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creating registry backup


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#1 slowlybutshelly

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 12:15 AM

i would like to backup my registry. i tried to do so with the instructions in the tutorial, but it asked me to save the registry only to a removable disk (flash drive) or my F drive. i would like to know where i should save the registry backup? on a cd? on my flash drive? on the desktop? on the c drive? any help will get me started with this site.
Stay well,
SLB

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#2 garmanma

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Posted 19 December 2009 - 09:44 AM

Actually the more places the better
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#3 Bradtox

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 06:20 PM

Save it in your desktop then move it to any secure place you like.

Edited by Bradtox, 29 March 2010 - 06:28 PM.


#4 MaryBet82

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 10:29 PM

Hi slowlybutshelly,

I'm a newbie, too. Save a copy of your registry bu off the computer wherever you can find it a month or 3 months from now. If you always know where your flash drive is and there's plenty of room on it, that's a good choice. If you're organized enough to burn your bu to cd and be able to locate that cd come June, that'll give you room on your flash if you need it. I have 2 computers networked and I have a backup folder on each computer. In each of those folders I have 2 folders - one for each computer for registry,email, etc. backups. My thumb drive is not large enough to backup to and this is another quick method. And as garmanma says, I back up my registry bu's both to the 2nd computer and to cd.

Another thing to consider is where to put registry bu's so that you can access them if you can't boot into windows or safe mode. What you back up to might depend on your recovery options - winxp's recovery console, your computer's oem recovery option, bart's pe etc -and what drives/ports your computer has.

I just did a successful registry copy in recovery console from system volume [where System Restore backs up the registry] to c:\windows\system32\config. I ran the recovery console from the winxp install cd, and I found I couldn't switch cd's while in RC. If I installed RC to the computer and ran it from there I think I could have accessed the optical drive. If I 'd had to use my registry backup running RC from cd I could have used the floppy drive on that computer - but my other computer doesn't have a floppy drive.

I tried to see if I could access my thumb drive in RC - it had to be in its USB slot before booting up in order to be recognized. It didn't interfere w/ booting to the install cd, but I have an internal, eide optical drive on that computer, not an external USB optical drive. I could list the files in the thumb's root directory, but not in any of the folders, unlike w/ the floppy drive. You may or may not need to put your registry bu in the root directory of the thumb drive if you to copy from it in RC.
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#5 slowlybutshelly

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 11:33 PM

Hi marybet82, Thanks for your info. I am a little confused. I am just learning about registry. Rc is over my head. I have a system restore set on my computer; does that mean I have a backup of my registry? I don't have a windowsXP insatll cd; been thinking I need to get one and maybe a recovery disk too. would such a recovery disk have a registry backup on there?

Currently, the only backup I have is a free Mozy 2Gb. I have used it for all my school records the last 15 years. I know it's probably worth it for me to use MOZY unlimited 4usd/mth and backup my whole computer. But I can only digest a few things at a time. And I am starting with freeware, and free services first.

It surprises me you played with the system32/config. I was told basically to never go there unless I really knew what I was doing.

What is recovery console exactly?

Sorry I am a little lost as to what I need to do next.
Stay well,
SLB

#6 Andrew

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 04:05 AM

I highly recommend ERUNT for registry backups.

Edited by Andrew, 30 March 2010 - 04:06 AM.


#7 MaryBet82

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 11:56 AM

Sorry slowlybutshelley,

Didn't mean to confuse you.

First I'll share my experience backing up the registry and then I'll try and clear up any confusion I've created over recovery console [RC]. I'm assuming your computer has windows xp. Win 2k & [I think] win 98 work similar, but I know nothing about vista or win 7.

There are several ways to backup the registry. I think the one you used per the tutorial [demystifying the registry?] was the windows backup wizard. The backup window opened and you clicked the backup wizard button? After you chose/checked "only backup the system state data" and click next I think you come to a window w/ a browse button. You click the browse button and that lets you go up and down the directory/folder "tree" to the folder or drive you want the backup file to go. When I click the browse button I'm in My Documents.

Where you save the backup file depends on what you have connected to your computer. I can go ahead and save the file in my documents. Or I can use the explorer-like window to browse to the desktop > open my computer > open my thumb drive and save it there. I can save it in My Documents and then either move or copy it to the flash drive, burn a copy of the file to cd or copy it over my network to another computer. [You can't use the wizard to directly burn a backup to cd like you can w/ some backup programs.]

