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Trip

Complete system restore

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I recently *lost* my hard drive and will have to replace it.

 

I have a complete back-up made the day before using Retrospect Pro. Once I install the new hard drive, will I have to reinstall all my programs from scratch, or can I restore them from the back-up? I've restored *lost* data many times but never an entire disk.

 

I'd appreciate any guidance you could give.

 

With thanks,

 

Trip McGleughlin

(Running Retrospect, XP Pro, latest versions, etc).

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Yet another thing to consider: some vendors have "hidden" partitions on their drives that they use to diagnose, etc., issues with the machine if you call them. Make sure you replicate those hidden partitions, too, if you care about them. "C:\" may not be enough to get everything off the old drive.

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Sorry to be so long in replying but I no longer have easy access to a computer!

 

Won't the system crash when Retrospect tries to overwrite the in-use operating system files (registry, etc). Do I have to take any special precautions? How much of the old system do I have to install new before overwriting the whole thing--just Windows XP? Thanks again for your help. Best

 

Trip

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Trip,

 

Someone else will have to answer that question - we don't have Windows computers, only Unix. But Unix handles this situation by keeping around in-use files after unlinking the inode, such that the file only "really" disappears when it is no longer in use. The OS files aren't overwritten, but written and then the directory link to them is changed, followed by freeing of the old space. I would expect that Windows might do the same, but I don't know.

 

But, as you might suspect, the "right" way to do this is to bring the OS up to the same rev level as the system that you are about to restore, then do the restore.

 

Russ

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Thanks Russ and AmyJ for your help so far.

 

Since you are sensible, Unix-loving people, I wonder if anyone else can answer my question, or if I should take it to another forum/venue?

 

To sum up: I recently had to replace the hard drive on my computer. I have a complete backup from before the crash and would now like to restore the entire "C" (primary) drive. The last time I had to rebuild this drive, I re-installed the programs myself and only used Retrospect to restore the data. This was a laborious, time-consuming process which I'd like to avoid if possible.

 

My concern is that because I'll be booting from the "C" drive, and running Retrospect from that drive, the program might not be able to "restore everything." Logically, it would have to delete itself and everything else on the disk before the restore. Is Retrospect that intelligent/good? Is this an issue? How should I proceed?

 

My computer is now up and running in a primative way and I should be able to respond to your suggestions a lot more quickly than before.

 

BTW, the partition structure on the new hard drive has changed. I've removed the "hidden" partition which Dell uses for diagnostic purposes. However, I no longer need this data.

 

Thanks again for your help,

 

Trip

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Did you create a "Disaster Recovery" CD after the back-up? That bootable media contains enough of the operating system to allow recovering all the files on the back-up, regardless of what is or is not on the new disk.

 

If you didn't, then you should set aside an afternoon. Install an operating system and all updates (up to the state at the time of the backup), install Retrospect and all updates, then recover from the backup media.

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Thanks for your suggestions. Just to clarify: you are suggesting I install the operating system and then Retrospect (latest versions, etc), then create a disaster recovery disk, and then use that disk to boot the system, and then use Retrospect to Restore everything (including the "old" operating system, registry, etc) from the back-up I made before the system crash?

 

Trip

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Um, no. The DR disc is used to boot the system when you have installed a new hard drive and allows system recovery from back-up media without installing an operating system first. You create the disc immediately after a system back-up so that the necessary operating system and Retrospect files on the DR CD, backup media and hard disk are all the same.

 

If you didn't create a DR disc you will have to take the alternate path I identified, restoring from within the newly-installed Retrospect UI. The operating system will not allow writing over files in use but that isn't an issue since those are all identical to the files on the media.

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Double Trouble (oh yeah)!

 

A lot of things went wrong this weekend and I'd appreciate your advice. Here's what happened:

 

1. I returned my system to basic working order:

 

- I reformatted the hard drive and reinstalled/updated XP Pro.

 

- I installed partition magic and partitioned my drive the way it had been before it went south (C + D drives); I also, for consistency, installed the same two "virtual" CD drives that I'd been using before the crash.

