clizlee wrote:Thanks for all your help DSperber. I was able to successfully backup both my hard drives.
Glad I could help out.
Of course, until you've proven to yourself that you can actually RECOVER something successfully having a "successful backup" isn't yet of any value. You should confirm that you know how to do a selective RESTORE of something from those backups you've now got, and that the results are exactly what you expect.
One other question I have is, say my hard drive crashed and I have to get a new computer or new hard drive, so I'd have to first install Novastor on my new one and then would I just run the restore feature using the backup files I created? Also, all the software I now have on my computer, would that also be recovered? Or do I need to do something different to create like a backup of my software programs?
You're really asking multiple questions here: (a) how would I use NovaBackup to recover data (folder, file, anything on any drive that's considered "data") in the event I needed to, and (b) how would I recover say an entire drive/partition on my existing machine if I had to replace a hard drive or two, and (c) would I be able to get back a bootable usable Windows along with all of the software and programs currently installed, and (d) what if I bought a completely new machine?
Lots of questions. So there are lots of answers.
(1) First of all, regarding true "disaster recovery", my own feeling is that I do NOT use NovaBackup's "Disaster Recovery" functionality as I am not comfortable with it. Too many issues reported by other users for me to trust it, and in a moment of disaster the last thing I want is an untrustworthy recovery tool. I want a 100% guaranteed usable recovery mechanism that I am absolutely certain will get me back to exactly the last taken "system image" I've taken with the product.
With Win7, the default "disaster recovery" mechanism provided by Microsoft is "system image" which is a new facility with Win7. If you need to recover (say you replaced your primary hard drive where Windows lives on the C-partition) you would boot to either the Windows Repair CD (which you create as a standalone bootable media for exactly this type of situation) and then initiate the "system image" restore to the newly purchased hard drive, or you would boot to the original Win7 Installation DVD itself which can also be used to initiate the "system image" restore.
In either case, once standalone booted you use the "system image" restore functionality of Win7 to literally copy that "system image" from wherever you wrote it (to an external USB drive is a commonly used location) to the new hard drive.
If you originally had additional partitions on the old and now replaced hard drive, you'll obviously have to restore more than just the C-partition. And you'll have to recreate the partitions on that drive before you restore them. And depending on how you backed up those partitions (i.e. "system image" or "data"), that determines the method you would now use to recover/restore the newly created empty partitions on the newly purchased drive from your backups.
Ok... NovaBackup's Disaster Recovery functionality purports to be the same idea as the Win7 "system image" functionality. I cannot speak to it. I've never tried it, because of other user reports of problems. So I don't trust it, and don't want to gamble. I do, however, trust Win7 and Microsoft and "system image" functionality"... because I myself HAVE used it, and it worked perfectly. I use NovaBackup for ordinary everyday "data" backups, for convenient and reliable folder/file backups that I can use the NovaBackup RESTORE function for if I need to recover something I've accidentally deleted, or maybe I want to restore an old version to replace something I've broken or corrupted. But for the contents of my C-partition and Win7 and my installed programs, and reliable disaster recovery from a true disaster... I use Win7's "system image" functionality and not NovaBackup's.
Actually, to be honest, I don't even use MS's "system image" functionality any longer. I've actually purchased the Macrium Reflect Standard product, which is yet another "system image" based program, with exactly the same type of goal and objective in providing disaster recovery to the user. However this program is far more capable than the MS or Novastor design, and can do lots more... including restoring the "system image" to different hardware configurations than was originally present when the "system image" was taken, as well as selectively recovering individual partition "system images" from within a large multi-partition backup that backed up many partitions in one job.
And, furthermore, the Macrium Reflect standalone boot CD is WinPE-based, which is a much more friendly and familiar and capable interface than either Linux or even the Win7 Repair CD or Installation DVD. It's like real Windows.
Bottom line: my recommendation is that for true disasters, you should be using Macrium Reflect (they have a FREE version as well, which is perfectly adequate though not as powerful and flexible as the STANDARD version which I bought). This will give you everything you really want and need, to backup and restore COMPLETE PARTITIONS... including your C-partition where Windows and programs and USER DATA AND DOCUMENTS live.
Of course, once you restore a "system image" you're exactly back where you were when that "system image" was taken. If it's a week old, then that's how far you just got set back. Yes, your system is running again... on your newly purchased hard drive to replace the one that died. But you have a whole week of further data and updates to somehow also apply to that restored "system image" from last weekend. That's why a proper combination of both (a) "system image" backups, and (b) normal "data" backups" are required for true up-to-the-moment (or, say, last night) recovery capability.
(2) If you buy a new machine, you're going to have to reinstall all of your programs and software products. It's not just \Program Files that gets built when you install a program... it's also Registry entry, Start Menu folders, desktop shortcut objects, etc. And that only happens when you actually run the INSTALL.EXE or SETUP.EXE or whatever.
As far as data, well you can always restore "data" from a backup to any target location you want. If it's to a second partition you've created on the large 1TB hard drive that came with your new machine, great. You've now got data stored on that second partition. You can now make use of it with whatever programs can read it.
