Disaster Recovery - Best Solution?

Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

With the coming of Win XP SP2 it is time, for me and probably many
others, to consider the provision of a renewed ‘off computer' disaster
recovery solution. I have been happily computing with a known good
clone [via Norton Ghost 2003] OS available on a spare HDD, this has
just been rather elaborately updated. As Operating Systems move
forward so perhaps should recovery solutions?

What I wish to achieve is/are cable connected [or as second choice
removable] Hard Disc Drive/s containing multiple partitions that will
operate under Win WP Pro on NTFS formatted drives. The first of these
partitions to contain the clone/whatever is necessary/image of the OS
and the others copy Data. The adopted procedure must allow for the
disc to be connected to the computer to enable frequent Data updates
and less often the OS partition to be updated when software changes
are made. The object of the procedure is solely to provide rapid
recovery from any form of disaster. Above all the process needs to be
efficient to operate and conducive to encouraging regular use with
easy removal/connection of the ‘safety' disc/s.

Is there an existing thread covering this subject in detail?

What is the best solution to achieve the above goals?

What exactly is an Image of a Boot Disc capable of with regard to
total disaster recovery?

What alternatives are there?

Other than installing tumbler switches into HDD power supplies are
there any other methods of preventing drives from being ‘seen' without
physically disconnecting etc?

My OS cloning was the result of searching this forum and further
searches still leave me with points to be resolved. Sorry there are so
many questions folks, but recently my family suffered two fatal disc
disasters one age/heat related and one data corruption. Neither could
be recovered even by ‘professionals' and the cost of finding out the
data could not be recovered was more than the cost of a 120GB ATA 8MB
cache drive.

I would be most appreciative for any help you can give and many thanks
for reading this, best regards,

Stan
8 answers Last reply
More about disaster recovery solution
  1. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    Stan wrote:

    > With the coming of Win XP SP2 it is time, for me and probably many
    > others, to consider the provision of a renewed ‘off computer' disaster
    > recovery solution. I have been happily computing with a known good
    > clone [via Norton Ghost 2003] OS available on a spare HDD, this has
    > just been rather elaborately updated. As Operating Systems move
    > forward so perhaps should recovery solutions?
    >
    > What I wish to achieve is/are cable connected [or as second choice
    > removable] Hard Disc Drive/s containing multiple partitions that will
    > operate under Win WP Pro on NTFS formatted drives. The first of these
    > partitions to contain the clone/whatever is necessary/image of the OS
    > and the others copy Data. The adopted procedure must allow for the
    > disc to be connected to the computer to enable frequent Data updates
    > and less often the OS partition to be updated when software changes
    > are made. The object of the procedure is solely to provide rapid
    > recovery from any form of disaster. Above all the process needs to be
    > efficient to operate and conducive to encouraging regular use with
    > easy removal/connection of the ‘safety' disc/s.
    >
    > Is there an existing thread covering this subject in detail?
    >
    > What is the best solution to achieve the above goals?
    >
    > What exactly is an Image of a Boot Disc capable of with regard to
    > total disaster recovery?

    I don't understand the question. It can restore whatever its an image of.

    >
    > What alternatives are there?
    >
    > Other than installing tumbler switches into HDD power supplies are
    > there any other methods of preventing drives from being ‘seen' without
    > physically disconnecting etc?

    Since you'd be using NTFS you can simply dismount them.

    >
    > My OS cloning was the result of searching this forum and further
    > searches still leave me with points to be resolved. Sorry there are so
    > many questions folks, but recently my family suffered two fatal disc
    > disasters one age/heat related and one data corruption. Neither could
    > be recovered even by ‘professionals' and the cost of finding out the
    > data could not be recovered was more than the cost of a 120GB ATA 8MB
    > cache drive.

    You might want to consider a hard drive mirror: automatic real time backup.

    >
    > I would be most appreciative for any help you can give and many thanks
    > for reading this, best regards

    >
    > Stan
  2. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    Thank you David for your response, I am struggling to get my head
    around all this [rather old lame brain now] and have even more
    questions.

