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nemo

testing backups

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WXP, Retro 7.0, backing up to Seagate 200G EHDD

I am a user for perhaps 2 months and Retrospect 7 seems to be working well. I have noticed several posted replies to queries stating that one should "test" ones backups.

 

How do you "test" one?

 

Also, how do I test a disaster recovery disk just to see if it will work, without overwriting any data.

 

Thanks!

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Could I use an unused partition in my backup computer's HD?

 

Can you expand a little beyond the simple answer?

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I would strongly advise to not use/create another partition on your system drive to test the system recovery. I'd be OK to test the data recovery on another partition of the system drive.

 

Two reasons for not using another partition on the system drive:

1. There is a reasonable risk of accidently choosing the wrong partition and, if there is a problem with the disaster recovery, you would wind up with a total loss. The risk may seem small as which partition to choose may seem so obvious. But, guaranteed there is a risk.

 

2. Even if you did choose the right partition, the drive letter will not be C: - but all the references on the partition will be to C:. Simply, it won't boot.

 

At the same time, the KEY issue in disaster recovery are user created files, songs you've downloaded, etc. So, you can always either reinstall Windows or use the mfg's recovery disk [if you've got one] and then restore your 'data'. No problem to test the recovery of the data to another partition.

 

HTH.

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WXP, Retro 7, Seagate 200G EHDD

Thanks a lot for the above info.

You make a clear distinction between backing up data and backing up files needed for system recovery. I have been backing up my entire C drive, and then also redundantly backing up my Quicken data files and, separately, my "shared" "f" drive where most data is kept and is accessible to my WLAN.

Do you suggest making a separate backup of the files necessary for disaster recovery from out of the C drive? And which file or folder would have these? Use one of the selectors?

 

Thanks again!

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Do you suggest making a separate backup of the files necessary for disaster recovery from out of the C drive? And which file or folder would have these? Use one of the selectors?

 


 

The reason I differentiate between a system backup and data back up is how often the backups need to be run. I.e., most people think to run their data backups daily, while a system backup could be run weekly or even monthly. For system backups, the thinking is applications/updates can always be reinstalled and, usually there aren't a lot of changes in a week or month.

On the other hand, we would all like to save any change to data as soon as it's made. Retro can be configured to run backups as often as you'd like, i've chosen to run once each day.

 

Which folders to backup is something you need to determine. In my case I put all my user created data in a folder I created. WinXP's default is My Documents - but you should confirm where each of your applications is saving your files. Also, you need to confirm where you downloaded files [music, etc] are being saved.

 

If all your files are saved in one 'master' folder, you can define the folder as a 'volume' and write a script to backup just that volume. You could also use selectors - but you'll need to know either all the folders where your data is saved and/or the file extensions you want to save. It will simplify things if you insure you keep everything in either My Documents or your own folder. Quite frankly, I don't know how to use the C: drive as the source volume but backup just data files - without writing a long list of exclude selectors.

 

HTH.

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Hi nemo,

 

I only do a backup once every three to five weeks depending on what new data (photos) that I have added.

Afterwards, I'll "test" it by retrieving a photo or other data from the backup to make sure I did it correctly. grin.gif

 

But I haven't done a recovery disk.

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I'm sorry, I didn't phrase part of my question well.

 

As to which files to be sure to include, I was referring to system files needed for DR. Is is enough to just include Documents & Settings, or should the backup to be used for DR and a boot disc just be the whole C drive, which is what I'm doing now. That includes most of my data, which, as you point out, is more time critical, and which I separately back up daily.

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Right! The simple answer is you need a separate hard drive to experiment with.

 


 

Would you elaborate somewhat more on how to experiment, or point to an earlier thread or knowledgebase answer? Having confidence in one's DR plan seems to be a vital step. I have read too many posts (not particularly about Retrospect) of people having made a DR bootable DVD or CD and then when they needed to use it finding out that it wasn't able to do what they needed and expected. It seems that "testing" on another drive would give some better sense of security and like the original poster I have an external HD that I could test to - in my case I have a completely blank external HD I could use however it is not the same Mfg has my laptop HD. Also any comments about how confident one can be that if it your DR worked with the "experimental HD" that it will work with the "real HD" if the latter crashes would be also greatly appreciated. I'd hope that if DR works with "experimental HD" AND you are able to use Retrospect to restore data to your "real HD" that you should be able to be pretty confident of your DR plan, but this might be naive.

 

I do understand that one can use the DR disc on one's real HD and abort the process before the DR reformats. This would give a partial though meaningful test of one DR plan.

