Disaster Prevention 101

Discussion in 'other software & services' started by root, Sep 15, 2002.

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  1. worldcitizen

    worldcitizen Registered Member

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    I purchased Norton Ghost 2003 2 days ago & backed up my hard drive yesterday on 5 cd's.

    Today I downloaded a program called Zip Genius & when I went to uninstall it I noticed my hard drive spinning continuously for 5 minutes. Then a window appeared saying that XP system files had been replaced by an unknown file.

    I rebooted and I got a black screen saying the windows system root folder was missing!!!

    I booted into Norton ghost using the floppy. Restored the 5 CD's and PRESTO I'm here writing this post!! Incredible!! Amazing!! AWESOME!!

    It takes me about 7 hours to re-install XP & all my software & configurations and my wife would have been very mad if she couldn't access the computer all day tomorrow if I had to do a re-install. IT TOOK NORTON GHOST 2003 33 MINUTES TO RESTORE WHAT TOOK ME 7 HOURS.

    I was thinking about buying DI but the last time I used it I had too many error messages & the new version doesn't allow you to create a floppy boot disk in case of emergencies so what good is it having to wait for a week to get your packaged CD when your computer crashed yesterday. Just not good enough PQ & if their CD gets scratched you're up the creek!

    Also Norton Ghost is far more reliable & much, much faster than DI. This is what I have found from personal experience. Others may feel different.

    I too made the STUPID mistake of relying on registry backups. 1 day you're going not going to be able to access windows & no registry backup will help you then.
     
  2. FukenFooser 007.5

    FukenFooser 007.5 Registered Member

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    :D


    Very informative!!!

    Norton ghost kicked me around untill gave on it, was an unknown copy found in cdrom friends brother gave "old SYS to him.

    Will be back when have more time to read this.

    FOOS league meeting tonight, Need 2 go tell them About opening a CAN on them this year!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    "can o WHOOP -SS"


    l8r

    great post in great place!!!!!!!!!!

    :cool:
     
  3. root

    root Registered Member

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    Thank you.
    I've been thinking that it is time for me to update this thread. Will try to do so soon.
     
  4. tepi

    tepi Registered Member

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    Hi Root:

    Many thanks for a most helpful and informative post. I took your advice, installed winRescue 2000 and Acronis TrueImage, really like them and now feel much more secure.

    For a truly excellent freeware Registry Backup program I've been using ERUNT for some time. It's always worked flawlessly and has gotten me out of many scrapes. Anyone who might be looking for a safe, fast, simple, and easy way of backing up and/or restoring their registry should head right now to the following site and grab a copy of this gem:

    http://www.webattack.com/get/erunt.html

    Cheers,

    tepi.
     
  5. StevieV

    StevieV Registered Member

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    Hi Root

    Firstly, many thanks for an excellent post, I love this forum, once again I have leaned from the knowledge and experience of the people who contribute to it. I read your post some time ago when you posted it and started looking at ways to implement it on my own PC. Unfortunately in my case Mr Coincidence struck and my hard drive, which had been making strange noises for a while, finally ground (quite literally) to a halt 5 days ago. Fortunately all important stuff was backed up so I didnt lose any data but fitting a new HDD and reinstalling Windows and all the programs still took some 6 hours. Guess what - I am now the proud owner of Acronis TrueImage and it works great, so if disaste srikes again I will be well prepared. If only my HDD could have lasted another 2 or 3 days it would have saved me hours. Ho Hum.
    Thanks once again Root and best wishes to you.

    Steve
     
  6. root

    root Registered Member

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    Thanks Steve. Acronis just saved me a lot of heartache two days ago, when I installed a new mouse driver from Logitech and had problems with it. I uninstalled the new driver and lost the mouse. No pointer on the screen at all. Could not get it back, no matter what I tried.
    Booted to my Acronis CD, installed my latest image and was going in 10 minutes. Too bad more people don't take this simple precaution.
    I also learned the hard way about hard drives and what happens when they get noisey. I now copy my images to another computer drive on my lan. Easier than using several CDs.
    Soon most will be able to back up to DVDs and can get a large image on just one DVD.
     
