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clslate
01-20-2001, 02:17 PM
I do tech support on and off line and frequently refer folks to this site. One of the questions that comes up all the time is "Where are all the files I need to backup before reformating and doing clean installs?"

The MY DOCUMENTS feature of Windows makes it easier for them to keep track of where their documents are kept, but there are other files that need to be backed up.

Folks want a checklist and locations of things like their Outlook mail forms library & ICQ data. Where are their favorites/bookmarks stored? While it is impossible to list where every possible program a user might have stores personalized information, it would be helpful if some general guidelines were posted and the big programs like Office, ICQ, MS Messenger, Corel, Browsers, etc. stored personalized info.

Thanks for your time and a great site.

Paleo Pete
01-21-2001, 07:55 AM
Some very good points there. I've had to try and answer those questions a few times too, and I know how to handle most, ICQ is easy: [C:\Program Files\ICQ\DB or DB99a/b]... I keep my DB files on a floppy and in a backup folder, which allows me to take it with me on trips and use my account on family members' computers with no trouble. My Favorites folder has links I added up to 3 years ago, and have transferred every time I reinstalled ever since. [C:\Windows\Favorites]...Don't use MS Messenger, or any Corel stuff, so I don't know about them.

The one that I've never figured out is Outlook Express. The only way I can save email addresses or messages is to transfer them to text files and re-add the addresses manually later. The messages I keep for a while as text files to refer to later, but cannot figure out how to transfer either in usable form after reinstalling.

Most of the Office programs keep their files in the Program Files folder, other programs like Corel I'd have to snoop around a bit...

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clslate
01-21-2001, 12:38 PM
Thanks for the reply.

Yeah, I know where most of the files are or where to look for things and generally search the computer for programs they are using and try to find personalized settings files for them and do a FIND for recently modified files to check for files I might have overlooked.

However, my experience is that everyday users generally don't know all that much about their computers or their programs and a checklist and some guidelines for them might be very helpful.

Thanks for considering this suggestion for the site.

Charles Kozierok
01-21-2001, 02:29 PM
Pretty good suggestion. I'll try to work it into my upcoming revamp of the backup section of the System Care Guide. Thanks!

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Charles M. Kozierok
Webslave, The PC Guide (http://www.PCGuide.com)
Comprehensive PC Reference, Troubleshooting, Optimization and Buyer's Guides...
Note: Please reply to my forum postings here on the forums. Thanks.

Samantha
02-11-2001, 01:17 PM
I do help on an unofficial site for Corel's WordPerfect Office and the question of which files to backup comes up constantly. In general, software companies do a very bad job providing the information; it should be a standard entry in every Help file.

One problem with trying to provide a generic list is not only that there are so many programs out there, but also that there are so many versions of programs and customization or configuration files may change between versions. Ugh! Another problem is that by providing a list, you may give the false impression that you've covered all the bases. Lots of prominent disclaimers would be needed. Nevertheless, I think it would be worth taking a stab at providing information for some programs. Although hardware-oriented, PC Guide might become known for having the best list of files that need to be backed up on the 'net. http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/smile.gif But, I have a suggestion on the suggestion.

First, how about trying to make this a community project? What I have in mind is posting a thread a software where folks could contribute their knowledge on backup files for different programs. Then, instead of making this part of the PC Guide, I suggest creating a FAQ, which would be easier to add to and update as more confirmed information is obtained. Each program's backup files could be posted in a separate message. We use this approach quite a bit on the WordPerfect Universe UBB forums and it works pretty well.

Anyway, if you'd like the information for the Corel WordPerfect Office suite, I can put it together. I could also probably scratch together the information for Corel Draw and PhotoPaint.


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S~~

Txsicon
02-13-2001, 06:45 PM
I think Samantha's idea was a good one. I too run into this problem alot. Another problem I have is the drivers, video, soundcard, modem ect. I have alot of systems here in the office and all the original drivers are seldom with the machines anymore. I usually wind up having to take the cards out to find out what I'm dealing with, then download the drivers from the net.

And I have another pet peeve about backups. I have never been able to do a complete recovery from a backup. it never fails that when i spend all the time and effort to make backups, when i really need them they never seem to work. Oh, I may have all my data and that's important, but all the applications, email addresses, forms, downloaded applications are toast. It sometimes take days or weeks to get a system back to where it was. sometimes i really wonder why i bother with the backups at all.

Has anyone ever used Norton Ghost? I'm thinking of giving it a try.

jordan12
02-14-2001, 12:52 AM
Originally posted by Paleo Pete:
Some very good points there. I've had to try and answer those questions a few times too, and I know how to handle most, ICQ is easy: [C:\Program Files\ICQ\DB or DB99a/b]... I keep my DB files on a floppy and in a backup folder, which allows me to take it with me on trips and use my account on family members' computers with no trouble. My Favorites folder has links I added up to 3 years ago, and have transferred every time I reinstalled ever since. [C:\Windows\Favorites]...Don't use MS Messenger, or any Corel stuff, so I don't know about them.

