How to use Acronis?

MGothelf
MGothelf used Ask the Experts™
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I have downloaded the trial version of Acronis True Image and have been using it for a couple of weeks.  I have set it to do incremental backups every four hours.  I now have over a hundred incrementals.  In a year I would have thousands.

How do I manage them?  Do I need to save them all?  Should I do a full backup periodically and delete all the old incrementals? (This seems like a lot of work for a product that is supposed to be so easy to work with.)
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There is a "disk management" feature within Acronis where you can tell it how many generations of incremental backups you want before it starts it all over.  You can also specify how many gb's to allocate.  It's very cool.  The thing I really like about Acronis is that they support older versions for the purpose of restores.  You can pop in a newish Acronis CD, find the backup on the USB drive and restore even if that backup was done with an older version. Sweet!
  If you want to manage if manually: Wipe the old incrementals and full backup and start again.
That has nothing to do with product - only with your needs and backup plan.
If you use incremental backups, you need to store full backup and all successive incremental backups.
Normally I prefer using full backup or combination of full backup and differential backup.
In that case for restoring you would need only two backups - full and one of the differential backups.
In your case I would make full backup every week or two and then maybe a combination of differential and incremental backups. Per example differential once a day, incremental every four hours.
If you are interested only in last backup, than you remove all backups older than last full backup and all backups older older than last differential backup - except the full one.



Author

Commented:
Davorin:
Whats the difference between differential and incremental?  Sounds like what I want is differential.
Budi SantosoIT Infrastructure Manager
Commented:
The weakness of acronis is they cannot limit how much the incremental.
Example method of Incremental :
Monday: Full
Tuesday: only changes in tuesday
Wednesday: only changes in wednesday
Thursday: only changes in Thursday
So to restore incremental you need Full plus ALL set backup.

Example method of Differential :
Monday: Full
Tuesday: changes in tuesday
Wednesday: changes in tuesday and wednesday
Thursday: changes in tuesday, wednesday, and Thursday
So to restore differential you need Full plus only LAST backup.
Incremental backup backups only files, that are changed from the last backup. It tends to be smaller in size, but if you want to restore you need full backup and whole series of incremental backup until the time you want to restore. If you have lots of incremental backups, the restore procedure could be long and if one of the inc. backups is corrupted or lost you can restore only to that moment. All later backups have no value.

Differential backup backups all files, that are changed from last full backup. It grows in time but if you restore you need only to backups - full and last (or appropriate) diff. one.

It really depends on how much space you have for backups, frequency of them, for how long in past you have to retain backups, time window for backups. But normally if you have to restore you must do that as quickly as possible. Because of that I do full backups as frequent as possible - also every night and differential when I don't have enough storage space/time to do full backups.
It is not perfect, but it is simple to restore.
http://www.backup4all.com/kb/backup-types-115.html

Author

Commented:
Thanks.  I think the differential backup is the better solution for me.  

Two more questions about the differential.  Lets say that I do a full backup on Sunday night, and a differential backup Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc.

(1) If file "ABC.Dat" becomes corrupted, can I recover it individually, or do I have to do a full restore?  
(2)Can I recover file "ABC.Dat" as of Tuesday?
(1) Yes, you can restore individual files.
(2) Yes, you can restore that file using full backup from Sunday night and Tuesday's differential backup.

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