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Last post Author Topic: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review  (Read 42011 times)

tomos

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #25 on: April 22, 2016, 07:48:30 AM »
When you create an image, the whole concept is to take everything.  If you don't want that, you are making a plain file backup.

hiberfile.sys and the paging file are often excluded by default by this type of software when creating an image file

I contacted Aomei re this. English wasn't so good, but IIUC:
Aomei Backupper does *not* copy the paging file, but does copy everything else.
There are no options (in any version) to exclude files when creating an image.
Tom

dr_andus

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #26 on: May 02, 2016, 01:44:35 PM »
Would any of you know whether the incremental backup in AOMEI works with the System Backup or only with Disk Backup?

IainB

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2016, 05:23:10 PM »
@dr_andus: Not sure I understand the Q or what you are requiring to do. For example, what's the difference between your definitions of the System backup and the Disk backup?
If the system files are on the same disk as all your data, then presumably they can be backed up incrementally, if you specify that for the relevant system folders when running backups. Not sure what the value would be in that though.
Of course, reverting to an earlier restore point would enable you to restore the system to the state it was in at an earlier date/time.
OTOH, making a new disk image copy (clone) would create a recoverable full disk and system image as at that date/time, but, AFAIK the disk image copy/clone can't be incrementally updated - i.e., it's frozen as a snapshot as at a particular date/time.
Not sure whether this helps.

dr_andus

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #28 on: May 02, 2016, 05:41:37 PM »
@dr_andus: Not sure I understand the Q or what you are requiring to do. For example, what's the difference between your definitions of the System backup and the Disk backup?

I was referring two the two backup options in the AOMEI interface, as they call them:

http://www.backup-ut...up/system-backup.gif

If the system files are on the same disk as all your data, then presumably they can be backed up incrementally, if you specify that for the relevant system folders when running backups. Not sure what the value would be in that though

I was reading up on it in their help file,

Free Incremental Backup and Differential Backup Software

and apparently with the Incremental Backup you can save time and disk space, as it builds upon the previous backup.

What wasn't clear to me whether this only refers to the Disk Backup feature or also to the System Backup feature.

dr_andus

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #29 on: May 02, 2016, 05:47:59 PM »
P.S. I just noticed on the Help page they do say

Quote
Note: Also you can create a full backup of disks or system partitions by selecting "Disk/System Backup" here.

so maybe that means the answer is 'yes'?

Has anyone tried this, by any chance? I don't have much experience with this class of software, so I just want to make sure I'm not messing anything up.

It took over 7 hrs today to back up my system and then verify the backup, so I'd rather not do a full system backup every time if I don't have to.

IainB

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #30 on: May 02, 2016, 07:29:19 PM »
@dr_andus: Oh well done! That's what I would have done - gone and looked at the Help documentation ... but usually as a last/later resort...    :-[

I'm sorry I can't be much help as I don't know much about how AOMEI does its backups, as I have not actually tried that out. I use FreeFileSync for an incremental/differential backup. I don't back up system files though - that's including the C:\Windows and C:\Program Files (2 dirs.)  ("generic" proggies).
However, I do back up:
  • ...\UTIL, which is my preferred alternative program files directory and which holds most of the specialised and non-generic installed programs that I depend on - that is, basically anything that didn't come already installed on the PC (including most games) and which are mostly installed as "portable" wherever possible, so that they are self-contained installations and can be ported elsewhere and run without much setup fuss.
  • ...\Archive, which holds the compressed installers and any necessary installation licence keys for all the \UTIL proggies and a few \Program Files proggies (e.g., the MS Office install ISO file) and for any special drivers I have installed in the system (e.g., the multifunction printer).
  • All my several working data ("Workdata") folders grouped on the C: drive.
  • Nowadays also the C:\User\... directories as they usually have a lot of important stuff - e.g., including OneDrive, Google Drive, and working data files, and stuff that I have learned to my cost one will likely need to configure/support/run/recover some of the the \UTIL proggies and especially some of the "generic" proggies, when migrating to another PC.

