• Patch Lady – Choosing a home backup solution

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    First in a series of life beyond posts about my journey of tech solutions in the post Small Business Server era. For many years I used a product origi
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    Susan Bradley Patch Lady/Prudent patcher

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    • #1895633

      Have you looked at any of Terabyte’s backup and recovery products? Very versatile and they offer a suite of tools that includes native support for Linux as well as Windows.  That includes the ability to selectively restore individual files and folders from full ext 2/3/4 partition backups — something that is unavailable in most others, even those able to include Linux ext partitions in their backup images.


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    • #1895721

      Acronis has been my default choice for home backups for at least 10 or more years. Each version seems to have a few quirks but overall it gets the job done for 6 or 7 Windows machines in my home from XP Pro SP3 to Win 10 1903.

      As an IT Consultant I don’t see desktops and laptops going away anytime soon, especially for the work at home graphic artists, photographers, CPA’s, engineers, and more, people who have real work to do. I’ve seen corporate America try to push handheld devices only but that does not get the job done for all tasks. Have had quite a few gaming towers on my bench in for repair owned by 14 and 15 year olds.

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    • #1895730

      I used Terabyte’s products for a long time, and still do use them for an older XP graphics workstation I have. They’re a little clumsier and non-intuitive for me than Macrium Reflect, but Macrium has a few comprehensibility issues too. But the “Free Factor” weighs heavily in their favor. (Anyone remember Shareware?)

      In any case, backups are made weekly (if I have the strength) and are air-gapped, located in three different places. I try and do all the housekeeping before I back up (Disk Cleanup, Defrag, Malware Sweeps, Virus checks). A defragged disk makes for a faster backup, too.

      Once a month I verify and test my backups to make sure I’m not living in a fool’s paradise. (Well…more on that later!)

      Both outfits are good; Terabyte seems to be less expensive in the paid version.

      Both are good. Macrium Support may be better in the paid version.

      Win7 Pro SP1 64-bit, Dell Latitude E6330, Intel CORE i5 "Ivy Bridge", 12GB RAM, Group "0Patch", Multiple Air-Gapped backup drives in different locations. Linux Mint Greenhorn
      "Nine out of 10 doctors say Acid Reflux is mainly caused by computers."

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    • #1895749

      I use Paragon Backup and Recovery 17 Free version. Works well for all my needs.

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    • #1895804

      I’ve been using TeraByte’s drive imaging for a couple of decades.  I also use a partitioning scheme to suit my needs and keep my imaging footprint small.  Almost all of my routine housekeeping is done via Task Scheduler, as well as my drive imaging.

      TeraByte’s drive imaging can handle partitions or complete drives.  Periodically I make a complete image set of all the drives in my machine for use for drive replacement when a drive fails.  Task Scheduler targets a 2TB drive in my desktop PC, and I use a Robocopy command line to copy those drive images to a 3TB drive in the dock on the top of my NAS.  Once the images are copied, I remove the drive for safe-keeping.

      I have Image For Windows incorporated into my Windows Recovery Environment via a script that comes with the product.  I did a test restore of the B side of my dual boot OS partition earlier today which took 2:55.

      I lost two PC’s in a house fire in 2011, but only the hardware.  I had the full setup for both in drive images on a couple of HDD’s.

      Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
      We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by bbearren.
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    • #1895941

      I use Acronis True Image for years.
      Twice a month full image backups and daily incremental backups.
      I also create daily Shadow Copy (which I delete before creating the full image).

    • #1895944

      I used “Veeam Agent pro Microsoft Windows FREE”. Trusted company and great product, but you do not have central console for managing more clients – otherwise rock solid.

      Now I have Synology NAS and switched to https://www.synology.com/en-global/dsm/feature/active_backup_business . It has dedup, “smart retention”, central console, Win client/server support, …


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    • #1896059

      Charlie’s a remarkable guy. Every time you say “Alexa,” you’re using his software.

      (I still use EaseUS. Been using it for years.)

