I want to keep everything separate

By AndyGold ยท 21 replies
May 14, 2013
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  1. I want to have my OS separate of my games and programs, I store images separate of project files etc already.
    I use XP home on several different PC's and build WP websites and blogs.
    I currently use several external HD's for different projects and don't compress files as I have had problems in the past, getting those files back on different systems. (I think it is stupid, if I compress a file and a year later I cannot even decompress it fully or at-all even on the same PC, (whats that about)?. But, usually transferring the file at a later date, on a different PC, is the problem). So I use files uncompressed! I'm a neanderthal (I know)!

    Hi, (I am new here)..Don't know if I am in the right place. Storage and Networking...

    I need help with the way I work and back up, and read a post..Which is "sort of the way" I do things too.. Quote Member
    cliffordcooley (LINK).

    I keep what data I want on hard drive and backup to BD. Data that is regularly updated is backed up to Thumb Drive. I have only my OS to worry about if I need to do a system recovery, because all my data is stored on a separate partition. With this system I have little to no need in specialized application's to do my backup needs.

    I don't understand the first sentance BD is that BackupDrive? and Thumb Drive - is that like another name for a stick Flash Drive? (Sorry if I am being thick)!

    I am very interested to learn more about backup methods, since every program-based backup I have ever done, has failed in the past, (there must be something I am doing wrong), I'm not a complete newbie, and have built my own PC's,

    In 2009 - I used a program called DrvClonerXP - but it would only create an exact duplicate copy, size for size of the whole drive, next to the OS on the same drive as its default setting. (Why would I want; two separate identical OS's on the same drive)? What if that drive should fail? I did manage to save to a separate drive eventually.

    But, the problem was, when I wanted to update, it would not let me overwrite the copy and it had either to be deleted first or a second separate copy made. (What if I want to go back 3 or 5 copies ago)? Besides, its like having 2 or 3 separate but identical computers as far as the hard drives are concerned.​

    I think I need a back-up program that I can choose to go back in time to a certain point! (Rather like windows restore is supposed to work, but rarely works for me. Re- my recent crash - XP SP3 disk RESTORE to last known good working point. Non existent! Don't know why.. I have plenty of restore points. Monday night is backup and restore time).

    Next in 2010 the program I used was Lexun Backup Solution: In my PC repair notes, I wrote - after a crash - won't invoke, Lexun won't run two separate XP Home conflict - or other program fault. I only ever have a single OS of XP Home SP3 on every computer at any time.

    I just wish I could find a simple backup program for *****s like me!

    I have used AVG's Paid-for backup service, that could not recognize or find my backup file when I most needed it;- that I was looking at with my own eyes on their paid-for backup service last year, so I ended that (waste of time)!

    I have also used DrvImagerXP - that is supposed to create an exact copy of your HD similar to DrvClonerXP - But it saves to CD-roms (I saved it to an external, because the compression is crap - My notes say- for 160GB it requires 291 x 700MB CD's to copy the files!!! OMG)! For the price of the disks I could buy a decent size Hard-Drive (are the backup program makers stupid)!
    I made an external HD backup after going through the hours of trouble I had setting up my PC sound and graphics, internet and profiles. But, no games or work programs installed.​

    If you save to an external HD instead, the backup program still broke the image files into 700MB chunks, splitting files to make the 700MB image files. (What's that about)?​

    I did try to re-install from the HD backup- for just the OS and my setup files for sound and graphics, after the next inevitable crash and subsequent fresh install, about a year later, and it crashed on the 3rd CD image file. What use is it? ​

    I state those above, so you will understand what I've been going through, and why I do things my-way as below.. Also, so that you can better help me with this.

    The way I store and back up is - I use external HDs to store files, leaving my OS separate on the main C drive, (as I hate to use the 'My Docs' file folders for projects, videos, pictures etc). I sometimes back up those files (non-compressed) to CD disc. (So there is now a massive collection of disks to keep track of).

    I did compress files several years ago, but then, some files would not open-up again on different systems like my lap top, (even jpeg's would not open in some cases), so I regressed to just using the simple files as they are; as they have always been the easiest and best method to ensure I had a copy of an important file.. (my family photos etc)...

    Backup programs:- I have never understood this...:- If I create an image file back up - I can never work out how to invoke it back to life when I have a PC crash. This is probably where my stupidity reigns, (maybe I missed lesson one or something).