Backup strategy:
Before conducting backups, one needs to have a clear idea about what one needs to back up, and why, and what would be the most appropriate method for one's peculiar needs.
Where you say:
Quote
...It took over 7 hrs today to back up my system and then verify the backup, so I'd rather not do a full system backup every time if I don't have to.
________________________
- it would seem that you might not have a clear strategy.
In the old days, I never really had a backup strategy either, and used to back up (originally) to floppy disks as a matter of course. It was very tedious and I didn't do it often enough.
Then my backup strategy was learned by accident from a successful and speedy recovery from a fatal failure of a laptop some years ago, when I was working overseas on an urgent project. I learned the advantage of portability of programs and data.
It was the laptop keyboard processor that had failed, rendering the device unusable. The latest data that I was working on was intact on the hard drive, but not yet on any backup.
So, within a day I had got a new PC, and, after an IT support guy had helpfully suggested it, the old hard drive became a PHD (Portable Hard Drive) - I bought a PHD enclosure, which was relatively new technology at the time. This was used as my new, key backup/recovery feature.
I now consider a PC as just a temporary resting-place for my nomadic computing requirements and periodically update my backups to a portable hard drive reserved for the purpose, I also rely on some Cloud backup, but have that backed-up also. I am thus usually able to recover all my data stores from backups, one way or another. (Paranoia rules.)

Things tend to change, and now that Windows 10 offers some more useful backup functionality - especially the apparently really useful backup and restore functionality of File History - I shall trial it, and maybe, after I have trialled it, it could well end up becoming my new de facto backup/recovery tool to a PHD...
« Last Edit: May 02, 2016, 07:50:53 PM by IainB »

dr_andus

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #31 on: May 03, 2016, 03:25:01 AM »
Thanks for your suggestions, IainB.

In the end it took a lot more, something like 10 hours to create a system image, as the verification afterwards took as long as the creation of the image.

I have a 1TB drive, but with everything together I only have around 250GB data on it to back up (including systems files). This is why I was surprised that it took so long to create it. And while AOMEI was doing it, it was saying it was going through to whole of 913GB, which is the size of the entire C:\ drive.

The resulting image file was 427GB. Again, if all my data is c. 250GB, what's the extra stuff?

As for whether AOMEI can do incremental backup of the system, I have now checked (now that the process has finished) and the answer seems to be yes:

Screenshot - 03_05_2016 , 09_08_44.pngAOMEI Backupper FREE  + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review

I still wonder though if system incremental backup is safe or good practice.

But clearly, I would prefer to go with an incremental backup next time, as my external hard drive is 1TB, so another full backup might not even fit. And even on a 2TB not all that many full backups would fit.

As for my strategy? It is to do a system backup, as I'm about to install some new drivers on my laptop, and I want to be able to roll back if anything goes wrong.

Maybe what I could have done differently is to keep my application data on a separate physical drive within the laptop or on a partition, so that the C:\ drive only contains the Windows 7 Pro installation.

I think the reason I haven't done that is that in the past I came across some of my older software that was awkward to use when the files it worked with were on another drive. But maybe I'll have to reconsider that.

dr_andus

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2016, 03:58:42 AM »
Maybe I should have also mentioned that the external USB 2.0 Toshiba hard drive I'm using I bought in July 2009, so it's not exactly the latest tech (and for most of its life it sat on a shelf, unplugged)... It might account for some of the slowness.

Shades

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2016, 07:35:48 AM »
If the device is from 2009, chances are that your USB hard disk is of the USB 2.0 kind. Although theoretical speeds of USB 2.0 are higher, in practice you are happy if such a device can sustain a read/write throughput of 20MByte/sec. If the rest of your computer is from around the same period, chances are that your internal hard disk(s) is/are connected to SATA 2 port(s). 4 to 5 years ago the successor of SATA2 came out, which doubled the speed of SATA2. Around that same time USB 3.0 also came out.

A SATA3 internal hard disk in combination with an USB 3.0 device connected on a USB 3.0 port will cut the time it takes to create your backup significantly.

Personally, I think it is better to think of those portable/external USB hard disks as a convenient way to create a backup. Not fast or professional, but very convenient. And if you start the backup just before you go to sleep, after a night's rest the backup is done, so no harm no foul.

For the bulky size of the full backup: Does it contain Windows restore points? Windows has a knack of not adding certain parts of its bulk, to keep the total byte count a lot lower than the actual amount of bytes stored on the hard disk (for example: the folder 'System Volume Information' on each and every partition of your hard disk collects a lot of 'cruft' over time). A tool such AOMEI doing a full backup won't skip such folders.

Incremental backups have the big advantage of being small almost all the time. And as a result, those won't take up much of your time. The disadvantage is that restoring data from such backups can take a long time...and if you have used unreliable media somewhere in the 'chain' of backups, restoring data can become a major headache very quickly.

While the option 'verify' makes you think that your data is backed up safely, if you don't actually test your backups (both incremental and full) the only thing you did was losing time by writing a pile of verified useless garbage. Don't find out you are (royally) screwed the moment a failure occurred and you need to restore your backup. Test your backups when your computer is in working condition first, because you can easily create a new backup if the previous one fails to restore.

