Best backup solution...

For years I used Raid1, and liked how if a drive failed, I could keep working while I waited for a new drive to come in the mail. I am thinking about doing a 'real' backup solution this time instead (nightly incremental backups to a dedicated backup drive), but I am wondering what is the best way to go.

I am thinking of ordering two 2tb drives (one sata3 one sata2), and using the sata2 as a backup (since I only have one free sata3). I know windows 7 can be setup to do nightly incremental backups (right?), but can I BOOT off this backup drive if my main drive fails? Or will I have to wait for a new drive to come in the mail, then rebuild form the backup, ect... (sounds like a pain compared to my old Raid1 setup :( ). Is there any backup software that can create a nightly incremental backup that I can actually boot off of temporarily, then use it to rebuild my main drive later?

Any advice appreciated!

*to complicate matters a little more - Windows7 is installed onto a 128ssd, so I would need to back that up as well... SO to recap - I want to do a incremental/differential backup of both my ssd & my 2tb hd, onto a backup drive, AND be able to temporarily boot off said backup drive if one of the main drives fails.
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  1. RAID1 is not backup, RAID 1 is high availability and will not help you in case of accidental deletion, changes, a virus etc since these changes will be mirrored immediately. I would simply image your SSD boot drive to your HDD (maybe make a RAID1 out of the 2x2TB drives if you don't need the space). You will not be able to boot directly from this image but you will be able to restore it to a bootable device. In order to have a high-availability solution you would need an identical SSD and I would only recommend this if your RAID controller supports TRIM pass-through. I would just stick with a straight backup and plan on imaging back if this is not a server solution.
  2. So in other words no way to do what I want? I really don't want to have to wait for a replacement drive if my main drive fails.
  3. I use Acronis to do an image of my PC usually every week, you could do it as often as you wanted. It only does data so if you have 1TB of hdd and only 500GB of data, it only images the 500gb. Plus with the image you can put it back on your system in case of a failure or virus, etc. For me to image my laptop with 500gb it takes about 30 min and about the same to restore. Check it out...
  4. But where am I going to restore these images TO? Lets say either my SSD (with the OS) or my 2TB hd (with my programs) fail. Ok I have images on my backup drive, but can I actually DO anything with them until my new replacement drive arrives?
  5. The only suggestion I could make would be to reserve enough space on one of your HDDs to restore to, don't partition all of the available space. You could then restore your SSD image to the unpartitioned space on your HDD and run off of that until your new SSD arrives, image back to the SSD and kill the partition.
  6. Thanks for the info about rdrive, I am reading their site... I dont see where it gives directions for how to boot off the backup image? It sounds like it does exactly what I want (incremental images that I can actually BOOT off of temporarily), but can you post a link to where it instructs you exactly how to do so?

    And lets assume my data hd fails, but my os ssd is ok. How will my ssd (with the OS) know to 'point' to the backup image instead of the now dead hd (where all the installed programs used to live)?
  7. Can anyone confirm that there just is/isn't a way to do what I want? Looks like I may end up just ordering a 'backup backup' drive and leave it in the box, keeping it on hand in case a drive fails.
  8. Well what you want can be done by mirroring 2 SSDs on a controller that supports TRIM passthrough, but that option is very expensive. Did you look into my suggestion about leaving enough unpartitioned space on your backup drive to restore your boot drive to if your SSD fails? I think that is the most cost effective way to get you the functionality you're looking for.
  9. Ok so lets say I have a 100 gig partition for the os, and a 1.9 tb partition for my data/programs. What if my main data/programs drive fails, how will the os (whether on the ssd or the 100gig backup partition) know to 'point' to the backup drive when I try to access my data? What will happen when I launch an application (Wont I need to modify the registry to point to the backup drive?).
  10. it's all based on drive letter, as long as the data is the same, just assign the old drive letter to the new drive and all the paths are the same.
  11. Ok so switching the drive letter will be easy enough, but I need to to make sure that the 'backup data' on the backup drive is in a raw/uncompressed format right? Don't most backup programs (like the windows 7 backup feature) pack all the backup files, split them up into differential chunks, ect...? I need my backups to be a exact mirror of my live drives right?
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