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basementflyguy

Backup Strategy Advice

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Hi everyone. I'd like some points of view on an appropriate backup strategy for my sim. Currently Windows 10, P3D, all add-ons, and all scenery are on a SDD, and all the original sim files for same (P3D install files, scenery, add-ons, etc.) are on a backup HDD in the PC chassis that I manage manually (download the A2A plane, install it, and move the download ZIP file into the HDD "Aircraft" folder).

 

What I'd like to do is two things. First, I'd like to have the best possible means of doing a full reinstall if I have a critical problem without having to reinstall everything from scratch - so the SDD fries, I buy and install a new SDD, and install the backup (including Windows 10) and be back up and running as if nothing ever happened. I think this would be to create a disk image on another drive, but I'm new to Windows after years of Mac use so I'm not certain.

 

Second, I'd like a cloud-based backup as well, just in case things REALLY get bad in the basement (fire, flood, etc.). I presume the best strategy there would be to have the current backup HDD sit in a OneDrive or Dropbox folder, or maybe to replicate the disk image backup to a cloud account, but again, I'd like suggestions if you have them.

 

Finally, I'd like suggestions on backup frequency: how often to do the disk image (if that's what I do).

 

Thanks in advance for any help.

 

BFG

 

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Hi everyone. I'd like some points of view on an appropriate backup strategy for my sim. Currently Windows 10, P3D, all add-ons, and all scenery are on a SDD, and all the original sim files for same (P3D install files, scenery, add-ons, etc.) are on a backup HDD in the PC chassis that I manage manually (download the A2A plane, install it, and move the download ZIP file into the HDD "Aircraft" folder).

 

What I'd like to do is two things. First, I'd like to have the best possible means of doing a full reinstall if I have a critical problem without having to reinstall everything from scratch - so the SDD fries, I buy and install a new SDD, and install the backup (including Windows 10) and be back up and running as if nothing ever happened. I think this would be to create a disk image on another drive, but I'm new to Windows after years of Mac use so I'm not certain.

 

Second, I'd like a cloud-based backup as well, just in case things REALLY get bad in the basement (fire, flood, etc.). I presume the best strategy there would be to have the current backup HDD sit in a OneDrive or Dropbox folder, or maybe to replicate the disk image backup to a cloud account, but again, I'd like suggestions if you have them.

 

Finally, I'd like suggestions on backup frequency: how often to do the disk image (if that's what I do).

 

Thanks in advance for any help.

 

BFG

I use Macrium. It's awesome and free. Also very simple but powerful.

http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx

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Macrium looks really nice. I use Dropbox for all my FSX/P3D files, but this looks like a better solution.

 

-Brendan

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I use Macrium and it is the best. If you get the paid version which is well worth it for a flight simmer, it will also allow you to find files that may have been corrupted or accidentally deleted, and copy and paste to their proper location, in seconds. Has saved me more than once from having to reinstall something. 

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Macrium free here but soon to buy the paid version, it's that good.

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Macrium free here but soon to buy the paid version, it's that good.

 

The nicest part about it is, let's say your hard drive totally quits on you. When you get Macrium, you quickly make a rescue  boot drive, from an inexpensive USB memory stick. You insert this rescue stick into your PC, and it boots from that. Now you go to your PC store, get a brand new hard drive, install it in your PC in place of your failed drive, and  start Macrium. It creates the new drive exactly the way your original drive was, programs, data, registry, etc, etc... When it's finished, you reboot your PC on your brand new drive and it is exactly as it was prior to your drive failing. Couldn't be any simpler. 

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I use EaseUs Todo Backup and Crashplan.

 

I basically have two 500 GB SSDs and one 4 TB HDD as my "main" storage.

 

The OS, applications, games etc. (such as P3D) go on the SSD's.

The 4 TB HDD is for storage, such as downloaded installers, serial numbers etc. (as well as movies, music and other non-flightsim related stuff).

 

I then have an internal Seagate 8 TB drive for backups. Every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, the SSD's and most of the contents of the 4 TB HDD get backed up to this 8 TB drive using EaseUS, and are kept for 30 days.

 

Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, the most important data also gets backed up to an external 2 TB drive that's always plugged in (but usually not spinning since it's not being accessed). These are also kept for 30 days.

 

Finally, the most crucial data (about 600 GB currently) gets backed up continuously to the cloud using Crashplan.

 

That way, I can easily go back up to 30 days if an addon corrupts P3D, for example. If the internal PSU fails or the main rig somehow fries itself, chances are that the external 2 TB drive with its own PSU will survive, where I have almost everything I need to get back up and running. If the house burns down, I can still pull the most crucial data from Crashplan.

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I've successfully used Acronis True Image several times. Is there any significant advantage of macrium (payware) over Acronis TI (payware)?

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The nicest part about it is, let's say your hard drive totally quits on you. When you get Macrium, you quickly make a rescue boot drive, from an inexpensive USB memory stick. You insert this rescue stick into your PC, and it boots from that. Now you go to your PC store, get a brand new hard drive, install it in your PC in place of your failed drive, and start Macrium. It creates the new drive exactly the way your original drive was, programs, data, registry, etc, etc... When it's finished, you reboot your PC on your brand new drive and it is exactly as it was prior to your drive failing. Couldn't be any simpler.

I'm really glad BFG asked this question as I want to do the same thing.

