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.
IT_FanaticAsked:
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

x
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
We use Acronis because it allows bare-metal restore.  We've never had to test it, and I hope never to need to.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
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.
rindiCommented:
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.
Protecting & Securing Your Critical Data

Considering 93 percent of companies file for bankruptcy within 12 months of a disaster that blocked access to their data for 10 days or more, planning for the worst is just smart business. Learn how Acronis Backup integrates security at every stage

Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
To clarify, we've restored our Acronis backups, but never had to do a bare-metal restore.
IT_FanaticAuthor Commented:
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?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
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.
IT_FanaticAuthor Commented:
Once i restore the PC i get the " no boot disk" message on post
rindiCommented:
OEM should still boot, but you should run into problems with the activation of the OS.
Paul MacDonaldDirector, Information SystemsCommented:
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.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
When you create a Ghost image you must create it as bootable. Did you do that with Acronis?
IT_FanaticAuthor Commented:
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.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
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.
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
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.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
@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.
nobusCommented:
>>  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
rindiCommented:
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
EirmanChief Operations ManagerCommented:
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
nobusCommented:
i am just participating in a question where Macrium reflect hosed the boot.ini file..
IT_FanaticAuthor Commented:
I did not clone the HDD. I just made a full backup image on the machine using Acronis True Image 15
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You still need to make such image bootable as noted above.
rindiCommented:
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.
IT_FanaticAuthor Commented:
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?
rindiCommented:
That is OK. Have you made sure the restored disk has the "boot" flag properly set as I mentioned earlier?
iamsamCommented:
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)
IT_FanaticAuthor Commented:
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
nobusCommented:
use the paragon Adaptive Restore  tool : https://www.paragon-software.com/home/solutions/migration.html?id=0002

it does just what you want!
rindiCommented:
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.
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Have a look on this article: http://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.
IT_FanaticAuthor Commented:
Unfortunately none of those options worked. Not sure if it has something to do with the new bios security UFEI. I finally got it to work.

What I did was the new machine already has the OS installed so I just restore the backup only the C drive to the new PC. Once it booted up uploaded the new drivers and that's it. No blue screen and it just worked and tried this 3 times. Weird as this isn't what Acronis says to do. Their method failed miserably.

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
noxchoGlobal Support CoordinatorCommented:
Have you used P2P Adjust OS?
IT_FanaticAuthor Commented:
its the only thing that worked for me. Thank you all for your suggestions.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Storage Software

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.