Win7 versus Acronis Data backup Best?

  compumac 12:48 11 Aug 11

I have a network of XP and Win 7 PC’s. I have been creating Acronis images of the system drives on all PC’s regularly. With regard to personal data this has been backed up using Acronis Nonstop backup and also using Allway Sync to external drives, plus a complete manual copy and paste exercise of data on a monthly basis. With Allway Sync your data file backups can be read directly from the backup into the appropriate application, such that if the main system drive packed up completely you would not be reliant on it as a means of accessing those data files. I am contemplating changing my backup procedures as I will shortly have only Win 7 PC’s. I have just read an article on the attributes of Win 7 backup facilities. Does anyone have opinions on the effectiveness of Win7’s abilities in comparison to using Acronis and or Allway Sync? Using Win7 backup can you access those data backup files directly in the event of the system drive failing?

Or - how do you maintain your system backups and also your data?

  john bunyan 13:02 11 Aug 11

I have W7 on 2 PC's. I find the W7 backup a bit long winded, so I use Acronis True Image to make an image of my 2 partitions about weekly and a clone about monthly on another drive. On a more regular basis, I have all system and programme stuff on one partition where I image it after a virus, anti malware check and defrag. All my data is on the other partition in folders grouped under the "My Documents" main folder - this includes sub folders for word, photos, music,Outlook etc. For this I use SynchToy or Freefilesyhnch (both free)to make mirror imagesof my data, daily.I have removable SATA caddys as a second drive, and a USBHd for all this. The monthly clone is kept in another location

  compumac 13:25 11 Aug 11

john bunyan My system and programmes are also on the main drives with my personal data on a second drives. It would seem that you are doing more or less as I am.I was not aware of Freefilesync, I shall have to hae a look at that one. One of my concerns in using the Win7 iamging in respect of the personal data is:- is that data accessible DIRECTLY to use in its appropriate programme?

  john bunyan 13:31 11 Aug 11

compumac. Yes I think it is. But I find Freefilesync or Synchtoy so much easier that I use them for data. I keep one removable caddy drive for regular mirror images and can use it via Windows explorer if needed.I use imaging for backing up the system partition, and more rarely for data.

  birdface 13:56 11 Aug 11

Another one that may come in useful and it is free until tomorrow.

  compumac 15:33 11 Aug 11

buteman Looks good, but have you any experience of the product?

  birdface 17:30 11 Aug 11

Nope none at all.

But certainly looks good for recovery if you do not have the original Windows CD.

I did try and download it earlier but must have made a mistake with my e-mail address as I have not had a reply yet.

  compumac 19:11 11 Aug 11

buteman I have downloaded the programme and have had an e-mail from them. At this time it is just sitting in my downloads folder awaiting me to do something with it......

  ams4127 21:39 11 Aug 11

Personally, I just use Windows Backup and Restore. Set it and forget it. It will backup complete systems, incremental backup or any combination you want to specify. You can pull individual files or folders from any backup.

As long as your backups are on a seperate disk (preferably external) you will be fine.

  Number six 22:40 11 Aug 11


"One of my concerns in using the Win7 iamging in respect of the personal data is:- is that data accessible DIRECTLY to use in its appropriate programme?"emphasized text

In a word, no. Basically, with a W7 image file, you have two options. You can either restore the image "as is" i.e. unedited, or you can temporarily mount the image (.vhd) file in Disc Management to browse or extract individual files. You cannot leave it permanently mounted, as this will prevent new backups from working correctly. It is mainly for this reason that some prefer to use Acronis.

  compumac 22:59 11 Aug 11

Number six My understanding in respect of Win 7 that there are two alternatives in Win 7 Backups 1) backup User data ONLY and nothing else, 2)A COMPLETE image of the system Partition. Ir was really the 1)User data ONLY that caught my eye and was the reason to ask if those data files could be accessed directly and not obtaining them via the 2)COMPLETE image taken

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