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Old 16. Jul 2013, 11:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default What do I choose to backup?

I downloaded Paragon Backup and Recovery Free 2013 to my W7 x64 machine. I also downloaded the PDF manual, but some things are unclear to me and I need the guidance of those who are more knowledgeable. I suppose my lack of understanding is partly because this is the first time I'm attempting to use this type of software. I must admit the whole topic of hard drives, and the terminology and technology associated with it is new to me . Although there are wizards that are suppose to make it a no-brainer, I still have questions. For instance, when I launch the backup wizard, I get a window with the following under My Computer:
  • Basic Hard Disk 0 (VMware, VMware Virtual S SCSI Disk Dev) [Internal Hard Disk Drive]
  • First Hard Disk Track [First Track]
  • Master Boot Record [MBR]
  • Local Disk (C: ) [Primary]
Notes
  1. Please excuse my lack, but I haven't figured out as yet how to include an image with my post (Lol )
  2. The text enclosed in square brackets appears under the "Type" column on the right of the window.
My Requirements/Objectives
All I want to do is backup the C: drive in case it fails or my computer crashes, etc. Occasionally, I would want to repeat this backup (either incrementally or full) so that I'll have several backups to fall back on.

My Questions
(a) In particular, I'm unsure of what to choose to backup. Should I choose "Local Disk (C: ) [Primary]?
(b) Would the archive file thus created in (a) above restore my PC's hard drive?
(c) If (a) above is correct, why should that be chosen instead of "Basic Hard Disk 0....."?

Thanks in advance for any advice.
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Old 17. Jul 2013, 01:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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(a) If you only want to backup the Windows partition (which is the source of most failures), then yes. I would backup the entire drive though, just in case anything goes wrong ("First Hard Disk Track [First Track]" contains the partition table and the MBR that boots OS). What I'm confused about is "Basic Hard Disk 0 (VMware, VMware Virtual S SCSI Disk Dev) [Internal Hard Disk Drive]", do you have any VMware products installed? Especially ESXi?

(b) Yes, but only the Windows partition if you choose "Local Disk (C: ) [Primary]". You can try to manually fix the MBR, but I have a feeling your setup is too complicated for that. Make sure you backup in another hard drive.

(c) Speed, and you can restore just that partition if you modify the other parts. Also, it's probably more compatible restoring to another system with a different partition table. I remember that you can choose what to restore on where, so only speed should count.
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Old 17. Jul 2013, 02:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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J_L, thanks for responding. Long story short - no, I don't have any VMware products installed. I copied that information from the PDF manual. I suspected something was looking fishy, and in retrospect, I really should have posted the actual information as shown on my PC. Sorry to lead you astray . Here's the actual info the backup wizard shows for my PC:
  • Basic MBR Hard Disk 0 (TOSHIBA MK2565GSX) [Internal Hard Disk Drive]
  • First Hard Disk Track [First Track]
  • Master Boot Record [MBR]
  • PQ SERVICE [Primary]
  • SYSTEM RESERVED [Primary]
  • Acer (C: ) [Primary]

The HDD has no visible partitions except for the a single primary one, so my setup is quite simple and not complicated at all. And yes, I'll be backing-up to an external HDD.

Therefore, based on your advice, "Basic MBR Hard Disk 0...." is what I should choose if my intention is to keep this backup in case my laptop's HDD fails?

BTW, what's "PQ SERVICE"? I tried some searches on the internet, but couldn't find any explanation of what it is, or what it does.
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Old 17. Jul 2013, 05:18 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hmn, you could try saving space and time by just backing up (C: ). How well that works depends on the hardware that you restore on, and whether the first 3 are corrupted.

I'm honestly not very experienced in this, but you could try booting the image in another machine, drive, or even virtual machine to see what's necessary.

According to this thread, it's the Acer Recovery partition. If that's true, then neither PQ SERVICE and SYSTEM RESERVED are strictly required, but the latter may help if you don't have install or system repair disc, while the former can restore to factory defaults if you want.
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Old 17. Jul 2013, 08:59 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe A.TT View Post
Here's the actual info the backup wizard shows for my PC:
  • Basic MBR Hard Disk 0 (TOSHIBA MK2565GSX) [Internal Hard Disk Drive]
  • First Hard Disk Track [First Track]
  • Master Boot Record [MBR]
  • PQ SERVICE [Primary]
  • SYSTEM RESERVED [Primary]
  • Acer (C: ) [Primary]

Therefore, based on your advice, "Basic MBR Hard Disk 0...." is what I should choose if my intention is to keep this backup in case my laptop's HDD fails?
Joe, to attach an image, you can either attach in the post itself. The option can be seen under "Additional Options" under the reply box.

Or, you can upload the image on image site, like imageshack, or imgur.com, and share the link here.

Regarding creating image of your hard drive, if you want to create an exact image of your hard drive as it is now, then yes, you should select the first check-box, which will be for "Basic MBR Hard Disk 0". I think under this are all other things in the list.