    Do I need to re-install windows as a new installation and then load up the program that created the image-back-up-file and then re-load it or restore-file, or does the image file contain everything on your PC drive in some sort of super compressed format? If so, how do you invoke it, when you are looking at a PC in repair-mode, windows XP recovery mode or safe-mode? I don't think you can, can you?

    With past programs (above), the instructions are usually - re-format for a fresh install, install windows XP, install the backup programs, THEN - process the recovery file - 'Restoring' it. (This has never worked for me with any recovery program ever)!

    So, is there a simple '***** proof' program out there for people like me?

    Similarly, I have a games machine, (its not overly powerful, but can run GTA4 and Farming-Simulators etc), It had a problem with some malware or virus in April 2013 and I had to completely reformat and reinstall everything since my backup would not work. But, it has just crashed again due to me disturbing everything, pulling out and servicing the power-pack and general internal cleaning.

    Question 1- I wondered if - is it possible to install games onto another external HD that contains no OS, so that I only have to re-install the OS, on the main hard drive after a crash, and link back to the game via a shortcut. (Since, it seems I always have to re-install the OS anyway, why not just keep it separate in the first place? Then just link back to games and programs on external HD's).

    Is this possible, I tried it with 'The Sims' deluxe game, but it does not work.. Is there a way to do it, re- the Clifford Cooley post above?

    Then I imagine I will not have to reinstall all of my games each time my OS or HD takes a nose dive.

    Question 2 -What do you think, am I going about this the wrong way, is there a better way?

    Question 3 - Is there a simple backup program you can recommend, that crushes everything on your HD down to one file on a CD - that you can just put into the drive after a reformat of the hard-drive, for auto install, that unpacks everything back to where it was?

    Andy. Win XP Home - several PC's
  2. AndyGold

    AndyGold TS Rookie Topic Starter

    My 'xXX'ed out words were for I'm an I.D.I.O.T - ( simple backup program for I.d.I- o.t's like me! and simple F.o.o.l - Proof program). But the system won't let me edit MY own post. (see what I mean - I feel like Mr Bean! - I fight the world at every turn). Maybe that could be my motto!
  3. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,701

    That would be BD for Blueray DVD's, they are 25GB in size on single layer media.

    Yeah, thats the same thing. I can't make up my mind which term I like using the most. lol

    Question 1: I have no experience with Sims, but the games I have installed are installed to a different drive than my OS. My OS partition is imaged without including the game folder, so it isn't that large. And restoring the image doesn't effect the game folder.

    Question 2: I can't say you are doing things right or wrong, as everyone does things differently.

    Question 3: No you can not backup everything to a single CD. CD's are only 700MB in size, which is way too small. Thats why I use BD's instead, they are 5 times larger than a DVD's and 35 times larger than CD's.

    That is simply splitting your backup image so if you plan on copying them to CD they will be sized appropriately. You would end up with several files instead of only one, but the total space used for backup would be equivalent.
  4. AndyGold

    AndyGold TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for your quick reply CC. I will have to invest in BD's, I'd never even thought of it.
    I usually have GTA4, StarTrek Online and Farming Sims games on the main C drive of the games PC with the OS. (And I take a copy of the game-saves out to the external HD manually whenever I remember to do it).

    I've just realized that my HD's are all running off my main Number 1 PC (PC1) and are then accessible over my home network (24 port 10/100Mbps + 2 Gigabit rack-mount- Port Ethernet Switcher). Perhaps that is why I cannot make a game run on another PC that is just connected to external-HD over the network.- The external HD must have to be directly connected to the Games-PC (PC5) for it to work. Is that correct?

    Or perhaps - Sims still runs on PC1 because the game was installed from there (years ago)- to the external-HD? When I did a second install to the same external-drive from a different PC, (PC5), I think it wrote over those original files, (because there is only one copy on the HD and I installed extra game-expansion packs, that I can see on the external HD, but those are not available to the original game install, if I play the game from PC1), So, I can still play The-Sims from PC1 but not PC5. I don't understand it, It is very confusing.

    Even though I have since - also installed the game to the external HD over the network from the games PC (PC5) (because the graphics and sound is better). It will not run over the network from the external HD.

    I'm thinking.. But, surely there are other files connected with the game that are in the registry and program files folders of windows? If I understand this correctly... If I have a backup, that backup must contain those games program files and registry files for the game, even though the bulk of the games information files are not backed up and are on a separate external HD..

    Anyway, I will have to test and restructure my set-up I think.