    I have noticed an error [one of many probably] in my original post
    instead of 'cable connected' it was intended to say USB/Firewire
    connected' as this is the perceived easiest method of making the drive
    portable and safe inside a caddy.

    David Maynard <dNOTmayn@ev1.net> wrote in message news:<10ma9q3evdutv6a@corp.supernews.com>...
    > Stan wrote:
    >
    > > With the coming of Win XP SP2 it is time, for me and probably many
    > > others, to consider the provision of a renewed ‘off computer' disaster
    > > recovery solution. I have been happily computing with a known good
    > > clone [via Norton Ghost 2003] OS available on a spare HDD, this has
    > > just been rather elaborately updated. As Operating Systems move
    > > forward so perhaps should recovery solutions?
    > >
    > > What I wish to achieve is/are cable connected [or as second choice

    NB. This should have read ..is/are USB/Firewire connected [or....

    > > removable] Hard Disc Drive/s containing multiple partitions that will
    > > operate under Win WP Pro on NTFS formatted drives. The first of these
    > > partitions to contain the clone/whatever is necessary/image of the OS
    > > and the others copy Data. The adopted procedure must allow for the
    > > disc to be connected to the computer to enable frequent Data updates
    > > and less often the OS partition to be updated when software changes
    > > are made. The object of the procedure is solely to provide rapid
    > > recovery from any form of disaster. Above all the process needs to be
    > > efficient to operate and conducive to encouraging regular use with
    > > easy removal/connection of the ‘safety' disc/s.
    > >
    > > Is there an existing thread covering this subject in detail?
    > >
    > > What is the best solution to achieve the above goals?
    > >
    > > What exactly is an Image of a Boot Disc capable of with regard to
    > > total disaster recovery?
    >
    > I don't understand the question. It can restore whatever its an image of.
    >
    Sorry this was unclear. E.g. can it 'create' a bootable copy on any
    other disc after a total loss or only restore the disc it was made
    from? I am confused about the differences between Images and Clones as
    they appear to be capable of doing the same job.
    >
    > >
    > > What alternatives are there?
    > >
    > > Other than installing tumbler switches into HDD power supplies are
    > > there any other methods of preventing drives from being 'seen' without
    > > physically disconnecting etc?
    >
    > Since you'd be using NTFS you can simply dismount them.
    >
    I am currently dismounting [by physically pulling off the connections
    etc] do you mean using a removable HDD Caddy within the Computer? My
    USB/Firewire External Caddy is painfully slow cloning hence the return
    to hard wiring into the computer for the cloning procedure.
    >
    > >
    > > My OS cloning was the result of searching this forum and further
    > > searches still leave me with points to be resolved. Sorry there are so
    > > many questions folks, but recently my family suffered two fatal disc
    > > disasters one age/heat related and one data corruption. Neither could
    > > be recovered even by 'professionals' and the cost of finding out the
    > > data could not be recovered was more than the cost of a 120GB ATA 8MB
    > > cache drive.
    >
    > You might want to consider a hard drive mirror: automatic real time backup.
    >
    I would need to learn more about Hard Drive Mirror, my Motherboard is
    Raid capable but would the Mirror drive have to be hard wired or
    connected via a Demountable Drive Caddy, rather than via USB External
    Caddy?
    > >
    > > I would be most appreciative for any help you can give and many thanks
    > > for reading this, best regards
    > >
    > > Stan

    May I add that [with the drive connected within the computer] I have
    tried with zero success to use Ghost to write to DVD R, although the
    burn marks are clearly visible Ghost Explorer [and Windows Explorer]
    fails to accept that the disc is in the drive.
    Using Ghost to make an Image to an empty partition [except for the
    Folders for Recycler and System Volume Information] and then burn this
    to DVD R. The result was an astoundingly fast transfer to the
    partition but nothing visible in that partition using Ghost Explorer
    or Windows Explorer.

