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Backup & restore notebook to enclosure via USB (Read 19000 times)
tommy_tank
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Backup & restore notebook to enclosure via USB
Nov 20th, 2006 at 7:40pm
 
I've spent so long trying to find out what will work for me I think I've used up all the time I was due to save if my notebook disk died. Anyway, I'm persevering.

Here's my situation. I have a Dell Inspiron 9400 running XP Media Centre Edition 2005. Sony DVD/CD-ROM. No SATA interface to motherboard. I'm a novice so didn't know anything about partitioning. Thus everything is on C: - about 70GB of 100GB disk used (60GB in My Documents) so too late to move unless i backup My Docs, delete contents, create partition, move My Docs, put contents back in new place - is this wise? I now want to safeguard my data and operating system so I bought a Seagate 7200.10 3.5" 250GB internal SATA disk and an enclosure which connects to my notebook via USB. I'll call this my enclosure disk. I have no floppy drive.

OK so now to my problem: what's the best way to minimise misery when my notebook disk or operating system dies?

Here's my thinking so far. Data i can just copy to and from the external drive so need no special knowledge or software, though it would doubtless be neater and easier with some. So how to recover the operating system and apps? Well, that's what Ghost does but do I really need it (maybe there is something that comes with XP that'll do what I need)? And how easy will it be for a fool like me to get it to work?

If I assume I need Ghost (or at least it is the best solution) I'm thinking v10 is the one to go for because of the USB support and no need for this DOS/FAT disk dependency I've read a little about.   Because the key, I think, is that the Recovery Disk Environment can browse to the enclosure disk via USB (to find my Ghost images) and then write to the internal disk when Windows (and drivers) is unavailable. The Ghost 10 user guide says some stuff about loading drivers from a disk if you can't get to local drives so maybe using the disk that came with the enclosure disk will get me to the enclosure from the Recovery Environment.

I think, to recover the entire computer I need to have an entire drive image, so because I have only 1 partition this image will be large and one good reason to have it on the enclosure drive. Creating the baseline may take ages but the differentials will be OK I suppose. At least doing the entire disk at once will do my data and OS. Talking of which this gets me a bit confused as I always thought Ghost was just for the OS. Now I understand it to do everything (well everything if you select everything). Correct?

Right, 'bout time to wrap this up. In summary:
1. Do I need Ghost, and if so v10?
2. Should I try and rectify my lack of partitions in spite of the amount of data already written?
3. If I go with Ghost, I'm slightly concerned that after lots of effort I won't actually be able to recover the OS when I actually need to so I might as well not bother and stick with just manually backing up data files and reconfigure/reinstall the rest. Do you think a novice is capable of Ghosting with my setup?
4. Are they any glaring misapprehensions in my waffle above?

Thanks to all who have managed to read this far and are kind enough to offer advice.

Tom
 
 
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Brian
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Re: Backup & restore notebook to enclosure via
Reply #1 - Nov 20th, 2006 at 8:35pm
 
Tom, a brief scenario to consider.

Buy Ghost 10
Move the contents of My Documents to your external HD so you will only have 10 GB in the C: drive
Use Ghost 10 to create a recovery point (backup image) of the C: drive, writing it to the external HD
Copy My Documents back to the C: drive (leaving a backup copy on the external HD)

At this point you are fully covered in the event of a laptop HD failure.

Look at http://www.goodells.net/multiboot/notes.htm#13 to see the advantages of partitions in a backup strategy. When you are ready we could help you partition your laptop HD without losing data.
 
 
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tommy_tank
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Re: Backup & restore notebook to enclosure via
Reply #2 - Nov 20th, 2006 at 8:48pm
 
Just read Ghost4me's "Simple solutions: USB2/Firewire drives & Ghost" (as well as the lengthy discourse on the reasons for sometimes not being able to see USB connected drives) and it has given me confidence that I can get Ghost 10 working for me with my enclosure. Still not sure if Ghost's a bit overkill for me and if my lack of partitions is gonna give me grief.

Tom
 
 
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Re: Backup & restore notebook to enclosure via
Reply #3 - Nov 20th, 2006 at 9:00pm
 
tommy_tank wrote on Nov 20th, 2006 at 8:48pm:
Still not sure if Ghost's a bit overkill for me

You won't say that WHEN the HD fails or the C: drive becomes corrupted. You will have no trouble using Ghost 10.
 
 
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Re: Backup & restore notebook to enclosure via
Reply #4 - Nov 20th, 2006 at 9:01pm
 
Ghost is never overkill. An imaging prgm is a necessity.

