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  1. #1
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    Recovery: the last step in total data security




    TOP STORY

    Recovery: the last step in total data security


    By Fred Langa

    In recent issues, I've described Windows 7's four levels of built-in data protection, each with differing capabilities for preserving your data.

    Now I'll tell you how to dig the data out of your backups, whether it's a single file, a folder — or even your entire drive contents.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/recovery:-the-last-step-in-total-data-security/ (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.
    Last edited by Tracey Capen; 2011-08-10 at 17:18.

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    This series of columns was most interesting. It's curious to find that Microsoft has this built-in utility yet chooses not to tell users, or at least not to tell them the extent to which it operates. Maybe it's because the steps required are so non-intuitive to 99% of the users that they don't bother. I did corporate backup for a city government for 10 years using million-dollar backup software that was extremely complex. And yet I lost patience with Windows backup when it was introduced in its new clothes in Vista/Windows 7. I especially didn't like the fact that it presumes to exclude some files and file types. I've never understood the point.

    I think that the term "Backup Software" is misleading. The point of backup is to enable recovery. I would say 99.9% of the people who actually run backup software regularly never test it to see if it is really backing up what they think it is. Microsoft's track record with backup is particularly poor on the "restore" part of the equation.

    My experience is that if backup isn't invisible and automatic users won't do it. There are a few products on the market that do this, and the one that I've had the best luck recommending is Genie Timeline. I specifically recommend it to those users (friends, family) who I seem to have collected over the years as their "personal" computer guy. For $40 it gives me peace of mind should they call upon me to restore lost/deleted files. I actually do spot checks of restore for users whenever they ask me about a problem that requires my personal intervention.

    Oh, and I'm not associated with Genie in any way.
    Last edited by hurricane51; 2011-08-11 at 00:16. Reason: typo

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    Very interesting article - non-destructive recovery is such an important feature that (like others) I wonder why Microsoft has not made it more obvious.
    HOWEVER - I see that it needs an original Vista or 7 disc - HP in their collective wisdom(?) have decided not to provide an OEM disc but to put all the info on a hard-disk partition. ASUS has too.
    As I have no contacts who would be able to lend me an appropriate disk, are there any ways that the recovery partition 'stuff' could be used for a non-destructive recovery? Failing that, would the procedure work if one created a recovery disk from the partition?

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    Fred's article is excellent, as usual, but I've given up on Windows built-in Backup & Restore. It's W-A-Y too slow, creates W-A-Y too large files and the backed up files are much too awkward to get at. Acronis is worth the price. (There are other, open-source backup programs, too.) I use Acronis for my C drive, and Karen's Replicator for simple file-to-file backup of my data onto an external drive. I much prefer the file-to-file backup for data files because retrieval is so simple.

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    Cool Access to your Windows Backup

    You can also mount a windows 7 backup file and browse it like a drive.
    Right click on Computer and select Manage
    go to Disk Management
    Give it a minute to fully read all your disk info
    then Right click on Disk Management in the left hand pane
    Choose Attach VHD (A vhd is a virtual hard drive)
    Browse to the location of your backup file and point ot the .vhd file.
    Presto - it is mounted as a hard drive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Poltor View Post
    Very interesting article - non-destructive recovery is such an important feature that (like others) I wonder why Microsoft has not made it more obvious.
    HOWEVER - I see that it needs an original Vista or 7 disc - HP in their collective wisdom(?) have decided not to provide an OEM disc but to put all the info on a hard-disk partition. ASUS has too.
    As I have no contacts who would be able to lend me an appropriate disk, are there any ways that the recovery partition 'stuff' could be used for a non-destructive recovery? Failing that, would the procedure work if one created a recovery disk from the partition?
    You can obtain valid disks, from legitimate download links (Digital River servers). I am sure there are links for Vista, but haven't search for them:

    For 7, see here: http://www.mydigitallife.info/window...-home-premium/
    For 7 with SP1: http://www.shaileshtripathi.in/2011/...ntegrated.html

    I am sure similar links are available for Vista. The resulting DVDs will be able to be used with your original Windows keys.

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    A comprehensive overview by Fred, and kudos to him for organizing and presenting this in a logical fashion...something MS should have done but didn't.

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    Based on Fred's article, and a prior article from Woody, I finally gave Win Backup a try. Turned out to be a waste of time for me.

    Wasn't sure where to post details, so opted for Win 7 area:
    http://windowssecrets.com/forums/showthread.php/140193-Windows-Backup-always-fails-to-file-the-file-specified.-(0x80070002).

    Since these problems were inspired by this articles, a link here seems appropriate.
    GG

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    I have been using Acronis for backups but after reading Fred's recent article, I decided to give Win 7's built-in program another try. I have two external USB hard drives I use for backups and made a backup on the drive that is normally not used. Now I find that at the "browse for files" step (Fig. 4) there is no option that lets me get to the drive I used for the latest backup. It only lists the other backup drive. So I guess it back to Acronis.

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    Interesting. And what if Win7 says there is no 'backup' or 'restore'? Thanks.

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    Backup Space Management Question

    Fred: I followed your advice (in Win7 safety net) for backing up my system using win7 backup, which has been running problem free for quite a while. I am backing up my full system to second internal hard drive (used just for backups). Lately I am getting messages saying that the drive is out of space. How about some tips on space management of the backup drive, both manual and automatic (in case i am feeling lazy) --Roy--

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