General discussion

What should be backed up(saved) before a reformat??

i posted a bit earlier about backing up and issues i have.

But I guess i should know, besides my OWN PERSONAL stuff, what on my hard drive, SHOULD be SAVED, backed up, to a cd, thats pertinent, BEFORE i DO A REFORMAT, clean reinstall of OS? vista home basic 32bit... if some things seem to be messed up due to a virus etc , then i dont want to move stuff to a clean reinstalled vista, thats all corrupted and ruin it again...

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Nothing. Aside from your personal documents/files, let the rest burn. Especially if you're dealing with a virus infection, since even backing up your personal stuff is a calculated risk that could lead to reinfection later. No point extending that risk beyond stuff you have a personal stake in.

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i guess that was easy enough....but what about settings for my DSL config and being able to go online? i guess that has to be reinstalled with the original software cd? and even though im trying to figure out how to bach up all the music files and picture files, they too come with software cds, itunes, kodak bestbuyrhapsody, so i have to install those discs again to get the software back onto HD?? what if i dont have the original cds? ill have to ask verizon about the DSL config setup in order to get online....i have the cd but its old and was messed up...

i got the comp cleaned but i know it can wreak havoc on whatever is on the computer or connected to it... i use firefox so i think i can backup within that then just download and install it again, i dont want to lose my bookmarks in firefox.... i dont know how it would save the bookmarks though if im pretty much getting rid of it on HD and installing a new firefox....

all i know is i have to get the stuff i want backed up somehow so i can reformat

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Good question.

The short answer: all your personal data.

The long answer: everything that won't be there anymore if you reinstall Vista and all applications from their CD or from Internet or from the downloaded setup-program (that you have to backup also, of course).

It depends a little bit on how systematic you store your data, but when you have a close look at your hard disc, you might be amazed how much isn't stored in your Documents and Music and Pictures (or however that's organized in Vista). Things that some people forget to backup or write down, for example:
- their bookmarks/favorites
- the cookies with a password (for a site like CNET)
- their address book or contact persons
- their downloaded mail
- their email-account settings
- that nice font they downloaded
- data that some application write in it's own folder in stead of using Documents (such applications exist, especially older ones)
- folders they made themselves to store data
- the custom dictionaries from MS Word
- the MS Word template ( with all those macro's they spend weeks to write
- their toolbar settings for MS Office

It makes some sense to buy a new hard disk to put Vista on and put the old one in an external enclosure or mount it as a second internal drive.
A backup still is needed (external drives have a remarkably high failure rate), but usually it comes in handy for those 2 or 3 things you forgot about.


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dont want to buy a new HD

just want to reinstall with my OE vista home basic cd... and then restore just the personal things i wanted to save. i write down all PW for everywhere i visit and i do remember them too.. i want to save my windows mail contacts too. thats what i said about my DSL config. id have to set that up again, came with a cd but its old and didnt work right. i noticed that not all the kodak pics are in picture folders same with music seems there are shared folders and local settings folders i said in other post, i just have to figure out HOW to backup the stuff i want off this HD so i can reformat and do clean install and start over....anyone have any detailed suggestions i can follow besides trying easy transfer?

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Home Basic

Vista Home Basic does not come with the Backup and Restore function other versions have, so your best bet is to move your files to DVDs or an external hard drive.

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JEFF, im trying to do that

I have CD-r discs, but am having a lot of trouble with the drag and drop or copying and pasting to the cd/dvd E drive folder.... thats the BIG problem i have. i want to either A... reinstall my OS for a fresh clean start, or B.. rip out the hard drive and get a new one... but either way i have to get the folders and files I WANT to a cd BEFORE i do A or B

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Can you...

... describe what exactly you are having a problem with when you are copying and pasting the files. When you drag a file to the empty disc folder what happens? Are you getting error messages or any sort of info in a dialogue box?

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Summary for Jeff.

Jeff, a summary from her two threads.

- Nancy has had severe problems with viruses, so she wants to reinstall Vista, but first save her personal data (because, apparently, she has no backup)
- She doesn't manage to get the native Vista burning operational. This might (but far from sure, of course) be related to the virus damage.
- Both Bob Proffitt and I advised her download the free CDBURNERXP and try if that works. Nancy doesn't do it.
- I gave the alternative of buying a USB-stick (if there's few data) or an external hard disk (if there's a lot of data) to copy to. The hard disk could be useful for future backups also. Nancy stated she doesn't want to buy a hard disk.

So, she is pertinent: she wants to use the native Vista method to burn to CD and nothing else.

Can you help her to get it working?


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geez you make me sound like

somebody who is hellbent on 1 way... i have no problem trying other ways and i plan to try that cd burner.. But i still wonder whats up and maybe it is my optical drive and maybe it isnt... my son can put music cds in it and put them onto his library and no problem.... i can put a blank cd-r in and it will format it... i just want to be sure i have the right cds to record on, im not rewriting them so i have cd-rs not cd-rws....seems like vista home basic doesnt let you do much of anything....and if im not doing something right then id like to know

not SEVERE problems. i never had issues with viruses just 1 time and malware group helped me to get rid of it but said sometimes other hardware or whatever could get corrupted....

