Best backup strategy?

Discussion in 'Installation and Configuration' started by bidione, Dec 25, 2007.

  1. bidione



    I was searching this forum, expecting to find numerous threads to cover my current issue - yet nothing really helpful so far so I start this new thread.

    I have a pretty large Windows partition on my Mac Powerbook pro, as I use Windows as my main operating system where most of my daily work is done - with mostly just phothos & music on my Mac. So of the 180GB Mac harddrive, 125GB are reserved for the virtual Windows drive I use with Parallels

    While using a native Windows notebook I regularly backed up using Acronis TrueImage - which was easy and very realiable. I still have Acronis installed on the virtual Windows drive and I continued to back up to Acronis.

    But after some time getting used to Parallels & the Mac, I am unsecure, if this really is the right thing to do. What happens, if my virtual disc goes into the dust due to a problem on the Mac? What about all my photo & music files on the Mac? Shouldn't I rather backup on the Mac-side, which would include all of my virtual Windows disk?

    On the other hand, this would mean, that every week (I am used to weekly backups) my entire virtual disk would be backed up as part of a Mac backup -which is probably more timeconsumsing than running an incremental backup of just the virtual disk from within Windows (I guess running a Mac-based backup would "see" the virtual Windows disk as just ONE Mac-file which will be completely backed up - even in an incremental or differential Mac-backup - instead of checking each single file on the disk and backing up only what's changed - what a Windows based backup would do from within Windows).

    I want to make sure that all my Windows content is regularly backed up (incremental or differntial) so that I can easily recover if something goes wrong inside the VM. At the same time, I want to make sure that all my Mac files are safe - and that I can easily restore the VM itself on the Mac if something goes wrong here.

    So what backup strategies are you following? Is ghere any recommendation from Parallels-side how to proceed?
  2. jackybe67

    jackybe67 Kilo Poster

    When you work with Leopard............Timemachine
  3. Alicia

    Alicia Parallels Team


    in general, you can just backup your Parallels folder (the one that contains an .hdd file). Or still use Acronis TrueImage for that purpose. As for Time Machine, it will backup that Parallels folder with the .hdd (which is the main part of the vm actually and contains all your data), but it is possible when you have enough empty space for all that regular backups (above 125 Gb every time).
    Moreover, Time Machine will only use an external hard drive, it can't save bacups on the internal Macintosh HD.
    Strictly speaking, while you are able to access your backuped copy of the .hdd, you have all your data safe.

    Best regards,
  4. Al_Q


    Personally I use Acronis while running Parallels. It's solid, and it works fine there (unlike in Boot Camp where it won't run). The catch is booting and running it to recover if your partition crashes. I think I have figured out a way to do it but I'm not really sure and I've never been willing to take a chance on trying.

    Another option is to use Leopard's Time Machine, which can do an incremental backup to an external hard drive. Fast and easy, and if you leave it running you get hourly backups and the ability to go back to earlier versions of files. You need a big external drive, but that's pretty cheap these days. The catch is restoring files; MacOS can't write to NTFS unless you install a 3rd party driver. (No problem for me, because I use FAT32 for my little 11 GB Windows partition.)

    I'm assuming that your Windows partition was set up with Boot Camp as a real partition. If it's a virtual disk file, you would have to mount it on the OS X desktop to do incremental backups with Time Machine.

    WinClone can save and restore an NTFS partition but I don't think it does incremental backups. Great though for a safety copy of a Boot Camp partition when you are about to do a major system upgrade.
  5. Hugh Watkins

    Hugh Watkins

    I clone my virtual machines on to external Fire Wire 800 La Cie disks once a week

    all my images get saved on another external disk and uploaded to
    some are hidden from public view

    I use google for individual document back ups
    novels and work in progress on

    My genealogy databases get uploaded to

    I try and avoid keeping data in VM images
    only in shared folders

    I use Mac OS for mail and groups
    windows mostly for certain applications only

    It is possible to start a Mac as if an external hard disk and use it from a second machine by firewire
    especially useful for migrating settings to a new machine

    I keep my old machines so when the new one broke
    I just connected the external hard disks to the old and slow machine until the repair was done

    Hugh W
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2007
  6. sonasolanki


    location of .hdd?

    I don't see a .hdd file in my parallels folder. Is it hidden? I'm about to upgrade to Leopard and i want to back up my parallels drive so i don't lose my apps etc. Can i use transporter to create a back up for this? Guidance is much needed on this. Thanks!
  7. Eru Ithildur

    Eru Ithildur

    Search for '.hdd' (without quotes, of course), then.
  8. sonasolanki


    Will it show up? I know it's a hidden file and does Mac OS allow you to search hidden files? I hadn't thought so.
  9. Eru Ithildur

    Eru Ithildur

    .hdd is not hidden
  10. agman

    agman Bit Poster


    I have a similiar question, can you rely on time machine as a backup for files in parallels? l use quicken in parallels and used to backup to an external drive. I recently upgraded to leopard, and so I have time machine. I had to reinstall quicken and restore the data files, but could not find them in time machine, and even if I could I don't know how I'd get it back into quicken because inside parallels the system only sees the virtual c drive or the external hd, but not the mac hd. So unless someone knows how to restore files inside time machine to the windows programs in windows, I'll have to rely on 2 separate external drives for backups.
  11. Mike Boreham

    Mike Boreham Kilo Poster

    Time Machine is not a good way of backing up a VM as others have said. Every small change to a Windows file will cause TM to copy the whole VM . If you are working in Windows a lot of the time, Time Machine will be copying the whole VM every hour and rapidly fill up even the largest external disk. If you are using TM to back up your Mac, set the options to exclude the Parallels folder.

    The exception to the above is if you are using TM manually to backup when you command it, say once per week.

    To back up your day to day Windows files use a Windows incremental back up tool, of which there are several. To protect the whole VM back it up from the Mac with a Mac back up prog such as Chronosync or similar.

    I really like Acronis in a Windows PC and it should work fine as an incremental back up tool in a VM that you can use to retrieve files etc. But I don't think it is appropriate for a whole Virtual machine restore. No already have it imaged by Parallels, so all you have to do is drag in your back up VM and change a few paths in Config Editor if you need a whole VM recovery.

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