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Using 2 different target disks for TrueImage backup--Revised January 2015

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Using 2 different target disks for TrueImage backup.

When backup task being created, the program records the disk id for the storage disk attached. In order for any backup to succeed, the attached storage disk must match the same disk ID as when task created. Thus, a different backup task needed for each storage disk intended for use.

Special attention is needed to use two separate destination disks for your 2014 or 2015 backups. Each target disk needs its own special unique backup task. Example: Target disk 1 = blue; target disk 2 = red

1. When you open your True Image program, you need to see two different backups tasks. One task for the blue disk and another task for the red disk.

2. When backup task first created, TI ties a specific target disk to the task via its disk ID. So if creating a blue backup task for the blue disk, then the blue disk must be attached during the task creation as the destination. When creating a red backup task for the red target disk, then red disk must be attached as the destination.

2014 -- GH32. How to clone backup task for reuse or duplication. Also, save custom tasks for reuse again.

3. optional Scheduling:

The best and easiest method to automate the switching of tasks/'disks every day/week/month is to configure the Windows Task Scheduler rather than the TrueImage Task Scheduler.
The TrueImage scheduler does NOT offer the capability of automation of every other day/week/month, so if attempting to use the TrueImage scheduler, it would require the manual stopping and starting each time the disk/task is changed--which may not be very practical.

A special desktop shortcut would need to be created (see link GH7) for both the blue and red tasks and the Windows Scheduler would be created to run each color task such as every other week for each color (Recur every n week on __day with different start dates). The True Image scheduler would be set to "do not schedule" if the Windows Scheduler is used.

Here are two examples of using the Windows Task Scheduler to run TrueImage backup tasks.

     A. How to use Win7 scheduler to run TIH backup tasks. PDF download
     B. How to use Windows XP Task Schedule Every 3 days and  Schedule Every 2 weeks

2014 -- GH7. How to create a desktop backup shortcut from an existing backup task.

The 2015 version does not include the option to automatically create a desktop shortcut but this can be done very easily by the user.

Look at the bottom row of this GH7 link example. The Win7-64 example shows the correct path and commands. Change the script id to the script id for your own task. Your script id can be found in your own Acronis Scripts folder--probably via date/time of last use of the script.

Format shown in Gh7 is the syntax format needed for 2014/2015 the desktop shortcut.

If using True Image scheduling:
Both color tasks would need to be initially created as "Do not schedule".
When red disk is in use, the blue task needs to set to "do not schedule" and then the red color task scheduler would need to be manually enabled for whatever period of time the red disk is attached.

When the blue disk is attached, the red task needs to set to "do not schedule" and the blue task scheduler manually enabled for whatever period of time the blue disk is attached.

In order to have successful backups, the active task must match the disk color attached.
A backup failure will eventually occur if the task color in use does not match the disk color attached, although the failure may not be immediate and will most likely fail via the timeout route.

2014 -- GH1. How to change a backup task from scheduled to "Do Not Schedule".
2014 -- GH2. How to enable a backup task schedule or change a schedule time..
2014 -- GH3. How to create a non-scheduled backup task on the first try.

4. Drive letter for the target disk.
Windows automatically assigns the next available drive letter to a newly inserted device--usually a usb device.
The unplanned insertion of flash drive, or printer or camera can cause Windows to assign a different drive letter to your backup device rather than the letter assigned during backup task creation. Therefore, to avoid backup failure, you can prevent this type issue by pre-assigning a drive letter to the target disk BEFORE your create the backup task. Usually, a letter such x or y or z works best but the important part is not the letter but that a specific letter be pre-assigned that is not part of the normal lettering routine and the higher letters works best for this. This will enable the disk to be attached and a predictable pre-assigned letter will be assigned by Windows to match the drive letter used when task was created.

5. For most users, the disk image (all partitions included) type backup (rather than a partition image) will assure that your backup includes everything it needs to create a replacement disk. The very first picture in my signature links #2-A is an example of a "disk mode" or "disk image" backup which is my recommended type of backup.

AGH-33. 42887: Desktop Reminder message to attach storage disk before scheduled backup.

GH58. Difference between Partition Mode & Select Disk Mode backups.

2014 -- GH4. Illustrate Manual Backup Now option or Repeat backups.

2014 -- GH57. Where all the assorted task features are located.

2014 -- GH5. How to delete backup files using Acronis Backup 'Explorer'

Automate your backup deletion of older backups. Create your backup tasks so the deletion of older backups (versions) will be automatically performed by the program so the manual deletion by the user is NOT needed avoiding many of the pitfalls of deletions by the user.

GH11. Create Custom Full Backup Scheme.Keep 4 versions (chains). The 4 is an example only with user choice for whatever number of chains to be retained best fits the individual needs..