Decide for yourself what would be an acceptable period of losing data. As your priorities are likely very different from mine, I wouldn't presume to know how long such a period can be for you. Besides, each different type of data can have a different period. But that is for you to examine and decide.

Anyway, during that period you could make incremental backups and do a full backup once you hit the full extent of such a period. Creating backups using this guideline will be more than adequate for home/small business use.

But whatever backup schema you'll end up using, always test your backups!

dr_andus

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2016, 08:37:12 AM »
Shades - thanks very much for the detailed answers!  :Thmbsup:

If the device is from 2009, chances are that your USB hard disk is of the USB 2.0 kind. Although theoretical speeds of USB 2.0 are higher, in practice you are happy if such a device can sustain a read/write throughput of 20MByte/sec. If the rest of your computer is from around the same period, chances are that your internal hard disk(s) is/are connected to SATA 2 port(s). 4 to 5 years ago the successor of SATA2 came out, which doubled the speed of SATA2. Around that same time USB 3.0 also came out.

A SATA3 internal hard disk in combination with an USB 3.0 device connected on a USB 3.0 port will cut the time it takes to create your backup significantly.

OK, maybe it's time to get me a new USB 3.0 external hard drive then. It's a relatively new laptop (says "SCSI Disk Device), it does come with a USB 3.0 outlet as well.

For the bulky size of the full backup: Does it contain Windows restore points? Windows has a knack of not adding certain parts of its bulk, to keep the total byte count a lot lower than the actual amount of bytes stored on the hard disk (for example: the folder 'System Volume Information' on each and every partition of your hard disk collects a lot of 'cruft' over time). A tool such AOMEI doing a full backup won't skip such folders.

I see. For some reason Windows Restore thing was off (I can't remember why I turned it off, maybe someone recommended me to do that), and I was reminded by HP Support Assistant just a few days ago to turn it back on, which I did.

Incremental backups have the big advantage of being small almost all the time. And as a result, those won't take up much of your time. The disadvantage is that restoring data from such backups can take a long time...and if you have used unreliable media somewhere in the 'chain' of backups, restoring data can become a major headache very quickly.

I see. So maybe I'm better off getting a new USB 3.0 external hard drive with larger capacity (2 or 3TB?), and then have some full backups occasionally as well.

While the option 'verify' makes you think that your data is backed up safely, if you don't actually test your backups (both incremental and full) the only thing you did was losing time by writing a pile of verified useless garbage. Don't find out you are (royally) screwed the moment a failure occurred and you need to restore your backup. Test your backups when your computer is in working condition first, because you can easily create a new backup if the previous one fails to restore.

Sorry, what do you mean by "actually testing"? How do do that without messing up the existing installation?

tomos

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #35 on: May 03, 2016, 01:23:45 PM »
The resulting image file was 427GB. Again, if all my data is c. 250GB, what's the extra stuff?

can you check the C drive and see how full it is (not just data)?

I've used aomei successfully a couple of times now for restoring images.
I always do a new image, always the system backup option as it will catch any mini boot partitions as well.
I never do incremental, just delete older images (I usually try an keep at least two).

Could you figure out how long the backup should take -- using Shade's estimate of 20MB/s ?
Ten hours sounds like an awful long time (sounds far too long to me but I'm not going to do the maths now).
Tom

Curt

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #36 on: May 03, 2016, 04:51:33 PM »
They have a sale the coming weekend; 7+8'th of May 2016

The offer prices are not yet revealed, but "up to 65% off for a bundle"
Scroll all down: http://www.backup-ut...i-weekend-sales.html

tsaint

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #37 on: May 03, 2016, 05:07:46 PM »
AOMEI Pro Backupper ... free for 8 more hours from "now" at http://sharewareonsa...per-pro-freebie-sale
Main pro advantage seems to be clone image ability

dr_andus

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #38 on: May 03, 2016, 06:03:37 PM »
can you check the C drive and see how full it is (not just data)?

The C drive size is 913GB, currently used 189GB. There are also a few partitions:  1GB system, also an HP Recovery drive (D drive), size 15.3GB, used 13.6GB. And there is HP Tools (E drive), size 1.99GB, used 55.6MB.

The size of the disk is 931.51GB.

I've used aomei successfully a couple of times now for restoring images.
I always do a new image, always the system backup option as it will catch any mini boot partitions as well.
I never do incremental, just delete older images (I usually try an keep at least two).

Thanks for sharing that.

Could you figure out how long the backup should take -- using Shade's estimate of 20MB/s ?
Ten hours sounds like an awful long time (sounds far too long to me but I'm not going to do the maths now).

