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#4436164 - 06/19/17 07:07 PM External HD for Backups
ZeeOSix Offline


Registered: 07/22/10
Posts: 17795
Loc: PNW
Just bought a 2 TB External HD for backups. I'm still running Windows 7. If I build an ISO image of my OS (C:) drive, exactly what is the ISO taking an image of? Does it include every file on the C: drive or only the Windows operating system?

Also, is it worth partitioning my new Ext HD ... any advantage of doing that? If so, I'd have to reformat it. It's NTFS file format.

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#4436169 - 06/19/17 07:14 PM Re: External HD for Backups [Re: ZeeOSix]
uc50ic4more Offline


Registered: 05/31/06
Posts: 3288
Loc: Windsor, Ontario, Canada
If you make an "image" (a massive .iso file) of your HDD then it (should be) a bit-for-bit copy of your C: drive. This is handy for making a backup of your entire system that is easily restored; but has a few disadvantages:

1) It is difficult to make incremental backups to reflect small changes to your system from time to time.

2) It is difficult to restore a portion of your system.

3) Since you're using Windows, you'll only be able to take advantage of the "entire system restoration" - the whole point of doing a full disk image - on the same hardware, lest Windows gripes about not being genuine.

I'd honestly look at using Windows' built-in backup utility, which I hope and trust offers encryption of the backed up files. It would (read: should) offer incremental backups and per-file restoration.

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#4436172 - 06/19/17 07:18 PM Re: External HD for Backups [Re: ZeeOSix]
Kibitoshin Offline


Registered: 04/19/16
Posts: 698
Loc: Kaiōshinkai
What backup/image software are you using? For example, Macrium Reflect it will create an image of the drive (basically file, folder, drivers, and apps installed on the drive) expect the page and hibernate files.
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#4436173 - 06/19/17 07:22 PM Re: External HD for Backups [Re: ZeeOSix]
JeepWJ19 Offline


Registered: 09/09/15
Posts: 933
Loc: PENNSYLVANIA
I don't see the point in partitioning your hard drive if you have only one OS backing up.

I have a 2tb external hard drive. Half is for Windows (NTFS) and the other is for my Arch Linux (EXT4).
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#4436176 - 06/19/17 07:24 PM Re: External HD for Backups [Re: Kibitoshin]
ZeeOSix Offline


Registered: 07/22/10
Posts: 17795
Loc: PNW
Originally Posted By: Kibitoshin
What backup/image software are you using? For example, Macrium Reflect it will create an image of the drive (basically file, folder, drivers, and apps installed on the drive) expect the page and hibernate files.


There's an option in Windows Backup & Restore to "create a system image", so I'm assuming it's an ISO file of the C: drive.

I can also right click on the C: drive and choose "Build an ISO Image", which I'm assuming would do the same as above.

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#4436178 - 06/19/17 07:25 PM Re: External HD for Backups [Re: ZeeOSix]
NJ_Car_Owner Offline


Registered: 03/16/17
Posts: 206
Loc: NJ
I use AOMEI and you can have it backup the disk, files, system; almost anything you'd like. Just my opinion but no need to partition an external drive, if you want to backup different things just make a folder and let it save to that.

What you should have is a recovery disk that will allow you to reinstall everything should your internal drive crashes. Imaging the system is a good idea, I would just use a separate smaller HD and don't touch it unless an emergency happens. Rethinking it ... maybe once a year reimage your computer so any updates are saved.

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#4436212 - 06/19/17 08:02 PM Re: External HD for Backups [Re: ZeeOSix]
itguy08 Offline


Registered: 09/15/11
Posts: 3227
Loc: Somewhere
ISO files are only of optical media (CD/DVD/BluRay). I'm not sure what an ISO of a hard disk would do other than take a bit for bit copy and break it up into 700MB, 4.7GB or 9.4GB chunks.

I'd look into backup options that just do your data. Your OS is easy enough to restore and preferable to do that in the event of a catastrophe/virus/whatever.

Partitioning is your option. If your boot/data is small I'd partition it to separate your backups and external data.

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#4436213 - 06/19/17 08:03 PM Re: External HD for Backups [Re: NJ_Car_Owner]
ZeeOSix Offline


Registered: 07/22/10
Posts: 17795
Loc: PNW
Originally Posted By: NJ_Car_Owner
I use AOMEI and you can have it backup the disk, files, system; almost anything you'd like. Just my opinion but no need to partition an external drive, if you want to backup different things just make a folder and let it save to that.

What you should have is a recovery disk that will allow you to reinstall everything should your internal drive crashes. Imaging the system is a good idea, I would just use a separate smaller HD and don't touch it unless an emergency happens. Rethinking it ... maybe once a year reimage your computer so any updates are saved.


Not sure if partitioning the drive for what I intend to use it for would be of any benefit. Only thing I could think of is using on partition for just the system ISO file and the other partition for file backups.

This Ext HD will only be powered up to do backups and restores (if necessary), so it won't get a lot of running time. Otherwise, it will be stored in a safe place between uses.

