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This 37 message thread spans 2 pages: 37 ( [1] 2 > >     
Simple backup solution

 4:00 pm on Oct 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

I just tried using MS-backup, it gave up after 4GB. My data is 6GB.
"Note if this disk is formatted with FAT32, the maximum possible size for the backup file is limited to 4GB."

What I would really like is some software that incrementaly backs up selected folders without turning them into a special file format, ie it just copies them to my backup drive.

Then I can view or restore from my backup drive without being tied to the backup software.

Is there such a thing?



 4:30 pm on Oct 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sure. There are probably several options. I use Retrospect, made by Dantz. You can save the information to tape or to a hard drive or whatever. It's got a lot of sophisticated options which might be helpful as your needs grow.


 5:39 pm on Oct 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Had a look at Retrospect. It costs over 1000 and is for servers. I'm looking for something under 100 (hopefully). I want to select one folder on my C drive and have it copy to another drive everything that has changed since the last backup.


 5:55 pm on Oct 26, 2004 (gmt 0)

Shouldn't be. The Professional version 6.5 is $89.99 at Amazon.com in the US. That's the version I use and it has excellent functionality. The Server version, obviously, has a lot more functionality and price.


 10:23 am on Oct 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thanks Diamondgrl

Does it back up your files without turning them into a special file format?

On the backup drive I want to view and access my files without having to use the software e.g.



 1:43 pm on Oct 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>Simple backup solution

You might want to take a look at HandyBackup. It should handle everything you need, is easy to set up, and can either backup to a local drive, or incrementally backup (via FTP) to one of your servers. As I recall it's about $30 bucks.



 2:04 pm on Oct 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hi Netguy

Does Handybackup back up your files without turning them into a special file format?


 2:22 pm on Oct 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

kapow, I'm not sure what you mean as far as 'special file format.' It's just a simple backup that will take every file and/or folder you select to back up, and duplicates the same to another location. It does not change anything... it just makes a copy.

After it is moved to the desired location (local backup, CD, LAN, or FTPed to server), it is available to you in its original file format.


 3:28 pm on Oct 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've been using Double Image - a free package that does a really nice job of copying files. I set it up to run one major backup of all of the files I wanted to save then setup a nightly backup that only copies those files that have changed. Works slick.


 4:40 pm on Oct 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just looked at Double Image. It says it is not free but costs $199


 4:47 pm on Oct 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Retrospect backs up your files just as you had them. No special proprietary format.

I forgot to mention that it does incremental backup, so if you have 1000 files, but only 1 changes, it will only backup that 1. So it is smart that way.

I can't give any cross-product comparisons. I only know this one and I find it invaluable.


 4:50 pm on Oct 27, 2004 (gmt 0)

Ya - I had to look to find any sign of it but there it was - I have an evaluation copy. For some reason it hasn't expired yet! :o


 10:33 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

kapow, unless I'm missing something here, I'm assuming you are writing to an external back up harddrive.

All you have to do is drag and drop all your folders and files to that drive. Pretty basic, that's the easiest way to do it by far, and in some ways the most reliable.

Or you can correctly format the drive to use NTFS, which does not have that file size restriction, and just run the default windows backup utility, which runs fine.

You can install individual files from a backup even though the backup appears to be a single file, that's part of the 'restore' feature in Windows backup, it's easy, you just select the file or folder you want to restore, click restore, and it gets restored, you can tell it to overwrite the old file or not, that stuff works fine for most purposes.

Or you can do both, create a virtual duplicate of your current harddrive, including partitions, then if your current drive fails, all you have to do is install the mbr into the backup drive and away you go, zero headaches, the same exact setup you had to begin with.


 11:32 pm on Oct 31, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> As I recall it's about $30 bucks. <<
>> It says it ... costs $199 <<

A friend of mine backs up (about 12 GB of data) to another machine across a network, with a one line DOS batch file called from the Task Scheduler, and set to start at 2am every night.

Cost: zero.

Robert Charlton

 12:02 am on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Instead of an external hard drive, a hardware option that's been suggested to me... but which I haven't yet used... is an internal drive built into a removable mount.

I'm debating between mirroring my main drive and the backup drive... or simply backing up my data only to the second drive.

Advantage in mirroring is that in case of failure I'd have another setup ready to go. Conceivably, backing up data only to a second drive might offer some protection against data corruption... particularly if backups were rotated among partitions. Anyone do it this way?


 10:35 am on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

The friend who backs up across a network backs up to a removable drive in a caddy; and has two drives which get swapped every week or so, so if the current backup drive fails then there is a recent backup of the backup as fallback.