    To CiffordCooley
    Of those backup programs at https://www.techspot.com/downloads/backup/
    which would you say is the best and easiest to use?

  5. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,701

    I probably should mention, I use Seagate DiscWizard for my backup images. It's proprietary to Seagate drives, powered by Acronis True Image Home software.

    As far as I am aware all backup applications come with a boot disk option, so recovery from complete system failure would be possible.

    I've no experience with installing applications/games across network drives.
  6. AndyGold

    AndyGold TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks. I've read and taken on board other comments about WD drives, (which most of mine are), but to be fair, its not really ever been a HD mechanical error that has caused failure, mostly software / malware or perhaps installing mods into games.
    Or sometimes perhaps leaving disks in the drive, pulling the power unit for a clean and refurb. which is what I think caused my current problem. Although my PC always asks to press a key, if I want to install from any inserted CD, otherwise it ignores it. So I don't understand why the PC crashed!​

    I did not even disturb the memory modules or CPU, just removed the fans and cleaned the heat sinks of dust, opened the power pack and cleaned it out of dust, (I do this monthly without problems), but I wish I had just left it alone now.. It could be a sign that the drive is ready to fail. (It is a Western Digital SATA). My PC's are on 24/7.​

    I have just added a Seagate 500GB USB3 portable drive (compatible with USB2), a month ago and I could just as easily use Seagate drives when purchasing in the future.

    Do you know anyone here that will know about apps and games across networks?

    I will have a go with my ideas as mentioned earlier and put the HD directly off the games PC, when I get it working right. And look further into DIskWizard it looks good. The only drawback I can see is that it sort of contains my biggest issue with backup programs. ...

    Re- if your PC crashes, you cannot get the files to restore, because the PC that crashed needs to be running and have the backup program installed?? Is this what they are saying? -

    Quote 'Do not disable or uninstall this device, as it is necessary for connecting image archives as virtual disks'.

    So, how would I fix and restore? Especially if the program that contains the info has totally gone?

    My last backup program did this, the help files explained that I cannot re-install XP and then re-install the backup program to run backup files that I had on another HD, because the backup files were encrypted to the original program that created it. Am I stu-pid, thick, or missing something? Because I don't understand?

    How can a backup program logically be a backup, if the PC it is on, - fails and then, that in-turn, renders the backup files redundant?

    I have never yet successfully recovered from a PC crash ever! Where I had to reformat and re install XP. I always have to start totally over from square one and re install every single game and program. Luckily I keep my original downloaded files in a separate folder on another HD external. (along with game saves etc).

    But, when I think that other people can just double click a file and it all comes back like magic, it makes me feel totally st-up-id. I wish I could just once experience a successful recovery from an image file and not have to reinstall all of my games. It took over a week to get my PC back to normal graphics and sound after only installing GTA4 - FS2011 and AGRAR simulators; because each game wants to change files out for its own. Like the direct-X thing, Finally, when it all settles down, I went and broke it by giving it a service.

    Anyway, if you know anyone who can help on the networking / games side, please let me know. I will look into the DiskWizard more a little later, and perhaps someone else will add a comment or two here too.
    Thanks for your help today CC.

  7. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,166   +986

    I'll refer you to a tutorial I wrote some time back on backups.

    Typically when we discuss this subject, the focus drops into products. However IMO, the issue is one of procedure(s). Backups are of no value if the user is not prepared to perform a Restore.

    If we are discussing a restore of the boot disk, think of what the requirements are:
    1. need a system to read the backup media
    2. access to the target drive to receive the data
    3. need to ensure the target drive MBR gets recovered
    4. and, oh yea, a copy of the original program that created the backup media (ie backup data formats are not universally common but specific to the product).
    Now if the failing system is the only system, then you have a catch-22 - - you need a system to restore the system! So to begin the restore process, we need to
    • Install new system software
    • install the 3rd party backup software (if any)
    • attach the drive to receive the recovery data
    There are products that create bootable backups (ie boot from CD) and the backup data. Acronis True Image is one such, but word of warning: True Image will reformat the target disk prior to the restore (to allow the MBR recovery) and you must make sure that ALL PARTITIONS were captured in the backup.

    Some products do not allow a set of files to be recovered from the backup media and force a complete restore of that media - - not very nice in my book.

    BTW: don't we do this because we want to protect our precious data files? Then why the heck include \windows\* and \program files\* in every copy of our backups - - tons of duplicate data and hours of wasted time! Our backups should be anchored in the %userprofile% area for all users, eg
    • XP:- \Documents and Settings
    • Vista & Win/7:- \Users

    If however, you elect Norton or True Image as your tool then you would need at least one full disk image.

