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Author Topic: HowTo EASILY create image backup?  (Read 18994 times)
Curt
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« on: April 07, 2008, 02:24:58 AM »

First I must remind you that I really am a total IT-illiteral. And because of this (yes, I am aware of it: the blame is on me, not on Bill Gates), my XP is getting more and more sick by the minute, so to speak, at least 'by the month'. So now I really need you to guide me to the easiest way to create an image of my harddisk, to USB harddrive. Gratis, not compressing, and not commandline, please. Something like: install and open image making program > click "create image now" > backup this drive (ALL of it) > from here to there, > options: make short but understable log ("don't ask any questions during backup process, but tell me about it next time"), and close pc when done > Start".

What program to get&use, please?  tellme

Edited
Oh, I forgot a very important detail: program must fully support Unicode!
« Last Edit: April 07, 2008, 02:34:34 AM by Curt » Logged
yksyks
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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2008, 04:43:20 AM »

I'm quite happy with DriveImage XML. Easy to use, freeware, and besides, it has a unique feature: browsing the images, view and extract individual files.
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Curt
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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2008, 08:08:53 AM »

I have had that program for some time, but never cared to really try it out because the text said "Images are stored in XML files,", and I have no idea what a XML file is. But now I realize that the full text goes "Images are stored in XML files, allowing you to process them with 3rd party tools. Never again be stuck with a useless backup!". Of course I still have no idea what a XML file is, but at least now I will actually TRY it out. I will report back later on.

Thanks!

Edit:
Please make a guess how long it will use to create a first time 100 GB image?
~USB 2.0
« Last Edit: April 07, 2008, 08:12:55 AM by Curt » Logged
f0dder
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« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2008, 08:51:30 AM »

Well, it's actually an XML file with desription + metadata, and some binary files for the actualy image data... but you do still get huge XML files (~10meg for 1.7gig worth of system-drive backup).

Curt: XML is an "eXtensible Markup Language". That's a fancy name for "a structured text file that can be used for a lot of different stuff". The format is similar to HTML, but more strict, and it doesn't define tags like HTML does.

The idea behind XML is that it's more-or-less human readable, since it's stored in text format, but that it's also efficiently machine-readable (because it's structured). So instead of people using a zillion different file formats with custom parsers, you could use XML for basically everything, with your own Schema. The DriveImageXML .xml files actually have a description of the schema embedded in them, so if you find a DIXML backup 10 years from now, you have enough information to read the files...

The downside to XML is that it's a lot less efficient to read & parse than a binary file, so it's generally not so usable for huge data structures.
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yksyks
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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2008, 10:04:17 AM »

I regularly backup some 160 GB and this operation takes about 2 hours, or 6 hours when using compression (compressed to some 110 GB). But my backup is done on the internal SATA HD, if you're using external media it would be much slower (like any other application) and then the compression would pay off.
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Curt
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« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2008, 12:34:13 PM »

..:[/b] XML is an "eXtensible Markup Language". That's a fancy name for "a structured text file that can be used for a lot of different stuff". The format is similar to HTML, ...

- so I take it (hope) that XML per nature supports Unicode? The problem inside my little head is that NOwhere have I found any info regarding DriveImage versus Unicode. Seems it only were tested by Americans...
 tellme

---
Edited for nonsense.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2008, 12:43:51 PM by Curt » Logged
yksyks
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« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2008, 01:22:31 PM »

Once the disk image is done it contains just the same as the original disk in binary form, so all filenames should be there exactly the same upon eventual restore process. This applies to all real disk image applications (but not backups).

To speak about Unicode makes sense only when browsing for individual files inside the image, and so far I've never encountered any problem with DriveImage XML and Unicode filenames. Why not to try it for yourself? ;-)
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Cuffy
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2008, 02:30:49 PM »

Take a look at XXClone........... it might simply your life!

XXCLONE, A New Way of Cloning the Windows System DiskXXCLONE is a simple tool to clone the system disk for Windows.
www.xxclone.com/ - 6k - Cached - Similar pages
Download
FAQ
http://www.xxclone.com/
 undecided
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Curt
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« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2008, 05:59:01 PM »

XXClone is really looking good!  thumbs up

However, one must purchase the $40 Pro version in order to create daily, incremental backups, as the Free version wil create full clones only. Also, I am concerned that the site not has been updated for more than a year:

Quote
All new licenses come with at least one year of update subscription.  Optionally, you may order an extended subscription beyond the basic 1 year period up front.

- fine, but, ehh.., there are no updates ...
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f0dder
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« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2008, 06:23:17 PM »

Quote from: yksyks
Once the disk image is done it contains just the same as the original disk in binary form, so all filenames should be there exactly the same upon eventual restore process. This applies to all real disk image applications (but not backups).
DriveImage XML actually works quite differently from that - the XML file contains file & directory names, et cetera. I don't know if the filesystem metadata part is even extracted from your drive...