 

- I installed and updated Retrospect Pro and did a backup.

 

2. I made a Disaster Recovery CD (just in case).

 

3. I attempted to "Restore/Roll back" the system volume © to its before-the-fall state. More exactly, I started the process and went to bed. In the morning I was greeted with a "DOS" screen and the following message:

 

"Windows could not start because the following file is missing or corrupt: C:\WINDOWS\system32\Hal.dll.

 

Now I can understand why Hal is angry at Stanly Kubrick, but not why he's angry at me. My poor notebook was stuck.

 

4. Having no choice, I turned to my new rescue CD thinking at least I wouldn't have to re-install windows again. Ha!

 

- The rescue CD loaded a minimal configuration of windows and then Retrospect itself, at which point I got the message: "Retrospect Encountered problems while opening the file backup set 'Trip's Insprion 8600' and can't continue."

 

- I manually opened the correct catalog file and initiated a restore. Unfortunately, at this point Retrospect wouldn't recognize either of the two external hard drives (USB) where I keep my backups, so once again I was dead in the water.

 

One thing I found odd when I initiated the restore was that Retrospect gave me the warning message: Do you really want to overwrite the current Windows XP (Service Pack 1) with Windows XP (Service Pack 2)?

 

It appears that Retrospect made its Rescue CD using Service Pack 1 even though I had updated the OS to Service Pack 2. Of course Retrospect asks for your "original" software CD when making the rescue CD, but I can't believe it wouldn't place the latest version of the OS on the CD.

 

Judging by the appearance of my monitor, I'm also fairly certain the Rescue CD did not have and/or load the correct drivers.

 

And that's my story!

 

At this point it would be easiest for me just to continue rebuilding my PC program by program, but I'd really like to have (and trust) Retrospect's disaster recovery capabilities.

 

As I said earlier, any suggestions you have would be welcome.

 

Trip

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I point to the C:\I386 folder when asked for the Windows installation software. That way the DR CD operating system matches what is actually installed.

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Hey, what system are you running? Because on my computer there's no C:\i386. There's C:\WINDOWS\Driver Cache\i386 and C:\WINDOWS\ServicePackFiles\i386, but neither of those libraries has the file textsetup.sif, which is what the Disaster Recovery program is looking for. Could you be more specific?

 

Also, does anyone have any idea why the original restore failed? Because that was initiated under a "clean" install of the latest version of xp pro.

 

Thanks,

 

Trip

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I'm on XP Home, SP2. The manufacturer probably included \i386 since they didn't include a native windows install disk with the system.

 

The issue with Hal.dll can have many sources, see:

http://pcsupport.about.com/od/findbyerrormessage/a/missinghaldll.htm

 

I would certainly investigate the possibility of problems in boot.ini since you changed the partition structure of your disk.

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Trip.

If you want to do a complete restore after doing a clean install from XP like you tried you have to make sure that the clean install of Windows is not installed in the default directory "C:\WINDOWS". This is because Retrospect will not be able to overwrite all the files in the Windows directory during a complete restore and you will get two versions of Windows XP mixed up in the same directory.

I would restore the complete system as follows:

- Do a clean install of XP but instead of default directory "C:\Windows" install XP in directory "C:\WINREST"

- Install Retrospect and do a complete restore of the C: drive.

- After restore and reboot your computer will use the restored XP version in the "C:\Windows" directory and you can safely delete the "C:\WINREST" directory from your computer.

 

Marc

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Retrospect can do a Live Restore over the top of the running system, assuming the system is patched to the same Service Pack that was running at the time of the backup.

 

Marc's suggestion is valid and was the required method for full disk recovery before Live Restore was introduced in 7.0 and before the Disaster Recovery disc option.

 

That you did a Live Restore and it failed may point towards the problem that Russ pointed out early on...that some systems (particularly Dell) have hidden system partitions on the hard disks when shipped. See: http://kb.dantz.com/article.asp?article=5445&p=2

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Lemeul3, Marc and AmyJ,

 

Thank you all for taking the time to respond, I really appreciate your help. After reading the links you've provided, I agree that my boot.ini file is probably the problem, and am looking forward to trying another Live Restore. I'd just like to go over some of the details first.

