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Backing Up System Files To Slave Drive


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#1 rowal5555

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Posted 19 November 2006 - 06:01 AM

I have been unable to obtain a hard copy of my pre-installed XP Home and was wondering if would be practical to copy vital system files from C:\ to my slave drive which is partitioned in to F/G/H/ and I drives.

I was thinking particularly of the 'system32' files at 543MB and the 'ServicePackFiles/i386' at 383MB. Would these be available to 'sfc' etc if required, or am I wasting my time?

I do have the 'Smart Restore' contents on disks. These were taken off the HDD on advice from the retailer without my realising that they would actually be removed from the C:\ drive, when I was just after a hard copy. They should restore things to original if ever required.

Any thoughts or suggestions appreciated.

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#2 usasma

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Posted 19 November 2006 - 07:01 PM

Are you saying that the retailer made you Restore disks for your system (the Smart Restore thingie)? If so, and if those disks are good - then that's the backup for your OS and it's what you'll use to restore your computer should it ever need it.

Saving the files from the drive won't do you much good - there's no easy way to restore them to your computer, since a new installation will generate new SID (security descriptors) that won't recognize the older ones.

An easier way is to use a program such as Acronis True Image to "image" your disk. This will create an exact copy of your hard disk. Then, at a later date you can restore this image and it will bring you back to the exact state that your system was in when you made the image. Combined with a few simple backup techniques you can have your system back up and running within 20 minutes.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#3 rowal5555

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 12:32 AM

Saving the files from the drive won't do you much good - there's no easy way to restore them to your computer, since a new installation will generate new SID (security descriptors) that won't recognize the older ones.



Thanks usasma.

That's exactly what I was after. The thing that has always annoyed me is the manufacturers refusal to supply a hard copy of the OS. I figure I have paid for the OS and should be entitled to a hard copy. It is all very well having the restore system on the C: drive but, what good is that when the hard drive packs up? (Of course, being a proud SEAGATE owner, that will never happen - touch wood).

Even now, if 'SFC' finds a corrupt file, where is it going to replace it from? I wouldn't be game to use the restore disks as I would probably find myself back to factory condition if I started putting those in.

It's not a major issue, and I now have the disks separately, so will try the image technique. I take it that this will be fine on my slave drive?

Thanks again. Cheers

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#4 usasma

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 08:35 AM

SFC.EXE will prompt you for your installation CD if it needs to recover files that aren't in the cache. So, if you don't have one - you're hosed!

My wife's office has 3 systems this way (no recovery disks at all) - and it's a real PITA when a problem occurs there. I'm working on converting them to copies of XP that I have - but it takes a lot of time to do this (and $'s).

Can you access the restore CD's to see if there's an i386 directory on them? If so, you can point SFC.EXE at it and it should work.

IMO, imaging is the easiest, fastest way to preserve your OS. Once you have the image stored - you can restore it in 20 minutes. The drawbacks are, in part, that it's a very large file and it only includes the data as of the date that you imaged it.

My technique is to setup my PC with all updates and favorite programs. Then I point all of my data, email, and profiles to a separate drive (so the pointers reside in the new install of Windows. That way, when I restore the image, it points to the data on the other drive - which essentially makes my system 100% up to date.

Then I make 2 images. One I keep pristine, and the other I use as an incremental image which is updated daily (I've got a lot of storage space!) That way, I can always go back to a chosen date - and it will automatically point to my storage stuff on the other drive. I also image my other drive on a regular basis.

Edited by usasma, 20 November 2006 - 08:40 AM.

My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#5 rowal5555

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 01:30 PM

Your point about 'SFC' is as I'd thought, and is what really gets up my nose. IMO disks should be provided with every sale, after all, why not??

I am wary about exploring the restore disks as I would imagine they are automatic boot. It could probably be done while the machine is running, but I just have that niggling feeling that there may be some risk of finding myself with a nice new machine when I don't really want one.

Anyway, thanks again for your time. Cheers

Just a thought, why can't I copy the relevant cache to a CD? Then I would have a disk to insert if SFC asked for it, or is this too simplistic?

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#6 DemonSui

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 01:32 PM

You SHOULD be able to, but no promises.
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#7 rowal5555

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 01:38 PM

OK. Can you tell me the exact files I need to copy. Need to be a bit careful in that area.

Cheers

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#8 DemonSui

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 01:52 PM

The I386 folder, and SFC.EXE should be sufficient. but I'm unsure. and copying is not something you should worry about. moving on the oher hand, you should.
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#9 rowal5555

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 01:58 PM

Thanks. I have to go now but am sure I have i386 files in both System32 and in ServicePackFiles\i386. Will check with you later.

Cheers

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#10 DemonSui

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 02:03 PM

yes, you do. if your PC started with SP1 (most likely) then the I386 folder will be out of date when you install SP2.
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#11 rowal5555

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 06:09 PM

I had a yarn to the retailer while I was in town so now have Azureus sucking in an OEM of XP SP2. I have the genuine code on my case so will see how that goes.

Cheers

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#12 DemonSui

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 06:13 PM

I can't make heads or tails of what you're saying, but um.. hope it works?
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#13 usasma

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Posted 21 November 2006 - 08:30 PM

I've heard of others trying the i386 workaround to SFC.EXE - and it hasn't worked for them (haven't tried it myself).
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#14 DemonSui

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Posted 21 November 2006 - 08:32 PM

well, it worked for me when I had XP lol
Let free your emotions so I can destroy them!

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#15 rowal5555

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Posted 21 November 2006 - 08:55 PM

UPDATE.

It took about 6 hours to download XP yesterday. Have just burned the ISO and it looks the goods. All the options show up front so I guess it is just a matter of time now to see if it will fix a problem if one arises. Rightly or wrongly it is a relief to have something physical to put in the CD drive if it is asked for. I guess I can stop muttering about the manufacturer now.

Thanks all.

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