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What is the best practice for preparing a system partition for backup?


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I would like make two image files of my system partition at night, and store one on a USB hard drive and the other on a network storage drive. I think obsolete files should be removed from the drive and the drive defragmented before an image file is made. I have been running CCleaner and Defraggler under Windows 7. The question I would like to discuss is should I run programs in addition to CCleaner?

 

I have run Acronis, System Cleaner and I notice it takes hours to complete a Full cleanup, and it deletes more files than CCleaner. Also it hangs-up when it wants to delete a file being used by another program. I wondered what programs were causing Acronis System Cleaner to stall, so I experimented with system changes. When I removed web storage services that were being synchronized with files on the PC the problem went away. I wonder how thorough a job is CCleaner doing? Can it remove files that are in use, or does it ignore these files? Could it be that Acronis System Cleaner takes longer because it is making lower level deletions? Do I need to run more than one cleaner?

 

I ran Winzip Registry Optimizer immediately after running CCleaner. It found 212 items CCleaner did not remove and it said 156 of them were serious problems. I have a detailed list of the items. I would like to know in addition to CCleaner should I be running another Registry cleaner?

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Other registry cleaners may remove more things, but CCleaner registry cleaner is meant to be safe for the average user.

 

If you mean Acronis is wiping your drive, CCleaner also includes that capability in the Tools section.

 

Running a drive wipe will take much longer than simply "deleting trash".

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Some other practices to follow:

* Full virus scan of the partition.

* Malware scan of the partition with for example Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware (the unregistered version is the freeware version) - it's a very good and fast way of finding malware that a traditional antivirus may miss.

* Immediately before creating the backup run a ChkDsk on the partition to repair any possible file errors.

* Temporarily stop services (note that you don't need to "remove them" as I'm unsure why you'd comment on doing that). Stopping services (which is only a temporary change until you either manually start them again, or reboot) can help during the backup process especially services which could restrict the backup software in some way such as its operating speed such as; Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware real-time protection which can/may/will be excepted to some extent to cause issues during the backup process such as making the backup take significantly more time (minutes to hours longer) than it really should.

 

I ran Winzip Registry Optimizer immediately after running CCleaner. It found 212 items CCleaner did not remove and it said 156 of them were serious problems. I have a detailed list of the items. I would like to know in addition to CCleaner should I be running another Registry cleaner?

 

You could very easily be corrupting your registry by using registry cleaners which are too aggressive, this is especially true if you're not investigating every item they deem as "invalid".

 

As just one prime example: Most aggressive registry cleaners I've seen will to some extent damage the installation of Microsoft Office by removing valid registry keys - that is if you blindly trust what so many of them will remove.

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this is especially true if you're not investigating every item they deem as "invalid".

even with the gentleness of ccleaner I suggest this investigation (see my signature)

 

ADVICE FOR USING CCleaner'S REGISTRY INTEGRITY SECTION

DON'T JUST CLEAN EVERYTHING THAT'S CHECKED OFF.

Do your Registry Cleaning in small bits (at the very least Check-mark by Check-mark)

ALWAYS BACKUP THE ENTRY, YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU'LL BREAK IF YOU DON'T.

CCLEANER, RECUVA, DEFRAGGLER AND SPECCY DOCUMENTATION CAN BE FOUND AT  https://support.piriform.com/hc/en-us and  https://www.ccleaner.com/docs

Pro users file a PRIORITY SUPPORT request at https://support.piriform.com/hc/en-us/requests/new

link to WINAPP2.INI explanation

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If you mean Acronis is wiping your drive, CCleaner also includes that capability in the Tools section.

 

Acronis has a System Cleaner that removes obsolete files, and in addition has a Disk Cleaner wipes the disk clean of everything.

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Temporarily stop services (note that you don't need to "remove them" as I'm unsure why you'd comment on doing that). Stopping services (which is only a temporary change until you either manually start them again, or reboot) can help during the backup process especially services which could restrict the backup software in some way such as its operating speed such as; Anti-Virus/Anti-Malware real-time protection which can/may/will be excepted to some extent to cause issues during the backup process such as making the backup take significantly more time (minutes to hours longer) than it really should.

