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Backup Tools And Strategy - Advice Please?

Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: 30-07-2007

Backup Tools And Strategy - Advice Please?

Hi Folks
I am rethinking my ad hoc backup solution and would appreciate some advice. I will start by explaining what I currently do:
My PC has two main partitions ‘C’ for Windows and ‘D’ for all data. Once a month I make a backup of my ‘C’ & ‘D’ partitions using Acronis True Image. These backups are made to another internal drive that is only used to store these backups; periodically I then copy the Acronis TIB files from the internal backup drive to an external hard drive. These backups are one off complete backups rather than incremental or differential backups.
I have decided that I want to start making very regular incremental backups and this has led me to thinking of how to make the system more robust.
The Numbers:
The OS and Apps partition backups weigh in at below 20GB a piece so I don’t have an issue with keeping several images of this on file. My data partition however has just about 40,000 files / 200GB of data on it which Acronis will reduce to about 150GB. I don’t want to keep multiple versions of this on file because of the size, thus my decision to go to incremental backups of data.
The Issue:
I had planned to use Acronis to back up the data as a ‘data’ file rather than as a disk image. I then started to become a bit paranoid about the likelihood of a 150GB file becoming corrupted. It is my understanding that with Acronis if an ‘image’ file becomes corrupted you can still ‘mount’ the file and retrieve all files other than the corrupted section, whereas with a ‘data’ file you cannot mount it at all and therefore any corruption to the TIB file would render the complete contents useless. This is a big deterrent to generating a 150GB ‘data’ TIB file!
The Way Forward:
After a rethink I decided that maybe I should just use Acronis to automate incremental backups of the OS partition and deal with the data separately. Ideally I still want a regular and automated backup of the data files.
I understand that ‘Karen’s Replicator’ or ‘Synctoy 2’ might help with the Data backup, but I have no experience of these, do you think they fit the bill? Is there a better / easier way of dealing with the data partition backup?
Any advice on the above products, practices or suggestions of other routes (preferably at no additional cost!) would be much appreciated.
Cheers
Peter.
8 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
Thanks: 1,027
Fixes: 62
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Backup Tools And Strategy - Advice Please?

Synctoy will do exactly what you want.
I backup all my data files (on two computers) to the other one every evening automatically.
I have it set to add and replace but not delete. This means that a file deleted in error is still available.
Note that files which are replaced aren't just deleted they are moved to the recycle bin first giving another possibility for recovery if a file was replaced by accident.
In addition to the data files I have also set it to back up all the email files and address books.
A further point, although I only have Synctoy running on one machine it backs up the files on the other machine as well as the machine it is running on.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Backup Tools And Strategy - Advice Please?

Hi OJ
Thanks for your advice. I will give Synctoy2 a try.
Cheers
Peter
Community Veteran
Posts: 3,291
Thanks: 2
Registered: 10-08-2007

Re: Backup Tools And Strategy - Advice Please?

Just a word of caution, I know a couple of people who have come unstuck using Acronis for scheduled incremental data back up. Both lost or had data corrupted.
The issue seemed be with backing up to an external drive.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Backup Tools And Strategy - Advice Please?

Hi Santiago
Thanks, I will keep an eye out for that. If it is an external drive issue then I should be ok as I will back up to an internal and then punt the finished files out to an external.
Cheers
Peter
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Backup Tools And Strategy - Advice Please?

SyncToy is brilliant for updating the data backup, it is very quick and less wear and tear on the external disk.
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,112
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Backup Tools And Strategy - Advice Please?

@Oldjim
Hi Jim
I am building a Win 7 test machine with all the software I use just to check that there won’t be any big problems when I do the final switch at public release. I have noticed a few people have identified problems with synctoy 2 on Win 7.
Have you seen this youirself and if so do you have any insight in to a workaround until the next update?
Cheers
Peter
Community Veteran
Posts: 38,460
Thanks: 1,027
Fixes: 62
Registered: 15-06-2007

Re: Backup Tools And Strategy - Advice Please?

I haven't tried it on Win 7 as I have it running on Vista with a dual boot and it would really mess things up.
decomplexity
Rising Star
Posts: 493
Thanks: 26
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Backup Tools And Strategy - Advice Please?

Vide the comment about Acronis TI not being able to retrieve data from a faulty 'data'-style backup, it depends on what you mean by 'data' and 'disk image'. I take full disk (all partitions including system state) backups as file backups (as opposed to sector by sector backups which back up free space as well), and have been able to successfully mount a .tib backup file image which fails Acronis validation (which as checksum validation rather than verification against the original) and copy those key files I wished to restore.
In passing, TI 2010 now has a feature to automatically suffix a date to the file name; a trivial feature which saves a load of hassle.
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