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I'm interested in using an online backup service such as Backblaze or Crashplan.

However, looking at these 2 solutions, there's something I want but they don't offer.

I want the backups to be complete backups of my hard-disks. I want them to be an image that I could restore to a new hard-disk and get exactly the same contents as the old one, so in the event of a hard-disk failure I could buy a new hard-disk, restore to it and continue using my computer like nothing happened.

Both Backblaze and Crashplan do not backup operating system data. I don't want a solution that chooses which files to backup, I want a solution that backs up a complete image of the hard-disk.

Are you familiar with a backup service that offers that?

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closed as off-topic by ChrisF Jul 17 '13 at 22:05

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3 Answers 3

What you want, is a cloned copy of your hard disk, backed up to some Online backup service. Cloning hard disk is not just backing up the contents of the harddisk. It requires creating an exact image of the harddisk, even unused sectors. So that when you restore the image, it it an exact copy of the cloned copy. You can create an image of your harddisk using many cloning software out there(e.g. Ghost) and then store it in a online backup service. And download and restore from it when necessary.

Problem with this is, the cloned images are static. It's like taking a picture of your harddisk. So after you create an image, whatever changes you make to the system, will be lost when you restore that image.

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You could insert another hard drive and set up raid 1, then simply remove the hard drive. This will work since raid 1 makes an exact image of your hard drive on another hard drive. The problem with this is simply that hard drives are fragile and it is not recommended to rely on one that is being stored to use at a later state with the data on it. It may lose magnetism. As Bibhas said, it would be best to make an exact image and back it up, since you'll struggle to find software that would do it all for you.

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Acronis offers online image backups for $99.99 per year per machine. To make sure you select the exact options you want (some of which might cost more), I'd suggest using their wizard at http://www.acronis.com/backup-recovery/wizard/

I've been using their business version on 20+ machines at my day job for years and have been very happy with it. They offer incremental backups so you don't have to send the complete image over the internet every time you backup your data. Instead it only sends the data that's changed and then incorporates that into the full image that can then be cloned to a new drive.

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