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Old 12-03-2010, 08:29 PM   #21
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Are you asking "what is" or "what should be"? If the 2nd, I'd suggest you talk to a Mr. Gates.
It's both. It is "what should be" and it is "what is".

You wont find it talking to Mr. Gates (or his successors) though. Competition is good.

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Old 12-04-2010, 01:08 AM   #22
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Everybody has pretty much covered it.

It is a much bigger pain on Windows than on the Mac.
The primary reason is not your data, but your programs. Programs bury files all over the place, and even alter the registry. You can't really copy all that correctly, so you need to reinstall. If you have a lot of software it can be a big pain. You might also lose some preferences and have to reset them.

Way back in the OLD Mac days, you just copied the applications folder between drives and even your software was copied. It took about 5 minutes. Windows is nowhere near that easy. Not sure if OS X is still that easy.

It is a good opportunity to restructure your data if it's not all in one folder tree, such as "My Documents" or "Documents".
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Old 12-04-2010, 03:10 AM   #23
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Another useful tool built into Windows 7 is their 'backup and restore' utility. You can now create an image of your hard drive which includes everything (OS, programs, files) and store it on an external hard drive. Very useful if you ever have a hard drive failure.
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Old 12-04-2010, 09:19 AM   #24
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Everybody has pretty much covered it.

It is a much bigger pain on Windows than on the Mac.
The primary reason is not your data, but your programs. Programs bury files all over the place, and even alter the registry. You can't really copy all that correctly, so you need to reinstall. If you have a lot of software it can be a big pain. You might also lose some preferences and have to reset them.

Way back in the OLD Mac days, you just copied the applications folder between drives and even your software was copied. It took about 5 minutes. Windows is nowhere near that easy. Not sure if OS X is still that easy.
Ahhh yes, the registry. So that is why this is not so routine in Windows.

OSX is sometimes a little trickier than Mac 'Classic' in that regard, and sometimes much simpler. OS X apps often have files in the 'library' or 'application support' areas, but Classic did stuff like that too (remember extension conflicts?), and often it was messier. Classic didn't have Unix style 'permissions' or multi-users to worry about.

But a program like Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! optionally copies everything in OSX and makes a bootable copy that can be fired up and tested directly on any machine with HW supported by that install. Many people don't seem to realize the beauty and power of this. You make your backup and just boot into it to fully validate that it works. You don't have to copy it back to another drive to test it. And if your internal drive crashes, just boot into your backup and you are up and running in minutes - fix/replace your internal drive when it is convenient. Same with other hardware, just move your backup to a different computer, and again you are up and running w/o missing a beat. It can be a life saver (well, stress saver).

I still have not found this exact capability in Linux. The boot sequence is different than OSX, so I understand it is trickier. The programs I've found that make bootable backups seem to be limited to creating a DVD, only good for smaller installs.

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Another useful tool built into Windows 7 is their 'backup and restore' utility. You can now create an image of your hard drive which includes everything (OS, programs, files) and store it on an external hard drive. Very useful if you ever have a hard drive failure.
What do you do with this image though? As I understand it, you need to jump through some hoops to get your computer to recognize this as a valid system. Can you test it to know it works before you put it on the shelf?

I go by the adage that any backup that you have not tested is not a back up. I've seen too many people burned by their "write only" back up systems that they made every week or every day. They always thought they had a backup.... until they actually needed it. Surprise!

-ERD50
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Old 12-04-2010, 09:40 AM   #25
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For those with an old PC (anything over two years is "old"); another trick to try back up anything you value and then do a full reinstall (preferably after reformatting the drive.) This is potentially "free" except for the time required to reinstall your programs and data. Reward: a fresh install without the "barnacles" any system gets over the years.
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Old 12-04-2010, 10:10 AM   #26
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For those with an old PC (anything over two years is "old"); another trick to try back up anything you value and then do a full reinstall (preferably after reformatting the drive.) This is potentially "free" except for the time required to reinstall your programs and data. Reward: a fresh install without the "barnacles" any system gets over the years.
I guess that is how I should have said it earlier... without all the details.
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Old 12-04-2010, 02:55 PM   #27
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My Dell is now 10 yrs old and also on a downward spiral. I've replaced the fan twice and the BIOS battery once, added memory, bigger disks, USB 2 board, DVD writer ...

I do a nightly incremental Ghost to a USB disk and a monthly full backup so that when it finally dies, I can be sure to have access to any and all files.

My thrifty side pays attention to current prices and deals, but I really want to see how long I can milk this.
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Old 12-04-2010, 07:19 PM   #28
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What do you do with this image though? As I understand it, you need to jump through some hoops to get your computer to recognize this as a valid system. Can you test it to know it works before you put it on the shelf?

-ERD50
All you need to re-image is a system repair disk and/or the original Windows 7 disk. I've only had to re-image my laptop once and it was painless but agree that backups should be tested. I'm not aware of any way to test it other then installing the image on your computer.
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Old 12-04-2010, 07:52 PM   #29
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All you need to re-image is a system repair disk and/or the original Windows 7 disk. I've only had to re-image my laptop once and it was painless but agree that backups should be tested. I'm not aware of any way to test it other then installing the image on your computer.
And that is the conundrum that I struggle with.

So if you take your image and install it, and it doesn't work right - where does that leave you? You had to wipe out your original working install to do this, right? Oooops!

I'd really like to get my Ubuntu/Linux up to that level of making a bootable image. I tried a while back and hit some walls and gave up for now. I do back up data, and the entire system from time to time, if I have a crash I'll deal with it somehow. I just sure would like to have a fully tested backup of the system. When I posted to the Linux forums on this, I get "just use x,y,x routines", but those didn't give you a bootable clone (unless it could fit on a DVD).

I guess if someone never experienced just how practical this is with OSX, they just don't 'get it'. I maintain a bunch of OSX systems for the family, and being able to create a boootable backup that I can test while I'm still at their house just removes any worries.

-ERD50
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