Dream on. Yes, there's an initial setyp file which can record the
settings for that tiny subset of the overall set of configuration
data which the setup routine would otherwise require to to enter
interactively: time zone, NT domain name, and a (good) few others.
Not, though, your Net settings; or links to other net resources
(say networked printers, other machines); not, of course, any
application settings. MS have tried to add a "file and app
migration tool" to XP, to make moving from one machine to another
easier - possibly useful in a system restore. Of course, it only
works for apps which follow a previously-nonexistent MS-proprietary
So in-a-word, use a real backup&restore strategy; reinstalling
from scratch is a pain in the nether regions...
I have the same sort of situation, I have a "spare" pc in the loft running
Linux and samba - all the PC's in the house have mapped network drives to
this, and all users save files to the network
The server is then mirrored with another PC in the garage running windows,
using some software on the windows PC called syncromagic
The Server in the loft is also backed up to AIT tape at least twice a month
(I keep the tapes at work)
All PC's are UPS protected, and I have also just installed a generator with
I have the Linksys wireless router, and tried to establish a wireless
connection to my workshop - the signal was pretty hopeless, so I ran Cat5
(also WiFi has vulnerability's, where if you collect enough data the WEP key
can be worked out - so it is not totally secure!
If a "normal" pc breaks down, it is a reinstall of windows and all the
relevant software, but this is not a bad thing usually, as by the time it
happens, there is usually new versions of everything anyway!
Something which would trouble me if I put a PC in the loft is that in
the summer it gets stinking hot, and in the winter freezing cold. PCs
are generally specced to work in the range 5-40 degrees C and I feel
sure that temperature range could be exceeded.
I'm curious about whether this might be a problem for your
email@example.com (David) wrote:
Due to far too many failing HD's, my system's had some extensive
testing this year - and so far has worked perfectly. Might be a little
complicated, but it does work.
I'd personally go for wired LAN, but dealer's choice.
My system at work, which backs up five PCs running Win98.
Backup machine is a low spec PC called "ego" with a largish HD (40Gb).
It runs Debian (a free linux OS). This makes it immune from lan-spread
viruses, and also allows you to run lots of other stuff like caches,
mail server, print server, web server - without slowing down your main
ego connects to all the other machines using Samba which interacts
perfectly with Microsoft networking.
Four times a day, ego copies files from each of the other machines -
but only the files that have changed. This takes almost no time at all
and unlike doing this by windows, also copies system data and the
This effectively mirrors the other PC's drives, but doesn't remove
deleted files, so eventually it does need a prune (I simply move the
backup elsewhere on the drive and start afresh).
1. Cron kicks off a samba connect to computer1 as readonly.
2. "cp -U -r //computer1/c/* /home/computer1/" (Copy updated files
recursively to local drive.
3. Disconnect samba link.
Because the LAN is only 10M/s, it doesn't push enough traffic through
to significantly slow down the other computer, so it's backing up
while you're using it and 9/10 you never even notice.
Reinstall after failure is fast:
1. Connect new HD to another win machine on the LAN as slave.
2. Fdisk and format.
3. Map drive letter to Samba share on backup machine.
4. xcopy /y /v /c /s ... from remote to new drive.
5. Cuppa tea.
6. Remove drive and fit to original machine.
7. Start windows and start working again. (No need to install windows,
find drivers for all your hardware and reinstall all your software - a
drive mirror does all that for you)
(I've needed to do this 4 times this year, Maxtor no longer seem to
make reliable drives)
At most 3 hours data loss for no slowdown, negligable ongoing costs,
expensive backup software (all free!) and NO need to remember to
backup manually. You can even make it email you to tell you it's done
each backup, when something went wrong or when it's running out of
Perhaps not for everyone, but it's proved its worth for me. Just
remember that all backup strategies are fine, UNTIL you need to use
them - that's what sorts out the good from bad.
Hard drives are absurdly cheap now, they're the only media worth
considering for large backups.
Simon Avery, Dartmoor, UK
uk.d-i-y FAQ: http://www.diyfaq.org.uk /
firstname.lastname@example.org (David) wrote in message
Keeping a tight grip on a large wooden desk ;-) Personally, I use
Linux, and simply copy a compressed tar (Windows read Winzip) file of
my home directory to a Zip100 drive. I have three or four Zip disks
that I rotate.
I may have missed something on the complete thread, but am I not
correct in thinking that the reliability of CD-RW is a bit hit and
From R. Wallace, "MCSE Training Kit Microsoft Windows 2000
Professional, Microsoft Press, 2000 (which I teach from, but haven't
actually used in anger for backup):
- Normal Backup: all selected files and folders backed up; ... doesn't
rely on markers ... anay existing markers cleared ... faster restore
because doesn't need to go through multiple backups (see below);
- Copy: As Normal, but no effect on any markers;
- Incremental: backs up changes since last backup (Normal,
- Differential: backs up changes since last Normal (my, jc's,
- Daily: files and folders that changes during the day are backed up.
I think you'd have to be very confident in your procedures and media
to trust Incremental.
Another point, especially wondering about the advisability of two disk
drives in the PC. I think someone wondered about what happened if the
PC was stolen or died some other horrible death. The question is, what
risk are you using your backup to insure against? For me, the chief
seem to be: (a) stealing; (b) a horrible death for the whole PC (like
a lightning surge up its jacksy); (c) disk hardware failure; (d)
serious software failure. I.e. a second disk unit may be susceptible
to (c) and (d).
For similar reasons, I'd say also that you must have three or four
backup media in rotation. Scenario: software caused crash; restore;
that backup corrupted by the software, ... The more backups you have,
the more likely you are to have one left after you have.
I know it's hard to arrange, but you must keep backup media somewhere
separate. Even a car (assuming the burgular that steals the PC doesn't
take the car as well).
Finally, I figure few backups are tested. IMHO, this is untrivial and
risky unless you have a spare machine. (There was a famous line of
machines that started in the late 1970s -- the Digital VAX series;
reputedly, there was a bug in the initial version of the backup
software, and it was only after a year of the machine being introduced
that anyone had to use it in anger ... and anger was the operative
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