  7. Grasshopper

    Grasshopper Registered Member

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    Hey Root ,

    Thanks for answering a question just before I was going to ask it :) :) :) I was wondering if there was such a program out there that allowed a person to copy a complete partition and now I know there is I'll have to give it a try . ( not hard to tell I'm new to this stuff )
    When you think about it though it just makes sense to be able to do such a thing :D :D :D.
    Great post Root
    Thanks ,
    Frank
     
  8. Cyborg

    Cyborg Registered Member

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    How does WindowsXP System Restore work? Does this back up registry files also? If I load up a demo or full game and decide I don't like it will it still remove every file associated with the game/programme, in the same way as you have described in the method that you use to ensure your PC does not become cluttered with redundant files. Thanx.
     
  9. Pilli

    Pilli Registered Member

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    Cyborg, System restore is just that, it restores the system files to such a time as you select but it does not remove your documents, favorites or even your latest emails. Having said that any programmes installed after the chosen restore point will be lost.

    HTH Pilli
     
  10. LowWaterMark

    LowWaterMark Administrator

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    Hi Cyborg,

    One clarification on using System Restore. It is not meant to be used as an uninstaller on its own. It will not delete all the bits and pieces of an installed application from a system...

    What System Restore does is it restores the system files and registry back to the way they were at the point in time you are restoring back to. A valuable function to be sure, especially the part where the registry is restored cleanly. But, there are utilities available that are meant specifically for doing clean uninstalls. Total Uninstall is a good one, and it was mentioned previously in this thread.

    FYI - These points in time that you can restore your system back to are called "restore points" in System Restore terminology.

    However, if you want to use System Restore as part of cleaning off a bad or undesired install, then first you need to have made a restore point right before installing the product. Right after installing and testing the product, if you decide to remove it, then run the product's uninstaller first! After that, use System Restore to roll back your system files and registry to the restore point you made right before install.

    This will ensure that your system files and registry will be as they were prior to that bad install. But, if you do use System Restore as a part of uninstalling software, be aware that every change made to your system files and registry, from the moment you made the restore point you are using, will all be lost (undone). So don't use System Restore to roll back if you've also made a lot of other system changes that you want to keep after you made that restore point.
     
  11. HiSpeedV

    HiSpeedV Registered Member

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    Hi Root.

    Excellent post. Really enjoy reading it. As a matter of fact, I have learned a lot from reading your posts and other posters' posts on this subject. I think it is a great idea to have backup to fall back on when disaster hits.

    I really like to create the disk image from DOS and restore it from DOS if disaster hits. I have heard of WinRescue, but I still have to go into Windows in order to have WinRescue restores the image, correct me if I am wrong, which I don't like so much. The reason being is because if Windows is screwed up and I can't get back into Windows then that kind of renders my disk image useless.

    I am running Windows 98. I guess I don't have the luxury of Windows XP where I could rely on Restore Point.

    If you know of any such DOS program, please kindly post the link.

    Best regards,

    HiSpeedV.
     
  12. NanDog

    NanDog Registered Member

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    root, although your post is what, nearly 18 months old? (here on 2/12/04), you have a bunch of most excellent suggestions. In fact I just printed out your original post! Muchas Gracias (and to all the subsequent posters)! Only been hanging out here at Wilders for a month or so but your post is why I'm here! :cool:
     
  13. melmcbee

    melmcbee Guest

    Can someone suggest what to use if your cd doesn't copy. I desperately need to backup everything and I believe all of these programs use a zip or cd writer. I have a new Dell 4600 and Windows XP. I have a ton of protection programs on here but nothing to back up with. I need it explained in newbie terms please. And thanks for being here and helping those of us who are trying to learn :)
     
  14. Valkyri001

    Valkyri001 Registered Member

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    :DNow i'm sure i'm in the right place. But..?
    does scanregw do the same thing keeping backups everyday whereever iwant?
     
  15. Lewis

    Lewis Registered Member

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    Thanks to all of you who take the time to share and post this great information. I read about Acronis in this post a couple of weeks ago. I did a trial then bought Acronis 7. A few days later I needed to restore an image which saved my life.

