VeggieBoards banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,660 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I just bought a new computer (Sony Vaio) that has Windows XP, an OS that I've never used before. It did not come with any "recovery disks" nor with any disks containing the Operating System.* So I guess what I'm looking for is some sort of "image" or "imaging" backup software that would enable me to restore the operating system plus the HD contents in case of a HD crash or corruption by a virus or whatever. (I am assuming that the older file-by-file type of backup software would be inadequate due to not having separate installation disks for the Operating System.)<br><br><br><br>
Which software would you recommend?<br><br><br><br>
Which software have you had experience with and what was that experience like?<br><br><br><br>
I've looked at some reviews of products like Norton Ghost, Norton Save & Restore, Acronis' True Image, Phoenix First Wave Recover Pro, etc., but many of the customer reviews rated them really low, claiming they were buggy, didn't work, were poorly documented, etc.<br><br><br><br>
Any information would be appreciated.<br><br><br><br>
*The computer comes with some sort of facility for making recovery disks, but these recovery disks would just restore the computer to its state when it left the factory, so I would need a better/different back-up system to preserve any changes I make to it in terms of adding or deleting programs and other files. Also, the computer comes with a DVD burner, so presumably that will be my back-up medium.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
657 Posts
Restoring the operating system and restoring an entire HD are two rather different tasks. If your HD is middle range for modern systems, it's probably at least 100 GB, which would take over a dozen CD's to store a single backup of. If you want to protect HD contents, the most effective (although possibly not the cheapest) way is to set your HD up as a RAID system (multiple parallel disks) and then simply detach one of the parallel disks, because otherwise they would all be overwritten by bad data if a virus knocked you out.<br><br><br><br>
If you only have a single drive, you could probably partition your drive into a virtual RAID system, but this might be a step or two beyond what you're looking for....<br><br><br><br><br><br>
On a much smaller scale, I can say that windows comes with "System restore", which would allow you to save images of your OS. This has somewhat limited usefulness, because if your harddrive goes wacko, it'll likely ruin the images in any case (which is kinda the conundrum of the whole concept).<br><br><br><br>
Ultimately, if all you want to do is be able to reinstall your OS, you can create an OS image from System Restore and then burn it onto a CD. If you want to be able to save your entire HD's contents, then you'd need to do some sort of real or virtual RAID thing like I mentioned above. The key is that you'd have to somehow copy your entire HD onto a new HD, which is generally a non-trivial task.<br><br><br><br>
HTH despite all the thick jargon...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,660 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Daral</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Restoring the operating system and restoring an entire HD are two rather different tasks. If your HD is middle range for modern systems, it's probably at least 100 GB, which would take over a dozen CD's to store a single backup of. If you want to protect HD contents, the most effective (although possibly not the cheapest) way is to set your HD up as a RAID system (multiple parallel disks) and then simply detach one of the parallel disks, because otherwise they would all be overwritten by bad data if a virus knocked you out.<br><br>
...</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
Hmmn, I have a hard drive with 225 GBs, of which 8.xx are used and 217 are free. I assume I can back up the whole HD at present onto 2 DVDs.<br><br><br><br>
I hae no interest in backing up the "empty space" n my HD.<br><br><br><br>
So which software would you recommend to do "image" backups?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,763 Posts
I would just get a second fixed disk, about half the bytes of the working drive, and use the "Backup" program that comes with windows xp to write a compressed backup of your data files (everything under "my documents"), "system state," and c:\\documents and settings\\your name\\application data.<br><br><br><br>
That should do it. You have the orig disks for all your programs, and you said you had the cd or cd's needed to install a whole win xp op sys, if necessary. If you can't recover from something, start all over again with a new op system, and your old data files, the application data (customization info for all your programs), and possibly also restore "system state."
