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Cluttermagnet

Problem Doing Drive Image in XP

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Cluttermagnet

I just installed a 2nd, 160G HD in a friend's computer successfully. Used XP to do a partition and quick format (one big partition for now). The object was to do an image of his massively bloated copy of XP (43G) and store it safely on the 2nd drive, then go to work on weeding out all the garbage in XP that has built up. For one thing, his Windows Restore folder alone is massively bloated- it had grown to around 28G. Yikes!Problem is, neither BootitNG or Drive Image 5.0 have been able to do the job. Bing fails to see the 2nd HD at all, only HD0 and the CD drive are listed, so no joy there. Drive Image complains about not being able to do what I asked, but isn't more specific. FWIW, various utilities within XP have no trouble whatever seeing the 2nd drive, and I have successfully written to it. I'm looking for hints about how to get past this 'semi-invisible drive' problem so I can get an image done. Until I accomplish that, he is reluctant to let me do any weeding in XP at all, so I'm at an impassse here. Suggestions? Thanks!Oh, regarding his system, he has a Dell Dimension 8250 with (I think) a 2.6GHz P4. The partition I made on the 2nd HD is primary, NTFS. The disk manager reports it is healthy

Edited by Cluttermagnet

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striker

That second hard disk Clutter, the new one, is that a SATA ?How is it connected, slave/master/cs ?I'm just wondering because Bing isn't seeing the drive at all while if I'm not erring Bing is using BIOS scanning to get a hold of the drives. (like Image for DOS)Maybe this is your problem:http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/articl...35a874f238dd958 :wacko:

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Peachy

Your new drive is too big for DriveImage 5. It can't see past 137GB so it's gonna choke. You'd have to resize the partitions so that they are smaller than 137GB.

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Cluttermagnet
That second hard disk Clutter, the new one, is that a SATA ?How is it connected, slave/master/cs ?I'm just wondering because Bing isn't seeing the drive at all while if I'm not erring Bing is using BIOS scanning to get a hold of the drives. (like Image for DOS)Maybe this is your problem:http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/kb/articl...35a874f238dd958 :wacko:
Thanks, striker!Well, next time I'm at my friend's house, I will check in the BIOS as the Terabyte page suggests. The drive is a parallel ATA, not SATA. Both HD are connected on the same cable (ribbon), with the C: drive at the end connector and the new drive on the middle connector. Both drives are set for C/S, per Dell instructions.

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Cluttermagnet
Your new drive is too big for DriveImage 5. It can't see past 137GB so it's gonna choke. You'd have to resize the partitions so that they are smaller than 137GB.
Thanks, Peachy!Well, DI 5.0 also choked on it when I initially had the new drive partitioned 80/35/35G as F:, G:, and H:, and I tried to image to the 80G F:. I should point out, for completeness, that his C: is set up as one huge partition. Shows up as 111.7G on a 120G nominal drive. The OS is well defragged, and the XP defrag utility depicts all of it as being chunked down into lower memory, with the upper part pretty clear of data. I used Scanner (Steffen Gerlach) to look, and saw XP uses about 43G right now. Yikes! At that time, I figured maybe I was having a problem by trying to cram a 111G partition image into an 80G partition(?). Anyway, that's why I just repartitioned it to use the entire 160G. Edited by Cluttermagnet

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goretsky

Hello,Have you checked with the manufacturer of the new 160GB PATA hard disk drive to see fi they provide a utility on their web site which lets you copy the old hard disk drive to the new one?Alternatively, have you considered installing a fresh copy of the operating system and applications onto the new hard disk drive and then moving just the data from the old hard disk drive to the new one? The old hard disk drive could then be kept off-site as a backup--a "snapshot" of the environment from the time it was last used.Regards,Aryeh Goretsky