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All it takes is one time.

That's why we have to be flexible. Well, maybe not. It's our choices so we make our choices.

Now I bet given enough "plastic" (money), a great technician armed with the Retail Vista DVD could correct the issue but the price to pay could approach that of a new machine. In fact, my bet is many new machines are bought because support costs more than a new machine!

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Im sure thats true

it has crossed my mind... hahaha.. but i dont think things are THAT bad.... computer works fine , not slow or anything like that... whats funny is this all started from this virus BUT the recycle bin. thats what prompted me to go deeper into finding out if the bug ruined other stuff as well... recycle bin ICON and folder will only empty and show empty when i do an elevated command prompt. otherwise it will not empty or show empty. i have tried all the things that other forums and techs have said to do and NOTHING will fix it... corrupted, obviously, but yet it will empty and show empty on that command prompt... the BIN was all fine until this virus came along.... i had to create a clean system restore point after this no going back to when all was im disgusted with the whole thing and chose to backup and save some things and either reinstall OS or get a new HD just to be safe.... but while trying to do this, im having this cd backing up issue and wonder if its all due to residue of the BUG...... i read i can do a vista easy transfer too and that will allow me to choose what folders to keep. whats your take on that??

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My take is.

Either it works or not. If it works we are done. If it doesn't work we explore alternatives.

Not all pests and their damage can be undone without a lot of time and money and well, the right parts such as a Vista DVD and many years of battling damaged machines.

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have the cdburner installed

question about the folders.. i see the folders on left. can i click and drag the WHOLE folder to burn or do i have to open the folder and just burn the contents(files) inside.... like if i drag a folder to compilation box will it burn ALL the files and such inside, or just the folder itself? there is a folder for verizon, my guess is thats the whole config and settings etc for my DSL account etc..when i click on verizon in the left box, i see VSP file folder in right box and i can keep clicking etc and it keeps opening more file folders, all within the 1 verizon folder... so should i just drag verizon folder to right side? and will ALL the contents within go along with it? or do i have to open each file folder and so on and put it in right box to be burned... and this goes same with all the folders i choose to looking at my contacts folder. should i ADD the folder or just ADD the contents INSIDE folder.... if i add folder will all the email contacs inside go with it or just the folder itself saying contacts

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Re: selecting files and folders

The highest level folder is enough. Every file and subfolder in it will go with it. But if you the total is more than 700 MB, it won't fit, so you will have to divide it up at least one level lower. If any file is greater than 700 MB (f.e. a downloaded video), it won't fit at all.

An important detail if you start copying folders: the context (the names of all higher level folders) is not taken on the disk. So, if the folder name is, say, Verizon, you have to take a note where to put it back.
And even then, it might not work, because it you didn't fully install the program, but only copied the data. The worst that can happen is that the new install will work fine, but stop working as soon as you copy the old data (from your CD) over the new data (from the new install).

And an essential detail: the files you copy back from the CD to your new Vista are READ-ONLY. For a lot of files that's fatal, because the programs using them expect that they can write to it. So you have to clear the read-only attribute on all files that you restore.
Some prefer the command-line attrib command for that; it has a /s option (see the help). Others are afraid for the command line and must do it for ALL folders apart: select all file, right-click>properties and clear the read-only attribute.
And that's why some people don't like a CD as a way to transfer files!


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Use Nero.

Buy the latest version of Nero. After a bit of learning, it'll work fine for burning dvds.

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Just so you know.

All versions of Windows have yet to deliver drag and drop recording that I could "count on." That is, there are more times than not it failed. I see you persist in trying to do what does not work.

Think about that. Why continue trying to do what does not work?

-> Here's the FREE program that we can use TODAY. CDBURNERXP (works fine on Vista.)

And here's the TUTORIAL so you can use it today ->

Good luck!

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that is my other thread

its just strange that i cant backup folders and files i want.... i first used the vista backup and restore last yr and di a full backup. now when i go into that all i get is back up files or restore files and when i click backup it doesnt give me an option to choose what i want... i dont want to move all stuff, who knows what corruption will get moved with it and i dont want that on a clean reinstall

as for your other question jeff, i go to C users nancy.. then i click and open documents folder or i click and open contacts folder ... i then copy the info ... then in a new window computer right click cd/dvd E drive to open it and click paste.. NOTHING happens

I have a profile folder from mozilla firefox and i did what mozilla said, i right clicked on folder name and dragged it to the new cd/dvd E drive folder. i can see the folder moving as i drag it over and the little tag that shows im dragging it to cd/dvd drive then when i drop it into the E folder , its gone. nothing happens. its not there...

