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Author Topic: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared  (Read 8695 times)

Steven Avery

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XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« on: June 21, 2009, 06:08:47 PM »
Hi Folks,

After only a few months I just did another XP reinstall today.  However I look upon it as a good thing.

First, what makes it easy.

a) First, I have the Dell CDs (two especially, one for the reinstall, one for drivers, there is a third unused with some utilities, I think its the crapware and the I-don't-care-ware).  So if you don't know what CDs you will use on a reinstall, figger that out and have them ready, even if it means making them with a utility or purchasing them from your puter maker. So I ended up with a totally clean install.

b) And I had used Double Driver to save the drives into a nice .exe file.  Even though I did not get onto the internet from the initial install, puzzling through the wizards, I simply copied over the double driver .exe from the usb and went to town. It pops up all the drivers, you can uncheck some (I took them all) and then installs. Worked beautifully, probably had some Ethernet driver or something for the Net and I went up right away (behind a router).  My screen control was right too, which is always a little kludgy right after a reinstall. (Shaky scroll bars and such.)

c) And I had UBCD4 CD at the ready before the install.  XP was not booting, I went into UBCD4 and simply copied most of my files to another drive on the USB using .. Free Commander,  which comes on UBCD (thanks FC).  Very simple.  So I knew nothing was lost, even if I might later puzzle out a couple of locations of data files and config files. Granted, theoretically you should have this saved nightly, but since 95%+ of the lockups are OpSys and only a small % are things like disk crashes (I made up the numbers) most of the time you will simply be able to do a copy. Of course it is good to have at least a recent backup, but no matter what, have the UBCD4 CD ready and you can likely back up right up to the instant.  (e.g. the days email).

These are the secret ingredients that makes for an iron puter chef, imho.  Sure I had some little glitch with the audio that I had to download the driver (so I will do a new double driver) and a minor glitch with a Nividia error which I downloaded the updated driver, but these were relatively trivial, especially once I was on the Net and I could search the error.  (Well I had another puter around to do that too, always handy, but did not need it.)

How much time is spent on an install compared to an early image? (e.g. one you did the day after the last install.)  Very little, if  you are doing other things at the same time.  Maybe an hour.  And the earlier the image, the cleaner you are and the more you can rethink what you want to install and how to lighten the system.  Also you will end up with the current versions of this and that.  And the earliest you can get is a full install.

Personally I think images are overrated.  When your system locks up it is time for a reinstall, not to go back to a cluttered system.  Just have a few tools ready and waiting.

1) UBCD4 for the final saves - if possible
2) Install CDs
3) Driver .exe - saved with Double Driver (superb) or a comparable program

Even things like Firefox extensions, I want to rethink now.  About the only "config" file I really will look for is the NoScript "ok" .. if I reinstall NoScript.  Since that is a big hassle, saying ok to all these pages.  Anti-virus and firewall, no problem at all with a few clicks saying "Trusted".

XP is limited on resources, even in the best world.  My goal now is to have two complementary XP systems (I used to have that) and divide up the activities a bit more.  Also I will be more careful not to put things into the startup groups in the future.  Especially services.  Ok, maybe one will be Windows 7, we shall see.

My main decision is whether I want to concentrate on Chameleon Startup or Startup Manager from Metaproducts for monitoring and changing this startup stuff (while I probably will use WinPatrol too I use that more for other functions).  I really wonder if these have the capability to go from startup folder to registry to no startup very easily and effectively.  And what happens when you tell these services that startup up that you don't want them to start by themselves.  I think that is where a few things lead to troubles.  And startup delays, or manual startups (I would like to be able to load 5-10 programs AFTER the initial bootup in a group, maybe use a script for that) can be a big help.  

Oh, and the only program install where I have to be a little cautious is email (Eudora), since I want to get the downloads happening soon and I have to put the filters and everything in the right place, copying over the full data file structure.  (I could use Zero Zipper ..  and start clean too, but not in this case, since the files are not huge.)  Oh, and I quickly brought over the Linkman .lmd file, since most of my PIM stuff is kept there.

Just thought I would share some thoughts.  An XP reinstall can be surprisingly easy, granted this was round 2 for me so the kinks were largely out.

================================

Adding a 4th component.

