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Thread: System snapshot

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    2 Star Lounger
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    System snapshot

    Having had to consult Woody's so often, I've started to take interest in "system" capture tools to save lots of reinstall pain. Before I go investing my hard earned, is there a freeware version that you've tried and tested and find reliable?
    Willow

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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: System snapshot


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    Re: System snapshot

    IMHO, the only sure way to do this is use an imaging tool. There are other tools that some people use and swear by to track what was modified during an install. System restore is not meant to be a lifesaver. It is only back up critical system files that a changed during an install/update process.

    Joe
    Joe

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: System snapshot

    I think there are two categories of programs to consider.

    The first are hard drive imaging products such as Ghost and TrueImage (neither of which I've used personally). Should something terrible happen, you can restore the image and roll back the clock to the date it was made. Some programs allow selective restoration, but Windows is so complicated that you probably should just assume that won't work. One problem with this approach is that you need a lot of storage and need to schedule the backups at intervals that don't leave you having to rebuild 6 months of work.

    The second group of products are configuration migrators like Personality Tranxport (PTPro) and Desktop DNA. These extract your settings (Windows, Office, IE, sometimes other applications), but do not store the system files. The backups are lightweight, but should something terrible happen, you would have to reinstall Windows and all its patches, and then you could use the migration software to reinsert your customizations.

    In a corporate setting, IT combines these tools: image software lays down a generic, pre-approved system configuration, and the migration software injects the individual user's settings.

    As for free products, the first category will have more than the second, I suspect.

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    Re: System snapshot

    Yeah Leif, have just started with XP with the new system...but think I may go back to 98SE. It's not so much a case of being comfortable with what I know (although that is part of it), and I know XP has heaps more "grunt" - but hell, it seems to have more holes in it than last year's socks. (We have it at work, and a dedicated team of techs still have a round the clock job patching it up and keeping it running), so I dunno if I will explore the XP restore option.
    I may look at things like Ghost as Jscher suggested. Whether I persist with XP, or return to 98SE, I reckon they may save me a lot of work. I appreciate the amount of storage used, but heck, with 80gig now, and using less than 10% of that, I think I can make it work. (My old system had 10 gig between to hard drives....storage has gotten big and cheap quick!)
    Will look to see if there are "demo" versions around and report back
    Thanks again folks
    Willow

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    Plutonium Lounger
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    Re: System snapshot

    I can't resist possibly "offending" all the Win98 Loungers, but that team of techs is probably a tad overblown in what you may be getting told about "keeping it running," XP that is. Yes, there have been gobs of security holes in XP but as far as stability and reliability, Win98 doesn't come close to comparing with XP. Think carefully about your planned regression. We're ALL hoping and praying that MS has "gotten it right" this time with Service Pack 2 !

    About the "imaging" products, let me say only that the three most often mentioned here in The Lounge are Ghost, Drive Image (both now Symantec products) and TrueImage. These days the one seeming to have the most favorable comments is Acronis TrueImage. Please note if you go for the free trial that you CANNOT restore images made during the trial period.

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