New FD-ISR user - Can anyone help with these questions?

Discussion in 'FirstDefense-ISR Forum' started by zoril, Jul 18, 2007.

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  1. zoril

    zoril Registered Member

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    Hi everyone:)

    Can anyone help me with these questions?

    I am currently trialling FD-ISR. I have a limited technical knowledge re computers. Before posting I read the manual and a number of posts in the forum here + the faqs. However I am a little confused about a few points. Any help, tips or advice, will be much appreciated:-

    1.) Can you tell me what is the difference between creating a new snapshot and creating a new archive? I read about both in the manual, but am still unclear. Which would you recommend me to do, or should I do both? Should I base this on the primary, or secondary snapshot, or does it not matter?

    2.) I also want to create a new snapshot based on my exact current configuration rather then when I first installed FD-ISR the other day. What should I do? I know to use the actions/copy/update snapshot. I am then given the choice of chosing either my primary or secondary snapshot (which I initially created), followed by new,new compressed, or new archive. Will this not simply copy what is previously there, rather then what is my current configuration, with the new downloads, programs etc?

    3.) Do you recommend compression or not re snapshots? I know that it makes the image smaller, but does it serve any other purpose?

    4.) I read about freezing. Do you recommend freezing either the primary, secondary snapshot, or both? I know by doing this that if I boot using this frozen snapshot any changes will be discarded. By doing so would this mean that if I want a new snapshot with current data, I could not use use the actions/copy/update snapshot from any frozen snapshots for this purpose? If I freeze both the primary and the secondary snapshot, how would I create a new current snapshot based on changes since the frozen snapshot was created?

    5.) I read somewhere about creating a rescue disk re the mbr. Is there an option with FD-ISR to do so, or is the only way by using the recovery console with the WindowsXP installation CD. I read about how to do this and the fixmbr.

    6.) Do you recommend updating the primary snapshot, freezing it, or neither, or only making changes for the secondary one?

    7.) Will using Diskeeper for defragmenting create any problems when using FD-ISR? I read about other different products where there are compatability issues.

    Any replies or additional tips for a newbie will be most appreciated...

    Howard
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2007
  2. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Hi Howard and welcome to the club.

    1) The main differences between snapshot and archive is :
    a. You can boot in each snapshot and you need minimum 2 snapshots and you can go upto maximum 10 snapshots.
    b. You cannot boot in an archive (.arx-files) and the number of archives is unlimited. If you want to boot in an archive,
    you have to restore the archive in a new snapshot first and then you can boot in the new snapshot.

    2) When you install FDISR, FDISR creates the primary snapshot based on your actual harddisk/partition [C:].
    The primary snapshot is your WORK snapshot in which you will daily work.
    Then FDISR asks you to create the secondary snapshot, which is at that moment a copy of your primary snapshot.
    The secondary snapshot is your ROLLBACK snapshot in case something goes wrong in the primary "WORK" snapshot.

    3) If you have enough space, you don't really need compressed snapshots.
    If space is a problem, you might need compressed snapshots. The choice is upto you.
    If I was you I would start with normal snapshots, because these compressed snapshots create alot of blue files in Windows Explorer.

    4) Since you are pretty new to FDISR, don't work with a frozen snapshot yet, because that is a total different world and more a pain, than anything else. So forget about Freeze/Unfreeze. Wait until you are an experienced user.
    Using a frozen snapshot is a very bad way to learn FDISR.

    5) The latest version = FirstDefense-ISR Professional version 3.20 Build 202
    This version does NOT use the MBR (Master Boot Record) anymore, it uses the PBR (Partition Boot Record).
    This version is also compatible with Windows VISTA.

    Don't go too fast, because you can't learn FDISR in just one day.
    It's a brilliant piece of software, very simple to work with, but you have to learn HOW to use it in your benefit and according your wishes.
    Almost every FDISR-users uses FDISR in a different way and you have to find YOUR way and that takes some time. :)

    P.S.: other members might answer the other questions, because I'm running out of time.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2007
  3. Bio-Hazard

    Bio-Hazard Registered Member

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    Hello!

