Imageing/backup

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Imageing/backup

Post by Guest on 10/5/2010, 05:49

I have a shameful secret.
I have no imaging/backup programs at all!! Once ever month or so,I burn "My Documents" (contains of course,my documents,but also my tunes,exes I want to save,books,etc) to DVD-Rs,and that's pretty much it.
I do not have an external hard-drive,(I keep telling myself to put away a Shekel or two towards that end,but it never seems to happen.)
I can reformat and install Windows drunk or in my sleep for that matter.
My Documents are my primary concern,and my method works for them,and with the level of virtualization I use,
I find I no longer either have much concern for malware,nor,am I as likely to bork my system,as in the past.
my current Windows install will be one year old the 13th of this month(a personal record!!).
All that said,"Crap happens"!!

I know ssj100 uses Drive SnapShot,but is there anyone out there,as behind the times as me on this issue?

(I forgot,I have ERUNT as a substitute for System Restore,and the little System Snap shot thing in SpyWareBlaster,if they count.)


noor

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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by ssj100 on 10/5/2010, 10:00

I think the most important thing is to back up files that you can't replace, and I see you're doing that already.

Imaging is just a convenience thing for most people. You'd hope you aren't restoring images too frequently! If you are, you're doing something wrong. If you know how to keep your system "clean" and fast, you won't need to re-install windows for years. I had a Windows XP box running for nearly 3 years and I had no slow-downs. After I clean re-installed (and implemented LUA + SRP + SuRun), I did not notice any speed differences on the freshly installed system. But then again, most people don't keep their systems fast and junk free like I do.

I mainly use imaging for peace of mind and convenience. I would only restore an image if:
1. Unexpected malware infected my system (never experienced this).
2. Hard drive dies (never experienced this).
3. Certain things stopped working or worked abnormally because of conflict etc.

Worse come to worse, you could just start out clean by re-installing Windows from scratch. Problem is, it would take hours to install everything and get your system back to the way you like it. With an image backup (I do this perhaps once a month), you can restore your computer to exactly your last flawlessly working system.

However, in between making images, it is still very important to back up files that you can't replace, or files that are larger (like media files) and more difficult/time consuming to acquire.

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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by Rico on 18/6/2010, 11:14

Hey ssj! Im happy for you and the progress you've made. I also would like to congratulate you on this forum; I like how that even though wilders were arrogant pricks that banned you, you decided to standup for what you wanted and do your own thing.

Anyways I wanted to ask you something concerning drive snapshot -- its function and incredibly small size have caught my imagination Surprised on their site it says that its a standalone exe file that doesnt modify the registry, windows folders etc. If thats the case, how do they mark your system to ensure that you dont simply redownload the program after the 30 day trial expires? does it know it was previously installed by modifying HDD sectors? -- Just to be clear, I am not looking for ways to circumvent copyright, im just curious; as small independent developers that crank out such marvels in the programming world should be rewarded (ie tzuk and tony). I have the utmost respect for them.

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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by ssj100 on 18/6/2010, 15:17

Hey Rico, and welcome to the forum!

Regarding Drive SnapShot and how it detects the trial limit, I have to admit I don't have a clear answer. From the site, it states:

The Trial ware version has a built-in time limit of approx. 30 days, after which it won't backup any longer.

I highlighted "built-in" and this may give a clue as to how it detects the trial limit. However, your statement of simply re-downloading the program after the trial expires indeed seems like a way to circumvent the trial limit period. The only way to know for sure is to try it out I guess?

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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by Ruhe on 18/6/2010, 16:04

What I can say, after registration of the software they modify their own executable.
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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by ssj100 on 18/6/2010, 16:27

Ruhe wrote:What I can say, after registration of the software they modify their own executable.

Yes that's correct. Presumably this is to remove the "built-in" time limit.

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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by Ruhe on 18/6/2010, 16:50

ssj100, as you use Drive SnapShot on demand: by running the GUI or via batch (command line)? If by command line, can you post it?
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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by ssj100 on 18/6/2010, 17:02

Ruhe wrote:ssj100, as you use Drive SnapShot on demand: by running the GUI or via batch (command line)? If by command line, can you post it?

By running GUI sorry.

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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by Ruhe on 18/6/2010, 17:20

If I would use DS on my system then with this one:

snapshot.exe hd1:*+d: e:\IMAGES\$disk_$date_$hour$minute.sna -L2000 -T -W -R -Go --LogFile:log.txt
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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by ssj100 on 18/6/2010, 17:33

How is that more efficient than double clicking snapshot.exe (on-demand)?