Know your installs, your serial numbers (even what release and maybe keep the installer if a paid version) and your passwords.  This can all be in a PIM , depending on your security setup.

And their are utilities that show you all the programs.  My method is to keep it orderly in the Start Menu and in folder names created during the installs (even if I delete the file, I keep the folder name) all of which will be on my backup.  Of course their are nuances with add-ons like browser extensions or if you do a lot on Total Commander, however nothing real difficult. I actually back up with FEBE and/or Mozbackup but that is more for porting to a new puter and can be superfluous since loading extensions up is very quick (unless you have many dozens).

Shalom,
Steven Avery
« Last Edit: June 21, 2009, 07:18:46 PM by Steven Avery »

4wd

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2009, 09:19:42 PM »
Personally I think images are overrated.  When your system locks up it is time for a reinstall, not to go back to a cluttered system.  Just have a few tools ready and waiting.

Same here, even though I have the software, (both TIH11 and now HDMS2009), the only times I actually do an image is:
a) before a reinstall of the system;
b) after a reinstall of the system.

(a) - In case I forgot to grab the settings for a program.
(b) - In case I screw up installing something immediately after re-install.
(c) - When I want to test an OS on real hardware but don't have the inclination to build or drag out and connect another computer.

But since I use mainly portable apps, (a) is less of a problem due to them being all located on a separate partition/drive.

Quote
1) UBCD4 for the final saves - if possible

Prefer making my own PE environment, (BartPE/LiveXP/VistaPE/WinPE3), for this because I can include the tools I'm more likely to need as well as one's I have bought that will run from a PE.

Quote
2) Install CDs

Make ISO images and store them on an external drive, (or write to a DVD), along with Microsoft Virtual CD-ROM Control Panel - doesn't require installation and all your install discs are then in one place so there's no need to keep swapping discs.

Quote
3) Driver .exe - saved with Double Driver (superb) or a comparable program

nlite XP with the MassStorage and LAN DriverPacks included, plus any esoteric hardware for my particular computer - this gives me an OS disc that will install on pretty much any HDD interface and have a network enabled without installing any extra drivers.  Plus specifically tailored to my computer hardware.

Quote
Know your installs, your serial numbers (even what release and maybe keep the installer if a paid version) and your passwords.  This can all be in a PIM , depending on your security setup.

Kept in f0dder's fSekrit program and written to the external drive/disc along with the install programs.

EDIT: Added (c) to imaging since I'm in the process of doing it  :-[
« Last Edit: June 21, 2009, 09:25:10 PM by 4wd »

Steven Avery

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2009, 10:59:54 PM »
Hi Folks,

Right, for the most part you are giving more techie ways to accomplish the same thing. nLite is a bit sophisticated, fSekrit sounds real good, UBCD4 I knew was fine and super-stable for what I want, understood that the Bart/PE tailored stuff  can accomplish more.  (And DriveImageXML works to restore under Bart/PE).  And I happened to have the Dell original CDs and I knew they work good so I ran with them, often you have to go the other ways.  The iso method though is neat.

If you do an image before a new install, are you actually using the config files from an "image" perspective, or are you using the image software as simply another way to accomplish the file-to-file copy ? (The type of copy I did with Free Commander).

My Eudora loaded without a hitch.  With some gigs of mail copied over. That is another reason I don't like image programs .. you are unlikely to have "todays mail" in the image.  I'd prefer to retweak settings than lose a half day's mail. Ok, granted, you are supposed to put the data on another partition.

For fun, before I loaded my Eudora mail back in I did the DriveImageXML, Macrium and Paragon images ... all freebies, after SP3, IE8 and some file manager and browser and very basic installs.  If for some reason I found myself in the same situation in a few weeks, I might try to save a couple of hours with this very early image.  I do not plan to make any more, now I switch to file-by-file of data only.

Shalom,
Steven
« Last Edit: June 21, 2009, 11:02:07 PM by Steven Avery »

4wd

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2009, 02:44:48 AM »
If you do an image before a new install, are you actually using the config files from an "image" perspective, or are you using the image software as simply another way to accomplish the file-to-file copy ? (The type of copy I did with Free Commander).