I can't tell from your post if you have an F: drive or the example in the tutorial used the F: drive. If you understand that drive letters can change depending on what you have connected to your computer and in what order you connect them skip the rest of the paragraph. If you only have one hd in your computer it will be c:\. If it's partitioned - that means one hd treated by windows as if it were 2 hard drives, something you tell windows to do when you're formatting/installing - c:\ will be the partition w/ the os and d:\ the 2nd partition. A floppy drive and optical burner are given drive letters. A flash drive is given a letter. My flash drive today on this computer is F:, but if I plug it into the desktop it will be E: because the desktop has a different number of internal drives and external drives than the laptop I'm on. I can recognize it because it's labeled "removable disc" in My Computer.

What garmanma & Bradtox were saying is that it can be helpful to have several copies of your registry bu, one on your computer and you definitely want to save one on media - a thumb flash drive or cd/dvd - off of your computer. Sometimes you may just need a copy to fix a problem while troubleshooting in windows, but sometimes you need it to fix a problem so you can boot into windows. My registry bu file is 58 MB, so if space is a problem on your hd you can just keep the bu on cd or flash drive.

I hope that helps w/ the where to save it question?

Andrew's post today is referring to a utility that you run inside windows that also backs up the registry. Per the utilities web page, windows doesn't always back up everything in the registry when it's in use - when you're using the backup wizard to back it up. Erunt is supposed to be able to backup it up more thoroughly and securely. From other forum threads erunt seems to be a good utility, but you may want to go through the basics first and then try erunt. I tried erunt on one computer and erunt crashed, but that is no reflection on erunt. Everything crashed on that computer.

Now about system restore and recovery console. Yes, system restore basically backs up the registry so why do it yourself? System Restore's strength is it's automatic if you have it turned on. But if you want to keep earlier restore points [earlier copies of the registry], you have to remember to periodically manually delete the restore points in the middle. As SR adds restore points, it deletes the earlier ones. So as your computer develops problems that finally interfere w/ booting, it's accumulating restore points w/ the problems and deleting earlier, "purer" restore points. Also, if you get a virus or malware, you'll most likely have to turn off system restore in order to delete the restore points as viruses hide there. So you want a copy of your registry that is not in system restore and that is not on your computer.

As for Recovery Console and going into system volume and config - you are right. Don't go in there. I did so very carefully and w/ a LOT of help from forum experts because my computer wouldn't boot - basically no choice. The point I was trying to make is now is the time to determine what recovery options your computer has. A copy of the registry on a flash drive or cd won't help if you can't access either to copy it over to c:\windows\system32\config, where it apparently lives. Or can access one but not the one w/ the bu.

I find recover console very confusing, but my understanding is that if your computer didn't come w/ a winxp install disk there is a good chance that recovery console won't run from another winxp install disc. Check out the help info about your computer on your computer, its support web site, or any manuals or manuals on cd that came w/ it when you get a chance. My desktop is a dell that came w/ a winxp installation disk. I can run recovery console from that cd on the dell. My thinkpad has a lenovo version of recovery console that I access by pushing a button during bootup. The program is on the hd in a hidden [from windows] partition [hiding from viruses]. It works differently in that I can recover my personal files from it, but it has less repair options. My old Sony laptop basically has one "repair" or "recovery" option and that is to reformat/reinstall from recovery cds- losing all data in the process.

I'm not familiar w/ Mozy. If you are familiar w/ it I'd certainly start using it now to regularly backup all your personal files [if you're not already] while you are learning how to maintain and restore your computer. It does take a while to digest and understand all this stuff. Down the road you may want to look into cloning your whole hd - I think it's a quicker restore method. Certainly quicker than having to reinstall the os and do all those updates. If you don't have an installation disc, a recovery disc or a recovery partition on your computer, you'll probably want to look into cloning sooner than later. Maybe mozy unlimited 4usd/mth does cloning. If not, there's a tutorial here on a free program DriveImage XML that does.
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#8 slowlybutshelly

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Posted 30 March 2010 - 11:54 PM

Please tell me more about what you mean by 'cloning your whole hard drive'?
Stay well,
SLB

#9 MaryBet82

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 05:06 PM

I haven't done this - only read about it and I'm still reading. Cloning is a method of backing up your entire hd w/ the operating system, program files, and your data files w/ the structure in place - ie the programs are installed and registry settings are copied in place, as it were - into a single file. I think it's also called disk imaging.