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by woody.
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      • #1896074

        I’ve never said “Alexa,” or “Siri,” or “Ok Google”, and I don’t plan to!  Same goes for Bixby and Cortana, but that goes without saying.  I’d rather type to people if I could (on a keyboard; this does not apply to devices that don’t have an actual keyboard), so I’m certainly not going to voluntarily use voice with computers when I could be typing.  And then there’s the whole spying thing…

        For backups, I used to use Acronis True Image for a bunch of years.  I’ve bought that program many times, but it got to a point where it was too buggy and where the company that made it was more interested in pushing their own cloud services than listening to customer complaints.  It began to demand cloud sign-in credentials even when the user had never indicated interest in cloud service or the existence of an Acronis account, and though customers complained quite vocally, the next edition had the same “feature” just the same.  It began to pop up ads for Acronis services and specials at random times (not just when actively using the program), while the program itself got buggier.

        I tried all of the Windows-based backup programs with a free edition that I could find, and they all work well enough with the basic settings, but most of them fell flat on their face(s) in performance when creating backups with encryption enabled, if there was such an option.  Acronis True Image (the paid edition) did not have that issue, but the other issues with True Image prompted me to keep looking.

        Aomei Backupper proved to be the speed champion of the Windows backup programs I tried with encryption enabled.  Unfortunately, they removed that feature from the free edition, and the program botched a restore attempt (it restored a MBR-formatted hard drive on a BIOS PC as GPT, which rendered it unbootable, and restoring from backup would obviously not work here, as that was what caused the issue in the first place).  It was a relatively easy thing to fix, but most people won’t know how to do that, and they shouldn’t ever need to.  I reluctantly had to remove Backupper from my recommended list.  This issue may have been fixed, but I don’t really know, as I quit using it.  If so, it may still be a good choice, as Backupper was fast and had an easy to understand UI when I was using it.

        Then there’s the old standby, Macrium Reflect, but it also doesn’t permit encrypted backups with the free edition, and the paid edition is expensive for a home backup program, or I would have gone for it when I was using Windows.  $69 per PC (and I have three that I would have wanted to use it on) is several times higher than I ever paid for Acronis True Image, which always is on sale or promo somewhere.

        I don’t know how fast Reflect is while performing an encrypted backup, since the free edition didn’t offer that feature, but the program is so solid in general that I would think it would perform well.  It’s been really reliable during both backup and restore (I’ve tested the latter quite a lot with various programs).  Acronis’ rescue media often (usually) failed to recognize the network share(s) where the backup sets were located, even after I tried all of the tricks suggested in the Acronis knowledge base.  It made restoration troublesome at times, though I was always able to get it to work with enough jiggling and poking (which sometimes involved copying the entire backup set from the PC with the share to a USB hard disk and moving that to the PC doing the restore).  By contrast, Reflect has done well, without any weird glitches like restoring a MBR backup image as GPT.

        Now I use Veeam agent (despite the name, it’s a typical backup program) for Linux, which is free for home users, has encryption and incremental backups enabled, and it’s as fast or faster writing encrypted backup images as Aomei Backupper.  Restoring proved quick and reliable, quickly recognizing my network share from the rescue media and restoring from it nicely.  On Linux, it runs in the terminal window, but it’s menu-driven, so there’s no need to remember or type any commands. The one caveat is that it only allows using a single “job” (like a backup profile), so you would have to edit that one job’s parameters to do different kinds of backups, which is a silly and really rather pointless restriction.  Otherwise, it’s quite solid.  If the Windows version is as good, it would be a nice choice.

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        • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Ascaris.
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        • #1911571

          I use Macrium reflect paid since the beginning of this year when I dumped True Image. I have never regretted this move, it is so much better than Acronis. It is very fast for both imaging and restoring, using Continuous Block Tracker and Rapid Delta Restore. Their support is also great. I had discovered a few bugs since January, and they worked diligently with me to solve it.

          I was able to reduce my cost by buying a 4 -pack on Black Friday. Just mark Black Friday in your calendar and look what discount they have (usually on Twitter and Facebook). I bought a Macrium 4-pack with I believe a 40% discount (it might even have been 50%, I do not recall exactly anymore). This way a 4-pack may even be cheap for just 3 computers. Also, when paying if you can change the currency to British pounds and let your credit card company do the conversion, that is also cheaper.

