Am I too set in my ways - PC Protection, System backup, Data backup

  compumac 18:36 30 Aug 2014

Been messing around with PC’s for some years now and have perhaps become set in my ways in selection of programmes, specifically those in respect of defence of PC and the backing up of data and systems.

I have had occasion to watch a Microsoft technician working on an infected/corrupted computer recently and despite being able to keep up with the speed and dexterity of the technician I found that he used Hitman Pro, Malwarebytes, ADW Cleaner amongst others. None of the programmes that he introduced into the proceedings were ones that I used which made me wonder as to whether I am behind the times and too set in my ways.

Currently I use the paid for version of Emsissoft Antimalware, Norton Internet Security and CCleaner. System images are created every weekend.

I also use Acronis True Image for system backups with its Nonstop data backup. Running alongside Acronis I use Allway Sync for data backup.

All backed up data is held in four separate drives.

Every other week all my data and the current system image is placed onto an external drive that is only connected to the main PC at that time only.

All comments appreciated.

  Forum Editor 18:47 30 Aug 2014

I doubt that NASA has a more comprehensive range of backup options - I certainly don't! There must be some mighty valuable data involved. I don't think you need to be concerned.

My own office routine involves automated data backups from all machines to external drives every 15 minutes. I use Avast anti-virus software and CCleaner is run every 48 hours on all machines.

I have never created a system image in a lifetime of working with computers, and I have never run system backups. My websites and those of my clients are running on a dedicated server in a data centre, and of course there are comprehensive backup routines in use there.

I can't really comment on the Microsoft technician's software choices - I have never used any of them.

  john bunyan 19:54 30 Aug 2014

Keeping costs to a minimum - on my desktop my main drive is partitioned C (OS, Programmes); F All my self generated data and Outlook e mails. I have slide in caddy with a second SATA drive. (Windows 7). I use Avast free a/v ; Malawarebytes pro, SAS and occasionally scan with ADWCleaner - particularly useful for younger PC users who tend to not notice add ons when downloading. I use the Windows firewall, and have Spywareblaster in the background. I make frequent mirror copies of my data partition using Freefilesynch (far quicker than an image as only changed folders are updated.) I do use ATI to make weekly images of my C partition )after a virus and malware check and a defrag with Auslogics Defrag.On my laptop I do the same with free Macrium Reflect. Monthly I make a clone of the main disc on another SATA drive in a slide caddy, kept elsewhere in the house.

Only those who have lost all to a virus appreciate the need for all this. I had a problem a few years ago using Bullguard suite whch still did not stop a virus. No problems recently. A re install is so time consuming as there are many hundreds of updates to load if that happens.

  Fruit Bat /\0/\ 19:58 30 Aug 2014

All three can be used as stand alone scanners (probably why he used them)

  Forum Editor 23:27 30 Aug 2014

"Only those who have lost all to a virus appreciate the need for all this."

I can understand that. I have never lost anything to a virus - perhaps I've been lucky.

  compumac 09:44 31 Aug 2014

Forum Editor.

I would think that you are lucky and might I say, without meaning to be offensive, perhaps complacent.

I came across an individual last year who boasted that he had never had a problem in all the time he had been using a PC. Two weeks later he lost everything and had no means at his disposal to recover same. He has now a more robust backup than I have!

In the twenty years plus that I have been messing with PC's I have lost my data twice, but that was in my formative (?) years. I have come across a fair number of people who have that same data loss and when you have got them started again, despite them losing it once, they have not put into place some form of cover to prevent occurrence. One has to consider what is the data that you have and think very, very hard as to the consequence of losing perhaps many years of work some of which cannot be replaced by any means whatsoever. I am thinking of photographs and the like. You cannot put a value on that type of thing.

For what it entails to prevent loss it is well worth it.

Prevent it happening in the first place.

  Batch 11:56 31 Aug 2014

To image or not to image? That is the question.

FE – I am aware that you commented before about your lack of imaging and, from my perspective, always found this a tad unusual. Although in on office environment it would be impractical to image each PC (and in any event there are other tools / techniques for managing such situations that are beyond the scope of this discussion). But my impression is that you are not in that sort of typical office environment and I tend to echo compumac's sentiments.

Any backups must be seen as an insurance policy. The premium being the time and cost of making and maintaining the backups versus the time, cost, hassle of recovering from an event without the insurance cover (in this case potentially reinstalling from scratch, particularly at a time that is not convenient). Of course, like any insurance policy, you may not ever have cause to claim.

For my part my system partition is just OS (Win7) and pgms. I use Macrium Reflect Free for imaging. It takes around 4 minutes to create a full image of the system partition (and similar to restore). The image is typically under 6.5GB.

Like FE I've never had a virus. Although I have had situations where I have suspected a virus. Rather than faff around trying to “fix” things in such situations, I simply restore my last image. Quick, simple and assured.

I've also found images useful in other respects. Who amongst us has not had a situation where a software install / upgrade or whatever has caused untold issues? Of course, some will say use System Restore. But as we know, System Restore is not without its own issues (see various threads in this forum where System Restore has failed in some way or another).

Also, I've found images useful when I've wanted to revert to a previous state in order to investigate how, say, a previous version of software handled something (e.g. given I might be now having issues with the latest version which did not appear to exist before). Easy :1. make a new image; 2. restore an old image; 3. investigate; 4. restore the image created in the first step. Often this can all be done in a matter of 15 – 20 minutes.

Maybe be with appropriate skills / knowledge, digging one self out of a hole is feasible, but isn't it far preferable to be able rewind the clock to the situation before the hole existed?

But, I'll admit that imaging (and restoring) a single partition that contains your whole world (e.g. OS, pgms, documents, audio, photos, video etc. etc.) would take a lot longer. In any event, it does not provide a satisfactory rollback because of the lack of separation of software and data – Microsoft have an awful lot to answer for – especially for when they could so easily have made matters a whole cleaner and simpler.

  Woolwell 13:48 31 Aug 2014

Like FE I've never had a virus but I have had a hard drive fail. I don't regularly image my drive but I do back up on a very regular basis to 2 external drives. One uses one program and the other a different program. What you have to be careful with is that a corrupted file on your main system doesn't get transferred to your back up and over write that. I have had that happen with jpg files on more than one occasion. I now regularly burn photos to DVD as well. I have had to use a DVD to recover a corrupted file.

  compumac 14:03 31 Aug 2014

Before I do any imaging I run scans to ensure that the image is good.

  Woolwell 14:05 31 Aug 2014

Virus scans are fine but they will not necessarily pick up a corrupted file.

  bumpkin 15:30 31 Aug 2014

I asked a few years ago what is the difference between a clone and an image, never did get a viable explanation.

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