backup

Ashampoo Backup Pro 11 for $9.99 with Coupon Code

In keeping with the Spring Cleanup theme and making sure your system is in good repair, here is Ashampoo Backup Pro 11 for $9.99.

If you didn’t take advantage of the O&O DiskImage sale, then I don’t think you can argue with a complete backup solution for $10. Now, I’m not that familiar with their backup tool, but after checking out the demo, it seems like a solid choice. You have the standard tools like file backup, and options to backup the entire system drive. Additionally there are connectors for storing your backup in the cloud such as Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive and others. Additionally, the option to make a rescue disc (CD/DVD) is built right in or you can use a USB stick.

Overall it looks like a pretty solid choice and you get 30 full days for evaluation so you have plenty of time to experiment. If you decide to buy the full version, you should receive an offer after installation to buy it for $12.49, which is a great deal on it’s own. Or you can sign up for the Upgrade off their main page. Either way, you can then add HRE3365QNY and drop the price top $9.99.

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Over 10 TB and 600,000 files recovered

The Great Disk Recovery of ’15 is almost complete and so far I have recovered over 10TB worth of data which accounts for over 600,000 files. It’s taken days and a couple of new drives added to the scheme, but ALL the data has been salvaged. All the movies, music, documents and pictures have been recovered and are all viewable once more.

Whether or not this was a system glitch or some user error on my part, the fact remains 5 drives had damaged partitions and weren’t recognized as readable by Windows. A simple "undelete" wasn’t possible so it was a pretty serious SNAFU.

But GetData Recover My Files has done a perfect job of getting those files back. I even saw files I deleted 6 months ago that could still be recovered. In fact, some of them were because it was easier to select the entire volumes rather than hunt and peck over a couple of folders. Good heavens this is some strong software.

I’ve learned my lesson though. I bought more drives so I have a copy of an entire drive and I’ve already backed up other items to Blu-Ray discs. Backing up the system isn’t a problem, that was taken care of months ago with O&O DiskImage. The data drives were the problem since I wasn’t making copies. That has since been corrected.

Another lesson learned is to have a large, spare hard drive sitting around. Since I was recovering 5TB of data, I needed another drive of equal size which I happened to have. When doing a partition recovery like this you can pick and choose items so it’s possible to do in stages, but it’s so much easier and more reliable to do it all at once to a sufficiently sized hard drive.

For those that want to know here’s what I have in place now.

O&O DiskImage – Clones the System drive and copies the image to D:\ for archiving. The system drive is a 3TB internal and the archive is also a 3TB internal. Backup size is less than 100GB.

Recuva – Great for recovering accidentally deleted files. Used it before with great success. Purchased as part of the CCleaner Professional Plus Suite. Very quick and efficient.

GetData Recover My Files 5.x – Much deeper level of file retrieval. Used for corrupted partitions, recover files from formatted disk, RAW disk recovering and disk cloning. Can be used when the disk is listed as "unreadable" by Windows. Does not "undelete" or "unformat" to the same volume. Files need to be copied to another volume.

SyncBackSE – Used to sync files between drives. This is an older copy but it still works. I might upgrade to the latest version at some point or I might go with O&O AutoBackup.

Ashampoo Burning Studio – I’ve had a lot of luck with this app. Easy to use and reliable. Burns files to CD/DVD/Blu-Ray without issue. You can also get it very cheaply. This is what I use to backup files to physical media and has been working pretty hard since this fiasco.

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It’s time to clone and backup my drives

The only thing worse than a bad backup is no backup at all. Right now, I don’t have either. I talk a good game, but my system maintenance has been terrible. I haven’t been backing up the root drive on my main computer simply because it was too damn full. I have everything crammed onto one drive which means the backup would be a couple of gigs in size. Not only is that consuming way too much space, it’ll take too long to back it up and it will be impossible to restore. What’s the point of having a backup if it’s impossible to use?

I’ve finally gotten to a place where I can make reasonable backups of my root drive. I trimmed and pruned everything off that drive so that only 100GB remains which includes the pagefile and the hibernation file. The final step is to move both of those to another drive. Even though I’ve had multiple drives for a long time I never took the appropriate steps to farm out of all my data so that C:\ was as lean as possible. As I’ve written in other articles, I had movies, music, training videos and everything else all on the C:\ drive. This is an incredibly bad plan.

If you don’t already have one, I would seriously recommend getting a second drive for your system and moving as much as possible over to it. It’s a truly bad idea to have gigs worth of data stuffed into the My Documents folder on the system drive. It’s much better to dedicate C:\ to just the OS and put everything else on a true data drive. With that in mind, I’m now ready to start backing up my system the right way. It should only take about 30 minutes to complete and will be much easier to store. I’ve got O&O DiskImage at the ready to make an image of my C:\ drive. I don’t want to just back it up, I want an image. If the drive crashes, I can restore a working OS rather than installing an OS and then recovering files. In one step I can have a new OS up and running and all my files back where they’re supposed to be. Backups are good for data, but I want an image of the boot drive.