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          • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Pim. Reason: Added some more text
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    • #1896070

      Oh, some details…

      About ransomware, there have been all kinds… though the public/private keypair method is the primary one, symmetric ransomware has been known to exist, as well as one or two that used one-way algorithms. As in not possible to decrypt even if you pay. Technically I suppose those wouldn’t be ransomware but something worse…

      (One-way “salted hash” is the usual way to store a password – if two inputs yield the same ciphertext, you know the inputs were the same, but that’s the only way to know.)

      Oh and what do you use for long-term storage?

      I mean, I’ve got some old things on 3.5″ floppies still and I’m down to about one working floppy drive left, maybe two. (Yes, I’ve copied the stuff elsewhere too but…) I’m out of working DDS2, Travan and regular QIC drives, CD-ROMs would be readable but the disks degrade… I suppose I should find another DLT and LTO-3 drive too… and the various funny Iomega drives are pretty much extinct as well.

      Sure, there’s supposed to be copies of the older stuff too, but every now and then someone comes across something that got accidentally deleted or overwritten several years previous.

    • #1896188

      Like many others here, I also use Acronis True Image. However, the one thing I have added is to use a digital electrical timer to keep my external USB drive for backup offline until the scheduled backup time – simple, but effective.

    • #1896258

      I use Symantec System Recovery, Acronis Backup Advanced, and Paragon Hard Disk Manager Advanced.  Each has its uses in different situations and each works very well.  For example, Acronis allows me to make a whole-disk backup while excluding specified directories or files.  This is very convenient when, e.g., a directory is being used for software compilations/builds and is much larger than the rest of the boot drive.  Paragon has the best set of partitioning and HD management tools in addition to the backup tools.  And so forth…

      Does anyone know if Google Drive is susceptible to ransomware encryption?  Do I need to be sure to configure it a certain way?


      • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by Norio.
      • #1896359

        Does anyone know if Google Drive is susceptible to ransomware encryption? Do I need to be sure to configure it a certain way?

        That would depend on how susceptible Google’s own servers are to attacks. Locally, it works the same way as the Google Chrome Browser, so if your system gets locked, so does your access to Google Drive from that machine — and that machine only. But if encrypted files are uploaded to Google Drive, they remain encrypted, so all is lost unless you have versioning in place, which by default, Google Drive does not do.

        Then there’s the whole problem that Google scans and data-mines everything you put up onto a Google Drive. No protections against that, unless you deliberately encrypt what you are sending up there on your local machine before uploading. Which kinda goes against sharing if you do that, and synching to another device.

        BTW, Windows Defender in Windows 10 since version 1803 has had ransomware protection. It’s called Protected Folders, and it is not on by default. If you use any third party security products which have active protections, Windows Defender can’t use Protected Folders, so your third party choice(s) would have to include that protection.  You can include or exclude Windows folders as needed with WD Protected Folders. You can also allow specific apps to access protected folders, while leaving the general protections in place. But that can be a pain to manage.

        I don’t know the relative quality or strength of WD Protected Folders vs. third party competitors.

        -- rc primak

        • This reply was modified 4 years, 2 months ago by rc primak.
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    • #1896417

      I use Windows backup feature with system image.

      Everything goes to external hard drives that I keep in my possession — not a cloud backup. I trade off on the external hard drives. If any hard drive fails, I always have other backups on other hard drives.

      If I lose connectivity, I still have my backups and I know how to use them.

      (So, call me a Luddite. I have backups, I have backups that work, and I have a plan.)

      On permanent hiatus {with backup and coffee}
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    • #1896422

      I test my drive images from time to time by doing a restoration to the partition from which it was made.  The A side of my dual boot OS partition is 100GB, of which 49.1GB is in use.  I decided to time the restoration this time with a stopwatch.  Since I have Image For Windows incorporated into my Windows Recovery Environment, I clicked the notification icon on the right side of the taskbar, then All settings > Update & Security > Recovery > Restart now.

      My PC rebooted into WinRE, where I launched Image For Windows.  I selected the image file to restore, the partition to which I wished to restore it, then started the restoration.  The restoration process itself took 5 minutes.  Then I clicked Restart.

