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Backup vs. Disk Imaging

by tombauman / January 11, 2011 10:55 AM PST

I am running Windows XP Professional.

I have been backing up my Data and Program files religously for several years.

I recently performed a cold operating system install. When I restored the backups I found that none of my programs ran. I believe this is because they needed to be Installed no copied back to the hard disk. After going through the pain of reinstalling them they run fine.

If I had used a disk imaging program whould this problem have gone away?

I have read several articles on imaging but none address this question.

Any advice or clarification will be appreciated.


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The problem with disk imaging is
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 11, 2011 11:19 AM PST

That whatever you backed up would come back. Many want a clean install to get rid of what damage the OS took over the years.

But apps that were working at the time of the image should work again.

The issue of backing up just the apps started in 1995. Since them we know we should install apps.

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by John.Wilkinson / January 11, 2011 3:25 PM PST

The best thing you can do is reinstall your programs and then create a clone before you begin actively using the new installation. From then on, perform incremental backups, enabling you to restore your 'clean' state later if desired while also being able to restore the most recent version, or just the latest personal files, to get it quickly up to speed after a few wipe.


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I agree but
by gkearnes / January 21, 2011 12:49 PM PST

Backing data is fine and I do that but the problem is that not all that simple.

Case in point your computer becomes infected heaven forbide. Your files are backed up but if you purchased some of your software on line like I have then you can't install them again because you used your install privilege once already and you are the mercy of the vendor to give you another install because they want you to purchase the new verion instead.

I have many programs that are upgrades and to reinstall them you have to the orginal disk but I started out Photoshop 5.5 since then I have upgraded each time with the upgrade disk which looks for the other previous version. If you do the imagining the problem is solved and you can pull up all your date files after you have your programs up and running again.

I solved this problem with a new computer when I had to reinstall all my previous programs I download plus the ones I have disks for. Once everything was back in order and everything worked with my new OS I did the disk imaging. Every three months I do another one that is incremental and every weekend I do a incremental on my data. I purchase an extra large hard drive for that purpose as the two in the computer are used one for programs and the other for data. I have disk imagining on one of the internal drives and one on my external drive. I have two of everything this way. I lost my data drive once and have since learned my lesson on backups. Cds are not reliable as I found only 82% of my data was intact.

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You made a case for backup well.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 27, 2011 9:53 AM PST
In reply to: I agree but

Given that your Cds were not reliable, where was the backup copy?

I couldn't tell from your post.

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Had you imaged the HDD as you indicated, you
by VAPCMD / January 12, 2011 7:45 AM PST

could have restored it to the same or a different drive and all the APPS would have worked as before. This concept with minor modifications has worked perfectly for me for years.

Each system I put together has at least two HDDs. The first HDD has two partitions...partition 1 is for the OS and APPs and partition 2 is for DATA. The second HDD has one partition and serves only to store backup individual backup images of everything on "C" (OS and APPS) and everything on "D" (APPs). Periodically I update the images of C and D so I have multiple versions of the images C and D on drive E. Periodically I also copy the images of C and D to an external HDD. Easy to create and easy to restore when and if needed.

Takes a few extra steps to setup but it works very well.



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Hardware remains constant
by DOSpower / January 21, 2011 12:38 PM PST

In addition to the excellent advice from those posting, I would add that if you make a clone of your drive, if you reinstall it remember that any new hardware installed after the creation of the image will need to be reinstalled. As a standard approach I partition the hard drive (C:system, D:Data) move the My Documents to the D: drive and create an image of the C: drive to the D: drive, an external drive and DVD (self booting). It sound slike a lot of work but it is a real life saver. After that it is a case of regular backups.

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by Buz74 / January 20, 2012 5:31 AM PST
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