Solved Is it OK to Use computer while a backup is in progress

April 1, 2012 at 10:26:21
Specs: Windows 764 bit, Core i7/8gb
I have a Dell XPS8300 with core i7 2400, 8gb memory, Radeon HD 6670 video card and a Western Digital 1tb drive. I use Easus ToDo backup software for backup purposes. I have researched this issue and found a lot of yes and no answers. I have a folder on my C drive(about 470gb in size) with all of my personal data that I backup onto another clean 1tb drive that I use just for backup purposes. My question is...is it okay to use the computer while the backup is running. I have read that it is a no-no if you have a single-core system but it is okay to use the computer during backup if you have a dual or quad-core system. Any replies or opinions are greatly respect and appreciated.

Loretta


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✔ Best Answer
April 1, 2012 at 14:16:39
You don't need to use that program. Windows 7 has a great tool to backup your system. Windows 7 can decide how to handle changes. That means you can do what you want while the system backs up.

A Pit Bull is like a gun you can pet. And there is no safety on it.



#1
April 1, 2012 at 10:52:13
You should be able to use the computer while the backup is running, but why take the chance? How long does the backup take? Maybe there's something else you can do in the meantime? Or maybe you can schedule the backup for a time when you know you won't need to use the computer.

And why are you storing your data on the C drive? What would happen if Windows became corrupt? You should have your data on a separate partition specifically for storage, not on the Windows partition.


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#2
April 1, 2012 at 10:53:27
I think that if you are accessing the same partition as the one being backed up you will slow or stop the backup because you are trying to copy a moving target.

IMO you should install ONLY the OS and core programs on the C partition. Everything else should be on other partitions. Makes for a smaller C partition backup too. The C partition is the one that changes the most so it needs to be imaged the most often. Programs don't change often. I have multiple partitons.


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#3
April 1, 2012 at 11:25:35
Thanks for the quick replies! Yes, you guys make perfect sense. Some old habits...hard to break. I always of the impression that you keep your data on the C drive and then a copy(backup) on another drive. I guess that was before the era of having multiple drives on your system. You guys take the prize again! Thanks so much!

Loretta


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#4
April 1, 2012 at 11:31:26
I thought that most modern software used Windows Shadow copy to make backups. As that takes a snapshot of the system there should be no question of a moving target. Probably advisable not to use disk-intensive programs at the same time as it will slow things down.

Sophisticated backup software like Genie Timeline (a sort of Time Machine for Windows) work continuously and will adjust their resource usage according to what else the machine is doing. I've given up on monolithic backups nowadays and far prefer the continual incremental model of Time Machine. You can still restore the system to a particular instant in time and it's easy to view many generations of a file.

I first encountered this sort of backup philosophy at work, where we used Tivolli Storage Manager. It was a godsend after using conventional backup programs, which were struggling to complete backups of the bigger servers in the available time slot.

Any way, as far as I am concerned my advice to the OP would be go ahead, it's not a problem.


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#5
April 1, 2012 at 14:16:39
✔ Best Answer
You don't need to use that program. Windows 7 has a great tool to backup your system. Windows 7 can decide how to handle changes. That means you can do what you want while the system backs up.

A Pit Bull is like a gun you can pet. And there is no safety on it.


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#6
April 1, 2012 at 15:40:47
I wondered when someone was going to mention Windows Shadow copy. It has been around since Windows XP and is much improved in Windows 7. Unlike older backup systems, it allows the backing up of files that are already open and in use, something that used to bring backups to a grinding halt.

I have Windows backup backing up all data files every day and doing a disk image once a month and it just gets on with it. Just set a schedule, again much improved in Windows 7 and forget about it. You get plenty of warning is an error occurs.

Stuart


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#7
April 1, 2012 at 18:08:54
Thanks so much for all of the input. I have plenty of ammo for myself and will definitely pass this along to others.

Grazie,
Loretta


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#8
April 1, 2012 at 19:11:33
Shadow copy!!! I was trying to remember that name. Thanks. I kept thinking live state.

A Pit Bull is like a gun you can pet. And there is no safety on it.


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#9
April 1, 2012 at 23:22:04
Windows backup is just fine, but it doesn't have the versatility that Time Machine type programs provide, particularly with regard to recovering the state of a file at a particular date.

For example, if you know that a file was good on 12 February, but it might have last been saved months before, how do you find it? With conventional backups you normally do full backups weekly or monthly and incrementals inbetween. So you have to look at each of the incrementals between the last known good full backup and 12 Feb to see if any of them contain a more recent backup.

With TM type programs you make an initial full backup and then every other backup is just incremental. The program knows when files were saved and if you look at 12 Feb it will show you all the files, in an Explorer type view, as they were on that day, whenever they were last backed up.

There are two reasons to backup. One is to recover the whole system, and conventional backup is fine for that; but it's not necessarily the most common use of backups.. The other is to recover one or two corrupted or accidentally deleted files (which is what sysadmins often need to do) My users would phone me up to say they had accidentally deleted a file or directory and I could phone them up 5 minutes later to say they were restored. Try doing that with a conventional backup system when the user can't tell you when they saved the good version of the file but only know that it was OK yesterday.


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#10
April 2, 2012 at 08:59:29
Shadow copy does in fact know versions of files and can keep them.

A Pit Bull is like a gun you can pet. And there is no safety on it.


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#11
April 2, 2012 at 10:44:34
Indeed. But the problem can be finding the file if you don't know when it was backed up.

Say I have a file called something.txt and I accidently delete it. Now I know it was there yesterday, but it might not have changed for months. So I have to go back to the last full backup. On a home system you probably don't do full backups more than once a month, because they take a lot of time.

So you go back to the last full backup. But wait; what if you changed it since then? How do you find the latest copy other than looking at all the incrementals too. And it's actually worse than that. Those full backups take a lot of storage, so you're going to have to delete them after a while. How many do you keep? A year's worth? What if you want a file you deleted more than a year ago.

Time Machine (and Genie Timeline) makes this easy. You know the file was there yesterday, so just open yesterday's view of the file system and there it is. And you can keep files that seldom change for longer; because you're only taking incremental backups, which build on the first full one, it needs far less space than multiple full backups that each contain identical copies of seldom-changing files.

Once you've used a contnuous incremental system like TM you won't go back to the old way of doing things. The good news is that they are going to build this sort of thing into Windows 8.


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