      The entire process took 9:07.08 minutes from the first mouse click to a signed-in desktop.  I also have a TBWinRE rescue USB stick if I happen to pooch Windows so badly that it won’t even boot.  I particularly appreciate the fact that it can be scripted and completely automated via Task Scheduler.

      Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
      We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

    • #1911570

      I use Acronis for local backups, and run Backblaze for offsite.

    • #1911597

      Over the years, I’ve probably used most of the backup tools mentioned here.  However, a few years ago I switched to using Clonezilla.  I use it to stream backups  over the home net to a general purpose home NAS.  I also replicate the backups to other storage for redundancy, but that’s a longer story.  Clonezilla supports encryption and I use that feature.  Using Clonezilla can be fiddly, but it works great for me and has saved my bacon a few times.

      If you decide to play with Clonezilla, use the Ubuntu-based Clonezilla Live version as it (usually) has better hardware compatibility than the Debian flavor.

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      • #1911603

        I use Clonezilla a fair amount too.

        There’s just one thing to keep in mind if you start using it as a regular backup tool – it can be a real bother to recover a single file from the disk image, especially if you use default settings and end up with a multipart compressed image.

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    • #1911599

      I read that a lot of people use Acronis True Image. I would like to warn people who are (considering) using True Image. I have used True Image for about 10 years after which I finally dumped it and replaced it by Macrium Reflect Home (the paid version).

      Over the years I have had many issues with True Image. In the end I stuck with True Image 2014 awaiting finding a new and good backup and imaging solution. The issues I had were (a.o.):
      – Regularly True Image would read and list all the backups present on my connected hard drive(s), even though I had set it not to. Whenever this happened (a.o. always when I had restored an image) it would do this. I would then have to wait for 30-60 minutes before True Image was finished scanning for backups and images. But after that I had then to manually remove all the backups and images that were added to my list. This is a slow and painstaking process which would then also cost me 15-30 minutes. It speaks for itself that this is lost time. And usually it happens at a moment when I did not really have time to deal with it nut was forced to. Do realize that True Image did this even though I had set a setting not to!
      – I make monthly file backups and keep them as an archive. This has come in very handy a few times. However, one time I needed a file from this backup, True Image simply refused to read its own backup file. Therefore I was not able to restore the file I needed. Moreover, this was the case on 2 other computers with True Image installed! I always had True Image verify the backup file, so that should not have been the problem. I also keep copies of my backup files and those failed too. In the end there was one computer on which True Image would still read an Acronis backup file. I then restored all my archives on this one computer, so that I still could access all file backups. In the mean time I have made Macrium backups of these. Eventually I want to backup these files using Backup4All, which saves backups as zip files, so that I can restore them without having the backup program installed and never have to solve an issue like this one with True Image again.
      – True Image is known for repairing bugs in new versions that have to be bought. So one is forced to pay again if that bug is, well eh, really bugging you.

      There were more issues than the ones I mentioned here, but these are the most important ones. If a backup solution is not reliable I do not want to use it. Moreover, I have spent way too much overhead time on solving issues and managing True Image which I could have used much more productively. Ever since switching to Macrium Reflect Home things go way, way smoother. Now that is a program that works, is much faster and is well thought through. If I want to manually rename an image file I can do that, with True Image I could not. If I want to manually move backup files I can do that, with True Image I could not.

      For me Macrium is much, much easier, and well worth the money. The savings are that I do not lose time anymore. With True Image I think I have lost a total of a couple of months in time (not exaggerated!). Now calculate the money value of that loss! Also see my earlier post to get Macrium Reflect cheaper.

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      • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Pim. Reason: Added clarification
      • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by Pim. Reason: Added discount option for Macrium
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      • #1911986

        Wow, so Acronis performed verifications on every one of your backups even though you had Acronis configured not to to so? I would find that to be very annoying.

        I too used to use Acronis, back in 2009 to 2012. I switched to Macrium in January 2012 since Acronis had poor customer support, since some serious bugs were only fixed in subsequent versions which users had to pay for, and since a restore failed. I don’t know if Acronis has changed their ways.

