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Windows 7: How to Restore once I use copy files, or disk image=still confused

28 Jan 2015   #1
XP VM User

Windows7 Professional 64bit
 
 
How to Restore once I use copy files, or disk image=still confused

Hi everybody!

Its me again (XP VM USER) with a new thread which is a followup question so its a new direction from the original thread here:::

Need a new Backup & Storage program

ignatzatsonic gave me great advice in Post # 41 which I quote in its entirety below (but has left me confused) and since it was going off the main topic of choosing Backup programs, according to Windows Seven Posting rules, I've given it new life as a thread of its own:

First, repeating Post #41 by ignatzatsonic:

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
Here is what I would do:

Differentiate in your mind between “backing up” your personal data and backing up Windows/applications. “Backing up” is a generic term, typically ill-defined.

Back up personal data WITHOUT using Macrium, Norton, Acronis, or any similar product. No clone, no image. Nothing of the kind. Just an outright copy as if you had used the mouse and dragged the files to another drive. Do this either with the mouse periodically or with any of several programs designed for that purpose specifically (Syncback, Synctoy, Free File Sync, Second Copy, etc). If you have 300 GB of personal data, you will need 300 GB of space on your external drive.

Back up Windows and applications with Macrium using an image, not a clone. Repeat, not a clone. They are different. If you, for whatever reason, can’t or won’t put your data on a separate partition, then this image (of C alone) WILL in fact include your data even though you may have backed it up separately as in the previous paragraph.

I assume you have read the Macrium tutorial on site and are aware that image files must be formally “restored” to make a drive bootable and are largely useless otherwise. Unrestored, they are just a file.

I’m guessing your personal data is more important to you than your Windows installation and programs. Imaging or cloning are NOT repeat NOT foolproof, whether full or incremental. For that reason, I would not trust imaging or cloning to be a highly reliable method of backing up personal data. Why would you want to ever put the complication of imaging or cloning between you and your data backup? That’s a rhetorical question. You seem highly desirous of high reliability and (near) certainty, so I don’t understand why you would bother with imaging for something very important to you. All imaging can do is save you time. The time needed to do a clean Windows installation and reinstall your programs. But it’s fallible.

Incrementals introduce another point of failure. More files, each reliant on another. Who needs that if you are interested in reliability?? That’s another rhetorical question.

The simplest and least complicated path for you is to probably leave your C drive as is, with data on it. Your image files will be huge but so what. Just buy a huge backup drive. Make an additional backup of personal data alone as mentioned above, using the mouse or a program designed to simply replicate folders.

That is NOT what I would do, but with your knowledge level and trepidation, it’s probably what you should do. Making a separate data partition may be something you would never actually accomplish, for whatever reason.

I don’t use external drives and have no idea about which WD is suitable for your purposes.

Decide how many images of C you would want to keep on hand and plan on at least 200 GB of space required for each. Then add in the total space occupied by your personal data. If your data is 300 GB and you want to keep 3 images, you would need a minimum of 300 plus 200 plus 200 plus 200 GB space on your backup drive. That’s 900 GB, bare minimum. I’d get a 2 GB drive to give me room to grow.

All I know about the programs included with external drives is that they are unremarkable and unnecessary. That’s all I need to know. I wouldn’t even install the software.

I don’t follow your statements about Norton and am not asking for clarification. I assume you want to use another product, so stop with Norton.

I suspect most or all of this has been suggested to you earlier in this thread, which I am not going to re-read.

I have little else to add. Perhaps nothing at all.
Now I'm going to quote pieces of the above and write comments to ask questions , ok?

Quote:
Differentiate in your mind between “backing up” your personal data and backing up Windows/applications. “Backing up” is a generic term, typically ill-defined.
Yes! Thanks for that! I really have lots of questions.... and have read many many books, other web sites (many from XP so inform me if I'm confusing XP OS abilities with Windows 7 ones, maybe I'm not fully certified in using Windows 7 (still! not yet!) so many things might be different and I may be stating something here that is obvious...

