Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

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bowlesj3
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Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby bowlesj3 » 29 Apr 2011

I am not sure if this topic belongs in the MS FAQ category "Tips, tricks, programs, etc for MC resource Management". This could become very large and it may deserve a new category. Maybe TJ can move it there after this thread gets real full.

Anyway I think it is time for me to bite the bullet and do a format and reload of my operating system and software (a 2 day weekend project - or 3 day weekend project if I do what I should do which is do a ghost backup when it is done). Yeah, windows is starting to get very sluggish and is doing strange things now.

2/3 days is a long time. In Win98 days I used Partition magic which came with Drive Image. With drive image you could do a complete Ghost type of full disk backup and recover that in very short order (relative to 2 days of work that is). Smart users would do their backup once they had just formated and created a base system with all the software parameters in place that they like to use. Often they would do the backup and return of this base system every year or so. It is time to set this up again. So here is the question. Can everyone and anyone submit the latest and greatest ideas on what software to use for this speed up process (including tips and tricks etc). I think it should include ideas on how to return to a different drive (if one buys a larger drive) or even a different machine if that is even possible. I have a feeling procedures for this are already sitting one some web site somewhere (windows specialty sites) so if anyone knows of such sites submitting those URLs would be very helpful.

I have one question to start. Can I do a drive image backup (ghost backup) to one of those external USB connector drives which have huge disk capacity? Most importantly if anyone thinks I can has anyone actually returned such a backup (after a basic windows boot I would assume)? So it needs to return the windows settings, shortcuts, software settings etc.

And one more question. Why do they call a "drive image backup" a ghost backup and return?

I asked a similar question maybe 4 years ago on the Omega-List and never got around to following up. The answers may be a bit out of date. However when I get a chance I will review those and drop them in this thread. If they are out of date maybe someone can point it out.


Thanks,
John.

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby marmun » 29 Apr 2011

I don't know if I've fully understood what you're asking for but it sounds like you're just looking for BackUp/Restore software recommendations.

Your list of requirements is for something that is (relatively) fast, where the backup can be stored on an external USB drive and which can restore to a new drive - or a completely new machine if required.

I'm sure there must be a ton of vendors out there now whose Backup/Restore software ticks all those boxes but I have used Acronis True Image for many years. The whole image is contained in one (.tib) file which can be stored anywhere large enough to hold it and it's never, ever let me down on the Restore phase (It's only then that you discover if the Backup failed/was corrupt).

It does all that you've listed (although you need the Plus Pack Add-On to restore to a completely different machine that has different hardware etc.)

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby bowlesj3 » 29 Apr 2011

Hi marmun,

Thanks for your response. It came at a perfect time. The sales person at BestBuy near me recommended exactly what you suggest. Apparently they use it. Today I had to reboot the machine twice so I guess I rebuild starting tonight and will take a drive image some time this week when all software is properly set up to my liking.

It's only then that you discover if the Backup failed/was corrupt

I guess I have to do a normal backup just incase then (actually I do that daily across the network alternating to two different machines anyway). So I will pick up a large capacity USB drive and put the images there for faster recovery of the base system.


John.

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby Spaceant » 29 Apr 2011

Hi John,

I did use Acronis True Image a few years ago and let me share my experience with you. But, I've actually dropped it and would probably never try it again.

Yes, this is a very useful and very convenient software if you want to backup and restore your whole computer harddisk. What I did is very similar with your expectation to backup some basic installations as a base. This is a really convenient process as you can save the time to format, re-install Windows, and some other basic installations, in a few minutes. Without this it may take a few hours or more.

However, something strange has happened twice in which two harddisks have been killed. I don't know why. I can't remember the details how the harddisk died. I just remember that I have tried to reformat the disks with a "low-level format" which should restore the condition and format the disk. Fortunately, the two disks was still under the warranty period and I sent them to the supplier which has certified the death and replaced a new disk in two occassions within a year.

I have sent an email to Acronis support to seek for help, but never received a reply.

This is only a suspect case that Acronis has a linkage to the replacements of my harddisk. Well, without using Acronis, I continue to do the routines to reformat, reinstall, etc and I have never experienced the harddisk failure similar to what I experienced when using Acronis. I strongly believe that using Acronis has a linkage to this especially after using it to recover 10, 20 times or more.

