Acronis back up vs Image

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Acronis back up vs Image
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starchy
Ottawa ON, Canada
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February 27, 2011 - 10:17 pm
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I just purchased a new laptop with Win 7, so I bought Acronis True Image Home 2011. My desire was to do an image of the C partition after installing the basic software I will be using such as MS office. I also purchased a 1TB external drive for this purpose. I partitioned the USB HD into 3 partitions, 120 GB, 380 GB and 500 GB. The drive in the laptop is partitioned with C @ 116 Gb, D @ 329 and somewhere, I can't find it now & I only saw it once, a recovery partition that is only FAT 32. The C and D are NTFS. I installed Acronis and it asked if I wanted to do a backup of C and I said Yes, to the 120 GB partition on the USB HD. It did that and it only took up 16 GB or so. I may be misguided but I thought that an image of a partition would be the same size as the partition, so that in this case it would be 116 GB. Does not an image "copy" all of the empty area of the partition as well?
My intention for the D drive (data) is to do a backup after I transfer all of my data from the old computer, followed by incremental backups on a monthly basis, and full backups every six months and then start the incremental back ups again. I am also hesitant to test the image or back ups as I don't want to actually install them unless I have to after a disaster. Will I not cause problems if I try to test the image I create?
I must say that to the inexperienced, the Acronis help leaves a lot to be desired, or maybe, just maybe; I am not looking in the right places on their site. Thanks for any insight anyone may bring to my problem,
Cheers, Starchy

"Do Something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn't, do
something else." - FDR

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Jim Hillier
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February 28, 2011 - 1:03 am
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Hey Starchy,

[quote:2aflgvqg]it only took up 16 GB or so. I may be misguided but I thought that an image of a partition would be the same size as the partition[/quote:2aflgvqg]
With Acronis you can do it either way. By default Acronis is set to include used space only in the image, the image is also compressed so the resulting file will be smaller than the original data anyway. There is an option in Acronis that is displayed, and can be enabled, during the full backup process to "perform a sector by sector backup". That is the one which will backup the entire partition, free space and all. Can't remember exactly when that is shown during the whole process but it is quite obvious once you are looking for it.

Acronis have designed it that way to help users save space. Most I know would opt for the image of used space only with compression set at normal (default). I can't think of too many reasons someone would require a sector by sector backup unless it was for testing/benchmarking purposes or something like that.

[quote:2aflgvqg]I am also hesitant to test the image or back ups as I don't want to actually install them unless I have to after a disaster. Will I not cause problems if I try to test the image I create?[/quote:2aflgvqg]There is an option in Acronis for auto validation of an image. Pretty sure it can be found under "Backup Options/Preferences/Settings/Whatever". It is disabled by default, all you need do is locate that option and enable it. The image validation stage will run last, right at the end of the process.

Following is an excerpt from the Acronis True Image 2011 User Guide:
[quote:2aflgvqg]You can specify the additional validation setting: Validate backup when it is created.
When this option is enabled, the program will check the integrity of the recently created or
supplemented backup version immediately after backup. When setting up a backup of critical data or
a disk/partition backup, we strongly recommend that you enable this option in order to ensure that
the backup can be used to recover the lost data.
Regular validation
You can also schedule validation of your backups to ensure that they remain "healthy". By default
regular validation is turned on with the following settings:
*Frequency: once a month
* Day: the date when the backup was started
*Time: the moment of backup start plus 15 minutes
*Advanced settings: the Run the validation only when the computer is idle check box is selected
Example: You start a backup operation on July 15, at 12.00. The backup version is created at 12.05.
Its validation will run at 12.15 if your computer is in the "screen saver" state at the moment. If not,
then the validation will not run. In a month, August 15, at 12.15, the validation will start again. As
before, your computer must be in the "screen saver" state. The same will occur on September 15,
and so on.
You can change the default settings and specify your own schedule. This may be useful if you set a
custom backup scheme with incremental backups. For example, you may want to schedule validation
of all backup versions (the initial full backup version and subsequent incremental backup versions)
once a week. [/quote:2aflgvqg]

Here is a link to download the full Acronis True Image 2011 User Guide in PDF format (7.8MB): http://www.acronis.com/downloa...../userguide

Just a minor word of advice: I would prefer differential backups to incremental. The major advantage of incremental backup is saving space (which you seem to have plenty of). The major disadvantage of incremental backups is, if/when it comes time to restore; you will need to restore the last full backup plus[b:2aflgvqg][i:2aflgvqg] all[/i:2aflgvqg][/b:2aflgvqg] incremental backups made since......there will often be lots of them and it can get quite messy. Differential backups produce larger image files but if/when if comes to restoration you only need restore the last full backup plus the latest differential backup.

Hope that helps, if you have any other questions feel free to ask away.