    Personal experience: When my XP/Pro platform died, it was time to move up in technology so I went from a single CPU to an i3 Core, large hd+memory and a 64bit system. When it was configured as I like, I recovered my files using the Allway Sync tool mentioned in the article mentioned at the top. Yes, I needed some new applications for 64bit, but the basic stuff was just reinstalled - - you see I keep the original install packages and ensure they too are in the backup files. The new Win/7 Pro 64bit was chosen to support XP & Vista compatibility of the old programs (feature specific to Pro & Ultimate versions of Win/7).
  8. AndyGold

    AndyGold TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Great - I'm sure I do (and did), mostly understand this correctly, I thought it was just me, being stu-pid, loosing my mind over why my backups are not working.

    Just checking....
    I should back up to an external-HD and keep the original - backup program set-up-file as well, to run the recovery-file, in case of a future system failure.

    After a total system failure, if I only have the option to reformat the hard drive.
    I reformat the HD, then manually re-install the main OS -( Win XP Home in my case); and once it is running, I then install the backup program on the fresh system and finally, use the program to run the saved restore file! Is that correct?

    This I assume, (or would I hope to believe and dare to dream), that this would then reinstall all of my games files and other program files, etc.(Am I right)? (I know I must be wrong)!

    I think I must be wrong here, because; I am also thinking: 'How can one backup file contain all the information from several games and programs, when some of those come on several discs? And those disks needed to be swapped back and forth several times to install the original game or program in the first place?".

    Also, I imagine that I would then have to re-sign or re-enter product codes and OEM Product keys and Activation Keys again? Yes?

    If I am right about all of that, I find myself asking... 'What good is a backup program if I have to re-install all of my games and programs manually?'

    I'm sorry I sound a bit dim on this, but I have never successfully completed a recovery, after a system crash in 25 plus years of using PC's! So, I recon it is about time I learned how to do this properly! I am really sick of starting from scratch every time one of my PC's goes down.

    Still a little confused!!!
  9. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,701

    This is my configuration:
    1. OS partition
    2. Data partition
    3. USB 2.0 drive for additional data storage.
    4. All my data has been (or should be) backed up to BD optical media.
    5. Data that gets frequent updates and need portability are stored on Flash Drive (aka: Thumb Drive)
    My Data contains:
    1. Movies & Music
    2. Application install files. My apps are however installed to the OS default locations within the OS partition. I could move the installation location of most if not all my apps to the data partition, but I've chosen not to.
    3. Games folder where Steam and other games are installed.
    4. Windows Live Mail folder, so encase of system recovery it does not effect my Email.
    My Backup method:
    1. With DiscWizard the only partition I am concerned with is the OS partition.
    2. Once I have all updates and applications installed, I create an image of the OS partition.
    3. The image is a compressed copy of all partitions selected and master boot record.
    4. Restoring the image will place the drive back to the state in which the image was created.
    5. All other partitions are backed up with a straight copy to other media.
    This process may not work for everyone, but it seems to work for me. Don't get me wrong, I have had issues with DiscWizard myself but always managed to find a way through them. If I were to use a different program other than Acronis, it would probably be Macrium Reflect. Western Digital also has a free version of Acronis available, it's called Acronis True Image WD Edition.
  10. AndyGold

    AndyGold TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks for this help and info. Macrium R looks good.

    I like to keep good notes, so when stuff goes wrong, I can usually find out why.
    I'm keeping a copy of this thread (as well as making this my main goto site in my bookmarks).

    I have several PC's three of them have no back at all because they are basically just for surfing the net:- two more are important and for business use, and one of those also doubles as my main gaming PC. (That's the one that prompted this). I won't be able to alter the partition size until probably the next inevitable crash.

    I don't know where my logic comes from, re;- I usually format only one partition to the max size of the HD, (I don't even know why I do this), so you have given me a new perspective to work with. My-way, obviously isn't working, so I will separate the partitions for OS and data as you say.
    I should even start doing this now, (at the weekend), with the games PC.
    Q1 - Do I install XP as usual into what will be the OS partition and then, when XP is up and running, re-assign folders to the second partition?
    Q2. Are there any articles here that walk you through this set-up process?