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
657 Posts
That's true, even if you have a huge HD you might not be using all of it. I wish I could assume you weren't, but honestly I know people that eat 150 GB HD's like candy. It's kinda scary, even from the perspective of a comp sci student like me.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,763 Posts
"even if you have a huge HD you might not be using all of it."<br><br><br><br>
These days, most of what people have on their fixed disks is the huge, bloated, graphic-intense programs they have, to do simple tasks. Something like MS Word or Excel -- most of the program is for the fancy formatting of the video display and wysiwyg correspondence of color printouts -- not for doing the actual number crunching, and the data itself on the spreasheet -- all your .xls files -- they occupy only a tiny fraction of the space on your FD, that the program occupies. Compress that data, and it occupies even less space. So your backup FD can be much smaller than your main FD. An old FD from your last computer.<br><br><br><br>
Also, while it is a good idea to back up the C:\\Documents and Settings\\YourName\\Application Data folders for your programs, your programs themselves don't need to be backed up -- you have the original distribution CD's that you used to install them -- if pgm files on your FD get corrupted, you can reinstall them from the orig CD they came from. If your programs were pre-installed, you will have to find a way to back them up tho. Quite often pre-installed programs -- the compressed distribution files that they came from may be on your FD, if you weren't given a CD with the distribution files. Look for a directories right under the root directory.<br><br><br><br>
If you don't have orig CD's for your programs, yes, I recommended backing up the pgms to cd's, not to a FD. However it is best to have a backup in the form of the orig distribution files, rather than in the form of copies of the installed files. So I don't have any helpful advice if you have neither the orig cd's nor distribution files on the FD.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
657 Posts
With the people I know, their disks tend to be bloated with mpeg's/mp3's. It's true that graphics are the majority of program size, but these are people with broadband and no ethical qualms about downloading dozens of gigs of illegal music and video from bit torrent sites.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
16,090 Posts
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Daral</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
but these are people with broadband and no ethical qualms about downloading dozens of gigs of illegal music and video from bit torrent sites.</div>
</div>
<br>
that's true. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/images/smilies/shy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title=":shy:">
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,763 Posts
"With the people I know, their disks tend to be bloated with mpeg's/mp3's."<br><br><br><br>
Yes, they take up a lot of room, but there wouldn't be any great pressure to back these up, if they are there for entertainment, rather than because the person has a media business where they create or edit mpegs and mp3's, or because they contain recorded documentation of events, such as confessions recorded by a police detective, or whatever. If they are just entertainment, you don't really need to back them up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
0 Posts
Please disable the XP System restore. That little piece of junk uses way more resources than is necessary. Grab Norton Ghost and make images BEFORE you install any new software. Make another image AFTER the software has been running for a time (1 week or so).<br><br><br><br>
Also, before you do anything (Including Ghost) - get that restore disk made of just the OS, otherwise you could be SOL as far as an OS should anything happen. The cleaner the image, the better.<br><br><br><br>
You should really partition your drive as well, but you need a DOS boot disk (or a WIN98 disk) to do that properly. Standard partitions (40GB, 80GB, *GB) is my favourite alignment. 40 for OS and Programs, 80 for Documents, and the rest for media or backups.<br><br><br><br>
Anyway -<br><br><br><br>
1. Create restore disk of OS<br><br>
2. Find a HD Imaging Program<br><br>
3. Create a baseline Restore image<br><br>
4. Create regular images Before and After new software installs<br><br>
5. Never buy another computer without real OS disks included<br><br><br><br>
Yes?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,660 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Soilman: No, I do <b>not</b> have the OS disks. They do <b>not</b> come with the computer. What comes with the computer is a utility to make recovery disks. Or Sony would sell me the same recovery disks for $12 or so. Such disks would basically have the contents of the HD as it was installed when it left the factory. Sony will not sell me the OEM version of the OS on CD. I wish they would, but they won't. Nor is this practice uncommon today among computer manufacturers..<br><br><br><br>
Your suggestion about using the Windows backup utility is flawed because it fails to take into account the nature--the crux--of the problem--that I do <b>not</b> have the OS disks. Also, it fails to comprehend the "Catch 22" of using a file-by-file backup utility, namely, that when you boot up using XP, certain files from XP will be "in use" to run your computer. Therefore, these files <span style="text-decoration:underline;">cannot</span> be copied or backed up, because they are "in use." That is why people are referred to "imaging" software, which is able to get around this problem, basically by using an alternative OS to perform its operations.<br><br><br><br>
The other aspect of the problem is this. I could probably buy the OS disks for $200 or so; $100 or so for the upgrade version. But the imaging software (like Norton Ghost) runs for $70 retail, $50 discount retail. So that's why people are recommending the imaging software, since it is much less than buying the OS disks.<br><br><br><br>
BTW, although Norton Ghost is popular, the two imaging utilities I've been referred to are:<br><br><br><br>
1) BootIt NG + Image for Windows, both from <a href="http://terabyteunlimited.com/" target="_blank">http://terabyteunlimited.com/</a> , bundled for > $50, or<br><br>
2) Acronis' True Image