Just two advices to you:
1) Don't fully trust it if you opt for it. I mean you really need to backup your stuffs in a separate disk. Even when the harddisk has a failure and you do have a backup.
2) I now use SyncBackSE to backup useful folders. This is not as convenient as Acronis, but I can live with it.

Sa

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby bowlesj3 » 30 Apr 2011

Hi Spaceant,

Thanks for sharing the info.

Yes for sure one has to do regular file backups daily (I do differentials until they get the size of the full backup them I do a full backup again so the differentials are small again). I alternate on a daily basis across the network using two other computers as the backup drives.

My use for full disk image backup is mostly to have a fast recovery for a mid week problem so I do not miss any trading if I can. Also if windows starts acting strange or slowing I might return the image and bring in stuff that is missing and create a new image after installing the extra software that was put on since the last image. However I agree. Every so often the whole mass of software should be reinstalled after a low level removal of the partition and reformat. It is best to start this on a Friday night so it can be complete for Monday trading.

I am not sure how software could ruin a hard drive. I had a power supply problem that ruined 7 components in a computer once (including both hard drives). This is the type of thing that makes me want a drive image backup because it can happen suddenly without warning. Years back I had a hard disk crash but that is rare with the new drives. These days however some companies are purposely creating products to last no more than a few years or less (kind of like renting that fills land fill sites fast). I would not be surprised if the hard drive crash returns with this kind of mentality.

John.

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby marmun » 30 Apr 2011

bowlesj3 wrote:I am not sure how software could ruin a hard drive.

You're right. It can't.

'Ruin' as in: physical damage preventing even a reformat? No, that's (almost) impossible.

Given the number of hard drives in existence, the statistical likelihood of someone, somewhere going through two hard drives in a year is in the realm of virtually 'guaranteed'. There must be thousands of people to whom that happens every year - even though they represent a very tiny percentage of hard drive owners. None of those occurrences will be software related (barring incorrectly flashing the HDD's firmware).

I even doubt it had anything to do with the fact that the drive came from the same supplier (manufacturer?) but even that is far more likely to be the root of the problem than ANY software.

Areas prone to Electrical storms, Power spikes, Power Cuts, Brown-outs etc. are probably the most common reasons for repeated hardware crashes. For that reason, Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) units with Surge-Suppression are non-negotiable necessities for traders IMO.

bowlesj3 wrote:Yes for sure one has to do regular file backups daily (I do differentials until they get the size of the full backup them I do a full backup again so the differentials are small again). I alternate on a daily basis across the network using two other computers as the backup drives.
John.

You mentioned that speed of the backup was important to you. As a suggestion: Your backup/restore process would be much quicker if you weren't writing large hard drive images across your network. Even an external USB2 hard drive has much greater bandwidth. If it's just one machine whose backup is crucial for trading, adding another fixed hardrive to it would be even faster.

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby geizer » 01 May 2011

bowlesj3 wrote:...Can everyone and anyone submit the latest and greatest ideas on what software to use for this speed up process (including tips and tricks etc). I think it should include ideas on how to return to a different drive (if one buys a larger drive) or even a different machine if that is even possible.

Thanks,
John.


Hi John,

I like the subject particularly because I have spent a lot of time trying to implement and experimenting with different data backup strategies in the past for my own use, finally settling with the set-up which suites my needs the best. Your system and your needs may be different, however what I am going to describe next covers approximately 7 years of trials and errors implementing different backup approaches using different hardware. Here is what I've tried and settled with as the result:

1. First I tried RAID 1 mirror. Faster R/W access, protection against physical failure, but more noisy, more heat and power consumption. No protection against viruses and human factor, more complicated, and fairly time-expensive since it involves third party drivers during OS reinstall/upgrades. After running RAID I abandoned it for it's complexity and inability to alow multiple backup snapshots

