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Making mirror images of hard drives

Posted on 2003-11-17
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I've been pretty fortunate over the years, and I've never had a hard drive crash that contained a boot partition (c:\) or that contained any data that wasn't backed up.  I have currently 7 PCs, with a total of approx 15 hard drives between them.  I just recently had one of the hard drives go bad, but it was the drive to which I stored BackUp EXEC QIC files to.  In other words, I lost the my backed up files.  That's no big deal, since the original files were intact.  The defective drive has been replaced with a new one, and I'm back to where I was before the drive crashed.  Like I said, I've been lucky.

I do back ups to external drives, to internal drives, and to tape.  I do not have to fear losing data.  However, I have a major weak spot in that if one of drives that contain the boot partitions (that contain c:\) goes bad, I'm looking at having to reinstall Windows, and all of the hundreds of programs installed on C:\, along with all of the tweaks, etc.  Since some of these 7 PCs are servers, and have been tweaked and configured to a point I'd spend days, if not weeks trying to reconfigure them back to their original state, I need to get more serious in having a mirror of the entire hard drive (or boot partition) on hand in case disaster strikes.

I purchased a copy of Drive Image v 4.0 a few years ago, hoping that it would be able to create mirrors of the drives.  But alas, the fine print says that it will not work with Windows 2000 Server or XP.  I have 3 PCs running W2K Server, and 1 running XP.

There is a version 5 of Drive Image available, but to the best of my knowledge, it still doesn't suppot W2K Server.

The question(s) is:

1) What is the best way to periodically make mirrored images of partitions on a W2K server?

2) Is there some other software available that will handle all versions of Windows, including Server?

3) Is there a hardware device that will mirror an IDE hard drive to another IDE so that I can have a complete twin CD waiting in the wings should I ever need to replace a drive?

Any other comments are appreciated.
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Question by:Monroe406
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by:Luc Franken
ID: 9767295
1) Norton Ghost
2) sure there are, but I found Ghost to be the most effective if you look at the price and what it can do.
3) I have no idea what you're asking here?? There are IDE raid-controllers, if you where looking for those, not sure what you mean by the "complete twin CD waiting" part of this.

LucF
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by:philby11
ID: 9767309
You could try Symantec Ghost to make a clone of your drive.
To Mirror the drive involves having another HDD of at least the size of the original & configuring RAID 1.
This is a feature supported on some motherboards or you can buy controllers that do the job as well.
The controllers come in a variety of formats, @ the top of the range is the hot swap cages.
But what you are looking at is a software solution for "the best way to periodically make mirrored images"
doesn't Drive Image 4 come with a make disater recovery option? this is basically the same thing.
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by:Monroe406
ID: 9767338
>> 3) I have no idea what you're asking here??

I'm referring to some sort of docking station, where you plug two drives into, and press a button, and presto, an hour later, the second drive is a mirror of the first.
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by:Monroe406
ID: 9767354
>> doesn't Drive Image 4 come with a make disater recovery option?

Not for W2K Server, it doesn't.
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by:philby11
ID: 9767366
Ok then you are looking @ a hot swap cage.
they are not cheap but work really well
 Arco Duplidisk 3 is awesome you dont power down the pc to perform a mirror
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by:philby11
ID: 9767375
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by:Luc Franken
ID: 9767383
>I'm referring to some sort of docking station, where you plug two drives into, and press a button, and presto, an hour later, the second drive is a mirror of the first.
Why not using one drive as a hot swap drive?
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by:Bartender_1
ID: 9767415
Hi Monroe406,
There are actually a few different ways to accomplish this:

1) Use the built in backup program. (Click Start -->Programs -->Accessories -->System Tools --> Backup)
Use this to backup your system drive and system state to a file. Then copy this file to whatever media you wish.

3) Use Disk Management to create a mirrored disk. (See here for more info on creating a mirrored set. http://www.microsoft.com/windows2000/en/server/help/sag_DISKhowto_3d.htm)


Hope this helps!

:o)

Bartender_1
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Author Comment

by:Monroe406
ID: 9767423
>> Why not using one drive as a hot swap drive?

I don't have a spare cable connection or drive bay on most of these machines for a hot swap drive.  Some of these machines are 1U servers, or laptops.
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by:Luc Franken
Luc Franken earned 50 total points
ID: 9767431
If you don't want to switch to laptop drives as the device philby11 suggested, take a look at this card:
http://www.promise.com/product/product_detail_eng.asp?productId=84&familyId=7

LucF
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Author Comment

by:Monroe406
ID: 9767474
>> Use Disk Management to create a mirrored disk.

But this isn't available on Windows 95/98/ME or XP.  In fact, the help file says, "You can create mirrored volumes only on computers running Windows 2000 Server."
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by:philby11
philby11 earned 50 total points
ID: 9767478
I have set several of these things up for clients & they have compatability with any drives on the market today.
they come in PCI, SCSI,usb & IDE
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Author Comment

by:Monroe406
ID: 9767513
>> You could try Symantec Ghost to make a clone of your drive.

The problem with Ghost is that they assume you are a corporation and won't sell less than 10 licenses.  That means I'm looking at roughly $400 to buy Ghost.  That's a bit pricey for software for a small home office.  Granted, you can't put a price tag on the peace of mind of having backups in place, but I hesitate to spend $400 without being able to actually test-drive/evaluate the software first.
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by:Bartender_1
ID: 9767554
Have you looked at this?

NORTON GHOST PERSONAL EDITION
http://www.symantec.com/sabu/ghost/ghost_personal/

:o)

Bartender_1
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Author Comment

by:Monroe406
ID: 9767559
>> http://duplidisk.com/products/raidsolutions/microraid.html 

Regarding the DupliDisk3 MicroRAID... I unfortunately don't understand the concept.  This isn't going to do me any good with my laptops, or with the 1U server.  How am I going to create mirrored images for 15 hard drives in 7 PCs with this?

I appreciate all the advice, but I'm seeing that there is no single solution to my needs.
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Author Comment

by:Monroe406
ID: 9767587
>> Have you looked at this? NORTON GHOST PERSONAL EDITION


No, I haven't.  It's definitely more affordable, but it seems to have the same limitation that Drive Image has...it doesn't support Win2K SERVER.

Looks like I'll have to settle on a two part solution:

1) Buy spare hard drives and use the Disk Management "mirror" wizard on my servers

2) Upgrade to Drive Image 5 or Symantec Ghost for my laptop, and 95/98/ME/XP PCs.



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Bartender_1 earned 60 total points
ID: 9767656
Unfortunately, I don't know of any single "all encompassing" solution.

I believe the two part solution you have is probably going to be the best and easiest to implement.

:o)

Bartender_1
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by:Andrewhsia
Andrewhsia earned 40 total points
ID: 9767703
Drive Image 2003 will image w2k both professional and server. I believe it was only 50 dollars.
I use it at work all the time for that. It also supports some sort of image update when the image changes, but I have not used that feature.
If you are really paranoid about mirrors, I would consider going to a raid configuration. HD are cheap.
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by:Andrewhsia
ID: 9767706
Opps Drive image 2002. by Power Quest.
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