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Windows 7: Comparing Free backup software


14 May 2010   #1

Windows 7
 
 
Comparing Free backup software

Having just suffered a hard drive crash I thought to report my experience for the benefit of others and solicit suggestions. My OS is Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit and I had 2 Free backup software products installed on my PC: Paragon Backup and Restore 10.2 and Macrium Reflect Free edition.

Paragon's backups take much much longer (by a multiple) than Macrium. More importantly the Rescue disk created by the Paragon Free version did not work correctly for me. In its "normal mode" it just loaded and then went nowhere. It did work in its "safe mode" option but was unbelievably slow. Using the Rescue disk in safe mode, the disk scanning took forever (minutes) and the only way to know it was still working was that the mouse froze, limiting my options to waiting or a hard reboot. Everything else took forever including selecting the archive to restore and the restore itself (several times Macrium's restore time).

Macrium's reflect was much faster for me. Its rescue disk worked flawlessly and booted right up. Similarly the archive selection and restore was much faster though I could only restore one partition at a time rather than set it to restore the entire disk image I had created. On the con side, the rescue disk I created from it only had a restore capability. It could not be used to backup and thus it was not possible to create a "bare metal" (without being in Windows) backup and restore of a hd. Paragon had that capability but its slowness - maybe because I was forced to use its "safe mode" - made it unbelievably tedious.

The question that occurred to me was the following: Was Macrium so much faster because it skipped important steps or was it just more efficient? Conversely, was Paragon's slowness merely inefficiency or did Paragon just check more things and thus was more secure? I do not know.

Bottom line: Paragon's bare metal capability was a plus but it slowness made it barely useful for me because one was never sure if the software had stalled or just needed forever to get to the next screen.

My experience with the Free versions only. Would like to hear more knowledgeable opinions.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

14 May 2010   #2

Win 7 64-bit
 
 

I'm using the same Paragon free product here.

I originally made 2 recovery disks and they both boot up fine (normal mode).

Performance seems pretty decent. I normally use "Best" compression which adds a very considerable overhead. Nevertheless, performance seems to be pretty consistent with that I would expect from the underlying hardware. I don't have any reason to feel that the Paragon program is inherently slow or inefficient.

I'm guessing that the recovery disk doesn't like some aspect of your hardware. A missing or bad driver perhaps? Or some other motherboard/BIOS interoperability issue?

I have seen some other reports of problems with the recovery disk. One common/suggested solution is to build a BartPE disk with the Paragon tools integrated with it. That will use standard Windows drivers plus any that you specifically integrate into the recovery disk. However, that's not a 2 minute job. If you want to go that route you'll also need the BartPE plugin:

http://ftp.paragon.eu.com/support/DB10/PSG_BartPE.zip

Caveat: although I have made some BartPE disks, I have not personally made one with the Paragon plugin.

Hope this helps.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 May 2010   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Anderson2 View Post
Having just suffered a hard drive crash I thought to report my experience for the benefit of others and solicit suggestions. My OS is Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit and I had 2 Free backup software products installed on my PC: Paragon Backup and Restore 10.2 and Macrium Reflect Free edition.

Paragon's backups take much much longer (by a multiple) than Macrium. More importantly the Rescue disk created by the Paragon Free version did not work correctly for me. In its "normal mode" it just loaded and then went nowhere. It did work in its "safe mode" option but was unbelievably slow. Using the Rescue disk in safe mode, the disk scanning took forever (minutes) and the only way to know it was still working was that the mouse froze, limiting my options to waiting or a hard reboot. Everything else took forever including selecting the archive to restore and the restore itself (several times Macrium's restore time).

Macrium's reflect was much faster for me. Its rescue disk worked flawlessly and booted right up. Similarly the archive selection and restore was much faster though I could only restore one partition at a time rather than set it to restore the entire disk image I had created. On the con side, the rescue disk I created from it only had a restore capability. It could not be used to backup and thus it was not possible to create a "bare metal" (without being in Windows) backup and restore of a hd. Paragon had that capability but its slowness - maybe because I was forced to use its "safe mode" - made it unbelievably tedious.

The question that occurred to me was the following: Was Macrium so much faster because it skipped important steps or was it just more efficient? Conversely, was Paragon's slowness merely inefficiency or did Paragon just check more things and thus was more secure? I do not know.

