Friday, May 4, 2012

Backup Software

For some years, I've been using an external backup program called EZ-Gig from Apricorn, as it was simple and reliable for my drives and partitions containing FAT32, NTFS and EXT2 (Linux). With the recent changes to PC system BIOS' it no longer loads, so I've been looking for an alternative.

As an added note, I tend to only backup my system drives occasionally as my data and media files reside on different partitions and for these I use ZTreeWin quite regularly.

Here's a few things for backup and restore I've been working on that may interest others...

I like to create a CD, or better still, a bootable thumb drive, to backup and restore my hard drives. Most diagnostic, repair, and archiving software is based on Linux. The trouble is, a lot of good stuff is really hard to use, but one of the best and flexible archiving programs is called FSArchiver.

This program is also hard to use but there's a script for FSArchiver that makes the task of backing up and restoring easier, it's called FSArchiver_Dialog

It's not necessary to download this, the link is included for reference.

hat I mainly like about FSArchiver is:

  • The ability to restore to partitions of a different size.
  • Backup/Restore is performed independent of the main operating system (CD or boot thumb).
  • Independent MBR/Table backup and restore.
  • Likely to be around for a while, with updates for new systems.
  • Supports numerous drive formats.
  • It's free!
It's promoted more for SystemRescueCD, but I found this rather unfriendly. However, it's actually included within Parted Magic, a superior program. When launched, just open a terminal (quick-link tray) and type:

Step-by-step backup:
  • Select path to store files--image backup (option P), this mounts the drive to store the archive.
  • Highlight partition to store archive.
  • Select default directory for archive.
  • Select partition(s) (option S), you wish to save.
  • Check mark actual partition(s) with an asterisk.
  • Confirm MBR/Table backup (or use option M).
  • Select or enter the image file name,
  • Confirm to continue.
I'm sure there will be better front ends for fsarchiver, but for now this is workable for me.

Creating Multi-Boot Thumb Drives:
I've created a multi-boot thumb drive with a program called YUMI.

On a 1GByte thumb drive, I have  these bootable programs:

  • AVG Rescue (Antivirus)
  • Ophcrack XP (password finder)
  • Parted Magic (Linux OS with disk and other utilities)
  • Apricorn EZ-Gig II (Proprietary, old Archiving software)
  • EaseUS Disk Copy Image
I did add Partition Wizard (pwhe7.iso) as an alternative to GParted within Parted Magic, and just to fill the drive.

YUMI give links to sites for the programs it directly supports. Other ISO's can use a feature called "Try an unlisted ISO (Runs from RAM)". This latter feature may take a while to extract and load when in use as a boot option (so one has to be patient).

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