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Old 10-31-2012, 08:19 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by RonBoyd View Post
This was first brought to the table in Windows Vista. I believe, it is only available in certain versions of Windows 7.
It comes with all version of 7, much improved over vista, but nowhere as good as ntbackup with xp.

System backups and data archiving are two different things. I like a setup with OS and data in different disk/partitions. I backup/image the system and archive the user data. I like synctoy from M$ to keep the data synced,

Download SyncToy 2.1 from Official Microsoft Download Center

It gets to be troublesome to backup large amounts of data like mp3s, avis etc. I would put those on a NAS RAID-5 storage server.

IT does image restore to put it back the way they set it up. Most places it against company policy to "customize" your PC.

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Old 10-31-2012, 08:33 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
No thanks - cloning is the answer for me.
Right but cloning needs to be done before your machine is messed up. As far as I understood, OP hasn't done that so I was offering suggestion to get his files and restore the machine.

I think cloning is different than what OP needs. I personally prefer cloning too. Although there are apps like Ninite - Install or Update Multiple Apps at Once, still Installation and customization takes a ton of time.

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Old 10-31-2012, 08:34 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I always tell people - if you have not restored from and verified your backup, you are not backed up.

I know people who thought they were backed up, some even paid 'professionals' to do the backup for them. Diligently doing things that made whirring sounds (and probably bogged down the system) every week. But when that big crash happened... oh, the backup files are corrupted, or there was some kind of error that didn't get reported, or the tape was full, or, or, or, .... At work, I used to occasionally copy an older file to external, then tell IT I accidentally deleted it, could they recover it? You might be surprised that sometimes they couldn't do it. Backup-schmackup.

Backup, then verify your backup. ...
That is why I do 2 types of backup. One is a dead simple copy of critical data areas plus photos. I keep multiple weeks of this stuff around and have occasionally gone in and retrieved a file that I screwed up on (like an Excel page I munged by mistake). So that's a check of sorts.

The other is the Windows 7 system backup (image plus incrementals). How would one check this out short of trying to do a restore? Just retrieving a file or folder doesn't really prove much. Doing a full restore is not something I'd want to take a chance with unless experiencing system problems. So isn't this in the end just an act of faith?
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Old 10-31-2012, 09:18 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Lsbcal View Post
The other is the Windows 7 system backup (image plus incrementals). How would one check this out short of trying to do a restore? ... Doing a full restore is not something I'd want to take a chance with unless experiencing system problems. So isn't this in the end just an act of faith?
This is why I like how it works on Macs so much. Simple, reliable, verifiable:

A) You clone to another drive (I use a free program named SuperDuper, but there are other ways). SuperDuper (among others) only needs a destination drive as large as your 'used space', not the size of the entire drive.

B) When cloning is complete, reboot, holding the OPTION key. You will be presented with a list of boot-able systems (your original, the clone, any other systems attached, and since Lion, a 'recovery' partition). This can even be selected to do it automatically.

C) Select the newly made clone - it should boot like a normal system. Take it for a test drive. You can verify your apps, files, setups, network settings, etc - everything is carried over.

D) Keep an external drive or two partitioned properly, and you can keep as many clones active as you have drive space. These can even be booted on other systems (some limitations apply).

So this is totally verifiable, w/o touching or risking your installed system. Just be careful not to select a clone as the source and over-write your source as destination instead - but that's actually pretty hard to do.

I agree with you, having to replace your system to test the clone doesn't make sense to me. Yet, in the Linux world, that's what people keep telling me to do. Making a boot-able clone in Linux has limitations. Many processes require the destination to be as large as the entire source (not just the used space), and you can't boot it w/o removing the original, unless you do some rather tricky mods.

edit/ad: I agree on having two types of backups. I copy my data, and subsets of data more often than a full backup.

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