If it's a document or file of some sort you can even restore it into the \Users folders of Win7 (aka "\Documents and Settings" for WinXP), and use it from there. That's just another "data" location". And "data" is not "programs", and thus CAN just be restored from a backup and used directly from its restored location without much of a consideration.
(3) Myself... I run the following scheme to protect myself (and my four hard drives, which have 11 partitions on them C-M). All backups are to a 2TB external USB 3.0 drive. Secondary backups are also taken monthly to a DAT160 tape drive, to have a conceptual "off-site" second copy providing at least a reasonable degree of failsafe emergency backup in the event I lost my USB drive along with my machine and its internal hard drives.
(a) scheduled monthly FULL backup of each partition (individually) to USB disk; I omit large special "data warehouse" folders (e.g. for videos, images, music) which I have separate occasional backups for those folders. Novabackup is used, with "append" specified to that each new backup is retained and nothing is automatically deleted. I manually "prune" things every month, so that I normally have 2 months retained on USB disk of these "monthly" FULL backups.
These monthly FULL partition backups are also duplicated on DAT tape (but multiple partitions combined onto a single tape, because of the large capacity of the DAT cartridge). I retain 6 generations of these tapes.
NOTE: since I do NOT use the NovaBackup NBD dataset for my C-partition to recover anything other than \Users data, I actually do not back up my \Windows folder in the C-partition backup. I do backup the \Program Files folder just to have it, but don't ever use it really to recovery anything from. My primary true backup of the C-partition is in "system image" form (not "data" form), and comes from Macrium Reflect (see below). So I also do not backup the Windows Registry and other critical Windows objects... because I don't trust NovaBackup to restore them correctly. I instead will restore the entire C-partition from a weekly "system image" taken with Macrium Reflect, if I have to recover from a severe disaster.
(b) scheduled daily INCREMENTAL backup to USB disk of all "data" folders from all partitions in one job; again, "data warehouse" folders are omitted. Again, "append" is specified so that each daily backup does not erase any prior day's version.
Every month I delete all of these daily incremental backups going back older than 2 months (i.e. older than my oldest FULL backup on disk, which is only 2 months old according to my scheme).
Thus, at the start of each new month I have 1 month (say 30 days) of "daily recovery" capability from the just-taken current FULL backup as well as last month's FULL backup, along with all of the daily INCREMENTAL backups taken on each day of last month which I also still have. Then as each day of this month progresses, I accumulate 1 day at a time of additional "daily recovery" capability, thus eventually achieving at the end of the current month a full 2 months (say 60 days) of "daily recovery" capability because of the the fact that I now have my 2 FULL backups along with 60 daily INCREMENTAL backups.
So at the start of the month I can recover any file I have had on my system during the past 30 days, and at the end of the month I've also got recovery capability for any of the 30 days of the current month, for a total of 60 days of "daily recovery" if I needed it.
1st of the next month? New FULL backups (new generation +0) run automatically, and I manually purge my -2 generation FULL backup (retaining last month's -1 generation FULL backup). I also delete all of the now 2-month or older daily INCREMENTAL backups. I also delete all the corresponding LOGS and XML (RESTORE) entries for the NBD backups I'm purging, to keep everything in sync should I need to do a "time-based RESTORE".
(c) scheduled weekly "system image" backups to USB disk using Macrium Reflect; since I have a dual-boot WinXP/Win7 system (even though I'm virtually never in WinXP anymore) I backup both my Win7 and WinXP partitions in this weekly job in "system image" form. Just as with "append" in NovaBackup, Macrium Reflect allows for a "suffix" to be appended to the backup file names in the target folder, so no images are deleted when a new job is run.
This weekly "system image" of both Win7 and WinXP is my true fallback disaster/recovery, either for (a) genuine hardware failure, or (b) serious Windows corruption. The multiple generations I retain allow me successively older (but still usable) versions of my system. Coupled with the "data" backups from Novastor and the 30-60 days of "daily recovery" capability that scheme provides me, I could definitely rebuild a machine that was effectively up-to-last-night's-backup without too terribly much effort. Yes, I'd have to reinstall any programs I may have installed or upgraded since the "system image" I used to recover was taken, but that's probably quite minor and easily done (since my program installation files are kept on a different partition than Windows, and is backed up like "data"). The important thing is that I would not lose any data, which is the prime criteria by which the whole system must live up to in order to be considered "adequate".
Note that this is a huge flexibility advantage of Macrium Reflect over Microsoft's own "system image" functionality which only allows one single "system image" to be written to a target hard drive, and it must go in the root of that drive, and it has a fixed constant name. In contrast, the Macrium Reflect "system image" file is just like any other file (with an .MRIMG extension) and can be placed in any folder and have any name. Like a ZIP file.
Get a 2TB external USB 3.0 drive if you don't already have one. Get a USB 3.0 PCIe adapter card for your PC, if your PC doesn't already support USB 3.0... the HUGE performance improvements over USB 2.0 are easily worth the trivial $15 the card will cost you.
My hardware recommendations:
(1) 2TB Verbatim drive (actually Samsung SATA, in USB 2.0/3.0 enclosure):http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/8 ... _Save.html
(2) PCIe USB 3.0 adapter card:http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search?Nt ... Search=yes