    Thanks, Lewis :D
     
  16. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

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    Windows 9x/ME users should consider XXCopy, a souped up version of the DOS XCopy command which can copy whole disks with the /clone switch (see here for more details on this). It is free (with a Pro version offering a few extra features).

    Windows 2000/XP users need to use drive imaging software - in addition to the programs mentioned previously (Acronis, DriveImage and Ghost) I would like to recommend Drive Snapshot. It runs in Windows and can back up a partition in the background (even an active boot partition) while you do other things and the executable is only 140K so you could put it on a floppy. It can be trialled first - and the trial version has unlimited restore capability (the backup function is time-limited - cheapskates could just download it every month though :D ).
     
  17. Stro

    Stro Registered Member

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    Thanks to root for starting this excellent thread. I have two questions. FYI, I'm running Windows XP Home on two new PCs and I've downloaded ERUNT registry backup.

    Question 1: Imaging
    I've been saved two times by Roxio GoBack on my old Win98 PC and now I have Norton GoBack Personal Edition (it comes with Norton SystemWorks 2004 which I've loaded on both PCs). Given that I have GoBack installed, do I need an Imaging program such as Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image 7.0? It seems like a duplication of protection, but perhaps I'm not seeing clearly.

    Question 2: Uninstalling
    I understand the Control Panel Add/Delete function in Windows simply utilizes the uninstall .exe file that was installed with the software. How clean the software uninstalls, therefore, is totally a function of how well the .exe uninstall program was written. As I said, I have NSW 2004 installed on my two PCs. As you may know, NSW contains a CleanSweep function which monitors program installs. You may also uninstall programs through CleanSweep. My questions here are:
    -- Am I safe in assuming NSW CleanSweep is superior to Windows Add/Delete because NSW tracks every bit of the installation, therefore can uninstall every bit of the software?
    -- Are other installation tracking / deletion programs out there superior to NSW Cleansweep. I saw LowWaterMark mentioned Total Uninstall.

    Thanks for the continuing flow of good information.
    Regards,
    Stro
     
  18. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

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    1. Imaging should be seen as a complement to the likes of GoBack - it involves taking a complete backup of your system onto another disk and can help you recover from disk failure (which GoBack cannot) and any catastrophic data corruption. It can also greatly speed the process of moving your programs and data when you upgrade your PC.
    2. I use CleanSweep myself (from SystemWorks 2001 - later versions simply stripped functions from it) and would make the following comments on it:
      • CleanSweep does track all files added during an installation and can therefore do a better job than many programs' own uninstallers in clearing files. However when monitoring it will also include files created by any other running application (this can for instance include firewall or anti-virus configuration/log files). This means that you have to check every uninstall carefully to ensure that it only covers files for the application you are uninstalling - I find it best to check the .CIL file created by CleanSweep after each installation and edit out such third party files with Notepad.
      • Files added after installation by the program (e.g. saved games, configuration files) will not be picked up by CleanSweep - however most programs do create such files in their Program Files folder which is normally deleted by CleanSweep.
      • CleanSweep does not handle the Windows Registry - you will need to rely on other tools (not least RegEdit) to clear out junk here. For this reason, I would advise you use the normal uninstall function first, then CleanSweep and finally your favourite Registry cleaners when removing a program.
     
  19. root

    root Registered Member

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    Of course nothing is perfect, so when and where feasable I simply try to get as close to perfection as I can. The perfect solution is to have an external drive used to back up images with daily updates and disconnect the drive when not in use. An image is far superior to a go-back type situation because too many times I have read when people try to go back, the problem is still there. I finally broke down and bought an external USB2 hard drive for storing images and some other important backup information. I know that is expensive and not everyone has the cash to spend on something like that, so whatever you can do to get as close to that scenario as possible is what you would want, I think.
    One thing to be aware of is that True Image does not work perfectly on every machine and neither does Ghost, so whatever program you choose, test it to make sure it will work when needed.

    I used Cleansweep for years, but somewhere along the way it seemed to lose its edge. I now use Total Uninstall for installing most programs, and I am a big fan of RegSupreme from Macecraft for cleaning the registry.

    BTW, I am still a big fan of WinRescue and now, I believe it has the ability to create image backups, but I have not tried this so I would not recommend doing that without some testing.
     