Yes! I am confused by all the terms of backing up data vs cloning or disk imaging my Hard Drives (as my prior 20 years using Norton Ghost by Symantec has been my main experience...

I've never ever restored by myself from Norton Ghost---would not know what I'm doing anyway.

So confused... read on please....

Quote:
Back up personal data WITHOUT using Macrium, Norton, Acronis, or any similar product. No clone, no image. Nothing of the kind. Just an outright copy as if you had used the mouse and dragged the files to another drive. Do this either with the mouse periodically or with any of several programs designed for that purpose specifically (Syncback, Synctoy, Free File Sync, Second Copy, etc). If you have 300 GB of personal data, you will need 300 GB of space on your external drive.
OK! Easy enough to understand what you are saying here... I just have to do this with Windows programs....

I've actually been told to do this process with Mac/Apple computers.. .. I just drag their "user" icon over to the External Drive and it does it automatically, but then again that is Apple [older Apple, I can't afford their new one which has something called "time machine" on it which I assume acts like Windows Restore points but saves everything (data and programs).] ... Again never restored back from those savings, so I have absolutely no idea that I've done it successfully, just that the techs on phone/store have looked at my saved files and say they are ok---I just make a new fiole with new file date every so often.

Which I assume I'd be doing for Windows above in that instructions... just for the Data parts alone, just saving all the data....

But

I'm confused! Here it comes...

Question Now that I've saved all the valuable data... how do I use/ see it if I lose the original Hard Drive with all my hours of effort/phone calls for conflicts/installed with product keys, etc programs on there???????

The response starts below I think to that question.....

Quote:
Back up Windows and applications with Macrium using an image, not a clone. Repeat, not a clone. They are different. If you, for whatever reason, can’t or won’t put your data on a separate partition, then this image (of C alone) WILL in fact include your data even though you may have backed it up separately as in the previous paragraph.
YES ! I get this , I think.... all applications and entire Windows system files gets copied using a disk image.....

I've done so on one of my older XPs using Acronis, so that does complete disk images (and again because I'm so scared of doing something wrong each time I do this, I also used it to make a complete clone and keep/update/maintain the two of each type on two separate Hard Drives in case one is No good (and I don't trust auto-verified programs).

But

Now here comes the confusion, ready?

Quote:
I assume you have read the Macrium tutorial on site and are aware that image files must be formally “restored” to make a drive bootable and are largely useless otherwise. Unrestored, they are just a file.
Yes, I've read the tutorial several times.. I thought I'm somewhat knowledgeable about these things (more than average joe in street person) but I'm just more and more confused by what I read, compared to what I always have been taught... (books/tutorials/experience)

Question If image files must be "restored" to make it bootable, what about the MBR? (Does it still exist in Windows 7?)

Isn't that part of where the Windows registers places all the pathways that allow programs to operate and access the data you have told me to save it so well by just "copying" the data (like I do with Apple) over to another Hard Drive???

I'm confused!........

Questions Isn't there some "restoration" operation that I must pay money (something I have zero of), to a computer "expert" online or at a store, to physically link the restored the files back into the computer so they can be read by my computer's program after a BSOD Crash or Virus attack, or total loss of the computer laptop? (its a laptop, worried about that more than a desktop which stays AT HOME and does not go outside. But that is the whole reason why relative has laptop.... to carry their work (and unfortunately everything else in their life) outside the home!!!

But back to the quotes and my questions.... too many so far I know...

Lets go on----- here it comes.

Greater confusion!!

(but this is confusion actually comes from years and years of saving files in frustration!!!)

So I hope you can all help settle this here (maybe this long posting wasn't written [and edited and re-written edited] perfectly, if so let me know........ and let me know what the following should have said instead)

(Otherwise ignatzatsonic has been very smart and wonderful in raising all of these items/issues for me to ask about! still thanking ignatzatsonic, hope you don't mind the slight criticism there)

Quote:
I’m guessing your personal data is more important to you than your Windows installation and programs. Imaging or cloning are NOT repeat NOT foolproof, whether full or incremental. For that reason, I would not trust imaging or cloning to be a highly reliable method of backing up personal data. Why would you want to ever put the complication of imaging or cloning between you and your data backup? That’s a rhetorical question. You seem highly desirous of high reliability and (near) certainty, so I don’t understand why you would bother with imaging for something very important to you. All imaging can do is save you time. The time needed to do a clean Windows installation and reinstall your programs. But it’s fallible.
Now here comes the problems!!

