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OS slowly corrupted (or PC transplant): how restore only users & data (incl. logins & reg settings)?


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Backups are supposed to save you, right? Well how well can Dantz Retrospect save you when the OS gets slowly corrupted (perhaps to the point it won't boot), but everything else is fine? Or, less serious but similar, you want just want to transplant to another computer?

 

Sure, if you power up and the system won't boot and you can't fix, backups can get you to last backup with generally no problem. But what if the OS got slowly corrupted over months (which happens frequently: apps & OS features start breaking slowly, and won't reinstall). Perhaps you didn't even notice it until months later when you went to reinstall the app.

 

In this case (which occurs just about everybody at some time or another, and every time you want to move to another computer), on the new (or cleaned) machine you want a fresh OS, and can probably go thru reinstalling the applications again (a little time consuming, but generally straightforward if you have the install software & licenses, and may clean up problems with the apps as well): in general, start out fresh with all the software.

 

BUT, you want DO be restored your users and their data (including all their registry settings, security groups, and working ACLs which could have been painfully constructed, and passwords, too, if possible). Users should come back to see no changes other than a computer which now works. And since we've spent all this money and time on supposedly top-notch backup, it should be easy, right? But how?

 

If we simply restore "C:\Documents and Settings\" from our backup [\b] (containing most all this data), we should be able to restore the NTFS ACLs there (file system Access Control Lists), but I don't believe the user logins & passwords & user groups will be restored (put back in the registry/ActiveDirectory), along with other user settings in the registry/ActiveDirectory, will they? So the main user data will be there, but users can't log in (will be unknown to the OS) and won't have their registry/ActiveDirectory settings if they did. Nor security groups. :mad: How to fix?

 

(Aside: in old Unix systems, this was easy:[\b] Just restore /etc/passwd and /etc/groups, simple text files which you could edit yourself if you needed, and you were done. Now, in our "improved" environment we've got a huge registry and ActiveDirectory, so complex it feels it's not obvious how (or if) you can fix them fix them when they're broke!)

 

Just as Retrospect can specify which folders & files to backup & restore (with seeming unprecedented precision), perhaps Dantz can add to it's Selector concept which registry & ActiveDirectory info[\b] (in particular which user login & other registry settings, plus groups and other ActiveDirectory data) to backup & restore? Solving this beautifully. ;)

 

But until then, how do we fix?[\b]

 

Now there are over 18 programs for transplanting PCs which kind of do this[\b]: Microsoft Active Directory Migration Tool (ADMT), Altris Transplant Pro, AlohaBob PC Relocator, Tranxition Personality Tranxport Pro, Miramar Desktop DNA, Detto IntelliMover, Spearit Move Me, Quest Migration Suite, NetIQ Migrate, and about 7 more (I’ve made an Excel table comparing them if anyone’s interested: “20040826pst2225pmb- MS Windows Migration.xls”).

 

But it seems most (all?) of these assume:[\b]

(1) you're going between two computers (not backup the data so you can erase & rebuild your one computer), plus

(2) worse, assume the source computer OS is running fine(what if the computer doesn't boot, which is what often happens when the OS corrupts).

Even if we could get a second nearly identical computer (high requirement), that still won't get us out of our source computer not booting which these programs want to run from it seems, and won't extract their information from a backup (what format?) or even the source drive being mounted.

 

So what do you do if your OS gets slowly corrupt, to the point finally it won't boot? Or you want to transplant? You spent all this money & time on top backup. But how to do you use in these two fairly common situations?[\b]

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  • 2 years later...

Please some response. I can't overemphasize the importance of this issue.

Dantz, this is essential -- without this, if the OS gets corrupt and/or needs to be changed out (say a new computer), it appears a minor nightmare to restore the users & data and have it work (at least if more than a handful of users).

 

I'm now faced with moving my Windows XP notebook (which has once again a partially corrupted OS) to a new Windows XP notebook by a different maker. The new notebook has its own operating system & drivers - I don't want to touch it. I just want to copy over the users & data. However, if I have simply have Dantz (or any backup software) just restore key users to the new "\Documents and Settings\", these users will not be registered by the new operating system - it won't list them on startup, won't allow log in & use of them. How do I get the new Windows XP install to see & use the new user (profiles) subsequently copied into its "\Documents and Settings\"?

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Thanks for your response! Yes, I realize it's a user-to-user forum. Anyone can answer this, though it would be most appropriate and needed for Dantz/EMC to. And many, many users can benefit from the answer. And per your suggestion, I've just emailed emcinsignia_supportsales@emc.com (cc'ing old Technical_Support@Dantz.com requesting support on it (sent Wed 2007.02.14 08:44).

 

I've also posted the problem at Wes' Puzzling Blog Moving XP User Profile .

 

Most importantly, I've just posted the problem world-wide (and well described) at Keep data, new OS& Apps BUT how-to honor copied-in user profiles - microsoft.public.windowsxp.setup_deployment Google Groups --all, see that URL and ideally respond there so everyone can benefit. Thanks, -Mike Parker

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  • 2 months later...

Hi,

thanks for your PM! I'll reply to the forum in case someone finds my thoughts interesting...

 

I was looking for a software to restore programs and user settings from a crashed PC's disc to a working system. I tried several programs from your list but all expected a working PC as the SOURCE of the transfer.

 

Know what I did? I eventually put the old disc into my new PC and installed Windows XP over it. All my programs and user settings appear to work. Now I can simply copy the disk image to my new (bigger) disk and replace the old one.

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