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    This is a comment on the article in the latest Windows Secrets newsletter (Dec 3, 2009):

    Using Windows' built-in disk-imaging utility by Fred Langa.


    I'm using Windows XP and Acronis True Image, and it works fine, like Fred says, with 2 partitions. (It was previously suggested by "Gizmo" Ian Richards in his article series "Never Reinstall Windows[XP?] again").

    The question I want to put is: suppose my computer goes down - hardware break - not recoverable - and I buy a new computer fresh without OS. Can I then use my harddisk image to start a fresh Windows XP? Will there be hardware problems which Windows cannot fix itself - or will there be validation problems (because Windows can see it is another computer)?

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    Gold Lounger Rebel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Fog View Post
    suppose my computer goes down - hardware break - not recoverable - and I buy a new computer fresh without OS. Can I then use my harddisk image to start a fresh Windows XP? Will there be hardware problems which Windows cannot fix itself - or will there be validation problems (because Windows can see it is another computer)?
    Hi Jorgen,
    First, note that Langa's comments regarding Windows built-in imaging utility refers ONLY to Windows 7.

    Some imaging software does allow you to perform a "bare metal" restore - i.e. restore a disk image to a completely different system. It really depends on what particular software you are using and the capabilities / limitations of the software. You can ferret out most of this information on the various manufacturers' web sites. And yes, there may be a validation problem with Windows, but this can usually be sorted out by talking directly to a Microsoft rep (validate by phone rather than via the internet).
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
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    An image will not normally load on new hardware unless you have the same hard disk controller model - this is unlikely.
    Windows is very fussy about where exactly the boot and config files are located, and a different controller will not map the disk in the same way. What you may be able to do is perform an upgrade re-install of Windows on the restored image disk.

    Always backup your data separately to the image of your disk - Acronis will do this for you if you set up 2 different backups. Then you can be sure you are covered if it all goes pear shaped.

    cheers, Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel View Post
    Hi Jorgen,
    First, note that Langa's comments regarding Windows built-in imaging utility refers ONLY to Windows 7.

    Some imaging software does allow you to perform a "bare metal" restore - i.e. restore a disk image to a completely different system. It really depends on what particular software you are using and the capabilities / limitations of the software. You can ferret out most of this information on the various manufacturers' web sites. And yes, there may be a validation problem with Windows, but this can usually be sorted out by talking directly to a Microsoft rep (validate by phone rather than via the internet).
    Thank you.
    Yes, but he also mentions the possibilities of 'external' (not built-in) solutions for e.g. XP.
    I have seen software mentioned which is platform-independent.

    Another thing in Langa's article was, I wondered why he made an image backup on 3-4 DVDs instead of an external harddrive. That's what I do with Acronis, and using 'incremental image backup', which is quite efficient and quick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by P T View Post
    Always backup your data separately to the image of your disk .......
    cheers, Paul
    That's the way to go. Set up a separate data partition.
    How to move your user folders:
    http://mywitsend.co.nz/computer-stuff/maintenance/195

    Before moving to the new PC run Windows Easy Transfer to save your data files and your settings to another internal or external drive.
    Run it again on the new machine after installing Windows and your apps.

    Restoring an image of the old machine to the new one will be a mess unless they're nearly identical.
    Alan Vallis
    http://mywitsend.co.nz

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    Quote Originally Posted by P T View Post
    An image will not normally load on new hardware unless you have the same hard disk controller model - this is unlikely.
    Windows is very fussy about where exactly the boot and config files are located, and a different controller will not map the disk in the same way. What you may be able to do is perform an upgrade re-install of Windows on the restored image disk.

    Always backup your data separately to the image of your disk - Acronis will do this for you if you set up 2 different backups. Then you can be sure you are covered if it all goes pear shaped.

    cheers, Paul
    Thanks. That answers the question satisfactorily. I didn't know that about hard disk controller model.
    I use the system of separating data and system in two partitions, as suggested by the Gizmo/Richards article. Langa has another way of using the two partitions - 1) system and frequently used data, and 2) the rest. It probably doesn't matter too much, since you can't separate 'data' and 'programs' 100% air tight.