Next, I decided to go with complete drive image backups on the regular basis. I considered Acronis True Image Backup (available free if your drive is made by Western Digital Corp.)
Seemed good to me, but my hdd was small and I did not have space for multiple backup copies. So I decided that drive image backup fills my backup hdd with too much extra data. That comes at the huge expense of time. Every backup was just way too slow. So I finally came to realization that in order to have backups I have to sacrifice my time during every backup. I couldn't afford that. So I made a conclusion that drive image back-up is too expensive in terms of time and hdd space. Realistic analogy here is a snowball. More data to backup requires more space and more time. It's all compounded and wait time becomes unbearable. One of the solution would require having the PC run 24/7 to complete back-ups, which isn't an option for me (energy costs, heat, noise).
And yes, I considered external drive (both USB and Firewire), and found both totally unacceptable for the following reasons: any external interface is much slower than direct connect to a IDE/SATA controller. USB was unbearably slow, with Firewire not much faster. This factor alone killed the idea before I had the patience to contemplate the 1st complete backup of my drive image. Another disadvantage of using External drive is that the backup depends on me plugging it in. And this is a human factor which significantly reduces the reliability of the whole system...

Next I moved on with the next concept which I describe "a laser focused approach of backing up the important data ONLY. It takes considerably more time during the initial set-up and configuration, but backups run smooth, fast, and completely transparent in the background, with no time overhead, or excessive tax on CPU for extended period of time.

Here is what software I considered and what I came up with:

There are many software packages I considered, with more than 90% of the backup software available on the net I rate useless. Once I tried the great software which was called "EMC Dantz Retrospect" ( v7.0). At the time I tried it, this software was made by Dantz and made suitable in data center backups. The company was then acquired by EMC Corp, which next sold the software to Roxio Corp. The interesting thing is that "Retrospect Backup" hasn't not changed much since - doesn't need to be - it works. the software is not free, which is it's biggest disadvantage. Here is the link. And yes, Retrospect allows complete drive image backups, as well as backups to CDRW, DVDRW, Network servers, HDD, robotic tape libraries, you name it. It can be configured to create multiple backup sets, allows differential, incremental, full backups, schedules, you name it. Anything virtually. The interface is boring, but the software is robust.

Anyways I don't use it because it cost $$. Instead I use a much simpler alternative. Cobian Backup v.10 is the name, and it's free ( The Link). It's the software I love, it works, flexible, full of features, light on resources, runs on schedule - unattended. It does NOT make drive image backups, however It makes scheduled backups of the data I want. Multiple snapshots of my files. It also does the housekeeping by limiting the number of backup copies it keeps. Backups are simple ZIP archives, or raw files (however you set-it up).
--------------------

In my setup I try to keep things as simple as possible, and with simplicity, performance, and robustness being my priorities I finally settled with the following set-up and backup strategy of my computer:
Primary hard drive: Solid State 60Gb Mushkin Callisto, (Sandforce SSD controller) (performance, low power consumption)
Back-up hard drive: 160 Gb 2.5" (low power consumption, low noise)

I keep 15 fifteen of 100% full daily snapshots of all my data which includes all multicharts files and many others. The backup is done automatically on schedule. If computer is off at the scheduled time, and backup is missed, then backup is automatically performed as soon as PC is powered up next time. I could set backups to be made more often, but there is no need to. Each backup takes ~10min and compressed data amounts to approximately 5Gb. That's all I need really. I did once reinstalled the OS Windows, and Windows installed extremely fast on the Solid State HDD. The boot time is 15 sec, thanks to Solid State hard Drive again.

When I did the data recovery (after reinstalling OS windows) from backups created by Cobian, the restore went smooth, although it's a manual procedure and required some knowledge where to restore things. I'm happy that I found the suitable backup strategy that meet my needs, and I hope to stick to this backup strategy for a long period of time.

My experience helped me to answer one very important question about drive image:

Q: Do i need a drive image? Why keep it? What if I don't?

A: Keeping drive image helps to restore the system to working condition faster.
How much faster ?
Well, my system is dedicated to multicharts. almost exclusively. No junk installed. The risk of ruin is reduced. The volume of data to move kept to a minimum. The Solid State hard drive is speedy and pleasure to install the OS on it. I even don't know how I could live without it before :) An the most interesting thing is: every time in the past when I needed to reinstall the system from scratch, AND, I had the drive image saved... surprise... I always selected not to restore from Drive image, but to install traditionally! Why not? because of new service pack released for Windows which integrated all the previous updates already, because of drivers which were almost always newer (hence cleaner install). And... the last time I reinstalled everything with all OS updates on my SSD in ... less than 6 hours, relaxed.

