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Problem Need advice with image back ups.

Discussion in 'Software' started by 1/4, Feb 1, 2011.

  1. 1/4

    1/4 Byte Poster

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    Hi guys.

    We have a small network at work with roughly 20 computers and a server. There is one PC which has specialist software on it that communicates consignment updates to the delivery contractors we use.

    Before my time this software was accessible on all the computers, now it is only just this one. However the hardware of this one PC, that is absolutely imperative to the smooth-running of the company is "on it's last legs".

    I have warned colleagues/management numerous times that if that PC dies then it will cost us a possibly-not-so-small fortune in down time and offered to diagnose/repair the PC if I can. That was a no goer in case I break it.

    I suspect the PSU is failing/failed as it will 1-2-3-4 times a day black screen restart and do any number of strange things intermittently. If I cannot fix the PC then will performing an image back up of the system keep us afloat if/when the system finally dies?

    I have never performed an image back up before and do not understand fully the nuances that the solution offers. If I understand it correctly it should just load on and then be up and running all software and files intact as they ought to be as it is bit-by-bit back up.

    Any advice would be appreciated, the OS is XP Pro.
     
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  2. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    Is there anything hardware specific in the machine? Dongles etc?

    If not then perhaps look at P2Ving the machine and running on a virtual host (ESXi or even VMware Server 2), that way you can use the free Converter software to image it across to the host.
     
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  3. 1/4

    1/4 Byte Poster

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    The only specific thing associated with the machine is the label printer which is proprietary to the courier company and uses a parallel port.

    Virtualising would be good but this is an SME with an entirely outsourced IT dept that we only call in when something literally goes bang. Unfortunately things do have to go bang before anythings done about it here and usually costs a lot more because of it. I would have to explain P2Ving to the MD, and he wouldn't understand why we'd need it or feel safe implementing it.
     
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  4. SimonD

    SimonD Terabyte Poster Moderator

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    The fact that you have a device attached to the workstation makes it more difficult. My honest advice would be to build a new machine up ready for when the old machine fails.

    Part of the job of getting management on side for anything that will save them money is asking how much time they can afford to lose should something go bang, point out that being reactive rather than proactive is detrimental to the company and surely it would be better to be prepared than just fixing issues when they arise.

    Most senior management understand that failed components = lost revenue, if he doesn't want to compromise then as long as you have made it know that this is a risk and something does go wrong its not down to you.
     
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  5. Shinigami

    Shinigami Megabyte Poster

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    It almost always ends up costing considerably more to be reactive, rather than proactive. Some figures state the cost to be 4x as high than making the right decision from the start.
     
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  6. 1/4

    1/4 Byte Poster

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    Mmm. I understand completely, I am a sensible reasonable person and usually good at getting an argument across (as in a position rather than 'to argue'). The MD won't have it, he is an amazingly willful person and it cuts both ways for him and the company sometimes for good and bad.

    If I back up an entire image of the OS and files and then store that somewhere, will that not get us up and running if the PC goes bang? (Assuming a similar hardware profile.)
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2011
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  7. Simonvm

    Simonvm Kilobyte Poster

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    If your backup computer has about the same chipset, odds are good it will boot into windows.
    You might have to install a couple of drivers again but it usually works out.

    You could just take an image, put it on another disk and install it in the backup computer to test everything before sh*t hits te fan :)
     
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  8. nugget
    Honorary Member

    nugget Junior toady

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    I would look at getting a copy of Symantec Backup Exec System Restore and setting it up to make an image of the pc in question every night to an external hard disk. Then you can grab another pc and use the feature of BESR to restore an image to dissimilar hardware (as long as you have the drivers for the new hardware).

    Then you can test the new machine to see if it works. Problem solved.

    Another program to use would be Acronis but I don't know if Acronis can do this.
     
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