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Cluttermagnet
Have you checked with the manufacturer of the new 160GB PATA hard disk drive to see fi they provide a utility on their web site which lets you copy the old hard disk drive to the new one?
Appreciate the suggestion. Seagate does, in fact, provide a nice CD with the drive, in case you want to clone the OS onto it- but that's not what I'm attempting here. Rather, I'm trying to Drive Image to preserve a copy of his very bloated and unruly copy of XP 'as is', for safekeeping. Having accomplished that, I will then attempt to clean up his copy of XP. It is just awful. Failing that, I'd eventually suggest that we restore a manufacturer's image and rebuild from there, after saving all his data, of course. He will allow all these machinations once I have demonstrated to him that I have safely captured a restorable image of his present, horribly bloated and sluggish OS.Actually, I hope to sell him on the idea of migrating to Linux OS's eventually. That's going to take a bit longer. ;)I had a copy of Ubuntu on his machine that evening in a live CD session, and it found his broadband network efortlessly, automatically. All I had to do was to open Firefox and start surfing the net. Boy, did that box run fast and light under Linux. What he's doing these days with his awful XP setup with all its bloat is like trying to tread water and stay afloat while holding onto a ten pound rock. Edited by Cluttermagnet

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Temmu

yup, windows is like that. ya gotta turn off a lotta stuff that runs when the os is fresh outta the box...

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burninbush
Appreciate the suggestion. Seagate does, in fact, provide a nice CD with the drive, in case you want to clone the OS onto it- but that's not what I'm attempting here. Rather, I'm trying to Drive Image to preserve a copy of his very bloated and unruly copy of XP 'as is', for safekeeping.
But ... what's the difference in practice? Use the Seagate util to clone drive A onto your new drive B [and you'll probably need to delete that big partition first]. Then power down and disconnect the ribbon cable to drive B, this just to avoid confusion when you reboot into XP. Then do your cleanup stuff, secure in the knowledge that you have a bootable copy of the original partition from which you can clone the other direction if needed. If you insist on making an image file, then linux's partimage will do it for free, and no whining about big partitions. Most linux livecds will have partimage.

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b2cm

Use DriveImage XML to clone your XP partition. Do it inside XP (while XP is running, not booting off any CD). If you have a BartCD plugin, just extract the files to folder and run it from there.

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Ed_P

Creating an image backup does provide a lot of freedom in making changes. The main concern with any backup option is not so much how to backup or where to, rather how to restore.Drive Image XML is free, runs under XP and is a very good system. It's shortcoming, like that of other backup systems is it can't restore the OS drive it's running on. It can restore individual files and folders just not the system as a whole. Thus the restore function needs to run from a different location if restoring the OS drive is desired.b2cm's suggestion is correct, to restore the OS drive/partition a BartPE CD/USB/drive is a good option to have. Just make sure the pc can boot the BartPE location.You could partition the new drive into 3 partitions, one for Windows, one for Data and one for Backups. Separate the My Documents from the windows partition, backup the windows partition to the backup partition then clean up the OS. Run into problems, boot BartPE and restore. Get the system tuned, backup it one final time.