Quote from: Curt
- so I take it (hope) that XML per nature supports Unicode? The problem inside my little head is that NOwhere have I found any info regarding DriveImage versus Unicode. Seems it only were tested by Americans...
XML by itself doesn't support unicode, but it does (just like HTML) allow you to specify the "character set". DI XML specifies "UTF-8" encoding, which is a form of compact unicode... so I assume it supports it OK smiley
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yksyks
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« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2008, 02:06:41 AM »

To f0dder:

Are you sure? I thought the XML contains just pointers to a real bitmap image of the disk! If you're right it's no disk image then. In fact so far I didn't need to restore the complete disk (luckily), just parts of damaged folders, and everything worked as expected.
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f0dder
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« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2008, 08:49:10 AM »

If you look at the XML files generated by DI XML, you'll see that it includes file and folder information. But it also does seem to keep the files fragmented etc... I don't know if the file/folder names and information is just to be able to browse the backup files "offline", or if it's because the image file isn't actually a 1:1 image of the partition you're backing up: backing up my 4GB source partition results in a 1.9GB image file, without compression - so it obviously only backs up used parts, I don't know if this includes filesystem metadata information or not.

A RAW backup in DI XML, on the other hand, generates an image file the same size as the partition, and a much smaller .xml file without all the per-file information.
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Curt
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« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2008, 01:29:26 PM »

A RAW backup in DI XML, on the other hand, generates an image file the same size as the partition, ...

"same size"... hmm... "same size as the partition", not "as the content" ? What then: can I not create an RAW image of a 160 GB harddrive on a 120 GB USB harddrive, even though the content is taking up less than 100GB ?  tellme
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f0dder
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« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2008, 05:04:46 PM »

Curt: indeed, a RAW dump is a RAW dump. Same size as partition, not content.

That's why you do a non-raw dump, and only get the actual content size... this should be just fine, unless you have some very special needs.
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MerleOne
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« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2008, 01:43:56 PM »

First I must remind you that I really am a total IT-illiteral. And because of this (yes, I am aware of it: the blame is on me, not on Bill Gates), my XP is getting more and more sick by the minute, so to speak, at least 'by the month'. So now I really need you to guide me to the easiest way to create an image of my harddisk, to USB harddrive. Gratis, not compressing, and not commandline, please. Something like: install and open image making program > click "create image now" > backup this drive (ALL of it) > from here to there, > options: make short but understable log ("don't ask any questions during backup process, but tell me about it next time"), and close pc when done > Start".

What program to get&use, please?  tellme

Edited
Oh, I forgot a very important detail: program must fully support Unicode!

You can use the evaluation version of Drive Snapshot, for 30 days you will be able to image your drive and I think afterwards you can still read the image, but not make any more backups.
http://www.drivesnapshot.de/en/
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Curt
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« Reply #15 on: April 13, 2008, 05:27:54 PM »

I don't dare to use Drive Snapshot to backup the entire PC to my USB Harddrive:

Quote
Snapshot will cut the disk image file after a preset size (default=650MB), and create several files with extensions SNA, .SN1,.Sn2,..,.SN9,.S10...S99,.100...999,.1000 etc

By default the limit is 1500 MB, so 3 image pieces fit on a DVD.
Quote
You may expect an average image size of 50% of the used disk space, since Drive Snapshot automatically compresses the image file.

Can other programs read these .SNA files? I don't think they can.
And what compression system are they using? The site doesn't tell.

However, the homepage deserves a big time reward for the "Introduction" - this is a world-class reference introduction to any program! Every coder can take lesson from this Tom Ehlert, he certainly is an excellent pedagogic instructor!

http://www.drivesnapshot.de/en/intro.htm

edited for typo
« Last Edit: April 13, 2008, 05:44:06 PM by Curt » Logged
BrokenNails
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« Reply #16 on: April 14, 2008, 12:17:05 AM »

I use Acronis True Image (http://www.acronis.com/ho...uting/products/trueimage/ and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acronis_True_Image) after a fresh Windows install so I can quickly revert to a clean system at some later date rather than going through the install process again.

It's wizard-based so it's not particularly difficult to use. Pretty much just run it, select the drive/partition you want to image, point it to the storage device (can be local or across a network), give the backup a name, select any compression/encryption options you want, and then hit Go.

Recovery is most easily done using a bootable CD that the program can create for you.