The one that I've never figured out is Outlook Express. The only way I can save email addresses or messages is to transfer them to text files and re-add the addresses manually later. The messages I keep for a while as text files to refer to later, but cannot figure out how to transfer either in usable form after reinstalling.

Most of the Office programs keep their files in the Program Files folder, other programs like Corel I'd have to snoop around a bit...




Actually if you go here: http://support.microsoft.com/support/kb/articles/Q270/6/70.ASP?LN=EN-US&SD=gn&FR=0&qry=backup&rnk=3&src=DHCS_MSPSS_gn_SRCH&SPR=OEX

This link will tell you how to back up and restore all mail, addresses, and settings for Outlook Express..

Paleo Pete
02-14-2001, 08:42 AM
Good link, thanks, I'll put it to use someday.

The problem mentioned above is one of the reasons backups are a pain sometimes, back up an application and it won't work. I think the reason is most programs and applications use shared files that are stored somewhere in the Windows or Windows\System folder, and those folders aren't usually backed up. Registry entries are also used that aren't backed up and restored, unless you know about it, so when you try a restore, it puts back the data in the main folders used by the application, but not the shared files in the Windows folder and Registry entries. So you end up with a program that won't work.

I haven't tried to figure out how to get it to work, usually when I reinstall I reinstall all programs fresh too, and just back up the documents/pictures etc created by them earlier, and replace those.

It makes that much easier if you create a specific folder to save files to, rather than using the default location, which is usually somewhere in Program Files, where most applications are installed to. Another advantage of this is if you ever have problems with the application, uninstalling it doesn't also remove all those documents, spreadsheets etc you spent hours to create.

I use My Documents for a lot of that, and create a Pictures folder on another drive, plus others, depending on the program. Same for downloads, everything I download goes into a Download folder on D drive, not in a Temp folder on C. Back it up to tape and I don't have to download everything again after a reinstall.

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Note: Please post your questions on the forums, not in my email.

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spaceAlien
02-14-2001, 11:10 AM
Greets --

My $0.02 -- you need to be prepared for a hard drive crash -- this is my plan...

Personal items : I try to keep every thing in one place -- I use c:\windows\desktop

Application Data : My email app is the only one that stores info elsewhere -- have to remember to get that directory...

Hardware Drivers (original media): Get a cardboard box -- put all documents, manuals, floppies, CDs that are specific to that hardware in the box -- label the box with a big black marker...

Hardware Drivers (downloads): keep in one place with good descriptive pathnames, e.g. c:\drivers\epson_stylus_580\setup.exe -- not c:\drivers\e59gu58.exe

Software: I keep original distribution media for software in the box that the software came in

Software (downloads): keep in one place, e.g.
c:\distribution\acrobat_reader

Registry and windows settings -- I don't bother -- I'd rather have a clean install -- of course that means installing all applications again...

A d:\ partition can be useful if you just want to reformat c: and reinstall O/S -- I like 2 partitions if possible...

I actually only back up about twice a year !?!?

Grins --
spaceAlien

kenja
02-14-2001, 11:50 AM
About Norton Ghost: It's a good, powerful program. Not intuitively obvious how to use, unfortunately. My pet peeve: to split an image into files of a certain size (for recording onto CD at a later time, for example), you must enter this switch at the start-up command (it's not provided as an option once you're into the program). Another peeve: it's the most visually ugly program I can remember using. A cool thing: used to require a separate FAT partition to backup onto, but the lastest version allows writing directly to many of the newer CD-RW drives.

Power Quest's Drive Image program is much easier to use (and more visually aesthetic), but it's not as powerful as Ghost. At least it didn't use to be (I haven't checked it out lately), and I'm comparing the reasonably priced "personal" versions of these programs, not the true "professional" versions.

clslate
02-14-2001, 04:14 PM
RE: Symantec's Ghost

Great program that will save hours and days of time.

I use it for all computers at a school where I provide support, as well as my own.
Format a drive, do a clean OS install, install the latest downloaded upgrades, then the key application softare and image the drive to a CD or second drive.

Restoration to that point then takes minutes instead of days.

=============

I agree that the only good plan is one that assumes that:

a) you will get hit by a virus
b) Your hard drive will die
c) the latest security or upgrade patch or shareware download will corrupt your data or your OS, overwrite critial DLLs and uninstalling the program (if even possible) restoring the latest backup of the registry alone will not fix the problem.