Edited by EdP

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Cluttermagnet
But ... what's the difference in practice? Use the Seagate util to clone drive A onto your new drive B [and you'll probably need to delete that big partition first]. Then power down and disconnect the ribbon cable to drive B, this just to avoid confusion when you reboot into XP. Then do your cleanup stuff, secure in the knowledge that you have a bootable copy of the original partition from which you can clone the other direction if needed.
Thanks, burninbush!Well, there is a difference, in practice, I believe. That's a great suggestion, however, and I might be able to do it your 'clone OS' way rather than by drive imaging. OTOH, I want access to both drives pretty much at all times. IOW, I do not intend to end up configured so that either drive is permanently disconnected. If there are two drives present, I want there to be access to both drives. I do not intend to just let one drive sit around unused in order to have a copy of an obscenely bloated and buggy and possibly even hacked OS available to re- inflict on this poor man. My intention is to gradually wean him away from depending emotionally on the present monstrosity he calls his OS. Yikes! It is awful!If I were working in Win98, I know I could use a startup floppy and render the cloned OS non-bootable, then work using other partitions on that new drive for storing images as I clean up the old, bloated OS. Yes, his XP machine does have a floppy drive. But can I do similar in XP? Perhaps from the Admin section within XP? I do know how to use the XP partition manager, more or less. Can it operate akin to fdisk in Win98 and set a cloned OS to be unbootable?Here was (and is) my strategy: I install a new 160G HD #2. Successfully done. Then I image his huge, buggy XP OS and stash it up on the new HD. Not done. I can't make the image, so far. If I had the image, then I would verify it's a good image a couple different ways, including extracting test files back to the original OS on HD #1. Then and only then, if I was sure I had a restorable image and could reassure my friend that we did, I would proceed to tear into his OS and try to eliminate the overall bloat and unneeded utilities, and look for any nasties, etc. All along, I would ocasionally be creating new, smaller OS images and saving them, too. At some point, I might be able to convince him that we no longer needed to be storing the original, bloated image, and he night allow me to dump that. Or else at some point, we'd be runing out of room on the new drive, I suppose. Heh! His Windows Restore folder alone has grown to around 28G out of 43G. I mean, come on!!! It's gotta go, but he won't let me reset and then limit Windows Restore yet, due to his insecurities about losing the entire OS for good. B) I'm instinctively resisting your suggestion of a cloned OS, mainly because it would take more space, in a 1:1 ratio with the original OS's huge size (43G on a single "111.7G" partition, almost all of a 120G nominal drive). Or would it consume an entire 111.7G out of 160G in the new drive? XP has, for some reason, stored some 'unmovable' files up in 'himem' on C:. Can they be squeezed down into lower memory using a partition manager? There is also one other small, separate partition, I don't remember the exact size, but small. Perhaps it contains a 'loaded' Dell XP OS restore image. Many types of drive images offer the advantage of compression, yet you can extract individual files out of them. With Bing and NTFS, however, that gets real time- consuming, so the recommended way to recover larger numbers of files is not to- just restore an entire image.
If you insist on making an image file, then linux's partimage will do it for free, and no whining about big partitions. Most linux livecds will have partimage.
I'm not whining- I'm going to Disney World. No, actually, I'm going to migrate myself to Linux slowly but surely. And I will be working on my friend to make the move, too. B) :whistling:Hmmm- you're making me think. I hate that! ;) Are you saying I can run partimage from a live CD Linux session to accomplish an XP drive image from HD #1 to HD #2 as I've described above? If so, how geeky is the procedure? To date, I don't think I have enough experience to risk trying to write anything in a live CD session. I probably should keep it 'read only' for a while longer. I haven't taken off the training wheels yet. :hysterical:I think Partimage may still be a little above my pay grade... Edited by Cluttermagnet

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Cluttermagnet
Creating an image backup does provide a lot of freedom in making changes. The main concern with any backup option is not so much how to backup or where to, rather how to restore.Drive Image XML is free, runs under XP and is a very good system. It's shortcoming, like that of other backup systems is it can't restore the OS drive it's running on. It can restore individual files and folders just not the system as a whole. Thus the restore function needs to run from a different location if restoring the OS drive is desired.b2cm's suggestion is correct, to restore the OS drive/partition a BartPE CD/USB/drive is a good option to have. Just make sure the pc can boot the BartPE location.You could partition the new drive into 3 partitions, one for Windows, one for Data and one for Backups. Separate the My Documents from the windows partition, backup the windows partition to the backup partition then clean up the OS. Run into problems, boot BartPE and restore. Get the system tuned, backup it one final time.
Thanks, EdP!-Sounds like good suggestions. I do remember investigating BartPE and I distinctly remember feeling overwhelmed at what was involved. At that time, I concluded 'too geeky for me' and resolved to take a relook later, as I hear it so highly praised around the net. Both Bing and DI 5.0 are pretty easy to use, once you get the hang of them, and they both operate from outside the OS being imaged/restored during the actual operations. I would tend to stick mainly to Bing, run from a floppy (or other media) as being so darned easy it blows all the others away. Once you get past the learning curve with Bing, anyway. I believe I have, largely.I like striker's suggestion the best so far. If all I have to do is go have a little heart to heart talk with the BIOS to get it to 'see' the new drive, then I'll do that and then be merrily imaging that OS using Bing, the moment the BIOS hands me back the OS and it finishes booting. If Bing can see that 2nd drive, I'm going with Bing. Edited by Cluttermagnet