Edit - oops, just noticed the 'gratis' requirement. embarassed Obviously True Image doesn't fall into that category! You can occasionally pick up cheap/discounted older versions however...
« Last Edit: April 14, 2008, 12:19:17 AM by BrokenNails » Logged
MerleOne
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« Reply #17 on: April 14, 2008, 12:51:54 AM »

I don't dare to use Drive Snapshot to backup the entire PC to my USB Harddrive:

Quote
Snapshot will cut the disk image file after a preset size (default=650MB), and create several files with extensions SNA, .SN1,.Sn2,..,.SN9,.S10...S99,.100...999,.1000 etc

By default the limit is 1500 MB, so 3 image pieces fit on a DVD.
Quote
You may expect an average image size of 50% of the used disk space, since Drive Snapshot automatically compresses the image file.

Can other programs read these .SNA files? I don't think they can.
And what compression system are they using? The site doesn't tell.

However, the homepage deserves a big time reward for the "Introduction" - this is a world-class reference introduction to any program! Every coder can take lesson from this Tom Ehlert, he certainly is an excellent pedagogic instructor!

http://www.drivesnapshot.de/en/intro.htm

edited for typo
I don't know of any program outside snapshot that can read .sna (except an old ZX spectrum emulator, but that's another story...), and the compression is proprietary but no big deal since only snapshot can read it.

I have restored several times my XP partition from an USB external disk, with no problem whatsoever.  Moreover, snapshot can handle HDD with faulty sectors.  So it's up to you.  You don't risk that much since snapshot doesn't install any driver on your system and can run from a single executable without any installation.
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Curt
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« Reply #18 on: April 14, 2008, 01:16:37 AM »

Yes, Acronis has been recommended on our forum many times - and when I read about it at their homepage I really wanted just to hit the download button! - so I can easily understand why you are advocating it. But, as you said, it obviously does not fall into the gratis category... $50 is an awful lot of money to me.

This backup buisness is as confusing as I was fearing it would be. My main reason for not having done the backup yet, is the extreme amount of time it takes to create the first image. I want my PC to be fully available to me all of the time, and it is placed next to my bed, so I don't want it running all night - leaving no time to perform the darn backup! Yeah, I know, totally bad excuse! Also, I have been a smoker for 35 years, with absolutely no intelligent reason for still being so, so maybe all this is a pattern of some personality disorder! Sorry; around here it is early Monday morning! embarassed
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Curt
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« Reply #19 on: April 14, 2008, 01:21:46 AM »

Thanks for the advice, Merle1, but €40 is an even more awful lot of money to me! 30 days trial simply won't do it - my budget says the asking price should give some 365 days trial...
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tomos
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« Reply #20 on: April 14, 2008, 03:57:27 AM »

I'm no expert Curt,
but that seems to bring you back to DriveXML which doesnt do incremental images but does has an accessible format as opposed to the others
or
there's always cheap older versions of Acronis around (9 seems to be recommended a lot - in fact more than the more recent versions).
Does 9 do incremental backup images? I think it does, anyone?
I had 8 (or was it 7 undecided) but it didnt recognise usb2 so no good
or,
what I did was -
get one of the free versions of Acronis (search - there's usually a couple around) and then you can upgrade for 29$ + tax
to be honest though, I'm sorry I didnt splash out the extra bit though for something else e.g. DriveSnapshot
The acronis11 install takes up a lot of space (hundreds of MBs) and I hear a lot of complaints about it (and the interface bugs me but thats very minor in the context...)
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Tom
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« Reply #21 on: April 14, 2008, 04:20:57 AM »

Copies of the Paragon Drive Imaging progs are often available free with magazine DCs/DVDs.
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PhilB66
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« Reply #22 on: April 14, 2008, 06:21:45 AM »

There you go Curt... RSJ HD Image - a simple and free (for non comercial use) backup solution.

RSJ HD Image User Guide

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MerleOne
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« Reply #23 on: April 14, 2008, 07:24:40 AM »

Thanks for the advice, Merle1, but €40 is an even more awful lot of money to me! 30 days trial simply won't do it - my budget says the asking price should give some 365 days trial...
I can understand that.  I see 4 possibilities there :
1/ Adopt DriveImage XML, as detailed above.  But you should know a system restore with this software is to be prepared first : you basically have to build a special bootable CD with DriveImage XML plugin on it.  Look for "BartCD" in Google (sorry, no time to go into details).

2/ Watch GiveAwayOftheDay.com, sometimes they release a free software that does that.  Last was Kerimage

3/ Look for a free version of Acronis True Image 8, you should be able to find a old link still active corresponding to a special offer.  Maybe this link can even be found somewhere in DonationCoder forum.  Not sure where I got it from.

4/See also how to get a free copy of Paragon Drive Copy 8 Personal Edition SE, a competitor of Acronis, from http://www.donationcoder....ic=8798.msg64494#msg64494
« Last Edit: April 14, 2008, 07:38:06 AM by MerleOne » Logged

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yksyks
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« Reply #24 on: April 14, 2008, 07:35:12 AM »

Here's the link: Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live windows CD/DVD.
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