I have no idea how different programs do this. Norton Ghost is one program and DriveImage XML is the one the tutorial here uses. The programs can compress the file so that to store the bu file takes less space than the contents of the drive, but to restore it to either the original drive or a new drive you need one at least as large as the original.

So, say you follow the directions in the tutorial and create a copy/clone/ image/whatever of your c:/ drive on a Monday and the next Friday you can't get Windows to load and last known good configuration and system restore don't work - nothing works. The experts say you have to reinstall windows.

You take your cloned image and "restore" it back on your hd and the computer is back to the state it was in the Monday you created the back up image - if the original problem wasn't a hardware/hard drive problem. If your hd is bad you buy another one and put your backup image on it and then your new hd should be in the state your old hd was on Monday. Windows should boot, your programs should work and your files should be as they were on Monday. Your users and pws would be the same, your desktop settings, etc.

You do the restore by using a bootable cd w/ DriveImage XML in it and a partitioning program. If it was a windows' problem and not a a hard disk problem and you are restoring to the original hd you may not need the partitioning program - still reading.

If you installed programs after Monday you have to install those again. If you created word docs or updated excel spreadsheets, that data is lost unless you backed it up separately. But installing one or two programs again is a lot easier than reinstalling the OS, all those security updates and all your programs and configuring your screen resolution, Word, etc. And you should always back up any personal data you can't afford to loose before you shut down the computer for the day because a hard drive can fail at any time - the last stats I saw it wasn't a high likelihood, but it has happened to me. So after you restore your computer to Monday, you restore your data to whatever day you last did a data bu - ideally Thursday night.

With a cloned drive you wouldn't need installation disks as long as you get a good clone image. If installation discs are no longer available for your computer or now cost more than the computer, you might want to do the DriveImage XML tutorial next. One limitation is I think you have to back up to a hd - I don't think the backup file can go onto optical media regardless of size because of optical media's different format. I don't really know because I haven't read specifically that you can or can't. I think I have read of backing up to a flash drive.

You want your bu file on something other than the disk that won't boot. If you have one drive, but it's partitioned into 2 "volumes' [each partition has its own drive letter as if it were a separate drive], it might work to have the bu on the 2nd partition and to use some sort of boot cd that lets you access the 2nd partition - that's assuming it's a windows' problem and not a hard drive failure or corrupt partition tables. I have to read more to find out if that would work.

I hope I've been clear enough you get the basic idea. Feel free to ask me to try again - or to not confuse you further. I'm an older newbie but still a newbie. Since I'm not an expert I'm not busy trying to help all the newbies - I'm here reading other posts to learn. So I have time to ramble on until maybe I say something that helps.
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#10 slowlybutshelly

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Posted 04 April 2010 - 12:09 PM

Thank you for this information. By 'installation disks' do you mean 'recovery disks'? I dont have a recovery disk and have been thinking i should buy one soon. Or make one via ubcd4windows.com (have you heard of anyone doing this successfully?). Also, the cloned image...is it permanent when you you use it? You don't have to replace it with something better later? What is the difference between optical media and a hard drive? You have learned so much just by browsing and lurking. I wish I was at the point you are with my knowledge base.
Stay well,
SLB

#11 MaryBet82

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Posted 07 April 2010 - 04:50 PM

Hey slowlybutshelley,

With computers you have to be patient - the basics will become clearer and then you'll go on to be confused by something else. Just remember I'm a newbie, altho older than you, and not an expert. So I'll do my best to explain what I understand, but I may be wrong. Some of my info, like on cloning, is just reading and reading doesn't substitute for actually doing.

By installation disc I mean an operating system installation disc, like a winxp installation disc, that lets you run recovery console from it, repair the os and just install windows. I'm still trying to get the terminology right on what an OEM installation disc is. If you buy winxp from MS or a store in a box it's called a fully licensed copy and you can put it on any computer [but only one unless you get a multi-license] whose hardware is compatible. You can put it on one, take if off and put it on another. Supposedly, if you buy it from MS there's some support that goes along w/ it.

