Backup OS Drive and Restore - Best Practice

Hello all;

I am getting ready to set up a backup of my system.
And need someone to give some helpful know-how advice.

I have been checking in on Norton Ghost as an option.

Let me explain my situation a little.
I have a 20gb drive, which at the current time, only about 1/2 is taken up since the system
Was re-installed the other day.
Now, I have to reinstall my system at least once "1 time" every month, this is due to corruption
from the development that I do with my business.
And since I just recently got into Video Production as a business instead of a hobby, it too
Puts a lot of strain on drivers and windows system, thus causing corruption at some point.
And I have to reinstall.

What I want to do really soon, like maybe this evening, is creat a backup of my C:\ Drive.
With the best program available for this.

This is the KEY Question.
When I create the backup, it will be done on a Mapped drive, that has my shares on for this system.
So, I will be doing the backup say:  S:\Backup\

When I go to restore this backup, what are the best practices and steps to take in order to get the system backup and running, AND what is the time frame from start to finish of the Backup?

It takes me about 3hrs now, with one heck of a Slipped Stream CD, which has nearly everything on it that is needed, to be up-to-date, so that all I have to do is install programs.

Will the Norton Ghost (or) Equivalent do it this fast or faster?

Thanks All, and hopefully this post was not to rambly...

LVL 31
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperAsked:
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Ernie BeekExpertCommented:
Acronis might be interesting:
Having used both Ghost and Acronis, I prefer Acronis True Image.
dbruntonQuid, Me Anxius Sum?Commented:
>>  When I go to restore this backup, what are the best practices and steps to take in order to get the system backup and running, AND what is the time frame from start to finish of the Backup?

I'm assuming you are using a DOS based version of Ghost.  You need to test that you have the network drivers to connect to your shared drive first.  Time frame for reinstallation depends on how fast your network connection is and how much data is involved.  I suspect that you are going to beat your 3 hours speed easily.  10 Gb across a network and written to disk in under 3 hours should not be a problem.

You could also look at using Ghost to write to an attached USB drive rather than across a network.  Might be a faster option again.
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for making a disk Backup, AKA disk image, i found paragon a good working tool.
 i believe it is even free :

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Install a virtual machine (virtual pc, vmware,...)
Install from scratch and copy the virtual disk.
Use the copy to work with and if the time is there to reinstall you just make a new copy from your scratch install and you can start over again.

You need just once the time to install from scratch and after that you just need 5 min. to copy your drive again, again and again.
(Copy is just copy paste in windows)

We always use virtual machine for testing.

Hope this is usefull
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Had the motherboard go bad on my Server Sunday evening, and it was not until yesterday evening that I was able to get my other board out and reinstall the server.
So, I am now backup and running again, so I will be looking in on the suggestions provided by all today.

@erniebeek & c_a_n_o_n
I have head a lot about Acronis, will look in on that one.

I am not using nothing at the moment.
Just trying to get some idea's, as the main thing that I am looking for right now
Is a solution that will exable me to do a fast restore, that is my main priority.
So rather it is Ghost or Acronis or another program.
As long as I can insert a cd that has what is required, to get the image sent backover to my system
Then I am happy.

Thanks for the information on Paragon.
I will look in on it as well.

I am familar with Virtual Machines, but your post is little confusing on how it would work in replacing my windows system drive?
That is what I am after, I am not working off from a VM for my main os.

Thanks All;
ok cirrzkas, post results
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperAuthor Commented:
I spelled your name right, why can't you spell mine :)
After all the post we have been in together Nubos
Oppps. Suppose to be Nobus

Have a good one, will post back when I get the change to run the backups.
nothing works as good as tickling the others with the same
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperAuthor Commented:
:) You got that right!
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperAuthor Commented:
I am testing out the following 
It does a backup of 5gb of a 10gb size backup.
I have yet to test the restore part of it.
I will do that sometime this week.

The backup that it creates, takes about 20 minutes, which is right fast.
That is good, I just hope that the actual backup is good.
Will find out soon.

I always use Backup exec system recovery
It is even possible to create image and set it back to different hardware
Ther is a server and a desktop edition
It is not free but the desktop edition is around 50€ for a trial
is you probably know, paragon is recommended on EE often - also by noxcho
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Hello Guys.
To update you all.

#1: The installation that I created the backup from was a bad install
So I could not use that backup to successfully do a backup, so I did not test it.

#2: I have reinstalled me system, but it did not do a good install either, as the slipstream cd did not do right.

#3: I am going to install the system again from scratch
What I mean by scratch is from the Original XPMCE CD, and then install all updates and everything that is needed, plus all my programs.

Once I perform #3 above, I will then perform the Backup routine again using the Paragon program.

I do have one question regarding the Paragon program.
Before doing the Backup, within the Paragon program, you are given several options and switches to add to your backup.
Can you Nobus, point me to some good resources or better yet, a Video that explains this a little better?

My plain is to perform the scratch install either this coming up week or the next week.
I have a LOT that I have to do before I perform the scratch install, as it takes a LOT longer than the slipstream install does.

Take Care
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Thank Nobus
I will check these out later on this afternoon.
Right now, I have to get a part of our new site functioning, which is being a pain.

Thank you once again.
no problem - always welcome
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperAuthor Commented:
I will be reinstalling the system towards the end of the week.
I am pretty sure that everything is going to go good.
I will then create my backup with paragon, and once I have it created
And my CD created, I will then run the Restore test immediatly there after.

I want to thank Nobus for you helpful advice and links
Though the guy in the YouTube video that you gave was enough
To put yourself to sleep or shot yourself with bordom.
I found a few others useful videos that gave me everything that I needed (I think) to do what I need.