PQ Service is e-recovery partition of Acer, which contains files necessary to recover the laptop to the factory state. So yes, it is required.

System Reserved partition contains the boot files for Windows, and is created in Windows 7 and 8. So, that is required too, because without that Windows won't boot.

First hard disk track contains the MBR, which contains the partition information. So, that's necessary too.

So, yes, all of them are required.

I would suggest that after making the image, you try to restore it too, and see if it works. But, that won't be possible, because you wouldn't want to restore it on your working hard drive. If you had a spare hard disk on the same laptop, then you could have used that to restore the image and test whether it works, but I think that's not the case too. So, you have to just store the image, and hope that it works. It should work though, so don't worry. Just make sure that you verify the image, after creating it. You can do that from:

Wizards --> Backup Utilities --> Check Archive Integrity...

On my desktop, when I thought of trying out imaging... for a while, I had to hold it off, because I wanted to restore too, to see if it works... otherwise, I had no way to know how to restore, or if the image works. So, when I got a spare hard disk, then I was able to image the working hard drive, and then restored it on the spare one. It's an easy process.

Occasionally, I did come across the problem of the image not booting... cause was the MBR. In Paragon, it has the feature to update MBR, accessible from "Hard Disk" menu. So, I booted from Paragon rescue disc, and updated the MBR, and then the other hard drive booted fine too. Just posting so that it might come in handy sometime.

Good luck .
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Old 17. Jul 2013, 10:09 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Must've mistakened the function of System Reserved partition. I remember having my own clean install of Windows 7 without it, and all I was missing was "Repair Your Computer" during F8. You can remove it if you want, but generally it's not worth the trouble.

As for PQ Service, I'm fairly certain that it's not necessary if you don't need the factory state. I've removed my own such partition a long time ago without issues.
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Old 17. Jul 2013, 10:40 AM   #7 (permalink)
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On Windows 7, the System Reserved partition is of 100 MB, whereas in Windows 8, it's 350 MB. I had not notice it existed, until a few days ago, when I installed XP on another hard disk, and when I booted to it, it showed System Reserved partition as one of the hard drives, which does not show up in Windows 8.

I would suggest keeping the PQ Service partition. It may prove to be a life saver in case Windows does not boot, or in other cases. It's also particularly useful, in case you do not have the OS install disc.
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Old 17. Jul 2013, 02:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for your advice and inputs guys. It's really educating to learn what all these things like System Reserved and PQ Service are. For that matter, I didn't even know these were partitions. I was under the mistaken impression my C: drive only had a single partition - that should tell you how much I know about this stuff.

@J_L,

Thanks for all the links. I don't know how I didn't find the one for PQ Service, Lol. From a noob's perspective, I agree it's not worth getting rid of the System Reserved partition. It is only 100 MB and not worth messing with.

I do have factory restore disks which my sis made for me when the laptop was first purchased, but I'm in favor of keeping the PQ Service partition as added insurance. For that matter, I have to get around to verifying that they work. My BIOS was changed already to boot from the optical drive first - if I were to insert the 1st disk and reboot, would that be a good way of verifying at least the 1st disk?

@Anupam,

The laptop's C: drive is 250 GB, and I'm backing it up to a 500 GB portable HDD. I successfully backed up the "Basic MBR Hard Disk 0". I read in Paragon's manual that verification of the backup is a default setting, nevertheless, I still did another verification afterwards. Maybe the 2nd time wasn't necessary, but as you guessed, I don't have a spare HDD to test if it will restore properly.

My intention is to always retain this "full" backup of the "Basic MBR Hard Disk 0" because I'm fairly confident everything in my computer is functioning at this stage. I want to keep that as my last resort in case nothing I do helps in a disaster.

I also want to make another backup of "Acer (C: ) [Primary]" and either update it incrementally, or make another backup like it on a regular basis. This will be the my first recourse if I need to restore the C: partition.

Also, the 500 GB portable HDD will have surplus capacity. I want to create 2 partitions on it - one for the archived backups/images, and the other for storing less important stuff that isn't accessed regularly. My intention is to make the partition for backups, say, 200 GB, and allotting the remainder to the other partition. I've read where partitioning is serious business, and doing so without really knowing what you are about could have serious consequences. That's partly the reason I asked for advice in the first place.

Am I making sense so far? What are your thoughts?

P.S.
  1. I feel sorry for most people if they have to learn all this stuff. On the one hand it's daunting; on the other hand if they don't find out how, they would be lost if disaster struck. I consider myself technically inclined and always willing to learn - but not everyone is that way. Just saying...
  2. Anupam, thanks for the info on including an image within my post. I'll look for the feature when next I need it.
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Old 17. Jul 2013, 03:18 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe A.TT View Post
I do have factory restore disks which my sis made for me when the laptop was first purchased, but I'm in favor of keeping the PQ Service partition as added insurance. For that matter, I have to get around to verifying that they work. My BIOS was changed already to boot from the optical drive first - if I were to insert the 1st disk and reboot, would that be a good way of verifying at least the 1st disk?
How did your sis make those discs, do you know? I strongly advise keeping the PQ Service partition. You are right, it's an insurance. Also, you have big enough hard drive for your needs, I think, and an additional portable one is available. So, you can afford to have some space for the PQ Service partition.