 

1) My laptop doesn't have a floppy drive. Can I put the *good* boot.ini file on a cd or the same external hard drive as my backup?

 

2) How exactly do I copy the *good* boot.ini file to the hard drive (after Retrospect has restored the entire volume but before the system reboots)? Is the explorer available, or maybe a DOS prompt?

 

3) Finally, how can I build a Disaster Recovery CD that includes Service Pack 2 code when my "Operating System CD" is Service Pack 1? Lemeul3's solution does not work on my machine. Or do you think that the failure of my last DR attempt was caused by something else?

 

Thanks again for your help

 

Trip

(who strangely is becoming happier and happier the longer his computer is NOT working).

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Hi Trip -

 

1. The file should be readable from a CD, and probably from a flash drive. Note that copying it back from a CD may set the file as "Read Only" - you'd definitely want to check that before rebooting.

2. A restore under these circumstances is being done over the top of a newly installed clean OS. You'll have full access to the Explorer.

3. If your prior system had the boot.ini problem that we are talking about you will not be able to use a DR CD for your existing problem. Going forward, your system would no longer have the hidden partition so a DR CD would be useful should you need to do a full system restore again. You can make your own XP SP 2 installer CD fairly easy with a free slipstream program such as AutoStreamer or nLite. It's a time saver over installing the OS and then patching it with the SP.

 

Amy

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Hi,

 

I have just finished going through my first Disaster Recovery onto a new laptop hard drive as well. It has certainly been an educational (not sure in a good way or bad way!) experience. In fact, I had some of the same issues as the OP, so I thought I would share my lessons learned. Maybe they will be of some help. First, the laptop is a Dell and it is a client to my main backup server running Retrospect 7.0. I have restored individual files many times in the past, but this was my first time doing a complete system restore. Some random notes:

 

- I created the Disaster Recovery CD on my backup server. Retrospect complained that my backup sets indicated the laptop was running XP SP2 and my original Dell install CD was SP1. In the end, this discrepency did not seem to cause any problems during the restore. The Disaster Recovery disk running SP1 was perfectly able to restore my SP2 backup set.

 

- After my first restore of my Windows boot partition, I received the same Hal.dll error as the OP and the system failed to boot. I did remember that my original disk came with a FAT emergency restore partition. But, instead of mucking with boot.ini, etc. I decided to just start from scratch again. Using PartitionMagic (not sure if it is possible from Windows Recovery Console) I created a *hidden* FAT primary partition at the beginning of the disk. This prevents it from being seen by Windows and assigned a drive letter. I then recreated my NTFS partitions. The disaster recovery restore went fine this time except for one hiccup, see next point.

 

- In my original cleverness to keep all my apps and docs on separate partitions from windows, I had installed the Retrospect Client on my D: drive. Of course, once the temporary copy of Windows and Retrospect Client finished restoring my boot partition's snapshot, the restored OS was attempting to start the client service from a completely blank D: partition. This was then preventing the final restore cleanup of registry and temp files, and also prevented restoring my other partitions. It took me a little bit to figure out what went wrong. I burned a CD on my backup server with restored copies of my D:\RetrospectClient directory, copied these onto my laptop, and then rebooted. Voila, all the Retrospect Client services started up okay and I was able to proceed. I guess the moral to the story is to install Retrospect into your boot partition so that when you do a disaster recovery it will be instantly available.

 

Anyway, so far so good. I am still in process of restoring my many gigs of apps and docs, but everything else is proceeding smoothly. Hope these small tips help someone else,

 

Dave

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First of all, I'd like once again to thank everyone for so generously volunteering their time and knowledge. I've been putting your suggestions into action and am much, much further along the road to recovery (in every sense). But I'm not completely out of the woods yet. In fact, if you know that Stephen King story where the little boy's dog dies and then, miraculously, comes back to life, only he's not quite the same little critter as before... That's what my computer is like this morning.

