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Special situation - multiple hard drives in single computer

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Beginner
Posts: 1
Comments: 1

Hello everyone;

First and foremost, I'm glad I got my new computer I built myself. A long with that, proud to announce that I can rest assured now (I think) that Acronis true image 2017 has my back. I had a friend that has the same specialized hardware than me and we had to star the system from scratch; believe me, I would do anything to avoid that on my computer. It took us a couple of weeks to get it back to normal.

I do want to start by saying that I did tried my best to find the answer by myself, I read the whole manual, I read many of your posts and while there were similar situations, I could not rely on "good enough". So I made an account; and here you have me. Usually, I rather spend the time researching myself instead of taking someone else's time, but this time I really need to make sure I am doing the correct backup for my needs.

I do have a "special" situation due the specialized hardware I'm running on that machine. I'm slightly concerned whether I backed up the computer properly or not (and I don't want to find out I did it wrong when I truly need Acronis to restore my data *knocks on wood*).

My setup;
Computer with windows 10 pro. Installed the OS in an SSD 250gb samsung EVO and a WD black 1TB for the installation of all programs and data. I am running both SSD and HDD on GPT and BIOS is UEFI.

My needs (scenarios I need to not have to worry about);
Successfully defend against ransomware attacks (I have other methods in place too besides backups), I install a driver that is not working properly (I use a graphics card, and sometimes newer updates are not thoroughly tested and they can represent a lot of down time in my case.) A Hard drive fails, (either one of them or both) and I can replace it with whatever equivalent on space and be up and running like nothing ever happened.

My method;

I am backing up to my NAS. Also will add a full backup to an external offline (for paranoia purposes and both encrypted).

When I ran my first schedule backup I selected "disks" instead of "entire pc" for more control because the software failed to specify "entire pc". Anyways;

Scheduled backups "Disks" options;

I setup an incremental backup (5 increments before full backup weekly, keep only 2 versions) that is only going to do an average of 1 full and 4 weeks of incremental and once the new full runs again it will erase the first one that was made correct? Effectively making a full averagely once a month to the NAS? (because that's what I want, since I will manually be making another 2 full every two weeks or so to the external HDD offline) am I doing it right by choosing disk (and being able to replace any hard drive if it fails?)

Another scenario;

SSD 250 gb samsung EVO dies. (Contains windows). Can i buy a Toshiba SSD 500gb (different brand and size to make my point) pop it in the computer and restore just the windows 10 (without restoring the HDD)?

How about both at the same time (restore both hard drives, OS to SSD and data to HDD)?

What if the WD crashes? Can i do the same thing just restore the data to a different branded HDD?

Please keep in mind I did full "disk" not "clone".

On my reading, your posts and manual; it talked about GPT being somehow different in the restore process. That it has to be "pre-formatted" to GPT or else the drive becomes basic, etc. I was just expecting things to go the following way; drive fails, buy a new one (don't matter the brand or size as long as it's bigger than the original one or same size) pop it in the computer. Click restore and see you in a half hour with my computer working normally. Is this not the case?

Is a disk backup option in Acronis enough for all those cases?

Thank you in advance, and I hope I can help anyone else. It's just this software is very intricate, and when you are talking about your data; you can't be explicit enough.

Best regards.

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Legend
Posts: 100
Comments: 21996

#1

Zeus, welcome to these User Forums.

Thank you for your comprehensive topic post and all the information (and questions) you have provided.

First point: having your OS and Programs/Data on separate disk drives will increase the complexity of any recovery operation because of the interdependencies that the OS and Programs have with each other.  I personally would choose to have my OS and Programs on the SSD and then put all my Data on the 1TB HDD.

If you need to restore your OS to the SSD, then you need to be aware that if you have installed or changed any Programs since that OS backup was created, that these changes would potentially be lost where links to these are stored in the Windows Registry or in such as AppData folder paths etc.

Next point: including both drives in your 'Disks' backup task will ensure that the backups for these drives are kept fully synchronised with each other, but does render the Recovery process a little more complex when you are wanting to only recover parts of the backup content instead of the whole of it.

My personal preference is to backup individual disk drives separately so that any recovery can be done at a full disk level should a drive needs to be replaced.  Provided this is done on a regular schedule, i.e. backing up each drive in turn on the same day, one after the other, there should be no synchronisation issues.

With regards to restoring to a GPT drive, this is driven by the boot mode used for the Rescue Media where the default for the media booted in UEFI mode is to restore as GPT (and convert to same if needed).  You should see a warning message offering a choice of whether GPT or MBR should be used if there is any conflict possible.

I would strongly recommend creating and testing the Acronis Rescue Media on your new computer system to ensure that you know this will work in the event of needing it, i.e. that you can boot the media correctly in UEFI mode, that you can see both the SSD and HDD drives correctly, and can also see either your external (offline) backup drive and with a wired Ethernet connection, can see your NAS drive.

Beginner
Posts: 1
Comments: 1

#2

Thank you for your prompt reply Steve. Yes I was aware of the potential situation you mentioned;

" If you need to restore your OS to the SSD, then you need to be aware that if you have installed or changed any Programs since that OS backup was created, that these changes would potentially be lost where links to these are stored in the Windows Registry or in such as AppData folder paths etc."