    I dont have mucj to add to Eriks post.

    7) You should be careful when using defraggers while using FDISR. It can have affect on FDISR. Atleast you should exclude FDISR folder from the defragger. There are lot people here who have used several defraggers with FDISR without any problems, maybe they can give you better answer.

    Welcome to the FDISR happy family! :cool:
     
  4. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Howard,
    After installing FDISR, you have TWO snapshots and this is the absolute minimum.
    Never use ONE snapshot, because that kills the main function of FDISR : Immediate System Recovery (ISR).

    1. The primary snapshot is your WORK snapshot.
    2. The secondary snapshot is your ROLLBACK snapshot.

    When you install a new software in your WORK snapshot and you don't like it and want to get rid of it, you do this :
    1. boot in your ROLLBACK snapshot.
    2. copy/update from ROLLBACK snapshot to WORK snapshot.
    3. Reboot in your WORK snapshot.
    After that your WORK snapshot = ROLLBACK snapshot and the new software is GONE in your WORK snapshot as if it was never installed.
    Try and test this out, so that you can see how it works, because you will do this alot in the future.

    When you install a new software in your WORK snapshot and you like it and want to keep it, you do this :
    1. Copy/update from WORK snapshot to ROLLBACK snapshot.
    After that the new software is also installed in your ROLLBACK snapshot and of course in your WORK snapshot.

    When you install a new software in your WORK snapshot and this software corrupts your WORK snapshot, then you do this :
    1. Reboot your computer and press the F1-key on the FDISR Splash Screen.
    2. Choose the ROLLBACK snapshot and boot in it.
    3. Copy/update from ROLLBACK snapshot to WORK snapshot, which will restore the corrupted WORK snapshot
    4. Reboot in your WORK snapshot and you can work again as nothing happened.
    Sometimes I got a BSOD, while I was testing a new software or even worse, I couldn't boot in Windows anymore.
    This is not a problem anymore when you work with FDISR.

    You can do alot more with FDISR, but again don't try everything at once or it will be very confusing. Try to understand the advantage of using a WORK and ROLLBACK snapshot first and how it can save you if you are in trouble.

    P.S.: The FDISR-manual is sometimes out-of-date and also the FAQ on the website is sometimes out-of-date. If you have questions about the manual, just ask away. We all were newbies once and our goal is to help everyone.
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2007
  5. zoril

    zoril Registered Member

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    Firstly thanks very much to you both for your replies. I have been out and am just back or would have replied sooner...

    Eric your answers have cleared up a number of points for me. I am very grateful to you for the clear concise explanations. I will definitely take your advice re avoiding freeze until I am more savvy with the program. Even then I may not use it unless I really need it. Also taking things slowly is very sound advice.

    Your help will definitely mean that I will hopefully not make silly errors that could mess up my system. From what you say I can also avoid making multiple snapshots which is something that I might have done.

    It would seem for everyday use 2 or at the very most 3 should more then suffice perhaps work/rollback and test. Is that what the majority of users would go for? Two may well be enough though - switching between both in the manner that you mentioned. My only reason for a third would be in case I copied either work to rollback, or rollback to work, then discovered a month later that there was some big problem that did not manifest itself for some weeks. The third snapshot would be one I never used or changed which would contain the same settings as the very first install of FD-ISR and that I knew to be 100% ok...

    I have now exported the secondary snapshot to an external hardrive. It was saved as secondary snapshot.arx. From what you say I assume .arx to be archive. If I ever need to use that backup (say if there was a hard drive failure), I guess I can just import it from the external drive then boot using it?

    Re my last point - Has anyone here who uses FD-ISR ever used Diskeeper. If so have you ever had a problem? This could be a costly error if I made a mistake. If so did you exclude the FD-ISR folder as Ciderman suggested as a precaution?

    I take it that there is not a create rescue disk option as such re the mbr using the program? I didn't see one in the manual. Mind you Eric if the latest version doesn't use the mbr as you stated, then it shouldn't be necessary anyway:)

    I will also avoid compression as I have plenty of free space.