It's funny: while my subconscious fearful mind kept telling me I needed a drive image, the reality, the experience, and ALL past evidences told me that I didn't need a drive image! Keeping backups of all my data was sufficient! So eventually I abandoned the idea of drive image. I don't keep it, and hopefully I never will. Because when I did, I never used it. So experience tells me that time was wasted moving gigabytes of data incl page files, temp folders, and all that on the regular basis for months and months, so when the day comes, I don't use the opportunity .... because the time savings of few hours doesn't worth loosing an even more rewarding opportunity of ever cleaner install of Windows. Paradox! .. Working hard for many months moving gigabytes of ... temp files, ... pagefile.sys, ... hiberfil.sys ... recycle.bin files contained in every drive image along with important data ... but that's of course my experience. Everyone's mileage may vary. I like to keep it simple. Its liberating.


And one more question. Why do they call a "drive image backup" a ghost backup and return?

I'm not sure I understood the question correctly, but think it refers to the type of backup when a complete clone to the existing drive is made. Meaning the created "image" of the drive is 100.00% identical to the original, so the integrity of the underlying files, folders, system files and relative positions of system files and structures are all preserved so when the Drive is recreated from the previously created "image" the restored drive is the EXACT snapshot, and IS BOOTABLE. In other words you get a 100% clone of the state drive at some moment in the past. The problem with this approach is that all the problems which existed at the time the image was created are also preserved. An alternative to creating a "drive image" is a simple backup of selected (or all) files without preserving some OS specific structures.

Some general notes:
1. Creating a "drive image" almost always takes more disk space than creating a simple backup of ALL files (the exact same set of files)
2. Creating a "drive image" almost always takes less time to complete backup than creating a simple backup of ALL files (the exact same set of files)
3. Enabling compression considerably slows down the time required to do the backup.
4. Obviously you get to chose one or the other. Time or disk space. Ease of backup and restore operations comes at the cost of disk space usually. Disk space is data. The more data , the more time it takes to move it back and forth. The decision to customize precisely what goes into the backup set comes at the high cost of initial set-up, but pays back with speed and disk space saved over long period of time, which compounds to big time and disk space savings.

Sorry for long writing and absence of style.
Pavel

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby SP » 01 May 2011

Thanks geizer for these informations. Till now i only use the backup/restore from windows professional.

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby bowlesj3 » 01 May 2011

Hi Pavel,

Yes, thanks for your information. Thats great. Your like me in a way in that you like to write. I did a quick read and will come back to it. Unfortunately I am pressed for time here since it appears my windows problems may actually be hardware. A regular reboot has occurred even during the "reformat install windows" process. So I have to scramble a bit. I am opening the machine soon to see if the fan is stuck and will give it a few air blows. I may leave the case open so I can give it a regular cleaning and fan maintenance each week (especially if that is the problem).

My use of complete drive image backup actually was to be very limited. I would install all my regular software, set the configurations based upon my records, then do the image and do no more. So it would contain a very clean windows along with all my standard settings for the windows software and all my other software (probably 25 softwares). So that process would be done only once. All new reinstalls of windows would involve only returning this image then adjusting. I almost never go backwards (stop using software). So if I added maybe two more softwares to the 25 bringing it up to 27 then I would do another image after returning the first and after adding those two new softwares and setting their configurations as I like. After each image return I would of course bring my data back in from the regular daily backups. I may have to overlay some old data files of course so the return would be with overwrite. I may have to do some additional configuring but no where near the amount of work as a complete fresh reinstall of all 27 softwares. The key to making this work is to record all your activity on another document on another machine as you do it (especially since one does not do this to often and on occasion one may decide to go right back and do a fresh install of everything).