I intend to reestablish synchronization between storage on my PC and storage on web services when I do I would like to carefully observe what programs are running on my PC, and if necessary temporaily shut them off during disk prep for backup to an image file.

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Malware scan of the partition with for example Malwarebytes' Anti-Malware (the unregistered version is the freeware version) - it's a very good and fast way of finding malware that a traditional antivirus may miss.

 

 

I run the freeware verion of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware manually after updating once a week or so. Would like know how to write a script file to automate this practice.

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Some other practices to follow:

* Full virus scan of the partition.

 

 

I continousley run Microsoft Security Essentials. It does not interfer with disk cleaners like CCleaner, Acronis, System Cleaner, or Microsoft Disk Cleaner. I manually run MSE Full Scan a cuple times a week. I could automate this by using Windows Scheduler.

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[moderatorNote] Kcav (and everybody else too) please make use of the edit button if nobody has replied, instead of posting multiple posts. When using this feature it keeps those of us following your issue from getting alerted over and over and allows a proper basis for post counts. [/moderatorNote]

 

ADVICE FOR USING CCleaner'S REGISTRY INTEGRITY SECTION

DON'T JUST CLEAN EVERYTHING THAT'S CHECKED OFF.

Do your Registry Cleaning in small bits (at the very least Check-mark by Check-mark)

ALWAYS BACKUP THE ENTRY, YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU'LL BREAK IF YOU DON'T.

CCLEANER, RECUVA, DEFRAGGLER AND SPECCY DOCUMENTATION CAN BE FOUND AT  https://support.piriform.com/hc/en-us and  https://www.ccleaner.com/docs

Pro users file a PRIORITY SUPPORT request at https://support.piriform.com/hc/en-us/requests/new

link to WINAPP2.INI explanation

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You could very easily be corrupting your registry by using registry cleaners which are too aggressive, this is especially true if you're not investigating every item they deem as "invalid".

 

 

I only ran the Free version which does not make deletions, it only scans. :) Before running WinZip Registry Optimizer I ran CCleaner Registry Cleaner. WinZip reported finding 211 items, of which 156 are suppose to be serious. :wacko: I printed the list and would like to analyze the contets. Maybe that should be done in a seperate post?

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honestly I suggest only deleting things you are well sure you don't need and don't even worry about the 187est. other items.

 

ADVICE FOR USING CCleaner'S REGISTRY INTEGRITY SECTION

DON'T JUST CLEAN EVERYTHING THAT'S CHECKED OFF.

Do your Registry Cleaning in small bits (at the very least Check-mark by Check-mark)

ALWAYS BACKUP THE ENTRY, YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU'LL BREAK IF YOU DON'T.

CCLEANER, RECUVA, DEFRAGGLER AND SPECCY DOCUMENTATION CAN BE FOUND AT  https://support.piriform.com/hc/en-us and  https://www.ccleaner.com/docs

Pro users file a PRIORITY SUPPORT request at https://support.piriform.com/hc/en-us/requests/new

link to WINAPP2.INI explanation

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honestly I suggest only deleting things you are well sure you don't need and don't even worry about the 187est. other items.

 

CCleaner is sweet. It lets you chose from a list of cookies the ones you may want to keep. How isweet the UI is.

 

Right now I'm experimenting with CCleaner's secure file deletion method. I chose 3 passes and the Wipe MFT Free Space option. Just to see how long it takes. When it completes I am going to down Recuvae.

 

I wonder about the 156 Com and ActivX errors that WinZiP Registry optimizer reported as serious errors. What are they? May be I should tell CCleaner delete these specific files, folders, and reg keys.

 

Thank you for directing me to the CCleaner User guide. It was short and concise, liked reading it.

 

KC

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I wonder about the 156 Com and ActivX errors that WinZiP Registry optimizer reported as serious errors.