Cheers......Jim

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starchy
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February 28, 2011 - 7:28 pm
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Jim, What can I say, your response was as complete and thorough as possible. Wow! Thank you so much. I will download the Acronis User Guide and read it end to end. Your explanation has made it look so simple. I will also try the testing of the back up to see what happens. I won't be able to do this for a few days as I will be super busy with other things that will take me away from the computer, but I will do it and report back via this thread. And I like your explanation of the difference between incremental and differential, it makes a lot of sense, and I will follow your advice, There is so much to do when getting a new computer, and add to that the differences in Win 7 vs XP. Everyone tells me that 7 is like XP on steroids, simply better, however I don't have that comfortable feeling with it, yet.Thanks again, now to download the User Guide,
Cheers, Ralph

"Do Something. If it works, do more of it. If it doesn't, do
something else." - FDR

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Jim Hillier
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February 28, 2011 - 8:48 pm
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Hey Ralph - You're most welcome mate and thanks for the kind words.

Migrating straight from XP to Win7 is not an easy thing at all. Those of us (like myself) who went from XP to Vista and then to Win7 have the upper hand....Vista is very similar to Win7. There will definitely be a period of learning/familiarisation for you though.

If it helps at all here is a link to some [url=http://www.davescomputertips.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=26&t=951:qqg4jkc8][u:qqg4jkc8]Windows 7 Tips & Tricks[/u:qqg4jkc8][/url:qqg4jkc8], especially compiled to help those migrating directly from XP to Win7 and available right here at Daves Computer Tips.

For a more detailed explanation of the differences between incremental and differential backups, have a read [url=http://www.davescomputertips.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=445#p3625:qqg4jkc8][u:qqg4jkc8]HERE[/u:qqg4jkc8][/url:qqg4jkc8].

I do wish [i:qqg4jkc8]everyone[/i:qqg4jkc8] would follow your fine example Ralph and create an image early on (after setting up a new computer) and then continue to do so on a regular basis. It would certainly help overcome a plethora a problems/issues.

Cheers mate.....Jim

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David Hartsock
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March 2, 2011 - 1:08 am
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I will download the Acronis User Guide and read it end to end.[/quote:3mjeo4y9]
The manual is kind of a dry read, if you follow my drift.
I will also try the testing of the back up to see what happens.[/quote:3mjeo4y9]
Now is the right time to try a test restore using the restore CD (protect that CD like it is your child). The Pros far outweigh the Cons at this point because you have little to no data to lose if things don't go right and you gain the restore experience before you have to use it to [i:3mjeo4y9]really[/i:3mjeo4y9] restore you data in an emergency.
I won't be able to do this for a few days... but I will do it and report back via this thread.[/quote:3mjeo4y9]
Once you've done it a time or two it is extremely easy. Looks daunting from the outside, but pretty straight forward once you do it. I'm looking forward to see how you get along with it!
Everyone tells me that 7 is like XP on steroids, simply better, however I don't have that comfortable feeling with it, yet.[/quote:3mjeo4y9]
I would say the "steroid effect" is because the hardware is probably an order of magnitude faster than your previous setup, but Windows 7 is a much more refined and polished OS than XP ever was, or will be. A month from now you'll be a Win7 pro and will appreciate all the differences, so hang in there!
I do wish everyone would follow your fine example Ralph and create an image early on (after setting up a new computer) and then continue to do so on a regular basis. It would certainly help overcome a plethora a problems/issues.[/quote:3mjeo4y9]
Agree 10000%

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grr
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March 6, 2011 - 8:33 am
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Acronis is having a lot of options and going through the manual is a boring work...

i did create the laptop image and was surprised that it created the image for the used space, saving time and space on ext. drive.

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TeXaCo
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March 18, 2011 - 11:56 pm
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Having an image backup like what Acronis makes is a must have for any computer. Best plan of attack if you have the room is to make an image as soon as installing windows 7 and then an image once you have installed all your programs and made all the customization changes.

You may not need it often but when you do, it's a lifesaver

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David Hartsock
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April 20, 2011 - 1:25 am
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Having an image backup like what Acronis makes is a must have for any computer. Best plan of attack if you have the room is to make an image as soon as installing windows 7 and then an image once you have installed all your programs and made all the customization changes.

You may not need it often but when you do, it's a lifesaver[/quote:1ghbr8kb]
Wholeheartedly agree!

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HisSon
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June 26, 2011 - 3:22 pm
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I have three valid copies of Acronis two 2010 and one 2011. Along with maybe hundreds of other users, we cannot get Non-Stop Back Up to work. It just won't. I think this is similar to Incremental Back UP. If you go to the Knowledge Base you will find all kinds of unhappiness with this function. I paid good money for these copies and none will work with this function. I have been every where I know that recommends this software but they have just blown me off. I saw the comparison in this recent Computer Tips. so I decided to try here. I might even have written here before and if so nothing has changed. It's been well over a year and Acronis offers all kinds of excuses and promises with not one positive result. Check out the Knowledge Base for yourself and see what I mean.

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Jim Hillier
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June 26, 2011 - 6:00 pm
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Hey HisSon - I have never had a use for the nonstop backup feature msyelf but I can truly empathise with your situation and fully understand your frustration. I've had very similar experiences with newer versions of Acronis myself; different features not working properly.

