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Thread: Re-install time

  1. #11
    Automated Home Legend chris_j_hunter's Avatar
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    just a thought, but when we've written long replies, and lost them, it's always been because our Login has timed-out ... so, these days, we try to remember to Copy the reply before Posting it - so we can Paste it if we have to redo the Reply ...

  2. #12
    Moderator toscal's Avatar
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    A product I use for backups has been XXClone. Easy to use. Can do incremental backups or a full backup. Can be scheduled or manual.
    I used two hard drives one with the original windows xp and the second was the clone. XXClone then rewrites the boot up script, so you have an option to boot from the cloned drive. Used to do that once a week just to check. The cloned drive has a different wallpaper so you know when youhave booted up into the cloned drive.
    At one time I had the three drives in removable caddies (two clones and one original), that way I can swap out the dead drive fairly easily. Also I can then have more than one cloned drive and store one in another location. It does mean that if the computer suffers a complete failure you have a cloned drive that is unaffected by this failure. This drive was always the complete backup rather than an incremental one.
    I also find the program Speedfan very good at monitoring temps, fan speeds and Hard drives.
    Hope this helps.
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  3. #13
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gumby View Post
    ....
    So I think that while there may be "old" damage from restoring a silently damaged image after a previous drive failure, the major cause is the Windows update process.
    ....
    Are you saying that you think the Windows update process is damaging the file structures on the disk?

  4. #14
    Moderator Gumby's Avatar
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    It is my suspicion now.

    I thought that may be the Windows update process was using new parts of the disk that had latent errors. But then I swap out the disk and do full surface scan and have no errors and no reallocated sectors. But then running CHKDSK on the live clone finds a bunch of errors. Whether this is the actual Windows update causing it or increased instability after a bunch of updates leading to improper shutdown, which then leads to file system damage, I don't know. I should run CHKDSK on the removed drive to exclude the cloning process, I guess.

    I suppose it could be an interface issue (i.e. cabling) and the increased activity through an update process increases the chance of an error getting written. I don't recall seeing IO errors incremented in the SMART stats though.

    Or my hard disk test could be lying, I suppose.

    Periods of instability seem to follow Windows updates. For example, Cortex is now a bit crash-prone, especially on closing (I didn't watch to see if this blocked the Defibrillator reboot, which would be my main concern, I am sanguine about the occasional crash when Cortex can get up and running again in a couple of minutes).
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  5. #15
    Moderator Gumby's Avatar
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    Thanks Toscal.

    I also have Speedfan, but I think I forgot to configure email notifications. It also seems to be a bit weird, swapping the counters that register the fans after reboots and giving strange readings at times - have you seen this?

    I have Acronis TrueImage, so it does weekly full disk images backups to a NAS, and I also periodically clone the drive to a spare. What is annoying is that I got the Mac version of Acronis, only to find that it cannot restore a Windows image - so in the limit I would have to rely on using the USB key restore on a PC.

    I also have Genie Backup, which does a more traditional file oriented backup. My theory is that if I have to restore to dissimilar hardware a disk image might be painful, so a clean install and then pick the files I need, I already had the software before I became a Mac bigot, so though I might as well use it.

    And for the final bit of paranoia, a selection of Cortex database, history and logs goes to the cloud via Crashplan :-)
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  6. #16
    Automated Home Sr Member cliffwright's Avatar
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    I too have been thinking about backup's recently.

    I've never managed to put much thought into Reflex - and any time my system has ever "failed" it's been on account of some form of more fatal error that I've attributed to having a PC running 24/7 for many years in an environment that's not exactly dust free. (The only real issues I've had are that I've had a PSU fail, and a Motherboard fail for no good reason - which isn't bad for the years it's been running).

    Given Cortex controls all critical lighting & heating etc in the house, my wife has an extremely low tolerance for outages and so I really need to get some form of backup in place that would allow me to fail-over without any meaningful down time.

    I already take regular scheduled backups of the Cortex DB - but my fear is of a fatal failure that wouldn't allow me to get into Cortex to go through the motions of removing the licence key to then move it to a new install - as good as Karam and Viv are at replying to emails, this would inevitably take a degree of time to sort the licence out and give me a headache in the wife Department. Plus, any new machine that I sort out as a back-up cortex machine will now be a Windows 10 machine - and so I need to do some testing first.


    So my plan is to have a setup where;

    1) My current PC running Windows 7 will remain the "Primary" Cortex Machine running 24/7.
    2) I'll build a new Windows 10 PC that will serve as a Secondary Cortex Machine which I'll only run once a month (or when I make significant change to the setup of the Primary machine to want to back this up).

    I'll arrange some form of scheduling whereby the Cortex DB files are then automatically copied over to the secondary box each month so that in theory, if the Primary box fails, I can simply plug the Idranet interface USB cable into the secondary box and fire it up. All should then "just run" and allow me to then resolve the issues without real outage.


    With this, do I need a second Cortex Licence?

  7. #17
    Moderator Gumby's Avatar
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    With regard to the licence, in order to get the minimal downtime you are seeking, almost certainly yes.

    The clock for the 30-day trial period starts on installation, so would almost certainly have expired. The licence is node locked so does not "just work" on a different machine and your primary would have to be alive enough to run Cortex to transfer the licence. Sometimes the transfer process can go awry if you do anything different - e.g. install as default admin and then run as a specific user. I suspect also if you use a different company name. From experience, this is not a time when you will want any additional stress!

    I have a second Cortex running live in a VM on a mac mini, and while not perfect, it has saved my bacon whilst I have been suffering strange reliability issues with the primary. Even without those issues, it is extremely useful to have a secondary in case you need to do some maintenance on the primary. And finally, it is a good idea to regularly run the secondary to make sure that it has no issues - the last time you want to find this out is when the primary has gone wonky .

    I believe a discount on a 2nd licence may be available.
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  8. #18
    Automated Home Legend Karam's Avatar
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    Sorry about the late in the day response from myself, but yes a 'backup' licence would be required and is discounted to 1/3 the price of the primary (and also for whatever options you may presently have).

    As Gumby suggests, if you do have to swap to a new machine in an emergency then a first time install on that PC will allow you to run your system for 30 days. You should install Cortex on the new PC using the same serial number and install key (not to be confused with licence key) as were on the existing PC. However you can also contact us for an extension to a trial licence if needs be, or to resolve any licensing related problems in general. Obviously that would entail a time delay so having some basic Reflexes programmed in (e.g for lighting) is a good first step and having a spare PC platform even better.

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