Is there a good quality program that does this?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Hugger, Dec 7, 2010.

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  1. Hugger

    Hugger Registered Member

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    What I want to do, in as easy a way as I can, is to take images of my system, and at some point in time, transfer a program/file/folder from the OS as it is today and copy or move it to the original image?
    Example: Let's say that I have just installed CCleaner. It becomes important enough to me that I decide that I want it to be on the original image that I made a couple of years ago.
    How would I do that? Keeping it simple.
    Thanks.
    Hugger
     
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Hugger,

    You can create incremental or differential images. Is that what you mean?
     
  3. crofttk

    crofttk Registered Member

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    As I understand what you're asking for, Hugger, I think you're asking too much, i.e., I would be REALLY surprised if such a software existed.

    Simpler and more reliable from my perspective would be to store archival copies of the install file(s) for the software and (electronic) copies of purchase receipt, licensing info, activation code or whatever info I have that took me from install file to fully activated and plan to install once the original image is restored. That's the only way I'm aware of to avoid the longer route of backing up current, restoring old, installing, re-imaging, and then restoring your current.

    EDITED for typo that made me feel like a real cornball (even though Longboard preserved it for posterity. LOL)
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2010
  4. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    What imaging tool are you using hugger ??

    That is simple solution depending on tools.
    Another good solution.

    Just create new image and file under different name ?? : then you have original and any 'additions' ; .... repeat and delete as required.
     
  5. Nek

    Nek Registered Member

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    Hi Hugger,

    I've looked for the same answer for a very very long time before eventually giving up because most options were just troublesome in one way or another.

    Among some of the options to achieve a freshly imaged and usable system are:
    1) Use an automated program installer such as Zeuapp (http://lifehacker.com/5502751/zeuapp-downloads-82-awesome-open-source-apps) or Ninite (http://lifehacker.com/5388408/ninite-bulk installs-great-free-windows-apps)

    Drawback: These apps only install fresh applications, they do not transfer program settings -- so no program settings are preserved. If you are the type to tweak your programs, this option isn't great because you have to tweak all your apps.

    2) Use custom/unattended Windows installation media (some reading: http://unattended.msfn.org/unattended.xp/view/web/58/)

    Drawback: Programs are updated rather quickly, so your custom installation media gets outdated really quickly. And you have to update your programs manually or any other way you can think of (via task scheduler and Ninite perhaps)

    3) Use portable applications (www.portableapps.com and www.portablefreeware.com to name a few) in conjunction with file extension associators (to overcome file association hassles associated with portable apps in newly imaged/installed operating systems - example: http://portableapps.com/node/15583?page=3) and offline Windows updaters (such as www.autopatcher.com).

    Advantage: All your program settings are not stored in the registry or OS drive, so no clutter. And you can easily move your programs and preserve their settings.

    Drawback: Portable programs are a tad slower to load than installed programs, probably 1-3 secs slower. And some other undocumented (rare to a certain extent) issues such as default browser issues exist. Example issue: If you set a portable browser as your default browser, any links you click on be it on AIM or Windows Live Messenger, will load the default profile instead of yours.

    ---

    I've tested numerous other methods like using virtualisation programs such as Returnil to maintain my OS partition but they were simply too unintuitive.

    The option I've settled with is option 3. With disk imaging (Acronis etc), offline Windows updater (Autopatcher etc), portable apps and file extension associators, I've been able to refresh my OS to an updated yet pristine/usable state with all programs correctly set up and tweaked to my liking in a matter of minutes:

    5 minutes for Acronis
    10-20 minutes for Windows updates
    5 seconds for associating file extensions with my tweaked (and portable) apps

    Hope this helps.
     
  6. Hugger

    Hugger Registered Member

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    Thanks, guys.
    I pretty much had the feeling that I was asking too much.
    But it was worth a try.
    I'll have to keep a separate file of all the pertinent info for programs that are obvious keepers.
    Another question I just thought of is if I buy Office, as an example, I know I'm keeping it, then would it make sense to install that on a copy of the original image and find a way to do an incremental or differential from there to the image currently in use?
    Just a thought.
    And to answer your question, I'm using Shadow Protect Desktop and haven't been able to go with my original idea.
    Thanks.
    Hugger
     
  7. wat0114

    wat0114 Guest

    ShadowProtect lets you mount an image and read and write to it. You can remove or add files to a mounted image. To note, however, it could be very difficult to say the least writing the necessary files, including registry entries, of a working program to an image. I see Hugger you are using SP so I guess you are only interested in writing a program to an image, and not simply a single file like a document or picture, for example. Oh well
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2010
  8. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    Hugger the only program that comes very close to what you want is Symantec Workspace Virtualization. The "Software Virtualization Agent" that is included in the suite is free for home users.

    Panagiotis
     
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