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Backing up Windows XP System

shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,053
Thanks: 28
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Backing up Windows XP System

I have been using Windows XP for about six months, and seem to have got to grips with most of it, but I am really stuck with how best to back up the system itself (as opposed to the data with which I have no problem).

I was very a power user with Windows 98, and I had two hard drives on my old pc. The second hard drive had a mirrored system from which I could boot if I ever had a disaster. In all the years I used it, I was hit twice by a serious virus but was back up and running within fifteen minutes by booting from the second drive.

Under 98, I made a regular habit of using MSBACKUP to make a full copy of the Windows and Program Files folders, including of course the Windows registry. I would then use RESTORE to save a copy of the Windows system and Program Files to the second hard drive. (All data files were separately backed up onto CDs).

In the rare event of a problem, all I had to do was to reset the BIOS to boot off the second drive, fire up the second drive, reformat the first hard drive Windows partition (data files were on a separate partition), and then use RESTORE to restore the backed up Windows system and Program Files to the first hard disk. Then I was back in business. It could not have been easier.

I want to do the same with XP's NTBACKUP. However, I am at a loss to understand what Automatic System Restore is all about, because evidently ASR does not work on Windows XP Home Edition. I have loaded successfully the NTBACKUP program itself onto the frist hard drive in my new computer

Because I am now nearly ten years older (!) and therefore more slow to learn new tricks, can anyone tell me whether using NTBACKUP to make an archive of the system folders and then using that to restore to my second hard drive will work like it did with 98, or do I somehow have to find a way round this ASR business ? I believe in keeping things as simple as possible, so I do not want to have to get involved in buying special backup software for this purpose.

Any comments would be most appreciated (before it's too late).
11 REPLIES
madswitcher
Grafter
Posts: 235
Registered: 01-08-2007

Backing up Windows XP System

Hi Shermans

Instead of making a logical copy of your system disc, have you thought of using disc imaging software such as Ghost or Diskeeper.

The way we set up our PCs is as follows

First hard drive - size doesn't really matter, but usually partitioned as a system and partition (CSmiley a scratch drive (ESmiley
Second hard drive - partitioned as a disc image partition (DSmiley and user data (FSmiley

Image the C: drive to the D: and thence off to DVD if you have one. Diskeeper is particularly good for this stuff as you can also make a windows-like boot disc to recover the system if things go bad or if you need to install a larger hard drive anywhere.

Hope this helps,
Mike
N/A

Backing up Windows XP System

You can use Ghost or Acronis to backup the drive as an image. Acronis is the best as you can carry on working while it does it and then do incramental backups if needed. As it compress the image you can possably get 2 image on the drive or use dvd.

You can mount an image as a drive and recover odd files if you need to

Get it from
http://www.acronis.com/homecomputing/products/trueimage/

It has an addon which lets you create a image that will run on any pc.

Diskeeper is a defragmenting tool not a disk image.
shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,053
Thanks: 28
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Backing up Windows XP System

I have found some freeware called DRVIMAGERXP which appears to do the same thing. Does anyone know anything about this ?

I still prefer my old method of having a relica of my C: System partition on my second hard drive because a) it seems foolproof and b) it is simple.

Is an image the only way to do it or will NTBACKUP work, as it looks very familiar and like the old MSBACKUP from W98 to me. A question therefore of comfort zone and not trying to do something new unless it is really necessary. (Old dogs etc.)
N/A

Backing up Windows XP System

NTBACKUP will create just one file, (Huh?.bkf) but will also optionally create a recovery disk, thus if you have any issue requiring restore, you simply insert your recovery disk, boot to the recovery disk, and select the most recent backup file you have taken.
This will restore your system to the last backup.

Alternatively, you can do exactly as you used to, once the backup has been taken, and the backup file created, you can restore the backup to your second drive.

Not as fast as using mirroring software, but if thats the way you are comfortable doing it, it is possible.