    Perhaps I am expecting too much of Ghost and should ask what hardware
    works with it.
  3. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    Stan wrote:

    > Thank you David for your response, I am struggling to get my head
    > around all this [rather old lame brain now] and have even more
    > questions.
    >
    > I have noticed an error [one of many probably] in my original post
    > instead of 'cable connected' it was intended to say USB/Firewire
    > connected' as this is the perceived easiest method of making the drive
    > portable and safe inside a caddy.
    >
    > David Maynard <dNOTmayn@ev1.net> wrote in message news:<10ma9q3evdutv6a@corp.supernews.com>...
    >
    >>Stan wrote:
    >>
    >>
    >>>With the coming of Win XP SP2 it is time, for me and probably many
    >>>others, to consider the provision of a renewed ‘off computer' disaster
    >>>recovery solution. I have been happily computing with a known good
    >>>clone [via Norton Ghost 2003] OS available on a spare HDD, this has
    >>>just been rather elaborately updated. As Operating Systems move
    >>>forward so perhaps should recovery solutions?
    >>>
    >>>What I wish to achieve is/are cable connected [or as second choice
    >
    >
    > NB. This should have read ..is/are USB/Firewire connected [or....
    >
    >
    >>>removable] Hard Disc Drive/s containing multiple partitions that will
    >>>operate under Win WP Pro on NTFS formatted drives. The first of these
    >>>partitions to contain the clone/whatever is necessary/image of the OS
    >>>and the others copy Data. The adopted procedure must allow for the
    >>>disc to be connected to the computer to enable frequent Data updates
    >>>and less often the OS partition to be updated when software changes
    >>>are made. The object of the procedure is solely to provide rapid
    >>>recovery from any form of disaster. Above all the process needs to be
    >>>efficient to operate and conducive to encouraging regular use with
    >>>easy removal/connection of the ‘safety' disc/s.
    >>>
    >>>Is there an existing thread covering this subject in detail?
    >>>
    >>>What is the best solution to achieve the above goals?
    >>>
    >>>What exactly is an Image of a Boot Disc capable of with regard to
    >>>total disaster recovery?
    >>
    >>I don't understand the question. It can restore whatever its an image of.
    >>
    >
    > Sorry this was unclear. E.g. can it 'create' a bootable copy on any
    > other disc after a total loss or only restore the disc it was made
    > from? I am confused about the differences between Images and Clones as
    > they appear to be capable of doing the same job.

    A 'clone' is an operational full 'copy' of the original that looks and acts
    as the original. 'Clone' is an appropriate name.

    An 'image' is a single file that is a copy of the original. An 'image'
    doesn't 'run', itself, and may be compressed to save space. You can
    reconstruct the original, onto any disk (as long as it's large enough),
    from the image file and it'll be bootable if the original was bootable. You
    can also pull 'parts' and 'pieces' out of an image file. It is, as the name
    suggests, a sort of 'picture image' of the disk.

    A short synopsis would be: a 'clone' is an operational copy while an
    'image' is a file. They both contain 'all you need' but one 'works' while
    the other simply 'saves it' (in one nice, complete, self contained package).

    >
    >>>What alternatives are there?
    >>>
    >>>Other than installing tumbler switches into HDD power supplies are
    >>>there any other methods of preventing drives from being 'seen' without
    >>>physically disconnecting etc?
    >>
    >>Since you'd be using NTFS you can simply dismount them.
    >>
    >
    > I am currently dismounting [by physically pulling off the connections
    > etc] do you mean using a removable HDD Caddy within the Computer? My
    > USB/Firewire External Caddy is painfully slow cloning hence the return
    > to hard wiring into the computer for the cloning procedure.

    No, sorry about that. I wasn't clear. I meant dismounting it with fsutil.
    e.g. <command prompt>\fsutil volume dismount F:

    The drive is still 'there', physically and electrically, but it doesn't
    'show up'.