My relatives'/mine personal data and hard worked program files saved over hours/days/weeks of slaving labor is worth far more than entire computer!! SO where do I put it???

The "Windows installation and all [Microsoft and Third Party] programs" are valuable too!!!

Why??

Because I can't get them again...

Right! The place that I got it from OWNS the original disks. They have the license codes for many installations..... they were installed as "student" programs and I was given a "student" license to use many many programs FREE, absolutely free!

Why?

The companies hope after slaving over learning curves, learning how to use these programs (i.e. advanced word processors (prior named Aldus Pagemaker/now named Adobe Pagemaker no longer sold, only cloud version sold) for desktop publishing/ OCR ABBYY Finereader/ AutoDesk/AutoCAD, Architecture/Engineering/ and even Lawyer programs too.) they hope when you get employed and are making lots of money using these programs, you will go out and buy for money.. their latest programs....

Sorry, that has not happened.

So what I have is this and other computers and data files filled with information that ONLY the original program can open again! You can't cheat, you can't read the files using view or preview or anything else [free or low cost imitation programs] purposely..... it all appears as gibberish!!! You must open the data files using the exact version/model/product key of the program that created it... its proprietary saved under the program's own items...

So if I were to lose the ORIGINAL installed programs.. I have neither the ORIGINAL program disks, nor passwords nor the money to buy the latest version (which of course will read and update older saved files)

So in other words, without these programs, there is NOTHING in the world that can read all my saved data... so why am I even bothering saving it??? If I can't ever afford to upgrade...

I have hope one day I'll have the money to upgrade, but not now, and not for foreseeable future... but in foreseeable future, [between then and now, just in using the computer, I could lose it all (as I mentioned in other posting various new problems may cause this to occur).... and no one can fix it then..

Lets do a simpler, real, concrete example....

Starting over....

in case that was too much to take in....


I have Word Perfect Office 12 from 2004 (yes that year) I paid legitimately $600 for that suite (no free student edition there, and I don't like "Word" and never really got the hang of that either) (anyway Microsoft Office has its own currently high price for its Office suite too.......)

Now if I save on an external drive (using whatever copy by FFS or disk image), every single WordPerfect Document, Quattro Pro spreadsheet, Presentations 12 /slide shows, etc. that I've ever made using these programs... and if from reading the above quote...

I STILL have to "reinstall Windows" and "reinstall your programs"........ and I can't do it!

Why not? (I had an accident with one save on XP OS so I know and tried it and failed, that is how---let me explain)

WordPerfect installation discs includes free 20 fonts and basic stuff to get you started.... but you can download everything else the program needs (hundreds of fonts/artwork libraries) FOR FREE, using their website which program contacts automatically when it installs.... Well of course I'm sure I don't have to tell you as you know what is going to happen... after 10 years or so they took down the Word Perfect Office 12 suite 2004 website and want us to pay for their (I think its called X7 for version 17) Program and website to get all the downloads and permission by product keys to use their program....(I used professional edition, so current professional edition costs $449 at their store (cheaper upgrade version from 12 is not possible):

Corel APAC Online Store - WordPerfect Office X7

I'm certain I could get it for less, but that is one program out of several hundred I'd lose similiar to it due to same problem... they have all "aged out" since I had the money to buy these programs, so I need to keep using the ones I have)...

When I tried to use all my hard typed items on a similar program, lacking the fonts, free (copyright free) artwork, etc etc all from Corel company's Website for Word Perfect, you know what you get.... either rows of "boxes" instead of the missing font characters---I can't read the words....I typed as the boxes are EMPTY!!! So are EMPTY all of the pictures I modified and edited and enlarged or shrunk, on the various documents (pictures including "arrows" a lot, which are now all lost and cannot be duplicated even if I have a printed page----would take me weeks per document....years to redo it all..... without a working Word Perfect newer edition with its same fonts, etc...