Lack of partitions *can* generate challenges. Partitions offer flexibility.

http://partition.radified.com/
 
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Re: Backup & restore notebook to enclosure via
Reply #5 - Nov 20th, 2006 at 9:25pm
 
tommy_tank wrote on Nov 20th, 2006 at 7:40pm:
"... what's the best way to minimise misery when my notebook disk or operating system dies?..."

If I were in your situation and wanted to "hit-the-ground-running", I would buy a retail boxed copy of Norton Ghost 10.0 (which should have a CD of the latest release of Norton Ghost 2003 enclosed as lagniappe) just as Brian suggests above.  However, as a prelude to following his very sound advice I would advocate using Norton Ghost Version 8.2 in the Ghost Windows Preinstalled Environment to create a
"(whole-physical) disk-to-image" legacy Backup
on your external HDD before proceeding any further. To do so, simply boot from the the Ghost 10.0 installation CD itself and immediately engage the legacy Backup/Restore or Clone "cold-imaging" procedures by following the path
'Recover > Recover Data on My Computer > Recover using a legacy Ghost image'
which has the side benefit of bypassing both the troublesome USB mass-storage device and SATA HDD glitches associated with DOS-dependent Ghost 2003.  In essence, this procedure uses
restoreghost.exe
(an alternate name for
ghost32.exe
) to allow either cloning or the immediate creation of legacy Norton Ghost Backup images concomitant with Recovery of such images that are in fact totally compatible and interchangeable with those *.gho/*.ghs files created with the
ghost.exe
of Norton Ghost 2003 -
but not with those created with Ghost 9, Ghost 10.0, or Norton Save & Restore during "hot-imaging".


Then, once your physical disc universe is comprehensively backed up, go on over to the "Dark Side" with a light heart resulting from the full knowledge and total confidence that you have exercised what is IMHO is both a reliable and a robust method of securing the contents of your MASTER HDD in all of its aspects. However, be advised that should the need ever arise to perform a legacy Ghost "image-to-disk" Restore, the result is a process where the whole-disk Backup image overrides and overwrites pre-existing drive letter assignments, partitions, file file system formats, and logical drives (if any) on the Destination HDD.

Further, be advised that once you do "cross to the Dark Side" to dabble in the "hot-imaging" technology of Norton Ghost 10.0 (a derivative of PowerQuest Drive Image 7.n), you will likely be compelled to use the 25-character Product Key to register the Ghost 10.0 product.

CLICK HERE to view my preferred - but admittedly convoluted - "path-less-traveled" of using
ghost32.exe
on a BartPE-XPE (reatogo edition) CD to generate Norton Ghost 2003-compatible files
independent of DOS
.

EP
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tommy_tank
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Re: Backup & restore notebook to enclosure via
Reply #6 - Nov 21st, 2006 at 10:18am
 
Thanks to all for the advice.

So my main question is answered. Ghost 10 is what I need and I can get it to work quite easily with my current hardware config. Cool. Also answered is whether I should move towards getting a sensibly partitioned HD. Yes I should. I knew partitions were good but my problem was I didn't know if I should partition a 100GB HD when 70GB has already been written to it. So what next?

I like EP's plan to create a "(whole-physical) disk-to-image" legacy backup using 8.2 before doing anything, so let's say I do this.
Brian suggests moving My Docs, imaging C:, put them back. I infer from this that imaging everything (data & OS) regularly on C: is unwise or impossible and anyway I want a 10GB C: image (which I can't maintain without moving off My Docs each time) because I will use it to recreate C: once partitioning is complete?

EP, I think it would be wise for me to stay away from the 'convoluted - "path-less-traveled"' so let's say I proceed with Ghost 10. I didn't understand the advice that I may be compelled to use the Product Key to register Ghost 10. Is this a problem (assuming I have bought it legitimately)?

So then I partition my drive in the knowlege I can recover all the way back to my original just C: config if need be, and when I lose all OS and data in the partitioning process, I can image the 10GB C: OS back and copy my data to the new D:, all from the external HD. And these recovery procedures will be easy for a novice like me. It is critical that I can recover from a complete system wipe. I am not unaware of the irony of giving myself misery, by taking action to prevent misery. Please stop me if my reasoning thus far is flawed.