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Temmu
...I'm instinctively resisting your suggestion of a cloned OS, mainly because it would take more space, in a 1:1 ratio with the original OS's huge size (43G on a single "111.7G" partition, almost all of a 120G nominal drive). Or would it consume an entire 111.7G out of 160G in the new drive? ...
the disk clone will be smaller than the total size of the files due to compression.the clone will ~not~ include empty space.i cloned a pc today with a 60gb hd that had about 5 or 6gb total files. it cloned down to 4gb and i put it on a dvd for future reference.

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Cluttermagnet

Monday I successfully made that image using Bing. Striker was right, just had a little talk with the BIOS and got it to recognize HD1. Interesting that the files get split, you can't just have it make one enormous file. The upper options were 2G/4G, I chose 4G chunks for no particular reason. I don't even know his DVDRW drive's capabilities, but I'm not planning to put any of this large 'sloppy' image on disks. At the end, what I saw was 5 files, mostly around 4G, one near 3G. Only one had the "TBI viewer" icon next to it, and file extension .img. The others had file extensions of .001, .002... .004. Wasn't clear how they go together. Also not clear how you would search within those four files with TBI viewer. Looks like you can't. Ah well, I'm not too invested in being able to restore individual files, only that I have a restorable image overall. BTW I did successfully view and extract a small text file back to the OS just fine. Oh, I opted to double the length of this interminable session by having the image verified byte-for-byte. I wanted to be as sure as possible. So now I have what Scanner reports as 43G of bloat squeezed down to about a 19-20G total image size, and tucked away on the second drive. Now I attack the bloat in the OS...

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Cluttermagnet
the disk clone will be smaller than the total size of the files due to compression.the clone will ~not~ include empty space.i cloned a pc today with a 60gb hd that had about 5 or 6gb total files. it cloned down to 4gb and i put it on a dvd for future reference.
When you use the term "clone", I understand that to be an exact and unaltered, 1:1 copy of an OS. I'd expect that the utility doing it would copy it so exactly that it would include exactly the same distribution of free memory. OTOH I'd expect a disk image to utilize compression, as you describe. Now, this was critical to me because this Dell machine, as set up, has some files marked 'unmovable' way up at the top of himem, within the 111.7G partition. What I'm assuming a disk utility like Seagate's would do is to lay it on the new drive in exactly the same distribution so that those supposedly 'unmovable' files would end up around 111G on the new 160G drive. An exact, bit for bit copy, including free space. Or would it put those 'unmovable' files way up around the 160G partition limit?Now, with the imaging I did, we're talking compression twice over- once in the sense of eliminating all that free space between the OS and those 'unmovable' himem files, then again (at the same time) on the cluster of contiguous files themselves, cramming them even more tightly together. That's what I'd expect a drive imaging utility to do. You said "cloned" above- did you mean "imaged"? Clutter is confused. Can you tell- I've never, come to think of it, actually 'cloned' an OS. It's always been images. Seems it's time I learned that other method. Edited by Cluttermagnet

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ross549
At the end, what I saw was 5 files, mostly around 4G, one near 3G. Only one had the "TBI viewer" icon next to it, and file extension .img. The others had file extensions of .001, .002... .004. Wasn't clear how they go together.
The imaging program knows how to put them together, and if it supports it, would know where to look to pull individual files out of the image.Adam

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Temmu

@cluttermagnet: dunno. clone? image? spent a few minutes with my friend google, and his buddy, wikipedia, to no avail. i also use the term 'ghost' interchangeably with those... perhaps someone with better searching skills can come up with a more decisive definition of those...kinda like page file, swap file and virtual memory... it's all the same thing on your hard drive...

