Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

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Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by Rico on 23/2/2011, 03:02

Hi,

I am starting to look into the world of Imaging and Backup, but I'm clueless as to which solution is the best, simplest, fastest - regardless of price. To people contrbuting in this thread; I appreciate your suggestions but please justify the statement, "product X is great", with reasons as to why it is so.

Like Sandboxie is the clear winner in the sandbox niche, I am looking for an easy apparent choice in the imaging solutions products too.

Thanks!


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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by blues on 23/2/2011, 03:29

Timely post, Rico. I've been thinking about exploring this further myself.
Thanks for bringing it up.

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by ssj100 on 23/2/2011, 07:39

Drive SnapShot has been perfect for me. I'm not very knowledgeable about imaging in general, but here are some pros and cons of Drive SnapShot:

Pros:
1. Doesn't even need installation. Can run from a single executable file which is not much more than 250kb.

2. Life time license with life time updates.

3. Fairly simple and easy to use. There are plenty of configuration options, but by mostly using "out of the box" settings, I've never gone wrong.

Cons:
1. I only know how to restore an image with Windows already running. That is, when I restore an image, I do it from Windows itself (I store my images on an external hard-drive). Apparently there are methods to restore images via a compiled "boot disk", but I've never bothered learning this method (I'm too lazy?). So what happens if I can't boot into Windows? Well, I'd simply boot into Windows with my Windows CD (re-install), and then once Windows is loaded, I'd then restore the image from my external hard-drive. Sure, it might take an extra 20-30 minutes, but it's not like I restore images everyday. In fact, in the last 2 years, I've only had to genuinely restore an image twice (and the reasons weren't at all related to malware).

2. I don't think there is an easy way to automate regular imaging back-ups, although I think Ruhe has some good ideas with batch commands.

For me personally, I really like Drive SnapShot because it's purely on-demand, simple and very fast. I don't want computer resources to be sapped with automated processes and services running in the background. Keep in mind I don't leave my computer on 24/7 - I switch it off at night (resetting the router in the process too, which is apparently a good security measure). I've also found it very easy to use, and it's proven to be very effective for me. With regards to speeds of the backing up and restoring process, I think it's right up there with the fastest.

Finally, here are some observations with regards to the last time I performed a back-up and restore with Drive SnapShot:
1. Back-up image process: Size of original disk was about 50Gb (included all my music, some other media and VirtualBox mediums and snapshots etc). This was compressed into an image of about 40Gb size (the compression ratio is actually much better than this, but was worsened by the fact that I was backing up lots of media etc, which is very hard to compress). The entire process took about 40 minutes (keeping in mind my processor is over 4 years old, and wasn't even top range when I got it). I'd estimate current above average processors to complete the same job in under 15 minutes.
2. Restore image process: Size of image was about 50Gb (as above). Took about 30 minutes to restore (initiated it from inside a running Windows). Every configuration was exactly intact, seemingly byte for byte.

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by Rico on 23/2/2011, 09:25

DS sounds great, but does it backup more than one partition? I have a preinstalled recovery partition and would hate to lose that just incase I lose my windows factory CDs.

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by ssj100 on 23/2/2011, 09:44

Rico wrote:DS sounds great, but does it backup more than one partition?
Yes it can.

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by Rico on 23/2/2011, 09:59

Does it mirror the HDD sector for sector even unused ones or not?

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by ssj100 on 23/2/2011, 12:10

Rico wrote:Does it mirror the HDD sector for sector even unused ones or not?
Yes it can, but I've never personally made an image like that.

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by cap8w on 23/2/2011, 14:52

Thanks for the help SSJ.
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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by Rico on 24/2/2011, 07:32

Just gave DS a spin and I have to say I am impressed. I bet its the fastest program of its class out there. ssj, how did you get to know about such a wonderful app? All your setup choices seem perfect; the apps are extremely tiny, yet very powerful i.e. sandboxie, SD and DS

O one more question of interest, is DS restoration hardware independent? Meaning, could I restore my image to a new hdd if needed?

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by ssj100 on 24/2/2011, 09:56

Rico wrote:Just gave DS a spin and I have to say I am impressed. I bet its the fastest program of its class out there. ssj, how did you get to know about such a wonderful app? All your setup choices seem perfect; the apps are extremely tiny, yet very powerful i.e. sandboxie, SD and DS
I'm glad you like Drive SnapShot haha. As I've said before, I did a lot of experimentation in the year 2009 and that's how I came across these great programs. I also had some good guidance from a certain "demoneye".
Rico wrote:O one more question of interest, is DS restoration hardware independent? Meaning, could I restore my image to a new hdd if needed?
Yes, that shouldn't be a problem. However, you'll have to ask Ruhe how to do it without first installing Windows on the new hard-drive.

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by blues on 8/7/2011, 22:14

Bringing back an older (but important) topic...