Even though I do understand why and how you must be annoyed I can also see why it must be so difficult for Acronis to produce a full backup/imaging program which offers 100% compatibility for everyone. If you take into consideration that Acronis is an extremely complex piece of software and couple that with the vast array of hardware configurations available today, it becomes a little clearer as to why some components/features may not work properly in some cases.

That said, I must admit Acronis are often very slow to identify some of these failings and even slower to rectify them.

[quote:wnutgxsh]we cannot get Non-Stop Back Up to work. It just won't. I think this is similar to Incremental Back UP[/quote:wnutgxsh]
Yes, non-stop backup produces an incremental backup every 5 minutes.

Can you tell us what it is you feel needs to be backed up so frequently? Under normal home use conditions, non-stop backup would generally only be implemented under special circumstances; where certain important files/folders where being altered, added to or edited regularly and frequently....and often supporting some sort of online display/feature.

The nonstop backup feature would not be needed under normal, everyday circumstances; nor would it be very useful.

Not much help with your problem I know.

Cheers now....Jim

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richierein
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June 27, 2011 - 12:10 pm
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Hi Everyone, I am using Acronis True Home 2011 and have found the NonStop backup to be quite useful. If you accidentally delete a file you've been working on or notice that the recent changes you've made are going in the wrong direction, you can recover it from any point in time to the nearest 5 minutes. This has saved me a tremendous amount of time in the past.

In addition to my NonStop backup I perform an image backup of my C: drive including both C: and D: partitions twice a month. Acronis has never failed me.

By the way, their technical support is fabulous.

Richard Rein

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Jim Hillier
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June 27, 2011 - 6:47 pm
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Hey Richard - Thanks for your input here mate....much appreciated.

I'm very interested in the exact circumstances under which you implemented NonStop backup and how it helped you. Could you please post a couple of examples.

Not doubting you for a minute mate but I find it difficult to visualise circumstances where your 'average' user would need incremental file/folder backups every five minutes. I do a heck of a lot of work on the computer and have never required that facility myself. So I am interested to hear what you have been doing that made the NonStop backup feature particularly useful.

Cheers....Jim

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richierein
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June 27, 2011 - 7:35 pm
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Hi Jim,

It's nice to know that posts are read by a moderator and have a response so quickly. Acronis NonStop backup is not for the average user but it comes in quite handy when working on system design or program development. Since I never want to lose my place in a project, I always save my programs periodically while I'm working on them. Occasionally I find that my direction will not meet my client's needs and I have to look back to where I went wrong. It can be a day or an hour but I do like that I am able to retrieve something from the past. Certainly 5 minutes is overkill.

Richard Rein

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Jim Hillier
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June 27, 2011 - 8:37 pm
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Aha!!

Thanks for that Richard. Yes I can certainly see how NonStop Backup would be extremely useful under those particular circumstances.

Strange that the feature works faultlessly for you yet, as HisSon stated, there are many, many reports from disgruntled Acronis users to the contrary.

As I said earlier, I guess the combination of a very complex software plus vast array of possible hardware configurations must make 100% compatibility difficult to achieve....sounds logical to me anyway.

I remember, many versions ago, when I upgraded Acronis and it just would not work with my [then] relatively new machine; something to do with with the specific Intel chipset and SATA drives. Acronis have long since rectified that particular incompatibility of course, but it took quite a while for them to do so and was extremely frustrating at the time.

Daves Computer Tips has a strong affinity with Acronis True Image, it is one of our most recommended products and one which I personally would not be without.

Cheers mate.....Jim

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lesteringber
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October 26, 2011 - 5:24 pm
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I have used Acronis for many years, including True Image and Advanced Backup & Recovery (including somewhat different names of previous versions in these two branches).

The last couple of years, current versions of Acronis have had some miserable bugs. The most recent versions have been so buggy on my two HP dvt8 with SSD under Win7 Ultimate x64, I just gave up on them. I have turned to Win7 Backup & Restore, and so far this seems to be working fine.

I think there are some errors in
https://davescomputertips.com/2011/0 ... tem-image/
I got to that page after using the info (which I greatly appreciate!) on
https://davescomputertips.com/2011/0 ... -as-a-vhd/

The errors on how-to-create-a-windows-7-system-image (my comments in [...]) are under
Windows 7 system image Cons
...
If you choose to create the image on a hard drive it must be an external hard drive. [No, I use my internal D: drive.]
Windows does not offer any means to compress the images, so images will equal the total size of all internal drives. [No, it does not (by default anyway) back up sectors, but yes it does *not* compress the used portion of my C: drive]
There are no scheduling abilities so all images will need to be created manually. [No. I backup nightly. This requires just a simple check in the box when setting up the schedule.]
There are no image management abilities so incremental and differential images are not possible, nor is there a method to automatically manage the images. [No, the backup is very fast after the first, and it does this incrementally -- see some Windows forums on this.]
...

As I have done with Acronis, with the Win7 backups, every morning I do an rsync (using Cygwin rsync under Win7) with my Thinkpad/Ubuntu PCs, to store an extra copy of my backups.

Win7 B&R is not as versatile as Acronis, but at least this year, it is not as buggy as Acronis.

Lester

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