Ghosting/cloning a PC hard drive

Discussion in 'Technical Corner' started by Matthew, Jun 29, 2020.

  1. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    Looking for some different options:

    I have a piece of equipment that's run by an embedded PC (Win10). I'm looking for 2-3 different ways to keep a scheduled backup that's complete enough to be a fully bootable duplicate. Once a week, or maybe even once a month, will be sufficient.

    I might be able to get a RAID 1 array inside the PC - it's an industrial PC that's designed specifically for embedded systems, so it has a small form factor and might not be able to support more than one internal HDD. I still need to get some detailed specs on that computer. I could probably add a second, external, HDD and use a cloning utility. I could probably do a few other things, too. I'm not the one that's making the specifics for this requirement, so I'm still trying to find out if the backup must be kept attached to the PC or will be saved offsite somewhere. I know that can make a difference. Possibly RAID 1 and another drive? Knowing what I do know, I am assuming this backup will have to be as automatic and behind the scenes as possible, with very little user input (so attaching an external drive, doing a backup, and then locking away that drive is probably not going to work). This equipment will not, ever, be attached to a network. It will remain a stand-alone system.
     
  2. IK04

    IK04 Pattern Altitude

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    Clonezilla has been my backup solution for many years.

    I really like Macrium Reflect and Mondo.
     
  3. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    For cloning machines...

    If clonezilla gets tripped up, Macrium always works.

    Clonezilla gets grumpy about some UEFI setups.

    I think Macrium paid version will let you schedule regular backups.

    Problems with imaging:

    - Maybe you just need one file back. Look into tools that can recover individual files from the larger backup or use two backup systems.

    - On site / Off... you get the idea. Do both of them if they thing you’re protecting is worth money or significant time.

    - Backups that aren’t tested aren’t backups. At least once yank the good drive and make darn sure you really can restore from it.

    - Unrelated to this scenario probably but better careful nowadays with encrypted drives. The encryption usually needs to be bypassed to get a backup that’ll work on a different motherboard. TPM / Apple’s T2 chip — these key the drive to the board with that chip. Recovery gets slightly more complex. See : Backups that aren’t tested, aren’t backups. Including restoring to different hardware.
     
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  4. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    By the way RAID 1 saves you from disk failure (also needs to be tested!) but won’t save from the usual “someone deleted crap they shouldn’t have”.
     
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  5. simtech

    simtech En-Route

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    Second clonezilla, we use it at work to back up and restore images all the time.
     
  6. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm thinking that this won't be an automatic, unattended, backup. Because this PC is controlling industrial equipment it will typically be shut off at the end of each shift. Someone will have to schedule maintenance down-times to do a backup. In this controller, there really isn't a need to do an hourly, daily, or possibly even weekly backup since little, if any, data will be changing. Once configured, calibrated, and backed up, there isn't much else to do. Maybe backup every month or two, or even maybe just a single backup. Some of this is TBD. But it does have to be a bootable copy so the backup drive can be swapped for a failed PC drive. Of course, what if the backup drive fails? We all know how that can go.
     
  7. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Important, very, very important question. I built backup systems and storage system software for years. They were almost always bought to recover fromthe "small meteor through the machine room" scenario, but they were used to fix the "Oh crap! Shouldn't have deleted THAT!" scenario.
     
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  8. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    Someone deleted an entire sub-company’s fileshare today. Again. Restored in a few minutes but I cranked the logging now because that’s twice.

    Someone is getting hit with a clue bat about properly paying attention to what the frick they’re deleting the next time they do it.

    (And yeah logging should have already been up but it wasn’t my call last time. Now I’m involved and annoyed. LOL)
     
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  9. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    Seems good for the casual “make an image every so often and keep it somewhere safe” method.

    If the machine is USB3 capable a cheap SSD USB drive might work okay. Just a pain to shuck it to put it inside to boot from it later.

    Best if there’s a way to reload enough of Winderz to then load Macrium, or better a bootable Clonezilla stick or Macrium stick can boot the thing far enough — then you can just restore from the USB to a new drive in the thing if it failed or the old drive if someone just wiped it by accident.

    You probably knew all of that. :)
     
  10. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

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    I'm considering a spare HDD, make the image copy, put THAT HDD in a safe as a master, then another HDD that gets an image backup every couple of months. There are some other things that can be done.

    I'll be looking at the above s/w recommendations next.
     
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  11. WannFly

    WannFly Final Approach

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    Who else remembers Norton Ghost 1.0?
     
  12. Spring Ford

    Spring Ford Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Did anyone mention - Backups that aren't tested aren't backups :)
     
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  13. kshaw

    kshaw Pre-Flight

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    I have a FREENAS server with a Raid 3 array and periodically do a clone of my laptops and desktop and store it to the server.
     
  14. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    You sure that’s RAID 3 and not a three disk RAID 5?

    RAID 3 is extremely rare. And various other configs beat it at the goal it originally had.

    https://www.techopedia.com/definition/17274/raid-3
     
  15. jsstevens

    jsstevens Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    We did sell some RAID 3 setups to hotels who were using them as video servers back in the mid 90's. It's about the only thing they were better at (and that was in the era of small caches and SCSI drives with AV mode which stopped the head positioning recalibration to avoid interrupting the stream). I had a 32GB RAID array on the floor of my cube because I was writing the benchmark and diagnostic software for it. 8 4GB 1/2 height SCSI drives. Sucker could warm bagels. Good times.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2020 at 11:24 AM
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  16. kshaw

    kshaw Pre-Flight

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    You're right! It is set up as a RAIDZ1 and has a three-disk array of 6TB. Seems to work well and easy recovery as long as you do not lose more than one drive. I have another 3TB drive set up as an FTP server.
     
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  17. Indiana_Pilot

    Indiana_Pilot Line Up and Wait

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    Acronis.....


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    It works but Macrium is smarter. But I remember when Acronis was top of the heap after being smarter than Ghost. Heh.
     
  19. Frnklin

    Frnklin Filing Flight Plan

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    in fact I have raid 1 and I've faced with disks failures
     
  20. denverpilot

    denverpilot Tied Down

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    Yes that’s exactly what it does.