ive even tried right clicking on files in contacts or documents and then where it says SEND TO i go down to send to CD/ dvd E drive and still nothing happens ... e drive folder is empty

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reading the install info now from cdburner

and going to download it...

if anyone can answer this , great...
if i do a clean reinstall, i know i have to reinstall some programs or software... and since all the itunes and best buy dig music rhapsody as well as all my kodak pics in the easyshare software. these are what i want to save... i know i can go to itunes itself if im not mistaken and backup all the music, but what about the other stuff that gets downloaded other folders along with music itself??

i just want to be sure the stuff i save and burn to cds in order to restore later is all in the places it should be on the HD.. chances are they arent... not like ALL the music files and folders are in music, or all pictures are in pictures... id like to organize it all so its pretty much in 1 place.... what im wondering is, if i dont have the original cds that come with these software programs, how else can i get it? go to the websites and download it again from there? then restore the music so itll have a place to go when i do restore it? also, i have verizon DSL and i need to rest that all up again in order to get online... ill have to contact them because the cd is long gone, and they can let me know how to reconfigure to go online

i guess the bottom line is, i do not want to save ALL the stuff on my HD, who knows whats still corrupted or not and i dont want to bring it to new reinstall OR new HD, if i do that... thats why i asked, what is pertinent to have saved BESIDES personal stuff.. and i got the answers.. i just want to be sure the music and photos most of all get saved correctly and then restored to proper places correctly... like i said, mozilla firefox saves profiles , or just bookmarks, which is what i want saved.... but in order to save those bookmarks i have to save the folder its in on my hard drive...

oh well ive gone on too long about this....

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SO maybe its better to copy with a thumb drive??

would it be better to copy some of the stuff onto a flash drive then instead of cd because of that READ ONLY??

what about the itunes backup and other music, onto a cd... will that be an issue when restoring the music to the new software on new OS??

i dont have much to save besides music and photos... i can reinstall with verizon with a new cd. all i want to save is my email contacts and my firefox bookmarks and like i said all the music libraries and all my pictures in my kodak easyshare software... thats all...

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Re: copying music and pictures

For music and pictures it doesn't matter if they are read-only because they aren't meant to change. Read-only is fine for them. Maybe even better than not read-only, because you can't delete them by accident then.

The problem with "music libraries" and "photo albums" is that the library is one thing (kind of a catalogue) and the actual mp3's and jpg's are another thing (the music and pictures itself). You need to copy both (and hope the new combination works).
If you copy only the music, you have to rebuilt the library and the albums (the catalogue). If you only copy the library and the albums (the catalogue), those point to music and pictures that aren't present at all. That's even worse!

So you need to know exactly what you're doing! After you format the disk, everything is gone and you can't look how it was.

That's the advantage of installing on a new hard disk and keeping the old with all your data safely apart. But you said you didn't want that, so I won't press you.


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if i use the cd that came with the music software

like when i got the ipod i got the cd for itunes , so if i use the cd and install itunes with that, THEN can i restore the music to that?? ill have to ask the apple support people as well as best buy dig music people. once they explain what i have to do then ill do that.... like i said though, itunes has a backup button and i can backup from there. not sure about best buy though, rhapsody music. as for kodak easyshare software, that came with a cd too to install and so once i find out how to back up that then ill do it.... as for other stuff.... like i said earlier.. i use firefox browser and they save your profile onto the HD when you back up within the browser... that is located in the APPDATA roaming folder... but out of that all i want to save is ALL my BOOKMARKS.. when i have the clean reinstall or whatever i have to then download and install firefox as my browser, i wont be able to go in and restore my bookmarks, i dont think, because the HD was all it cant search the HD where profile was backed up to.. so i have to SAVE that somehow, i have lots of bookmarks and id like to make sure i can move them to the new OS.. same with my email contacts... windows mail... i can copy them to a cd cant i? or are they read only too? anyways thats all i want to save from my HD...

you said this..

****That's the advantage of installing on a new hard disk and keeping the old with all your data safely apart.***

so your saying that if i BUY a NEW HD and install on it my OE vista home basic , which i have, thats better then reformatting the original HD?? HOW would i still get my stuff that i want off the old drive and onto the new?? I have taken my computer apart and others too and have installed new drives or memory etc i have also did reformatting on other computers too, i can do it when i have instructions... i dont want to use the old HD, just be able to remove things i want and put it on new HD, if i buy a new one... so what would i do with the old HD, if i install a new one?? how does one get the info off of it if its not connected anymore to the system?

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Re: backup

You certainly will have to reinstall all programs from the cd or whatever you used to install them from.

And, quite separately, you'll have to backup and restore the data. Using the built-in backup and restore isn't a bad idea. And even then it could be, I'm afraid, that you can't play Apple-bought songs if they have DRM, because for all purposes it's another machine it's running on now.
But most software doesn't have a built-in backup. They rely on you making a backup yourself using your favorite backup and restore tool.


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