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  1. #1
    5 Star Lounger st3333ve's Avatar
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    ASR copying all files (XP SP-2)

    Microsoft's "Steps to take before you install Windows XP SP3" include "create an Automated System Recovery (ASR) set before you begin the installation."

    I'm following the instructions with care (I swear), but the ASR Wizard insists on backing up all the files on my C: drive (rather than just the system files). Anybody else encountered this misbehavior?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Re: ASR copying all files (XP SP-2)

    Yes. You're stuck with it, I'm afraid.

    Our Terminal Server has just one disk partition (really bad initial choice, I'm afraid), and so the ASR Backup (to tape or to disk) backs up 16 GB, and increasing, instead of about 5 GB. Really annoying.

    If someone else knows how to ignore the user data in an ASR backup, I'd be absolutely delighted - but I don't think it's possible...

    PS Personally, I wouldn't bother backing up SP2 data on XP when installing SP3. I've upgraded at least 30 PCsand laptops without problems.
    You might consider a disk image backup just before upgrading, if you've got the software...
    BATcher

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  3. #3
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: ASR copying all files (XP SP-2)

    I agree with John that an image backup is the better choice. Microsoft backup software is somewhat less than reliable and doesn't work and play well between different versions of Windows.
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    5 Star Lounger st3333ve's Avatar
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    Re: ASR copying all files (XP SP-2)

    <img src=/S/ranton.gif border=0 alt=ranton width=66 height=37> So ... let's recap, shall we? (For reference by St. Peter, on the day Bill stands before the Gates.)

    1. In 2001, as part of WinXP Pro, Microsoft introduced "Automated System Recovery" -- a backup procedure that, as the documentation explains, makes copies of "only those system files necessary for starting up your system" (together with a special ASR recovery floppy disk). Except -- oops -- that's not really how it works. Instead, the ASR process begins by copying all the files on your C: drive (assuming you've directed it to somewhere where there's room; otherwise the whole process aborts).

    2. Seven years (and two Service Packs) later, in 2008, Microsoft still hasn't gotten around to fixing Automated System Recovery.

    3. Notwithstanding No. 2, Microsoft's "Steps to take before you install Windows XP Service Pack 3" include the following: "If your computer is running Windows XP Professional, we recommend that you create an Automated System Recovery (ASR) set before you begin the installation." For further details, the advisory refers us to WinXP's built-in Help & Support, which emphasizes that "Only those system files necessary for starting up your system will be backed up by this procedure."

    If something like 500 million users worldwide are currently running Windows XP, and if only one in 10,000 of those users tries to follow Microsoft's "Steps to take before you install SP-3" instructions (a low estimate, methinks), that's 50,000 users who, like me, experienced a significant and pointless loss of time trying to run XP's dysfunctional ASR backup.

    If you think it's more likely that something like one in a thousand users followed Microsoft's recommendation and tried to run ASR, that would be half a million users whose time was wasted because Microsoft told them to use a feature that's been out-of-order for seven years.
    Which wouldn't be nearly so annoying if it wasn't so characteristic. <img src=/S/rantoff.gif border=0 alt=rantoff width=66 height=37>

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    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Re: ASR copying all files (XP SP-2)

    Seems like a fair summary!
    BATcher

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  6. #6
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: ASR copying all files (XP SP-2)

    Again, I agree with John. <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    But you didn't take into account in your rant all the poor souls who followed Microsoft's recommendation to set their computer to download and install updates automatically. They had SP3 installed without the "recommendation" to make that useless backup and had their system trashed by something in the SP and had no idea what happened or why. <img src=/S/hmmn.gif border=0 alt=hmmn width=15 height=15>
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