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patio

I believe that when the "clone" or "image" is created yes there is some compression being utilised...however to my knowledge when the image is restored is when it winds up being a 1:1 exact copy of the original.Hope this helps clear things up.patio. :hysterical:

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Specmon

Clone, Image, it all means the same thing.Don't loose track of those .001 .002 files or the image can't be restored.And Bing will put those high mem files exactly where they were before, providing that you are restoring the image to a partition that is AT LEAST as large as the one you imaged. And all the free space that you had before will return to the same places they came from.You are using a pretty powerful tool; it will serve you well, don't be afraid of what it will do, it "knows" :hysterical: :hmm: And bing offers to split the image into pieces that you might burn to CD's or DVD's (700 mb, 4gb) or maybe you are using an operating system that can't handle files bigger than 2gb.But if you have the requiste pieces on a different partition, Bing will handle the reassembly without complaint. BootIt NG rules :hysterical:

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Cluttermagnet

Thanks, guys!Well, I'm experienced with using file splitters from back in the day when we chunked stuff down to 1.44G :thumbsup: Yes, and then 650G and 700G chunks. Today with DVD's and XP, 4G chunks (or more if you like the double layer flavors).So yes, I was not unfamiliar with that .001 .002 file extension group I obtained using Bing. I'm sure that, so long as they all live in the same folder and Bing knows where they are, Bing can reassemble them just fine.

Bing will put those high mem files exactly where they were before, providing that you are restoring the image to a partition that is AT LEAST as large as the one you imaged. And all the free space that you had before will return to the same places they came from.
I agree with Specmon, Bing is a great little utility! I'm quite impressed with it, especially for its ease of use in some situations. I figured it would indeed preserve that 'big' spacing seen on my friend's machine, with the 'unmovable' files sitting up at the top of himem with some ~70G of free space separating them from the majority of the OS and files sitting down at the beginning of the drive. But of course what I wanted was an image of the bloated OS, all compacted, and I got that with 43G reduced to 19G or so. As I've said, once I convince my friend that his cleaned up OS image is safe, complete, and restorable, I'm sure he will let me dump the original image at some point. BTW I haven't bothered to look into what those separate himem files actually are. I don't really care. It would be comforting to know, however, that that bloated OS might actually restore OK, squeezed back into 50G or so instead of the "111.7G" it came out of. I might try that some time soon, onto a separate partition on the new drive, just to verify that.Tuesday evening I made a few backups of strategically important files for my friend. Now I'm going to attempt to squash these two widely separated groups of files closer together by shrinking the C: partition down to, say, 50G or so. After a lot of cleanup, I'll shrink C: even further. I'll create a second partition from the freed up space on the C: drive and use it for storage.

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goretsky

Hello,It seems you are putting quite a bit of time into working with an imaged copy of the original operating system? Have you made any sort of determination if this is quicker than installing a fresh copy of the operating system and applications to the new hard disk drive, patching or otherwise updating them and then copying over the data and settings from the old hard disk drive to the new one?It has been my experience that this typically takes a third to a half the time required to bring a heavily-used system up to something approaching a factory installation.Regards,Aryeh Goretsky

