Backing up a multiboot system

#1
This has probably been asked before but I can't for the life of me see it here or even on google.

Currently I run Vista 32bit, Win 7 64bit and Ubuntu 64bit. Each of them I can back up whilst in that OS. (Vista doesn't see Win 7, but Win 7 lets me back itself and Vista up). The problem is that I would like to automate back ups of all 3 OS's and data (which is shared) each night irrespective of what OS I happen to be in. Back ups are to an external drive.

I did look in to getting a NAS (looked at the netgear rnd2000 or something like that) but I am unsure whether the back up is started by the OS (if so then I'm in the same boat).

I don't think there is a software app that can organise itself across the 3 different OS's, maybe I'm wrong. So how do you guys carry out backs up? and how should I go about it.

thanks for any info and pointers

TS
 

Mak 2.0

Mod...WAFFLES!?!?
Staff member
#2
The problem comes in with the Ubuntu. As from within Windows it doesnt natively support that file system. So you would have to use some sort of 3rd party software to even have that drive recognized from within Windows.

So right there is 1 major hurtle to overcome. If you are in Ubuntu you can do a backup of all 3, i believe. Since you can mount the drives that you have Windows installs on. But i am not sure to what extent you will be able to do a backup. I dont know if you will be able to just make an incremental backup that just backs up the files that were changed that day or if you would be forced to do a full backup of those drives daily.

So really it comes down to which OS are you trying to do the backup from?
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#3
The problem is, even if you *did* get Windows to recognize the Linux filesystem, and even if you *did* set up a backup on each OS, the odds of getting a compatible backup going are nil.

There isn't (to the best of my knowledge) a good backup product that will run on multiple platforms. XP and 7, sure. But Ubuntu too? tough!

What are you trying to back up? I generally recommend RAID0 + backup, where the RAID is to protect against hard disk failure, and the backup is to protect you from yourself - i.e. viruses, document modifications, configuration misfires, etc.

You can use RAID to "protect" your system files and backup to protect your data.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#4
You should store all your data for both OSes on a separate, ntfs partition so its accessible to all OSes for read/write access. Obtain windd and the ext2fs ifs driver for Windows. Than in each OS, setup a nightly task to run dd in the background. And if you're looking for offline access backup/restore clonezilla may be able to help with that, though you could also equally just use dd from the livecd.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#5
Unless he's trying to actually back up the OS itself....
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#6
Backup the OSs individually from the running system. They're not all going to fail at once, why would you need sync'd back-ups ?
Keep your data on a shared, universally accessible, partition.
I use an old freeware app from whichever of my 3 Windows OSs is running at day-end, to do incremental data back-ups to another shared backup location.
I don't run Linux as the last OS of the day (or much at all), to bother including it in the data backup regime. I use it more as a super-app than a productive OS, the apps which process my data are all Windows based, so I don't need data backups from Linux.
 
#7
Thanks guys for your input and help :happy:

What I guess I was/ am looking for was a way to back up all the OS's and data on my pc and maybe the wife's laptop too.

I have one drive which contains my three OS's (the OS drive) and the other that contains data. The data is accessible to all OS's (except the wife's laptop - I mean a guy has to to have some privacy right lol) . I even use the same profiles for Firefox and Thunderbird across all three OS's. But if the OS drive goes, then all OS's go.

Currently I back up the windows OS I am in, when I am in it and the data also gets backed up everyday. Am using syncback pro for this. Haven't really set up anything in Ubuntu and this is why I started to think about one thing that would do it all. Ubuntu started out as an experiment, to play around in but damn I really like it now.

So, in my mind anyways, I was thinking of a NAS or something that would be able to see all on each drive and just back it all up overnight regardless of the OS I am in and maybe back the wife's laptop up too. We are on a wlan. Or if that isn't possible to have a program that could do the same, installed in to each OS and on to the laptop. Have this program see all drives and backing up to an external drive/ NAS.
Maybe this is business level and out of reach for home users but it was an idea that just sprung to mind and seemed so obvious that it should be possible. Maybe not.

Like you say Mahmoud, I could try raid for the OS drive and just back up the data drive. This would be a simpler approach. I would have to install each OS again tho wouldn't I or a I wrong?

