a very small image/set of back up DVDs I can use.

    I never bother with this image making stuff myself, if I need to I just re-install, but my daughter could benefit from some kind of emergency restore.

    Any ideas gratefully received, so long as you don't suggest the HP restore facility!! Thank you.
     
  2. urie

    urie Moderator
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    May 21, 2007
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    I would try acronis trueimage it can make a hidden partition with you can get access to by pressing F11 at boot up.
     
  3. 911medic

    911medic MDL Guru

    Aug 13, 2008
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    I second this!!:D:D
     
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  4. 2centsworth

    2centsworth MDL Senior Member

    Feb 12, 2008
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    I've tested and used every imaging program since the first such program (back then enterprise only) by Powerquest came out in the 90's...and hands down Acronis does everything you ever need an imaging program to do reliably. At one point Symantec bought powerquest in an attempt to improve their drive imaging product, Acronis is by far a better program. We use the workstation and enterprise around here.
     
  5. OleBent

    OleBent MDL Member

    Aug 22, 2007
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    #5 OleBent, Jan 4, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2009
    Definetely one more "vote" for Acronis True Image from here.

    Saved mine. friends and clients asses countless times....

    Great proggy!
     
  6. Carl

    Carl MDL Novice

    Oct 12, 2008
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    Macrium reflect free edition. Backs up 30gb in 8 minutes, restores in 10 to 15.

    It is free!!
     
  7. vistadude

    vistadude MDL Member

    Oct 7, 2008
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    Since you have vista ultimate, you have built in disk imaging. Goto the control panel and select backup and restore center, then click back up computer. Easy peasy!
     
  8. HMonk

    HMonk MDL Addicted

    Nov 3, 2008
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    #8 HMonk, Jan 5, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
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  9. vistadude

    vistadude MDL Member

    Oct 7, 2008
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    Very nice post, but I think the vista backup does have some level of compression. I backed up my entire c: drive onto a freshly formatted external drive. The C: drive has 84 gb worth of files and the image on the external disk is 47 gb. Now the image might be leaving out certain system files like hibernation, but that should only be about 10 gb? I also remember reading elsewhere that vista does compress the complete backups, I can't seem to recall where though.
     
  10. 2centsworth

    2centsworth MDL Senior Member

    Feb 12, 2008
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    There's also Windows Home Server which uses disk Imaging technology too. .......gotta luv acronis though, much more versatile.
     
  11. THC-Mind

    THC-Mind MDL Novice

    Sep 1, 2008
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    I dont agree with this statement.
    My primary partition with Vsita installation on it has 30GB of used space, but the backup takes only 3 DVD's...e.g. 12GB.
     
  12. HMonk

    HMonk MDL Addicted

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    #12 HMonk, Jan 5, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2009
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  13. urie

    urie Moderator
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    May 21, 2007
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    84 GB on your system drive:D bit risky i would never make a system drive above 40GB i dont even store my documents there programs only and if i was running xp i would only make 20GB partition. as for vista backup you still need vista dvd to restore if you system is screwed:(
     
  14. HMonk

    HMonk MDL Addicted

    Nov 3, 2008
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    Two HDDs

    I agree with Urie,

    Urie raises an excellent point re Vista DVD install. I have two internal system HDDs and an external 1TB landfill. I have two primary partitions on the internals and one on the external. On C:\ I have a 20GB partition for Win2000/progs - only; the second partition, E:\, is for everything else but its raison d'ĂȘtre is to house OS/prog images/backups from the second drive. The second drive, D:\, is 40GB and supports XP/progs - only; the second partition, F:\, is for the bulk of my everyday stuff (DOCS, MP3s, images, AND images/backups from C:\.

    In the first place, C:\ (Win2000) never crashes (for one reason, I do not tweak it any more); therefore, I always have a functioning system with all of what I consider essential progs and Internet access (good for troubleshooting, e.g.). I regard it as a backup machine. IF D:\ crashes, I do not have to fret about: is my OS disc going to be able to be read in the optical drive; how am I going to be able to track down the meaning of NTLDR, or otherwise access resources to get D:\ back up and running. I simply go to E:\ and restore my updated, current D:\ image backup. No fuss, no hassle, no failure: absolute peace of mind! This works well for me - just for me, though - because this backup system NEVER fails me.