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Cluttermagnet
It seems you are putting quite a bit of time into working with an imaged copy of the original operating system? Have you made any sort of determination if this is quicker than installing a fresh copy of the operating system and applications to the new hard disk drive, patching or otherwise updating them and then copying over the data and settings from the old hard disk drive to the new one?It has been my experience that this typically takes a third to a half the time required to bring a heavily-used system up to something approaching a factory installation.
Making a full set of images (multiple images) during the original setup of an OS pays big dividends later if one gets in trouble... or just wants to try alternative setups on their computer. In the typical case, namely on my own boxes, Imaging is very, very much faster! I'm almost surprised you would suggest this, especially in view of the time and trouble involved in reinstalling service packs on a 4 year old computer, not to mention the customer revolt presently in progress against recent versions of WGA. We see veteran, respected industry watchers advising users to decline installation of WGA onto XP, and various schemes circulated to get MS nag windows to stop popping up about certain updates; also schemes to remove WGA. I personally have always found it very tedious to patch a fresh OS, whether it's 98SE or XP. No way I'm doing a fresh install if I can avoid it, and I darned sure am going to image during the ordeal- multiple times! Then you can 'back out' just as far as you need to if you encounter trouble. It also takes considerable time to reinstall a bunch of applications. IMO imaging and virtualization must be two of the most valuable utilities in the PC tool kit these days. (I have no experience with the latter) In the instant case, a friend's computer, I'm trying to get him to see that a reinstall would be wiser. But note carefully this is an OEM system, and I have yet to find where (if anywhere) an image of his original OS might be stored- unless it is hidden outside of the partitions and we can't see it. I've seen on a Compaq box where invoking their recovery routine will pull a fresh copy of the factory 'loaded' OS out of free (unpartitioned) space and restore the image, complete with bloat, unwanted/needed utilities, and a lot of hard sell. I haven't quite finished looking, BTW. In any case, he has objections to doing it that way, at least initially. I may overcome these objections, but if we can't find an original image of the OS, the whole question becomes moot, anyway. This may well be the case here. He has two Dell CD's that contain utilities and drivers. I see no OS. It looks like Dell may have deprived him of that courtesy. It's well known that companies do this a lot. Sometimes if you demand it, I hear they will then give you a copy of 'your' OS. Blah! I'll dig deeper only if he wants to go foreward, I've already blown a bunch of hours on this box, totally unpaid.The only reason I even bothered with an image of his slow, bloated OS was to reassure him he could always get back to where he was- but that reminds me a lot of sending a man to h3LL. Edited by Cluttermagnet

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crp

No one mentioned XXCLONE

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zlim

Clutter, fire up a live linux CD. If you pretend that you want to install it, you can see all the partitions and all the hard drives.I only have done this using PCLinux. (It's easy because if I can figure it, I know it is useable for the newest explorers).Have a look at pictures here http://www.bitbenderforums.com/~bobguy/pcl/installation.htmlscroll to about the middle of the page where the box is titled PCLinuxOS Control Center 10 and this is what you see as far as partitions on a hard drive. If the computer has two hard drives, there will be a second tab labeled hdb. Linux can be very useful to see things that windows won't allow you to see. You can click on any of the partitions (red, dark red, green, blue, gray or white) below the hda tab and see the information about the partition. I suspect if the Compaq has something hidden, you may see a gray partition at the front of that bar.

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goretsky

Hello,If you slipstream your operating system installation media once in a while (say, quarterly), the amount of updates to download are typically pretty minimal. Failing that, if one has a fast Internet connection it should not take that long to download and install 300MB or so of updates. I would not want to do that over a dial-up connection, though; which it what makes slipstreamed media an attractive choice.It has been a while since I have done direct end-user support, but when I did, most people only wanted a small number of the currently installed applications reinstalled on their computer post-reinstall.One thing I would typically recommend is that the party buy a new hard disk drive (usually double whatever the current capacity was) and prepare to have that set up as their primary hard disk drive. The old hard disk drive would be mounted as a slave to copy over all the data files and then disconnected and stored in a safe location, afterward. That way, if they ever needed to go back and get a data file, they could. Of course, this approach is predicated on a number of things, the least of which is that the customer has the installation media or download instructions for all the software they wish to install on the new hard disk drive.Regards,Aryeh Goretsky

