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Author Topic: Recommended image backup/recovery solution for a netbook (no CD drive)  (Read 5427 times)

MerleOne

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Hi,

I will soon be configuring a netbook, a Samsung NC10, running XP SP3 Home, and I am wondering which solution to use for backup/recovery.  I have to take into account that this machine has no CD/DVD reader.  Even if I could use an external CD/DVD recorder with USB, I would prefer a solution where it is not necessary.  I guess the system will come with 2 partitions, System & Data, plus probably a proprietary recovery system.  I would like to have a system that can withstand user error (user would be ... myself).

So far, I have identified these solutions:
  • FD-ISR (full version, not the cut-down currently sold by HDS)
  • R-TT drive image which has a CD-less recovery boot system
  • Drive Clone Pro 6 which install a non standard MBR and can reboot in Win PE environment
  • Paragon Drive Backup 9 Personal which allows to use a usb key as bootable recovery medium
  • Image for Windows v2 which also supports usb key as bootable recovery medium

I'd like to know which solution you would recommend in this CD-less configuration, either from this list or from another.

Thanks.
.merle1.

tomos

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have you seen this
Guide for Creating an Acronis Bootable USB Hard Disk
I have no experience with it so cant really comment myself ...
Tom

4wd

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I have an Acer Aspire One, only the 8GB SSD model, (expanded with a 4GB SDHC card), not a HDD like you but maybe my solution might give you some ideas.

For drive image backup/restoration I use Partimage Is Not Ghost, (which is akin to the original Norton Ghost restore/backup bootable floppy), on a bootable 2GB Flash Drive, using compression I can store a compressed image of both my current XP Pro+SP3 install and a compressed image of the original Linpus Lite installation.

The XP Pro+SP3 installation is highly nlite'ned and with compression the image comes in at around 400MB, less than the Linpus image at ~600MB.  This still leaves with over 600MB free on a 2GB Flash Drive for any subsequent backups.

It can also backup to a network share via SAMBA, so you can save/restore from another computer and don't need to carry any more than a basic restoration image if it dies while you're on the road.

Regarding using FD-ISR or similar, I suggest having a look at either Microsoft's Enhanced Write Filter or File Based Write Filter as I mentioned over here.

Using EWF you could redirect all writes to the System drive, (C:), to a directory on the data partition or create a separate partition specifically for it.  The next time you reboot the System partition will come up sans any changes you made last time - unless you commit those changes to the drive.

As I said above, might not be suitable for what you specifically want to do but it comes in at the right price - free.   :Thmbsup:

MerleOne

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Thanks both.  I forgot to mention the netbook has a 160GB HDD

Regarding the Microsoft EWF, I suppose it is equivalent, more or less to SteadyState, which has been found to improve SSD usage by some ?
.merle1.

4wd

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Thanks both.  I forgot to mention the netbook has a 160GB HDD

Regarding the Microsoft EWF, I suppose it is equivalent, more or less to SteadyState, which has been found to improve SSD usage by some ?

I had a quick look at SteadyState while I was looking for something similar but found EWF did everything I wanted and was a lot easier to set up and control afterwards.

MerleOne

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It's just that EWF seems a little bit more elaborate to set up.  But I have not read yet all the links you mentioned.
.merle1.

4wd

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It's just that EWF seems a little bit more elaborate to set up.  But I have not read yet all the links you mentioned.

For me it was, quite literally, 5 minutes work - I'm not saying I'm super smart or anything, (would be nice though :) ), but by the time I'd read through the instructions/limitations/etc of SteadyState, EWF was installed and running.

However, some kind soul has created a tool that takes all the hard work out of installing EWF - check out EWFTool.

NOTE: You still need to download the Windows XP Embedded SP2 mentioned in the other thread but I'm sure if you do a search1 you'll be able to find just the necessary files.

This OCZ forum post contains a lot of info regarding doing it the manual way and using EWFTool.  (NOTE: Unless you truly understand what minlogon.exe is and does, ignore any reference to installing it.)

1. Hint: Google

MerleOne

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I guess simplicity is a rather personal matter.

Here it's just that it's still a bit unclear to me whether I have to download just "Microsoft's Windows XP Embedded SP2 Feature Pack 2007" since Microsoft webpage says it's an option of another component that I don't have ("The Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 2 Feature Pack 2007 is not a stand alone product; it requires the developer to have Windows® Embedded Studio tool suite installed").  Also this component is in English, whereas I will be using a French localized XP, and sometimes it yields to strange results to mix languages. Then I also have to chose between EWF and FBWF. And the software to activate them.  I cannot see how I could do this in 5 min.

Anyway, thanks for giving me these directions !
.merle1.

4wd

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Here it's just that it's still a bit unclear to me whether I have to download just "Microsoft's Windows XP Embedded SP2 Feature Pack 2007" since Microsoft webpage says it's an option of another component that I don't have ("The Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 2 Feature Pack 2007 is not a stand alone product; it requires the developer to have Windows® Embedded Studio tool suite installed").

The Gran Turing site gives you details on how to extract the necessary files from Windows XP Embedded Service Pack 2 Feature Pack 2007 - no other part of XP Embedded is required.  No installation of the Feature Pack is required - we're only interested in 10 or so files within it.

Quote
Also this component is in English, whereas I will be using a French localized XP, and sometimes it yields to strange results to mix languages.

The language it's in doesn't matter because the only parts we're interested in, (EWF and FBWF), are an underlying OS component you never get to see - they have no interface.  Just like 90+% of Windows XP itself.

Quote
Then I also have to chose between EWF and FBWF. And the software to activate them.

If your system partition is going to be NTFS format then EWF is what you need as it fully supports NTFS.  If it's going to be FAT32, then you can use either - the differences between them are listed here.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2009, 05:46:27 AM by 4wd »

MerleOne

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Thanks a lot for your time and detailed explanations.  This is definitely worth looking into.
.merle1.