Restore Clean Image But Keep Outlook Mail Settings & Emails & Calendar & Address Book etc.

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by frank7, Mar 22, 2016.

  1. frank7

    frank7 Registered Member

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    This is just a hypothetical question so no data has been lost or harm has so far been done. ;)

    For a company of a friend I have created a clean image with Windows 7 and Office 2013 and that is being used on all clients and everyone is happy, things work solidly.
    They are using Outlook and obviously Outlook stores the data files in various locations. The clean image was done before the clients starting using Office or Outlook, though Office and Outlook was installed correctly and that install is already on the clean image.

    During a recent TeamViewer session I saw that for some reason on top of the existing antivirus software that we agreed on and installed another antivirus software has been installed. As everybody knows this is a bad move.

    Company team will now investigate who and why this additional software has been installed and let me know in email that they "will take care of removing the extra software".

    Quickly I let them know to not touch or remove the extra bits as this often leaves traces in the Registry/Services/etc. and that it would be much wiser to restore the clean image when I am on location next time.

    Just to be sure, do I understand this correctly, that while they have been working on the clients with Office and Outlook (all IMAP accounts) the MS software has most possibly stored Outlook data/profile/calendar/etc. files on the C:\ partition and these files would have to be backed up from their respective locations and ONLY then the clean image can be restored without loosing important Office and Outlook data?

    To save me work and most of all time, is there some kind of software (Mozilla has this sorted very nicely with FF and TB profile folder backup addons) that could handle this job 100% or am I better advised backing up the data/profile/etc. files one by one to later restore those files after the clean image has been restored?

    Last bit, is it possible to tell Office and Outlook to store these data/profile/etc. files on the D:\ partition in the future so that the clean image can be restored without having to worry about Office and Outlook files being gone. Trying to make Office and Outlook portable in a certain way.

    If that does not work would using symlinks with those Outlook files work? I doubt it.

    I personally never use Outlook and Office very rarely and have those running from a Windows VM with network folders to the Host where I save my work just to be 100% hassle free if I do a restore on the Host.

    Another thing I am thinking of is symlinking their Desktops to the D:\ partition (e.g. D:\Desktop\ ) for the future so that the clean image can be restored without even sieving through what they might have put on the Desktop.

    Thank you for any advice.
     
  2. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Interesting subject and for me it's a been there done that. I wouldn't recommend trying to install on another disk, Outlook is a finicky beast. Here based on my experience is what I would do.

    1. Prepare the clean image with a fresh install of office. Don't bother configuring anything.
    2. Buy and install OutbackPlus with it's open file addon. Set it up for your Outlook install, then take your clean image.
    3. Go thru and configure Office, set up your Outlook Accounts. After doing this take the Outbackplus backup and store that on another disk
    4. Daily update the outbackplus backup. It will continue to store it's backups on your other disk.
    5, Then when you restore the fresh image, you will have both Outback and Office installed
    6. Once you restore the fresh image you restore Outback Plus from the other disk and you are back in business.

    Why do I recommend this. I have two identical office setups on two computers. Daily I sync the data from the active machine to the backup machine, and that includes outlook. The sync works fine for outlook. So at one point I wanted to include a third computer, so I installed office and just did the sync. Worked fine for everything except outlook. Outlook was acting like it was a new install and wanted me to set up accounts etec. Ugh!!! So I tried restoring my Outbackplus backup. Bingo everything was there and from then forward the sync worked. Clearly the sync wasn't picking up everything, which I still don't understand.

    Outbackplus can actually backup browser setting, and any other data you want. Also there support is excellent.

    Pete


    -http://ajsystems.com/outbackplus/obp.html-
     
  3. frank7

    frank7 Registered Member

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    Excellent reply! Looks like my friend will actually invest in some useful software besides all the MS stuff. Have not checked it out but also for me this sounds like a great deal since there is a plethora of clients that use MS software and most of all Outlook. Thank you heaps for having mentioned this tool. That most possibly saved me lots of time and worries and my friend and me have more time to enjoy off work. Great!

    EDIT:
    I just see their licensing terms. What licence do you think would apply to following situation:
    I get a laptop from a client, put OBP10 on it, create the backup of the files in question to an external drive.
    Most of the time I then wipe the drive, partition it, put a clean image on (Win, Office, Outlook, etc), then the drivers, done.
    Then in order to put the Outlook files back on the client I would have to install OBP10 on that client machine. I would do so with my personal licence, right?

    Then I can take the files from the external drive, put them back in place, fire up Outlook and bang all things are back besides the system being brand spanking new and set up correctly with partitions, drivers and so on.

    Now client comes to pick up laptop and is super happy fingers crossed. So basically before I give the laptop back to the client I would obviously remove OBP10 from the client machine, right?

    So in this case I just need one personal licence, no?
    I would find it tedious to buy a new licence for each new laptop I do work on. Yes I could put the charges towards the client but if they don't like that or don't need it it just means extra cost and hassle for them.
    What would be fit this scenario?
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2016
  4. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Hi Frank

    Those guys are good guys. I would contact them explain what you want to do and ask them for a licensing recommendation. Like I said they are good and fair.

    Pete

    PS. I've been with them a while, and anyone I deal with that runs Outlook, I consider it a mandatory purchase. Note support is by email, but I always here the next day

    PPS Glad I could help
     
  5. frank7

    frank7 Registered Member

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    Hello Pete, sure thing I will get in touch with them and see what they say. No worries I am not into ripping people off, especially not fellow devs! Thank you.
     
  6. frank7

    frank7 Registered Member

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    Hello Hadron, that is an interesting twist to a so far decent story. I am quite surprised. Would you mind sharing your experience? I have so far not emailed them for the license but intend to do so in the coming days, or basically as soon as the company of my friend has been presented with research how to best restore the clean image I made while keeping all the Office and Outlook settings. I might even give this a test run with a few local VMs and see if I can restore profiles/data/calender/address book by simply going directly to the respective file locations and simply backing them up. So I am curious to hear what leads you to mentioning Outback should be clearly avoided. Thank you for your sharing your opinion perhaps with the experience you have had with them.
     
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