 

My apologies to original poster if my bringing things back to part of the original ? is off target. I am considering purchase of Retrospect and am particularly interested in its DR so this thread caught my eye. Thx, Edward

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Hi,

 

There are a few simple tests you can do to get a feel for how a restore would work. This first would be to do a simple restore of a few files from your backup. Select Restore>Restore, go through the wizard and make sure that you choose the option "Restore files and folders" from the screen "Which type of restore would you like to perform?" On the following screen you can push the "Select Files" button to restore as few or as many files as you want. You might just want to restore a few files and make sure they still work with the appropriate application.

 

A simple partial test of the DR cd would be to simply boot from the CD. This will bring you into a screen that looks similar to the Windows installation process, this is because a DR cd is effectively a Windows installation cd + Retrospect. You should cancel after the first screen shows up and reboot normally from your hard drive. This will allow you to see that the DR cd is indeed bootable and that it can initiate your backup.

 

The best way to test this is, as suggested earlier in the thread, replace your internal hard drive with a blank one that you can install to, and actually go through the installation process as if your hard drive has died. You might use this as an excuse to upgrade to a larger hard drive. wink.gif Aside from that, the two steps outlined above should give you a moderate level of confidence in Retrospect's ability to boot your machine should your hard drive fail, and be able to restore some useful data.

 

Remember: if worse comes to worst, a useless DR cd is not the end of the world. You can still perform "live DR," where you restore your entire system onto a fully installed operating system with the same service pack. DR is primarily a convenience to allow you to skip the sometimes lengthy Windows installation process.

 

I hope this helps clear up the discussion, rather than add to the confusion. laugh.gif

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I'm having some problems with the testing of our disaster recovery. Here's My procedure:

 

I do a complete backup of all files and folders, Run's fine, get 3 warnings:

File "C:\WINDOWS\Temp\Buf2.tmp": can't read, error -1020 (sharing violation)

File "C:\WINDOWS\Temp\VxsvcError.log.tmp": can't read, error -1020 (sharing violation)

File "C:\WINDOWS\Temp\hsperfdata_SYSTEM\1320": can't read, error -1020 (sharing violation)

 

Thats all fine, I create a bootable CD using the disaster recovery for the windows 2003 OS.

 

I boot up from the disc on our virtual server (used as a test machine), boots up, loads up the OS fine, restart to install the retrospect client, now I install SP1 (same OS version as the back-up system. )

 

Now i go into Retrospect, and "restore entire Volume", where I replace files and folders, and having 'restore system state' checked off in the options. I run the restore, get one error:

File "C:\Program Files\Citrix\GoToMyPC\g2host.log": appears incomplete

looks like a minor issue.

 

The virtual machine displayed the message that the restore was complete, and it went for a restart. It tried booting back up, but to no avail. It would get past the POST, and then only display a black screen. I tried safe mode, also to no avail. What am I doing wrong?

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Quote:

 

I boot up from the disc on our virtual server (used as a test machine), boots up, loads up the OS fine, restart to install the retrospect client, now I install SP1 (same OS version as the back-up system. )

 

Now i go into Retrospect, and "restore entire Volume", where I replace files and folders, and having 'restore system state' checked off in the options.

The virtual machine displayed the message that the restore was complete, and it went for a restart. It tried booting back up, but to no avail. It would get past the POST, and then only display a black screen. I tried safe mode, also to no avail. What am I doing wrong?

 


 

You are unchecking "Restore system state"? If so, you should leave it checked. [My understanding is system state includes the registry]

Also, why are you reinstalling SP1? The DR CD should be created from the same service pack level as your backup set.

 

Lastly, I have no experience with virtual machines - someone from Dantz needs comment whether Retro works on virtual machines.

 

HTH

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Hi,

 

The best way to test this is, as suggested earlier in the thread, replace your internal hard drive with a blank one that you can install to, and actually go through the installation process as if your hard drive has died. You might use this as an excuse to upgrade to a larger hard drive.
wink.gif

 

I hope this helps clear up the discussion, rather than add to the confusion.
laugh.gif

 


 

Thanks for the additional information; however for those like myself who are working on a laptop replacement of the internal HD is often a fairly challenging undertaking especially if this is just being done to do a robust test of my DR plan.

 

I am using an external HD via USB 2 and have a virgin HD that I can put in that enclosure, but would need some hints as to how to test DR in that circumstance. I'm not certain that in my laptops boot sequence I can "ask" it to boot from the external HD, which I assume is what would be required. For my desktop, I certainly can do what has already been suggested. Would appreciate if someone wants to tackle how to test DR when you have a laptop. Edward

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