Yeah, I have backed it up once before, just when I bought it and my other data wasn't on it, using a newer external hard drive with USB 3.0, and I don't remember having any trouble with that. It's just that I wanted to make use of this old 1TB drive that was sitting idle. But maybe I should just get a brand new USB 3.0 drive for this purpose, if it makes such a big difference. 10 hrs is just a pain.

dr_andus

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #39 on: May 03, 2016, 06:09:50 PM »
Thanks for the heads-up.  :up:

AOMEI Pro Backupper ... free for 8 more hours from "now" at http://sharewareonsa...per-pro-freebie-sale
Main pro advantage seems to be clone image ability

Well, I note that one of the Pro features is

Quote
Faster Speed for Backup & Restore

Could this be one of the reasons why my backup was so slow with the Free version?

IainB

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #40 on: May 03, 2016, 11:47:33 PM »
@tsaint: Many thanks to you for this link:    :Thmbsup:
AOMEI Pro Backupper ... free for 8 more hours from "now" at http://sharewareonsa...per-pro-freebie-sale
Main pro advantage seems to be clone image ability
________________________
I just now downloaded and installed it. I noticed that it sets up a bunch of Services on installation. Could be an overhead...
I managed to get the AOMEI Partition Assistant PRO for FREE a couple of years ago.
I had been waiting for the AOMEI Backupper PRO to come up for free, but never saw it.
I've made a note of that website.

@Curt: And thanks to you for this link:    :Thmbsup:
They have a sale the coming weekend; 7+8'th of May 2016
The offer prices are not yet revealed, but "up to 65% off for a bundle"
Scroll all down: http://www.backup-ut...i-weekend-sales.html
________________________
I've made a note of that website also.

By the way, where these special offer websites insist on your giving a Facebook "Like", or a Google+ "Like", or your email address or some such - refer Firefox Extensions: MaskMe anonymous email aliases

tomos

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #41 on: May 04, 2016, 03:57:26 AM »
@dr_andus,
I'm still a bit confused -- you say C drive has 189GB, but you also mention 250GB.
Even if you backed up the whole drive, I dont see why you should get an image of over 400GB - unless I missed something big, things aren't adding up there.

Check the settings in aomei:
select your type of backup, and bottom left in tab is 'backup options'.
There is a setting called 'Intelligent sector' -- that should be ticked. Check compression as well. I dont see how either of those would cause a 400+ backup, but still worth checking.

If the backup is much bigger than what's on the disc, I'd either contact aomei, or try a different image programme.

PS possibly not much help at this stage, but this is why I put in a separate partition for data -- so as creating an system-image is relatively small and quick.
Tom

dr_andus

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #42 on: May 04, 2016, 04:49:41 AM »
I'm still a bit confused -- you say C drive has 189GB, but you also mention 250GB.
Even if you backed up the whole drive, I dont see why you should get an image of over 400GB - unless I missed something big, things aren't adding up there.

Sorry, I wasn't very clear. The 250GB was my estimate, before I was able to look (as backup was in progress). When I add up the Windows (C:), System, HP_Recovery (D:) and HP_Tools (E:) partitions (which all reside on a 931.51GB sized disk), all used space comes to 208.16GB. Windows (C:) on its own is 189GB.

I guess I'm not entirely clear what gets backed up when I choose the System Backup option. Does it make an image of the entire disk (with all the above partitions), or only of the Windows (C:) partition?

I'll check your other suggestions a bit later, as my machine is busy with other things just now. Thanks.

tomos

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #43 on: May 04, 2016, 04:56:22 AM »
^the 'System backup' would be 'C' partition plus any hidden partition that is required for booting (in windows 7 at least, there's often a hidden 100MB partition with boot files).

'Disk backup' would be the complete drive (all partitions).
Tom

dr_andus

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #44 on: May 04, 2016, 05:16:58 AM »
I see... So what are the use cases for System vs. Disk backup? Wouldn't I be always better off doing a complete Disk backup then, to make sure I don't ever lose anything?

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Re: AOMEI Backupper FREE + AOMEI Partition Assistant FREE - Mini-Review
« Reply #45 on: May 04, 2016, 07:38:38 AM »
I see... So what are the use cases for System vs. Disk backup? Wouldn't I be always better off doing a complete Disk backup then, to make sure I don't ever lose anything?

me, I create an image to backup the OS. If something software related is going to go wrong, it's probably going to be with the OS. I guess copying *everything* could cover you if you ever want to replace the harddrive -- but I have no idea how good aomei backupper is at that. It's unlikely that those other partitions are going to have problems, but that's why we do backup, isn't it :-) (I'm talking round in circles here...)

Your more immediate problems are size of backup and time:
you could try a system backup and see if it's any quicker/smaller. If not, as said already, I'd be looking at the (free) competition (macrium?).
Tom