Yes and no, I still copy across configs for programs that don't have some kind of import/export function but the image is a kind of safety-net.
I know damn well that I'll forget to copy some program's config file or some esoteric command/batch/program that I've long since forgotten where it came from....in that case, I can just mount the image and copy off what I've forgotten.
Normally, this image will have about a 6 month life span - if I find I haven't used it for the last 6 months, it gets deleted.  Possibly sooner if I'm sure I don't need anything in it.

Quote
My Eudora loaded without a hitch.  With some gigs of mail copied over. That is another reason I don't like image programs .. you are unlikely to have "todays mail" in the image.  I'd prefer to retweak settings than lose a half day's mail. Ok, granted, you are supposed to put the data on another partition.

This is where I prefer a portable application, (in my case, Portable Thunderbird), a single directory - copy it where you like, archive it to backup everything, no loss of where it was up to downloading mail if it's moved.  It's just so easy :)

Quote
For fun, before I loaded my Eudora mail back in I did the DriveImageXML, Macrium and Paragon images ... all freebies, after SP3, IE8 and some file manager and browser and very basic installs.  If for some reason I found myself in the same situation in a few weeks, I might try to save a couple of hours with this very early image.

You might find it easier to slipstream in SP3, IE8 and possibly a few of your basic installs.  nlite is just as good as doing simple things like this, as it is at getting into the nitty-gritty of removing half of your OS.

If nothing else, it will knock a good hour off of a re-install just by integrating SP3/IE8.

Addendum: I should mention that my images turn out to be rather small due to the way my drives are organised.  A typical image of the complete OS is about 4-5GB, (this is my current install that's been on here for about 12 months IIRC, and has all the programs I normally use installed), at maximum compression, so I can afford to have a few of them lying around.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 03:04:38 AM by 4wd »

TucknDar

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2009, 10:58:39 AM »
Great post. I'm working out how to best do a reinstall, too, so another helpful guide is great :) Thanks Steven

4wd

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2009, 02:59:33 PM »
Just adding to the slipstreaming/integrating bit, the following two links have a lot of Add-ons for commonly used programs, ready to be integrated using nlite.

The first link also has two links to videos on how to do it.

rado354's Add-ons
johndoe74's Add-ons

I would recommend that you possibly not try integrating a firewall, I haven't had any success yet doing it and now just load it after OS install.

40hz

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2009, 03:55:25 PM »
How much time is spent on an install compared to an early image? (e.g. one you did the day after the last install.)  Very little, if  you are doing other things at the same time.  Maybe an hour.  And the earlier the image, the cleaner you are and the more you can rethink what you want to install and how to lighten the system.

IMHO early images are pretty much the only images worth doing. To do a full XP reinstall I've adopted a hybrid approach:

Images-

I run two early images for each machine I set up.

The first image file contains nothing but the OS, MS Service Packs, and KB updates, along with the most recent "known good" hardware drivers. This is essentially the same thing as creating a slipstreamed OEM restoration disk. You could use various utilities (nLite, etc.) to do the same thing. But unless you know what you're doing, you run the risk of screwing something up. And sometimes these very same utilities can screw something up entirely on their own if Microsoft made a change they're not aware of.

Sticking to plain-vanilla Microsoft update tools and software avoids potential problems. It's not as elegant as flexing your technical craftsmanship with nLite or RVM Integrator - but it always works, no matter which version of Windows you're running. It's also the officially sanctioned way of doing things, which is something to keep in mind should you ever need to call Microsoft. Especially now that they charge for XP phone support.

Caveat: If you you need to contact Microsoft for support, DO NOT let them know you used nLite or any similar 3rd party utility to create your install image. If you do, they will tell you that:

1) use of 3rd party modified images is not a supported installation method

2) you need to reinstall Windows using the original product CD in order to
    fix your problem (or to get additional technical assistance from Microsoft) ---and---

3) your credit card will be charged for the support call you just made to find that out!


Onward...

Once created, I this minimal first image is referred to as my Microsoft Only image. This is primarily created as a fallback image. If I screw up after that creating my working image (which comes next) then at least I know the basic OS installation and updates are already taken care of - and can be easily returned to.


The working image is the same as the first, except it also contains an office suite, a web browser, and a half dozen or so extra utilities I consider essential. I'll also take care of basic interface changes, customizations, and optimizations before this image gets created. (This is the image I'll actually use should I need to do a reinstall. So to save future effort, I'll try to take care of as many details as I can before I commit to a final image.)