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Cluttermagnet
Clutter, fire up a live linux CD. If you pretend that you want to install it, you can see all the partitions and all the hard drives.I only have done this using PCLinux. (It's easy because if I can figure it, I know it is useable for the newest explorers).Have a look at pictures here http://www.bitbenderforums.com/~bobguy/pcl/installation.htmlscroll to about the middle of the page where the box is titled PCLinuxOS Control Center 10 and this is what you see as far as partitions on a hard drive. If the computer has two hard drives, there will be a second tab labeled hdb. Linux can be very useful to see things that windows won't allow you to see. You can click on any of the partitions (red, dark red, green, blue, gray or white) below the hda tab and see the information about the partition. I suspect if the Compaq has something hidden, you may see a gray partition at the front of that bar.
Thanks, Liz-Oh boy, don't I know it. I saw the power of Knoppix about 3 years ago, so far as using it to work on broken Windows OS's. But it took me until now to finally get around to learning Linux. 2007 is my year. I just learned how to use a live CD session of Ubuntu 6.06 to launch Gnome Partition Manager. It does absolutely everything I need it to do for partition work. Between that and BootitNG for imaging, I've got that area now covered to my satisfaction. And as for my original problem, striker got it- seems I had to go into the BIOS of the Dell computer and tell it to recognize the 2nd hard drive. Problem solved. From that point on, the partitions and image were prety easy to do. I am simply in love with Gnome Partition Manager! It really does an excellent job.

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Cluttermagnet
If you slipstream your operating system installation media once in a while (say, quarterly), the amount of updates to download are typically pretty minimal. Failing that, if one has a fast Internet connection it should not take that long to download and install 300MB or so of updates. I would not want to do that over a dial-up connection, though; which it what makes slipstreamed media an attractive choice.It has been a while since I have done direct end-user support, but when I did, most people only wanted a small number of the currently installed applications reinstalled on their computer post-reinstall.One thing I would typically recommend is that the party buy a new hard disk drive (usually double whatever the current capacity was) and prepare to have that set up as their primary hard disk drive. The old hard disk drive would be mounted as a slave to copy over all the data files and then disconnected and stored in a safe location, afterward...
All good points. I agree that most users wouldn't reinstall a majority of their old 3rd party software at the time they redo Windows. I certainly hope to convince my friend of that. Very few are good about saving the install files for their utilities. I'm very good about that myself. I put as much emphasis on backing up utilities as I do backing up my personal data files. I guess that comes from valuing every last KB since I obtained most of it over dialup. Heh!As for slipstreaming, I know the power of the technique but haven't yet gotten around to mastering it. I surely do need to do that. This activity also awaits the purchase of my first DVD-RW drive. (He has one) That's right, I've gotten by without one up to now (Win98SE environment), but the need for it is becoming increasingly obvious. I just don't feel like spanning across a bunch of CDRW's.Indeed, hard drives are cheap now. Purchase of a new one should be routine at such times, and that's indeed what I did for my friend.
If you slipstream your operating system installation media once in a while (say, quarterly), the amount of updates to download are typically pretty minimal.
I figure that saving a series of drive images as you build out and then patch an OS is fairly similar. It would probably 'do'. OTOH slipstreaming sounds cleaner, ultimately, I imagine. I need to think about that for a while, plus learn the technique. The beauty of imaging is that it just captures everything, data and all. The downside would be, I imagine, that it also catches all the 'woundedness' of an OS as it proceeds along the path towards inevitable disarray (despite our best efforts, at times). ;) Edited by Cluttermagnet

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Cluttermagnet
No one mentioned XXCLONE
Does that one happen to be written by the same parties who produced xxcopy? I'm not familiar with it. As for xxcopy, I have downloaded it, but never invested enough time to learn it properly, and have not really gottten much use out of it. A bit geeky, I thought. In particular, I was uncomfortable with the idea of having it iteratively go over a running OS looking for last little bits it may have missed copying during earlier passes- due to files being in use and locked. By contrast, drive imaging seemed so much simpler and reliable. Shut down the OS and take a picture of it all. Very straightforeward. I do think xxcopy is elegant, however. Is xxclone like xxcopy? I thought the instructions for doing an OS clone from disk to disk for 98SE were a bit complicated

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