    Your help has been really great. I am already very much a convert to using FD-ISR, despite my distinct lack of knowledge. There will be a lot of learning for me re the program, which is most definitely encouraged by your responses in this excellent forum..

    Thanks again,

    Howard
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2007
  6. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Export/Import can be used to Archive/Restore snapshots, but I never use them myself, which are more designed for archiving/restoring snapshots on DVD/CD.
    I don't recommend using DVD/CD's : too slow, too risky and no updating of existing archives possible.

    1. For archiving, I use copy/update from snapshot to new archive
    You can also copy/update from snapshot to existing archive, which will update the existing archive and this is really fast.

    2. For restoring, I use also copy/update from existing archive to snapshot.

    Also check Tools/Options/Archives where you can define the path, where your archives are stored.
    All archives stored in that path (drive + folder) will be visible on the main screen of FDISR.

    For instance :
    In Tools/Options/Archives, I specified an alternate archive location :
    G:\FirstDefense Archives

    "G:\" is my external harddisk
    "FirstDefense Archives" is the folder on my external harddisk, where all my archives are stored.

    If I turn ON my external harddisk and I open FDISR, I can see my archives and use them
    as source snapshot or destination snapshot during copy/update.
    If I turn OFF my external harddisk, I can't see my archives anymore.

    I couldn't find the function "create rescue disk" in the latest version of FDISR anymore and that is logical, because the latest version doesn't need the MBR anymore.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    This is also VERY IMPORTANT : copy/update from SOURCE SNAPSHOT to DESTINATION SNAPSHOT
    The source snapshot ALWAYS decides what the destination snapshot will be.
    After copy/update the DESTINATION SNAPSHOT = SOURCE SNAPSHOT.
    So the copy/update creates always identical snapshots and pay attention when you are choosing the source and destination snapshot/archives before you execute the copy/update.

    If you have questions, just ask and remember "Stupid questions don't exist, only stupid answers do exist."
    Besides me, there are enough members in this forum with enough knowledge and experience to help you out.
     
  7. zoril

    zoril Registered Member

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    That again is most useful advice Eric...

    This is probably going to sound a very silly question, but say I load Windows and download some software how can I tell if the downloaded software will be in the snapshot or not, without making a completely new snapshot?

    Do I need to do a copy update first? Currently my Primary snapshot and Secondary snapshot are both the same based on the first install of First Defence-ISR.

    In a nutshell how do I update my primary snapshot to include the new installs downloads etc? Do I need to boot into the primary snapshot first?

    I am probably wording this very badly.

    Your help is most appreciated.


    Howard
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2007
  8. stapp

    stapp Global Moderator

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    You are not wording it badly, we all asked the same questions!
    Five minutes ago I copy/updated my primary to the secondary to make them the same.

    My primary snapshot is where I am typing this to you. I am also downloading some software I want to try out at the same time.

    I will try the software out and if I like it, and it causes no problems, I will do another copy/update from primary to secondary, then it will be there as well.

    If however the software causes problems, or I don't like it, I will boot into my secondary snapshot (either by boot to snapshot, in actions in the gui, or by rebooting and choosing secondary from the splashscreen) and copy/update my primary from the secondary. This would mean the software would vanish from the primary as secondary never had it. Then I would boot back to primary.

    Everything you do in your work/primary snapshot stays there, virus updates, downloads, emails addresses, stay there unless YOU wipe them out by copy/updating from another snapshot which didn't have them.

    I update my secondary at the end of each day, and my archive of primary once a week. But that is what suits me.:)

    I think of primary as my real world and secondary as my retreat when things go wrong.
     
  9. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    To follow up on stapp. I keep a stripped down secondary, that is just there as a place to boot. I use an archive as my 2nd snapshot so to speak. I then update the archive frequently, and if I want to undo something in my primary snapshot, I boot to the secondary, and do a copy from the archive to the primary.

    I do this because updating an archive is much quicker.

    Pete
     
  10. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Howard,
    Everything what you did or installed in the primary "work" snapshot will stay in the snapshot, like dear member "Stapp" said.