Drivers-

Drivers get archived using a freeware driver backup utility. These get burned onto their own CDRW each time any one of them changes.

Security Software-

Neither disk image includes ANY security software. I prefer to create a separate Security Apps CD since most of them get updated too frequently to belong on a drive image.

About once a week, I'll run Lunarsoft's AntiMalware Toolkit ( www.lunarsoft.net ) to download copies of that type of software which I'll later burn to disk. That way, if I need to reinstall from an image (or buy a new machine), I don't need to get too involved with downloading security apps. I'll just install fresh copies from the CD, secure in the knowledge that they're never more than one week out from their current release. Doing it this way also eliminates the Catch-22 exposure risk of using the web to download an antivirus app before you actually have one installed. Small risk, but worth avoiding just the same.

User Data-

All personal data, such as bookmarks, e-mail, and documents are handled by normal backup/restore procedures.

User Applications-


Periodically, I'll run out a list of apps that are installed on my system. Since I keep a database of all the apps I use, I always have a copy of my purchase information, product keys, and registration for each item should I ever need to reinstall. It's also a good idea to maintain (and backup) a folder that contains the installers for every app you use that didn't come on disk. These should get burned to their own app archive DVD.

Reimaging & reinstallation:

Now, when I need to do an XP reinstall, I follow these steps:

  • Gather up the Working Image, Driver, Security, and App Archive CD/DVDs - along with my personal data backups which reside on external hard drives.
  • Gather up any lists of information I'm going to need for the reinstallaition
  • Grab some coffee and throw the dogs out
  • Unplug the network cable
  • Partition and format the hard drive
  • Reinstall the OS, Drivers, main apps and essential extras off the Working Image DVD
  • Reinstall any updated hardware drivers backed up on the archived drivers CD
  • Reinstall antimalware apps from the Security Apps CD
  • Plug the network cable back in
  • Run web updates for all security apps
  • Go to the Windows and MS Office update pages and grab whatever updates I'm still missing (also see note below)
  • If you're using Firefox and/or Thunderbird, launch them. They should automatically discover and offer to install their own updates as soon as they connect to the web.
  • Restore all user data and other backups (bookmarks, email, Mozilla extensions, docs, etc.).
  • Look at my list of apps and decide which ones I want to put back on my machine. (Application 'creep' is a real problem for me since I do a app lot testing on my main work machine. Most of the time I reinstall less than half of what was on it prior to reimaging. Install and update (or optionally redownload) whatever else needs to be installed.
  • Let the dogs back in and grab another cup of coffee.
  • Promise myself I'm not going to do that again anytime soon.

It may seem like a lot to do. But after you've done it a few times it almost becomes second nature.


--------

* Note: I also keep full offline Windows/Office update repositories on DVD using a terrific utility called Offline Update 6.0 (link: http://www.h-online....-Linux--/news/113359 ). This app lets you collect all of Microsoft's updates on disk, thereby minimizing security exposure while saving time. And it can also be used when setting up multiple machines. I usually install Windows and Office updates from the disks this app generates. I'll do this right after I finish loading the hardware drivers. Saves a huge amount of time and bandwidth. Especially if a full service pack is needed.

Offline Update is an excellent tech tool that deserves to be much better known than it is. If I can get some free time, I'll do a write-up on it for Donation Coder.


« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 04:03:46 PM by 40hz »

Carol Haynes

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2009, 04:55:10 PM »
Like 40Hz I use imaging and it is an effective way of getting a system up and running again quickly.

The routine I use on a new machine is:

1) Install Windows from its original disk (slipstreamed to the latest service pack)
2) Install all drivers
3) Activate windows and run Windows Update until it is fully up to date.
4) Make a full partition image. This is my vanilla base copy for future clean installs.

Next stage:

1) Install all of my base software (e.g. MS Office, Adobe stuff)
2) Activate software that needs activation
3) Get everything up to date via vendor websites and Microsoft Update
4) Make a full partition image. This is my get back to a usable state image in a disaster.

Finally configure software (eg email clients) and restore data to the system and get a fresh image when that is complete. This is a working backup which I use as the basis for an incremental backup or differential backup system.