I'm a bit confused as to your statement that system restore doesn't work in XP home - I'm almost certain it does. Sadly I'm at work now, so only have pro to look at.
I find System Restore in control panel.
In category view, I hit 'Performance and Maintenance' then at the top left, under 'See Also' there is the link to 'System Restore' wizard.
holdtight
Grafter
Posts: 1,634
Registered: 15-06-2007

Backing up Windows XP System

Your right James system restore is exactly the same in the home edition as it is in pro

If you go to the properties of my computer then to the system restore tab just make sure its enabled and running correctly as it should be by default


Bill.
N/A

Backing up Windows XP System

The only other thing to note, is that you can ask System Restore to create a restore point any time you want too.
I think Windows only creates one when you install new software. I also thought you could schedule restore point creation, but I can't seem to find it.
shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,053
Thanks: 28
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Backing up Windows XP System

James

Thanks for the posting which answers my question. Microsoft says :
Quote
NOTE: If you use Backup in Windows XP Home Edition, Automated System Recovery (ASR) is not a supported feature. You can use the current version of Windows XP Home Edition to start the configuration process for ASR, but you cannot complete the process
(http://support.microsoft.com/kb/320820/

So, hence the confusion. When I start NTBACKUP, I get the menu which says :
Quote
Automated System Recovery Wizard
The ASR Preparation Wizard helps you prepare a two part back-up of your system: a floppy disk that has your system settings, and other media that contains a backup of your local system partition.


But then the Microsoft website quoted advises that this does not in fact work ! In what other company would such quality control be tolerated ?

Furthermore, there is no System recovery in Control Panel on my system, so I cannot follow your other suggestion unfortunately.

But hopefully I will be able to do what you say about restoring from NTBACKUP to another hard disk as I used to. I will have to suck it and see !

The problem with taking an image is that my OEM version of Windows does not allow me to partition the first hard drive., which means that the image would be 120 gigabytes.

I actually took HP to court over the inability to partition the C: drive and won, and they had to pay me £500 compensation because it "did not do what it said on the tin !". I used the money to buy the second hard disk which I was then able to partition, but I still cannot partition the first drive using the OEM Home Edition of XP. The HP recovery partition takes control of the installation, and there is no work-around but they keep very quiet about it, hence the compensation ! (I had wasted days trying to resolve it with their Help Desk who eventually had to admit that it was not possible).

The old adage was never more true - "if it ain't broke, don't fix it", but nevertheless just HP had to fiddle with the OS, and perhaps they have now learnt their lesson. More people should stand up to these OEMs because the courts will back the consumer. Frankly, another example is that they should be allowed to ship XP without Service Pack 2, because it is a misrepresentation of the up-to-date product. Anyway, enough of my rants. It was very satisfying to get £500 out of them for a system which only cost £250 in the first place !
retep
Grafter
Posts: 182
Registered: 14-04-2007

Backing up Windows XP System

System restore is limited, its not a complete restore by any means. In XP find it in -

control panel -> system -> system restore, or search the help system

Its been on Windows since Windows ME so its on both XP versions.

Its an overhead on the system securing drivers and other odds and ends NOT all data I always turn it off. It has been used by virus's in the past to avoid anti virus purges.

A disk image is better. It copies the whole c: drive to an image file on another drive, in the past some magazines have offered old versions of these for free have a look around. Computer Shopper has done this at least 3 times that I remember.
shermans
Rising Star
Posts: 1,053
Thanks: 28
Fixes: 1
Registered: 07-09-2007

Backing up Windows XP System

I am perfectly familiar with System Restore which is not what I want at all. System Restore is the equivalent of backing up the User.Dat and System.Dat ofiles on W98.

I want a full back-up. I cannot use an image because, as explained above, I cannot partition the C: drive and therefore the image has to be all 120 giga-bytes, 90% of which is blank. I store everything except Windows and Program Files on my slave hard drive which I can partition but I do not have room on that for a 120 giga-byte image.

I want to keep it simple which is why I prefer the old fashioned back-up for Program Files and System.
N/A

Backing up Windows XP System

A few points a disk image is compressed with acronis you can set the leval so if half the drive is empty you wont have a 120gig image. My drive is 39 gig but the disk image is only 13 gig so you see why I say use a image as you can get 2 or 3 images.

Acronis has the option to create a rescue system so you can at boot time press F11 and it will restore the drive like a OEM image does.

So as long as you have a full backup you can delete the OEM resuce partion reduce the c drive and create more partions as you need and then install the acronis automated image function. You just need to check were the rescue partion is at the front or back of the drive. If its hidden it doesnt matter as if you delete it it wont make any difference to the boot. But if its at the start and you boot ini shows it boot from partion 2 you would have to maintain a small partion or change the boot ini.
N/A

Backing up Windows XP System

And just to say that Home, the latest version of Acronis True Image, is halving the time it takes to back up. Once a week I back up to an external hard disk and my 13GB now takes 10 minutes to back up to 8GB. I am backing up an 18GB partition.