Backup software for MyBook Live

I am frustrated at the lack of robustness of backup software to work with my MyBook Live 3TB.  It appears to me that LAN backups to MyBook Live just aren’t fast enough on a 10/100Mb network to perform live partition backups such as those done by Norton Ghost and others.  Furthermore, file backup software is generally even slower and doesn’t provide much flexibility in selecting the folders and files you wish to backup.  Here’s a summary of what I’ve tried so far (note that partition backup tests were performed on an 8GB partition & file backup tests were performed on a folder with 1610 files and over 1200 subfolders with a total of 124MB when the software allowed selection of a single folder):

WD SmartWare - Very slow and no ability to select or specify individual folders or files.  Background process on PC occasionally consumes  large amounts of CPU time.  Does have the advantage that backed up files can be viewed normally with Explorer by changing the Samba config to allow the MyBook Live backup directory to be browsable.

Norton Ghost 14 - Fast partition backups but occasionally failed for unexplained reasons.  Very fast file backups but has awkward interface for selecting files to restore.  Generally works ok with MyBook Live.

EASEUS ToDo 3.0 - Very fast partition backups on local disk (faster than Ghost) but frequently timed out with errors backing up over LAN to MyBook Live.  Reasonably fast file backups with much better interface for browsing file backups than Ghost.  However, I could not get ToDo to successfully read the backup file from MyBook Live.

NovaBackup Pro - Failed on partition backup to MyBook Live with VSS errors.  Gave up on trial edition.

SyncBack & SyncBackSE - File backups only.  Very flexible but very slow over LAN to MyBook Live.  Took over 20 min to backup test folder.  Backup files are browsable with Explorer.

Windows Backup (Vista) - Limited flexibility slightly better than WD SmartWare.  Haven’t tried partition backups.

I would like to know the experiences of other MyBook Live users with backup software (partition and file types).  Personally, I’m leaning toward Ghost for weekly partition backups (with incrementals) to a 2nd internal drive with “offsite” copy to MyBook Live, but I’m still undecided on file backup software.

I should update my findings on SyncBackSE.  Based on suggestion from technical support, I simply turned off option to “make safe copies” and performance went up by a factor of 10.  Since this program has the most flexibility for file backups of any I’ve found, I have decided to go with it for the time being.  I’m still open to other recommendations.

I have experienced the following on my gigabit network with the MBL.

Windows Complete PC Backup - Windows 7 Ultimate - Wired - Reasonably fast and reliable.  Wireless (g and n)  reliable - but significantly slower than wired (seems not to be much difference between g and n).

Time Machine Backup - Wired - very fast - Wireless n - still fast enough to be acceptable.

Norton Ghost 14 on Windows Vista Home Premium - Wired (gigabit) - reasonably fast - reliable.  Wireless (g) - incredibly slow - never able to complete a full system backup without errors.

My primary requirement for a backup solution is that it can easily peform a full system backup - where the restore will restore the entire machine to an operational state  - without having to reinstall Windows, Drivers, or anything.  That’s more important to me that a file based backup - in the majority of my use case scenarios.

Norton Ghost and Windows 7 complete PC backup does this quite nicely.  Time Machine backs up all Macs - full system backup and incrementals - automatically with little or no setup required.

The WD Backup software that comes with the MyBookLive drive - only backs up user files - it does not provide a full system image backup that could restore the system to an operational state - you would still have to install Windows and all software prior to restoring from the WD backup.

the most recent version of smartware does indeed let you backup particular folders instead of just file types.

Thanks for the feedback.  I have not attempted any backups over wireless, so all my tests have been over fast ethernet (10/100).  I found the speed to be too slow to perform parition backups directly over the LAN, so I will probably stick to doing partition backups (full system) to an existing internal drive and making a copy over the LAN.  Although I also prefer a full system backup and have used Ghost 14 successfully in the past, I’ve had problems with large incrementals being triggered by a corrupted index file that Ghost uses to keep track of changed sectors.  When that happens, my internal drive runs out of space quickly.  Large incrementals can also be triggered if a defrag is performed after the original full backup.  Other partition backup software that has incremental capability seems to have similar problems.  So I’m trying to limit the frequency of incrementals to weekly and perform file backups daily.  Now that I have the 3TB MBL, I felt I could afford a bit more redundacy.  But daily incrementals with Ghost 14 coupled with “offsite” copies to MBL might work just as well.  I just find that Ghost is a bit slow mounting backups for browsing when I just want to restore a few files.  Also the Ghost interface for restoring files from a “file” backup is extremely unfriendly.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of installing SmartWare from the installation CD which had a much older version.  I found the setup file for a more recent version on the MBL itself and installed and updated it to which has the feature to use file backup mode instead of category mode.  I’m trying the newer version now to see how well it works, and so far it seems to have the flexibility I need.  So the bottom line is performance and whether or not it will conflict with Norton Ghost which I still plan to use for full system backups.

Thanks for making me aware of the new file backup capabilities of SmartWare!