Backup Software

I would like to know which is the best software that will backup a system and then if you restore it, it will take your system to exactly what it was at the time of the back up. For instance, I backed up using the win2000 prof but I forgot to backup state so I guess I only got the files and not the registry.

I tried to use Norton Image from Norton SystemWorks 2003 but it seems to take a real long time but did complete. I have not tried the Ghost Clone but I think if I use this then I need to make sure that my receiving hard drive has a partition that is exactly the same size partition as the drive that I am cloning? I am using a 250GB external USB to back up data on two different desktops which both have two 40GB hard drives each.

I am backing up a desktop onto a WDC 250GB external via USB. I want a true quick and easy backup system as it is now so that if I restore it takes my system back to exactly what it was, registry and all. I would like to also be able to choose a single file or folder from this backup in the event that I do not want to actually take the system back to its original state.

I have not tried the Dantz Retrospect but that was my next try.  Does anybody know what is best to use for speed, accuracy, and user flexibility?  This question is probably not difficult but it is extremely urgent to me so I am offering 500points and will split these points to the best real life examples given and information provided. Thank you.

hinkleykAsked:
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Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
I only deal with commercial backup software and can tell you what id recommend and not??

Dont touch ARCServe with a bargepole, I dont want to start a debate - but its pants!

I Always rely on  Veritas Backup exec, always get it with (AT LEAST) the open file option, if your running SQL or exchange you can buy the bolt ons for them as well

Veritas Market an IDR (disaster recovery) option as well to enable you to rebuild from floppy or straight from backup media - allthough im running it, Thankfully Ive not had to use it. (The IDR)

I can get an enterprise server back on the road, with minimum downtime using this software. And veritas has saved my ass on a number of occations.

Remember your system is only as good as your last backup :0)

PeteL

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hinkleykAuthor Commented:
I am looking at the Veritas website:

Version 8.6 of VERITAS Backup ExecTM for
Windows NT and Windows 2000 Options


It looks pretty comprehensive. I am to understand that it includes all of the things listed on this page: http://www.veritas.com/us/products/backupexec/beoptionsnt2000.html#disaster
or do I buy seperate modules?

So, if right now all I have is seperate desktops but if I eventually network or setup a SQL server then it will work for this also?  
hinkleykAuthor Commented:
I can download a trial to try but I wasn't sure which one to choose. Can you please tell me?
http://www.veritas.com/products/ProductHome.jhtml

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chicagoanCommented:
If your use Ghost to make image files, you can look at that with Ghost Explorer to extract individual files.
Additionally you'll get pretty good compression and be able to restore a drive very easily and quickly.

The things that enterprise level software bring to the table are version control, tape aging, automatic tape otation, bar code scanning, fibre channel support, etc.

If you want a step up from Micro$soft backup, try:

AzGuard
$65
http://www.backup2001.com

Cobian Backup 5
free
http://www2.educ.umu.se/~cobian/cbu5.htm

FolderWatch 2.0
$19.95
Diginaut
http://www.diginaut.com/shareware/fw

actively monitors folders of your choice every minute, hour, day, week, or month, depending on the options you select. When it detects that a file has been edited or added to the folder, it immediately creates a backup in the background without any prompting from the user.

  Handy Backup 3.9
$30
Novosoft
http://www.handybackup.com



 $55 bundled with plug-ins for Outlook, Registry, and ICQ). It supports CD-R (CD-recordable) media and has a disc-spanning feature to accommodate larger backups.

PolderBackup
Free
http://www.xs4all.nl/~philippo/PolderBackup.htm



  AzGuard
$65
http://www.backup2001.com



If you want backup software that’s practically guaranteed to work with the backup media of your choice, whether it’s Zip disks, optical discs, or another computer on a network, AzGuard has you covered. The software supports several types of file compression, encrypts backups, and supports scheduling via the Windows Task Scheduler.

  Cobian Backup 5
Free
Luis Cobian
http://www2.educ.umu.se/~cobian/cbu5.htm



Cobian Backup 5 is basic, free, and very easy to use. It supports scheduling and file compression, and although encryption software is not included, you can password-protect your backups. Backup 5 also supports incremental backups, which saves a lot of time if you’re backing up large folders or the entire hard drive.

  FolderWatch 2.0
$19.95
Diginaut
http://www.diginaut.com/shareware/fw



FolderWatch is unique in that it actively monitors folders of your choice every minute, hour, day, week, or month, depending on the options you select. When it detects that a file has been edited or added to the folder, it immediately creates a backup in the background without any prompting from the user.

