Monday, December 14, 2009

Backups that just work.

After all the drama with the KSODs that I experienced in Vista and Win7, I’ve decided that it is high time that I put together a good backup system. Here’s what I’ve come up with.

I have a primary backup system that continuously backs up data, and a secondary system that images the computer every other week.

My primary backup program is called Rebit. The company tagline for the product is “Ridiculously Simple Backup” and for the most part, this is true.

Rebit is a bit like Time Machine on the Mac, sans the cheesy user interface, working quietly in the background using the Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service to backup everything to the Rebit appliance.

The software supports revisioning, so you can back up and access multiple versions of files like you can in Time Machine.

There are virtually no settings to configure – it just backs up everything -which adds to its simplicity. However, this can be a little frustrating to techies who want to be able to verify backups or apply backup filters to exclude large VMware images, for example.

So far, everything has worked smoothly with the 1TB Seagate Desk external USB hard drive that I bought for the Rebit. The installation and activation of the software went smoothly, and creating the first system image took overnight.

Subsequent incremental backups took much less time. If Rebit is plugged in, it seems to echo file changes pretty quickly, but also creates a new incremental system image daily. If it is not plugged in, Rebit automatically will catch up with all the file changes the next time you plug it in.

My secondary backup program is Paragon Backup & Recovery 10 Free Edition. Paragon Backup is free for personal use.

I was very pleasantly surprised by how full featured it is for free software, supporting archive verification, boot USB & CD creation and even incremental backups. 

I use this program to create a drive image every other week.

I should mention that both Rebit and Paragon Backup are compatible with Win7 64-bit. I haven’t tried to restore from a backup from either system yet, but will report back when I do.

Incidentally, Rebit for some reason just would not work with an older 640MB Western Digital Caviar Blue hard drive that I had put in two different USB enclosures. At random times it would freeze the computer which wouldn’t recover until I turned off the external drive.

However, the WD HD is working fine as a Time Machine drive in Meike’s Mac Pro. Perhaps it likes Macs better.

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