 

Most likely some or most of them are false positives, I can say this without even seeing the list.

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I chose 3 passes and the Wipe MFT Free Space option. Just to see how long it takes.

That is so wrong - so very very wrong - as preparation for a backup.

 

The reason for a backup is to mitigate loss when you or an application or Windows or the hardware does a whoopsie.

 

FIRST you make the backup before that whoopsie has a chance to happen.

AFTER that you can wipe free space etc.

The backup will NOT include anything that was in free space unless you choose to :-

employ Imaging software (such as Macrium or Acronis etc.)

AND ALSO cancel the default mode which excludes all of free space.

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most of them are false positives,

 

I believe you. I think CCleaner is design to provide a sensible answer not insight suspision of an impending carastrophy like these other cleanes and optimizers. I want to fine tune my use of CCleaner.

 

I plan to run Microsft Security Essentials Full Scan, CCleaner, and Defraggler automatically at night. Does that sound sensible? And in addition once a month manually update and run Malwarebytes and SuperAntSpyware.

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How often you scan with your antivirus/antimalware is one of those personal things you'd need to figure out. It's more or less the same with defragmenting since everyone uses their computers differently.

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No. I believe that defragging a disk daily is overkill and will cause unnecessary wear & tear. You *can* run ccleaner everyday if it makes you feel good or if you're targeting a huge amount of stuff for deletion, but every night is overkill too.

 

As a matter of fact, I'd just do everything you say every month or two. But that is a personal thing and if you want to do it daily you're of course free to do that.

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Defragging a severely fragmented disk does indeed improve performance. But I don't know what would make a disk that bad over the course of a day unless your installing and uninstalling stuff a the same time you're encoding videos.. for example.

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My HDD's were wiped when Windows was installed three years ago on my Desktop computer.

My SSD was new 10 months ago when it was added to my system and erased and then had Windows installed.

 

I have never defragged because I see zero potential benefit.

 

Defraggler v11 (with valid pagefile colours) is showing :-

 

My 60 GB SSD partition C: has

91 fragmented files (431.2 MB)

634 Total Fragments

2% Fragmentation (last week it only measured 1%)

 

My MBR style Samsung HDD Data and Non-Portable Apps Partition D: has

213 fragmented files (141.0 MB)

1,307 Total Fragments

18% Fragmentation

 

My MBR style Samsung HDD Portable Apps Partition H: has

42 fragmented files (11.2 MB)

120 Total Fragments

2% Fragmentation

 

My GPT style WDC HDD Image Archive Partition E: has

3,773 fragmented files (246.3 GB)

19,326 Total Fragments

60% Fragmentation

 

I see no reason to Defrag C: or H:

and a powerful reason to NOT defrag them;

Every sector that receives relocated data is another sector that must be captured in the next Macrium Image Incremental backup.

My 60 GB SSD has 11.4 GB of Used Space

A Full image backup is 6.5 GB,

and a weekly Differential Image is about 100 MB - BUT past experience is that a defrag would increase that to over 2 GB

 

D: does not need defragging - I just have to run CCleaner and it will purge all the browser caches which have almost all the fragments.

 

E: does not need defragging - I rarely need to access an image backup file and when I do access a 7 GB Full + Incremental I doubt that 100 fragments will slow my access.

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"not responding" ........ There was a time, it seems like only yesterday when "not responding" would appear on my screen. It came, and it went, I couldn't perminetly get rid of it. That was when I became a keep a clean system addict.

 

Last night I left SUPERAntiSpyware, Malwarebytes, and Microsoft Security Essentials all running simultaneously. This morning I looked at my screen and found run time was about 2 hours. There were no problems detected except for 22 Tracking Cookies detected by SUPERAntispyware. I clicked Remove and then I ran CCleaner. It ran quickly and found a few temporary files and removed them. Then I checked CCleaners Startup feature. i did not find any programs other than those I had setup. Next I started Defraggler. I thought about having a cup of Heavenly Brewed Sunshine but decided to go back to sleep. When I got up Defraggler had completed defragging and my disk was in Good condition. I clicked on Display files to see which files were not contigouous. There were two big system files and lots of small ones. On the drive map I placed my cursor over sectors that had fragmented files in them. Then I checked the defrag field and all the files were checked, and I clicked degrag. Sometimes the degragment routine aborted. When this happened I unchecked the System files and ran degrag again, until i completed. Then I ran degrag on the whole disk for a second time. I have zero framentation.