    My games PC is currently up and running now, (but I am still OK with scrapping the install at this stage to separate the partitions). it just keeps asking for updates like a hungry little robot. No games on it yet though, I like to get the browsers, graphics and sound running OK first before installing games, then I have a base to work from. However, this is the second total restart of this PC within a month. It takes a whole week to get it up and running.!!!

    I've got to work now, for the next few days and at the weekend I will read carefully through Macrium and DiscWizard - and the two AcronisTI's for WD and Seagate drives. Chose respectively and install.

    I will just use the PC to complete a project I am working on as it is now, then scrap the whole install, reformat the drive and make two partitions. I will probably need your help with this...

    Thanks for you help here.
  11. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,701

    There should be no difference in the installation process other than selecting the installation partition. As for re-assigning folders to the second partition, I'm not sure the word re-assigning is appropriate. You can configure windows in certain placed to re-locate folder structures. The out-come really depends on what you want relocated. Most of my changes were done within application setup process, either during installation or afterward.

    I couldn't answer this question, I'm sure there are but at the moment I'm not aware of any.
  12. AndyGold

    AndyGold TS Rookie Topic Starter

    You only get 10 minutes here to edit? Whats that about? I've never heard of anything like it before..
    Anyway - I typed and posted, I should have said :-
    I have several PC's three of them have no back-UP's at all....

    I have never done a dual boot or double partition before. I am guessing that when you have two partitions, they are like two separate drives? C:/ being my OS and maybe E:/ for the data. Is that correct?

    I'm sorry, although I've been building my own PC's for years, (its just a collection of parts, isn't it - not hard to put together), when it comes to files and folders in dos or raw on the drive, I get lost in it all.
    That's why windows was built, wasn't it - for non-compus-mentus people like me!

    I will do some reading on the subject before I attempt it. There's no worry, I can always give up and reformat for one partition like I usually do if it all goes wrong. Thanks again. Andy.
  13. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,701

    This could be due to your low posting count. It may be a caution against spamming the forum, not specifically designed to keep legit posters from editing their comments.
    Yes this is correct.
  14. AndyGold

    AndyGold TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I was just reading, about partitioning, all my drives I know are NTFS without doubt, that's all I ever use.
    I'm thinking, if I create several different partitions, I wonder how much will be needed by the OS? So as to give me more room to devote to data area. Does the OS grow much with updates and registry files?

    I should also create a separate partition to store the backup and backup program.
    And then, if I'm going to do that,... (am I being too ambitious)?
    I might as well create another separate small partition to hold a backup copies (just the images) from each of my other 5 PC's - and do the same on every PC, (or at least two of them, since I have never had two PC's fail at the same time).

    There is also probably a secret hidden partition that already holds the dos or whatever it is and the windows XP recovery files and programs, am I right?

    Then lastly I would have my data partition.

    So that would be 1, The main OS partition = (how big)?
    2, The main data partition, (done last to fill the rest of the HD so as not to waste space on the HD.
    3, an 'ALL PC's backup image saving area' = (how big)?
    4, a single partitioned backup area for the HD's home PC - that also has the OS and the DATA backed up.
    (or - this could be redundant, if I put a full PC, backup in the 'ALL PC's backup partition area', and have that duplicated across all the PC's (or at least two of them)).
  15. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,728   +3,701

    How many and how large each partition is, depends on personal preferences. Your OS partition will depend on how large your pagefile is, how many applications are installed, how large these applications are, and etc... That is if you even have a page file and haven't decided to install your applications to a different partition. These questions need to be answered by your own mileage. Once you get some organization to your system, you will better understand what size partitions you need. My OS is currently using about 30GB of a 60GB SSD. Others are more comfortable using 120GB or more for their OS.

    Your question about a separate partition for backup images, would be a nice for organization. Personally I tend not to use multiple partitions for data, unless using multiple drives. I prefer using folder structures instead. This consolidates free space, so there is no worry of running out of room on just one partition.
  16. AndyGold

    AndyGold TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Many thanks, I will get to it at the weekend, and let you know how I get on.
  17. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,166   +986

    Sorry - NO.
    Backups as I described (user data) are the files created by your programs;
    email, pictures, drawings, accounting files. Performing User Data backups does not account (aka capture) any of the programs.

