Disk imaging HELP!!

  six-h 14:34 07 Nov 2006

I want to upgrade my copy of XP to service pack 2 so I can safely get connected to the internet instead of using the library. As the machine is working nicely at the moment, I thought I would buy an external Disk and image the drive, then install SP2 and when satisfied that all is OK, again image the drive to the external disk so that if in the future, it all goes “mammarys aloft”, I can re-install the system complete with software, settings, SP2, and all MS patches (to date of image) in one operation.
Several pieces of unsubstantiated wisdom have been given to me and I would like someone from this trusted font of knowledge to confirm the truth.
1)My internal disk is 160 GB, I want to buy a 320 GB external disk, but I am told I can only image my disk onto an external one of the same size. Is this true?
2)Since my computer has had two replacement motherboards under warranty, there is a possibility that WGA would declare my copy of XP fake. True??

I have currently used only 24 GB of my internal disk, across all sectors (C- local disk, D- backup both formatted NTFS, and E- recovery, formatted fat 32). I intend to use Acronis True Image 8.00 pe. for the imaging process. Will my as yet un-purchased external disk (which I hope will be formatted NTFS) accept the image of the Fat 32 sector of my system??
I am sure that I will have more questions as I undertake this upgrade, and it’s reassuring to know that there are folk cleverer than I out there willing to help. – Thank you.

  Diemmess 14:55 07 Nov 2006

Answers to 1 and 2 anyway

1.) No, as long as the receiving HD is large enough to accept an image file.

This is where it pays to have kept the operating system separate from the data which I hope you back up often. The image file is then small enough not to take forever to make or restore.

2.)The image is of a working system, warts key numbers and all. It (the image is already activated/registered and complete)

  six-h 15:37 09 Nov 2006

Thanks Diemmess for your posting clarifying the position re the size of ext. disk, I’m glad I can go ahead and buy 320 GB or bigger cos I hope to get into video files in the future and you know how that gobbles up the gigs!
I don’t know what you mean regarding “keeping the OS separate from the data”, can you explain please as I have only ever used the C drive, and very occasionally copied odd files to the D sector as Medion told me that in the event of using the recovery disk to restore factory settings, this sector would remain intact?
I have made backups to DVD-RW using Nero, but only twice!! I suppose I should do it more often.
Concerning my fears that WGA may deny access to updates in the mistaken belief that my copy of windows doesn’t belong to this machine – I base this on the fact that I’ve had this PC from new, and Medion has twice replaced the motherboard, but only now am I first connecting to the internet, so, will WGA look at my machine and decide that it is not the original machine to which this copy of windows was originally assigned?? Or isn’t it that clever?
I take your point that once verification has been carried out and accepted, WGA will not be able to tell the difference between the original, and if used, the (Re- installed) image in the future.

  seedie 16:07 09 Nov 2006

An alternative to achieve what you want is to slipstream SP2; this will give a cdrom with xp+SP2 all in one.click here

I printed the instructions, filled a bucket with chicken entrails and threw it into to wind and saw that it was a good time to do it and went ahead.

Worked first time . Used Nero 5.5

Good luck


  Diemmess 16:44 09 Nov 2006

If Median changed the motherboard |I think you can assume the result is a properly verified licence, and any image saved from this state will be indistinguishable if "restored" to the computer from which it originated.

I'm not certain what you have in "D sector."

If D: is a separate accessible drive (a partition) then it is better to keep all your data there because it keeps drive C: that much smaller for imaging purposes.

Backups of data and any images of Drive C are best kept on a second HD either internal or preferably external.

My point about keeping drive C: small.
Small is better because huge images take time to handle and lots of space to store.
Easier to prevent than deal with at this stage, but you have the right idea and anything you can transfer to your new HD should be done once you are sure the files are present and readable.

  Z1100 18:24 09 Nov 2006

When the Engineer replaced your motherboard he would 'Flash & Tatoo' tour new board to accept your recovery disc. If it did/does not work call the 'help line' and ask for a flash and tatoo.


  six-h 15:18 10 Nov 2006

thanks seedie, I've heard of slipstreaming but sounds a bit beyond my capabilities! have downloaded the page you linked to and will study it at home (I use the library for net connection)
Diemmess, Dsector is a partition on the internal drive which I'm told by Medion is for resetting to factory conditions, I assume the recovery disk uses this info, I certainly don't.From first getting this machine, I have only ever used C drive, but early n I had to do a factory reset with Medion holding my hand on the phone, only then did I copy some photos to D drive so that they would not be lost in the reset. So C drive contains Data, Program files and the windows folders - Bad news??

  Diemmess 15:58 10 Nov 2006

Some (slightly) good news. At least you can access Drive D: - it is not a hidden partition.

If you want (you said in first posting) to have an image of C: safely stored on a new HD. That is good sense, but you will require a copy of a suitable imaging program. Acronis which you mention seems to be current flavour of the month.

You say that out of 160Gb across the whole HD you have used 24Gb. How much of that is on C: ?
The less you have the less time needed to image, or to restore that image.

For safety reasons I would not interfere with D: at all until you are happy with your safe "new image" and ready access to any data you moved away from C:

NB - My personal views
Agreed that videos can gobble space on a HD. Transfer some to DVD?

Huge disks can take an age to scan copy defrag and the rest.

Factory resets can take many forms so I bow to wiser heads over your arrangement.
Again I would like to think that you can move data on or off that drive D: at will and without risk to being able to reset.
Do remember that the further you develop your PC away from the settings when new, the less use that facility will be. That's why you need a image of C: frequently updated and ready to restore.

Once that system is proved workable SP2 and all, then the original factory reset is obsolete and can be wiped.

  six-h 15:12 13 Nov 2006

seedie, Your link now read and inwardly digested but though I will try it at a later stage, I feel that a complete image is the way to go as it would also save me having to re load software. Thanks for the information.
Diemmess, thanks for bearing with me during our protracted conversation, due to my infrequent visits to the library! I think I will transfer all my data files to D drive, but how do I get the computer programmes to seek and store their data on D drive rather than C drive, also new programs in the future? Take your point re DVD storage, and have a stack of RW discs ready! also the dwindling value of the recovery disc, but I will keep it and the "E"sector in the event I sell or otherwise dispose of the machine in future, basically for the benifit of others.

  Diemmess 15:42 13 Nov 2006

<how do I get the computer programmes to seek and store their data on D.>
First make whatever new folders you may need to store the data from various applications

Then with Word it is a snip:
In Word, look in Tools > Options > File locations.
Modify > Document to the "D:/Word docs" folder.

I have found that most other apps tend to default to My Documents, but if you check when you press Save or Save_As there is usually the opportunity to browse to where you wish to save the file.
Saving may not give you this option unless you have saved something before in the currnt session, but you will quickly get the rhythm!

  six-h 13:26 14 Nov 2006

Thanks Diemmess, I'll try that when I'm preparing to install SP2. Doubtless I'll be back for more help as I stumble along!!

Many thanks to you all.

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