Having said all this, I may change my mind after getting back to what you have written and rethinking it. After this hardware issue (and having had several in the past) I am even considering using a backup machine and swapping them daily so if one goes down I can spend a few days (outside trading hours) to get it back to proper running order. This I think is the only way to ensure no missed trading time. I have to think it out before I would consider it since it is a bit extreme.

Maybe tomorrow I can get back to this thread again. Hopefully I can get my system back for Monday trading.

John

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby sptrader » 01 May 2011

Another nice backup program is Casper 6.0, very easy to use. I've used Casper for years.
$50 or so.

http://www.fssdev.com/

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby geizer » 01 May 2011

sptrader wrote:Another nice backup program is Casper 6.0, very easy to use. I've used Casper for years.
$50 or so.

http://www.fssdev.com/


I'vre tried Casper in the past. Excellent software. did the job precisely. The trial version I use limited me to clone drives of identical sizes only, if not it just shrunk the partition of the destination drive. My experience with Casper was great. would use it again.

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby bowlesj3 » 02 May 2011

Okay, so here is where this becomes important. When I upgrade or downgrade MC My overall look of MultiCharts is the same. However when I format the drive and reinstall windows and then reinstall MC I loose all my settings (for example how I have customized the tool bars to exclude drawing tool icons I never use). I suspect the settings are in the Windows Registry. if that is the case it is an error as far as I am concerned. It should be in a file I can backup and restore before I start MC. So for this very reason alone the "disk Image" backup method is worth while and when I get everything setup and running to my liking for about 1 week I will take in image for much faster recovery. I find people seriously underestimate the amount of savings one gets when one uses this method. You still have to document the full reinstall approach because it will be required every so often. I think the decision should be "if you have a full weekend for reinstall then reinstall using a well documented check list to ensure you are running properly on MOnday, otherwise return the disk image so you do not loose any trading time".

So is there any way to quickly restore MC to the settings I had on Friday without having to restore the Windows Registry file?

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby geizer » 02 May 2011

Registry setting can be exported as explained here:
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/libr ... 10%29.aspx

If TS Support could provide a complete list of registry keys than we can create a simple batch file to to the backup of all Multicharts settings stored in the registry.

Combined with the third party backup application, this would make a complete solution.

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby bowlesj3 » 02 May 2011

Hi geizer

Your suggestion Sounds good to me. Unfortunately most need to learn how to do this while most know how to return a configuration file once they know where it is. I am curious why configuration is put in the registry where it creates these unwanted problems. To me if MC had a button which would allow the user to simply save their settings and another to return them (maybe a drop down selection of dates would allow them to go back two configurations if they want). Again this idea leads back to a set of files stored somewhere such that they can be protected by the user and once again leads back to the question "why use the registry". IB has it correct in that they use files for their TWS configuration.

John.

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby marmun » 03 May 2011

bowlesj3 wrote:I find people seriously underestimate the amount of savings one gets when one uses this method. You still have to document the full reinstall approach because it will be required every so often. I think the decision should be "if you have a full weekend for reinstall then reinstall using a well documented check list to ensure you are running properly on MOnday, otherwise return the disk image so you do not loose any trading time".?

I agree that, at first, we all underestimate the backup task and its importance. The first disaster is usually enough of a wake-up call. We also underestimate 'what' needs to be backed up, how much and how frequently the settings on that software changes.

The way I see it is that you either:

1. Keep a check list (as you described) of processes for backup/restore and maintain that list as and when you add/update software or
2. Just backup the whole drive.

I prefer the latter because it means I don't have yet another To-Do List for my poor brain to remember. It also eliminates that 'Oh Shit!' moment as I realise that I’ve forgotten to update my check list after installing/updating that 'must-have' software and now it's settings are not as I want them.

To make the backup process as quick and easy as possible I only use one machine for trading. I don't use that machine for anything else - nothing. However it still requires other 'trading tools' such as datafeeds, an atomic clock with various alarms set, scripts (for IB reset etc.) and a few basic MS apps.

I end up with a machine that uses about 20GB of storage. To backup the whole thing takes 7 minutes and (with a normal compression setting) the image file is less than 14GB. So, I’m a little puzzled about the experiences others have had with slow backup and larger-than-raw-data image files?