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    Quote Originally Posted by P T View Post
    An image will not normally load on new hardware unless you have the same hard disk controller model - this is unlikely.
    Windows is very fussy about where exactly the boot and config files are located, and a different controller will not map the disk in the same way. What you may be able to do is perform an upgrade re-install of Windows on the restored image disk.
    Apparently Paul, you are not familiar with software which WILL allow the user to restore an image to completely different hardware. Have a look at this Acronis product and this StorageCraft product. There are others, but these are the two that come to mind immediately. You are correct that "an image will not normally load on new hardware", but if you have the proper imaging software, the problem is solved.
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
    Never Regains Its Original Dimensions

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    Gold Lounger Rebel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alan Vallis View Post
    Restoring an image of the old machine to the new one will be a mess unless they're nearly identical.
    Have a look at my response to P T. You can certainly restore an image to new hardware IF you are using the proper software.
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
    Never Regains Its Original Dimensions

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel View Post
    Apparently Paul, you are not familiar with software which WILL allow the user to restore an image to completely different hardware. Have a look at this Acronis product and this StorageCraft product. There are others, but these are the two that come to mind immediately. You are correct that "an image will not normally load on new hardware", but if you have the proper imaging software, the problem is solved.
    I wonder if there is a free version of a system migration tool.

    Paragon Virtualization Manager 2009 Personal was in GiveAwayOfTheDay some time back.

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    Rebel, that is a system admin utility, not a backup program.

    cheers, Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rebel View Post
    Apparently Paul, you are not familiar with software which WILL allow the user to restore an image to completely different hardware. Have a look at this Acronis product and this StorageCraft product. There are others, but these are the two that come to mind immediately. You are correct that "an image will not normally load on new hardware", but if you have the proper imaging software, the problem is solved.
    Do you have any suggestions as to how to choose between these two? One difference I notice is that Acronis True Image is somewhat cheaper than StorageCraft ShadowProtect. (UK prices are 39.95 compared with 56.01.)


    Ian


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    Quote Originally Posted by P T View Post
    Rebel, that is a system admin utility, not a backup program.

    cheers, Paul
    - it may be a system admin utility, but could be used to move your system and data to a new computer if the old one crashed some day? ...

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    If you use Paragons new disc Image software it has something called adaptive restore which will bring your image back to new hardware , i havent tried it through lack of time ( but ave the software) but the blurb says that you can sort out the new hardware as you go .
    Just a thought i have been trying out some new software which i came across called Bounceback which is virtually disc cloning software , but the difference with this software is that you can update the clone(well the software does it every hour)which is usually contained on an external hard drive , if your hard drive goes down , then you just re-boot using a option on the boot screen to boot the USB drive and hey presto you are back up and running .This to me is a perfect solution as when you have repaired your hard drive , you use the option to restore back onto your main hard drive and all the data is back good and ready and with minimal down time.The back up option for all you pessimists out there is to take a Image with paragon and keep it safe somewhere in case your computer goes up in flames .
    I am a disaster recovery professional and this seems the best backup strategy , but welcome all constructive comments as if you dont learn you stagnate

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    Gold Lounger Rebel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by P T View Post
    Rebel, that is a system admin utility, not a backup program.

    cheers, Paul
    Really ? ? ? Perhaps you should have a second look.
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
    Never Regains Its Original Dimensions

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    Quote Originally Posted by IanWilson View Post
    Do you have any suggestions as to how to choose between these two? One difference I notice is that Acronis True Image is somewhat cheaper than StorageCraft ShadowProtect. (UK prices are 39.95 compared with 56.01.)

    Ian
    Hi Ian,
    Acronis True Image HOME is less expensive than ShadowProtect - BUT in order to take advantage of the Hardware Independent Restore (bare-metal restore), an Acronis user must purchase the "Advanced Workstation" product (approximately twice the price of True Image Home) and then purchase the additional "Universal Restore" module. ShadowProtect Desktop has this functionality built in. Comparing apples to apples then, SP is actually the less expensive solution.

    I switched to SP a few years ago after reading one particularly favourable review, and I haven't regretted my decision. The level of support (even from the programmers of the software) on the SP forums is, for the most part, outstanding. ShadowProtect doesn't have all of the "bells and whistles" of the Acronis product. Rather it does exactly what it is designed to do - image a system and restore a system - no more and no less. The Recovery CD (bootable CD to run SP when restoring an image) is based on the WinPE environment (rather than the Linux based Acronis recovery) and has more and more up-to-date drivers which will accomodate almost any hardware.

    They are both good products however, and there are enthusiasts for each.
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
    Never Regains Its Original Dimensions

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