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  1. #1
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    Create a Factory Image restore disc

    Computer: Dell Inspiron 530, 32-bit Windows Vista Home Premium Service Pack 2
    Drives: Hard drive (C 320 GB Recovery (D 14.6 GB

    Does it make sense to create a factory image restore disc onto a CD-R from the Recovery (D 14.6 GB partition?
    --- If so, how do I do that?

    The owner doesnít have any restore or system discs for this computer and Iíd like to create a factory image restore disc onto a CD-R from the Recovery (D 14.6 GB partition
    --- The manual explains how to use a Dell Factory Image Restore but I donít see instructions on how to create a factory image restore disc
    --- I believe itís a good safety measure to do so
    --- I donít know if Iím explaining what Iím trying to say with the proper terminology but I hope so

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  3. #2
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Instead of a factory restore disk(s) why not create a system Image as the PC is now.

    By the way the Drive D Recovery should be the Factory Recovery Partition. Dell support has instructions for using this.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmptrgy View Post
    Computer: Dell Inspiron 530, 32-bit Windows Vista Home Premium Service Pack 2 [...]
    The owner doesnít have any restore or system discs for this computer and Iíd like to create a factory image restore disc onto a CD-R [...]
    If the owner hasn't removed it, look for the function to create factory recovery discs under Dell DataSafe Local Backup (which is different from Dell DataSafe Online Backup). I don't recall if it supports CD-Rs, as most users would generally use DVD-Rs for this purpose.

    However, keep in mind that, as Medico implies, the factory recovery discs (as well as doing a factory restore from the D: drive) will restore the C: drive to the state it was in when Dell first shipped the computer. That means none of the user's programs, none of his data, no Windows updates, and (depending on ship date) probably not even SP2. While that's better than having nothing to rely on, it's not all that convenient. As Medico suggests, if the system is currently working fine then you'd be much better off using a decent third-party imaging tool to backup the current state of C: instead of having to rely on a factory image that's years out of date.


    Dan

  5. #4
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    Thank you both for your replies. I will certainly put this information to good use
    --- The owner has DVD-R’s available so I’ll use those
    I am considering 3rd part imaging programs
    --- Acronis True Image & Macriume Reflect paid versions as I’ve seen in some posts
    ------ and that’s what my goal is
    --- The reason I want to consider factory restore options is in case the 3rd party program has issues
    --- In addition I’ll be investigating the benefit, if there is one, to include the dissimilar hardware feature

    The hard drive for this computer is a Western Digital 350 GB
    --- They have a 500 GB external drive that I am presently using to at least save their working data
    FYI this computer actually belongs to a non-profit organization I volunteer for and I’m trying to do my best to help them maintain their computers and that is why I mention the paid versions

    Back to using the external hard drive, will I need to make sure it’s dedicated to only whatever imaging program is used?
    --- The reason I ask is because I still want to back up the working files
    --- Right now I’m using a batch file to copy & paste the working files onto the mentioned external hard drive
    ------ I use the copy & paste method because if a backup fails, the files are easily accessible

    Finally, I apologize for all of the smiley’s in my thread. I’m still new on how to use what’s available and when I was checking on what some of the icons are for, I guess I magically inserted the smiley’s; thank god it wasn’t the angry ones
    --- Please note also that my id of cmtrgy means just that – I’m a computer guy, not an expert or even close to it

  6. #5
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    Good use of factory recovery disks are to prepare a machine for sale. That way you know the machine comply's with software rights issues. Just do a wipe of free space afterwards to remove any hidden data.

  7. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmptrgy View Post
    Back to using the external hard drive, will I need to make sure itís dedicated to only whatever imaging program is used?
    No. An image is nothing more than a file (or set of files)--albeit, a very large file, but a file nonetheless. Think of it like a super-sized zipfile. It may contain within it the contents of an entire partition, but in its storage state it's a file.

    Being a file, you can store it just like other ordinary files--on CDs, DVDs, an external drive, a second partition on the internal drive, on a NAS, etc. You would have no trouble creating a separate folder on the external drive for the image backups, as well as another folder for your drag-and-drop data backups.

    Aside: most imaging programs will let you split the image into a set of files instead of one giant file. This makes the files easier to manage. Keep in mind, though, that the image is the entire set, and the individual files are useless without the entire set.

    An image usually records the contents of only the in-use space of a partition, not free space, and usually employs some kind of compression. For example, if you have a 350GB partition with about 50GB in use, it might typically compress down to a 25GB image file. Your 500GB external drive could hold many such images. It's not unusual for users to keep several generations of images, which would give you the option of restoring the system to snapshots from different dates. This could come in handy in the event your most recent image turned out not to be viable for some reason--like if it got corrupted somehow, or if it happened to have been created while the system had malware you didn't know about at the time.

  8. #7
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    To go a little further, I store Images from 3 separate PC's on my Ext HD. I have create separate folders on the drive, then choose which folder to store an Image to based on which PC I am imaging. I have multiple images from each PC stored in these folders.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  9. #8
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    I really like EaseUS Todo Backup. The personal edition is free. Do a System image, and you can then mount it like a disk drive and copy individual items out of it. You can also image your hard drive to a network drive, which means that you don't have to plug in an external hard drive to the computer in question.