Bottom line: Paragon's bare metal capability was a plus but it slowness made it barely useful for me because one was never sure if the software had stalled or just needed forever to get to the next screen.

My experience with the Free versions only. Would like to hear more knowledgeable opinions.

Very interesting post. I'm using Macrium reflect and it seems that it worked quite well for you (apart from the fact that it can only restore one partition at a time and I all ready knew Macrium free couldn't do that).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


14 May 2010   #4

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

My favorite free backup and restore program, which is free and included with Windows 7 is Control Panel | Backup and Restore or simply
WIN key |type Backup | Enter key


To learn more: WIN + F1 key combo | type Backup and Restore | Enter key

For the first time Microsoft got backup and restore right. Backup and Restore in Windows 7 works very well. For a couple of weeks, I was at least daily, performing a full backup (known as system image backup) and full restore.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2010   #5

Windows 7
 
 

from the OP: Some additional thoughts in comparing the 2.

Paragon Backup free gives you the option of doing differential backups. Reflect free does not. That feature may be important to some. The flaky rescue disk remains however an important factor since rescue is what backups are really all about and it is when your hd crashes that you really need them.

Macrium Free gives you the option of creating either a Linux or a BartPE rescue disk. I did not need to create the BartPE rescue disk because the Macrium Linux rescue disk worked flawlessly. Paragon Free only creates a Linux rescue disk which did not work correctly for me. Its website support does provide instructions to make your own BartPE but I found the instructions complicated and hard to follow, so I did not.

Paragon's paid version is $49.95
Macrium's paid version is $39.99
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2010   #6

win7 ultimate 32 , 64 ,XP
 
 

I have been using Paragon 9 for longtime I had no troubles with it whatsoever (yet).. it saved my bacon many times I made 3 copies of the recovery disk plus I created a capsul as well ... I have a partition with windows and programs and that's the one matter to me as I have seperate copies of my files on a web storage and an external 1.5TB HD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2010   #7

Windows® 8 Pro (64-bit)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by karlsnooks View Post
My favorite free backup and restore program, which is free and included with Windows 7 is Control Panel | Backup and Restore or simply
WIN key |type Backup | Enter key


To learn more: WIN + F1 key combo | type Backup and Restore | Enter key

For the first time Microsoft got backup and restore right. Backup and Restore in Windows 7 works very well. For a couple of weeks, I was at least daily, performing a full backup (known as system image backup) and full restore.
I too use windows backup & restore.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2010   #8

Win 7 64-bit
 
 

I tried the Windows 7 backup/restore software. I didn't like the fact that it wouldn't allow me to specify where the backup would be placed. It gave me a choice of drive -- but not a choice of where to place the backup on the drive. That was irritating.

Anyway, then I made a second backup and it warned me that it "might" replace/overwrite the first. I checked the help and it said I could save up to 10 backup images on a local (non-network) partition. So I proceeded with the backup and darn me if it didn't replace the first backup. As far as I'm concerned that was the end of Windows backup.

This thread has prompted me to make a BartPE disk with Paragon integrated onto it (just in case of future issues with the Unix boot disk). It wasn't too hard to make an image. I'll be testing it shortly. [Edit: it works!]
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2010   #9

Windows 7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by malch View Post

This thread has prompted me to make a BartPE disk with Paragon integrated onto it (just in case of future issues with the Unix boot disk). It wasn't too hard to make an image. I'll be testing it shortly. [Edit: it works!]
Can you share how you made a BartPE disk with Paragon integrated onto it. I would like to do that too but found the instructions on Paragon's website confusing. Could you share how you did it with someone who has never done it? Or better still share your iso file since both BartPE and Paragon Free are freeware?

Thank you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 May 2010   #10

Dual boot XP Pro SP3x86 and Win7 Pro x64
 
 

If your machine includes either a Seagate or WD HDD, you can go to their respective sites and DL a free version of Acronis that will permit image backups. It has some features disabled (e.g., cannot select individual files/directories or accomplish incremental/differential backups) but if a partition/disk image is all you require, the HDD-specific version of Acronis works very well.

Monk
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Comparing Free backup software




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