Have I messed up my system?

Discussion in 'FirstDefense-ISR Forum' started by beethoven, Dec 23, 2007.

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  1. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    here is the deal: After installing FISR and working with it successfully for 2 weeks, it was strongly recommended that I should also have an imaging program. So I went to test Shadowprotect, did my first image today, used the restore function via boot-up cd and failed.
    Sofar , no big deal - here is the problem:

    I am running my system on a new drive 80gb, having an old 20 gb drive for data storage and installed a new 300gb for real backups (G). This is where I kept my snapshots from FISR. Since Shadowprotect requires a drive as big as the original drive, my options were limited. I did not want to reboot into my OS, could not reboot in my old HD due to space, so chose to test the image in my new harddrive. I asked before and was told this is fine.

    This data harddrive (G) containing my FISR snapshots is now no longer available, file system is raw and it shows 0 free space and 0 used space. And no, I did not create any partitions beforehand or was asked to do that.

    As a consequence I have lost my original backup snapshots and only have one archive of my virgin installation (OS, FW, AV) stored externally.
    So my first step was to create a new archive of my current system but here I encounter a new problem.
    For reasons unknown FISR seems to be in on the conspiracy, not willing to run the backup. It starts the process with the window coming up "Starting Microsoft Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS) for drive C: and then hangs. I need to kill it via Task Manager and now seems to be without any recovery solution.

    What are my options now? I don't know why FISR is having problems now as I did not use my C; Drive for this test, though the recovery CD used with Shadowprotect installed some windows files.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 23, 2007
  2. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    First lets get terminology clear. Snapshots can only be on the c: drive, and archives can be elsewere.

    Did you ever create a 2nd snapshot on your c: drive. If not, you never had a working FDISR.

    Lets slow down, a bit. Uninstall Shadow Protect from the desktop, and see if you can get FDISR, to make a 2nd snapshot. If not change it to RSS, see sticky above.

    What you've done is sort of confirm my conviction, that test restoring to another drive is meaningless, you have to test restore to the drive you've imaged. FDISR, can protect you on that, but lets take it one step at a time.

    I'll walk you thru it.

    Pete
     
  3. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    Now that the panic has subsided, I have a better understanding of my situation.

    You are quite right with respect to snapshots and I had eventually also realised that. My various snapshots are fine and I have already rolled back to an earlier version. Only my archives (bar one) were on the fatal drive but since the c: drive is still working, all my normal snapshots are still available.
    I have not done a new archive snapshot as I don't have a medium for storage with sufficient capacity at present.

    As for that issue, I should have my big drive back in action later once I deal with it. As far as I understand, due to my silly attempt to restore to it (unpartioned), I wiped out everything on it. So I guess I need to reformat.
    Once this has been done, I can do a test of FISR.

    First though I need to reconfigure my email programs using the backups I have. Having had all emails stored on the data drive instead of the default location was not beneficial this time.

    Conclusion: Not sure if the biggest thread to my computer is not typing these lines. Not sure if I want to continue experimenting with the imaging software but I certainly will not touch any backup drive (partioned or not) when doing so. Having a backup of the backup really came in handy this time. And considering all the above, FISR is really easy to use and certainly made testing easier and less stressful than the imaging software.
     
  4. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Before you format the G: drive, if you need anything on it, you probably can rescue it. Once restoring I accidently deleted the volume of my d: drive as opposed to the c: drive. Acronis Disk Director found the partition and restored it.

    The imaging/restoring is really easy once you get the hang of it. One step at a time.

    Pete
     
  5. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    Not sure if this is necessary. I have not really lost any important data on this drive as I copied the relevant stuff over before. Some files will be lost but off hand I can't remember the details - some download folders or pdf files, not relevant. The annoying thing is to fix the programs operating on c:drive if they are looking for data on the blank drive. One program does not open due to the relevant drive not found. Without opening it, I cannot change the reference to the drive being used.
     
  6. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Now you know why I keep everything on Drive C: and take good care of it.
     
  7. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    What would be the process in trying to recover the drive or data? I suppose it may involve new software? You mention Disk Director and reading some of the other threads re ATI and my current experience, I am very wary of installing anything new.
     
  8. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    In case FDISR fails and it will one day, you can count on that, I have this to save my system partition and data partition :

    1. An off-line external harddisk.
    2. A reliable Image Backup/RESTORE software on CD.
    3. A zero tool to wipe my harddisks on CD to clean the mess.
    4. A partition software on CD, that is able to repair partitions.
    I have a double of each CD and used nothing but quality CD's and DVD's.
    I also have an ISO-image of each CD, to create these CD's over and over again.

    Keep in mind that you need 3. or 4. in case 2. doesn't work and that can happen after a malware attack, that destroyed your partitions in which case your Recovery CD won't work anymore.
    I also stored the most important images on DVD as second backup.

    Since March 2006, I needed my images 4 times to restore my system partition, because FDISR couldn't help me. In all 4 cases the trouble was caused by installing legitimate softwares, it wasn't even malware.
    If you install Baseline Shield of HDS in a snapshot, you will see what happen.
    Baseline Shield loads even before FDISR and I couldn't even boot in my refuge snapshot to save my other snapshot. Disabling Baseline Shield didn't help either.

    I use my IB alot more, but not for saving my system partition, that is the job of FDISR.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2007
  9. beethoven

    beethoven Registered Member

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    Ok, having had a bit of experience with FISR and my current issue with SP, here is what I think now (at present ;) ) and please tell me if I am wrong:

    1. FISR is working fine and to a certain degree I can handle it without shooting myself in the foot
    2. My prime issue is to recover from system corruptions due to software conflicts, bad installs, Windows Update that require a further patch and to a lesser degree malware - for all of this in general FISR should work
    3. I have a number of snapshots to fall back on and should have some archives stored externally for problems with c/drive
    4. I understand that for hardware failure I can not reboot via FISR and will need some time to get back to my original state
    5. Reinstalling the bare windows set-up may take me a few hours and once this is done, I should be able to reinstall a later snapshot from my archives
    6. Forgoing imaging software means I cannot immediately recover from a hardware failure. On the other hand I don't need to learn another software program, rely on images that should be restored to be deemed reliable, risking my perfectly running OS drive and potentially spending hours to get comfortable with this or fixing issues I create myself by doing so.
    7. All relevant data is backed up safely.

    Based on that, would it not be logical (at least for me) to forgo a complicated and somewhat dangerous backup solution in favour of a relatively simple reinstall of the OS with the additional help of FISR?
     
  10. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    When you have an archive of each snapshot and you don't mind re-installing Windows and FDISR manually, then you can restore your SYSTEM completely, if your archives are up-to-date of course.

    If your DATA is also included in archives, then you can restore your data as well,
    otherwise you need a separate backup for your data.

    In fact, I do the same thing, except the manual re-installation of Windows and FDISR. I use ShadowProtect to do that job.
    I use Karen's Replicator (freeware) to backup my data.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2007
  11. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    What I did was install DD, add it to a Bartpe disk and uninstall it, but yes it does require additional software. You will get over the wary feeling as you gain confidence in FDISR
     
  12. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    If time isn't an issue you are absolutly right. Two critical things though. Off disk archives, and safely protecting your FDISR installer image, and key if you have one.

    Pete
     
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