    If you don't want the new software(s), you do this :
    1. Boot in the secondary "rollback" snapshot
    2. Copy/Update FROM secondary "rollback" snapshot TO primary "work" snapshot.
    This will remove the installed new software(s)
    3. Boot back in the primary "work" snapshot and continue with your work.

    FDISR is a guaranteed 100% uninstaller and removes EVERYTHING during the copy/update without any trace.
    Before I used FDISR my harddisk was full of junkfiles and registries, which were not removed by the software uninstallers.
    Now I have a clean harddisk and a clean registry.

    If you like the new softwar(s), you do this :
    1. Copy/Update FROM primary "work" snapshot TO secondary "rollback" snapshot
    So everything that has been tested and approved by you put it in the rollback snapshot.
    The rollback snapshot is a kind of collection of all the good and tested softwares, while your work snapshot is used for testing these software or just for working and playing, if you don't install anything.
    If something goes wrong in the work snapshot you can save it with the rollback snapshot.


    Some users don't use a rollback snapshot anymore, they use an archive of the primary snapshot as rollback snapshot and they use the secondary snapshot as a refuge snapshot, when something goes wrong in the work snapshot.
    FDISR starts with a work and rollback snapshot, because that's good for learning FDISR, but you don't have to do it this way.
    Experienced users start "improvising", but all these improvisations are based on the same copy/update function between snapshots/archives and snapshots/archives. :)

    Question : do you have an Image Backup software and which one ?
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2007
  11. zoril

    zoril Registered Member

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    Hi there:)))

    Again many thanks everyone for the replies and very useful advice...

    Eric I have Acronis True Image version 8 - I don't use recovery startup manager with it so it doesnt use the mbr. I only have the one partition on the computer and tend to use ATI for complete disk copy only. I never upgraded ATI to the new version as I don't need the additional stuff in V9 or V10 and won't switch to Vista for at least 2 years.

    As I now intend to use FD-ISR for everyday tasks, I can simply use ATI as an emergency backup - in the case of Windows failure etc. I can then use the ATI rescue disk to get the system up and running, then boot using F1 to load my up to date configuration with FD-ISR...

    Eric's timely advice helped me earlier when one of the images I created must have been corrupted. When I booted using my "test" image, it loaded ok but showed with a red X in the taskbar. I simply rebooted using the primary "work" image and used the copy command to copy the primary snapshot to the test one. On rebooting the test image all was fine, so I now have a spare copy of my up to date primary snapshot:)

    Stapp's analogy "I think of primary as my real world and secondary as my retreat when things go wrong" is a good way to look at it, as is Erics "work"
    "rollback" concept.

    I am learning more about the program each day. Peter's way of updating the archive also makes a lot of sense, although to be honest I am still a little unclear about archiving and the best way to use it. To date I only archived once to my external hard drive.

    If I create an archive (.arx) I know that I can't boot from it, but can I copy or import it to either my primary or secondary snapshot, overwriting it, or does it need to be copied to a completely new snapshot to make it bootable?

    I just ran a defrag on my C:\ drive using Diskeeper. There were no problems with FD I am glad to say. I was quite worried about doing this..

    Next I want to make another ATI complete disk image. I may try this without disabling the preboot in FD. In my setup I don't believe that True Image uses the mbr, so hopefully I will get a complete backup of the current existing configuration that when used won't mess up FD-ISR - Fingers crossed!

    Thanks again everyone...

    Howard:)
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2007
  12. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Since you are not going to use compressed snapshots, you can do all these copy/updates :
    1. FROM any existing snapshot TO new snapshot
    2. FROM any existing snapshot TO new archive
    3. FROM any existing snapshot TO any existing snapshot
    4. FROM any existing snapshot TO any existing archive
    5. FROM any existing archive TO new snapshot
    6. FROM any existing archive TO any existing snapshot
    And keep in mind that the source snapshot/archive decides what the destination snapshot/archive will be.
    The copy/update wizard will give you only valid possible source or destination snapshots/archives.


