can i use "files and folder" to backup my OS?

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by loopuz, Sep 10, 2008.

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  1. loopuz

    loopuz Registered Member

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    i would like to backup my OS (windows XP) using the option "files and folders" instead then "entire partition"...
    in other words i would like to select
    the files in C:
    c:windows
    c:documents and settings
    c:programs

    the reason is that my partition c: is very big and include a lot of files that i dont need or are saved already in other ways....

    another solution of course would be to create another partition on the disk and transfer all the files and folders except the OS on that one ....then backup entirely a much smaller C:
    but i cannot do that because some project i have needs some files referenced on C: so changing disk location would create a lot of trouble...

    if i backup XP using the "files and folders" option would i will be able to recover and boot from c eventually?

    thanks
    matteo
     
  2. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    A Files & Folders type backup will not let you restore to a bootable system.
     
  3. loopuz

    loopuz Registered Member

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    Thanks for the answer!
    sorry if i ask more info..but why?

    is there any hidden files in the os that cannot be copied in a normal way...?
    regards
    matteo
     
  4. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    I was wondering about that for a while now and since you asked it spurred me on to try. I had some limited success.

    First I selected Program Files, and Windows folders only - my Documents And Settings folder was too large so I thought I would leave it out. When I booted the restored drive from the backup of those two folders, it came up with the "ntldr missing" error. Dang! <slaps forehead> ... of course that is in the root directory and I didn't include it.

    Next try I included the following files from the root: ntldr, ntdetect, boot.ini, io.sys, and msdos.sys. I don't think I needed the latter two but I didn't try without them and they were small files anyway.

    This booted up Windows but with two errors along the way ... something about the jokewood font missing and another about using a default user. Clicking OK sent the boot process along its merry way. The default user error is understandable since I hadn't included the user subfolder out of the D & S folder. But I got to a Windows desktop, albeit a generic one.

    So it does look like what you want to do is possible. Try it on a spare hard drive.

    I should add that I made the F&F backup using the BartPE flavor of version 9 and Restored with the 2009 Beta CD. Version 9 wouldn't restore correctly ... came up with an error right after clicking Proceed.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2008
  5. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    I would never count on a system restored this way to be stable. Also, if you restore to a new drive, the MBR and the Boot Sector will not be modified by the restore and would have to be fixed by a Windows boot repair.

    In addition, I would expect all kinds of permission errors and other problems. Remember too that TI Full (Linux based) has some problems with permissions and NTFS settings when you restore using Files & Folders. You may have had better success just because you used BartPE and excluded the Documents and Settings folder. (I assume you created the backup from BartPE too.) However, I would not count on that to mean the system can be successfully restored to a usable state. That being said, I haven't tried it. It's possible that you could do a restore of this type and then do a Windows Repair Install if you had too many problems. For me, it's not worth the risk or hassle. Most people want to be back up and running with minimal time and effort.
     
  6. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    I agree entirely ... it was just to satisfy my curiosity about the process being possible at all and to give the OP some ideas. Whole Disk backups are the way to go as far as I am concerned.
     
  7. loopuz

    loopuz Registered Member

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    thanks again for the answer...

    off course whole disk backup is the easiest and safest...but i have a 300gig full disk and only want to backup the OS...

    so back to question...what is so mysterious and metaphysical that would make the system unstable assuming that i backup EVERYTHING that the OS needs, (root files, documents and settings, programs, and windows itself + the MBR and the boot sector) and that i do all these operations outside XP (from a cd)

    what else should i need to make the system stable ?

    and also why i would i always need the MBR and boot sector? imagine i need to restore a older version of the OS on the same working HD, in this case the MBR is still exactly the same...

    also the partition backup system does it save the MBR? if i want to restore a partition created on a hd with 3 partitions on a new hd with single partition will it work?
     
  8. DwnNdrty

    DwnNdrty Registered Member

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    As the Nike commercial says, "Just Do It" .... but to a spare hard drive. LOL. It will require some prolonged use to determine it's stability.
     
  9. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    It appears that your real problem is that the disk is not layed out in the best way for imaging, at least IMO. The partition is the smallest unit an image can deal with so the OS and apps should be in one partition. This way they can be easily and quickly handled without all the other stuff. The other advantage is that you can blow away this partition at anytime and not have to worry about your personal data files which are really what matter since they aren't available elsewhere at any price. You may have to treat folders like My Documents differently though but they can be relocated or avoided (my approach).

    I have a partition for OS and apps - there is no benefit in keeping them separate in most cases because they are so tightly integrated. A separate partition for data and another for large games which does slightly bend the rule about keeping the OS and apps together. Large games like Flight Simulator change very,very little so it makes no sense to keep backing them up with each OS/apps backup. You also have the original install CDs should you need to recover them anyway.
     
  10. loopuz

    loopuz Registered Member

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    i totally agree with that!!!
    all the more recents OS i have set are made in this way....but this OS cannot be changed because some old work projects rely on fact that they are on partition C:
    open these projects on other partitions will cause me a lot of troubles...

    thats why i am obliged to find some other backup solution...
    the projects are already duplicated but i ned a backup for the OS too...

    regards
    matteo
     
  11. MudCrab

    MudCrab Imaging Specialist

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    Are the the large files associated with your projects limited to one or a few unique file extentions? If so, you could use the exclude feature of TI 11 and leave them out of the backup image. I do this on a 250GB drive and get the image down to around 43GB.
     
  12. loopuz

    loopuz Registered Member

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    THANKS!!
    the last suggestion was exactly what i was looking for...
    didnt know this feature of TI
     
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