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  1. #1
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    Win2K Backup file limit?

    I'm backing up data from a Win2K machine to another Win2K with about 60 GB of available space. I used the Backup tool that came with Windows 2000 to do a full backup. The backup aborted after about 4 GB was copied ( 4,284,415,393 Bytes to be precise ). The error message was "End of Media encountered while backing up to non-removable media." Does NFTS have a file limit size or do I need to reset something?

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    Re: Win2K Backup file limit?

    Seems like I read somewhere that the Windows backup program will only backup 4GB of data. You may need to use a 3rd party program like I do. I use Drive Image by Power Quest. I do a complete Drive Copy, OS and all, to a different Hard Drive and I have about 13GB to Copy. Using the Drive Copy option from Drive Image I have an exact duplicate of my Hard Drive.

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    Re: Win2K Backup file limit?

    What file system are you using? Microsoft says that FAT32 has a 4GB file size limitation. It's entirely possible that Backup doesn't have the ability to write a file larger than this even if the filesystem is NTFS.

    I have NTFS here and I cannot FTP (command line ftp.exe) a file larger than 4GB without running into the exact same problem as you describe.

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    Re: Win2K Backup file limit?

    Dean,
    I thought both machines were NTFS, but discovered over the weekend that both are FAT32. I've been since been contemplating all that would be required (best case: backing up and restoring data files; worst case: reinstalling software all over again) and had just about reached the conclusion that I could live with things like they are for the time being. Your running into the same limit in a NTFS environment sorta puts a nail in it for me.

    This experience has been interesting in that most hard drives now vastly exceed 4 GB, that backup tape media can exceed 4 GB, and that the Backup Utility offers a "Normal" full back up capability. Ergo, if you try to do a full backup, which they recommend, you essentially can't do it as a single, seamless backup over a network to another computer.

    Another interesting sidebar to all of this has been the response from several software vendors regarding reinstallation. At least two of them, Ulead and FrontLook have responded that in order to reinstall I have to pay; Ulead wants $5 and FrontLook wants $10. Because the software is downloaded from their respective sites and requires a key (no problem here), and I might add, saves them the infrastructure costs of shipping, I have no way to reinstall without paying the money. Both of course, offer me the option of paying full price for upgrades. These software guys are starting to remind me of banks and ATM's.

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    Re: Win2K Backup file limit?

    Just a minute here. I think I've been less than clear. I commented on the command line ftp.exe to demonstrate that old code has limitations that exist artificially on newer file systems. Should you upgrade to NTFS5 (in Win2k and XP) you will eliminate the 4GB limitation. I have regularly made 18GB backup files from one server to another here on the LAN I administer - using the very software with which you are having trouble.

    Microsoft has the command line utility (convert.exe) to do this. Try Start | Run | cmd. Then type "convert /?". (There is a space between "convert" and "/". This will give you the syntax of the command.) I would make a drive image style backup and then attempt the conversion. Should it fail - restore. Should it succeed you've eliminated the need to repurchase your software. Although I should add, $15 is a small price to pay for the stability (not much trouble with sudden power-down) and extended function (bye-bye 4GB limit) of NTFS.

    Keep at it.

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    Re: Win2K Backup file limit?

    Dean,
    OK now I see. However, what is a "drive image style" backup? Do you mean simply copying everything on one drive to a folder on another over the LAN?

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    Re: Win2K Backup file limit?

    No. I'm referring to Norton Ghost or PowerQuest Drive Image. These make a bit-for-bit copy of an entire partition: partition info and filesystem info included. I say this so that if the conversion process bombs and leaves you with nothing, you can restore to the previouse good state in less than half and hour.

    I use this technology at my work and as my home backup. The file produced can be written directly to CD and even span multiple CD's. There should be a great deal about this subject on one of the boards here. Learn it and use it and you will find a stability in computing that is hampered only by hardware reliability. It changes how you use a computer when you are not afraid of it breaking.

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    Re: Win2K Backup file limit?

    Dean,
    I took a look at Ghost at the Symantec website. Before I jump in here though I want to make sure I understand what's going on and please forgive me if I'm being dense. Norton Ghost will make a bit by bit copy of everything on my PC (over the LAN to another PC) even though I have not converted the destination to NTFS? In other words, using Ghost gets around the 4 GB limitation.

  9. #9
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    Re: Win2K Backup file limit?

    Actually I was thinking you have either free hard drive space or a cd burner on which to place the Ghost file. There is more than meets the eye here too. Ghost and the others like it have the good sense not to copy empty sectors of the drive and to compress the data which is copied. So that a 4GB partition with 3GB of data would have only 3GB to copy. Then the 3GB would be compressed - so maybe a 1.8 GB file would be created.

    So I guess I was proposing that you use Ghost to backup your system, so that you can safely move to NTFS so that you can use NTBackup to backup your system. Hrm. Not so bright, huh? Ghost is a superior method of backing up data. It facilitates full partition recovery or individual file recovery.

    I use PowerQuest's Drive Image. It is software to do the same thing. It gives me the option of creating an image of a partition (or multiple partitions) and separating that data into 700MB files. This procedure allows you to move the data around your network without running into your file size limitations, or burn them to cd later, or whatever else you wish. I've not ever had to use this, but I'm sure it works perfectly and I'm sure there is a similar option in Ghost.

    So, yes, Ghost should get you around that 4GB limitation by not making a file greater than or equal to 4GB.

  10. #10
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    Re: Win2K Backup file limit?

    This newbie Ghost user found out that despite using -span,-auto,-split=640 he was unable to span source files greater than 2 gig (error msg device full message appeared despite having 20 gig free on the output drive).
    The Ghost knowledge base told me that sometimes PC DOS must be replaced with MS DOS on the Ghost floppy. Spanning worked after replacing PC DOS (another joy of building one's own machine).

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    Re: Win2K Backup file limit?

    We are using Ghost on the regular basis (shooting images through the network) and we never have a problem with DOS versions on the bootable floppies.

    Some time ago I experimented with bootable CDs (later we abandoned this idea) and I think it can be interesting despite it requires more efforts than booting from floppy. For some models of notebooks (without floppy drives or with one drive bay only - for floppy or CD) it can be the only solution except to use network connection. Using Ghost floppy as source for CD's boot sector and automating imaging process (by "-sure" switch) you can achieve fascinating results. Don't forget to use CD-RW disks and limit the image chunks to 550 MB.

  12. #12
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    Re: Win2K Backup file limit?

    If you split your backup into chunks, with the all the software/Os etc. files in the first, then making up batches of files on whatever basis makes sense to you (I'd start with most used - restore backups as you need them) up to the 4GB limit, you can get by without buying anything new for now. I would definitely recommend some sort of drive imaging software, though.

    I use Ghost, with no problems (so far), but I believe Drive Image has some facility for scheduling backups. Can anyone confirm/refute that?
    We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

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    Re: Win2K Backup file limit?

    Both Ghost and Drive Image have command line paramaters that can be put in a batch file and run by Windows Scheduler. Drive Image does have some GUI controlls for just what you seek, but in my version they don't work as well as the command line.

  14. #14
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    Re: Win2K Backup file limit?

    One of these days, I'll have to learn how to write a batch file!
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