Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Taking that backup plunge

Ok, ok, so early today I was saying :

"I'll leave the laptop hard disc swap until Friday so I can do it while the cricket's on" - with the idea being that I'd be able to work on the laptop without wanting music in the background to listen to. (The music lives on the laptop).

But. The idea of "why the hell wait ?" took over. Lol. Been catching up on more recorded telly tonight, Falling Skies plus the last few A Town Called Eureka. What's that give ? An opportunity to work on the laptop without wanting music in the background to listen to. (No I did not copy/paste that - lol)

It starts with a little disaster planning. In 2.5 years of owning my laptop, I'd not made the factory restore discs. So in those pop and about an hour later I have 4 dvds full of Acer factory restore gubbins. So if this transfer messes up completely, I'll be able to reinstall fresh. Or if it doesn't quite do what I want (there's potential of the transfer losing recovery stuff that's in a special partition) then I don't lose anything.

The software I've gone for to do the transfer is called Acronis Backup & Recovery. It costs about $75 ... but ... there's a free trial version. That only lasts 15 days but ... I'm hoping to only have to do this once. Sold !

Oh and of the backup software I looked at, this was the only one which appeared to do what I wanted (despite blurb on websites), which is to totally transfer the software from one hard disc to another.

One thing it's doing though is take copious amounts of time.

The transfer is called "clone hard disc" and involves a bit for bit, partition for partition copy of the old drive to the new one which is connected up via USB. It's doing this by rebooting into a copy only mode. But it's taking ages ... It's just hit 100% (and I'm rebooting it) so it's hopefully got a full copy on the new drive.

Let's see ... Next step - swap the hard discs over, after I boot up the laptop to :

Take a little look at the new drive
Assure myself I can go back to the old one

Hmm. The reboot is taking a while ... I'll be ignoring a video from Totalbiscuit (Sleeping Dogs game) while I do the switchover. More later ! I'm hoping to have a fully operational and upgraded laptop by sleep time.

Ok - Update 1 - testing the new drive hooked up to the laptop with the old drive active is curious ... Drive Manager can see it but won't let you interact to it if you'd copied over what's called "NT Signatures". Curious !

Time to take a plunge into the gubbins ...

Update 2 - back's off the laptop and the old hard disc is ... scorching. I suspect it may have been having more trouble than I thought. Hard discs should not be 70 degrees + (too hot to hold).

Update 3 - One hard disc swap later and I have a Starting Windows screen ! I'm not used to stuff like this working so easily - something's gonna go wrong ;-)

Last update - this one is being tapped in from a laptop that is exactly as it was left when I started the backup (even down to the random desktop wallpaper). Is it quicker ? Let's see. It's too early to really tell yet, any comparisons will be buried in potential "I've upgraded so it must be better" placebo effect.

Verdict on Acronis - bloody brilliant. If I needed this software more, like if I was making machines for a living and wanting to cut down on software time, it's perfect. If I was a sysadmin and looking for enterprise grade software, again, brilliant.

Hugely recommended !

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