The removable caddy used to be in the same machine as the main drive... until a power supply fry-up took out the motherboard and the main and backup hard-drives (this was before the days of two backup drives too). The backup is now to a remote machine, used only as a print-server and backup machine.


 7:18 pm on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

All you have to do is drag and drop all your folders and files to that drive.

My 6GB takes about 20 minutes, incremental would take seconds. I want it automated and every day - so I can get on with other things.

You can install individual files from a backup even though the backup appears to be a single file
Sure, but I would prefer not to be tied to the software package. Perhaps I'm asking too much, I may just settle for a package that creates a proprietary file format.

...create a virtual duplicate of your current harddrive

OOOooo It would be very nice to have an incremental backup of my entire hard drive, every day. I prefer incremental because that would be so much faster. Does Retrospect do this?

If the Dog eats my PC I want to be up and running within 24 hours with yesterdays data.


 10:47 pm on Nov 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

You could get an IDE controller with RAID 0 (I think 0 is the one to use for mirroring). Alternately, some motherboards and even OSs (like Win2K) support mirroring.

I almost went the route of using a RAID 0 setup until I read a few threads (some here) about how it wasn't as reliable as it should be. I.e. when you need it most, it's possible the mirrored drive won't work or at least not as well as you expect.


 9:10 am on Nov 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm rather fond of using an imaging system (i.e. Norton/Symantec Ghost) to DVD-R or rdiff-backup to another hard drive.

I used to just concern myself with the data, then I considered how long it would take me to be up and running again if the HD crashed. In terms of my comfort level, a complete snapshot if the system is about as little as I can take. Furthermore, what if you can't find an application that you've come to rely on?

Code Sentinel

 8:13 pm on Nov 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

raid 0 is for speed only, raid 1 is mirror only, raid 0+1 is both and requires 4 drives I believe.. raid 5 is a good option with the parity thing(min 3 drives, if one dies you can just replace it and the other two will have the information to rebuild the data on the 3rd).

a couple external HD's are nice to have for backup, and the best solution for speed once you get into the gigabytes.. basically copy and paste. Some external drives from Maxtor I believe have a 1 touch backup option.. not sure what that is exactly but if it's 1 touch it must be easy.


 8:36 pm on Nov 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

RAID is no replacement for a proper backup. If you accidently delete or overwrite a file, RAID will delete/overwrite that file on all disks in the array immediately. You don't have a backup to restore that file.

I would prefer not to be tied to the software package.

I take it you're not using NTFS then? For the sake of argument that would tie you to Windows. The only way you won't tie your self to any one software package is to print everything out on to paper (but be careful what paper and ink you use).

Has Windows not caught up with rsync yet?

Robert Charlton

 8:39 pm on Nov 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Following my post above, I've gotten some Sticky Mail suggesting that removable caddies can lead to a bunch of problems... that the mechanisms aren't reliable, and that the drives aren't hot swappable, so if you're not plugged all the way in you can lose data. Recommendation was to use a fixed drive, or, if I want an external, to go with a firewire drive.

Several posts on this thread suggest that mirroring can also cause problems.

I'm rather fond of using an imaging system (i.e. Norton/Symantec Ghost) to DVD-R or rdiff-backup to another hard drive.

I'm leaning in this direction, but I probably won't have DVD-R for a while, so I would be going to a second hard drive. Since I didn't know what "rdiff" meant, I checked on Google and got this as the first result. Since it's Stanford, I assume it's OK to post the url...


rdiff-backup backs up one directory to another, possibly over a network. The target directory ends up a copy of the source directory, but extra reverse diffs are stored in a special subdirectory of that target directory, so you can still recover files lost some time ago. The idea is to combine the best features of a mirror and an incremental backup. rdiff-backup also preserves subdirectories, hard links, dev files, permissions, uid/gid ownership, and modification times....

Seems ideal on the surface, but now I'm back to square one with regard to kapow's question. How do you do it? In my case, I'm thinking Windows.


 7:24 am on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

In reading everything, it seems that it would be best to have 2 external drives hooked up to the main computer. Then do a daily backup to Drive 1, and keep Drive 2 offsite. Then switch everyweek.

Also, it is best to do a complete backup of the drive image, rather than backup selected files. (using norton ghost or what other options?)

I currently use an online backup service for selected files, but would like to add my own backup as a secondary backup as well. Seems like Raid 1 is not foolproof as a malfunction can damage both disks.


 8:03 am on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Now that Symantec has taken over PowerQuest, the Ghost software has dramatically improved. Ghost 9 is essentially PowerQuest's DriveImage version 8. In my opinion DriveImage was always the better product of the two, and Symantec seems to have realized that.