To get the ball rolling I tested DiskImage out on my work laptop. I I made an image of the machine while it was still running. The copy was saved to an external USB drive I brought in. It all seemed to go flawlessly. I don’t know if I could do a bare metal restore from this image, but the main goal was to capture all the data files rather than make a perfect image of the drive. From there I went on to make the bootable USB drive. That turned out to be super easy, even though it takes up a ton of disk space. DiskImage comes with a nice wizard that guides you through downloading the Windows AIK and then it builds a bootable Windows environment from those files. You have to download the Windows AIK and that file alone is around 1.7GB. Then you have to install it. O&O needs to use the files as this is a new Microsoft policy.

Once it makes and image you get the option to burn it to DVD or make a bootable USB. I made a bootable USB and tried it out on a netbook I had lying around. It’s a prefect use for some of those old 1GB thumb drives that have no other use. Building the image only took a few minutes and I didn’t have to configure any settings or files. The USB drive booted just fine and I was able to clone an entire drive to a portable USB drive. A pretty painless process.

The big test will come later today when I go to clone the root drive of my machine. I still need to move a few files out of the way to conserve a few more gigs, but then the machine will be ready. O&O DiskImage is already installed, but I’m going to boot from this USB drive to make the first image without anything running. I’ll write that image to one of the external drive and from then on it’ll make a new image every 2 weeks just to make sure I have a good copy. After all this time I’m finally getting around to creating good backups of my machines.

Here’s something to keep in mind, if you were judicious with how you stored applications and data, you could buy a 128GB thumb drive from Amazon for less than $50 and backup your entire system to that same drive. It would be fast, reliable and available in the palm of your hand. In fact, I’m considering doing just that.

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O&O DiskImage Pro 8.5 on Sale for $14

I got this as an email, O&O DiskImage Pro is on sale for a mere $14. O&O is one of those tools that allows you to backup the files on your machine as well as clone the entire drive. One of the cool features is you can make a backup of a drive and then mount that file like it was drive. Even if the drive is gone you can still work with it like it was installed. I’ve also used DiskImage to clone a drive before I  did a replacement. I upgraded from a small 500GB drive to a massive 3TB system drive and I was able to transfer the entire OS and all my apps without incident. I probably should have just reinstalled, but I figured it would be more fun to risk everything and just clone the whole machine. Funny thing is, it worked no problem.

I’ve also used Acronis True Image and I’m not sure which is better. They both work really well so I would say it’s a matter of getting whichever one is on sale. If you’re looking for some backup and imaging software, O&O DiskImage Pro is a good choice. The sale ends soon so you need to act fast.

If DiskImage isn’t quite your thing, you can use the coupon code – H6D-RHT-INT – to get a 15% discount of whatever you want.

New features of O&O DiskImage 8.5 Pro at a glance:
 
– Easier to use
– Reliable Images
– Backups are created automatically
– Backup files, file types, drives or your entire PC with just the push of a button
– Now supports EFI/UEFI systems as well as BIOS
– Quick backup of e.g. whole music collections with integrated file backup
– Have your old system restored any time you want, including operating system, applications, files and settings
– Integration of ISO files as virtual drives
– Great Price (won the "Good Buy" prize in comparison test from PC Magazine issue 1/2012)
– Create Windows Boot CD directly from within O&O DiskImage
– Compatible with Windows 8.1, 8, 7, Vista and XP
– Compatible with all previous versions of O&O DiskImage

https://shop.oo-software.com/36/purl-diskimage8

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Cloning my machine with True Image 2013

Now that I have my machine in a pristine state with a brand new copy of Windows 7, drivers and all the updates, it’s time to make a copy of the damn thing so I don’t have to go through that again. We all know Windows will inevitably become a bloated mess so I need to be prepared.

To handle the task is True Image 2013, which uses a pretty impressive Linux Kernel. I used the hot swappable SATA port on the front of the Silverstone case I have to plug in a spare 250GB drive I have lying around. True Image sees this drive no problem so I cloned the 3TB partition to it and had the drive resize accordingly. That took about 20 minutes to make a full copy. With the pagefile and hibernation file moved to another location the backup is reasonably fast.

That was phase one. The next part was to make a backup to the SSD drive. It won’t stay there, it’s just the fastest drive in the system. That went quickly as well and made a 12GB TIB file. I rebooted the machine, removed the 250GB backup drive and let everything come up normally. That’s it, system cloned.

The final stage was to format a 32GB thumbdrive to NTFS and copy the TIB file over to it. I did it this way since the USB has much faster read times over write times. I can store this a lot more easily than a full size drive and it won’t wear out. True Image reads USB drives without problem so I can recover from this if I need to.

It worked surprisingly well and took about an hour to make two copies. The True Image boot disk only takes a couple of minutes to make and main app provides all the burning tools.

Now the big question, will it work to recover my machine?

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