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#4436216 - 06/19/17 08:11 PM Re: External HD for Backups [Re: itguy08]
ZeeOSix Offline


Registered: 07/22/10
Posts: 17795
Loc: PNW
Originally Posted By: itguy08
ISO files are only of optical media (CD/DVD/BluRay). I'm not sure what an ISO of a hard disk would do other than take a bit for bit copy and break it up into 700MB, 4.7GB or 9.4GB chunks.


Looks like I should be able to create a system ISO file of my entire C: drive and save it directly to the Ext HD.

Originally Posted By: itguy08
I'd look into backup options that just do your data. Your OS is easy enough to restore and preferable to do that in the event of a catastrophe/virus/whatever.


Only thing is, if you restore from the original system discs, you won't have all the 100s of Windows Updates, etc. You've have to build it all up from the initial load again. With an ISO file "snap-shot" of the entire C: drive, you'd have an exact copy of your system at the time the ISO file was created.

Originally Posted By: itguy08
Partitioning is your option. If your boot/data is small I'd partition it to separate your backups and external data.


I don't plan on making the Ext HD "bootable". If my computer completely crashed or had a virus that I couldn't recover from, I'd use a "Recovery Disc" (which I've made) to fire up the computer and then rebuild the HD using the ISO image saved on the Ext HD.

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#4436324 - 06/19/17 10:21 PM Re: External HD for Backups [Re: ZeeOSix]
itguy08 Offline


Registered: 09/15/11
Posts: 3227
Loc: Somewhere
Originally Posted By: ZeeOSix

Looks like I should be able to create a system ISO file of my entire C: drive and save it directly to the Ext HD.


An ISO is not a bit for bit copy of a hard drive. It's optical media only. I'd be curious as to what is in that ISO and what can read it.

Quote:
Only thing is, if you restore from the original system discs, you won't have all the 100s of Windows Updates, etc. You've have to build it all up from the initial load again. With an ISO file "snap-shot" of the entire C: drive, you'd have an exact copy of your system at the time the ISO file was created.


Sure but you could also have an image with that exact same corruption, trojan, ransomware, etc. With a restore from system disks, you know what you have will be free of junk. And Windows updates can be run overnight or whatnot as long as you have high speed Internet. Most updates are cumulative now a days so it helps to lessen the downloads.

Backups are a personal thing - I'd rather reload the OS from a known good state (factory image) and update and just pop my data on the computer rather than worrying about managing a system clone. I also ship all my backups of all data offsite with CrashPlan as the drive in a box was always outdated as I'd forget to get it and backup and then take offsite. I've got 2TB out there now and, yes it would take forever to restore but at least it's safe. Or they will send you a disk with your files.

But think about the worst recovery you can do where most of it fails and plan for that.

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#4436382 - 06/20/17 12:55 AM Re: External HD for Backups [Re: itguy08]
ZeeOSix Offline


Registered: 07/22/10
Posts: 17795
Loc: PNW
Originally Posted By: itguy08
Originally Posted By: ZeeOSix

Looks like I should be able to create a system ISO file of my entire C: drive and save it directly to the Ext HD.


An ISO is not a bit for bit copy of a hard drive. It's optical media only. I'd be curious as to what is in that ISO and what can read it.


Pretty sure an ISO image of the HD is a bit for bit "exact copy" that would put it back exactly how it was when the ISO file was created. Don't think it only applies to optical media. From the Windows Backup & Restore help:



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#4436460 - 06/20/17 06:56 AM Re: External HD for Backups [Re: ZeeOSix]
racer12306 Offline


Registered: 10/06/05
Posts: 2309
Loc: Baltimore, MD
My back ups are more concerned with files. So what I do is just copy my computer profile over to the external hdd. Takes up less space, if you have the OS discs then you'll be fine on the restoring, it'll just take a little longer to do a fresh OS install.
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#4436707 - 06/20/17 11:54 AM Re: External HD for Backups [Re: ZeeOSix]
itguy08 Offline


Registered: 09/15/11
Posts: 3227
Loc: Somewhere
Originally Posted By: ZeeOSix


Pretty sure an ISO image of the HD is a bit for bit "exact copy" that would put it back exactly how it was when the ISO file was created. Don't think it only applies to optical media. From the Windows Backup & Restore help:




Not sure if it's an ISO image then - may be just a system image in a proprietary format.
ISO Image

Quote:
There is no standard definition for ISO image files. ISO disc images are uncompressed and do not use a particular container format; they are a sector-by-sector copy of the data on an optical disc, stored inside a binary file. ISO images are expected to contain the binary image of an optical media file system (usually ISO 9660 and its extensions or UDF), including the data in its files in binary format, copied exactly as they were stored on the disc. The data inside the ISO image will be structured according to the file system that was used on the optical disc from which it was created.



Edited by itguy08 (06/20/17 11:54 AM)

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#4436801 - 06/20/17 02:06 PM Re: External HD for Backups [Re: itguy08]
ZeeOSix Offline


Registered: 07/22/10
Posts: 17795
Loc: PNW
^^^ In any case, the ISO file or system image file is an exact bit for bit copy.

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#4436807 - 06/20/17 02:14 PM Re: External HD for Backups [Re: ZeeOSix]
NGRhodes Offline


Registered: 01/06/13
Posts: 326
Loc: West Yorkshire, UK
Its the fact its an image that makes it a bit for bit copy.
IMG is the common file extension of a HDD image - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMG_(file_format)

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