If my system dies I restore the most recent incremental/differential image. If I still have problems I may try slightly older versions. If things are totally bad I go back to  my "usable state" image which means I have a system I can actually use quickly.

OK I might have to update stuff again but it is a hell of a lot quicker and more convenient than installing from scratch and having to argue with MS and/or Adobe about activation.

J-Mac

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2009, 12:21:34 AM »
One small tip that has made me a little more comfortable after my last two XP reinstalls: The hard drive with my system on it is an 80 GB WD SATA drive but only about 25 GB are used. I have three internal drives with a lot of space available but that doesn't really matter. I took a USB external drive - I think it is 250 GB and it had over 100 GB free. Before performing the XP reinstall I copied over the entire contents of my C:\ drive to the USB drive. That way when reinstalling my programs if anything ever goes wacky or it turns out my data backups accidentally excluded data that was stored in the Documents and Settings\User\Application Data or Local Settings directory, I have it all sitting on that USB drive and can copy it back without a problem.

Jim

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2009, 12:41:54 AM »
Unless you start/boot from a bootable Windows CD (for example: BartPE) and then copy the complete content of the C drive, I wouldn't trust the "copy all files to external HD"-method. Windows has a nasty habit of locking several files which could prove to be real party crashers.

Now I have seen that the portable Ubuntu version on my Windows (XP SP2) does copy/delete files that are locked by Windows when you tell it to. Although this behavior is (very, VERY!!!) dangerous, it did help me get rid from a nasty "critter" on another Windows PC.

While I could suggest that a portable linux version would be ideal for copying the complete contents of a drive or partition, it is still true that Linux can not be 100% trusted when writing to a NTFS partition (as this filesystem is not native to Linux). Personally, I didn't experience any problems with NTFS writing, but your mileage may, can and will vary.

J-Mac

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2009, 12:56:43 AM »
Unless you start/boot from a bootable Windows CD (for example: BartPE) and then copy the complete content of the C drive, I wouldn't trust the "copy all files to external HD"-method. Windows has a nasty habit of locking several files which could prove to be real party crashers.

Shades,

I don't use it to copy back system files. If any of those are missing after a reinstallation then something else is terribly wrong. Where it helps me is with installed program data files and/or settings in wither the Documents and Settings or Program Files areas. Sometimes programs are saving certain data there that I didn't realize, or forgot about, or just overlooked including in my regular backups. When I realize that has happened I can just pop over to the USB drive, find the data that I had wanted to retain, and copy it over. Doesn't have any impact on the system itself.

Jim

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2009, 03:18:16 AM »
If you use Acronis (and presumably others) to image you C drive to the external hard disc you can 'mount' the image as a virtual drive which gives full access or use file based recovery.

Gets round the locking issue.

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #12 on: June 24, 2009, 01:01:19 PM »
If you use Acronis (and presumably others) to image you C drive to the external hard disc you can 'mount' the image as a virtual drive which gives full access or use file based recovery.

Gets round the locking issue.

Very true. I use Acronis TI 11 and I do keep weekly images. But I had an image of my C drive - which had been "verified by the program - that was unable to mount due to some sort of corruption that I feel should have been seen during the verification stage. Others have reported this too at Wilders. Of course I could get around this by test-mounting the images every time one is created but you know that doesn't happen! At least not here. I try them once in a while but not all of them. So the drive copy - which I usually do with SFFS - is my ace in the hole, so to speak. As I said, only for the program data that I miss in backups that's stored on C;

Jim

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2009, 01:15:09 PM »
There was a known bug in one revision of Acronis that stopped images mounting.

You can still use normal file based restore to get stuff back and you can simply double click on the archive to explore and extract multiple files.

If you download and install the latest build it doesn't have that problem with new archives. To mount older archives they need to be rebuilt (use the option to consolidate a set of files to a new archive).

By the way I am using True Image Echo Workstation - not sure if the same bug applied to the Home edition.

J-Mac

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2009, 01:24:24 PM »
There was a known bug in one revision of Acronis that stopped images mounting.

You can still use normal file based restore to get stuff back and you can simply double click on the archive to explore and extract multiple files.

If you download and install the latest build it doesn't have that problem with new archives. To mount older archives they need to be rebuilt (use the option to consolidate a set of files to a new archive).

By the way I am using True Image Echo Workstation - not sure if the same bug applied to the Home edition.

