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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    Hard-disk imaging: In-use versus not-in-use hard disk?

    In reading this post ...

    http://windowssecrets.com/forums/sho...-Be-Very-Handy

    I decided to try a win98 boot cd with ghost for dos that I'd made many years ago and see whether it would still work.

    My system is a intel P4 3.2ghz 4gb ram with a combo of STA and ide hard disks. My boot drive is IDE 80gb 7200rpm running XP SP3 and up to date with updates and security patches.

    The system booted to the CD OK, but when I ran ghost received the error message "insufficent stacks in config.sys. Increase the number of stacks and retry."

    This led to me reading through this and other forums to identify the meaning of this message. An interesting question posed itself, since most imaging software is installed to the active hard disk: "When an image is reapplied to the hard disk, the imaging software under which the image was originally made MUST be installed onto an active in-use hard disk. This means the OS must have been installed first. Surely this is a waste of time? Wouldn't it be much better if the image was obtained from an not-in-use hdd without any interference from the OS and other software - as in the case of my win98-ghost boot CD?

    So here's some questions:

    1. Why is the "active" hdd system supposed to be better?

    and to me more importantly,

    2. How does one go about applying the image to a new hdd with an on-disk program without having to install the OS and imaging software first?

    Many thanks ...

  2. #2
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    irjc,

    Most modern imaging programs allow for the creation of Boot Media using either Linux or Windows PE. This can either be a CD, USB Key, or a partition on a USB hard drive. When you boot the computer (with the appropriate Boot Media loaded) you press what ever key your manufacturer uses to present the Boot Menu (e.g. Dells use F12). When the menu appears you select the appropriate device and of you go no OS on the internal HD required.

    Many of us also prefer to make out images using this boot media as it gets Windows completely out of the way of the imaging software. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    @RetiredGeek

    I'm familiar with Live CD/DVD images, but have never used one installed into "Program Files". Does that software automatically create the "boot" aspect of the image if the target directory is a DVD/CD? If not, how can one use the software if the hdd is hosed?

    Sorry if I sound silly ...

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    Your boot CD or Ghost is probably just too far out of date to work properly and in this case you shouldn't pay too much attention to the post you cited as it was more of a special purpose post. If you Google either Macrium Reflect or EaseUS ToDo and go to their websites, you can read about the process and even use either one of them to replace your old Ghost boot CD because they both have very good free versions.
    Sent from Windows ME thru Opera 10.63...just before they crashe

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irjc View Post
    Does that software automatically create the "boot" aspect of the image if the target directory is a DVD/CD? If not, how can one use the software if the hdd is hosed?
    Sorry if I sound silly ...
    If the HDD is already hosed you need another computer to get the Boot CD/USB Key setup. Of course if it is already hosed you probably don't have an image that the Boot CD/UBB can read any way.

    Unfortunately, this happens all to often where these issues aren't addressed until it's already too late. You need to start taking regular images as soon as you get a new computer and keep them up to date. As soon as you install your imaging software of choice you need to make the Boot media IMMEDIATELY (there is an option on the programs menu to do this) and TEST to make sure you can boot from it. HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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  6. #6
    New Lounger
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    FYI. I tried Macrium Reflect as suggested by F.U.N. and was pleasantly supplied. It's not the image creation that's vital, it's whether the restore works properly too. Backup for a 16GB image took about 30 minutes and compressed to 2x4gb parts and a 2gb part. Restore took eight minutes including boot time. System working like it was before. Finally found a replacement for good ol' DOS GHOST with Win98 boot CD.

    Many thanks for your help ....

  7. #7
    New Lounger
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    A very good imaging software product is Acronis True Image. It is a paid product. However, both Seagate and Western Digital hard-drives have free imaging software based on Acronis, which only work on their respective hard-drives.
    See http://www.seagate.com/gb/en/support...ds/discwizard/
    and http://support.wdc.com/product/downl...l.asp?swid=119

  8. #8
    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    irjc
    Update your OS on the boot disk. W-98 is just too old.

    You'll find the same version of DOS in either Windows ME or XP. Take your pick.

    As as for Ghost itself, you should be using Ghost 11.5 for backing up every OS from XP to Win-8.1.

    I do this every day, more or less, so I do know of what I speak.

    I started using Ghost back in 1997 when the original authors, first put it up on their bulletin board as a 30 day trail copy. The guy I was working for back then, would download a new copy every 30 days, for us to use in the shop. That's where I fell in love with Ghost. Later, I found Ghost 2002 on a motherboard software/driver disk. Somehow, I upgraded to Ghost 2003, which worked OK for XP, but not for later OS's.

    Jumping forward several years, I found a copy of Ghost 11.5 after hearing about it on a Ghost chat forum.
    I use it from a bootable Flash Drive or CD, using the DOS from Windows ME as the boot OS.
    It works just fine. By the way, if you use the DOS from a disk format in Windows XP, it will be the same DOS. Yeah, that one threw me too. lol

    I was doing something different, a while back, when I did get that same "Stacks" error, thingy.
    Then I went back to my old standard way of running Ghost and NO More Errors. I never did quite figure that one out. ???

    Laters!

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    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

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    Bronze Lounger DrWho's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irjc View Post
    FYI. I tried Macrium Reflect as suggested by F.U.N. and was pleasantly supplied. It's not the image creation that's vital, it's whether the restore works properly too. Backup for a 16GB image took about 30 minutes and compressed to 2x4gb parts and a 2gb part. Restore took eight minutes including boot time. System working like it was before. Finally found a replacement for good ol' DOS GHOST with Win98 boot CD.