Yes, that would be a good way to test the disc, by booting the laptop from it.

I suspect those might be the System Restore discs, that Windows 7 provides the option for? This can be accessed from Start Menu --> Maintenance --> Create a system restore disc.

But, it might be different too. It will be good to see what it contains.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe A.TT View Post
The laptop's C: drive is 250 GB, and I'm backing it up to a 500 GB portable HDD. I successfully backed up the "Basic MBR Hard Disk 0". I read in Paragon's manual that verification of the backup is a default setting, nevertheless, I still did another verification afterwards. Maybe the 2nd time wasn't necessary, but as you guessed, I don't have a spare HDD to test if it will restore properly.
The image size of the backup will be a lot less, depending on how much extra data you have on the drive, besides the OS. If you take image of a bare OS, it will be lot less. Also, these imaging software do not include the page memory, etc, which is unnecessary, so this also saves space. And compression of the image reduces the size further.

And yes, since you intend to store the image for later, as a sure shot backup, it's good to verify by double.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe A.TT View Post
My intention is to always retain this "full" backup of the "Basic MBR Hard Disk 0" because I'm fairly confident everything in my computer is functioning at this stage. I want to keep that as my last resort in case nothing I do helps in a disaster.

I also want to make another backup of "Acer (C: ) [Primary]" and either update it incrementally, or make another backup like it on a regular basis. This will be the my first recourse if I need to restore the C: partition.
This plan of action seems good to me, and also makes sense. First one is definitely good.

When I was going to install Windows 7 on my brother's laptop with Vista, I too first made a full image backup of the drive, with all it's restore partition, etc. Because, in case the Windows 7 install did not work for any reason, I could go back to how the laptop was, originally.

After I had a backup image, I then deleted the factory restore partition, as I no longer needed it, as it was for Vista. This being an old laptop with a smaller hard drive, I needed the space too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe A.TT View Post
Also, the 500 GB portable HDD will have surplus capacity. I want to create 2 partitions on it - one for the archived backups/images, and the other for storing less important stuff that isn't accessed regularly. My intention is to make the partition for backups, say, 200 GB, and allotting the remainder to the other partition. I've read where partitioning is serious business, and doing so without really knowing what you are about could have serious consequences. That's partly the reason I asked for advice in the first place.
Yes, partitioning is risky, when you are working on partitions with data on them. Otherwise, it's not. So, if are going to work on creating, deleting, expanding, or resizing partitions with data on them, it's always good to have a backup of your data.

On an empty disk, it won't really matter if the partition went wrong, because there won't be data to lose, and that also makes it an easy and risk free process. You can just format the drive, if something goes wrong, and start again. But, if you have data, it's always good to be careful.

Generally, partition of a disk is done to separate the OS from the data, so that in case you need to reinstall the OS, the rest of data in other partitions is not affected. Partitioning is also a good way to organize the data properly.

So, if you are looking from an organization point of view, then you can go for partitioning, otherwise, it's not necessary on a pure data disk.

If you do go for partitioning, I will advise that you take backup of all data first... maybe just empty the data on to your hard drive, and then format and partition the external drive. That would be a good way IMO.

In most cases, Windows Disk Management is enough to partition the drives. Partition software is helpful in cases, where you want to partition a drive with data on it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe A.TT View Post
I feel sorry for most people if they have to learn all this stuff. On the one hand it's daunting; on the other hand if they don't find out how, they would be lost if disaster struck. I consider myself technically inclined and always willing to learn - but not everyone is that way. Just saying...
You are right. Most general users won't even know about such methods to backup data. Even look at us... despite being technically inclined, it took us some time, before we got to try imaging. It seemed daunting enough for us... so imagine about novices, or general users.

Little can be done in such cases. Because, I have observed, that even if you make them aware of these methods, and even do it a couple of times for them, they still get lost, and still need help. So, rather than explaining to them, I find it's better to just do it for them . Of course, when you are not there, they are stuck.
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Old 17. Jul 2013, 08:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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@Joe A.TT: If you mean the optical discs, then not completely. The second disc still contains data that's irresponsive of whether the first works or not. Try to see if the first disc has some sort of verification running in RAM that asks you to insert the second disc. Otherwise the only way to test is to restore, unless you know the checksums of the discs.

200 GB may be enough for now, but it won't fit the max capacity of your drive (without a lot of compressible/skippable files). Like Anupam said, partition isn't usually required. I suggested the removal of PQ Service for extra space since you have both disk imaging and optical installation media, but it's your choice.
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