So now you see.. all of the saved data!!! all of the words I've written... all of the spreadsheets, that cannot be opened by look-alike free-ware (I've done that and tried and failed) it does not open the way I worked to have everything all done so its useless and destroyed data.....

(For example, another common problem trying to read data not using Word Perfect Professional Edition, imagine all the tab stops are gone from a book length document.... its RUINED!!! even if I got it in Times Roman text for some of my documents, unfortunately all of the paragraphs/ tabs, indentations for quoted materials are ALL GONE AND RUINED forever!) Sorry I get emotional when thinking that could happen to me.... I spent too long creating/doing all these things!!!

So again, no money, no new WordPerfect and no way to get into the program or get the disks which I own, and the passwords which I own ! to work again!

Noted: this situation is unlike the "student" editions problem that also occurs and mentioned above.... (hope I'm not confusing as I will have many many problems) which were only given to me by a one time installer passwords, etc so I can't give them to anyone else, or share the works via a file, ever ever!! and cheat the company out of their thousands of dollars for each license (each year) for those more expensive programs).

Sort of a Question Given all these problems.. what I need is some way to get ALL the programs saved as they are, without having to reinstall them should I lose windows due to BSOD, or something happens to the laptop, etc....

Having the data is just half the problem... I need the old old programs as they are already installed in relative's computer (their programs too, its complicated, but same issue, no installation disk, the educational institution has the "one" master installation disks, and we no longer have access to those VERY OLD disks in case the program or computer does crash or BSOD etc for Windows to reinstall them.

I still like the idea presented of copying everything and am awaiting the new 2TB HDD external to arrive so I can do that.... but then its just a copy.. no way no how as to my knowledge to get Windows 7 System or all of the Programs to "restore" back to a damaged HDD/Laptop.... without "reinstalling" the programs so the pathways and data can be located and locked in step with the program to access the proprietary encrypted /saved data... The only way it works is on the original installation.

In my primitive understanding.... If I could just copy Windows 7 and all the programs and restore them back unaided to any empty drive, well then anyone could have done that!

Of course you realize that big companies like Microsoft with Windows as well as all other expensive programs of those other companies would never sell another program to anyone ever again as we would all just pass "disk images" of the "pirated" (I guess that's how they do it anyway)..... restored programs back and forth on other people's computers and computer hard drives, making hundreds of thousands of copies! (remember I don't have all the codes or product keys for these programs, so of course I know somewhere there is a website checking for pirated/illegal copies of these items, this is not what I'm saying I want to do. I'm the original owner, (but as a student, or very very old installed programs) and I'm using same one product key, but it was a one time installation only product key not a multiple use product key, get it now?

Ok, I'm going to post this (after correcting as much as I can to shorten it)....

Thanks for all who have read this far, I appreciated it and your efforts to help me!

XP VM USER (sorry got stuck with name on my first visit here)


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
28 Jan 2015   #2
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Let's make it easy for you.

1. Make images of all partitions with free Macrium. That will include everything - OS, programs, data, etc.

2. Download the .iso for the recovery CD from my OneDrive and burn that to CD. That CD you will need the day you need to recover your system. For recovery there is a link of a tutorial by Keith (Kado) in the tutorial above.

That's really all you need to know to be well covered. But as I have now known you, you will probably complicate the matter,

PS - I only read the first 10 lines of each posting. If you want me to understand what you are saying, put it into the first 10 lines.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Jan 2015   #3
XP VM User

Windows7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Ok whs!

Thanks....

1. Burned 2 iso CD's with the downloaded recovery CD (From Microsoft) PE (always have a backup!)

2. Will try reposting the questions (in this same thread) in smaller 10 line "bites" so you get each quicker... thanks for suggestion... will take a while to do this.... but lets see how that works out....

Thanks again!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

29 Jan 2015   #4
XP VM User

Windows7 Professional 64bit
 
 
Trying to give shorter questions 10 lines or less...