 

I'm off to have breakfast now, when Iget back would like to disuss What does over clean mean.

 

KC

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You might have zero defragmentation, but are your files optimally placed on the disk for minimum seek times? There's programs that not only defrag, but re-order the files so they fly under the head in sequence as the cpu asks for them. Minimal thrashing. With something like this, if you use a mechanical spinner disk, you can knock 2-4 seconds off your boot time. An SSD? No effect.

 

I absolutely love sorting out the data on my disk. Alphabetizing it, sorting it by filetype, and size and purpose. All the infrequently used files like [jpg mp3 chm rar zip bmp doc pdf] and so on are lifted up and off the disk, out of the OS'es way and shoved into the center. Thus leaving lots of contiguous space for organizing the OS files just so. No need to have those sporadically-accessed files "stuffing up" the OS. Ultimate Defrag does this. There might be others. It's great fun to play with when there's nothing else to do. Make tea and crumpets and watch the disk "magically" sort itself out. It has a simulation mode so you can watch it do its thing or just have fun with it. It reads your disk info and then makes a fake run without making any changes to the real disk. So you can see the results. But to do it every day or every week is just plain old nuts. The little bit of fragmentation that *does* occur during normal use is buried in the buffers and other latencies inherent in a modern PC.

 

One activity that helps give you a snappier Start menu you can actually see and feel is grouping all the shortcut links, directories, and NTFS Metafiles into one area on the disk. Everything. Including $MFT $LogFile $Bitmap $AttrDef $UpCase $MFTMirr $Secure $ObjId. Put hiberfil.sys at the back too. Pagefile.sys should also be close to the OS files. Then I also make sure all the boot files are at the front of the disk, and then next up is the Windows directory and files.

 

Theoretically.

 

That is one small example of OVEROPTIMIZING, and one I like to tell from time to time. It's alright to do something like that every 6 months or so. But there are people doing this sort of tediousness on a daily basis. Crazy, man, I tell you!

 

I also do not recommend using multiple anti-virus and anti-mal-ware things all at one time. Be careful, if one AV doesn't like something, and another 2nd AV sees it has been put in Quarantine or observes mal-ware being handled by something (1st AV) it might get pissed off and attack the 1st AV program. Then the 1st one, being attacked gets upset and deactivates the 2nd one doing the initial attack. It's like WTF buddy!?!? And in the processes something breaks or freezes. Soon this business starts a-going back and forth at a high rate of speed, consuming greater and greater resources. Each program fighting against each other. Disk thrashing loudly. If this goes on too long your computer will explode. That is what's called OVERSCANNING.

 

OVERCLEANING is similar, it means to be compulsively deleting stuff from the registry and clearing caches and temp files so often that you spend more time doing that then doing something productive. The before and after results show little to no improvement or space gains. And oftentimes, you delete temp files and log files the system uses on a daily basis - thus forcing the system to spend more time recreating them. Like an internet cache.

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My heart is strangely warmed when I read No Errors Detected and see my hard drive has Zero defragmentation. I think my emotionality would be less strong if I knew how to proactively detect errors and create log files that identified the sequence and files causing the problem, but all I know is how to run cleaners that sometimes clean excessively.

 

I love running Defraggler. :) I love CCleaner too. :)

 

I want to learn what content to put into CCleaners Advanced options under (1) Custom files to delete and folders to empty feature, and (2) Select cookies you want to keep function. I have checked Save all files to ini file. I think I’m on track and soon will reassess what it means to over clean, and become a pragmatic liberal.

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