An OEM is an "original equipment manufacturer" - like dell or hp - who build computers to put windows on and the computer comes to you w/ the OS installed. Some OEMs provide an installation disc that works like a fully licensed one as far as running recovery console, having a repair windows option and a "bonus" folder on the cd that has additional utilities for windows. But you may only be licensed to install that copy of windows on that computer - so if the computer breaks you can't use the disk to install it on the used one the computer enthusiast in your family gave you. I've also seen reputable software sites selling "OEM" copies of winxp, so I don't know if there's a fully licensed OEM disc that lacks MS support but is otherwise like a fully licensed os disc.

A windows os installation disc will just include the drivers that windows provides - when you buy a new computer from an oem who provides a windows os installation disc you'll also get a cd w/ any special drivers needed for the video card, sound card, monitor, etc. in that computer. Hardware often works w/ windows generic drivers, but you don't get its special features - like the extra buttons on a usb mouse.

What I call a recovery disk is a disc [usually a set of discs] that comes w/ a computer that will automatically install the os and the computer's drivers back onto the computer if windows fails to boot up and system restore doesn't work. It will format the disk and all your old files and data will be inaccessible after the new installation. It returns the computer to the condition it was when it left the factory - the "factory defaults".

There are some computers that come w/ a part of the hard drive that is separate from windows - so you don't see its files when you are in windows - and which contains a recovery program that will do the same thing as recovery discs - return the computer to factory defaults when run. My thinkpad, which doesn't have an optical drive, has one.

If you purchased your computer from a store or online from an oem it should have come w/ either a set of installation discs - windows os + device drivers cd - or a set of recovery discs or instructions on how to access the recovery program on the hdd. My thinkpad has a blue button above the keyboard that I push on boot up if I want to go to lenovo's recovery program. It will also take me to the BIOS setup program.

If you purchased your computer used or it was a hand-me-down, you may be disc-less and w/out a recovery program on the hd. In which case you want to figure out your options while your computer is still working. I haven't heard of ubcd4windows.com. If you have a valid windows license product key I have read that your local computer repair shop can make you a slipstreamed disc for a reasonable charge. A slipstreamed disc is where you have a winxp sp2 installation disc and you [or your local computer tech using his winxp installation disc] makes you a winxp sp3 installation disc. Which would leave you just needing to make a cd w/ any drivers needed for your hardware.

Did you get a packet of papers & discs w/ the computer? If the computer came w/out discs or any papers w/ useful info, the info about a recovery program on the computer may be in a help file on the computer or on the support web site of the computer's seller or manufacturer.

The cloned image is sort of a combination of a backup and taking a snapshot of how your computer is working today. Only it's a working snapshot when it's restored, which is where the term "clone" comes in. It's sort of like you make a clone of your computer and put it in storage until needed. Since your computer changes - esp w/ all the security updates - plus programs and hardware added/removed you'll probably want to clone it more than once. How often you clone depends on whether you are just backing up your os + settings + programs or whether you are doing a full backup clone including your personal data and how much storage room you have for your clones. It would sort of be like doing restore points. You want to set a restore point before you install a program or change the registry. You also want to set one after you make the change if the change did what you wanted and your system is working well.

As for whether the clone is permanent - windows is never permanent. One of the things I'm trying to figure out is how to go about cloning so that I have a snapshot of a "clean" system w/ the Master File Table in one piece and not fragmented and a "clean" registry, but also keep up w/ the changes so I don't have to install 60+ security updates if I have to do a restore. As we get more experience we may clone our system shortly after a reformat/reinstall, clone our personal data partitions frequently, and then have a cd w/ the updates scripted so they install themselves. Except by the time I figure that out winxp will be unsupported and I'll either be in win7, win8 or a mac.
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#12 Synetech

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Posted 11 August 2010 - 10:47 PM

The real question is why you want to backup your registry in the first place because most users don’t really need to at all. Backing up the registry is not like backing up files; making a regular, complete backup is not generally useful because changes occur frequently, so restoring from a backup could reset all kinds of things that should not be (like drivers, etc.) Backing up the registry in part or whole is usually for one of two main reasons: (1) you intend to make some risky modifications, or (2) you want to save some settings, etc. from an app, game, etc.

If you intend to make risky modifications to the registry but do not know how to backup the key(s) in question, then it may be better to see if there is a tool that can make the changes for you instead of doing it manually.

