Image backups are a must now in the digital age. For any mission-critical or personal data that cannot be replaced, a good backup is required. Paragon Backup and Recovery 11 is a great tool that is easy to use. It comes with a boot disc you create to recover from a failed array, dead hard drive, or corrupt Windows registry. With Paragon, there’s no need to waste thousands of dollars at a data recovery center for those irreplaceable pictures, your 75 page thesis, or company data that could be gone forever. Unlike other backup applications, Paragon is extremely user-friendly, very intuitive, and full of features to do whatever you need.
Installing Paragon Backup and Recovery 11
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Upon purchasing this software, they will send a disc that has three items on it, the recovery CD files, a recovery CD creator program, and the Backup and Recovery 11 program. An install code should have been sent via email upon purchasing the software and will be used only once in the install process. Enter the Product Key and Serial Number on the first screen and then follow the prompts to complete installation.
After entering the product information, you have the ability to see the Advanced install options and change where exactly the product is installed. Once all of the above is entered and the “Next” button is hit a couple times, the install is complete. No headaches of a difficult install here.
Creating Your First Image
You can create an image one of two ways, either using the program you just installed or booting off of the Recovery CD. We will cover using the Program to do it although doing it via the Recovery CD is very similar. Opening Backup and Recovery 11 we see all the options laid out before us on the left-hand side of the screen. The default tab that is open after starting the program is Backup and Recovery. From here you can make your first image of your OS or you can click Restore and pick an image you created earlier to restore your OS to the way it was. Clicking on Backup and Recovery takes you to the first window in which you hit “Next”. Then on the following screen, you will see the this window:
Click on Disks and Partitions and then put a check mark by the HDD you want to make the image of. Under each one there will be “First Hard Disk Track”, “Master Boot Record”, and “Local Disk C”, just make sure you select the “Basic MBR HARD DISK” at the top to have it select all associated with the HDD of which you are trying to create the image. Be careful here because this part will show any disk, Flash or otherwise, in this location.
Make sure you are selecting the hard drive of the computer or server which needs imaged. After you have made your selection, hit “Next”. Now select the Backup destination. If you have a USB HDD attached which you are going to backup to, select the default “Save data to local/network drives”. Pick this one as well if you are going to save over the network to a NAS, SAS or server.
I’m a big fan of backups that let you save over FTP, which is the second option here. An offsite backup is a huge advantage for companies. If a natural disaster takes out the whole plant along with any servers onsite, the offsite allows you to be safeguarded.
Finally, “Burn the Data to CD, DVD, or BD” is the third option but for large imaging jobs, this is less feasible. Click “Next” after selecting your Backup spot. We are now greeted with options on how we want our backup to go. Do you want a full backup now, do you want to schedule it, or create a script in which it runs whenever you like? All of these are options available at this step. I choose do do a full backup immediately along with entering a comment about the backup in question at the top. After hitting “Next” again you are presented a Summary page in which you can double check all the settings you entered to make sure nothing was entered incorrectly followed by Starting the Backup.
Our server ran a financial software which the VSS could not stop so I was given the option to reboot and let the backup start before Windows fully started. Worked like a charm but took about 4 hrs with 150GB of data.
With the normal compression, it shrank the image down to about 109GB. Most people will not have an issue of the VSS script pausing all of their applications and taking a snapshot of the Hard drive/OS, but for those that do as I did, at least Paragon took that into account and made it only a one click affair.
Making a Recovery CD
Immediately after installing the program, it is a good idea to make a Recovery CD for the times that the Hard drive dies, a RAID array fails, or something is messed up so bad in Windows that you cant even boot into Safe Mode. To do so with Backup and Recovery 11, click on Tools in the left-hand column and then click on Burn Recovery Media. You will be directed to choose what type of Boot Disc you would like to make.
Unlike the old imaging software of the past, now we have the ability to create a USB Flash media Recovery Disc. The only caveat to that would be, can your PC in question boot off of a USB drive. If so, you are good to go as this is the easiest and cleanest method to do it in. But if you are using this on older hardware and it doesn’t have the ability to boot from USB, time to make the Boot Disc onto a CD or DVD. Click the CD/DVD radio button and hit “Next”. It will ask you which drive you will be burning it to and give you a confirmation followed by burning the software onto the disc. You can now use this to boot off of in case of emergency. This will be the Linux version of the Recovery CD.
The WinPE boot Recovery Disk looks and operates just like the default GUI in Windows when you first installed it. This is going to be the easiest way for most people to deal with the recovery process as it is exactly the same as the one you dealt with earlier. The only problem with this version is that as off a week ago, Paragon sent out an email stating that the Windows version wasn’t going to be allowed to download anymore due to licensing disputes with Microsoft and there was only a limited time to get on their site after purchase to download one. As of the writing of this article, the WinPE disc is still available for download after purchase and I don’t see any warnings on the site anymore about it being discontinued so perhaps Microsoft and Paragon reached an agreement. If you do purchase this software, I would recommend downloading it as soon as you can in case it is removed from Paragon’s site.
The Linux Recovery Disc that you make with the program starts up a little different but is still GUI based and comes with a few more options upon boot such as a “Safe Mode” version of the program as well as a “Low Graphics Safe Mode” for finicky boot attempts. Also, after loading in Low Graphics Safe Mode (because my VM didn’t want to boot it any other way ), you have more options similar to what you have on the main program when in Windows. It also has a “Boot Corrector” which can fix common registry issues allowing your drive to possibly boot as long as your hard drive isn’t failing. Both are usable Recovery Discs, just depends on which you like the best.
Paragon Backup and Recovery 11 is an all around good program for making that first image of your system to protect you from possible data loss. Everyone should have at least one backup to fall on in case of hard times. Nothing stings worse than loosing important data right when you need it. As easy and cheap as this program is, it is almost a no-brainer to have yourself protected. Don’t forget to download the WinPE Recovery Disc immediately after purchase to ensure the easiest data recovery available for this product. Feel safe and secure knowing your data is always there regardless of the circumstance!
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