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I want to backup my work laptop to keep data safe. I'm getting dumb to understand which one is the right step to take.

The disk is a 320gb disk divided into 3 partitions. - 1 400 gb recovery partition which was preinstalled - 1 116 gb system partition - 1 116 gb data only partition

The system and data partitions are encrypted with Truecrypt, as if I lose this laptop I don't want anyone to be able to access data

  1. I want to be able to fully reinstall the system with all the data in case of a crash or whatever.

    1. I want to be able to recover the data at a previous state

i.e.

  • a virus deletes 500 random files
  • 2500 random files gets corrupted
  • windows refuses to start for some missing files

and I want to bring all back to previous state

  1. I want to be able to pick up single files from the backup in case I want to revert accidental or unwanted modifications. (I can do that with Windows Backup which keeps versioning folders and files, but whatever).

So I grabbed AOMEI Backupper and installed it.

It offers full/differential and incremental backups.

These are it's features: enter image description here which description can be found here -->documentation

  • System backup: System backup refers to back up all the system files, boot files, and program files. Only if backing up both the system and boot files can ensure operating system works normally when restoring the OS next time.

  • Disk backup: When carrying out the operations of disk backup, all the data, the operating system and programs will be backed up to an image file, which can be used for disk restoration when it is necessary.

  • Partition backup: During the process of data backup, we can back up a particular partition or volume based on our need, instead of all the partitions. During partition backup, all the data on this partition will be packaged into an image file.

  • Files backup: File Backup refers to backup a specified file or folder to prevent data loss.

Now what is the method to get a full disk backup with all the partitions included (maybe not with recovery one, of which I don't even know what to do) so that I can restore the system if it doesn't starts, a partition if it has problems, or some files if I need to, without doing 3 kinds of backups?

Space and time aren't a problem but I wanted to do the right thing. I don't know what are the differences between doing a system image or the other solutions available.

Thanks for the help

closed as unclear what you're asking by Xavierjazz, fixer1234, nc4pk, mdpc, JakeGould Jan 4 '16 at 4:11

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • It isn't clear what your question is. Your post includes the explanation of the differences. Are you asking for a backup strategy? At first, I though this was spam because AOMEI regularly plants questions similar to this, hoping the answers will advertise their product. However, you have a history with the site, so I assume this is a legit question. – fixer1234 Dec 24 '15 at 4:37
  • Sorry for the delay, here I am again. @fixer1234 Yes I'm legit. I don't have any interest in advertising them, as if I don't find any suitable solution, I'm gonna uninstall it. Lol, I didn't knew software houses were spamming with questions here – Liquid Core Jan 6 '16 at 2:42
  • @LMFAO_A_JOKE I am reading it. Will comment under it soon – Liquid Core Jan 6 '16 at 2:42
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System backup, Disk Backup, Partition backup differences

Now what is the method to get a full disk backup with all the partitions included (maybe not with recovery one, of which I don't even know what to do) so that I can restore the system if it doesn't starts, a partition if it has problems, or some files if I need to, without doing 3 kinds of backups?

I want to be able to pick up single files from the backup in case I want to revert accidental or unwanted modifications.

If you want to be able to restore FILES on ANY disk partitions regardless if [Windows] the OS starts or not, then you'd want to do a file-level backup. This would mean you could restore individual files in the event that the disk partitions become corrupt, the hard drive physically fails, the OS doesn't boot, any combination of these, et cetera.

  • You'd probably have to pick all files and/or file folder locations per disk partition to setup this type of backup.
  • You'd probably have to restore the same way picking the files and/or folder locations to restore

I want to be able to recover the data at a previous state

  • windows refuses to start for some missing files

If your OS ever becomes corrupt like the root/core "C" drive or it's drive fails physically, the MBR, etc. then you'd need to have a System Backup to be able to just push that image file to the space on another HD or disk parition or else you'd need to reinstall Windows, and then do your file-level restores afterwards.

THE DIFFERENCES

As with most data backup strategies and methods available it's really a matter of:

  1. what you're willing to risk not ever being able to restore, or restore within a certain amount of time (e.g. 24 hour loss, 12 hour loss, 1 hour loss, 1 minute loss, and so on).

    • Unless you're backing up data every second (or have some high availability or redundant business continuity type system), you're always going to have some period of time where you're vulnerable to data loss. Adjust your strategy based on what data loss you are (or your company is) willing to risk—you may find you need more than just data backups (e.g high availability too).
  2. how you intend to complete a data restore if or when ever needed, and how timely you expect that process to be.