If you are trying to save some settings or something from some software, then it is almost certainly better to try to look for some “export settings/saved game” in the software instead of doing it manually.
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#13 MaryBet82

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 09:14 AM

Hey Synetech

Lots and lots of articles for beginners say to back up the registry, but they don't go on to say exactly when/how to use the backup you make from within windows. When I've actually needed a registry backup is when my computer wouldn't boot into windows due to a damaged registry - and at that point a registry backup done per those articles - creating a *.reg file - doesn't help.

Winxp backs up the regsitry w/ system restore and it does it by backing up the separate hives that make up the registry. It's recommended to make a system restore before any program install/uninstall and system restore supposedly does that if so configured. So if you are going to back up the whole registry as a precautionary practice, you have to do it regularly.

I've used a system restore registry backup in recovery console before to troubleshoot a damaged registry that kept windows from loading - copying over the registry hive files from the latest system restore point from system volume to system32/config. What I've wondered is if there is a way to back up the registry hives myself using recovery console or a winxp pe type cd. Sometimes system restore isn't reliable and sometimes you have to wipe out all your restore points to clean an infection or to troubleshoot some problem. Also I would have liked to back up my win2k registry.
mac 10.6 on macbook pro
WinXP sp2 on Dell 380 w/ 512 MB RAM- currently dead in the water
WinXP tab ed sp 3 on Thinkpad X41 w/ 1.5 GB RAM - lemony flavored
Win2K Sp4 on Sony VAIO GXR600 w/ 512 MB RAM - currently blue screening

#14 slowlybutshelly

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Posted 14 August 2010 - 10:57 AM

Hey slowlybutshelley,

With computers you have to be patient - the basics will become clearer and then you'll go on to be confused by something else. Just remember I'm a newbie, altho older than you, and not an expert. So I'll do my best to explain what I understand, but I may be wrong. Some of my info, like on cloning, is just reading and reading doesn't substitute for actually doing.

By installation disc I mean an operating system installation disc, like a winxp installation disc, that lets you run recovery console from it, repair the os and just install windows. I'm still trying to get the terminology right on what an OEM installation disc is. If you buy winxp from MS or a store in a box it's called a fully licensed copy and you can put it on any computer [but only one unless you get a multi-license] whose hardware is compatible. You can put it on one, take if off and put it on another. Supposedly, if you buy it from MS there's some support that goes along w/ it.

An OEM is an "original equipment manufacturer" - like dell or hp - who build computers to put windows on and the computer comes to you w/ the OS installed. Some OEMs provide an installation disc that works like a fully licensed one as far as running recovery console, having a repair windows option and a "bonus" folder on the cd that has additional utilities for windows. But you may only be licensed to install that copy of windows on that computer - so if the computer breaks you can't use the disk to install it on the used one the computer enthusiast in your family gave you. I've also seen reputable software sites selling "OEM" copies of winxp, so I don't know if there's a fully licensed OEM disc that lacks MS support but is otherwise like a fully licensed os disc.

A windows os installation disc will just include the drivers that windows provides - when you buy a new computer from an oem who provides a windows os installation disc you'll also get a cd w/ any special drivers needed for the video card, sound card, monitor, etc. in that computer. Hardware often works w/ windows generic drivers, but you don't get its special features - like the extra buttons on a usb mouse.

What I call a recovery disk is a disc [usually a set of discs] that comes w/ a computer that will automatically install the os and the computer's drivers back onto the computer if windows fails to boot up and system restore doesn't work. It will format the disk and all your old files and data will be inaccessible after the new installation. It returns the computer to the condition it was when it left the factory - the "factory defaults".

There are some computers that come w/ a part of the hard drive that is separate from windows - so you don't see its files when you are in windows - and which contains a recovery program that will do the same thing as recovery discs - return the computer to factory defaults when run. My thinkpad, which doesn't have an optical drive, has one.

If you purchased your computer from a store or online from an oem it should have come w/ either a set of installation discs - windows os + device drivers cd - or a set of recovery discs or instructions on how to access the recovery program on the hdd. My thinkpad has a blue button above the keyboard that I push on boot up if I want to go to lenovo's recovery program. It will also take me to the BIOS setup program.

