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Third party program to create my own set of restore DVDs?

by victor-bailey / September 23, 2008 4:57 PM PDT

I know this question has been asked before, but I have yet to find the answer I am looking for.

I want to create my own restore DVDs. Why? Well, we have all been there. You build a new system, install a fresh copy of Win XP Pro and install all of the updates and your favorite programs. The system starts in 30 seconds and runs like a charm. As time goes on you install and uninstall a few programs and games, and your system slows to a crawl and crashes all the time. You know that the solution is to reformat your hard rive and start fresh, but you hesitate because you know that it will take you several days to reinstall and update all of your programs. You now wish you had a restore disk that would take you back to that point in time when your system was running like a charm with all of your favorite software installed, registered, activated and updated. That's why I want to create my own restore DVDs.

Most brand name computers have programs that allow you to create your own restore disk that will restore your system back to the state when you created the restore disk, including all the programs and updates you installed. Acer for example has a program called eRecovery that comes up when you turn the computer on for the first time. It ask you to create a restore disk. But Acer's eRecovery also allows you to create a complete restore disk after you have installed all of the updates and the programs you want. That's all fine and dandy if you buy an Acer computer, but what options exist if you build your own system likes I do? I have seen a lot of people suggest Acronis true image software to do this. Well, I just built a new system and got it all updated with all the software I want on it. It runs perfect right now. I downloaded a 15 day trial of Acronis True Image 11 to see if it would do what I want it to. But I have yet to find a way to create a set restore DVDs with it. Before I go any further, let me clarify right here what I want to do.

Okay, I have my Win XP pro installation installed on a 126 GB primary partition. After I have installed all of the updates and initial programs I want, I have used only 5 GB of space on the primary partition. Acronis wants to create a full 126 GB partition image. I don't want to waste 121 GB of HD space when I all I need is the information stored on 5 GB. Now if this where an Acer system the Acer eRecovery program could do what I want and burn the image to multiple bootable DVD-R disk. So I know it is possible to do what I want, but I need a program that can do it on a home built system. eRecovery only works on Acer built machines.

So now that you understand what it is that I want to do. Maybe you could tell me if there is a program out there that can do it. I have also tried creating a slipstreamed disk with everything I want on it, but all attempts have failed.

So I guess what I am asking is this; is there a third party program out there, like Acer's eRecovery, that can gather all of the current data on your HD (OS, Programs, Updates, Drivers) to create a set of restore disk that will bring your system back to the exact state that it was when you created the disk? Maybe Acronis true image can do this and I just don't know how yet. If so can you please give me the directions. Thanks.

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Why did Slipstreaming fail?
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / September 23, 2008 8:40 PM PDT

Slipstreaming could create a DVD with your basic OS plus SP3, then you use another CD/DVD with all of your saved 3rd party software installation files to reinstall that software.

Whenever I download software to install it, I save the installation file to a backup folder, then burn the lot to a CD. That way I have everything handy.


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Slipstreaming does not accomplish my goal.
by victor-bailey / September 24, 2008 1:56 AM PDT

I used the nLite program to slipstream my XP Pro and SP3 several times (also tried it with SP2 with the same result). But when I tried to install it, many files were unreadable on the slipstreamed disk. I had to skip the files in order to proceed. I tried different CD burners. I tried restarting my system with only system services enabled and no security software running. Besides that, even when I finally did get it to install by skipping the files that could not be read from the disk, I got an error saying that my windows installation was illegal. (Just in case you want to know, my copy of XP Pro installs just fine from the original disk.) I slipstreamed my Office XP CD with SP3 using a manual technique and it installed fine, but Microsoft Genuine Advantage now sees the installation as a pirated copy. Putting all that aside, it still is not what I want. I simply want a set of restore DVDs that will restore my system to the time when I had it just like I wanted it with all my favorite software installed, updated , registered and activated. I know this can be done, because I can do it on my Acer laptop using the eRecovery program. Surely there is a third party program that can do it too.

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"I want and burn the image to multiple bootable DVD-R disk."
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 23, 2008 9:38 PM PDT

While I might suggest DVD+R media since I've had better luck over the DVD-R media the answer is simply ACRONIS. It can do what we call "BARE METAL RESTORE".

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If Acronis can do it, please tell me how.
by victor-bailey / September 24, 2008 2:09 AM PDT

I agree with you the DVD-R is the only way to go and I use HQ Taiyo Yuden DVD-R disk. I have had a lot of problems with memorex and verbatim disk. But not with Taiyo Yuden, never a single coaster. Back to the subject.

Okay, I have downloaded a fully functional trial copy of Acronis True Image. If it will do what I want, I will gladly pay for it. I tried to create a full system backup, but it says that it will take 126GB of space to backup a partition that only has 5GB of data on it. That is rediculas. Maybe you can tell the right way to do this. Thanks.