    I have been working with combination "Acronis True Image + FirstDefense-ISR" for more than a year and ATI never failed to restore my harddisk, including all snapshots. It's a very good and reliable combination.
    You don't have to disable the pre-boot, I never did this during backup or restore.
    Keep in mind that when you disable the pre-boot, you also kill the Immediate System Recovery function of FDISR. So avoid to disable the pre-boot, because you might forget to enable it on a crucial moment.

    NEVER trust a new software, even when the software is legitimate and/or recommended by other people and FDISR will be a big help to test these new softwares first.

    FDISR is a real TROUBLESHOOTER, not in words but in DEEDS and it saved me and other users many times and without requiring knowledge. You don't know this yet, because you are new to FDISR, but one day you will experience how good FDISR really is.
    Windows System Restore is a JOKE compared with FDISR. Most Microsoft applications are mediocre and there is always a BETTER third-party-software.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2007
  13. stapp

    stapp Global Moderator

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    Zoril, there will be a time when you will remember Eric's words and realise he spoke the truth.

    Welcome to the FD club :)
     
  14. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    AMEN!!!
     
  15. Bio-Hazard

    Bio-Hazard Registered Member

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    Hello!

    FDISR have saved my bacon several times. :thumb: It also have made testing software so easy and simple.
     
  16. zoril

    zoril Registered Member

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    Hi again all:)

    I did a complete image restore using ATI. I am delighted to say that everything was great in that all the settings, snapshots etc for FD-ISR worked fine...

    My only problem related to all my Favorites disappearing from IE7 alongside an inability to "Add to Favorites". I tried loading the 3 different FD snapshots with the same result. Clearly my problem occured somewhere during the ATI complete disk backup..

    However I didn't find this to be too serious a problem. I had kept a backup of all my Favorites on my external hard drive and had read an article on firstly how to change the Favorites location to one of my choice, + secondly how to make the necessary changes to the registry using regedit to point to the new location where I had moved my Favorites to. All works fine now, maybe better even then before, as I find it handy to have a desktop folder for I.E. Favorites:)

    Erik it is great to be able to copy/update with almost any combination using the wizard. This shows a great deal of flexibility with the program. Moreover only valid destinations being showed, should mean that copying hopefully will never be a problem, as it will not be possible to copy a snapshot/archive to an invalid location and ruin the snapshot:)

    From everything that has been said here and from what I have read, Windows failure apart, FD-ISR should be my answer to almost all backup situations. ATI I can use as a "last line" should Windows fail and should I need the complete disk backup, but that apart I see myself using FD-ISR most of the time with periodic complete disk backups using ATI!

    I can certainly see even in the short time that I have used FDI-ISR that the program has incredible potential for me. I have still much to learn, so will definitely spend more time using the program on a daily basis before even looking at freezing/anchoring etc. I may well end up not needing to use those facilites, but I will paddle a while longer before learning to swim re this excellent program.

    Have a great evening all...


    Howard
     
  17. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Howard

    FDISR will cover almost everything except a disk drive failure, and it can even help there. By keeping a current archive, I can even restore an out of date backup image, and the get current with FDISR.

    Pete
     
  18. zoril

    zoril Registered Member

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    One other minor point - After my ATI complete disk restore, I noticed that the one .arx archive that I had created earlier on my C: drive had disappeared! I did make the ATI image after the .arx file was installed...

    The most important thing for me was that the primary and secondary snapshots were fine:) Again I dont see this as a big deal, as I had exported one earlier archive to my external hard drive (to import if needed) and I probably won't use archives that much.

    I have just purchased FD-ISR this evening. I don't need the 14 day trial. Three days were more then enough, coupled with the excellent advice here to convince me that it is an excellent product, for both the short and long term.

    I might review what imaging software to use in the future when the time comes either to upgrade ATI (when I get Vista), or acquire a different product. A major future priority for me will now be how well it will interact with FD-ISR.

    With that in mind, I have been looking closely at Shadow Protect as a future alternative to ATI for imaging. Even then I would say that 95% of my time would be spent using FD-ISR. Anything else would only be used as a "second line" should Windows completely crash or my hard drive fails...