  10. #9
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Many drive imaging tools will allow you to configure the size of your restore images so that you can burn them to DVD disks after
    the images have been created. You would have to have enough space on your drive to temporarily store them while you organize your burn
    to DVD disks.
    This is better than having the imaging application itself burn multiple images "on the fly" straight to your CD/DVD ROM drive.
    It may give you a bit more control over the burning process by cutting down on any potential burn errors via the imaging app.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
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    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  11. #10
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    Thanks everyone for all of this excellent information. The additional notes on organization are definitely excellent also

  12. #11
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Glad we could supply some info to help.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


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  13. #12
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    Safety !

    Computor Guy, hello.

    There has been mention to your request, of doing an image of the HD to save it all. Good point. One should keep in mind that doing an image, as somebody stated, is a file. Doing a recovery is a bit tedious, in my mind.

    If you do a clone, yes, a clone, you will be saving all on the HD to another external HD, and this is a bit for bit copy of the source that can be reversed and copied back to the external HD that would now the source, to the destination HD in the computer, that is now the destination. The destination HD needs only the space to clone the actual data on the source, ie: if you have a 250 G HD on which there is only 50 G of data, your destination needs be only slightly larger than the 50 G of data. Confusing ? Not really, you can go C:\ to Z:\ and to recoup, go Z:\ to C:\, if needed.

    This cloning is really nice if you desire to upgrade to a larger HD in a computer, clone C:\ to it, insert the new drive into the machine, turn on and you are working. Your BIOS will see the new drive as C:\ and all will be happy.

    I clone all my many machines monthly, once going, it is an unattended procedure. Imaging is nice but cloning is a neck saver. Being a bit for bit copy of the HD, you can also copy/move any file to/from it as you can inside your machine. Food for thought ! Image or clone, get to do it.

    Have a great day. JP.

  14. #13
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    JP thanks for the additional info
    I'm confused on what softwares are imaging & which ones are clones.
    Do I have the following programs in their correct imaging/cloning capabilities?
    Imaging software: Acronis True Image, EaseUS Todo Backup, Macrium Reflect
    Cloning software: Casper, Norton Ghost
    I don't have any experience yet but fortunately I have the time to investigate what I need to do and once I decide which program to consider, I'll call that company first to verify any questions that I have
    --- Actually I look forward to gaining that experience
    Because the non-profit company I volunteer for has an external hard drive I plan on putting it into good use and I'll be looking for a paid version because if any problem comes up I don't want to be figuring them out myself if the problem becomes problematic

  15. #14
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    cmptrgy,

    Most of those programs will do both images and clones. Understand that a clone is a partition that is a copy (despite JP's assertion, it is not a bit-for-bit copy) of the source partition, while an image is a file containing the compressed contents of the source. If an image file is restored to a destination partition, that partition then becomes a clone of the original source partition. Thus, imaging involves two steps to derive a clone, while direct cloning is a one step process.

    As for which is more preferable, people have their own prejudices, so consider why somebody says such and such is better and whether it applies to you.

    Keep in mind that one external disk can be a clone of only one source disk, while one external disk used to store image files can store images of many source disks.

    Some people prefer to keep a ready-to-go clone available for when it's needed. That can certainly save a few minutes (note minutes, not hours) and get you back up and running asap. (However, I fail to see how JP's method of cloning then reverse-cloning when needed saves any time at all.) But what happens if it turns out your one and only clone was bad?

    Others prefer the extra safety net of being able to retain multiple images (say, last month's image plus the month before), even though when disaster strikes it will take a little longer, involving the extra step of restoring the image.

    If you have five computers in your household, is it practical to keep five spare hard drives with clones of each of your five computers? (What if you never have to use four of them? Is that wasted money?) Or is it more practical to keep one external drive with images of all five computers?

    Incidentally, direct cloning is not without an occasional hiccup--see for example the thread Baffling problem cloning XP to new SATA disk, in which the OP ran into a known problem with some programs and direct cloning. He would not have had that problem had he made an image, swapped disks, and restored the image.


    Dan

  16. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmptrgy View Post
    FYI this computer actually belongs to a non-profit organization I volunteer for and I’m trying to do my best to help them maintain their computers and that is why I mention the paid versions



    If they are a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit, check out TechSoup (
    http://home.techsoup.org) From the website:

    TechSoup is a nonprofit with a clear focus: providing other nonprofits and libraries with technology that empowers them to fulfill their missions and serve their communities. As part of that goal, we provide technology products and information geared specifically to the unique challenges faced by nonprofits and libraries.

    Learning resources, including articles, blogs, free webinars, and forums led by expert hosts are available to all users. Once qualified with TechSoup, nonprofits and libraries can access more than 450 technology products and services from more than 50 donor partners — including Microsoft, Adobe, Cisco, Intuit, and Symantec. All donated and discounted products are available for a small admin fee that supports our work in the United States and around the world.


    For example, a non-profit can get Norton Ghost 15.0 from Symantec for a fee of only $7.00, Microsoft Office 2010 for $24.00 or QuickBooks for $45.00!
    Last edited by ddingley; 2012-09-21 at 00:48.

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