Honestly for a single program I can afford to lose that. I can just reinstall that one program. What I want to avoid is having to rebuild ALL the other ones, with drivers etc. I have about 7 programs that are 70GB each, and having to re-download and configure them all? Not happening.

For that same reason... I can't follow through with your recommendation of having programs and OS in the SSD. Precisely because of the size of those programs is that the HDD exists. Otherwise the build would have been extremely expensive due to the storage needs.

" but does render the Recovery process a little more complex when you are wanting to only recover parts of the backup content instead of the whole of it. " This I did not understand fully. The first part I understood, both the drives were backed up at the same time... therefore they are synchronized with the data they have at the time of backup. But if a change is made... let's say a program is installed on HDD; and SSD contains the registry, then the incremental backup should contain the data of the registry in SSD, and the program itself on HDD. Now if we are talking about a limitation of Acronis itself to restore the data to were it belongs in at incremental fashion (and the way I have the setup) please let me know.

"My personal preference is to backup individual disk drives separately so that any recovery can be done at a full disk level should a drive needs to be replaced.  Provided this is done on a regular schedule, i.e. backing up each drive in turn on the same day, one after the other, there should be no synchronisation issues. "

So I have to run a full disk backup on SSD, and then on the HDD? Can't it be done at the same time like I selected all the drives and walked away?

" I would strongly recommend creating and testing the Acronis Rescue Media on your new computer system to ensure that you know this will work in the event of needing it, i.e. that you can boot the media correctly in UEFI mode, that you can see both the SSD and HDD drives correctly, and can also see either your external (offline) backup drive and with a wired Ethernet connection, can see your NAS drive. "

Yup, that test will come today. I had to work the next morning so I left my system backing itself up. Today is the test for the Acronis Rescue media, which I am positive I will be able to boot out of. But definitely as a precaution I will make sure.

Lastly, it is not possible for me to run the backup everyday full. First of all, the amount of space that would take would be huge. Also, Backup, encryption, and verification of the full system took all night! when I woke up to go to work and I checked the system to see the state it was (because I found odd it was still up and running when I told acronis to shutdown the computer afterwards), it was in the verification process D: So we'll see what happened when I come back from work and test the media, but yeah I can't afford to run that system everyday the entire night, and on top of that when I'm working on it when I come back from work.

Stephen, always a pleasure. Thank you so much for clarifying most of my questions.

Best regards.

Forum Hero
Posts: 50
Comments: 8147

#3

Zues,

First I must say that I agree with Steve's position here on this subject.  Having said that I have in the past practiced exactly what you are doing here.  This was prior to Windows 8, 10 however.  Now that I have migrated all my computers to Win 10 I do not separate my app installs from the OS install.  If however I had the apps that you have I most definitely would be doing as you are still!

I think you can get by with this setup as long as you are practicing good backup theory.  Prior to my upgrades to Win 10 (I bypassed 8) I would do as you are doing now pretty much.  My practice was to use the boot media to create my backups of each disk by itself in full.  If I installed new software I would run these backups again.  If I did not install any programs then I would use the installed TI app to create differential backups of the OS drive and the data drive independently on a schedule much like you have described here.  Each month I would make new full disk backups of both disks using the boot media.

I have had a number of occasions where either one or both disks needed replacement and using the full backups created using the boot media followed by then recovering the differentials brought things back to near perfect from where I was before. 

The problem with Win 8, 10 is when a major update is released by Microsoft.  Those updates are essentially complete re-installs of OS so changes to location on disk of partitions and changes to the MFT are common. I believe these facts could muck things up for you considerably.  So my suggestion to you is that you setup Windows update so that anytime Windows update wants to install updates you must allow that to happen.  In other words no automatic updates for you.  In this way you can view what updates are about to be installed and if a major version release is among them you can postpone the update, perform new full backups, then allow the updates to run.  If the updates are wonky or wreck havoc on your machine you can revert back to your latest backups and be in good shape.  If the updates prove good then you run new full backups of both drives and you are still in a good position.

So the bottom line here is use your head and practice good theory, things should be fine if you do.

Beginner
Posts: 1
Comments: 1

#4

I have a windows 10 computer with one ssd hard drive as my C: drive and two additional hard drives which I use to backup different things.  I accidentally deleted my f: drive and wonder what to do now.  I have a full backup of my computer with acronis 2017 but only need to recover the data on my f: drive with programs like quicken and i tunes media files.  Is there a way to only recover the info on the f: drive and not the whole computer which still works fine?  If need be, I can reinstall my complete backup on the entire computer but is there an easier way? When I did my complete backup, did it backup all the drives as well?  I am pulling out what's left of my hair for a solution.  I contacted acronis but have not received any support as yet.  Hopefully this forum can be a help.

Legend
Posts: 100
Comments: 21996

#5

Jeffrey, you can recover just the one disk from your 'Entire PC' backup image, you just need to exercise care when doing so to ensure that you are recovering to the correct target drive so as to not overwrite other data. 

If you do the recovery using the Acronis Rescue Media, you have the option of removing or disconnecting any other drives while doing the recovery to ensure only the correct drive is being recovered.