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"Ghost" backup - will this work?


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#1 Tweener

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Posted 07 August 2005 - 12:09 PM

I have an HP Pavilion 6553 circa 1998-99. OS is Windows 98SE. The motherboard, sound / modem card and floppy drive are all that are left of the original equipment hardware, so full re-installs are a pain, not to mention the data loss. I recently added a slave drive with the same specs as my master (size, cylinders, sectors, heads, etc.). This drive is used for backup only, and never written to from the system. This is my backup strategy and I'd like to know if it will work when needed.

First I defragment my master (C:) drive, then I do a full format on the slave (D:) drive from My Computer right-click menu, giving it the label "Backup". (This is just for reference on the next step.) I then re-boot to MSDos mode and run Partition Saving (www.partition-saving.com) and enter copy mode, selecting the entire C: partition as source and the entire D: partition as destination. At this point I choose to copy only occupied sectors to speed the process. When done, I reboot to Windows and verify that the D: label is now Hp_pavilion (same as C:), then scandisk the D: drive to verify no errors.

In the event of a failure or $#%&@! infection, I plan to swap master and slave, which should only take about 20 minutes, then I can start the backup process again with the physical drives in reversed roles. Is this a sound plan?
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#2 stidyup

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 07:13 AM

If you can access the contents of D then this isn't a very good plan as the virus may simply infect all the files on D as well. If you want to do this you will need to hide your backup D: drive from the OS, when you get infected unhide it and use it. Partition Magic will do this there's probably other software capable of doing this as well.

TrueImage is the easist image making software I know of, this will simply make a image file of the contents of C:

Active Partition recovery will also make an image.

Digital Dolly - freeware will also make image's of hdd.

Other software will make image files for you as well, Ghost and Lexun Drive Imager.

#3 Tweener

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 07:08 PM

Hmm.. the only Freeware solution seems to be only usable over a network. Would it be possible to go into the BIOS and disable the D: drive after the partition copy is complete? Would this effectively "hide" it from the system? I could then re-enable it each time I "ghost" to it. Of course I realize that this would also probably put my CD ROM back to D: from E: again, but I don't think that would matter since the system checks hardware each time I boot.

I guess I could answer my own questions on this by giving it a try,since I don't have to go to the trouble of opening the case again to find out. But if it does work, I guess my main question is: Will the Windows 98SE OS boot and load properly from the ghosted drive if it is set to master and swapped on the cable?

Edited by Tweener, 08 August 2005 - 07:15 PM.

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#4 Tweener

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Posted 08 August 2005 - 10:25 PM

Update:
Setting BIOS primary slave to None instead of Auto effectively hides it from the system. :thumbsup:

I may have something here! Next test would be to swap drives and see if it boots. Guess I'll just find that out for myself, and post the results.
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#5 Leurgy

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 09:53 AM

Will the Windows 98SE OS boot and load properly from the ghosted drive if it is set to master and swapped on the cable?


Yes. You may not need to swap the drive physically if you can set the second drive as the first boot device in the bios. In this case IDE0 would be C: and IDE1 would be D:.

As far as ghosting goes, many HDD makers have utilities to do this. Maxtor and Western Digital do. What kind of drives are these?

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#6 Tweener

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 11:21 AM

One is a Seagate for sure, it's the slave. I believe the master is a Western Digital.

As far as a boot from the slave goes, I did try that once but I got a startup error about a problem with the registry, and Windows would need to re-start. Instead of letting it go back to the D: boot again, I thought it prudent to enter the BIOS and switch the boot order back again. Windows then loaded the previously saved registry backup, which wasn't a problem. I've been afraid to try it again since I'm trying to preserve the system - not cause it to crash. :thumbsup:

I have done a bit of Googling on the issue since and have seen some statements on the 'net that you can't boot Win98 from any other drive than C:, if that's where it was installed. Perhaps the registry contains some info as to the system's information location?
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#7 Leurgy

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 05:46 PM

That registry error could have been caused by any number of things.

Perhaps the registry contains some info as to the system's information location?


Very much so. It tells Windows what drivers to load based on your hardware among other things.

Check the Western Digital site for their Data Lifeguard program. Seagate may have something similar. Whether or not you can use say, WD's program to clone a Seagate drive????

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#8 Tweener

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Posted 09 August 2005 - 09:00 PM

The free program I'm using seems to work just fine to make an exact copy of C: to D:, including the boot sector. Check out partition - saving . The only concern that I have is whether it will boot when swapped, and I'm guessing I will just have to try. No guts no glory!

As for the information in the registry, I guess I wasn't clear on what I meant:

The system is installed on drive C:, primary master. Evidently, when I make my clone copy to D:, since it's exactly the same data structure as what's on the C: drive, there must be some info in the registry that expects that drive to be the active system partition on boot. So when I boot from D:, it gets confused. ( Like me: :thumbsup: )

Edited by Tweener, 10 August 2005 - 08:51 PM.

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#9 Tweener

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Posted 06 November 2006 - 07:57 AM

:thumbsup: Well, I got a chance to use this method and it works like a charm! I screwed up by having the OS try to detect non plug-and-play devices. It discovered something in my custom bios, removed some hardware from device manager, and started looking for drivers. When all was said and done, I was looking at a basic 16 bit 640x480 VGA screen and many of my hardware profiles were messed up. After trying in vain for about 30 minutes to make any headway on restoring it the way it was, I decided to just switch drives. I removed both HD's, set their jumpers according to their new roles of master and slave and swapped them on the cable. Total time: about 5-10 min. After rebooting the system from the "new" C: drive, I was able to access my data files on the "old" C: drive (now D:). I copied all my data files, and email messages - anything that wasn't on the last backup. After using the system for about a week; satisfied that I hadn't forgotten any new-data-since-backup, I repeated the process to copy the current state of C: to D: again, then hid D: from the system.

Edited by Tweener, 06 November 2006 - 07:57 AM.

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