LIVE or CONTINUOUS system image/backup solution?

danytancou

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Dec 9, 2013
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Hi everyone,

As per the title, I am looking for a backup solution for my system/"Windows" drive (i.e my Win10 installation, settings, installed applications) which would keep a "live" image of my system drive on another internal drive, kinda like a RAID 1 setup but without actually having RAID. In other words, every time I change something on my system, I want that change to be backed up automatically, without me having to run a backup (or depend on a scheduled backup).

This is what I mean..

- I uninstall a program;
- I install a new game;
- Windows decides to install some updates;
- I moved some icons around my desktop;
- Later, my system drive dies;
- I go to the store, buy a new SSD, connect it to my computer;
- I restore the system image from the backup.

Once done, I want the program I uninstalled to still be uninstalled, I want to be able to play the game I installed, I don't want Windows to install the same updates again, and I want the desktop icons to be where I left them after I moved them.

Is this possible with any of the fancy backup software available today? Money is not a concern.


Thank you,

Dany
 

USAFRet

Illustrious
Moderator
Basically, you seem to be talking about Restore Points.
Windows does this automagically, if you configure it properly.

But for a real imaging application, Macrium Reflect.
Probably not quite as granular as you desire, though.

I use it to create a full drive image of my C drive every night.
If desired, I just roll back to last nights image. Or any image created over the last two weeks.
 

danytancou

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Dec 9, 2013
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Thanks guys!

Can I raid my 256GB 840 Pro SSD with the 320GB Seagate whatever HDD that I use for backup?

I already tried Macrium and I don't like the fact that it doesn't have clear explanations for what it does..
 

USAFRet

Illustrious
Moderator


No, you cannot do a RAID 1 with those drives.
Well, you can, but it would SERIOUSLY hamper operations.

You would end up with a 250GB RAID array, operating at the speed of the HDD.
Totally useless.
 

danytancou

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Dec 9, 2013
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Yea, that's what I thought. :(
 

USAFRet

Illustrious
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So, for what you wish to do:

Either it will be 100% instantaneous, as in a RAID 1. Whatever drives you use.
This, however, is pretty risky, in that it provides zero protection against the usual forms of data loss.
Accidental deletion, corruption, virus, etc, etc.

or...

You accept some level of delay in the 'backup'.
For instance, create a full drive image, on whatever schedule you choose.

I have my system to do a full drive image of the C drive every night at 2AM. This goes off to a 3TB HDD.
Keep for 14 days, deleting the oldest as it goes along.

So at most, the system is 24 hours out of date if I wish to recover.
Or, if I don't notice the WeirdThing, go back to whichever day I choose in the last 2 weeks.

In case of a physical drive fail, put in a new one and recover from last nights image.

Other drives and data (specific folders) are similarly backed up on their own schedule as needed.
 

danytancou

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Dec 9, 2013
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Well, I set it to make a full image (i.e. not differential--I mean, where would it diff it from if this was the first time I used the thing?) of the system drive, without compression. The drive is about three quarters full, so roughly 160GB. When the image was "done", the resulting file was only 30GB, and there's there's no way to compress 160GB to so little, right?

I guess it's possible that I did something wrong, so, after having uninstalled the thing a few days ago, I am now downloading it again, so I'll install and try once more... if the same happens again, or if I have questions, I'll post on here.


Thanks for your help!
 

USAFRet

Illustrious
Moderator


On my C drive:
Currently ~127GB used space.
Macrium full drive image = ~99GB

It does a little bit of compression, and leaves off things like temp files, pagefile, etc.
 

danytancou

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Dec 9, 2013
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Yup, that's why I said no RAID from the beginning. (I've had RAID1s fail on me in the past, and it was a mess--and it was just files, not a system.)



Yea, I guess this makes sense and having to step back up to 24hours is acceptable. As I said, I will try this again and see how it goes. I'm assuming that Macrium Reflect manages the old backups on its own--deleting them, etc.? I don't have a 3TB drive, only 1TB, so I'll have to be a little more careful with space.. You said you do full backups every night, but Macrium can do Differential (and Incremental if I pay for it).. Do you have any idea if Differentials work properly? I would probably have to do something like a full backup once a week and then nightly diffs if I want to have the ability to go back two weeks, in order not to run out of space..
 

USAFRet

Illustrious
Moderator
I do a full every night, simply because the free HDD space exists.
I also do a weekly full image, off to another system in the house.

If I haven't noticed a problem and I need to go back farther than that...either a full wipe and reinstall, or one of the 2 initial images that I saved.
One With just the bare OS, and another after my main application stack has been installed.


Macrium, difference between Differential and Incremental
http://kb.macrium.com/KnowledgebaseArticle50143.aspx

Yes, it manages the old ones as needed.
Either "Keep for X days", or, "Delete the oldest when there is less than Y% of drive space".
 

danytancou

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Dec 9, 2013
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Heh.. I'm already confused (just like I was last time I used Macrium). Which "backup" option do I choose--'Image Selected Disks' (with the system drive selected) which auto-selects that 450MB partition that Windows created while installing or 'Backup Windows' which doesn't auto-select that partition on the C drive? (My understanding is that Windows requires that partition in order to run properly, so why would Macrium not include it in a 'backup of WINDOWS'?)

Thanks!
 

USAFRet

Illustrious
Moderator


Select ALL the partitions on that drive.
The 450mb partition is sort of not part of Windows, but it IS required. It is need to boot up. Not needed for operation after that.
 

danytancou

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Dec 9, 2013
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Aha! OK, so I choose the 'Backup Windows' option, select the 450MB partition manually and then keep going?
 

USAFRet

Illustrious
Moderator


Yes.
Personally, I do the entire drive rather than 'just windows'.
 

danytancou

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Dec 9, 2013
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OK did that, and the backup apparently completed successfully. Except:

Code:
Date  	2017-01-14 17:34:26  
Type  	Error 
Event 	513  
Source	Microsoft-Windows-CAPI2

Cryptographic Services failed while processing the OnIdentity() call in the System Writer Object.

Details:
AddLegacyDriverFiles: Unable to back up image of binary Microsoft Link-Layer Discovery Protocol.

System Error:
Access is denied.
Not sure what that's about.. :(
 
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