Hi whs:

Part I:

I've never ever restored by myself from Norton Ghost---would not know what I'm doing anyway.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
Back up personal data WITHOUT using Macrium, Norton, Acronis, or any similar product. No clone, no image. Nothing of the kind. Just an outright copy as if you had used the mouse and dragged the files to another drive. Do this either with the mouse periodically or with any of several programs designed for that purpose specifically (Syncback, Synctoy, Free File Sync, Second Copy, etc). If you have 300 GB of personal data, you will need 300 GB of space on your external drive.
OK! Easy enough to understand what you are saying here... I just have to do this with Windows programs....

I've actually been told to do this copying process with Mac/Apple computers.. .. it saves everything (data and programs). ... Again never restored back from those savings, so I have absolutely no idea that I've done it successfully, just that the techs on phone/store have looked at my saved files and say they are ok---I make a new file with new date every so often.

Which I assume I'd be doing for Windows above in that instructions... just for the Data parts alone, just saving all the data....

But I'm confused! Here it comes...

Question Now that I've saved all the valuable data... how do I use it, view it or restore it back again if I lost the original Hard Drive with all my hours of effort/phone calls for resolving conflicts/installed with product keys, etc programs on there??

End of Part I. (19 lines for the question itself, is that too much?)

Thanks for reading me!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2015   #5
RolandJS

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

Somebody mentioned product keys, license numbers, etc.? What I do is create text files in one folder which contain product keys & license numbers. For example, in my Keys&License folder, a subfolder Cyberlink contains all of the product keys, license numbers, receipts for the several Cyberlink audio/visual programs purchased. All purchased programs each have their respective text files. Yeah, takes work, however, if/when I have to reInstall, my keys & numbers are easily found.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2015   #6
XP VM User

Windows7 Professional 64bit
 
 
Reply to RolandJS re Product Keys etc

Hi RolandJS!

Thanks for your reply and great suggestion! (I hope others reading it will follow it).

Personally, I never put product keys and other items "inside" the computer.... as I never know if I could get hit with pishing scams/keylogger viruses, you name it and there goes all my personal information about my programs (and potentially access to mess up the ones I have encrypted, who knows what hackers do with Product Keys? I won't wait to find out).

Simpler for me (messy though) is one folder (I use a 3 sided one so nothing is lost) usually crammed between monitor and desk wall or somewhere on side where it won't block airflow, marked "emergency numbers". Helps if I ever lose a HDD and before I get it installed if I need to prove ownership by accessing Product Keys for Windows, etc etc... (I print out the pages so no handwritten transcription errors)... Just my take on what you suggest.

If you have any suggestions about my problem (too long to repeat here)... see my Post #1 paragraphs starting with the bolded words: Lets do a simpler, real, concrete example....Starting over....in case that was too much to take in....

......to the end of the Post. (I purposely did that to direct people like yourself to the key point of my whole series of questions... where I describe my problem of NOT having current Product Keys or modern programs to "reload" if I lose the HDD/Windows due to disaster virus, etc etc.

Thanks for reading this!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2015   #7
RolandJS

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

Have you tried to correctly type a 49 character product key recently? Because the backed up text files exist, I simply copyNpaste the product key or license number into the asking block. I've had to copyNpaste many many installs and ReInstalls.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jan 2015   #8
XP VM User

Windows7 Professional 64bit
 
 
Product Keys

Hi RolandJS!

I see your point, no not typed a Product Key recently, but for years and years during the Windows Genuine Advantage rollout--- I had 30 to 40- to 50? Unknown Product keys (each 30 digits? long) for my single, "genuine" Windows XP program---- typed every hour of life for those years... You get used to it I guess...

I feel better knowing its in a paper file backed up somewhere outside the mystery "black box" (yes the military term for that) computer itself. I still remember (no money now, so I don't know any more if its in new programs) but old programs came with a "card" you had to type the 49 etc digit Product Key in perfectly, or the program would not load/run/update, etc etc when you install it!

Thanks for your interest!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Reply

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