    Howard
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2007
  19. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Regarding freezing :
    A frozen snapshot does NOT allow any change and that is very good for BAD objects : any malware is removed as a change during each reboot.

    Unfortunately FDISR is NOT a security software and doesn't see the difference between GOOD and BAD objects. So a frozen snapshot removes also the GOOD changes and that's a problem in practice.
    If you want to keep the GOOD changes you have to re-freeze the snapshot, BUT when you re-freeze the frozen snapshot, you have to be sure that the snapshot is CLEAN, otherwise you will freeze the BAD objects also and when that happens your frozen snapshot will be infected over and over again with the frozen BAD objects.

    So a frozen snapshot requires a methodical approach, which isn't so easy in practice.
    I'm just warning you, because I work with a frozen snapshot for quite some time and I'm still asking myself if it is good or bad to have a frozen snapshot. It has advantages but also disadvantages. :)


    Regarding anchoring :
    In theory, you can anchor any folder or any file on your harddisk.
    All anchored objects are NOT included in all your snapshots.
    So anchoring reduces the size of all your snapshots.

    In practice, anchoring is often used for personal data that is normally stored under the folder "My Documents".

    If you don't anchor all personal data objects are stored in each snapshot and this becomes a problem when you have lots of personal data, that increases constantly in volume, because EACH snapshot contains that big volume of personal data.

    If you anchor all personal data, the big volume of personal data will not be included in any of your snapshots and all personal data is available in EACH snapshot.

    Another method is storing your personal data on ANOTHER partition, than the system partition [C:]. In that case you also have access to your personal data in EACH snapshot. Separating your system files from your personal data files has also its specific problems and requires PREPARATION.

    So you have three possibilities for personal data :
    1. No anchoring.
    2. Anchoring.
    3. Another partition.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2007
  20. marse.robert

    marse.robert Registered Member

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    Hi all, (Especially Eric)

    Sorry to interupt someone else's thread. I am also new to all this and would appreciate help. I have followed the earlier part of Eric's thesis with rapt interest.
    I have taken an archive of the primary snapshot and it resides: F:\MyIntialBackup.arx.

    I cannot find that archive through any facility within FD. If I cannot locate this archive,how can I update it?

    Many thanks,
    Marserobert
     
  21. ErikAlbert

    ErikAlbert Registered Member

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    Marserobert,

    1. Open FDISR
    2. Click on "Tools"
    3. Click on "Options"
    4. Click on the tab "Archives"
    5. Mark the option "Specify alternate archive location".
    6. Type "F:\" in the box without the quotes
    7. Click on the button "OK"

    After this FDISR knows where your archive(s) are located.
    If "F:\" is your external harddisk, you have to turn it ON.
    If "F:\" is not your external harddisk, you don't have to do anything.

    When you open FDISR now, you will see your archives (.arx-files) under "Archived Snapshots" and you can use them as a source or destination snapshot in the copy/update function.

    If it doesn't work, post back and I make it work.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2007
  22. marse.robert

    marse.robert Registered Member

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    Eric,

    You are priceless!! I am beginning to like FD - a lot.

    Thankyou, Marserobert
     
  23. Longboard

    Longboard Registered Member

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    Well done E-A :D
    Nice succint, distilled wisdom/experience.

    This is the type of thread that now after all our accumulated experience could be a useful sticky.

    Good on you for taking these enquiries on so well.

    Regards. :thumb:
     
  24. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I also have to give a hearty well done Erik.

    Pete
     
  25. kennyboy

    kennyboy Registered Member

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    Hi Howard. Just to add that you could find you use archives more than you can imagine....depending on how you actually decide to use FDR.
    It is always nice to know that you have an up to date archive on an external drive because if all else fails, it is so easy and quick just to reinstall a very basic Windows and then use that archive to come up to date. It is also safe from any risk of hard drive failure or any other real nasty!
    Further, if you decide to work this way, you will also find that the need for always keeping an up to date backup image with ATI is not quite so vital.
    As Erik says, it is all up to you and your choice of working with this amazing program.

    Ken
     
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