Tag Archives: acronis true image

Recommendations for a seamless migration to Windows 7

I’ve been using Windows 7 for over a week now and it feels very familiar, but much faster and more stable than Windows Vista SP2. Some have opined that Windows 7 is what Windows Vista should have been and I have to agree reluctantly. Without knowing all the facts, it appears that they had to ship something and Vista was it. Their slogan for Vista was “The WOW starts NOW” and if you’ve read several screeds about Vista’s failures, you can appreciate the irony of that slogan.

However, I can appreciate the fact that Microsoft has a difficult task of ensuring that their operating systems are operable with a wide variety of devices that are on the market. I respect a company that fosters an ecosystem where several mini-industries can prosper (e.g. for pretty much any computer part, there is a company that makes a replacement item). In any case, here’s what I did to ensure that I didn’t suffer any data loss or traumatic events:

  1. Step 1: Decide if you’re going to do an in-place upgrade versus a clean installation. I agonized over this decision because
    • I didn’t want to waste time reinstalling all my precious applications and
    • I wasn’t sure I would be able to re-download the installation files for my programs.

    . So, I made sure that the most important applications were accounted for i.e. I had either the install disks or the executable files. If you rely on “warez”, I can’t help you with that. I would recommend a clean installation because I believe in pouring new wine into a new bag or so that bible verse goes. 🙂

  2. Step 2: Create a disc image of your computer using either Acronis True Image 2010 or Norton Ghost (those are the two heavyweights in the field of computer backups). If you can’t afford either, consider using the built-in Windows Complete PC backup. Don’t forget there’s a different between doing a complete PC backup versus backing up files (when using the free Windows PC backup software for Vista). You will NOT be able to retrieve individual files/folders if you do a complete PC backup through Windows Complete PC backup. With disc images created by Acronis, you can extract individual files/folders from whole disk images if you wish to do so. I went slightly overboard by having my entire computer backed up via
    • Carbonite (or Mozy or whatever online backup service you use. It can even be a simple file/folder sharing utility like Dropbox)
    • on 2 external hard drives plus
    • having my work-related files on my thumbdrive as well

    . It pays to be slightly paranoid sometimes.*side note* Carbonite is planning on releasing a final Windows 7 compatible version once Windows 7 is out in stores.

  3. Step 3: don’t do this at 11pm at night. Allow
    • ~ 2hrs for backing up your files or your entire computer
    • ~ 2hrs for installing the new operating system and any updates (which, depending on your internet speed, may take longer than budgeted)
    • <li.~ 2 hrs re-installing your must-have programs. I recommend checking online to make sure you have the most recent version of whatever favorite program you have

    • Reboot your computer after each major installation e.g. after installing programs like Microsoft Office 2007, Visual Studio 2008 or Express, antivirus programs, internet security suites, firewall programs and pretty much any programs that explicitly inform you that you need to reboot for changes to take place, or utlities that integrate with Windows Explorer or the shell.
  4. Step 4: please make sure your computer has enough battery juice AND is plugged into an AC outlet or UPS. More often than note, your computer will install updates from Microsoft during the course of your upgrade. Please don’t leave your computer alone because you will need to help your computer through prompts or license acceptance check points. You must NOT let your computer ‘die’ on you (for lack of power) while upgrading your computer otherwise you’re in for a day or so of lost man hours. Have your system restore disks beside you just incase. In case you were wondering, I DID have my system restore disks beside me in the event that things went south.

That’s all for part one of getting a ‘bare-bones’ install of Windows 7 going successfully. Cheers!

I christen Mondays – Backup Mondays

The inspiration for this is the hundreds (nay, thousands) of people that have lost data. Despite the dropping price of external hard drives and content management systems that make backing up as easy as 1-2-3, people lose data. In my case, I’ve lost data from my computer as well as from old blogs. Right now, I’m using a new-ish content management system called Habari which doesn’t have a plugin that will automate the task of backing up my blog’s database. So, I’m going to go into the phpMyAdmin (web frontend for my MySQL database management) to export my database files. If you’re reading this, stop and make sure you have done the following:

  1. Have a current backup of select folders from your personal computer on an external hard drive or online. I recommend Acronis True Image 2010 for backing up your personal files or making snapshots/images of your computer’s hard drive.
  2. Do you blog? How recent are your backups and do you have a backup of the backup? I’d recommend backing up your database as well as the actual files that bring the blog to life

With that, I’ve done my piece to save someone’s day from going to pieces. 🙂 Enjoy this rainy day!

An update on my Seagate FreeAgent GO drive

So, it’s been over a week since I had the Seagate FreeAgent GO drive in my possession and I have to say that the form factor has actually resulted in me using this drive to backup files more. It’s a little surreal for me because normally, I’m afraid to handle electronics, but the design of this GO drive makes it feel like it can handle the wear and tear of being in my backpack. With my Iomega eGo drive, I felt as if I could feel all the moving parts and I was exceedingly careful whenever I brought it out. Of course, I’m going to handle my gift (Thanks, Siobhan! 🙂 ) with care, but all I’m saying is I feel like I don’t have to handle the Seagate GO drive with kid gloves.

The Seagate Manager comes with its backup program and an encryption utility as well. It’s a pretty straightforward backup program that allows you to pick and choose what folders you want to back up. A huge plus to Seagate for that. Second, the backed up files are not encoded in some proprietary format. If you backup a music or video file, you can browse the Seagate folder and see that your files are still the same. Not knocking Acronis True Image 2009 which stores backups in a .tib format, but sometimes, I just want the folder copied as-is without compression. So, in that respect, Seagate scored points with me. Obviously, a drawback of not compressing files is that you get a larger file size. However, with 500GBs to play with, I’m confident that I’ll have space for awhile. In any case, here is my backup strategy now:

  1. Make whole disc images of my computer monthly using Acronis True Image 2009 (which stores the image as a .tib file) and store this file on my Seagate FreeAgent Pro 500GB hard drive. I will keep at least 3 backups on hand, in case of the unexpected corrupt file.
  2. Using Seagate Manager, make backups of my Documents folder and other files. This can be done even daily if I choose, but I’ve set  a alarm in Microsoft Outlook to remind me. 😀
  3. Using Acronis True Image 2009, I’ll have, at least, 2 recent whole disk images of my laptop on my Seagate FreeAgent GO 500GB drive just in case I’m away from home (where the Seagate desktop drive lies) and I need to restore my computer (and this has happened quite a bit!).

That’s it for my ‘strategy’, barring any unforeseen circumstances like me being lazy and forgetting to do it. 🙂 Thankfully, speed is not an issue with this Seagate FreeAgent GO Drive because I was able to backup my Documents folder within 45minutes (it was just shy of 5Gbs in size). I’m on the go a lot and this drive suits my needs.

In a nutshell, I would pay for this drive, given what I know now about it.

Disclosure: The Seagate FreeAgent GO 500GB drive (~ $147) was received as a thank-you for participating in a case study. The links to this product have my Amazon affiliate id in them as well i.e. I get a little something if you use my link to purchase this product. 🙂