    >
    >>>My OS cloning was the result of searching this forum and further
    >>>searches still leave me with points to be resolved. Sorry there are so
    >>>many questions folks, but recently my family suffered two fatal disc
    >>>disasters one age/heat related and one data corruption. Neither could
    >>>be recovered even by 'professionals' and the cost of finding out the
    >>>data could not be recovered was more than the cost of a 120GB ATA 8MB
    >>>cache drive.
    >>
    >>You might want to consider a hard drive mirror: automatic real time backup.
    >>
    >
    > I would need to learn more about Hard Drive Mirror, my Motherboard is
    > Raid capable but would the Mirror drive have to be hard wired or
    > connected via a Demountable Drive Caddy, rather than via USB External
    > Caddy?

    Well, in 'theory' you could software mirror to any disk with enough space
    but, in practice, volume mirroring, by the O.S., is only supported by the
    Windows Server versions; Which means you'd want to use the capability of
    the hardware RAID and that would mean the drive would be on it's controller.

    Since you're talking about 'backups', which you do 'manually', though,
    there are ways to automate copying files. The built in backup utility lets
    you select the files and folders to backup, where they should be backed up
    to, and also allows setting an automatic schedule.

    >>>I would be most appreciative for any help you can give and many thanks
    >>>for reading this, best regards
    >>>
    >>>Stan
    >
    >
    > May I add that [with the drive connected within the computer] I have
    > tried with zero success to use Ghost to write to DVD R, although the
    > burn marks are clearly visible Ghost Explorer [and Windows Explorer]
    > fails to accept that the disc is in the drive.
    > Using Ghost to make an Image to an empty partition [except for the
    > Folders for Recycler and System Volume Information] and then burn this
    > to DVD R. The result was an astoundingly fast transfer to the
    > partition but nothing visible in that partition using Ghost Explorer
    > or Windows Explorer.

    Yeah, writing 'nothing' is blisteringly fast. hehe Sorry. Couldn't resist.

    I don't know what the problem there would be, just off hand, and I'm short
    on disk space so I can't try to duplicate it.

    >
    > Perhaps I am expecting too much of Ghost and should ask what hardware
    > works with it.

    It should work. Did last time I used ghost to backup my dual processor
    machine. But, for the time being, I'm using a whole, operational,
    machine(s) as 'backup' so I'm not doing images.
  4. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    I agree David, nothing takes very little time to write to disc, and I
    started laughing when the blue indicator strip flew across the screen
    and again at your comment. So it is not all bad.

    At last I found the Symantec page where the compatible CD/DVD Drives
    are listed, mine are not among them so for the present I have to drop
    all thoughts of burning Images of the Boot Drive to media. Pity they
    did not make Ghost sophisticated enough to check the hardware in use
    and issue a warning to the effect that it was incompatible. The least
    they should do is make the requirements more obvious early in the
    process of preparing to write the files. Obviously I was expecting too
    much of Ghost.

    For the present, safe in knowledge that I can replace the cloned copy
    of my OS, as and when required, and given the inexpensive nature of
    Removable HDD Caddies that is the way for me to go. This will at least
    reduce the need to disconnect and reconnect the drive by physically
    pulling off the connectors each time.

    Thanks again for your input I have learned quite a bit during this
    exercise, very best regards,
  5. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    "Stan" <computa_geezer@yahoo.co.uk> wrote in message
    news:85bec576.0410070250.3792ed94@posting.google.com...

    > With the coming of Win XP SP2 it is time, for me and probably many
    > others, to consider the provision of a renewed 'off computer' disaster
    > recovery solution. I have been happily computing with a known good
    > clone [via Norton Ghost 2003] OS available on a spare HDD, this has
    > just been rather elaborately updated. As Operating Systems move
    > forward so perhaps should recovery solutions?
    >
    > What I wish to achieve is/are cable connected [or as second choice
    > removable] Hard Disc Drive/s containing multiple partitions that will
    > operate under Win WP Pro on NTFS formatted drives. The first of these
    > partitions to contain the clone/whatever is necessary/image of the OS
    > and the others copy Data. The adopted procedure must allow for the
    > disc to be connected to the computer to enable frequent Data updates
    > and less often the OS partition to be updated when software changes
    > are made. The object of the procedure is solely to provide rapid
    > recovery from any form of disaster. Above all the process needs to be
    > efficient to operate and conducive to encouraging regular use with
    > easy removal/connection of the 'safety' disc/s.
    >
    > Is there an existing thread covering this subject in detail?
    >
    > What is the best solution to achieve the above goals?
    >
    > What exactly is an Image of a Boot Disc capable of with regard to
    > total disaster recovery?
    >
    > What alternatives are there?
    >
    > Other than installing tumbler switches into HDD power supplies are
    > there any other methods of preventing drives from being 'seen' without
    > physically disconnecting etc?