    A system level backup would be needed;
    On Win/7, /boot
    all windows systems, /Program Files, Program Files (x86) [for 64bit systems] and \Windows

    If you want to take the silver bullet approach, get True Image or Norton and perform a system image backup which copies the entire HD. Personally due to the time and media consumed with these tools, I would do this only annually and revert to weekly or monthly User Backups to keep all my data with less effort, time and media.
  18. jobeard

    jobeard TS Ambassador Posts: 11,166   +986

    Depends upon your expectations. From your descriptions, I guess there is little user data of concern and your motivation for ANY backup is exactly that - - to preserve the installed programs. In that case, your headed for system images via True Image or Norton.
  19. TheDreams

    TheDreams TS Addict Posts: 631   +68

    I must say that for a newcomer your post(s) have been rather well organized and really easy to read.
    AndyGold likes this.
  20. AndyGold

    AndyGold TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks 'TheDreams' I like to try and make myself understood, I read and re-read what I intend to post, then when I've posted it, I read it over again, and I still find mistakes!

    I should have called myself 'TheBorg' here, because I am always searching for perfection, but then I look in the mirror.... (Can things get any better than this? No I say.... You see,,, I'm modest and humble too)!

    But, I still have NOT got my PC working how I want! We can't have everything we want in life, (can we)?

    Another Backup Attempt:- I just followed my most recent (downloaded), PC backup tool's instructions and when it crashed and said 'image copy failed' (or something like that); upon restart, I discovered I now have two installations of Win XP home! What????

    One is:- (what I think is the original one) - called 'Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition', it refuses to load and just blank-black screens me, the second is, off-of the name I was asked to call the copy I was making by the backup program.

    I was going to call it 'Win XP Home Copy' but could only enter 'Win XP Home C' before I ran out of characters; So, I opted for 'Win XP Home' Which is now apparently loadable as a separate version of windows XP home! Doh!

    I feel so stu-pid.. All my games files are visible in explorer, but none run from the desktop, (all the desktop shortcuts; and the links in Program Files from the start menu are gone)!

    With a game disk in the drive, (any game disk), it loads and shows the set-up screens from the game disks, as if the game is not installed. (Normally, I would see 'PLAY NOW' screens).

    I have to go into the program files, put the original game disk in the drive- and then invoke the game in explorer, (it won't run the games from the game disk menu because it thinks the game is not installed); And the PC then runs the games OK from within explorer. Except, all my saves are gone too!

    I need a break, (somewhere just below my second vertebrae-please, to put me out of my misery). I'm going to go off and play some xBox - COD or BF3 to get the rage out of my system.

    TheDreams likes this.
  21. AndyGold

    AndyGold TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Yes, I think you are right. (I'm saying, I don't know what I am supposed to expect from a backup, since none, (I emphasize 'NONE' ), has ever, ever worked for me in my history of 20+ years working with PC's I had a BBC mod B and a ZX spectrum too! (But I'm just name-dropping)),

    So, I really feel stu-pid admitting that no backup has ever worked for me, but that's the fact of it.
    The only real backup I have is to re-install everything from scratch.

    However, yes; I do have data files, but I keep an exact copy, (not even compressed versions), of those files. So I have lots and lots of disks and several external hard-drives of backups.

    The most difficult part of a crash is reconstructing my PC set-up ref- odd-ball monitor and sound setup files - that I still don't know or remember the order of installation.

    Next, its installing all my games again, and some seem to alter the PC setup, so after installing one, I have to go back and re-tweak all the system settings.

    And, if I don't do that, between every game installation, I don't know if the next game I install is the one causing the next graphics or sound error. So, it all takes a long long time! I thought a complete backup solution should fix this, but I can never get one to work.

    The other problem I have, is that, once you get your PC working fine, it is usually months or even years before it crashes again. Even if you are doing regular backups, how do you know if the backup is true and will be successful in the event of a failure until you actually have a failure?

    This is usually where I discover, I cannot use the backup file! So what use is a backup?

  22. AndyGold

    AndyGold TS Rookie Topic Starter

    This - board will still not let me edit my posts? Ten minute warning..

    I was editing my last post to add...

    This is usually where I discover, I cannot use the backup file! So what use is a backup?

    I will try True Image next, (I suppose; after a much needed break! - I've got to strip the PC and reformat again, since I now have two installations and neither work)!; -

    I've had no success with Norton when I used it a few years ago, besides an unsuccessful backup, it stripped out my registry files, claiming that there were dozens of errors that needed cleaning. (Yet my PC was working fine until I installed it), I let it do its 'tweaking' job, then my PC refused to start 100%.
    - Kapersky - was another similar one used on a family use PC, (installed by a family member), those PC's never recovered, and had to be totally reformatted and set-up again.

    I'll just go kill myself (in COD)!

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