GH12. Create Custom Incremental Backup Scheme. 6 Inc, Keep 4 chains. The 6-4 is an example only with user choice for whatever number of chains to be retained best fits the individual needs. To many incremental before the next full is dangerous to your data recovery!

GH13. Create Custom Differential Backup Scheme. 2 Diff, Keep 2 chains. The 2-2 is an example only with user choice for whatever number of chains to be retained best fits the individual needs.

Note: this guide written prior to version 2015 but the principles and the requirements would be the same for version 2015. A 2015 desktop shortcut would need to be manually created as the 2015 program does not provide for any preset options to assist shortcut creation.

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Thanks for the detailed, informative reply. You answered my questions, and I appreciate the help.

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Hi GroverH, thanks for this HowTo. You wrote that the backup-task for "disk red" should only be active when the red disk is connected and the backup task for "disk blue" should only be active when the blue disk is connected. But what if i set both tasks to active, and the one task which isnt finding its disk fails. Could this be a problem for the other task?

thx, Jens


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YOu could have a drive letter issue.  The one failing could have the wrong drive letter.

Do you have the each target disk with its own  pre-assigned different letter?

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Sorry, i think i didnt write it well enough: My last article was not the description of an existing problem, it was a question. Maybe this time it works better, here my considerations:

  1. I have two external disks, "red disk" and "blue disk"
  2. Both disks are connected to my computer
  3. I'm creating one backup-configuration for each disk, so i have two backup-tasks in TI 2015, one "blue task" and one "red task". Both tasks are identical except for the target disk.
  4. if i disconnect the "red disks", what will happen? If the "blue task" fails, but the "red task" runs well, i'm happy. If both tasks are failing, i'm not happy ;)
  5. next week i will disconnect the "red disk" and connect the "blue disk". If now the "red task" fails, but the "blue task" runs well, i'm happy. If both tasks are failing, i'm not happy ;)

Is this the behaviour which i can expect? Or am i wrong at some point of my consideration?


thx, Jens

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What will happen will depend upon whether you have your targets assigned a specific drive letter each differently.

If the drive letter is pre-assigned via Windows Disk management, then the removal of one target should have no effect on the backup.

If on the other hand, you are allowing Windows to assign the drive letter,

then removal of the first target inserted should cause the task to fail and if both drive letters wrong, then both tasks will fail.

You can assure success by pre-assignig each target disk their own drive letter before you run the backups using letters such as x or y or z but each target must have a different letter.

If blue scheduled to run and the blue disk is attached, the blue task will be successful if a designated drive letter was pre-assigned to the blue disk.

If red scheduled to run and the red disk is attached, the red task will be successful if a designated drive letter was pre-assigned to the red disk.

For the task to be successful, it must not encounter any surprises.


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Hi, thanks for the explanation. Its a bit weird, because if i understand it correctly, than TI stores the disk-ID AND the drive-letter. First I thought that the disk-ID should be good enough for this and TI doesn't care about the drive-letter (as USB-drive-letters could change easily). But now i know better, thank you ;)


cheers, Jens

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Unable to Recover using two backup drives due to incrementing backup file version naming.

Hi Grover,

The problem I'm having with using two external backup disks is that I have never been able to use the Recover feature.  It turns out that the .tib file naming is a scheme which accumulates versions, and apparently all versions of the .tib files must be available for a recovery to work.

I do use separate and duplicate backup plans for the two external backup disks I use.  Each has its own drive letter.

Each Sunday morning I swap the drives, do a quick format on the drive just attached to quickly empty the drive, and then run the backup plan for that drive, which of course will be a Full backup when the drive starts out empty.  However, even though this is a Full backup when I try to do a Recover the file isn't recognized.  My current file is PSIAppMain_full_b89_s1_v1.tib.  I think that what I want the file name to be is actually PSIAppMain_full_b1_s1_v1.tib (b1 instead of b89).  Apparently Acronis increments some kind of internal list of version numbers each time a new backup file is created.

I need a way to defeat or bypass this behavior to be successful with Acronis.  How can I do this?

Thanks!  Dan

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Dan, that is correct.  An incremental backup requires all backup files in the version chain to be availabe in the same location and in working order.  If any files are missing, the backup chain is incomplete and unusable be that point in time.  

Example:  You have an incremental backup scheme with 1 full and 10 prceding incrementals, but incremental 7 was deleted, moved or written to another drive.  As it stands with 7 being missing, you can recover any backup from the full through incremental 6, but because incremental 7 is not there, incremental 8, 9, and 10 are not possible. If you have incremental #7 and move it to the correct location and validate the backup, that should update the database and let Acronis know that everything is where it's supposed to be.

Since you are swapping drives, you should create 2 backup tasks - one that is written to each drive and keep the backup tasks seperate.  You'll still have duplication of backups for each drive and can swap them around to keep the backup dispersed, but each backup job will be related to the destination drive it was created on/with/for.  