    I have a backup system that should cover most any disaster issue. Using six
    old drives (20-80gb ATA in mobil racks), I clone (Ghost 2003) one each week
    and rotate them. One of the two 20gb drives is kept in a utility shed 75'
    from the house/office. This covers the C: drive which is the OS, working
    folders, etc.

    As a photographer I have a good volume of files moving in and out of the
    working folders on C:, and to keep the C: drive (2x36gb Raptors in RAID0) as
    lean as possible (<16gb) I have a batch file that runs every hour thru
    Scheduled Tasks that updates photo files, documents, and business databases
    that have changed to D: (160gb PATA). It is seamless and I don't even know
    when it runs. Outlook is also backed up to D: every night before shutdown.
    To keep D: lean, I purge old working photo files with MS's FORFILES.EXE that
    trims files >30 days old.

    When photo editing is finished, I zip them into a single file representing
    individual jobs and move this file to a dedicated folder on D:. This now
    large folder is backed up to a FW drive (J:, 120gb PATA) that is only
    cranked up for the transfer. Raw files from the camera are housed as ZIP's
    in another FW drive (K:, 100gb PATA). These two FW drives are enabled by
    conventiently located switches on a power strip. When switched on XP
    recognizes them on the fly. Icons on the desktop can copy working files or
    D: to J: at any time.

    Thus, at any given moment I always have at least two copies of important
    files on two different physical media. The C: drive can be restored at any
    time by restoring from Ghost and updating from the backups on D:. The whole
    scheme sounds complex, but is straightforward and reliable, and is something
    that has evolved over the years. The only issue not covered by this
    strategy is the photo archives, which would be lost in the case of a
    catastrophe, like a destructive fire to the house, as there is no remote
    copy. The C: drive always has a clone in the shed outside. One day I may
    set up another FW or USB drive for edited photo files that will also be
    stored remotely.
  6. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    Stan wrote...
    >> With the coming of Win XP SP2 it is time, for me and probably many
    >> others, to consider the provision of a renewed 'off computer' disaster
    >> recovery solution. I have been happily computing with a known good
    >> clone [via Norton Ghost 2003] OS available on a spare HDD, this has
    >> just been rather elaborately updated. As Operating Systems move
    >> forward so perhaps should recovery solutions?

    Stan:
    Consider equipping your present computer or your next one with two removable
    hard drives.
    There are a number of advantages using this hardware configuratation but the
    most significant one is that it provides a near fail-safe backup system.
    Using a disk imaging program such as the Ghost program you can clone the
    contents of one hard drive to another easily, relatively quickly, and most
    important of all -- effectively.

    As you may know, the hard drives are housed in so-called mobile racks that
    fit in the 5 1/4" bays of a desktop's computer case . The racks themselves
    are two-piece affairs with the HD residing in a removable tray that slides
    in and out of the rack. The beauty of this arrangement is that the drives
    can easily be accessed from outside the computer case. Note that these
    mobile racks are designed for desktop computers and not laptops/notebooks
    because of the latter's size/weight considerations.

    So by routinely cloning your day-to-day working hard drive to the second
    drive you have a virtual bit-for-bit copy of that working drive. And through
    the use of additional removable trays you're free to create additional
    clones on hard drives that you can easily remove from the premises for
    near-absolute security. Then again, you can use separate (limitless) hard
    drives for whatever purposes you desire -- different operating systems,
    graphics, one for the visiting grandchild, etc. And when the day comes that
    one or another of your hard drives goes kaputski, it's a simple matter to
    replace that drive from the comfort of your computer chair without having to
    get inside your computer case.