  Handy Backup 3.9
$30
Novosoft
http://www.handybackup.com



Handy Backup is a versatile product, especially considering its price ($30, $55 bundled with plug-ins for Outlook, Registry, and ICQ). It supports CD-R (CD-recordable) media and has a disc-spanning feature to accommodate larger backups. You can use both compression and encryption to crunch and protect files, and the software also supports scheduling. Despite its lengthy feature list, it’s relatively easy to use thanks to an intuitive interface. Its
separately available plug-ins let the software integrate with programs such as Outlook and ICQ to back up email and contact lists automatically.

PolderBackup
Free
http://www.xs4all.nl/~philippo/PolderBackup.htm

supports compression, incremental backups, and lets you add or exclude certain files from the backup process.
hinkleykAuthor Commented:
chicagoan:
Do the different products that you mention offer complete system reinstatement:

I hope that I am expressing my needs correctly. I feel confident in backing up files themselves. I think my problem is with the system itself. For instance, I was loading software on a new computer but first made a backup using win2000 and only did C drive but forgot to indicate backup of State. Then after about the sixth install, I started having a few quirks with lockup on the system and such. My assumption is that the registry or something happened with a system file so I ran 'One Button checkup' with systemworks 2003 and it said there were registry errors and I hit for it to correct the errors.

I am learning (or have interest in) system files and the way files and registry entries are manipulated during installations and uninstalls, etc. It would be nice to just say 'restore' and the system actually takes your computer to exactly where it was in time (system files and all) so that I don't have to restore an operating system from scratch and then reinstall each program one by one, etc.  Thank you for your advise.
Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
Veritas Backup Exec 9.0 is the current base product

Than you can optionally get

The Advanced open file option
 Or
The IDR disaster recovery option

The base product above will suffice but wont back up files that are currently "in use" hence my recommendation on getting the open file option

PetEL
hinkleykAuthor Commented:
PeteLong:

Thanks for the recommendation. I will look at it further.
chicagoanCommented:
A Ghost image is your best bet for disaster recovery for the money.

CA's Arcserve (BrightStor), NovaNet and HP's Omniback are the "boot from tape" one button disaster recovery" products I've seen actually work, all $$$$

Take a look at http://www.sysinternals.com/ntw2k/source/regmon.shtml to monitor registry changes.

http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;Q322755 explains how to backup the registry, not a bad idea before installing software in the event it doesn't back out nicely.

Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
>>CA's Arcserve + actually work

Theres two comments i dont see in the same sentence very often LOL
Yes it does but weigh up the support costs and administrative effort keeping it running, ive worked with

2k workgroup
2k advanced
brightstor
agent for exchange
agent for SQL
arcserve 6 for netware
arcserve 6.6 enterprise
arcserve 7 enterprise

DONT BUY THEM! yes they cost $$$$ chicagoan is bang on he money with that one :0) but when you are spending a vast majority of your time keeping your backup software running, then factor in the wages of the technicians doing this and your paying even more $$$$ to keep it running.

as an example service pack 3 was a collection of dll's and other files which had to be copied MANUALLY one by one to the ARCserve directory after the old ones were renamed! Come on this is supposed to be an enterprise solution??

PeteL
chicagoanCommented:
We use Arcserve in our enterprise. It works. It costs a budle, but it's worth it in this environment.
I wouldn't use it at home it I wasn't running a 'development' server someone else paid for.
Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
:^) Im glad someone is happy with it LOL

Pete
hinkleykAuthor Commented:
I want to thank you both for your time and effort to help me. As mentioned, I think most of my problem at this point is the lack of knowledge in how files are being manipulated during installations and uninstalls. I am a computer science major who has been dealing mainly with programming languages and not so much in the area of file system, which I have a real interest and curiosity.

I have made backups of my registry through the regedit but from what I understand, you cannot just take the snapshot of the register and replace the current register with the old, you can only import the hives you want, which basically means that the bad hives, if any, that reside in your current registry will still remain intact. I guess I have a lot to learn. As for registry trackers, I use Tracker v.2.19, which I found to be very comprehensive, which list additions, changes, deletions to not only registry entries but also files themselves, including ini files. The only problem is you would have to manually reverse the entries by hand one by one if you want your system back to where it was instead of using an auto process.

Anymore comments that you may have would be greatly appreciated but I am closing the question as accepted. Thanks again.
Pete LongTechnical ConsultantCommented:
ThanQ
andyalderCommented:
LOL, lets all bash Arcserve. Used to be a good product when Cheyenne owned it. Just like BE used to be good when Arcada owned it.
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