Thank you once again Nobus
no problem- you're  welcome!
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Got a questions for you.

I am getting ready to reinstall my system here in about an hour.
By the end of the day, I will creating my backup, and then immediately doing the recovery.

My ?
#1: If I Activate windows prior to the backup, WILL it be still Activated when I Restore?
#2: If #1 is negative and I have to reactivate, WILL the Restore have a new install timestamp (or) will it have the originals install timestamp? (As in: I install today: 3/31/2011  And I restore in say: 4/15/2011. Will it take on the new date (or) the Original date of installation)

Thanks for your information thus far, you have been great.

if you do a factorey reset - no , you'll have to activate again afaik
as for the date, i suppose it will have the factory restore's date - but i must say i never checked that...
you can always mail me - see profile, but don't expect directly an answer, because i only look at that mail a couple of times per month...
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperAuthor Commented:
I emailed the company and have a ticket open with them.
Will post back my findings...

Have a good one Nobus.
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Nothing back from the company yet.
I did read this though

It seems that you do not have to reactivate as long as it is on the same hardware (System).

The one thing that I want to check out is the Timestamp.
I had a bad day of reinstalls yesterday.
My Slipstream SP3 CD well, it went bad and was just created using nlite
For some reason it killed Internet Explorer and gave me an error 5 minutes before installation completed.

I created another slipstream w/o SP3, but just with my credentials and that installed perfectly.
I had the SP3 and all hotfixes already located on the system, so everything is up-to-date and running perfectly so far.

I am going to create the backup here in about 30 minutes.
And am going to test it out sometime this weekend, I just HOPE that it all goes well, which I am expecting it to do good.

Once I know that the backup works like it suppose to.
I will then Activate Windows and create another Backup from that one.

Take care and have a great weekend.
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperAuthor Commented:
I have been using the Slipstream for years.
I have created probably close to 100 or not more, for not only my self, but for others as well, and NEVER have I ran into the issue that I did this last go around.
It was a mess.

I cannot remember the exact error, but when I got on the desktop and clicked on [Internet Explorer (or) outlook Express] from the start menu, the only thing that I received was the IE Properties Dialog.
Created the CD again (This time on a RW)
Same issue.
Then again, from my Server and... Same issue (That was 3)
Then I said enough.
I created the nlite CD and only added in the KEY, the WINNT folder structure and my THEME (Which did not work because you have to have SP3 in order to activate the THEMES)

I have it installed and as long as the backup does what I HOPE it will do come Sunday, then I will be happy.
I will do a Clean (so to speak) Restore every 2-3 weeks.
So, no more CD's, just read from the drive and I am ready to roll.

Have a good one Nobus.
wh don't we come together and hove 2 good one's?
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperAuthor Commented:
I got in a response from paragon and they stated that as long as it is restored back to the original system, that the Activation will stick.
As in, you will not have to re-activate windows.

So that is good to know.
I am still going to test Sunday and make sure all goes well before activating.
I am on my 2nd CD Code, as I had over-did my activation limit back in January this year.
(You are only allowed 35 activations, and I did that in 5 years)
So. I have only activated this Number once and that is when the Microsoft tech gave it to me, and we tested it.
So, no more activations until I know that I have a solid running system...
never knew that much about activations...they don't make it easy
no wonder everbody 's hallelujah-ing about apple...
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperAuthor Commented:
The reason why it is so bad with Microsoft is because it is the most pirated os software on the market, you do not see people pirating apple os not nearly close to as much as you do Microsoft products.

Think that is bad with the OS.
How about the new Office 2010.
You install it for the trial, last 90 days.
Once it is done, if you are like me, and have to reinstall your OS a LOT.
Then you have to reinstall your programs as well, and Office 2010 is one that I have to reinstall.
Well, the Trial WILL NOT install no more on your system after the 90 days is up.
It is hardward specific.
That is a PAIN in more ways than one.

Atleast with the Paragon backup and restore.
I WILL not have to worry about the activation on this or any other system in the network from now on.
Activate once and then forget about it.
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperAuthor Commented:
Hello nobus
Just wanted to update you, as well as others that may be interested.

My regular installation usually takes around 5-7+ hours to complete.
That is a full installation from WinXPMCE SP1, then installation SP3
All updates and then the programs that I use, which are heavy installs.
(Adobe and SQL Server Programs)

Using the [paragon Backup and Resore 2011 FREE Edition]
20 Minutes to Backup a single partition from a 120Gb Drive Partitioned out.
This Backup has the
First Hard Disk Track
Master Boot Record
Local Disk (C:) (Used about 11.7gb out of 19.5gb)

The Restore
30 Minutes from Start to Finish.
Takes about 3 minutes for it to boot the FIRST time to the desktop, BUT all works wonderfully.
All programs worked like a charm, without any issues.

20 minutes - Backup
30 minutes - Restore
50 Minutes - Completion

Compared to: 5-7 HOURS!
I will do the Paragon from now on.
Carrzkiss - thanks for the detailed feedback, most appreciated
(while helping others, we help ourselves) --> hey, does that not look like a good EE slogan?
i hope to get some income out of it (lol)
Wayne BarronAuthor, Web DeveloperAuthor Commented:
You are not kidding.
I have helped a LOT of people here on EE and have HAD a lot of broken
Promises from a few of them.
Some contacting me off EE and asking for help and promising to pay
I finally started doing the work, and then putting it on my server
And then after they say YES please send code.
I then tell the person... Pay first, then you get the code.
No more freebies....

Take Care nobus
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