        I have had to contact Macrium support on two occasions. Live support from Macrium was splendid on both occasions. Macrium is good at fairly rapidly fixing reported bugs and making updates available to its customers — even for older versions of Macrium. The last update for an older version of Macrium which I used was pushed out three years after my purchase. Both Macrium and customers have contributed a wealth of information, tips, “how to” articles, and solutions to Macrium’s forum. Macrium’s forum is one of the better vendor forums which I have seen in terms of available information.

        As mentioned, I have been using Macrium since 2012. I have performed nearly a dozen system restorations from backup. Not once did Macrium fail to restore a backup. I have no affiliations with either company.

    • #1911749

      I use Acronis to back up 3 PCs in my home. Each PC backs up to a Synology Diskstation NAS, and then I back up the whole NAS to a separate external disk, held in a fireproof safe, on a monthly basis. My main PC backs up the full disk monthly and the data daily, both on version chains, and my wife’s is similar but weekly on data. I have a separate backup of email because I have an IMAP setup.

      This routine has worked well for me. I have had two big disasters – once when my previous NAS had both disks fail simultaneously (yes -really), and once when my previous main PC failed to boot. In both cases I was able to recover with no  loss of data.

      The weakness in my system is ransomware – if I got caught I would have to rely on the monthly external disk and my IMAP. I try to be careful!

      I started with Acronis on versions 2010 and 2011, which worked fine. I tried to go onto 2015, but hit bugs and heard of worse, so I rolled back to the earlier versions. I moved onto 2019 earlier this year (Feb). I have not seen any of the problems in this edition that others have reported and nor have I been forced to give Cloud credentials (as far as I can remember).

      Fingers crossed!

      Win 10 Pro x64 Group A

      • #1912068

        Recent reviews indicate that ZoneAlarm Anti-Ransomware and Cybersight Ransomstopper Free are the two best anti-ransomware products. I had issues with Cybersight’s product. The first issue was that my AV program blocked it until I manually unblocked it. The second issue is that its boot time scanning module (loads as a device driver under Service System Start) would occasionally cause a BSOD in the Windows kernel. The third issue is that Cybersight’s web site now is a 404.

        I tested ZoneAlarm’s Anti-Ransomware (ZAAR) free trial for 30 days. The latest version has been rock stable. I decided to purchase a license for my three computers which are used daily. ZAAR creates honeypots, and ZAAR merrily lets ransomware encrypt files until ZAAR figures out what encryption method(s) are being used. Then ZAAR kills the ransomware and then ZAAR decrypts all files which were encrypted. At least this is how ZAAR has been reported to work. Theoretically, ZAAR is supposed to be able to recover every single encrypted file. Note that ZoneAlarm is not known for having great customer support. Yet I do get immediate and helpful responses if I use their website’s online chat feature.

      • #1914607

        I have not seen any of the problems in this edition that others have reported and nor have I been forced to give Cloud credentials (as far as I can remember).

        My experience is very similar to yours Chris.  Fingers crossed also.

    • #1911765

      I use NovaBackup for everything on three PCs.  It has a good but somewhat clunky interface and you can configure it in many ways.  Standard file back up is done twice daily, one to Amazon Cloud and once to a separate internal storage drive on my workstation.  It also has a System Image utility for the OS drive.  This is done weekly and stored on a separate internal storage drive in case the OS drive ever fails.  As with lots of software these days, there is a yearly subscription fee but they have a discount for multiple computers.

    • #1911772

      First off I’d like to learn more about the post that “added is to use a digital electrical timer to keep my external USB drive for backup offline until the scheduled backup time.” If anyone knows more about that please reply.

      Summarizing: I use Karen’s Replicator for backups. [Windows only – I think]

      I’m on a simple home network with 4 PC’s. I’m not real geeky but set up my main PC with a SSD for the OS and then a couple of platter drives for my data. I save all data to one drive and then back up daily using Karen’s replicator to a second drive in the PC. In addition to that I use Karen’s Replicator to back up weekly to a NAS drive (6 TB) that also creates its own backups.

      Karen’s Replicator is simple and reliable. It offers as many backup jobs as you want to schedule (I currently have 6). It will back up as often as you like from every minute, hour, day, week or month. It will let you back up a complete drive or just one folder or even file. I’ve also got a few files that back up to online storage by copying them to my Google Folder.