So, my trail will lead to partitioning and Brian has kindly offered help with this. I shall be taking the forum up on it. All I need to know at this stage about this is whether it is pretty easy and not risky (backups as above assumed). I have read "Doc's FDISK Guide to Hard Drive Partitioning" (I don't want to buy Partition Magic) and think I am up to it but I get the impression that I can do what I need to within XP with no floppies (I have no floppy drive), CDs or booting into funny pre-OS modes. Also I will want NTFS not FAT32 so partitioning through DOS I don't think is an option. Anyway, the point is that if I can do it through XP then I'd feel more confident. If too much talk of partitioning in this topic or forum is inappropriate let me know. 

Thanks all,

Tom
 
 
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Re: Backup & restore notebook to enclosure via
Reply #7 - Nov 21st, 2006 at 3:17pm
 
tommy_tank wrote on Nov 21st, 2006 at 10:18am:
"... Also answered is whether I should move towards getting a sensibly partitioned HD. Yes I should. I knew partitions were good but my problem was I didn't know if I should partition a 100GB HD when 70GB has already been written to it. So what next?..."

IMHO your 250GB SATA NCQ Seagate Barracuda with twin 133GB platters is the optimal internal HDD for mounting in an external enclosure kit.  It should perform the job in an excellent manner while operating in a desirable temperature range whether actively or passively cooled.  Seriously, you really should give some thought to letting a portion of those files that are consuming 70GB while residing on your notebook PC's MASTER HDD be given a permanent berth on your external HDD setup.

tommy_tank wrote on Nov 21st, 2006 at 10:18am:
"... I didn't understand the advice that I may be compelled to use the Product Key to register Ghost 10. Is this a problem (assuming I have bought it legitimately)?..."

Actually, no - but I am one of those folks that likes to put off registering any such software to really "get-my-money's-worth" by initiating the 12-month licensing framework at the latest practical moment. Using the lagniappe Norton Ghost 2003 software, the Norton Windows Preinstalled Environment on the Norton Ghost 10.0 installation CD, or incorporating the Norton Ghost Version 8.2 elements into a BartPE CD or a Reatogo-X-PE CD plugin can all be done without using the Product Key to register.

tommy_tank wrote on Nov 21st, 2006 at 10:18am:
"... I don't want to buy Partition Magic... what I need to within XP with no floppies (I have no floppy drive), CDs or booting into funny pre-OS modes. Also I will want NTFS not FAT32 so partitioning through DOS I don't think is an option. Anyway, the point is that if I can do it through XP then I'd feel more confident..."

If the internal 250GB Seagate HDD came with the
DiscWizard
utility software on CD, you already have a superb tool for partitioning a HDD from scratch - albeit not in midstream - while running in XP. Furthermore, there is a dandy - albeit DOS-dependent - tool for performing a "low-level format" (actually a zero-fill routine) to thoroughly "scrub" a physical HDD which is located on the Ghost 10.0 CD at x:\Ghost\Support\
GDisk.exe
.

EP
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Re: Backup & restore notebook to enclosure via
Reply #8 - Nov 21st, 2006 at 3:21pm
 
Tom,

Quote:
I want a 10GB C: image (which I can't maintain without moving off My Docs each time)

My suggestion was for a once off image and data move. Partitioning to be done afterwards.

EP finds good $ deals on PMagic. PM really makes it easy. You just shrink the C: drive partition (when it has 10 GB of data) and add a data partition. Without PM you have to delete everything from the HD, create partitions and then restore the C: drive image. Can be done, but takes longer and seeing your C: drive disappear for the first time is scary.

Whichever way you go, we'll help.
 
 
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Re: Backup & restore notebook to enclosure via
Reply #9 - Nov 21st, 2006 at 3:31pm
 
Brian wrote on Nov 21st, 2006 at 3:21pm:
"... EP finds good $ deals on PMagic.  PM really makes it easy.  You just shrink the C: drive partition (when it has 10 GB of data) and add a data partition. Without PM you have to delete everything from the HD, create partitions and then restore the C: drive image. Can be done, but takes longer and seeing your C: drive disappear for the first time is scary.

Whichever way you go, we'll help..."

Ditto what Brian says.  Symantec Partition Magic 8.0 was in my toolkit back when it was labeled PowerQuest, and it has never let me down while modifying partitions in midstream, i.e., where there were contents on the HDD to safeguard.

EP
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Re: Backup & restore notebook to enclosure via
Reply #10 - Nov 21st, 2006 at 6:19pm
 
I have read a bit on the Dell notebook partitions today - http://www.goodells.net/dellrestore/mediadirect.htm. Because it has 3 Dell partitions outside the C: which I want to keep intact and may be difficult to Ghost (notably the Host-Protected Area which holds Media Direct and may not even be backed up with a Ghost 8.2 "(whole-physical) disk-to-image" as it's so hidden), I am wary of doing anything that may wipe these other partitions (or change the Master Boot Record and stop them being usable - e.g. I really want to keep the Dell recovery partition which could be useful if things go really badly). So I think that means I really should/need to use Partition Magic. Again, please stop me if I'm not reasoning this out right.