    • You really should understand the differences clearly yourself per backup software to ensure what you choose suffices for both the data backup and restore needs. You don't want to learn after the fact that recovery time for a backup method you selected takes more time to complete a restore operation, or get a system back up and running than what your business\application allows.
  3. You understanding how to complete each restore operation per backup method; backing up your data appropriately is just half of doing it to begin with anyway. It's always best to test data restore operations to ensure it works as expected and suffices for the needs. You don't want to be in an urgent situation where you loose data and now it's time to restore, and then determine you don't know how, something isn't working as expected, etc. Iron out those kinks and document the procedure, gotchas, and so on beforehand when it's not an emergency.

The system and data partitions are encrypted with Truecrypt, as if I lose this laptop I don't want anyone to be able to access data

Since the disk partitions are encryped with TrueCrypt, you should confirm with the vendor that their sofware can indeed do successful back up and restore operations on TrueCrypt encrypted or whole-disk-encrypted type hard drives.

The software vendor should best understand and be able to explain to you which options you should pick with their software (maybe suggest how to best perform a test restore too), or if it'll not work at all in this particular instance with your configurations and needs.

You'd likely need to backup all system and/or boot partitions and the Windows core OS partition at a minimum, and it'd need to support reading (and writing) in a raw mode or byte-for-byte (see below resource link).

In addition to this, you need to ensure you have a TrueCrypt Rescue Disc so your're covered at this level as well with your configuration. The more complex your system configuration or the backup and restore requirements, the more complex the recovery, restore, and backup operations you may need.

Resource: How to properly image a truecrypt system partition? (be sure do further research on this topic for further information)

WHAT YOU'D NEED

  1. At a minimum, you'd need your TrueCrypt Rescue Disc and ensure you know how to use it, and it doesn't get lost, and it is backed up too.
  2. You'd also need to be able to do a [raw mode] byte-for-byte backup and restore of the TrueCrypt encrypted Windows OS, boot, and ALL applicable and needed disk partitions and/or the TrueCrypt Rescue Disc recovery operations afterwards.
  3. Lastly, you'd need to be able to restore (and backup) files and folders to (or on) the other disk partitions. These partitions may need built or defined manually, or perhaps pushed via other image files\partition backups with your restore operations, and then have the backup files applied from the file-level backups. If you choose to manually build the other partitions once the OS and TrueCrypt are back up and accessible in a restore operation, you could then push the file-level backups to the empty drive locations.

(Just be sure you understand that not backing up via a particular method or not applying that backup in a restore operation may mean you'll have to do something manually otherwise (e.g. install Windows, carve up your hard drive disk partitions, etc.) before you move onto some other part of the restore operation process as a whole to get the data back as new as possible and per your needs.)

  • I feel an urge to ask you more. Bur first know that I have a truecrypt backup disk, I have done a full disk backup for now and I'm still lost. That said, these are the doubts: My choiche would for now is full disk backup and incremental later backups. From what I got in case of disk failure a System Backup wouldn't help me as it won't restore partition data, while a full disk backup would put everything back as it was. I used Acronis True Image and it was letting me browse into my full backups so that's why I was hypothesizing that AOMEI could do the same, hence why I'm not doing it file-level – Liquid Core Jan 6 '16 at 3:11
  • So to get to the point: I hoped that a full system backup, if browsable, would assure me a full system backup which includes ALSO a system backup and allows me to pick files if needed. I don't see why doing it byte-for-byte. While logged in, AOMEI can reach every file decrypted on the fly by truecrypt, so I guess it would do an unencrypted disk backup even if truecrypt is on, which would result in decrypted full system backup I think. But these are all guesses, as the real proof would be trying to restore it, as you said, since not trying it would be half the job. – Liquid Core Jan 6 '16 at 3:15
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    That's nice to hear but I've encrypted the backups so I don't think so. So, without further wondering into each of the Acronis or AOMEI backup softwares, if you do a full disk backup you put the system back along with data but you can't browse it. If you want to browse files,you do the old way, a file level backup. So, a full disk backup would include a system backup by default, right? Also, do I really need a byte for byte backup here? Can't I just do a dynamic full backup which picks up just the space needed? – Liquid Core Jan 6 '16 at 3:20
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    Or,from what I've read in your provided link, to safely clone something encrypted with truecrypt, I can't just use an "Hot running" backup sofware, but I must image everything externally from a live cd or something with a software which reads raw data and doing a byte per byte copy otherwise it won't work? – Liquid Core Jan 6 '16 at 3:27
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    I understand the clean comment things, but the unclear details and unanswered questions which came out from your reply are a lot and we might clear them out for everyone reading. – Liquid Core Jan 6 '16 at 3:30

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