      Best of all it’s free but donations are accepted. Karen was a great asset to the computer world. Sadly she passed away a few years ago but there is a group keeping her software alive. The Replicator software was updated Feb. 2019. Check out Karen’s Power Tools [https://www.karenware.com/] for more information. Here’s a link to her Replicator program.

      • #1912096

        I too have used Karen’s Replicator for years. While it does not do versioning explicitly, keeping a different backup for each week of the month, has been sufficient for my needs. Also, Karen showed herself to be trustworthy. Software from a large company is written by people who we don’t know. Maybe they are good programmers, maybe not. Karen was good. And, her software was open source too. Miss her.

        Get up to speed on router security at RouterSecurity.org and Defensive Computing at DefensiveComputingChecklist.com

    • #1911780

      I used to simply copy all my files to my wife’s and son’s computers over our network, my wife’s to mine and my son’s, and my son’s to mine and my wife’s.  That way, all files were in at least two other places.  Then Windows networking got flaky in dealing with different OS versions.  I switched to Windows Home Server and loved it – until Microsoft first changed it so that you couldn’t easily expand storage, and then made it no longer work.  Windows image back up has a critical flaw that I’ve posted about for a decade or more at this point – insufficient disk space to create the image, when the little 100 MB partition gets stuffed with temp files so that the volume snapshot no longer fits.  At this point, it’s manual again, but I’m really getting sick of chasing my tail thanks to Microsoft’s uncaring approach to what is to me the single most important requirement of a computer system – preserving the data on it.  It shouldn’t take this much work, and the fact that it does explains why lots of people don’t do it – to their disadvantage when something goes toes up.  Shame on you, Microsoft.

    • #1911923

      I’m looking for a replacement for my Windows Home Server 2011 that’s due to go out of support next year. For a backup solution, I hope to find one that does full image backups with deduplication on a schedule and that allows both bare metal restores or recovery of individual files from those same backups.

      I’m now trying Veeam Agent For Windows as it has these features. I have had success in restoring a file from a backup. To test a BMR, I’ve made recovery DVDs for my PCs (all with Windows 10 v1903) and tried booting them up until the point of an actual restore. (Note to anyone wishing to use Veeam: booting the recovery disk on each of my three different PCs results in an initial 2-3 minute wait with no indication that it’s proceeding but then it shows the revolving dot pattern and finishes.)

      Veeam is very professional and free but I wonder if any of you have real life experiences with it. Even better, has it worked out for you to do a BMR as well as restore of files or folders?

    • #1911968

      I have run Ubuntu Server for at least a decade and make sure the storage is ample for anything I need to save. I back it up to USB disks with rsync and keep multiple copies (USB drives are cheap). I don’t maintain serious data on the client machines and generally do not worry about backing up the system image (although I can and have stored system images on the server).

      Currently, I rotate backup media between home and office. With retirement approaching, I am looking for ways to secure my off-site backup. The easiest way is to buy a Dropbox subscription and store it in the cloud.

      I have started looking at various open source cloud storage alternatives. The plan would be to back everything up locally to a cloud server, and then locate it at my son’s home out of state. That would keep the data secure and also be cheap. Has anybody tried anything like this?

    • #1911980

      Other than 4 old Win7 machines (3 laptops and a desktop) that are used for testing, all my Windows installations are in Parallels VMs on my Macs. So my backup is probably a bit different from most.

      My daily drivers are a MacMini and an iMac4K.
      The MacMini is used for most of my daily Internet activity: moderating this website, email, web browsing, etc. It hosts 5 VMs for test purposes (XP, Win7 SP1, Win8.1, Win10 now v1903, and a Win10 Insider FAST Ring)
      The iMac4K hosts a Win8.1 VM that is used for my personal business records, only occasionally on the Internet.

