Tag Archive | backup

Two version of linux — my setup

In this post, I’ll describe what I do when I want two versions of linux.  Typically, one is for normal use and the other is for testing.  I noticed some confusion about how to do this in a recent thread at opensuse forums.  So I thought it might be of interest to describe what I am doing.

This is intended for information only.  Of course there are many different ways of handling this.  I am describing just one of them.

The particular computer is an older one that uses legacy (MBR) booting.  It was my main desktop, until around two years ago.  Now I mainly use it for testing and as a backup in case my main desktop fails.

I currently have both opensuse 13.1 and opensuse 13.2 installed.  I also have another partition for test installs.  Opensuse 13.2 is a 64-bit install, while opensuse 13.1 is a 32-bit install (actually the “linux for education” version. Read More…

Acronis to the rescue

As reported in my previous post, I ran into a few problems when using “gparted” to move Windows partitions.  Everything mostly worked after some Windows boot recovery, except that I would have to setup Windows boot manager again if I wanted it to boot my opensuse system.

Before using “gparted” I had made a backup of the Windows partitions using the Acronis True Image software.  The backup was made with the 2014 version of Acronis.  So I decided to try restoring Windows 7 from that Acronis backup.

I booted the Acronis recovery CD, and pointed it to the image it had made on an external drive.  I had encrypted that backup, so I gave Acronis the encryption key.  Then I proceeded to recover the three Windows partitions.

The partitions, all NTFS, were the main Windows partition, the recovery partition, and a data partition that I share with linux for exchanging files between the two operating systems.

The recovery went well.  Windows 7 booted without any problem after the recovery.  A “chkdsk /F” on the main Windows partition showed no problems following the recovery.  I then copied the opensuse boot sector to the Windows file.  And the Windows boot manager successfully booted opensuse with that.

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Recover from disk failure

I was having problems on an older computer, with some hints that it might be a disk failure.  The only way to be sure, was to replace the hard drive and see if that corrected the problems.  The old drive was a WD 320G SATA 1 drive.  I purchased a WD 750G SATA 3 drive as replacement.  I looked at smaller drives at Amazon, but some of them appeared to be refurbished.  So I went with a clearly new 750G drive.

Replacing the drive

The computer, itself, is a Dell Dimension C521, purchased in 2007.  Replacing the drive turned out to be relatively easy.  No tools were required.  I had to pull on a latch to take off the panel.  Next, pressing a lever, I could lift out the DVD, and unplug its cables.  Then I unplugged the connector on the sd-card reader, pressed the same lever, and slid that back so that I could lift it out.  And then I could slide the disk drive back enough to lift it out, disconnecting the cables as I did so.  I reversed those steps to install the disk drive and reinstall the other components.

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Acronis True Image

I have been using the Acronis backup software (or ATI, for short) for several years.  I use it for backing up Windows systems, and the windows parts of dual boot systems.  I am reminded of this, because I recently had reason to recover a system using an ATI backup archive.  Note that I discussed my linux backup methods in an earlier post.

The recent backup was due to a memory problem on my wife’s computer.  After some testing and experimenting, it turned out that reseating a memory module corrected the problem.  However, in the meantime — i.e. before we realized that there was a memory problem — the computer behaved in weird ways which included trashing the registry.  After correcting the memory problem, it seemed wise to restore from a recent backup, although the system seemed to be functional without that. Read More…

Using dar for backups

I have been persuaded to try “dar” for backups.  This post describes my experience.

Prior practices

I had mostly been using tar for unix backups.  For example, to backup my home partition, I would mount an external USB drive.  Then I would “cd” to the directory on that drive where I wanted the backup to be stored.  Next I set the shell variable “$x” to that directory. Read More…

If you use RAID, you still need backups

I have not personally used any RAID systems.  The acronym RAID stands for Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks.  The basic idea is to put a bunch of PC disks into a configuration, where each bit of data is in more than one place (the redundancy), using a controller that allows you to treat the whole collection as a single disk.  This gives high disk capacity at modest prices.  And the redundancy is supposed to provide protection against disk failure. Read More…

Encryption practices

In this post, I shall indicate how I have used encryption, and my experience with that use.


My first serious use of encryption, was with ssh.  This was back when many LANs were still using 10 mb/s ethernet, with an ethernet hub.  Everything sent on the network was potentially visible to other computers connected through the same hub.  Back in those days, it was common for hackers to break into unix systems and set the network interface to promiscuous mode.  Then they would log all packets seen on the LAN, allowing them to pickup passwords used on other computers, not just the ones they had hacked into. Read More…

More on ecryptfs

Now that I have been trying ecryptfs for a while, and have found a good way of setting things up, it’s time to informally comment on my experience.

As a brief summary, the experiment was a success.  I intend to keep using ecryptfs. Read More…