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,660 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sketchy</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Please disable the XP System restore. That little piece of junk uses way more resources than is necessary. Grab Norton Ghost and make images BEFORE you install any new software. Make another image AFTER the software has been running for a time (1 week or so).<br><br><br><br>
Also, before you do anything (Including Ghost) - get that restore disk made of just the OS, otherwise you could be SOL as far as an OS should anything happen. The cleaner the image, the better.</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
I don't think that that is practical at this point.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sketchy</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
You should really partition your drive as well, but you need a DOS boot disk (or a WIN98 disk) to do that properly. Standard partitions (40GB, 80GB, *GB) is my favourite alignment. 40 for OS and Programs, 80 for Documents, and the rest for media or backups.</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
Computer did not come with a floppy drive, so a Dos boot disk does not seem to be practical at this point, unless I could create a bootable CD. I don't know what you mean by "properly," but I think XP comes with some sort of utliity to partition your HD.<br><br><br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>Sketchy</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br>
5. Never buy another computer without real OS disks included<br><br><br><br>
Yes?</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
I'm not sure that that stipulation is practical, since it seems to be the trend for computer manufacturers not to provide OS disks. At any rate, I've already bought this one, so will have to make the best of the situation I can.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,524 Posts
No need to buy anything. There's a backup utility built into the OS:<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/security/learnmore/backup.mspx" target="_blank">http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/u...re/backup.mspx</a>
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
10,763 Posts
"Such disks would basically have the contents of the HD as it was installed when it left the factory"<br><br><br><br>
You don't have a folder under the root folder named "i386"? You can download Service pack 2" from MS. Between those you should have all the vital distribution files for the operating sys. I can see that the content of the HD when it was new would not be would you need later, after you have installed various programs.<br><br><br><br>
I think you can probably get a copy of windows xp pro for about $50. I've seen it advertised at that. I don't know if that is a bootleg copy or what.<br><br><br><br>
Backup has feature called "Shadow copy" which copies system files that are in use. YOu have to make sure you check the box for "enable" shadow copy." I don't know how reliably it works tho.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,660 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>soilman</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br><br>
I think you can probably get a copy of windows xp pro for about $50. I've seen it advertised at that. I don't know if that is a bootleg copy or what.</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
I'd be interested in the URL for this. I haven't tried shopping around on the web for the OS disks. One caveat: my computer has XP Media Center Edition. I am not sure where Media Center Edition stands between XP Home and XP Pro.<br><br><br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>soilman</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Backup has feature called "Shadow copy" which copies system files that are in use. YOu have to make sure you check the box for "enable" shadow copy." I don't know how reliably it works tho.</div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
You are right and I apologize for my previous remarks. I thought the backup utility was just file-by-file. My mistake.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,660 Posts
Discussion Starter #18
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>nigel</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
No need to buy anything. There's a backup utility built into the OS:<br><br><br><br><a href="http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/security/learnmore/backup.mspx" target="_blank">http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/u...re/backup.mspx</a></div>
</div>
<br><br><br>
Thanks for the tip. I read the article but found it a little confusing. For one thing, it said that the utility was included with XP Pro, but not normally installed with XP Home, although one could install it as an extra from the XP Home CD. Since I don't have either but XP Media Center Edition, I'm not sure whether I have this installed or not. So it may be back to the problem of not having the OS on CD.<br><br><br><br>
Leaving the foregoing aside, if the HD contents were backed up to a second partition on the HD (say C: backed up to D: where D: would be newly created and used simply to store the backup of C: ) and then D: copied to CDs or DVDs, then in the event of a HD crash, how would the contents be restored to a new HD? What would I use to "boot" the machine? And then what would I use to "restore" from the DVDs? (Sorry to be so dense, but I am just not clear on how this would work without having the OS disks to boot from and/or run the "restore" function from.)<br><br><br><br>
Finally, I did ask the same question on a Usenet XP forum and no one--including the Microsoft MVPs who participate--mentioned using the built-in XP backup utility as an option. I'll leave that for what it is worth.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,819 Posts
I'd actually recommend buying the "system recovery" disks from sony.<br><br><br><br>
I have the Ghost program... it worked well at a company I worked at... made an image, stored it to CD (45 or so).... hard drive crashed, formatted it, used ghost to put the image back on from CD... everything worked without problem --- OS wouldn't boot... my version may have been incompatible with WinXP (although it said it worked)... but in the end, there's no good substitute for having the actual disk for the OS. (and backing up your user files)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,984 Posts
<div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>kpickell</strong> <a href="/forum/post/0"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style=""></a><br><br>
Pshaw... spoken like someone that doesn't download. mp3s and avis are the FIRST thing to get backed up!</div>
</div>
<br><br><br><br><br>
/giggle
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top