If you purchased your computer used or it was a hand-me-down,yes i am the second owner with no recovery disk. you may be disc-less and w/out a recovery program on the hd. In which case you want to figure out your options while your computer is still working.what are my oprtions right now? free is always best in my opinion. what is the next best option I should take? I haven't heard of ubcd4windows.com. If you have a valid windows license product key no, my local computer shop reformatted and reinstalled WinXP for me; maybe at that time I should have asked them for a license key when they installed Service Pack 2 and 3 for me. I never know what to ask computer guys. They always seem to not suggest/respond unless I know what I am talking about. My IT guys seem to just hold onto their knowledge and not share it unless someone explicitly starts talking their language. I have read that your local computer repair shop can make you a slipstreamed disc for a reasonable charge. A slipstreamed disc is where you have a winxp sp2 installation disc and you [or your local computer tech using his winxp installation disc] makes you a winxp sp3 installation disc. i like this idea. Should i just go ask for a slipstreamed disk? will they know what I am talking about? Which would leave you just needing to make a cd w/ any drivers needed for your hardware. Drivers is a whole other issue. Can I make a cd with drivers needed? Or should I ask someone else to do it? It seems to me that driver updates are always happening with my windows Xp updates. And every time I unistall/install a program my drivers change. SO since drivers are always in flux, is it necessary to make a cd? if so, please tell me why? Is it just so that I wont have to go a manufactures website to download the drivers; but will have it on cd instead? Even if I had a driver cd, I am not sure how I would use it - how to download the drivers?

Did you get a packet of papers & discs w/ the computer? no i got the computer second hand. If the computer came w/out discs or any papers w/ useful info, the info about a recovery program on the computer may be in a help file on the computer or on the support web site of the computer's seller or manufacturer.

The cloned image is sort of a combination of a backup and taking a snapshot of how your computer is working today. Only it's a working snapshot when it's restored, which is where the term "clone" comes in. It's sort of like you make a clone of your computer and put it in storage until needed. Since your computer changes - esp w/ all the security updates - plus programs and hardware added/removed you'll probably want to clone it more than once. How often you clone depends on whether you are just backing up your os + settings + programs or whether you are doing a full backup clone including your personal data and how much storage room you have for your clones. It would sort of be like doing restore points. You want to set a restore point before you install a program or change the registry. this is the most helpful advice I have received in a long long time. You also want to set one after you make the change if the change did what you wanted and your system is working well.

As for whether the clone is permanent - windows is never permanent. One of the things I'm trying to figure out is how to go about cloning so that I have a snapshot of a "clean" system w/ the Master File Table in one piece and not fragmented and a "clean" registry, but also keep up w/ the changes so I don't have to install 60+ security updates if I have to do a restore. As we get more experience we may clone our system shortly after a reformat/reinstall, given that I fully expect my system to crash again ( it has only doen so once), what should I ask next time at the computer shop when they are doing a reformatt/reinstall? clone our personal data partitions frequently, and then have a cd w/ the updates scripted so they install themselves. Except by the time I figure that out winxp will be unsupported and I'll either be in win7, win8 or a mac.me too. have you made the switch yet?


Stay well,
SLB

#15 slowlybutshelly

slowlybutshelly
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Posted 14 August 2010 - 11:04 AM

Hey slowlybutshelley,

With computers you have to be patient - the basics will become clearer and then you'll go on to be confused by something else. Just remember I'm a newbie, altho older than you, and not an expert. So I'll do my best to explain what I understand, but I may be wrong. Some of my info, like on cloning, is just reading and reading doesn't substitute for actually doing.

By installation disc I mean an operating system installation disc, like a winxp installation disc, that lets you run recovery console from it, repair the os and just install windows. I'm still trying to get the terminology right on what an OEM installation disc is. If you buy winxp from MS or a store in a box it's called a fully licensed copy and you can put it on any computer [but only one unless you get a multi-license] whose hardware is compatible. You can put it on one, take if off and put it on another. Supposedly, if you buy it from MS there's some support that goes along w/ it.

An OEM is an "original equipment manufacturer" - like dell or hp - who build computers to put windows on and the computer comes to you w/ the OS installed. Some OEMs provide an installation disc that works like a fully licensed one as far as running recovery console, having a repair windows option and a "bonus" folder on the cd that has additional utilities for windows. But you may only be licensed to install that copy of windows on that computer - so if the computer breaks you can't use the disk to install it on the used one the computer enthusiast in your family gave you. I've also seen reputable software sites selling "OEM" copies of winxp, so I don't know if there's a fully licensed OEM disc that lacks MS support but is otherwise like a fully licensed os disc.

