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Disaster recovery for Win XP Pro (RAID 0)

By Ford Prefect
Jul 23, 2007
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  1. Hi Folks,
    My situation is as follows:
    I have a new PC with a system disc (Win XP Pro) on a RAID 0 (Stripe set) of
    capacity 500GB. I want to make a back-up "image" of the complete system.

    Now on my previous PC, which also had XP Pro but on a single hard drive, of
    capacity 250GB, I was able to open Partition Magic and copy the complete partition to another drive, either internal or external.

    The way that Partition Magic did this was that it did as much as it could
    from Windows, then did a restart and completed the final part from DOS (to
    copy the swap file and mbr I suppose, but I'm not sure what it does in DOS?)
    before loading windows again. This all worked fine.

    My question is really this: If I try to do the same on my new PC with its
    RAID 0 stripe system disc, I am sure that the Partition Magic actions from
    Windows will work OK, but when the system restarts and goes into DOS to
    complete the copy partition operations, the RAID 0 drivers will not be
    available in DOS and I am concerned therefore, that it will not "see" the
    striped set, it will only "see" the first hard disc.
    If I have a disaster and hence try to copy back from the external to the RAID 0 set, Will it "see" the set or just the first drive?
    Any experts on Partition Magic?
    I have thought of using Norton Ghost but I have exactly the same concerns.
    Thanks for reading the post.
    Any ideas or suggestions welcome.
    Regards.
  2. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,407   +314

    RAID x creates a logical volume upon which data is read & written transparently.

    If you use a Backup program, it will read the same logical volume (not the physical volumes)
    and create an image that can be restored to 'any volume of the appropriate size'.
  3. Ford Prefect

    Ford Prefect TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    Hi Jo,
    Thanks for your comments.
    It's true that if I use a (Windows) backup program or any that work from within windows, it will only see the logical drives so no problem.
    However, I want to create a drive image that will restore the complete drive in one without the need to reload programs and settings etc.
    I know this is supposed to be possible using something like Norton Ghost 9/10 which creates an image on the fly, but I'm not convinced this will always work.
    If you look at the Radified Forum on Norton Ghost, they reckon the best version is Ghost 2003, because it goes into DOS and makes an image sector by sector so you know it's a true copy. That's what I'd like to do but the problem is getting DOS to "see" the logical volumes.
    Maybe it's just not possible and I'll have to settle for Ghost 10 or similar.
    Any view on which is best Ghost 10 or Acronis True Image?
    Regards.
  4. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,407   +314

    The concept is well established and on some systems (AIX/Unix) there's a technique
    to create a Bootable Backup (on tape). When the boot is directed to that image,
    it is used to run the hardward and then restore the image to the HD.
    These all-in-one backups are very hardware dependent (ie the HD config).
    YEARS ago, IBM would make physical backups of a device and consume tons of
    tapes, even though the device contained just a vew 100mb! VERY wasteful.

    With a RAID-0 system, a physical backup is needed FOR EACH HD
    (and many Raid-0s are more than just two disks!)

    The logical backup has several advantages, including a defact disk defrag when
    the image is restored. It also consumes only the resources necessary to capture the data.

    The big/primary difference between physical vs logical is the logical backup
    is taken from a view of the logical partition table content, while the physical
    backup is sector oriented and will capture the MBR and the master partition
    table itself.

    The big negative factor on logical backups is the necessity of getting a running
    OS with the same backup software so that the image can be restored.

    While our PCs have to be configured in the BIOS for Raid support, DOS is
    so old that imo any hope of it supporting logical devices (eg raid) is both
    wishfull and unreliable.

    Both Ghost and Acronis True Image are well respected products.

    Best wishes and keep us posted as to your progress ....

    Jeff
  5. Ford Prefect

    Ford Prefect TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    Hi Jeff,
    Many thanks for the further info.
    I do agree that physical backups are wasteful of space and can be very wasteful with the size of modern hard discs.
    Also, anything dependent on DOS is hardly going to move forward.
    So I'm going to try Norton or Acronis.
    My daughter has just installed Ghost 10 and apparently you create a bootable "Recovery CD" which then allows you to access the saved "Image" in the event that Windows fails to load.
    What do you think about creating a dual-boot with a copy of Windows on a different disc? That would cover all failures except the mbr getting corrupted or a complete disc ceasure, wouldn't it?
    Regards,
    Doug.
  6. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 13,407   +314

    my only thought here is you should search this site for issues of installing
    Windows/* on a second HD -- it appears that MS is sensitive to the HD serial
    number and refuses to run w/o purchasing another license!
  7. Ford Prefect

    Ford Prefect TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 16

    Thanks,
    I'll check it out, though I use a dual-boot at the moment.
    It's ok so long as you don't try to install them both at once.
    Anyway, with my new PC and my old, I now have two licences.
    Regards & thanks.
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