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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by Ruhe on 18/6/2010, 17:37

No repeating selection of the drives/partitions to save. No repeating input of the destination image file... ?
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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by ssj100 on 18/6/2010, 17:48

Ruhe wrote:No repeating selection of the drives/partitions to save. No repeating input of the destination image file... ?

That's interesting, thanks for the information. I might test it out in my VM some time. However, given I only run snapshot.exe about once a month, it's probably not going to make a significant difference to efficiency (since it probably only speeds things up by about 5 seconds haha). Also, what if you wanted to select the drive/partition to back-up and/or change the destination of the back-up file? I guess you could create other batch files for it? Sounds a bit messy to me, but then I'm not used to using batch files.

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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by Ruhe on 18/6/2010, 17:54

ssj100 wrote:Also, what if you wanted to select the drive/partition to back-up and/or change the destination of the back-up file?
I don't have this problem as I always backup the same drives/partitions to the same destination folder.

With Macrium I create several images a day in "batch mode" - on every system shutdown. Doing this on demand? Oh no.

I prefer running such operations in a batch like mode in general.


Last edited by Ruhe on 18/6/2010, 17:56; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by Guest on 18/6/2010, 17:55

I think that once the executable is modified it is then portable.

Ruhe wrote:What I can say, after registration of the software they modify their own executable.

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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by Ruhe on 18/6/2010, 17:58

patrick wrote:I think that once the executable is modified it is then portable.
But you have to re-apply the license info on every program update (replaced executable).
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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by ssj100 on 18/6/2010, 18:11

Ruhe wrote:
ssj100 wrote:Also, what if you wanted to select the drive/partition to back-up and/or change the destination of the back-up file?
I don't have this problem as I always backup the same drives/partitions to the same destination folder.

With Macrium I create several images a day in "batch mode" - on every system shutdown. Doing this on demand? Oh no.

I prefer running such operations in a batch like mode in general.

Fair enough and sounds like a comprehensive back-up method. I'm actually fairly new to the image back-up process. However, I personally don't see any need to back-up more than once a month - it's not like I'm changing my settings everyday and installing new updates everyday. For actual data like video/music/document files etc, I always manually back them up anyway (it's not worth running a full image back-up of an entire drive/partition just to back up a 50kb word document for example).

Also:
I mainly use imaging for peace of mind and convenience. I would only restore an image if:
1. Unexpected malware infected my system (never experienced this).
2. Hard drive dies (never experienced this).
3. Certain things stopped working or worked abnormally because of conflict etc.

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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by ssj100 on 18/6/2010, 18:18

Ruhe wrote:
patrick wrote:I think that once the executable is modified it is then portable.
But you have to re-apply the license info on every program update (replaced executable).

What I've found interesting is that Drive SnapShot updates very frequently. Sometimes there'd be numerous updates in any given month, and unfortunately there is never a changelog! However, I've been using Drive SnapShot for a few months now, and it's been flawless in its backing up mechanism.

I really dislike having too many installed third party software programs on my system (particularly security related), and Drive SnapShot is superb in the sense that it doesn't need to be installed and also none of its components continuously runs in real-time at all (thus it doesn't slow my system down or cause potential conflicts). Works perfectly for my needs.

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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by Ruhe on 18/6/2010, 18:21

An one month or week old image does not make much sense by accidental data loss, installing new software or even drivers, uninstalling software,or whatever, followed by system instability, a messy system...

With my approach there is only a loss of few hours of work and data.

I backup data files additionally - beside the image - to an external USB drive.
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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by ssj100 on 18/6/2010, 18:31

Ruhe wrote:An one month or week old image does not make much sense by accidental data loss, installing new software or even drivers, uninstalling software,or whatever, followed by system instability, a messy system...

With my approach there is only a loss of few hours of work and data.

I backup data files additionally - beside the image - to an external USB drive.

It's all about balancing risk (or inconvenience) and benefit. Some people may require or prefer hourly backing up rather than just daily. For me personally, backing up a full system image once a month is more than sufficient. And as I already mentioned, manually copying files that are either precious (eg. work or personal related data that took hours to create) and/or take a while to obtain (eg. large video files) should always be backed up to an external isolated drive - not hard to do this manually, and certainly not worth running full daily image back-ups in my opinion.

I always make the general habit of moving large video files to my external drive anyway after some time (when I'm sure they don't contain malware haha). The same goes for other precious documents and files.