    If I relied on a laptop, I would use a small USB HDD with it. On a vacation, I have a dump for my pics but I also have storage for an image backup that I can access and apply in an instant.

    Again, not knowing the expertise of those involved, I am striving for the peace of mind gained by an - essentially - foolproof backup system.

    Monk
     
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  15. vistadude

    vistadude MDL Member

    Oct 7, 2008
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    Thanks for the info guys! I didn't realize vista backup has so many problems. I might have to pony up and get acronis (crosses fingers that it's compatible with xp, vista, and 7).

    My fear of acronis -- is it the kind of program that automatically updates itself (I know ghost did this). For example, you do a backup using the latest patched version, say 8.2. Then if you need to recover it on a fresh hard disk, and you use the 8.0 original cd to boot off of, will it allow you or even understand the newer version? I guess this is one reason I don't use windows updates anymore since I never will be able to recover using an unpatched disc. :D

    As for partitions, I'm extremely stubborn with partitions. I hate them with a passion :) I want all 500 GB on the c: drive. I guess you might not all have a 20-in-one memory card which takes up 6 additional drive letters :D. It's even hard to find the drive letter of a plugged in external unless it has a fancy icon. I also find it hard to find files when they're on seperate drives. But hey, too all himself!

    For backups, I do image backups on a dedicated external weekly, and data file backups on 2 seperate external drives bi-weekly also, so I guess I'm covered. All those backups include the exe's to reinstall all the programs I run as well as pdf instructions and keys :)



    Thanks.
     
  16. HMonk

    HMonk MDL Addicted

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  17. ezhik

    ezhik MDL Junior Member

    Oct 23, 2007
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    Wow guys, thanks for the great advice here. I already set up her laptop not to store any personal info/downloads/e-mail etc onto the 'C' drive, I never use the default locations myself, but have a 'Data' partition for all that, only the OS and installed progs go to the 'C' drive, glad to see I'm not the only one.

    A definite vote for Acronis then! I use their Disk Director Suite and like their software, so not much persuading needed. I did look at 'Macrium', though when I tried to back up the OS partition as a test on another pc, it continually gave an error about files being use and failed to make an image, well of course the OS partition is in use, I though it should be able to deal with that, maybe I need to look at it again, it did seem to be quite light weight and quick, another chance to prove itself maybe needed.

    I'll find a version of Acronis and try that next.

    I'm very grateful for all the ideas and discussion, will read everything and take it in, I might even be converted to making an image of my own numerous multi-boot PCs. Though I always have more than one OS installed, so if I mess something up, I can boot to another and access the other to fix it, if you see what I mean. Daughter needs a one click solution for the emergency if it ever happens.

    Many, many thanks, always better to get the advice from those using the software and in the know. I'll come back and let you know my thoughts on Acronis, though it sounds good.
     
  18. urie

    urie Moderator
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    May 21, 2007
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    @ ezhik, acronis has a 1click solution called snap restore but be warned this scrubs all partitions, but if the image is not that large you can and the backup image onto the acronis recovery dvd also if you want to go that way rather than hidden acronis secure zone. I would get hold of a copy and start some tests.
     
  19. HMonk

    HMonk MDL Addicted

    Nov 3, 2008
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    Glad to assist

    Hey EZ, glad to assist. A nice thing, too, to get different ideas so that you can consider a variety of options and choose the best suited to your needs/experiences.

    Monk
     
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  20. ezhik

    ezhik MDL Junior Member

    Oct 23, 2007
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    You were all right about Acronis. Found a copy and tried it out, used the option to put the back up image in the Acronis secure zone, and will also provide an image on a USB stick. Couldn't be easier, and compresses the data quite well to give a relatively small file, well in todays terms with Vista anyway!

    Brilliant, job done, thanks again for all the advice and tips.