      There is an additional older iMac (hosts Win7 and Win10 v1803 VMs), an older 13″ MacBookPro (XP, Win7, Win8.1 VMs) and a newer 15″ MacBook Pro (Win7, Win8.1, Win10 v1809 VMs)

      + I use Karen’s Replicator to to backup my User data (personal business, pics, music, etc) on the Win8.1 VM/iMac4K and the Win7 VM/old iMac to each of two NAS drives on my Network. The User data on these two VMs is synced with each other by an offline service.
      + All other Mac machines are synced, by the same offline service, with a small subset of my most used folders from the two iMacs. That way, if I have to travel, I don’t need to copy files from home to a laptop and then back.
      + Once a month (or when I do an upgrade on Win10) I copy the VMs to a series of external HDDs, alternating between three. Restoring the VM is simply coping it back to the Mac. This is really the only important thing on the Macs, since the small subset of my personal data is synced from offline.
      + So I do not back up my Macs. If they were to have a problem, it would be a clean install, copy the VMs back, and re-sync from online.
      It’s not like Windows. I’ve only done one clean install on any of the Macs since 2011.

    • #1912087


      Backing up data files and making an image backup are entirely different things. Expect to use different software for each.

      Image backups can be made either inside or outside the target OS. Inside is easier, outside is better. That is, boot the target computer using a CD, DVD or USB flash drive to make the image backup. This way, if you ever need to replace the hard drive and start with a new, empty one, you are experienced with booting the system from outside the target OS.

      Looking for free backup software is a mistake. While some extra features in a paid version of the software may or may not be useful to you, tech support for backups is worth paying for.

      Get up to speed on router security at RouterSecurity.org and Defensive Computing at DefensiveComputingChecklist.com

      • #1912165

        Looking for free backup software is a mistake. While some extra features in a paid version of the software may or may not be useful to you, tech support for backups is worth paying for.

        I have been using free products for years and have never encountered an issue I couldn’t solve myself or through various tutorials or knowledge base articles. This includes backing up and restoring two different Linux distros, and using Windows back to Windows 95. (I didn’t ever learn to back up DOS.) Paying for support is like buying a reseller’s Extended Warranty — in all but a few cases, this is not a good reason to use paid products.

        -- rc primak

    • #1912113

      In addition to using Macrium for backing up the OS partitions on my computers, I also use ViceVersa Pro to replicate my data partitions to removable hard drives. ViceVersa Pro can also be configured to archive previous versions of files. ViceVersa Pro simply is the best file and folder duplication program which I have ever used since it preserves file time stamps, and can optionally be configured to preserve folder time stamps. ViceVersa Pro can also encrypt your copied files.

    • #1912789

      I used Ghost for years.  When Veritas bought out the successor I moved to that.

      I currently use their Desktop Backup Version 18 imaging product to backup to my local NAS. It does automatic weekly image updates.

      It has changed over the years but retains its Ghost origins.

      I have not seen it mentioned much anywhere and wonder how it compares to Acronis and some other products.  Opinions? Should I switch?
      I also do a file by file sync and a static disaster sneakernet offsite backup.  Is Blaze or another offsite product something I should look at?  Stop ransomware? I have more upload speed now so maybe time to consider?  I would need a lot of space for images and home shot video.





    • #1914287


      What was the full image backup software did you pick that, ensures that it’s saved in a way that the attackers can’t get access to it. ?  I have a really hard time in decision making.

      • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by TheFamilyIT.
      • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by TheFamilyIT.
      • This reply was modified 4 years, 1 month ago by TheFamilyIT.
      • #1914497

        There is no backup guaranteed to be hacker proof.

        I use several products and all produce images that you can re-install / recover files from.
        I keep a copy of my backups on an external USB disk that I keep in a fireproof safe (just in case), but that doesn’t prevent me backing up an infected system.
        Safe Hex is your best protection, backup is loss prevention.

        FWIW, Amoei, EaseUS and Paragon are easy to use and Macrium is good for the technically inclined.

        cheers, Paul

        • #1914633

          There is no backup guaranteed to be hacker proof.


          The closest you can get is use write-once non-erasable media, and before writing encrypt the backup data with a public/private keypair system… you know, something like PGP… with the decryption key not stored on the writing system.

          I’d think for most people that’s a bit past the point where the risks of you losing access to your data become more of a problem than risks of someone else gaining access to your data.

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