VIEWS: 2 PAGES: 5 POSTED ON: 12/8/2011
PROTECT YOUR SYSTEM!!! If you are going to back up your system it is pointless to only backup your data. You should also backup your software as well. WHY? Several reasons! 1) Restoring software from a backup is a hell of a lot faster than re-installing it. 2) All your user customizations and settings will also be restored. 3) The original installation CD or diskettes may not be available. E.g. freeware and shareware downloaded from the Internet. 4) It may require expert assistance to install some software packages. E.g. some commercial accounting packages. Backing up the disk or partition which has the operating system installed is pretty straightforward. However the restoration process is very far from being straightforward! Let us look at a typical scenario. Fred has a Pentium 200 with a 2Gb hard disk with only one partition (C:). He has Windows 98 installed in the C:\windows directory. He has various software packages installed in their respective directories. He has customized these applications to suit his needs. Where are these setting kept? Ideally (according to Microsoft) they are in the registry. Fat chance! Most applications (32 bit) do save user settings in the registry but still put some in “.ini”, “.dat” or “.cfg” files. Fred decides to do some “experimenting”. He backs up his entire hard disk to tape. (I did mention that he had a tape drive didn’t I?) He reboots to DOS and “FDISK’s” his hard disk and creates two partitions on his hard disk. In the process of doing this he has, of course, effectively deleted everything on his hard drive. No worries! He’s got a backup! Poor Fred! How is Fred going to restore his system? His backup/restore software runs under Windows 98. But he hasn’t GOT Windows 98 any more! Fred has to re-install Windows and then his backup software. In the course of doing this, an entirely new registry is created. Fred now runs his backup application and tries to restore his original system settings. The problem is that the registry is an “open” file and Windows won’t let you over-write it! The same applies to the various system files (dll’s etc.) that are also opened when Windows boots up. In fact, Fred might just as well re-install ALL his applications and only restore his data files! What Fred needs is a backup/restore program that does NOT need Windows to run. This application should run under DOS, be able to restore and backup ALL types of file systems FAT16, FAT32, VFAT, NTFS, HPFS and any future filesystem. It should also be able to handle filenames of any length and directories nested to any depth. No such utility exists you say? There is and it’s called GHOST. What GHOST does is make an Image of the disk or partition. If it understands the filesystem it save it intelligently. If it doesn’t, it simply reads the partition sector by sector and track by track (optionally) compresses it and saves to a network drive, a tape drive or a writable CD. It doesn’t care what is on the disk or partition! Once the image has been made it can be restored to the disk in just a few minutes. Completely restoring the entire disk structure including the partition table and boot sector. This means that there is no need to FDISK or FORMAT the hard disk! CRASH-PROOFING YOUR SYSTEM When you first set up your system consider partitioning your hard drive into at least two partitions. One, (C:\), for the operating system and the other, (D:\), for applications. The C: drive we will call the system drive because it will hold the operating system. The D: drive we will call the Apps drive because it will hold all the applications. The system drive will have DOS, the windows “system” directory and all its subdirectories and no other software whatever except your backup software e.g. Novaback and any utilities that enable the system to read a writable CD (if you have a CD writer installed) The system partition does not have to be very large 600-900Mb is plenty. After all, you are not going to put much on it! 600-900Mb will give you plenty of space for adding more DLL’s and fonts. 1) Install DOS on the system drive. 2) Install your CD-ROM drivers and (if you are on a network) any network client software for DOS . 3) Install GHOST to the system drive. 4) Install Windows 95/98/NT 5) Install all service packs, upgrades etc. 6) Install your backup software to the system drive. This includes any tape driver software and drivers for any removable media. 7) Install your CD writer software (if you have a CD writer) to the system drive. You will notice that no applications except that which are necessary for a backup are installed it this stage. Now run GHOST and make an image of your system partition either to tape, a network drive, a CD or any other removable media. Call this image the BASE IMAGE. This is your last resort backup so put it in a safe place! Next, format a NEW floppy disk with the format command “FORMAT A: /U /S” This will unconditionally format the disk and install the DOS operating system. Copy your network client software (if appropriate) and drivers for your removable media or tape to the floppy. Copy GHOST.EXE the floppy as well. (It will fit!). Label this floppy “GHOST BOOT DISK”. It might be a good idea to make several copies of the boot disk just in case! Check that each disk will boot the PC, you can run GHOST and that the drivers all work. Put these disks in a safe place. If you are feeling adventurous you can now run FDISK and destroy your hard drive. Boot from the GHOST floppy and restore your hard disk from the base image. You will be surprised how fast it will restore your partitions and the operating system! Next install your applications to the APPS partition. Under no circumstances install to the system partition. Using your backup software, backup the apps partition. Some backup software will optionally backup the registry. DISABLE THIS OPTION. Verify the backup. Now run GHOST again and make an image of the system partition again. Save the image to whatever media you use and you are in business! RESTORING THE SYSTEM Now lets get back to poor old Fred. He’s read this marvellously well-written document and seen the error of his ways. He has re-installed everything into the two partitions as described above and copied the image files to tape and backed up all his application software and data files to tape as well. At this point the smoke escapes from his hard drive and all the magnetic material peels off the platters and that pinging noise is the hard drive heads hitting the ceiling! Does Fred worry? No way! With a light laugh Fred dives off to the bank, extracts a hundred bucks and buys a new hard disk from the local computer shop. Fred installs the new hard disk in his system. He sets up the correct parameters in the BIOS (or the BIOS does it for him) and boots from the GHOST boot floppy. In the process the drivers for the tape drive are loaded. Fred now runs GHOST from the floppy (remember he hasn’t even FDISK’d the new hard drive) and restores the C: drive disk image. In a matter of minutes the system partition has been completely restored including the partition table and the boot sector! Fred now removes the floppy and reboots his system to DOS. He runs FDISK to create the D: drive then formats it. Fred reboots again, this time to Windows. There will be various error messages as Windows fires up but Fred cancels these as they appear. Fred now runs his backup software (this is on the system drive remember) and restores all his software from tape. Another reboot and Fred’s system is back up and running EXACTLY AS IT WAS BEFORE THE CRASH. This scenario was applied to a Windows NT workstation. To rebuild the system by re- installing everything: Windows NT workstation, service packs and updates then re- installing all the applications took a day and a half. To do the same job using GHOST with Novadisk with the images and backups coming from a network drive took forty minutes from go to blow!!
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