    Many thanks for your help ....
    I tried a free copy of Macrium Reflect about a week ago and after that my PC started throwing BSOD's.

    I didn't bother to try to figure out the "WHY" of it, I just did a system restore and blew it off. No more problems now. I didn't really like the program anyway. It seemed limited in options and was going to take way too long to backup my C drive. I would never, ever, do backups from within Windows.

    Laters!
    The Doctor
    Experience is truly the best teacher.

    Backup! Backup! Backup! GHOST Rocks!

  10. #10
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    tried a free copy of Macrium Reflect about a week ago and after that my PC started throwing BSOD's.
    There are several users on this forum that use Macrium Reflect with no issues.

    I would never, ever, do backups from within Windows.
    I make regular backup images from within Windows using Acronis True Image and have never had a problem with either the backup or the restore. I find it convenient to be able to continue working with Windows while the image is being created. There are other users on this board that feel more comfortable creating their images outside of Windows. To each his own.

    Jerry

  11. #11
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwitalka View Post
    I make regular backup images from within Windows using Acronis True Image and have never had a problem with either the backup or the restore. I find it convenient to be able to continue working with Windows while the image is being created. There are other users on this board that feel more comfortable creating their images outside of Windows. To each his own.

    Jerry
    Image for Windows also supports imaging from within Windows. I've created images from within Windows, from dual boot (booted in 7 imaging 8 and vice versa) and also booting Image for Windows from USB. All are completely reliable.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

  12. #12
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Here's why you might not want to be performing backup from within Windows.

    It is slower than running the same backup with the same program from a bootable (Rescue) CD.

    Even though the active Windows partition is "locked" this does not prevent a process from running, writing something to a critical system file, and stopping or ruining the backup in progress.

    Some files may still be in use, and may not be backed up properly.

    Restoration can never be done from within Windows. When you start a recovery process from within Windows, the program must shut down Windows and then perform the actual recovery operations as scheduled tasks from outside of Windows. This handing off of the process can result in a failed restore effort.

    (Aside -- in Linux, which I am now runnning alongside of Windows 7 on my laptop, you CANNOT image or clone a partition from within Linux. You HAVE TO use external bootable CD or DVD media, or else hook up wiith a networked computer. Linux isn't usually so much imaged as cloned, since its footprint is so small compared with 64-bit Windows installations. CloneZilla Live CDs are made for these operations, but the interface is very text-driven and can get a bit confusing unless you know how Linux enumerates partitions and drives.)

    For myself, I have finally gotten to the point where I automatically reach for the Boot CD when doing either backup or restore operations, regardless of OS. It's safer, faster, and more reliable for me. YMMV.

    Macrium Reflect (for Windows) with the WinPE environment on a CD has more options and better flexibility than their Linux environment Rescue CD.

    Finally, DO NOT back up to CDs, DVDs or Flash Drives. They are all too unreliable as backup media. Get an external Hard Drive or Solid State Drive (preferably a pair of them and copy the image or clone so as to have an off-site copy just in case) and use these reliable devices for backups of your system. Recovery operations all too often fail when the image is spread over several CDs or DVDs. And my 165GB Windows 7 installation would span over twelve disks if backed up that way.

    So that's the why and wherefor of backing up Windows (or Linux). Do it outside of the active OS partition for best results.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2013-09-14 at 18:52.
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  13. #13
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Here's why you might not want to be performing backup from within Windows.

    It is slower than running the same backup with the same program from a bootable (Rescue) CD.
    I must say that this depends entirely on the software being used. With Image for Windows, it is not any slower. I've checked.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Even though the active Windows partition is "locked" this does not prevent a process from running, writing something to a critical system file, and stopping or ruining the backup in progress.

    Some files may still be in use, and may not be backed up properly.
    Again, this depends entirely on the software being used. Image for Windows uses PHYLock, not VSS. The resulting image is a snapshot in time. Restoring such an image puts Windows right back where it was at that particular moment in time.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Restoration can never be done from within Windows.
    True enough, but then we're discussing making the image, not restoration.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    For myself, I have finally gotten to the point where I automatically reach for the Boot CD when doing either backup or restore operations, regardless of OS. It's safer, faster, and more reliable for me. YMMV.
    I boot to the other OS and run Image for Windows, whether I'm restoring or imaging. Safe, fast, has never failed me. I dual boot primarily for the extremely useful versatility it offers in all manner of utilitarian chores.

    Quote Originally Posted by bobprimak View Post
    Finally, DO NOT back up to CDs, DVDs or Flash Drives. They are all too unreliable as backup media.
    My DVD's proved quite useful and reliable in recovering from the house fire in 2010 that wiped out 2 PC's and 2 laptops. Then again, my Windows 8 OS is only 17.9GB, and the Windows 7 OS is 25.9GB (of coarse, it's about ten times as old as my Windows 8).

    But with larger drives, it is more convenient to backup to an external drive. And I would suggest having two, not just one.

    The bottom line is that we all do what we do for our own reasons. The most salient part of backup is just to do it. Choose a method with which one can be comfortable, and develop the habit of using that method with regularity.

    The most useless backup is the one you didn't get around to doing; it's also the most painful.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

  14. #14
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Indeed, no matter how we do it, the most important part of system backup is to do it. And before anything goes radically wrong!

    Since I'm new to Linux, I find I am doing more backups more frequently in there than in Windows.

    And I still prefer to do the backups outside of the active drive. It just feels safer to me, and for me, it is indeed faster. YMMV.
    -- Bob Primak --

  15. #15
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    If you can continue to work while the backup image is being created, speed is not an issue. I'm making my weekly backup images right now as I'm reviewing forum posts.

    But we all do what we are comfortable with.

    Jerry

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