I'm starting to explore imaging options for my XP Pro setup (I've neglected it long enough, I suppose)...about how much space is required to back up approximately 25 GB? (used space).
(I have 2GB RAM and T2300 CPU @ 1.66 GHz)

Trying to figure out what media would be appropriate for storage since at this time I don't have a USB larger than 4 GB nor do I (as yet) have an external hard drive.
(I do have CD/DVD but only have CD's on hand currently.)

Thanks for sharing any thoughts and insights.

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by blues on 9/7/2011, 00:06

Well, in partial answer to my own questions (to some degree), I installed the trial of Drive Snapshot. It took about 26 minutes to back up the 28GB used on my HD out of 235 GB total.

Since I had nothing large enough to store the image in I just saved it in a folder on my hard drive. The size of the image was about 20 GB.

I haven't yet checked to see if there are flash drives large enough to accommodate that size but I'm guessing I may need an external HDD.

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by ssj100 on 9/7/2011, 02:05

I don't think there are any other Imaging solutions that compress (much) better than Drive SnapShot. And yes, a separate external HDD is well worth having.

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by blues on 9/7/2011, 02:11

Thanks for the update...since I had a coupon on hand for amazon I just ordered a 320 GB Toshiba Portable Hard Drive (USB 2.0) Cool

Not as big as some but it should be more than enough for my purposes and the price is right.

I may end up investing in Drive Snapshot as well as I really like the straightforward elegance (like Sandboxie) but the $56 price tag is a bit high.

I wonder if the developer ever offers it at discount? (It seems so much sleeker than the much, much larger "freeware" alternatives.)


Any idea why snapshod0.sys wants to add itself to the autostart menu? (I've blocked it for now until I determine if it's necessary.)

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by blues on 9/7/2011, 22:11

In case the last question was missed...

Any idea why snapshod0.sys wants to add itself to the autostart menu? (I've blocked it for now until I determine if it's necessary.)

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by ssj100 on 10/7/2011, 01:03

blues wrote:In case the last question was missed...

Any idea why snapshod0.sys wants to add itself to the autostart menu? (I've blocked it for now until I determine if it's necessary.)

Thanks in advance.

Not sure myself. I see it in a Temp directory and I think it's necessary for it to be there in order to do a back-up, otherwise there could be corruption etc. Not sure about the autostart menu though - are you seeing it with a HIPS? Regardless, it shouldn't be a permanent thing so I would allow it.

EDIT: by the way, are you seeing it being added to the autostart menu while doing a back-up or restore?

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by blues on 10/7/2011, 02:48

If I remember correctly, I believe Online Armor alerted me regarding the autostart request when I ran the installer.

I blocked it at that time.

Subsequently I was re-alerted and I think this was during the time I was preparing to initiate the program to create an image.

Not knowing if it would foul things up I "allowed" it. After the image was done I went back to OA's startup list and "blocked" that file from autostarting..

I'm sure it's probably innocuous but I couldn't understand why it needed to run at startup unless it's something necessary when restoring an image or the like.

Figured you smart guys would know. Razz

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by ssj100 on 10/7/2011, 03:19

Yes, I thought it might have been OA alerting you - there are a few threads on other forums about it. I'm so glad I don't use a HIPS anymore haha.

Seriously though, I don't think it's permanently added to the auto-start list. Where exactly is the file located for you?

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by blues on 10/7/2011, 03:26

ssj100 wrote:Yes, I thought it might have been OA alerting you - there are a few threads on other forums about it. I'm so glad I don't use a HIPS anymore haha.

Seriously though, I don't think it's permanently added to the auto-start list. Where exactly is the file located for you?

documents and settings - local settings - temp

(and be nice to online armor, it's just one of those programs (like winpatrol) that i'm very fond of even if they may no longer be "necessary" per se. Laughing )

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by ssj100 on 10/7/2011, 03:41

Yes it's just in a temp folder. You can probably safely delete it if it's bothering you, although I don't see why.

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by blues on 10/7/2011, 03:51

I'm not that paranoid. Shocked

Thanks for all the info. I'm really glad that I finally got around to adding "imaging" to my security arsenal.

Should have my new external hard drive in a few days and then I'll see how transferring the current stored image over goes.
(I'll also create a new image and test having it store on the new drive directly.)

I may decide to test the free version from Macrium as well...any thoughts on how that (larger) program compares?

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Re: Which is the best Imaging Solution and why

Post by ssj100 on 10/7/2011, 07:52

blues wrote:(I'll also create a new image and test having it store on the new drive directly.)
I do this all the time - works great, and saves having to manually transfer the created image to the destination drive (which can take some time if it's big).
blues wrote:I may decide to test the free version from Macrium as well...any thoughts on how that (larger) program compares?
I think Macrium is also good, haven't tested it much. One thing is for sure though, you'll need to "install" it haha.

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