A windows os installation disc will just include the drivers that windows provides - when you buy a new computer from an oem who provides a windows os installation disc you'll also get a cd w/ any special drivers needed for the video card, sound card, monitor, etc. in that computer. Hardware often works w/ windows generic drivers, but you don't get its special features - like the extra buttons on a usb mouse.

What I call a recovery disk is a disc [usually a set of discs] that comes w/ a computer that will automatically install the os and the computer's drivers back onto the computer if windows fails to boot up and system restore doesn't work. It will format the disk and all your old files and data will be inaccessible after the new installation. It returns the computer to the condition it was when it left the factory - the "factory defaults".

There are some computers that come w/ a part of the hard drive that is separate from windows - so you don't see its files when you are in windows - and which contains a recovery program that will do the same thing as recovery discs - return the computer to factory defaults when run. My thinkpad, which doesn't have an optical drive, has one.

If you purchased your computer from a store or online from an oem it should have come w/ either a set of installation discs - windows os + device drivers cd - or a set of recovery discs or instructions on how to access the recovery program on the hdd. My thinkpad has a blue button above the keyboard that I push on boot up if I want to go to lenovo's recovery program. It will also take me to the BIOS setup program.

If you purchased your computer used or it was a hand-me-down yes i am the second owner with no recovery disk you may be disc-less and w/out a recovery program on the hd. In which case you want to figure out your options while your computer is still working. what are my oprtions right now? free is always best in my opinion. what is the next best option I should take? I haven't heard of ubcd4windows.com. If you have a valid windows license product key no, my local computer shop reformatted and reinstalled WinXP for me; maybe at that time I should have asked them for a license key when they installed Service Pack 2 and 3 for me. I never know what to ask computer guys. They always seem to not suggest/respond unless I know what I am talking about. My IT guys seem to just hold onto their knowledge and not share it unless someone explicitly starts talking their language. I have read that your local computer repair shop can make you a slipstreamed disc for a reasonable charge. A slipstreamed disc is where you have a winxp sp2 installation disc and you [or your local computer tech using his winxp installation disc] makes you a winxp sp3 installation disc. i like this idea. Should i just go ask for a slipstreamed disk? will they know what I am talking about? Which would leave you just needing to make a cd w/ any drivers needed for your hardware. Drivers is a whole other issue. Can I make a cd with drivers needed? Or should I ask someone else to do it? It seems to me that driver updates are always happening with my windows Xp updates. And every time I unistall/install a program my drivers change. SO since drivers are always in flux, is it necessary to make a cd? if so, please tell me why? Is it just so that I wont have to go a manufactures website to download the drivers; but will have it on cd instead? Even if I had a driver cd, I am not sure how I would use it - how to download the drivers? Did you get a packet of papers & discs w/ the computer? no i got the computer second hand. If the computer came w/out discs or any papers w/ useful info, the info about a recovery program on the computer may be in a help file on the computer or on the support web site of the computer's seller or manufacturer.

The cloned image is sort of a combination of a backup and taking a snapshot of how your computer is working today. Only it's a working snapshot when it's restored, which is where the term "clone" comes in. It's sort of like you make a clone of your computer and put it in storage until needed. Since your computer changes - esp w/ all the security updates - plus programs and hardware added/removed you'll probably want to clone it more than once. How often you clone depends on whether you are just backing up your os + settings + programs or whether you are doing a full backup clone including your personal data and how much storage room you have for your clones. It would sort of be like doing restore points. You want to set a restore point before you install a program or change the registry. this is the most helpful advice I have received in a long long time. You also want to set one after you make the change if the change did what you wanted and your system is working well.

As for whether the clone is permanent - windows is never permanent. One of the things I'm trying to figure out is how to go about cloning so that I have a snapshot of a "clean" system w/ the Master File Table in one piece and not fragmented and a "clean" registry, but also keep up w/ the changes so I don't have to install 60+ security updates if I have to do a restore. As we get more experience we may clone our system shortly after a reformat/reinstall, given that I fully expect my system to crash again ( it has only doen so once), what should I ask next time at the computer shop when they are doing a reformatt/reinstall? clone our personal data partitions frequently, and then have a cd w/ the updates scripted so they install themselves. Except by the time I figure that out winxp will be unsupported and I'll either be in win7, win8 or a mac.me too. have you made the switch yet?


Stay well,
SLB




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