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Best Way Keep Your Data Safe & Quick Data Recovery On Hard Drive Crash

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August 16, 2011 6:43:13 PM

Hey all,
I've been looking for the best answer on this question for a few days, but I keep finding conflicting answers.

Basically, I have 2 x 1TB 32MB cache hard drives, and 1 x 500GB 32MB cache hard drive.

I am trying to find out the best way to protect my data, and the quickest way to recover my data when/if a hard drive fails. All I want is redundancy, and to avoid having to reinstall the OS and ALL MY PROGRAMS; super time consuming.

I read about RAID configurations and backup solutions. I also found a few really nice posts on this forum too. and here is what I have come up with so far.

I am thinking about putting the 2 1TB hard drives in RAID 1 drive mirroring. I would then backup all the goodies I couldn't stand to lose by a daily incremental backup to the 500GB hard drive. The 500GB hard drive would be taken with me or left in the fire proof save to cover theft. I know the mirroring will safe guard against hard drive failure, but probably does not offer protection against viruses and operating system failure. I do have top notch Kaspersky Internet Security protection, but you can never fully count antivirus protection.

I do have acronis home true image home 2010 to assist with backups. The other option would be to just use the 1TB hard drive to make complete incremental backups of the operating system state and data everyday I suppose.

What's your two cents? All posts are truly appreciated.
a b G Storage
August 16, 2011 7:40:30 PM

There are many ways to do backups.

If you want a backup where you do not have to reinstall apps and OS, then you want to use something like Acronis to do an image backup of your boot drive. As for data you can back that up with Acronis or other backup means, even robocopy or xcopy. You can make a full backup then after that you can make successive incremental backups at whatever frequency you wish. On my home system I have the OS and programs installed on C: and I put my data on D:. Since the data changes a lot faster than the programs do, I can do an incrementsl backup of D: at one frequency and do image backups of C: at a different frequency. You can probably set up acronis to do all of this, and on a regular schedule.

As for what to backup to, you can have a separate hard drive that you can move with you, and you can put your data and image backups on it. You can have multiple drives like this and move them around to different locations. This provides good backup against theft, fire, other natural disasters, etc. You can have your data and backups going to a mirrored disk system, and this protects against hard drive failure but not theft and natural disaster. There are even cloud-based services such as carbonite that will handle incremental backups of your data to their servers. If you have your own server somewhere you can backup to it, and if you run Windows server it will do the backups for you automatically.

Just based on the hardware and software that you have listed, I would install one of the drives as C: and D:, put the OS and programs on C: and the data on D:. I would install the second hard drive as E: and do image and data backups to it at some frequency. Then the third drive I would plug in as an external and do image and data backups to it and then take that drive to an offsite storage location.

You mention mirroring. This is a little harder to set up and deal with, but provides the most safety with respect to reinstalling stuff. If one of your drives fails, you plug in a new one and you are back up and running without even needing to reinstall disk images. But I prefer things to be simple so I no longer run a RAID setup.
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August 17, 2011 8:25:49 PM

Thanks for the reply. I like the idea of 'simple' and the idea of not 'reinstalling stuff'.

Looking through Acronis True Image Home right now. But I do not see the option of creating a scheduled image of my C: drive that would allow me to just plug the drive in if my main drive failed. Under Backup and Restore -> Create backup task -> My Computer 'Create and image of the entire disk or a partion, Acronis has a wizard that wants to create a backup archive with the backup extension of .tib. Using this method, in order to restore my computer I would have to 1. install the new hard drive, 2. Boot from the acronis cd. 3. restore the backup archive to the new hard drive.

This is definitely effective and would do what I want, but is there a software that would make a hard drive simply swappable when the main drive fails? I know obocopy and xcopy were mentioned before, but is there a software anyone could recommend specifically for plug and play readiness? I wasn't able to come up with a straight google answer. Thanks all!
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a b G Storage
August 18, 2011 3:06:43 AM

haynest said:

This is definitely effective and would do what I want, but is there a software that would make a hard drive simply swappable when the main drive fails?


Acronis will do that too, it's called "cloning" a disk.
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August 19, 2011 2:06:23 PM

cadder said:
Acronis will do that too, it's called "cloning" a disk.


Yes, I know you can clone a disk, but you would have to clone your disk manually everyday. There is no scheduling option to clone a disk.