 

If you are able to achieve everything Bob has just mentioned by using a simple USB stick, I'm doing exactly that this weekend.

 

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I have the paid version of Macrium and can attest that it is a great hard drive "imaging" program. (I use other software for selected backups, as opposed to creating images).

 

That said, I do have a question for those in the know. At one time I was creating sequential backup images of my C: drive at various stages of software (and flight software) installation. At times I'd roll back to an older image.

 

Oddly, I ran into some activation problems with P3D and PMDG. I couldn't figure it out at the time, but now question whether it had to do with re-imaging my C drive.


I'm really glad BFG asked this question as I want to do the same thing.

If you are able to achieve everything Bob has just mentioned by using a simple USB stick, I'm doing exactly that this weekend.
 

 

With the caveat that the USB stick has to have the capacity of the data on your hard drive. Otherwise, the USB just serves as the "rescue disc." I have a NAS box on my network and save disc images there (since my C drive averages about 300 gigs of used space). An additional hard drive attached to your computer does the same thing. Reboot with the USB rescue and select the image (on a network attached storage device, other hard drive, etc.) you want to install to C, and it does the rest.

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Downloaded the free version: to me, it'll take less time reinstalling everything from scratch (Win10 included)  than mastering the basics of this software.

Only IMHO, of course (I'm definitely behind the curve). 

 

Happy flying guys.

 

Cheers,

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Downloaded the free version: to me, it'll take less time reinstalling everything from scratch (Win10 included)  than mastering the basics of this software.

Only IMHO, of course (I'm definitely behind the curve). 

 

Happy flying guys.

 

Cheers,

No way!  If I have to reinstall everything from scratch it would be a 10+ hour job.  With Macrium it takes about 5 clicks of the mouse walk away and an hour later its done.  How would sitting in front of the PC all day be faster??? Nothing hard about Macrium. Its about as simple as it gets!

I use Macrium and it is the best. If you get the paid version which is well worth it for a flight simmer, it will also allow you to find files that may have been corrupted or accidentally deleted, and copy and paste to their proper location, in seconds. Has saved me more than once from having to reinstall something. 

You can do that with the free version as well.  It has saved me!

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I followed the advice on this post and installed Macrium Home trial. It seems really good. The back up options seem a little daunting. I opted for the Grandfather-father-son back up option.

If I happen to accidentally delete a file can I select and restore that file out of the image backup (presumably after it has been mounted as a virtual drive) or do I have to restore the whole drive?

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I followed the advice on this post and installed Macrium Home trial. It seems really good. The back up options seem a little daunting. I opted for the Grandfather-father-son back up option.

If I happen to accidentally delete a file can I select and restore that file out of the image backup (presumably after it has been mounted as a virtual drive) or do I have to restore the whole drive?

 

That is what I posted above, I believe that only the paid version lets you access folders and files, the free version , you have to load the entire drive. That is why I have the paid version. Believe me, it is well worth it. 

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I'm a tech guy and do the following with excellent results. I hope it helps.

 

1. Best free - Macrium

2. 2nd Best free - Veeam Endpoint 1.5

3. Most reliable cloning tool I've used is Acronis 2014 Premium recovery disc.

 

Some comments:

Acronis is off my list since 2014. These products are critical and need to be refined and made absolutely stable and work every time. Acronis IMO is no longer trust worthy for imaging.

 

I have recommend Veeam as for many users it is easier to use and easier to restore via its well thought out interface. I use Macrium set to backup daily to a folder on my external drive and Veeam set to run on demand to the same drive. Both coexist without issues and as they both backup to their own folder you can use the same external drive for backup.

 

I also use Syncback Pro from 2Brightsparks to keep a duplicate copy of all my Steam and P3D files. I have 28 separate profiles I run as required. They are set to do everything from syncing my user profile backed up to a spare drive to syncing my repair tools from my data drives to my USB sticks I take on the road. A very useful tool.

 

Finally I use Dropbox Pro to store all my can't loose stuff offsite and to be able to access them from various devices. This includes my photo and music library.

 

I've seen several examples of Ransomeware lately. They can an will encrypt data on external drives if you get infected. If possible, consider disconnecting your external backup drives when not in use. Australians have had their fair share of fake Australian Federal Police and Post Office emails with the latest being fake Gas bills catching people out in recent months.

 

A free tip.

 

I wanted to consolidate the many manuals and tips sheets that accumulate so I could view them whenever I wanted on my iPad.

A Dropbox folder (free account will suffice)

Goodreader for the iPad - So many options it can be daunting but its so worth it.

 

Sort a copy of your manuals into folders by Developer/Aircraft or however you choose and drop them into a folder in Dropbox called Flightsim Manuals or whatever.

In GoodReader create the same folder and then connect via WiFi to your Dropbox folder on your computer. Setup a Sync with this folder. Once completed when you need to update GoodReader hit the sync button.

Of course I've simplified the steps but with a little effort I found it to be worth the time.

 

Cheers,

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Free version doesn't have file and folder backup.  http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx

You can mount back up images in free version. Then browse and copy files. So you can!

That is what I posted above, I believe that only the paid version lets you access folders and files, the free version , you have to load the entire drive. That is why I have the paid version. Believe me, it is well worth it. 

You can mount a backup image from within FREE Macrrium and browse it. You can also copy and move files within the saved image.

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