Again many thanks guys for your responses. :grinning:
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#8
You can convert your system to a RAID 1 (mirror raid) without reinstalling, but it's pretty complicated.
 
#9
Hmmm complicated, well maybe I'll play safe. Just keep backing up to my external drive and wait till I have to reinstall an OS next. Hopefully with a new build early next year.

Still if any of you guys ever develop some software (add to wish list)/ hardware that can do what I was thinking, I'll licence it to you very cheaply. :grinning:

And again I want to say to you all, thanks for EasyBCD. Both you guys and EasyBCD have saved me when I have played around too much. Cheers.
 

JustinW

Super Moderator
Staff member
#10
Its not needed to do a nightly backup of the OS. In Windows you've got system restore and in Ubuntu recovery is usually a matter of re-installing something. Now, anytime you make a whole bunch of updates/software installs it would be wise to backup the OSes. Clonezilla or dd from livecd should be able to help with this.
 
#11
Thanks Justin, never even thought of it like that.
Guess what I was doing was overkill. Vista is a relatively mature install, with not much being added to it any more. Win 7 is a much newer install. I am still installing software as I need it, can't face spending a day installing everything. So maybe I'll pay more attention to that prior to when I make those installs/ updates and keep regular back ups of the documents.

thanks all.
 
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Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#12
Set all the free space on the OS partition as available to System Restore.
(Easy on XP and W7, more difficult on Vista)
It doesn't make it unavailable to other uses, but it maximizes the number of restore points kept and will give you the ability to recover back before a troublesome install or update for days or weeks afterwards, negating the need for frequent OS backups.
The default space allocated will often only allow you a few hours of backout time before the point gets overwritten by a newer one in a FIFO queue.
 
#13
cheers for that Terry, I'll try that out. I have always found system restore to be very handy in the past so that's a cool idea.

p.s. your sig has gotten me hungry. Can't believe how many times recently Sains and Tesco have been out of clotted cream for our scones. :angry:
 

Terry60

Knows where his towel is.
Staff member
#14
Made a batch last w/e and had them for Sunday tea with Waitrose organic raspberry jam and lashings of Cornish clotted cream.
I lived in Wales for a few years and developed a taste for toasted cheese and onion bread, which was baked in Newcastle Emlyn in a place called John's Hot Bread Shop, which baked the best bread, cakes and pastries of any shop I ever found. Unfortunately, no supermarket or chain-bakery makes anything similar, so I bake my own version.
Made one at the same time as the scones, and it makes the most delicious toast for breakfast.
 

mqudsi

Mostly Harmless
Staff member
#15
You must invite us over for breakfast one day, Terry :grinning:

You owe us that much - my stomach is rumbling right now, and lunch isn't for another hour!
 
#16
Thanks guys for your input and help :happy:

What I guess I was/ am looking for was a way to back up all the OS's and data on my pc and maybe the wife's laptop too.

I have one drive which contains my three OS's (the OS drive) and the other that contains data. The data is accessible to all OS's (except the wife's laptop - I mean a guy has to to have some privacy right lol) . I even use the same profiles for Firefox and Thunderbird across all three OS's. But if the OS drive goes, then all OS's go.

Currently I back up the windows OS I am in, when I am in it and the data also gets backed up everyday. Am using syncback pro for this. Haven't really set up anything in Ubuntu and this is why I started to think about one thing that would do it all. Ubuntu started out as an experiment, to play around in but damn I really like it now.

So, in my mind anyways, I was thinking of a NAS or something that would be able to see all on each drive and just back it all up overnight regardless of the OS I am in and maybe back the wife's laptop up too. We are on a wlan. Or if that isn't possible to have a program that could do the same, installed in to each OS and on to the laptop. Have this program see all drives and backing up to an external drive/ NAS.
Maybe this is business level and out of reach for home users but it was an idea that just sprung to mind and seemed so obvious that it should be possible. Maybe not.

Like you say Mahmoud, I could try raid for the OS drive and just back up the data drive. This would be a simpler approach. I would have to install each OS again tho wouldn't I or a I wrong?

Again many thanks guys for your responses. :grinning:
This is going to be one of my programming projects, when I get around to it.
I had this idea a while back: I'm going to develop a program that can do backups from all major filesystems, and can run in Windows, Linux, or Mac OS X.

But it might be a couple years before I get it done. :grinning: