2nd hard drive as back up, Flawed??

  User-324448 10:08 08 May 2004

I am looking at many ways to back up my system after the blue screen of doom experience last month. I like the idea of a second slave hard drive with a mirror image using "Drive Image 7" (is there a review of this) But in my dreams last night I found the idea may be flawed. How, when you cant boot up using any of the options on the blue screen, can one switch to the 2nd hard drive. as a retired sparks I would fit a change over toggle switch on the front but doubt that this is possible with these gadgets.

  ste_bla 10:11 08 May 2004

I thought to swith over you would have to open up pc to change the master/slave settings?

  Diemmess 10:44 08 May 2004

This is the over the top - way around it, and should work regardless of which OS you are using.

On the downside, apart from expense and to gain most from this you will need to have two hard drive "sockets" in your computer to allow interchangeability.

  Eastender 11:35 08 May 2004

With Norton's Ghost you create a bootup floppy and then restore from 2nd HDD.

  Taran 11:36 08 May 2004

Unless your system crash involves the BIOS failing in some way, Drive Image, like Ghost, allows you to boot from a bootable floppy or CD and restore from one to another hard drive.

It does not require a working system, although it can be used from within Windows via a very nice and simple user interface.

The old, underlying support for bootable floppy disks is still there though, so booting from such a disk allows you to restore from one to another drive without ever having to get into a working Windows setup.

BIOS failure that prevents booting at all or hardware failure where your mainboard or hard drives go up in smoke is one of the few things Drive Image cannot cope with. But once you fix such dire problems, as long as you used the same type of hware (for Windows XP activation) you can restore an image to a rebuilt PC.

I don't know the nature of your recent "blue screen of doom experience" so I can't comment on that front, but Drive Image or Ghost are real life savers for either corporate or domestic use.

I image from master to slave hard disks and also copy the image from the slave to an external drive or to DVD.

  User-324448 12:00 08 May 2004

After my blue screen of doom I inserted the recovery CD which evesham provided when the system was new and just blindly followed the on screen instructios to re install XP ,it worked.
I do not want to go through that experience again and a 2nd hard drive with Drive image may be the answer but I do need to keep it simple. Prof.

  Taran 12:45 08 May 2004

Since you already have a recovery disk, Drive Image or any similar product may or may not be worth your while.

To explain:

I use a lot of software on my systems - image editors, web design tools, programming languages and similar - so setting a system up from scratch normally takes six or seven hours. I image my computers to give me a fallback point with ALL of my software installed, so that if the worst happens I save myself all those hours installing program after program.

Data backup is different altogether though, and far more important. Simply copying your personal files, web favourites, emails, address book and so on to CD or spare hard drive is often all many people need.

All I'm saying is if your recovery disk sets your system back to its "as delivered" condition, unless you run a lot of software and want to avoid time wasted recovering it all, Drive Image or Ghost can, in some cases, be viewed as overkill and may even be unnecessary.

I know of a lot of people who use a simple setup and beyond installing printer, scanner, camera, antivirus and firewall software their system is much as it was when they first bought it. Drive Image, in this kind of case, is not really necessary.

Just balance your actual need to your intended purchase. Data is always more important and despite the inconvenience of installing a lot of software onto a recovered system, I can put up with that prospect as long as my personal data files are OK.

Just thought I'd mention it.

  crimbo 12:51 08 May 2004

If you're PC is set with your cd drive as the first bootable drive, when the worst happens, put the drive image cd in & reboot your computer, then follow the on screen instructions. The only thing to be aware of is that if your mouse is usb it won't work. I keep an old ps2 mouse as a stand-by.

  byfordr 13:01 08 May 2004

The biggest problem with a permanently connected drive as a backup is you are still vulnerable from virus infection. It will however protect you against hardware failure to some extent.

Something like click here or click here will help protect against virus and hardware failure.

Hard drives are very cheap so may be worth picking up a second drive.

Personally I have a second drive fully loaded and ready to go sitting as a slave. I also make use of an external hard drive make a complete reinstall a doddle.

click here drive image 2002 click here systemworks inc go back and ghost


  User-324448 13:33 08 May 2004

Your last letter puts things into perspective.I lost a months work on a Vintage show programme Im compiling and a few photos most of what I call bigger stuff I save to CD Photos and the programme but sadly I didnt do it for a month, I lost email and postal addresses and a few other bits, it took 4 days to sort the computer out mainly through lack of knowledge and I still have not got "Big Fix" back which I liked. however I now have food for thought, Thanks

  Simsy 15:53 08 May 2004

If I understand your question correctly, suggests that you perhaps misunderstand what "Drive Image" does...

You refer to a "mirror image", by which I presume you mean a copy of the Drive/Partition...

While it is true that this can be done, (and would give rise to the question you ask about how to boot from this "copy" of the boot up partition), this is NOT what is achieved using Drive Image...

There are 2 stages of using Drive Image.. first you use it to create a file that REPRESENTS what your drive looks like. It is not a copy of the drive... a file that represents it. The 2nd stage, (should you need to do this), is to use this file to restore the drive to EXACTLY the same state it was in when the image was made.

It's a (little) bit like making a backup of a Word document using winzip.... You have the original document as a main item and a .zip file that is not the same thing, but can be used to restore the main should it get ruined. In this instance you need to use the prog winzip to restore the main... with a drive image file, (.pqi), you need to run the prog DriveImage to restore the partition.

None of which perhaps answers your actual question, about how to boot...

If you system partition is so badly "broken" that you cna't even boot from it, you can run Drive Image from floopy discs, which you create when installing Drive image. The pc will boot from these floppies.

Your perception, of having a "mirror image" to boor from, can be achieved by copying the partition, (using Partition Magic for example). To enable you to boot from thisYou would need a "boot manager", (such as "Boot magic" which comes with partition Magic!). This runs when ever you turn the pc on and asks which partition you want to boot from.

This second method is less effective than the first becaus eof the amount of HDD space it needs... If your boot partition is, say 5Gig, then 5 Gig of space is needed for another partition even if only 2 Gig is used... if using Drive Image however the same situation would create a file that is only about 1 gig in size.

I hope this all makes sense... and helps! My apologies if it has only muddied the water!



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