FWIW, The machine is by no means a screamer. It’s still running XP/3 and that 7 minute backup is to an external USB2 drive. A second internal drive would be quicker as would only performing incremental backups. With such a small amount of data, I don't bother and just backup the whole thing each time.

Of course, if you want/need to have hundreds of GBs of 'stuff' on your trading machine, then things like RAID should be considered as should a checklist system that you described. However, for most people, a backup process that that you can just click and leave for 10-15 minutes, or less, a week takes some beating IMO.

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby bowlesj3 » 03 May 2011

For sure the Acronis backup is faster and easier. I was talking to the tech people at BestBuy who use it and they said that every so often it will skip. I should have asked exactly what they meant by that. Maybe they meant skip being run or maybe every so often the backup is bad. Either way if you are doing them every day and storing a months worth as I do with the MC data files using a rotation naming convention as below you are pretty much protected.

MC_data01.zip
MC_data02.zip
etc
MC_data29.zip
MC_data31.zip

I have noticed a big speed increase in pretty much everything since I reloaded windows and all the software. That is what I am interested in mostly. In other words now that everything is pretty much set I could take 2 Acronis backups and when I want to get that speed boost again I just return them and return my normal data backups on top of it (what an hour maybe). If all you do is access TSS and IB for trading you may never get a reduction in speed. I however will go into safe web sites but it is true that I could pick up a bad virus (one that locks out the windows controls) or just adware and it slows things down. I had a bad virus once. It is at times like that one really needs acronis to get things back fast for the next days trading.

Regarding keeping one's PC running fast I have not read this yet but I gather it is doable without having to reload everything. It is an area I need to learn more about.
http://www.pcworld.com/article/18393-2/pc_workout.html

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby janus » 03 May 2011

marmun wrote:I prefer the latter because it means I don't have yet another To-Do List for my poor brain to remember. It also eliminates that 'Oh Shit!' moment as I realise that I’ve forgotten to update my check list after installing/updating that 'must-have' software and now it's settings are not as I want them.


Good point. However, I do both. I do a complete backup using Ghost on my PC once or twice a month, but do very frequent backups of individual directories that are important using robocopy scripts. I used to do incremental backups with Ghost as well but soon decided it wasn't worth extra work if I had to recover. A full backup of my two hard disks takes about an hour to an external disk. I then copy the backup images to a second external hard drive. Yes I'm paranoid but it's better to be safe than sorry. I hate restoring a system from scratch as it can takes days by the time I re-installed all the applications.

I don't mind the time it takes do all this as I still can continue doing other work (except for the initial Ghost imaging even though it does allow a backup to be done while working on the PC).

If I wanted speed I would try Clonezilla again. I tested it some months ago on a MAC and it was extremely fast. It does "bare metal" backups, which explains the speed and why it can be used with any mainstream operating system on a PC or Intel based MAC.

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Re: Using Ghost backups/returns to keep MC running fast.

Postby bowlesj3 » 04 May 2011

I agree with Janus.

Another thing about my purpose of using the drive image backup for "fast return of my software and basic configurations to get the speed back", if one keeps records of their configuration settings (as I am doing more and more and I have the document handy at all times), after returning an image to get the speed back, there is no reason one can not adjust the configuration after the return and save that image again to be used for future returns to speed up the system.

A full reinstall of the software took me 2 days the first time. This time it took 1.5 days. If one keeps improving their configuration records and reinstall procedure records one gets faster and faster. However I think it will never take less than 1 day for me. This is something I do not want to do any more than once a year. Using the drive image backup I could see that full reinstall drudgery being reduced down to 1 or 2 times for every new computer. Right now I am getting a reboot problem. Cleaning the fans and leaving the box open 1/2 fixed it. I have been reading
http://ask-leo.com/why_does_my_computer ... rning.html
to try and decide how to proceed. I am thinking of getting two machines and swapping them every week and if one starts giving me hardware hassles I can swap them and take the other into the shop without loosing trading time. In this situation having these backup procedures down pat becomes even more important since each week I have to copy changes on the one machine over to the other machine. I need to know where all the windows configuration is stored (registry is my guess). It will be the same with all software. The records would be stored on my notebook which is totally separate.


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