  20. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

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    It doesn't have to be that expensive - an external enclosure (like those listed here - you can probably get lower prices elsewhere though) allows you to hook up standard EIDE discs costing less than $1/GB via USB2 or FireWire.

    For imaging software, I have recommended Drive Snapshot and anyone considering TrueImage should check this out also (it can fit on a floppy). Norton Ghost and PQ DriveImage do have their own issues (Ghost needs to shutdown Windows and run from DOS, DriveImage has other problems and with Symantec at the helm will most likely get a lot worse) so really should be out of the running for those wanting hassle-free imaging.

    With regard to PowerTools/RegSupreme, I have to say that I was really turned off when I found out that older free versions of jv16 PowerTools had a timebomb in the code expiring it (and forcing you to upgrade to the non-free version). This tactic has put me off any other programs by the same author so I would suggest an alternative like RegSeeker (free for personal use).

    Thanks for the pointer to Total Uninstall - I'll check that one out.
     
  21. gkweb

    gkweb Expert Firewall Tester

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    Hi, thanks for the infos paranoïd !

    I am currently using Ghost from Symantec, what in your opinon Drive Snapshot
    has more than Ghost ?
    Oh and I am lazy to search on their website, how much does it cost too ?

    Ghost has always worked fine, but I want a rock solid backup software, so if Snapshot is better, why not :)

    Thanks.

    gkweb.
     
  22. ronjor

    ronjor Global Moderator

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    Hello Paranoid2000

    I have Regcleaner 4.3 and Regseeker on my XP machine.

    Regcleaner 4.3 still works. I don't know if you can find it anymore.

    Regseeker is beta software. It really digs deep in the registry. You do have to be careful though, it can be too aggressive causing a big Windows headache if you know what I mean. :)
     
  23. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

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    The problem with Ghost is that it has to run from DOS so you cannot have a backup running while you do other things. Drive Snapshot runs in Windows itself and at a low priority so you can use other applications.

    If any application writes to a file, Snapshot intercepts this and backs up the file (if it has not already done so) before allowing the write to proceed so there will be no issue about file consistency - the image will be of your system at the time you started Snapshot. The only case where problems may arise will be with applications that bypass Window's file access APIs to write directly to disk (MS SQL Server is one example I believe, Norton Speedisk may be another).

    The email version costs 39EUR but you can download a trial copy first to see how it works (time limited backup, unlimited restore).
     
  24. Paranoid2000

    Paranoid2000 Registered Member

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    I did use RegCleanr a while back so I may have it on a backup somewhere (I keep copies of everything I download for disaster recovery purposes). It sounds as if the time-limit was added when it became jv16 Power Tools.
    Agreed - but I noticed the same with PowerTools also. It would, for instance, flag Windows Media Player entries as obsolete since these entries had the media player filename with extra parameters specified - suggesting that it was (incorrectly) including the parameters as part of the filename, not finding a corresponding file and therefore deciding that the registry entry was an orphan.
     
  25. slim30097

    slim30097 Registered Member

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    Very interesting - prevention against disaster. Just joined the forum yesterday & was quite pleased to see this thread at the top of page one - a fitting location. Members taking that much time & effort to inform others of the importance of backups and system security are "good folk". I also use disk image software but backup on an external hard drive for business purposes (the tax deduction makes it more affordable).

    Software selection can be personal so I won't bore anyone with a long list of preferred software. The advice on security software should be heeded by all PC users. A firewall, AV scanner and two spyware scanners should be considered the bare minimum for security purposes. That is easily affordable - there is excellent freeware available for everything but the firewall. Prevention security such as BHO preventers & spyware blockers are also free & available to anyone with an internet connection. Encryption software is a good idea for sensitive files.

    Quality freeware is also available for disk & registry cleaners, startup managers, etc., etc.

    For registry backup, I have been using erunt. It is free & seems to be highly recommended. I have not used the restore function personally & hope I don't need it but reigstry backups are a must. I simply don't want to take the time to perform backup images daily - weekly or every other week is adequate for my current volume.

    As Root so competently pointed out, prevention is not that expensive for anyone willing to take the time & effort.

    Best thread I can remember with good advice & suggestions from several members. Thanks for the education.

    Slim
     
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