A quicker back up than a full ATI 2010 image?

  john bunyan 15:24 07 Jan 2010

Since moving to W7 I have, (I hope safely) found a quicker back up system. My Primary drive is partitioned c: for System Files and f: for data - I use the "old" XP Windows explorer filing system of My Documents, with sub folders for Photos, music etc. I used to use ATI to create an image of each partition - I still do for the C: drive. It does take a long time if you "verify" the image as well. For the F drive I now use a freebie : FreeFileSynch. This makes a mirror image of "My Documents" on an external drive, and after it runs once, the next time it adds new files or deletes deleted files, in seconds, so you always have an up to date mirror image ( I agree not compressed)of My Documents.Far quicker and easier to use than ATI for data. I still occasionally clone my primary drive to a slave.Is there a snag I have missed?

  GaT7 15:52 07 Jan 2010

I think that's a really useful+clever tool, & if space wasn't an issue, would continue to use ATI for system (C drive) backups only.

Do verify, from time to time, that FreeFileSync (FFS) is indeed working as it is meant to. G

P.S. Link to download FFS click here & a review click here [for those who are lazy to search ;-)]

  DieSse 16:33 07 Jan 2010

Synching is not a backup.

What happens if you (or a faulty program) delete a file/folder accidentally - then you synch - then later you realise and look for the file - where is it (hopefully on your ATI image) - 'cos it won't be in your synched folders.,

  john bunyan 16:46 07 Jan 2010

I am not sure if I fully understand. I do indeed make an image with ATI of the system partition. For the moment I also image the Data partition. But this takes a long time, and I found synching useful. Surely if a file is deleted accidentally and you find out before synching you can reverse synch to retrieve the previous copy. If you dont know the file is missing or bad, and you make an ATI image , this will also have the bad file? Actually I also clone the whole drive occasionally and even have a second HD back up as well. I realise synching is not a back up for the system partition, but surely it is for data?

  DieSse 22:36 07 Jan 2010

A backup is a security snapshot of data (which can be some data or all the data which makes up a system, including programs, settings etc), so that if anything goes wrong the data can be recovered to point at which the snapshot was taken.

For good security it clearly has to have more than one point backed up (3 is common commercially), and ideally theses copies have to be stored outside the system, and preferably in another secure location.

Synching is a system to have an alternative place for data storage - maybe for use in another device so that they have data consistency between them, maybe even as a short term security store. It shouldn't be thought of as a security copy, however, as it has several defects for that purpose.

First - if in the same system, it may fall prey to robbery, fire, catastrophic system failure.

Secondly - it's a single copy with virtually no historical integrity - ie it only reflects essentially the current state of the original, thus has little data recovery value.

Synching has great value for commoning data between devices - to me it's value as a backup is very limited.

It's very quick to copy your data these day to an external device, and to keep it away from the system (memory sticks) and to keep a rolling 3 to 5 day set of copies.

Of course ATI can be used less often (weekly?) for a whole system image (which should be on an external device too).

But bear in mind that ATI can also backup up incrementally as well as fully - that is much faster than full images too.

Your scenario "Surely if a file is deleted accidentally and you find out before synching you can reverse synch to retrieve the previous copy."
- yes that's true - but ONLY if you find out before synching - if you don't then you better hope it's on your ATI image.

  KremmenUK 07:31 08 Jan 2010

For daily or even hourly data backups I think Microsofts free Synctoy takes some beating.

Fully configurable and you can run it via Task Scheduler so as aften as you want, and it's quick.

ATI and Ghost are fine for full system images but they will take a while but is worth it IMO

  john bunyan 13:00 08 Jan 2010

Thanks for your expert views. I am a humble private user, but do my best. My weekly clone ATI is to a SATA slave drive in a removable caddy and I keep it elsewhere. My ATI images, and the synch is to an external hd, and I occasionally make a copy on a second external HD. I will take your views into account - thanks. JB

  john bunyan 13:02 08 Jan 2010

Thanks - I will look at it. In view of the comments received I will continue with ATI images and Synching, as space is no problem.

  David4637 11:14 15 Jan 2010

Could I please ask you about FreeFileSync you recommended above.
Will it create a directory structure in the target drive if say a new file is found in a new directory on the source drive, or is it basically a file to file check only?
Thanks David

  john bunyan 12:22 15 Jan 2010

It has various options. I use the mirror image function. In my case even on W7 I kept my dats in "My Documents" with sub folders - My Music, My Photos etc. Using FreeFileShnch, I created a mirror image of the "My Documents" folder using , in my case, the source as the F; partition of my main drive, and the destination an external HD, drive L. Then every few days I synch the two folders, with sub folders. The programme "susses out" the differences - deleted files, added or modified ones, then synchs the origin to the destination. It copies the original folders directory. I find it useful as it is just like having a readily accessable copy of all data. I do, ocasionally make an ATI image as well! I use ATI for the system partioion.

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