You're probably talking about Acronis TI 2009 - the latest upgrade. I'm still using Acronis TI 11 and I do have the last build they released of that version. When the 2009 version was released there were a lot of bugs and unhappy campers, so I stuck with this version since it works more often than not!

I'm still sore over the Acronis TI 10 debacle - that version was faulty from day 1 and never did get fixed; they ended up releasing V.11 instead of fixing 10 - at a price, of course!

Jim

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2009, 01:28:17 PM »
Hey, I just noticed that Acronis 2009 is available at Newegg - both CD and Download versions - for $13.99 USD after a $20 mail-in rebate. Maybe I'll upgrade now - most of the bugs have supposedly been ironed out - somewhat - kinda...

Though I don't usually place any trust at all in MIR's.  :-\

Jim

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2009, 01:59:23 PM »
IMHO Acronis is the best out there for imaging XP. I've never once had a problem with a TrueImage generated backup image. I liked the older versions somewhat better than the current one. (Less feature bloat.) I'm still using version 9 without any issues.

I'll give it my vote.  And at $14 after rebate, I'd grab a copy if I didn't already have one. :Thmbsup:


Carol Haynes

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2009, 04:12:37 PM »
There was a known bug in one revision of Acronis that stopped images mounting.

You can still use normal file based restore to get stuff back and you can simply double click on the archive to explore and extract multiple files.

If you download and install the latest build it doesn't have that problem with new archives. To mount older archives they need to be rebuilt (use the option to consolidate a set of files to a new archive).

By the way I am using True Image Echo Workstation - not sure if the same bug applied to the Home edition.

You're probably talking about Acronis TI 2009 - the latest upgrade. I'm still using Acronis TI 11 and I do have the last build they released of that version. When the 2009 version was released there were a lot of bugs and unhappy campers, so I stuck with this version since it works more often than not!

I'm still sore over the Acronis TI 10 debacle - that version was faulty from day 1 and never did get fixed; they ended up releasing V.11 instead of fixing 10 - at a price, of course!

Jim

As I have said many times before I went away from the Home version because it seemed to be in a permanent beta phase - using home users as free testers of new versions.

The Corporate version (Echo Workstation) is much more solid and reliable and although it is a bit more expensive (though you can get a relatively inexpensive upgrade from the Home version) you can buy an annual maintenance which is just a few dollars and gives you priority support (literally within minutes of sending a message - impressive, and they are not snotty to corporate edition purchasers) and free updates to any versions released throughout the maintenance subscription. The subscription is also renewable annually.

J-Mac

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Re: XP Reinstall - some thoughts - be prepared
« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2009, 10:24:55 PM »
There was a known bug in one revision of Acronis that stopped images mounting.

You can still use normal file based restore to get stuff back and you can simply double click on the archive to explore and extract multiple files.

If you download and install the latest build it doesn't have that problem with new archives. To mount older archives they need to be rebuilt (use the option to consolidate a set of files to a new archive).

By the way I am using True Image Echo Workstation - not sure if the same bug applied to the Home edition.

You're probably talking about Acronis TI 2009 - the latest upgrade. I'm still using Acronis TI 11 and I do have the last build they released of that version. When the 2009 version was released there were a lot of bugs and unhappy campers, so I stuck with this version since it works more often than not!

I'm still sore over the Acronis TI 10 debacle - that version was faulty from day 1 and never did get fixed; they ended up releasing V.11 instead of fixing 10 - at a price, of course!

Jim

As I have said many times before I went away from the Home version because it seemed to be in a permanent beta phase - using home users as free testers of new versions.

The Corporate version (Echo Workstation) is much more solid and reliable and although it is a bit more expensive (though you can get a relatively inexpensive upgrade from the Home version) you can buy an annual maintenance which is just a few dollars and gives you priority support (literally within minutes of sending a message - impressive, and they are not snotty to corporate edition purchasers) and free updates to any versions released throughout the maintenance subscription. The subscription is also renewable annually.

I'll give it another look Carol. I did look into it after this was discussed here in another thread and I could not find an upgrade path that was that inexpensive. It would have more than tripled my cost.

BTW, I have not experienced any snottiness from Acronis support. Mainly just very slow and generally not too helpful when I dealt with them.

Thanks!

Jim