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Backing up Windows XP for Disaster Recovery

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#1 jebster


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Posted 12 March 2012 - 01:22 AM

I'm running Windows XP SP3 Home Edition on my Dell PC. I've never partitioned my drive, so all of my system files are on my C: drive. I would like to (probably in this order) ; a: Back up my system files onto DVDs as a disaster recovery system restoration contingency before partitioning my drive, b: Partition my drive so that Windows system files have their own partition separate from my documents and other files, c: create another partition for a Linux Distro, d: Download Linux OS onto the separate partition created for it. I have downloaded Easeus Partition Master Home Edition and the Easeus Todo backup program, and have a couple of Linux DVD's to load up from. I'm a somewhat newbie to lets say intermediate level IT Tech stuff, and after having plodded through enough research to be able to form these questions I am not clear on how to proceed. ( You know how it is, most of the answers you find from google-ing a topic do not quite fit all of the particulars of your situation, leaving you scratching your head).



Edited by jebster, 12 March 2012 - 01:24 AM.

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#2 Tsh00ter


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Posted 15 March 2012 - 08:40 PM

I would strongly suggest a second harddrive in a USB enclosure with the same or bigger size than the main one you are using right now. You can use it as a sandbox - set the jumper to master and partition it the way you like using Disk Management (compmgmt.msc) or your new Easeus software - whatever you like.

Then install XP on the new small partition on the external - that partition must be big enough to hold the OS and the pagefile (1.5 to 2x base memory + OS Size) times two is a good rule of thumb. The second and third partition can be equal sizes depending on how large you want the Linux partition to be. In any case non-primary partitions can be resized.

After you have formatted the partitions and installed the OS on the first(XP) and third(Linux) partitions you can reboot from the external drive (or simply swap out disks placing the external in the system as master and the current master as the external - both jumpers must be set to master or the external is not recognised) and create a user on the new XP installation, pointing the data store to the second new partition. How-to: http://www.tech-recipes.com/rx/1409/move-your-documents-and-settings-username-profile-off-of-the-c-drive/

You could even reconsider making a fourth partition where you store all your non-OS programs - up to you.

In any case after you have installed all the additional software you need (some no doubt from the original disk) and you have copied over your data from the old disk to the new disk location you can start testing your "sandbox".

When satisfied with your XP-setup goto work on Linux by booting from the third partition. Make a nice VM which allows access to your new data store for example. If you are all done you can choose to keep the complete configuration as is or swap out the drives again and go back to the old situation. In any case everything starts with getting a good external disk in a USB-enclosure.

Bottom line is you can fiddle all you want and go back instantly if you wind up in an undesirable situation. Make sure you do your backups on removable media, not some separate partition on the same medium to avoid a single point of failure.

Work ESD-safe when handling, swapping and storing harddrives. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrostatic_discharge

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