Using XP Pro backup - a Catch 22 on floppy disk?

  br1anstorm 00:47 20 Apr 2009

I have a new laptop running XP Pro. I want to make a backup of the files, settings and OS in its original state on to a separate portable hard drive, as an insurance against a crash and as an alternative to possibly having to reinstall the OS (as I only have the Dell disk, not an XP OEM disk).

I have Acronis True Image, and I do intend to make an image of the original disk - but I've read a lot about Acronis backups reading as 'corrupt' when you try to restore So I planned to use XP's own backup program first, before installing Acronis and making an image.

OK - so I click on the XP backup wizard to "save all info on this computer". Fine - except that it warns me that I will also need a floppy disk ready, since the backup will also need to create a startup boot disk.

Hah! How many laptops these days still have a floppy disk drive? So my (dumb) question is - will a blank CD-R serve the purpose, or will the XP backup program need - or expect - only to create a floppy disk? I don't want to get partway through backing up to the separate hard drive and then be confronted by a request to insert a floppy disk when there's no slot for it!

  Technotiger 07:14 20 Apr 2009

I trust Acronis backup/restore rather than XP's own. I would strongly advise you not to mess about with any alternatives to Acronis.

Make your backup using Acronis, when done just make sure that you run the Acronis Validation. I have never had any problems with Acronis - IMHO it is by far the best and easiest way to keep your System safe.

If you really do insist on doing it your way as above, external USB floppy drives are very cheap.

  br1anstorm 12:19 20 Apr 2009

Thanks Technotiger.. just a couple of points. I hope I'll turn out to be one of the lucky ones for whom Acronis works flawlessly. But for a description of the problems many people have, take a look here click here

- and there are many others (just Google it!)

So that's why I thought I'd try both: XP Pro's own backup first, and then Acronis. It's not either/or. There seems no reason why I can't do both - I'm not at this stage setting up a backup schedule, just saving an image so I can if necessary recover without having to reinstall the OS.

Do I deduce from your final sentence that in fact XP's backup still requires to create a floppy disk - ie I can't create CD to use as a startup disk? Seems odd, given that CDs are universal and floppies virtually obsolete now.

  I am Spartacus 13:27 20 Apr 2009

I'm not very familiar with Windows Backup, preferring Acronis TI instead. I've just had a quick read of the Help Files for Backup.

I believe that a floppy is required for the Automated System Recovery option to restore files and folders but this also requires the XP installation CD as well. ASR apparently doesn't restore data.

If you look through the Advanced Mode options in Windows Backup there does seem to be a way to create a backup onto a External Drive and doesn't require a floppy. However if you don't have the XP install CD how are you going to be able to access the backup if needed.

  Technotiger 14:40 20 Apr 2009

Things, including Acronis, have moved on since 2005 - the date on your link!

  br1anstorm 17:16 20 Apr 2009

Yep, Technotiger - problem arose in 2005, but the thread is still running, and has over 300 posts. Recent ones (Nov 08 - see #304 and #321) suggest that the problem, whatever it is, hasn't been resolved. Looks as if Acronis TI is brillliant for some and a pain for others (and the challenge is not in creating the image, but in getting it to run when you need to restore...).

And IamSpartacus, you raise an interesting point. I'll look at the Help files too. But I still find it hard to understand why - when most people have a Windows OS preinstalled as OEM (so don't have a full XP installation disk, only a 'Restore' disk from Dell etc) - and most people no longer have a floppy drive, the backup/recovery process seems to require both!

Or am I unusual in wanting to make a backup which allows me (if the worst ever happens) not only to recover my personal files and data, but also to reinstate the operating system if it all goes down?

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