    I can virtually guarantee that once you begin working with two removable
    hard drives you'll have one and only one regret -- that you didn't have this
    hardware configuration on your previous desktop computers.

    Art
  7. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    Stan wrote:

    > I agree David, nothing takes very little time to write to disc, and I
    > started laughing when the blue indicator strip flew across the screen
    > and again at your comment. So it is not all bad.
    >
    > At last I found the Symantec page where the compatible CD/DVD Drives
    > are listed, mine are not among them so for the present I have to drop
    > all thoughts of burning Images of the Boot Drive to media.

    Well, that certainly puts a crimp in things.

    Might be worth buying one on the list, though.


    > Pity they
    > did not make Ghost sophisticated enough to check the hardware in use
    > and issue a warning to the effect that it was incompatible. The least
    > they should do is make the requirements more obvious early in the
    > process of preparing to write the files. Obviously I was expecting too
    > much of Ghost.
    >
    > For the present, safe in knowledge that I can replace the cloned copy
    > of my OS, as and when required, and given the inexpensive nature of
    > Removable HDD Caddies that is the way for me to go. This will at least
    > reduce the need to disconnect and reconnect the drive by physically
    > pulling off the connectors each time.
    >
    > Thanks again for your input I have learned quite a bit during this
    > exercise, very best regards,

    I hope it helped some.

    Test your clone to make sure your procedure is working and that there
    aren't any 'surprises'.

    Btw, remember that, if you made one backup before then, after a crash you
    no longer have a 'backup'.
  8. Archived from groups: alt.comp.hardware.pc-homebuilt (More info?)

    Hi

    Can you rephrase the questions? Sorry it's not very clear what you want.

    Gary Hendricks
    www.build-your-own-computers.com

    computa_geezer@yahoo.co.uk (Stan) wrote in message news:<85bec576.0410070250.3792ed94@posting.google.com>...
    > With the coming of Win XP SP2 it is time, for me and probably many
    > others, to consider the provision of a renewed ?off computer' disaster
    > recovery solution. I have been happily computing with a known good
    > clone [via Norton Ghost 2003] OS available on a spare HDD, this has
    > just been rather elaborately updated. As Operating Systems move
    > forward so perhaps should recovery solutions?
    >
    > What I wish to achieve is/are cable connected [or as second choice
    > removable] Hard Disc Drive/s containing multiple partitions that will
    > operate under Win WP Pro on NTFS formatted drives. The first of these
    > partitions to contain the clone/whatever is necessary/image of the OS
    > and the others copy Data. The adopted procedure must allow for the
    > disc to be connected to the computer to enable frequent Data updates
    > and less often the OS partition to be updated when software changes
    > are made. The object of the procedure is solely to provide rapid
    > recovery from any form of disaster. Above all the process needs to be
    > efficient to operate and conducive to encouraging regular use with
    > easy removal/connection of the ?safety' disc/s.
    >
    > Is there an existing thread covering this subject in detail?
    >
    > What is the best solution to achieve the above goals?
    >
    > What exactly is an Image of a Boot Disc capable of with regard to
    > total disaster recovery?
    >
    > What alternatives are there?
    >
    > Other than installing tumbler switches into HDD power supplies are
    > there any other methods of preventing drives from being ?seen' without
    > physically disconnecting etc?
    >
    > My OS cloning was the result of searching this forum and further
    > searches still leave me with points to be resolved. Sorry there are so
    > many questions folks, but recently my family suffered two fatal disc
    > disasters one age/heat related and one data corruption. Neither could
    > be recovered even by ?professionals' and the cost of finding out the
    > data could not be recovered was more than the cost of a 120GB ATA 8MB
    > cache drive.
    >
    > I would be most appreciative for any help you can give and many thanks
    > for reading this, best regards,
    >
    > Stan
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