But sure, if you're installing/un-installing software several times a day (eg. you're still trying to get that "perfect security setup"...which by the way is in my security setup/approach post haha), then perhaps you do need to back-up every hour or every day.

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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by ssj100 on 18/6/2010, 18:39

By the way Ruhe, if you're imaging your hard-drive every day, are you sure you need a real-time scanner?

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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by Ruhe on 18/6/2010, 18:50

ssj100 wrote:By the way Ruhe, if you're imaging your hard-drive every day, are you sure you need a real-time scanner?
Just to "feel" safer, precaution and a bit of paranoia Wink
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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by ssj100 on 18/6/2010, 18:56

Ruhe wrote:
ssj100 wrote:By the way Ruhe, if you're imaging your hard-drive every day, are you sure you need a real-time scanner?
Just to "feel" safer, precaution and a bit of paranoia Wink

Fair enough. Your approach vaguely reminds me of demoneye's - he uses EAZ-FIX to always roll back at the end of each day. Whenever new updates are released for trusted programs, he simply installs them and creates new "baseline" snapshots etc. And guess what? He doesn't use a real-time scanner haha. I would almost be tempted to use his approach...except that EAZ-FIX and all related programs slow down boot-up etc and aren't always very stable.

Also, it's well known that Windows optimises itself as time goes by. This is why you'll notice boot-up speed improves and applications open faster after some time (mainly thanks to the prefetching mechanism I think). If you're always rolling back at the end of each day, you don't give a chance for this prefetching to occur.

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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by Ruhe on 20/6/2010, 13:34

How to restore Drive Snapshot images if you can't start Windows anymore?
Do you really go with the outdated and user unfriendly DOS boot process, the NTFS difficulty and with maybe missing support of drives accessed via AHCI?

Using Macrium or TrueImage you have or can create a state-of-the-art boot medium.
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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by ssj100 on 20/6/2010, 13:40

Very good question. I might leave the answer/explanation to demoneye (if he ever visits this forum again haha).

For me personally, the worse case scenario is to freshly install Windows (takes about 20-30 minutes), and then only load up the Drive SnapShot image from there.

Regardless, aren't you happy with Macrium Reflect? Are there actually any advantages of Drive SnapShot over it (apart from the fact that you don't need to install Drive SnapShot...which is a huge bonus for me!)?

EDIT: by the way Ruhe, can you do image back-ups with Macrium Reflect while continuing work on the same system?


Last edited by ssj100 on 20/6/2010, 14:10; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Imageing/backup

Post by ssj100 on 20/6/2010, 14:04

Just also want to add that I don't recommend/promote Drive SnapShot as heavily as I do other software like Sandboxie or approaches like LUA/SUA/SRP/AppLocker. This is simply because I don't personally find the need to restore images often at all (maybe twice in my life time haha).

In my opinion, in general, if you're restoring images more than once a year, you're either:
1. still experimenting on your computer setup and want to do so on your REAL system (and hence dislike the idea of using VirtualBox for whatever reason...however, you could still consider programs like EAZ-FIX or Comodo Time Machine instead, which have the advantage over imaging in that you can move from snapshot to snapshot very quickly).
2. really very unlucky (eg. the software/hardware you update keeps conflicting with everything else and causes BSODs etc)
3. getting infected by malware regularly (which suggests your security setup/approach needs to be drastically improved)
4. really very bored haha.

Happily, I've reached (what I think to be) a very good security setup/approach for a while now, and I'm happy to experiment around in my VM with VirtualBox whenever I get bored (meaning number 1. isn't a problem and number 4. is covered well haha). I've also personally never in my life had a problem with software/hardware conflict causing a BSOD etc, which suggests that I am either incredibly lucky, or these things simply don't happen that often to most people (or a bit of both). In any case, that effectively cuts out number 2. I've also never been infected by malware ever since getting interested in security setups/approaches (around 2006). And prior to that, the only reason I got infected was because of a really bad security approach (eg. installing obviously untrusted files willy nilly). So that removes number 3.

Despite this, I still keep monthly image back-ups, even though I've never had to restore an image in my life for the above 4 reasons (well, apart from number 4. haha). As I said, some people might prefer to do image back-ups up to every hour, every day or every week...I'm certainly not one of them. And my reasons are as above.

However, I do encourage everyone to do "regular" general back-ups of important files and also "regular" image back-ups. In terms of how often you want to do it...well, that's entirely up to you and your computer habits. In general (in my opinion), 99% of people out there would not need to do an image back-up more than once a month.

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