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Setting up Easy Recovery/Backup Solution

Last response: in Storage
December 8, 2009 8:11:31 PM

I recently built a new computer and want to implement a good, automated recovery and backup solution. I have an idea of what I want to do, but I have some questions and am open to any suggestions.

1)Easy replacement/recovery of my partitioning, dual-boot setup, OS settings, applications, etc.
2)Backup up important files
3)No use of external hard drive
4)Dont want to pay for any software
5)As much automation or set-it-and-forget-it mentality as possible

Possible Solution Set:
1)RAID 1
2)Hard Drive Image (w/ what program?)
3)SyncBack software

My plan is to use Hardware RAID 1 supported by my motherboard to have a real-time, no-hassle "backup" of my hard drive. This satisfies requirement 1 and is completely automated. I realize that this doesn't prevent against file system corruption or viruses, etc. That's where the hard drive image comes in. Since my computer is new, I plan on loading all my data, setting up my basic apps, then saving this image. Now if my RAID gets corrupted or otherwise messed up, I will have this image to restore from. This image will be saved on the computer itself, my server, and offsite. For important file backup, I'd just use the free version of the SyncBack software to automatically save/sync these files to my server.

Failure Scenarios:
1)Normal Hard drive failure -- covered by RAID 1
2)Virus or file system corruption -- covered by hard drive image + SyncBack for restoring important files
3)Natural Disaster -- offsite backup of HD image and important files via SyncBack

1)I currently have a 750GB WD Caviar Black drive(32MB cache). Would using a 750GB WD Caviar Green drive for the RAID 1 mirrored drive handicap my Black drive in any way? The Black is 7200RPM and the Green has Intelliseek, so its rpm seems to be variable or at least different from the Blacks. I was hoping to save money and power consumption/heat going with this drive instead of a second Black drive. The RAID setup would be done through the motherboard controller as opposed to at the OS level.

MB: ASUS P7P55D EVO LGA 1156 Intel P55 ATX Intel

OS: dual boot Ubuntu 9.10 x64, Windows 7 x64 (with a shared storage partition)

CPU: i7 860

HD: Western Digital Caviar Black WD7501AALS 750GB 7200 RPM SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5"

Drive I'm looking at:
Western Digital Caviar Green WD7500AADS 750GB 32MB Cache SATA 3.0Gb/s 3.5" Hard Drive

2) Is this a good backup/recovery approach?

3) What's a good, free software option to make a hard drive image?

a b G Storage
December 9, 2009 4:39:07 AM

I like your approach actually, but I think the challenge will be for you to stick to your self-imposed backup routine consistently. You can try GNU imaging software like Clonezilla.
December 9, 2009 11:34:49 AM

Since my approach is pretty much automated, there isn't really anything to stay vigilant or consistent about. The RAID 1 will work without me having to do anything, and SyncBack can have scheduled profile runs that I setup once and then let run on its own. I only create the hard drive image once at the beginning, so it becomes sort of like a system restore, and any new files I create since this image will be caught by the important file backup through SyncBack.

Also, I haven't downloaded it yet, but the Acronis True Image WD Edition on WD's website looks pretty good.
a b G Storage
December 9, 2009 5:37:26 PM

While the retail version of Acronis is very good and has all the things you need, like scheduled image backup, full and incremental, file and settings backup, I doubt the free version will have all these features. It's a free utility for transferring the contents of your old drive to a new one.
I wouldn't be without it and to me it's worth every cent of the US$50 it cost me.