Long-time subscriber Fuzzy Fred wrote to ask for some help with Acronis True Image. He had a particular plan in mind:
I wonder if you can help me with something? I have self built my computers for the last ten years and my current system is as follows:
I am dual booted on my computer with my system as followsDualCore AMD Athlon 64 X2 6000
6GB PC2 6400 RAM
ATI Radeon HD 4670 (RV730)
SAMSUNG HD103UI 1000 GB, SATA-II with 6 partitions
Seagate ST3320620 320GB SATA-II
The system partition are C:@ 40GB Win XP Pro and D: @ 40GB Win 7 ultimate
I am using Acronis True Image Home v9 to backup my system partitions and put these backups onto my secondary HDD. In addition I backup data files and the system backups to an external HDD.
However when I need to restore a system partition I have to boot from a rescue disk and then negotiate to the drive with the appropriate system backup. Since I enjoy experimenting with all kinds of shareware, free software as well as betas for commercial programs my systems can get quite messed up in a relatively short period so I need to restore systems quite often However I want to change my way of doing restores to a new system that I think will be easier for me.
What I wish to do is to prepare my system partition with all my software and drivers installed, (but otherwise untouched), and then to make a single DVD of this so that I have recovery system like those supplied with HP/Compaq and Dell computers etc. Then when I have to do a restore, I need only place appropriate system DVD in the drive, reboot, point to the appropriate partition and have the image installed. The main problems I see in doing this are :
1. Is there likely to be a problem because I am dual booted
2. Determining what software I need to do this. (ATIH v10 ?)
The most likely software is Acronis True Image Home 10 as an upgrade to ATIH v9, which I am familiar with, and I know you are impressed you are with Acronis True Image Home 10 which is why I am asking you about it.
I don’t know if ATIH v10 can do this for me and when I tried to read the manual for it I got lost in the detail. Sadly, as with most oldies like me my powers of learning and concentration are not so good any more, .(I am now into my tenth year of retirement) So I am reluctant to commit myself to an upgrade until I know if it can do what I want. I asked Acronis for help a couple of weeks ago, but they have not replied yet.
So, if what I want to do is possible with ATIH v10, could you help me with an idiots guide of how to do it please.
First, I needed to know which version of ATIH Fred was using. If he was using v9, that’s quite old. The recent versions were v7, v8, v9, v10, v11, v2009, v2010 (just released). Fred referred to v9 and v10 — he probably meant v2009 and v2010, not realizing that v9 and v10 were actually earlier versions before Acronis changed the version numbering system.
The main problem with Fred’s idea is the concept of a "single DVD." I’m not sure if HP/Compaq provides a restore DVD any longer — I think it’s a boot DVD that restores from a backup partition already on the computer. Dell provides OEM Windows DVDs and CD’s or DVD’s for the software and drivers.
A single DVD can hold about 4GB of data. While XP required 1.5 GB on your hard drive, Vista requires 15 GB available hard disk space. Windows 7 requires 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit). Now, add your drivers and software to both…
Anyone doing this is going to have a lot more than one DVD. If you don’t want to use an external drive, the better choice would be to store the backup on a partition on a second hard drive. In Fred’s case, he could store a System Backup including both C: and D:. Please be aware that when Windows 7 is installed in a dual-boot mode with Windows XP, Windows 7 writes some of its configuration files into the Windows XP partition when you installed WIndows 7. It’s not completely stand-alone.
I’ve been reading an article on how to convert from dual-boot setup to solely Windows 7 and am about to do it. The result is that you get rid of the Windows XP partition and have a bunch of blank space on the drive (not partitioned). Then, the article recommends some free partition managing software, that is compatible with Windows 7, to move the Windows 7 partition to the beginning of the free space.
For Windows 7, I was not willing to count on versions prior to v2010. It may be perfectly compatible with v2009, but I’m not willing to trust my Windows 7 backups to software not designed for Windows 7. Windows 7 has too many low-level differences from Vista and Windows XP.
The “System Backup” can back up multiple partitions and can automatically split it into sizes for writing to individual DVD’s. I prefer to write the backup as a single file to an external hard drive or an
Finally, Fred asked about a step-by-step "idiot’s guide" to do the backups he wanted. I responded to him that this was a little past what I can do, since writing it would require me to step through all the process to confirm that I listed all the steps and that I wrote the exactly right words at the exact right points.
The steps would be very basic though — do a system backup of the your C: and D: partitions — to your external hard drive. Then, use the boot CD or DVD whenever you need to in order to restore the hard drive to "original condition."
The variation I mentioned earlier would be to back up to the second hard drive rather than to the external hard drive.
Fred wrote back to say:
Thank you for your reply you raised the one thing I had not considered and that was the size of the backup file. I was working on the assumption that the file would be similar to XP @ 4.2GB but when I checked the Win 7 backup file is actually 12.6GB after compression which is to big even for dual DVDs. So that has killed my idea stone dead, so its back to the drawing board and I will continue to use my current method for now
I am actually using Acronis True Image Home 2009, so I must now consider whether or not to upgrade to 2010.
Thank you for your kind help
So, the one-DVD idea was a key to Fred’s plans.
I think the plan was a good one, but would work best if he stored the data as a Recovery Partition on the computer and used an Acronis Recovery CD (which the program will make) to boot and give him access.