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Old 02-02-09, 08:19 AM   #1
ehidle
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Windows Backup software

Okay fellow computer geeks...

I'm looking for a super user-friendly backup program... it doesn't have to be free, but it does have to be able to backup to both local and network drives, and never ever ever annoy the user about anything.

No popup windows, no task tray balloons, no product update alerts, no nothing...

Does such a thing exist in our marketing-saturation society?
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Old 02-02-09, 09:21 AM   #2
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Retrospect
Acronis TrueImage

TrueImage is probably the best "fire and forget" utility. Just give the machine a big external hard disk to back up to.
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Old 02-02-09, 09:36 AM   #3
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Retrospect is the bane of my existence, and is what my client is fed up with.

TrueImage sounds like it might be just what I am looking for. I'll check it out.
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Old 02-02-09, 09:57 AM   #4
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Retrospect is the bane of my existence, and is what my client is fed up with.

TrueImage sounds like it might be just what I am looking for. I'll check it out.
Actually, I'm curious, why does Retrospect suck? I want to know because I use it in a lot of areas, and so far it has been pretty good.
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Old 02-02-09, 10:09 AM   #5
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I don't recall saying it sucked... It is just too complicated for them to be able to figure out, and it's constantly annoying them for this and that. Every time it can't figure out what to do, it bugs the crap out of them, then I get a phone call because THEY then can't figure out what to do.
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Old 02-02-09, 11:16 AM   #6
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mozy.com rocks. For network share support you'll have to pony up for the commercial version.
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Old 02-02-09, 12:20 PM   #7
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I don't recall saying it sucked... It is just too complicated for them to be able to figure out, and it's constantly annoying them for this and that. Every time it can't figure out what to do, it bugs the crap out of them, then I get a phone call because THEY then can't figure out what to do.
Hmmm, take a couple hours to read the Retrospect manual and the scripting sections. You'll find that Retrospect gives you a lot more flexibility and power in managing backups than True Image. I only use True Image to do entire partition backups. Retrospect is a lot better for file backups and network drives. Also more flexible with more types of backup medias as well. Retrospect actually was the first to come up with drag-n-drop "floppy-tape" way back in the early '90s.

Then set up those folks with some pre-canned backup scripts and they should be happy. Be sure to include network-drive mounting in the scripts just in case a volume isn't on-line at the time the backup starts.
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Old 02-02-09, 01:14 PM   #8
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We dumped Retrospect this year, but we were only using it for pretty pointless desktop backup anyway. Now we only backup the servers. So I could recommend BackupExec, but probably not in this case.
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Old 02-02-09, 03:56 PM   #9
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Yeah, the problem seems to be they need an idiot-proof solution. BackupExec is of the same complexity as Retrospect. For that amount of end-user learning needed, I'd just go straight to NetBackup or NetApp.
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Old 02-02-09, 04:17 PM   #10
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Yeah, the problem seems to be they need an idiot-proof solution. BackupExec is of the same complexity as Retrospect. For that amount of end-user learning needed, I'd just go straight to NetBackup or NetApp.
We were too small of a shop for NetBackup, so we went with BackupExec.
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Old 02-02-09, 11:50 PM   #11
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I can see the scripting being an issue. For me, it's part of getting a backup program running, where one sets up a backup schedule, media rotation, etc. I am used to the UNIX world where getting backups done right are an art form in itself, from figuring out when to do level 0,1,2 dumps, to the right time to switch tapes, etc. Restores are more of an art form, especially databases.

The nice thing about TrueImage is that if a machine eats itself, I don't have to play the game of reinstalling an OS, installing the backup program client, then doing a restore. I can just put an Acronis boot CD in the drive, tell it to recover, walk off.

Quick addition: If the machines are small, I seriously would consider Mozy or Carbonite for an offsite backup of documents. This will allow you to restore files should you lose everything, even the backup server or hard disk. You can configure either to use a keyfile (of course, keep the keyfile in a secure place... I used PGP, encrypted mine and have it stored in a box.net account) so all the data sent to their servers is encrypted, or you can set to the default where a keyfile isn't needed. Both services allow for unlimited capacity storage (the limit will be your net connection). Mozy is about $5/month/machine, and even though it may not be great for "oh crap" type of disaster recoveries like Time Machine or Acronis, it is good for both disasters where even backup equipment is melted, or for restoring single files without having to reach for the backup tapes.

Last edited by mlts22; 02-02-09 at 11:59 PM. Reason: Mozy
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Old 02-03-09, 06:22 AM   #12
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Well, the client is a horse farm, and they have 10 PCs spread out among 4 buildings. All of the users are "novice" level and really just can't be bothered with anything computer-related. One of the stablehands is capable of following my instructions accurately over the phone, which helps a great deal, but with over 12 show jumpers to take care of, they don't like to spend the time at all.

Scripting is a pain in the butt because, at least with Retrospect, there is no contingency other than "fail over to the local drive and never try the script's location again." That's unacceptable.

I love the idea of a bootable recovery CD that will know where to go to find the image (whether it be on a network volume or an attached USB hard disk) and just re-image from the last backup. Just stick the CD in and come back later to your Windows Login Prompt.
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Old 02-03-09, 02:10 PM   #13
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Only issue with whole hard-drive/partition recovery is that you can't easily recover single files or folders. The idea of an entire machine "state" or "snapshot" is fairly foreign to a lot of people. Which means those guys will be coming to you when they need to get something back.

Here's a fairly simple backup package I've used for small installations with non-techie folks: http://www.handybackup.com/
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Old 02-03-09, 04:51 PM   #14
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Windows Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate have a decent backup facility. You back up images every so often, then file by file on a daily basis. This allows you to restore back to an image, then restore the files. It is nowhere near as good as Windows 2008 Server's, but its useful.

Microsoft needs to get a "fire and forget" utility like Time Machine into every edition of Windows 7. Something where someone can do a complete restore by stuffing the OS media, pointing it to the disk with the image files, then partitioning and restoring to the destination drive.
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