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Acronis is good.......
by helljack6 / September 24, 2008 3:46 AM PDT

But me personally, I prefer to use a version of Norton Ghost 7 on a boot CD and using the following commands:

ghost -clone,mode=dump,src=1,dst=Restore.gho -Z9 -SPLIT=700 -FFX -SURE - creates restore images broke at 659mb size to be later burned on CD

ghost -clone,mode=dump,src=1,dst=restore.gho -Z9 -SPLIT=2048 -FFX -SURE - creates restore images broke at just under 2gb allowing for two parts of an image to be put on one DVD

-z9 is maximum compression so your 5gb of information after compression is probably going to be about half the size, so around 2.5 -2.8gb file size, less than a single DVD.

I can't give you any direct links due to forum policies and restrictions, but if you google it, you're looking for Ghost 7 as these are Ghost 7 commands ran in DOS. Ghost 8 and 9 will work as well, but they are 32bit based and as such, don't use the above commands in DOS. But they're just as reliable as well.

You can either create restore images on a separate drive, separate partition, or an external USB attached drive. Restoring is just as fast, simply pop in your Ghost disk, restore partition from image, point it to your source files and go. If you have two DVD drives, you can preload the second DVD ahead of time and Ghost won't prompt you for the next DVD.

The reason I like this process is because I do most of my images over a network. With Ghost 9 you get Ghostcast server which means I can create or restore an image over my network. There's universal boot CDs out there that can help with either process you decide to take, and they don't cost money to get, just google for them and you'll find them.

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Trial copies rarely play well.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 24, 2008 5:40 AM PDT

Sorry if you must find such for free. Good luck in the trials.

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Acronis will do just what you want ...
by Edward ODaniel / September 24, 2008 6:31 AM PDT

and it indicates that it "wants" to create a full partition image because that is how drive imaging applications work - the image is compressed and nowhere near the full size.

You can have the best of both worlds with Acronis by having it create an image in an "Acronis Secure Zone" (lets you choose to perform a complete recovery by booting and selecting the F11 key when prompted which is similar to eRecovery) and also by creating an image split to multiple DVD-R disks.

READ the Acronis help file and it will step you right through the process.

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I did it. Now I to test it, but HOW?
by victor-bailey / September 24, 2008 8:43 AM PDT

Okay, I have done it. But the questions is, does it work? I used Acronis to make a full backup of my system, even though it said it needed 126GB, in the end, the backup image was just 4GB. But I have no way to know if what I have done will actually work. I am not willing to cross my fingers and hope it is right. I am also not willing to try to restore the the system I made the backup of with out knowing if it works, have it fail, and spend the next 3 days reformatting and reinstalling. Here is what I am thinking. I have another XP pro system with 3 hard drives. I was thinking of creating a partition on one of the harddrives to test the restore file. So, I went ahead and did that. The restore went smoothly and all of the files appear on the partition. Now the only problem is that I can test it because I can't boot off of it. I need to edit the boot process so it will know that there is another operating system on a different drive. Is there a program to do this? I did a search for the boot.ini file. I found two of them. One on the C drive and one on the F drive where I did the restore. They both say the exact same thing (see below). I guess I need to add another line, but I am not sure what it should say. Any Ideas?

[boot loader]
[operating systems]
multi(0)disk(0)rdisk(0)partition(1)\WINDOWS="Microsoft Windows XP Professional" /fastdetect /NoExecute=OptIn"

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When you created the image ...
by Edward ODaniel / September 25, 2008 4:00 AM PDT

you should have had an option to validate the backup -- did you do so?

That is how you test the image without doing an actual restore.

Since you want to do an actual restore what you did do is only workable if the two computers have the same motherboards, graphics chips, etc. (in otherwords only if they are the same) otherwise the OS will not function properly and you will be thinking the image was no good although it was perfectly all right.

If you want to try an actual restore you either restore to what you have (not acceptible to you at this point in time) or, since the disk image will do a bare metal restore, you can simply replace your existing hard drive with another empty hard drive large enough to allow the image to be expanded (10 or greater GB drive should work fine) then restore to the new drive in the computer the image was created from.

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You get what you pay for...........
by helljack6 / September 25, 2008 4:27 AM PDT

Congrats on successfully creating the backup! But like I said in the title, you get what you pay for. I know from experience using Ghost, you wouldn't have had to go through all that trouble to begin with.

Now, regarding your partitioned drive that you restored to in your other system, it't NOT going to boot into windows on the other system because the HAL is different and it will ultimately require to you reactivate windows, the solution to test your image to make sure it works, is to take out the existing drive that you imaged using Acronis, and replace it with the drive you just created with the image and then see if it boots and is usable. Considering you did nothing more than clone the drive, you should boot up with no problems.

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What you said is true, but not in may case.
by victor-bailey / September 26, 2008 4:29 AM PDT

In most cases, I would have to reactivate windows XP. But hey that is not that big of a deal anyway. But in my case that is not true because I own a copy of XP Pro Corporate. It comes pre-activated and never needs activating.

By the way, the restore that I did on the different computer is running great. I now have a set of restore disk that I know will restore my favorite OS, settings and programs to any computer I want. I posted a detailed guide on how to do it using Acronis, including a guide on how to edit the boot.ini file to give the option to boot from the the new OS. Hey, I am not one of those guys that ask for help to find a solution and then does not share the solution with everybody.

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