Link to home
Create AccountLog in
Avatar of IT_Fanatic
IT_Fanatic

asked on

Backing up user PC's

I want to create images of all user PC's so that if there machine goes down i can just bring them back up to the current state of that image. Rather than rebuilding the PC and patching it left and right.

Do you recommend
1) Windows Backup
2) Acronis
3) or any other software thats good for this task.

Also any that are good at dissimilar hardware.

Recommendations for non dissimilar HW and with dissimilar HW.
Avatar of Paul MacDonald
Paul MacDonald
Flag of United States of America image

We use Acronis because it allows bare-metal restore.  We've never had to test it, and I hope never to need to.
I have heard decent things about Acronis. We use Symantec Ghost and back up images to a USB hard drive. We HAVE had to use the images and they work fine. Saves lots of time.
Windows backup should run OK, although it isn't very user friendly. I wouldn't recommend Acronis or Symantec at all, but rather Paragon backup and recovery. It is less expensive, works very well, and can easily restore to dissimilar hardware (provided the OS isn't OEM).

A very good free product is CloneZilla. You boot it from either a CD or USB stick, and then create the image to a LAN locations, USB disk or other disk. But it doesn't work for dissimilar hardware.
To clarify, we've restored our Acronis backups, but never had to do a bare-metal restore.
Avatar of IT_Fanatic
IT_Fanatic

ASKER

The majority of our PC's are OEM. I did a full backup of one computer which was the "golden image" received another computer of the same specs model to the tee and restored the backup using Acronis and it will not boot. Is it because it was OEM?
Certainly we can use Symantec to restore to an exact duplicate PC . Make sure BIOS and chipset levels are the same. You could have a driver difference.
Once i restore the PC i get the " no boot disk" message on post
OEM should still boot, but you should run into problems with the activation of the OS.
A bare-metal restore is supposed to be hardware-agnostic.  That is, you backup one machine, then restore that image anywhere.  Obviously it can't always work, but it should work most of the time.
When you create a Ghost image you must create it as bootable. Did you do that with Acronis?
How did you do a bare-metal restore with Acronis? I just ran a full backup after all the patches were applied and setting configured before it was deployed to production.
I use Ghost as I mentioned and create a bootable image. The I use a Symantec USB bootable key, start with the USB key which loads a Ghost program that can restore the bootable image.
Have a look on Hard Disk Manager 15 from www.paragon-software.com 
It takes both bare metal (entire HDD) and partition backups. You can restore with it to dissimilar hardware and adjust the os to it via P2P Adjust OS.
@IT_Fanatic  - It probably matters more HOW you use a product than specifically WHAT brand name product you choose.

You need to be able to create bootable images which is normally an option in the backup tool. Make sure your choice has this option. Save the image to a USB Hard Drive.

You need to have a bootable USB key with your choice of backup tool on the USB Key.

You put a new hard drive in a computer, plug in the USB key to one port and the USB Hard Drive to another port. Boot off the first port, run the software and load the bootable image from the USB Hard Drive onto the new hard drive. This works. I have done it.
>>  Once i restore the PC i get the " no boot disk" message on post  <<

did you restore the whole disk?  probably you did not image the system partition

that said -  i also recommend Paragon disk manager, as said above
Have you made sure the cloned disk is set to "Active"? Boot the PC using GParted and check the "Boot" flag is set on the correct partition, and if not, set it:

http://gparted.org
My favourite Imaging/Cloning software is Macrium Reflect

Every time you boot a PC you have the default option of letting it boot normally into your OS (XP/WIN7/WIN8)
OR ...

Force it to boot into the Macrium Reflect/WindowsPE environment, where you browse to
an image on your network/External USB etc. and do a full system restore.
(You can also create a bootable CD/DVD in case your hard fails)

Macrium Reflect is very reliable and so easy to use
i am just participating in a question where Macrium reflect hosed the boot.ini file..
I did not clone the HDD. I just made a full backup image on the machine using Acronis True Image 15
You still need to make such image bootable as noted above.
You can't boot from an image. You have to restore the image to another HD in order for that HD to be able to boot. An image is just a file which holds the contents of the disk or partition you made the image of.

You must remember that restoring an image to a disk will overwrite it's contents.
Hi Rindi

Yes I do understand that part. I guess i didnt clarify the steps i did sorry about that.

I setup a new PC to the point where I can deploy it to any user in production. I made a full backup image using Acronis of that machine.

The next step I did was i had another computer same make, model, specs etc.. I booted up the PC into the Acronis boot CD. From there I restored the image I made earlier of the PC that was fully setup to this machine to cut my time spent on setup.

So in Theory is that not infact the proper steps you need to do to restore a backup image to a computer?
That is OK. Have you made sure the restored disk has the "boot" flag properly set as I mentioned earlier?
I use linux-based Re-Do Backup.  Runs from live CD and you choose a destination to store your image. Can do a restore in minutes.  If it's on a large network share works fantastic. Haven't had any problems so far.(www.redobackup.org)
So today the user computer got worse. It's hardware for sure.

I have a full backup image that I made with windows 7 and Acronis true image 2015.

I want to restore the image to a new computer  which is smaller and faster than the old machine the user had. Acronis does universal restore but it's not working. They say you need to add the chipset drivers including the hard drive controller drivers and the problem is those drivers regarding the hard drive controller are not found on a typical user PC on a server yes but not a user PC so without the driver when you restore the image to the new PC it will not work.

The old PC is a Dell Precision Workstation T7500 and the new one is a Dell Optiplex 3020. OS Win7 pro 64bit.

Any advice to get this image into the new dissimilar PC would be great. Even if I have to create a new backup image using another piece of software it doesn't matter I just need to get this to work and I have one day to do it.

Thank you in advanced
use the paragon Adaptive Restore  tool : https://www.paragon-software.com/home/solutions/migration.html?id=0002

it does just what you want!
The disk controller's drivers are either already included with the OS (that mainly includes older devices that were available when the OS was released), and if not, they are provided by the manufacturer (if the OS you want to use is supported by that PC). Often they are part of the chipset drivers if they aren't separately listed.

But since you are using OEM you will have problems with reactivating the OS when it is restored to another PC. You need to be in the EU or Switzerland to even be able to reactivate it. In other countries that won't work.
Have a look on this article: https://www.experts-exchange.com/articles/2569/Windows-OS-migration-to-dissimilar-hardware-How-to-migrate-to-new-hardware-without-OS-reinstallation.html
Set the HDD into IDE or compatible mode. Or use the P2P Adjust OS as recommended.
ASKER CERTIFIED SOLUTION
Avatar of IT_Fanatic
IT_Fanatic

Link to home
membership
Create an account to see this answer
Signing up is free. No credit card required.
Create Account
Have you used P2P Adjust OS?
its the only thing that worked for me. Thank you all for your suggestions.