I've heard good things about BootIt NG for disk imaging, but have never tried it myself.

I take Drive Images and simply copy them to another PC on my company's network (in another part of the country). For home I put the Drive Images on a Firewire drive and another PC for redundancy.


 8:48 am on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've heard good things about BootIt NG for disk imaging, but have never tried it myself.

Excellent tool - cheap (very) - and I just kind of trust an image done from outside Windows - never was happy with the last inacarnation of Drive Image for that reason.

BootIt NG will also do partitioning (new, resize, move) as well as multi-boot menus.

Not the most intuitive of menu systems/terminology, perhaps, but I've stuck it on all our boxes (including SBS 2003) for regular imaging of key partitions. And yes, I've tried a restore - flawless.

One of the best-priced and useful tools I've found in many a year.


 9:49 am on Nov 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

I use Ghost2003, which I bought for a few pounds on Ebay.

I keep a backup image on a seperate partition on my main drive, and one on an external USB drive, which I copy to DVD every so often.

Ghost works well *once* you have got used to it, the manual isn't great and there are lots of potential pitfalls. My first attempt to backup and restore took over a week!

But now its quick and easy, I can restore from the USB drive and be working again within 30 minutes.

Anyone looking for advice or help with Ghost should Google radified + Ghost, for great tutorials and an active forum.


 6:32 pm on Nov 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

In researching the various backup solutions, I was frustrated with the reliability of these image based solutions. For the most part they work, but too many reports of restore failures. I don't want to be the 1% that has restore problems. I found one solution, Casper XP that creates a true copy of the drive as a backup. So in case of failure, you don't need to worry about disaster recover cd's or restoring images, you simply take the backup drive and plug into the computer as a master drive.

This is assumming that you are backing up to an external drive. In speaking to their support, the best way is to use an external enclosure (~$30) and a standard IDE drive which you can swap in case of emergency with the computer's drive.

I have yet to use this as I'm encouraged by this and ordered a drive and enclosure to test out. Hopefully this work as this seems like the most reliable way to do it that I have seen yet. I would need to develop a different solution to restore historical files.

I emailed their support some simple questions and got a very intensive reply the next morning. I emailed Backup MyPC on Sunday and have yet to hear anything back yet.


 7:17 pm on Nov 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

When Win-SP2 arrived I wanted to create a ghost of my C drive using Norton (in case SP2 blew it away). The problem was my backup drive uses firewire and there seems to be some problem with norton ghost and firewire ie it said it would take 24 hours to do about 9GB. Instead I made a partition on my C drive, Norton did a nice quick Ghost which I copied quickly to the firewire backup drive - but what a pain!

I would really get excited about a daily and incremental ghost of my C drive to my firewire drive. Does anyone know either how to make Norton do this quickly or some other software that does?

Otherwise I'll go with one of the software options mentioned in this thread to manage my 6GB of work files. I am leaning towards Retrospect - no pun intended :)

Essentially I need a backup solution that is:
- Automatic (daily)
- Quick (incremental)
- Works on Firewire

Nice to haves are:
- Standard file system so I can quickly go get any file without using the backup system.
- Backs up system files too - maybe monthly.


 2:00 pm on Nov 17, 2004 (gmt 0)

OK I am now enlightened!

I paid for and installed Norton Ghost 9. Only when I installed it did it tell me Norton Ghost only backs up drives, you can't select folders. So, having got that far I thought I might partition my drive into OS, Apps and Work. To do this I paid for Norton Majic Partitioner. Either (I forget which) Ghost 9 or the Partitioner says it requires the 'MS .net framework' installed, so I went and installed that too (it changed how I log on (very irritating)). At this point I thought I would hold off partitioning my well behaving hard drive and have a look at one of the other options.

From this thread I reviewed 'Retrospect'. Their site says some impressive things and they have a free trial download. So I downloaded and installed Retrospect. Retrospect has THE most complicated instructions for use I have seen. I got totally bogged down and confused - I only want to back up my work :o At this point I thought I would try one of the other options I heard about on this thread.

I had a look at the website for 'Handy Backup'. They have a free trial too :) I downloaded and installed it: Simple easy to follow instructions, it backs up my stuff, it doesn't put it in a weird proprietary file format (just copies it to my destination drive), it does quick incremental backups so my 6GB of work files takes about 2 minutes, and I can automate (schedule) the backups. It is also the cheapest option. I now have what I set out to find, a simple backup solution for a small business!

I also have some stuff to uninstall!


 12:28 am on Nov 18, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> I also have some stuff to uninstall! <<

Ain't that always the way...

This 37 message thread spans 2 pages: 37 ( [1] 2 > >
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