Acronis does have an option to backup the system volume, but I am not sure of the recovery process on that. I am looking into that now.
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a b G Storage
August 20, 2011 6:41:42 AM

haynest said:
Yes, I know you can clone a disk, but you would have to clone your disk manually everyday. There is no scheduling option to clone a disk.


You want to make the disk swappable- so mainly you want the OS and the installed programs backed up by the cloning process. The thing is that none of this changes very frequently. Once you have installed your apps, then you don't really have to back up that data until you change one of your programs or you install something new. So you can run an image manually and it will remain valid for quite some time. Once you change something in your programs or OS you can run the image again.

This might get you back to putting programs and OS in one partition, and data in another. That way you run a cloning backup of the drive whenever it needs it, and you run an incremental backup of your data more frequently. Then when the primary drive fails you move in the secondary drive and it is ready to boot and go. The thing I'm not sure about is if acronis will clone just one partition of your drive. What I'm saying is that you could clone your C: partition to a partition in the second drive, and you could run incremental backups of your D: partition to a partition in the second drive. If acronis won't do this then you would have to clone your first drive to your second drive, and do incremental backups of the data on your first drive to a third drive. Then if the first drive fails, you move in the second one and restore your data from the third drive.
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a c 371 G Storage
August 12, 2013 5:47:44 AM

haynest said:
Thanks for the reply. I like the idea of 'simple' and the idea of not 'reinstalling stuff'.

Looking through Acronis True Image Home right now. But I do not see the option of creating a scheduled image of my C: drive that would allow me to just plug the drive in if my main drive failed. Under Backup and Restore -> Create backup task -> My Computer 'Create and image of the entire disk or a partion, Acronis has a wizard that wants to create a backup archive with the backup extension of .tib. Using this method, in order to restore my computer I would have to 1. install the new hard drive, 2. Boot from the acronis cd. 3. restore the backup archive to the new hard drive.

This is definitely effective and would do what I want, but is there a software that would make a hard drive simply swappable when the main drive fails? I know obocopy and xcopy were mentioned before, but is there a software anyone could recommend specifically for plug and play readiness? I wasn't able to come up with a straight google answer. Thanks all!


haynest said:
cadder said:
Acronis will do that too, it's called "cloning" a disk.


Yes, I know you can clone a disk, but you would have to clone your disk manually everyday. There is no scheduling option to clone a disk.

Acronis does have an option to backup the system volume, but I am not sure of the recovery process on that. I am looking into that now.


You already answered your own question in a previous post.
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a c 812 G Storage
August 12, 2013 3:41:16 PM

Acronis never implemented scheduled clone jobs and 2013 removed the command line that you could use with windows scheduler to do it... piss poor decision imo. Drive cloning is a viable backup strategy.
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a b G Storage
August 12, 2013 7:38:37 PM

How about this:
Create a RAID with a SATAIII HW raid PCIe and 2x 2TB, independent from OS
Move you data to it
Create a system image into this RAID from windows system utility or any image back up software
Once DONE
Shut down and remove the original 2TB
Power it back up - you should be able to access the data in the RAID1
Hot Remove the drive from tray-less mobile rack
Hot plug the original HDD in the tray-less mobile rack
It will rebuilt.

Swap out driver daily or weekly for OS and Data back up.

Pro:
- Complete back up OS+Data
- Independent from OS
- Real time back up
- Transparent to users
- Can be use as remote back up - send your HDD to your mother in-law for safe keeping (j/k)
-
Con:
- Have to get a PCIe Card
- Have to hand on the installation
- You may not able to use the solution, if there is NO 5.2 empty slot
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a c 812 G Storage
August 13, 2013 7:41:23 PM

I like your original plan the best.

I do prefer multiple backups of data you cant afford to loose. I'd pick up another 500gb drive, a removeable 5.25" drive assembly with a spare caddy for the 2nd 500gb
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November 23, 2013 11:22:39 PM

The best way to backup your data is to use some tools and then do backup every time when you have an important update on your hard drive. Here's some useful info
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/971759
http://www.wikihow.com/Backup-Data

If you have already lost your files, you may still recover them with some good data recovery software, here's some good guide
http://goo.gl/jDP4iL
http://softwarecollections.tumblr.com/

Take note that once you realize that files are deleted, you'd better stop using the computer to prevent file overwritten, this is because once files are overwritten, it is not possible to recover them.
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!