Also, each drive should have a unique drive letter in Windows (for instance, R and S) instead of swapping them and trying to use the drive letter in both instances.  This is to ensure that Windows doesn't assign different letters to the drive at some point.  You should also try to assign letters a little further down the alphabet (I'd say at least 5 or 6 letters from what your seeing already in use in Windows currently).  If you stick with say, D and E, they might get changed automatically by Windows.  For instance, if you have neither external backup drive plugged in and then attach a new USB flash drive it would most likely automatically be assigned D: in Windows.  If you have that flash drive connected as D: and then plug in the external backup drive that would normally be D", Windows would make it E:,  or whatever the next available letter is.  By using letters a little further down the alphabet, the chances of Windows reassigning drive letters is minimized. 

Ultimately, you cannot use 2 different backup drives for one backup task and swap them in and out.  However, incrementals are especially important to ensure the files live in one place since they all require the backups that came before them or they will be useless. 

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This is what I'm currently doing ...

Hi Bobbo,

Thanks for all the information you replied to me with.  I am currently doing all of this correctly, but it's good to get confirmation!

However, the problem I have been having is that True Image (TI) won't begin a recovery even if there is only a full backup .tib file, let alone having all the incrementals.  It keeps saying that there is a file it can't find.  Remember that my Full Backup .tib file being saved onto an empty backup drive is named: PSIAppMain_full_b89_s1_v1.tib - it's the only file on the drive and I can't use it for recovery.  I thought (correctly as it turned out) that what I need as the Full Backup file on the drive should be named: PSIAppMain_full_b1_s1_v1.tib.

I tried right-clicking on the backup plan to see if there is an option to 'Restart File Naming Sequence' or something similar.  One of the options under right-click is 'Clone Settings'.  I tried this and used the cloned backup to create a Full Backup file.  This new file is now named: PSIAppMain_full_b1_s1_v1.tib, and, I AM now able to use that .tib backup file to recover files without an error.  I've had TI for over a year and this is the first time I've been able to recover files.

So, my problem is solved.  But I won't recommend TI to someone else because as I understand it this backup file numbering scheme, which must be done perfectly, is probably just too difficult for many people.

I've been an application developer for almost 20 years, and have used other backup applications.  This particular requirement to clone the backup plan each time an alternate disk is used is just too much to expect non-highly technical people to follow perfectly.  I do wonder if this is a bug in the application?  I used to use Norton Ghost and it just used the increments plus the Full backup files that happened to be any external backup drive - it did not require me to have every backup file ever made under a single backup plan to be available to recover files or a disk.

Also - what happens when a backup file is automatically deleted from a drive?

Feel free to forward this Acronis as an ongoing issue that they should resolve.

Again - thanks!  Dan

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Hi Dan,

The limitation of swapping drives varies from backup product to backup product.  Acronis is identifying disks by UUID (same as several others) to ensure that if you plug in your other disk (say with your family photos) and it also uses the same letter, that backups don't start getting written to it when that is not the intention.  I think this makes sense, but there are cetainly others who want any disk they plug in to just backup too.  Acronis is being cautios for a home backup solution though and I think that is best for the 80/20 "home users" who probably don't have a strong PC-techy background.

Cleanup schemes work great in Acronis.  You can set a backup scheme to a cetain number of backups, a certain period of time or after a certain backup size has been reached. 

When those limits are reached, Acronis will peform a new full backup, cleanup old backup files and start with new incrementals.  

The limitation of needing to have ll backup files in one location is because it is part of a version "chain".  It is a "chain" because they are linked together and if one link is missing, the chain is broken.  This limitation exists in all backup products for INCREMENTAL backups.

Incremental backup

Incremental backups copy all of the files that have changed since the last backup was made. They do this whether the last backup was a full one or an incremental copy. So if a full backup was done on Day 1, Day 2's incremental will back up all of the files that have changed since Day 1. Likewise, Day 3's incremental backup will only copy those files that have changed since Day 2's incremental took place.

The main advantage to incremental backups is that fewer files are copied in the period between full backups, which means you will get a shorter backup window. The main disadvantage is that when you want to carry out a complete restore, the most recent full backup and all of the subsequent incremental copies must be restored. This can make the restore process a lengthier one than when using a full backup plus the most recent differential copies only.

Differential backup

Differential backups copy those files that have been changed since the last full backup took place. So if a full backup was done on Day 1, Day 2's differential will copy all of the files that have changed since Day 1's backup copied everything. Day 3's differential backup will also copy all of the files that have changed since Day 1's full copy was made.

The key advantage of differential backups comes when data needs to be restored. Because a full backup was taken and the differentials copied everything that subsequently changed, only the full backup and the latest differential need to be restored.

The main disadvantage is that the size of the differential copy increases each time a backup is taken until the next full version is made, which can begin to impinge on backup window duration.