 

As you suggested, overwriting the *old* boot.ini file with the *latest* version allowed the full system restore to complete, and my programs and data seem to be back. However, many programs are acting like they were freshly installed or, worse, crashing when I try to run them.

 

I'll give some specific, random examples in a second but I'm wondering if the route cause of my problems doesn't have something to do with access privileges (which I don't understand). I say this because when I tried to open an old Word document I was given the error message that I did not have sufficient privileges to do so (this was a document I'd created myself and I was logged on as a System Administrator when I tried to access it).

 

I hope 'access permissions' somehow explains the miscellany of strangeness I've been experiencing. For example:

 

- My folder display options are not the same as they were.

 

- All of my old desktop icons are back, but they now are arranged in a different order.

 

- My *old* Screensaver and Power Options properties were not restored. The values in place at the time I restored the OS remain.

 

- My default home page in IE Explorer has reverted to MSN.COM.

 

- Adobe Audition loads like I'd just installed it (my personal settings are gone).

 

- Palm desktop does not see my data.

 

- Office acts like it was just installed. My menus, styles, etc are not active.

 

- Mindmanger crashes.

 

- Some program keeps trying to start Dial-up networking, a service I've never used.

 

I could go on and on.

 

To sum up: It's wonderful to have everything back but I don't trust it! I'm hoping there's some small magic fix (perhaps having something to do with access privileges?) that will allow my system to behave truly the way it was before the restore. Otherwise, how can I trust the restore?

 

Trip

 

PS Amy: I was really interested in Autostreamer; thanks for the heads-up. I downloaded it and used it to create a "SP2" installation disk. I then used this disk to reload the OS. But when I went to live-update, Microsoft still insisted up upgrading me to SP2. Does this mean I didn't use the Autostreamer correctly, or simply that there was more work to be done to upgrade the entire system to SP2?

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Dear Russ, Lemeul3, Marc, Amy, Dave, et al-

 

I would really appreciate any additional advice you could offer about Retrospect and Full System restores:

 

Is the behavior I've described above normal? Does Full System restore work reliably or have I just been wasting my time? I don't think there's anything particularly unusual or comlicated about my installation.

 

Why have I suddenly been denied access to my files and how can I regain it?

 

Thanks again,

 

Trip

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Update:

 

I used nLite and created a *good* SP2 installation disk and then followed Marc's suggestion of installing XP Pro into a temporary directory. After this I got what appears to be a clean restore but I still cannot access any of my files because of *permissions.*

 

Can someone tell me why this is and, more importantly, exactly what I need to do to gain access. This is a stand-alone PC and all the files on it were created by me (same User ID), so I don't see why I don't have permission.

 

Trip

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Trip,

 

As you are the administrator on the machine you can change the security settings on all the files on your computer and give yourself permission to access / use it.

(Right click on a file or folder, select properties and go to the security tab)

 

Marc

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Marc,

 

Thanks a bunch for your quick reply. As I am at work now and not at home, but absolutely need my computer functioning by tomorrow, I'd be grateful if you could either give me more detailed instructions or point me to a source that explains the necessary steps in detail.

 

First of all, at the moment there is no Security tab on my properties box, but I understand I can get to that by turning off *simple* file sharing. But after that I am at a loss.

 

How exactly do I give myself rights, which rights do I assign, and which folder(s) do I assign them too? I ask this question because if I have lost rights to my *documents and settings* folders, have I not also lost rights to others? Can I assign myself rights to everything on the computer.

 

Thanks again, too, for your advice on how to restore my system volume. At least on my computer this *old* method was 100% reliable and Retrospect's live restore feature was not.

 

Best,

 

Trip

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Trip,

 

The easiest way to do it would be as follows:

- In explorer right-click on your C: drive

- Choose "sharing and security"

- Choose Security tab

- Click the "Advanced" button

- On the permissions tab click the "Add" button

- In the dialog box that comes up type your user name and click "Ok"

- In the dialog box that comes up click "Full Control" in the "Allow" column and click "Ok"

- Click "Ok"

 

This will give you access to all files on your harddisk

 

Marc

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