EP, I plan to give some data a permanent berth on the external HDD but it won't be hooked up much of the time so I only really want to move stuff I rarely want. The plan is to use the HDD for backups and storage only, keeping it somewhere separate from the notebook so I am more portable and thieves are less likely to take both.

So, I think Ghost 10 and Partition Magic are the tools for me. Any advice on places for good deals?

Right so unless I've really misunderstood something I'm good to go. Thanks all, and I'll be back - hopefully from my own PC Smiley .

Tom
 
 
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Re: Backup & restore notebook to enclosure via
Reply #11 - Nov 21st, 2006 at 7:41pm
 
Tom, you mentioned 3 Dell partitions. The first is the 50 MB Utility partition. This can be imaged and restored. I've done that. The second is (I assume) the Dell restore partition which contains an image of your C: drive as it was when the computer arrived. I delete this partition because I'm making current Ghost backup images and I have no need to restore the computer to day 1. But others keep this partition. The third is the HPA for Media Direct. I don't know if this is included in a whole disk image.

You probably noticed in Dan Goodell's site that as soon as you make partitioning changes to the HD, the Restore partition and the HPA stop working. Dan has tutorials on how to fix each partition. I've fixed the HPA partition but I haven't tried fixing the Restore partition as I don't use it anyway.

So the partitioning plan would be to temporarily move the My Documents contents to your external HD again. Then use PM to shrink the C: drive to your desired size and make a Data partition from the unallocated space created by shrinking the C: drive. The other partitions would remain intact and Dan Goodell's fixes would be used to get them working again. It's all straight forward stuff.

Before you start partitioning you will have done the whole disk image suggested by EP and the C: drive image and data backup that I suggested. Belt and braces.

One last point, backup your Dell MBR before you partition, as suggested by Dan. You will need this MBR to get the Restore partition working again.
 
 
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Re: Backup & restore notebook to enclosure via
Reply #12 - Nov 21st, 2006 at 8:20pm
 
tommy_tank wrote on Nov 21st, 2006 at 6:19pm:
"... So, I think Ghost 10 and Partition Magic are the tools for me. Any advice on places for good deals?..."
EXPIRES COB 11/22/2006: Norton Ghost 10.0 Retail Box with Norton Ghost 2003 CD included inside as lagniappe Shocked

CLICK HERE to view
FREE
offer on retail boxed Norton Ghost 10.0 in banner above - after $60 in MIRs.

CLICK HERE to download $40 MIR form.

CLICK HERE to download $20 MIR upgrade form.

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Re: Backup & restore notebook to enclosure via
Reply #13 - Nov 22nd, 2006 at 1:14pm
 
That's excellent help Brian. Much appreciated. I'm clear on what needs to be done now, though a little nervous. Anyway, I've come this far...

A query about partitioning my notebook HDD with Partition Magic. Currently I have an 87GB C drive. My OS & apps take up 10GB, My Documents 60GB and 17GB is unused. Let us assume I will keep the Dell Restore partition and want the new C drive partition to be 15GB and the D: 72GB.

Having moved off My Docs, when I then shrink the C: drive will the data left on the disk to the right (centre) of 15GB (that part of the disk that will become the D drive) get moved into the 15GB partition or will I trust that a defrag will move it?

If it is the case that I will lose the data not in the 15GB partition I suppose I could just recover the C: drive Ghost image I took at the beginning to the new C:?

Tom
 
 
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Re: Backup & restore notebook to enclosure via
Reply #14 - Nov 22nd, 2006 at 1:47pm
 
tommy_tank wrote on Nov 22nd, 2006 at 1:14pm:
Having moved off My Docs, when I then shrink the C: drive will the data left on the disk to the right (centre) of 15GB (that part of the disk that will become the D drive) get moved into the 15GB partition

You don't lose any data. All data is moved "to the left" as the partition is resized smaller.

Could you look in Disk Management and let us know the order of the partitions in the Disk 0 rectangle and their sizes?

Tom, how much RAM do you have? How large is your Page File? Do you have Hibernation enabled? How much % of the C: drive is allocated for System Restore. This gives us an idea of C: drive data usage.
 
 
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