===================

What I do personally to minimize or eliminate the damage:

I keep a minimum of two hard drives in each of my personal computers, with the exception of my laptop.

The Master drive has 3 partitions
1) OS and Programs
2) Data/Download Files/ email programs
3) Swap File

Smaller partitions are much easier and faster to manage - scan disks and disk optimizing take much less time on a 4 or 6 GB drive than a 20 or 30 GB drive.

The Master Drive is Ghosted after a clean install of my OS, updates and patches and my "can't live without applications"

Ghosted images are written to CD and updated to new/dated CD if a major application install takes place.

The data drive is backed up to CD generally on a weekly basis - I use a rewritable for this - but every few months, I make a good clean copy to a CD and close it.

All Internet Downloads go into appropriately named Folders in a Downloads folder on the Data Drive

I manage my swap/virtual memory, instead of letting Windows do it - it keeps the file changes to the drive where my OS and Apps are down and thus less fragmentation.

Individual files and folders of data, including my Registry and Outlook 2000 pst files are backed up to Zip disks daily.

The Slave Drive also contains 3 partitions that replicate the Master Drive, except for the 3rd partion.

On the slave drive I sometimes use the 3rd partiton for quick backups, but generally keep it clean, so I can do a quick format of it before mastering CDs. That way I can lay the files down in the order I want them written to the CD - which is neccessary for some of the CD's I create that incorporate audio and video or photo files that need to be played at the same time or sequentially.

A synchrionization program synchs makes sure that the changes made to the master drive are recorded to the Slave. I synch the data partition twice a day, and the OS/Programs partition a when I have made changes that work.

In the event the master drive fails and there are no other difficulties. I am back up and running simply by making the slave the Master.

====================

I do, however recognize that most of the everyday users I assist do not have the equipment or computer experience to maintain their systems as I do.

As CD-RW prices have declined so, (I spent over a $1,000 for my first one - 'course it was an external SCSI with its own 2 GB hard drive. http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/wink.gif ) I encourage users to use them for backups as well - but you still gotta tell them what is essential to backup!

LadyDee
04-01-2001, 01:29 AM
Many Thanks to all of you!

I really needed this information. It would be wonderful to find one place you could go to find info. regarding what files need backup and where to find them. I have backups of all data files, but had no clue what else to backup. I know my ISP (AT&T) has files which should be backed up and also "all the stuff in Outlook" Jordan12, the link answered all those questions regarding Outlook. Samantha, I think it would be great to have a community project. I'm using Corel Draw & PhotoPaint and didn't know there were files other than my work files that should be on the backup. I plan to add WordPerfect Office Professional in the near future. I'm an old fan of Quattro Pro & Paradox and still use the DOS versions.

Norton Ghost is one of the reasons I need this information!! My son upgraded to a Pentium 4 with a new video card and gave me his "old" Pentium 3. This began a chain reaction of upgrades. My machine, my husband's machine, and my store machine. At the same time I purchased a 20gig HD to replace my 4 gig drive (which went to my husband's machine). My son suggested Ghost as a way to quickly move all my info from the smaller drive to the larger drive. The 20 gig had a clean format /s, then ghosted the smaller drive. Now the machine can't find the operating system with a cold boot. (No problem with a reset) I read the directions provided with Ghost. Either I did something wrong or Ghost is not a program I would suggest. I'm usually very good with directions, so either Ghost isn't as good as some say or they have really bad directions!

I've already tried a re-install of Win98 with little effect. Now I'm faced with a new format & clean install of Win98. I feel much better after reading all the info in this thread. At least I do have a backup of everything still on the smaller drive.

Thanks,
LadyDee

Reid
04-01-2001, 04:44 AM
What brand is the 20G drive? Most hard drive manufactures have software, such as EZ-Drive or other variations, that can move your disk contents to a new hard drive. I have used Ghost on three systems for backup and transfer of disk content with no problems.

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reido@my-deja.com

Friends don't let friends install Windows ME

danira_fernando
04-24-2001, 04:07 AM
can anyone tell me how to do imac???????

thank you. http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/wink.gif

Paleo Pete
04-24-2001, 09:07 AM
Don't think we have anyone here who's good with Macs, but you can take a look at a few Mac forums and maybe they can help out.

MacNN (http://forums.macnn.com/cgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi)

Mac Addict Forums (http://forums.macaddict.com/cgi-bin/farmcgi/Ultimate.cgi?action=intro&BypassCookie=true)

About.Com (http://macsupport.miningco.com/compute/macsupport/blcenter.htm)

A search for imac forums on Google (http://www.google.com) will turn up plenty more.

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So many idiots, and only six bullets...
Note: Please post your questions on the forums, not in my email.

Computer Information Links (http://www.geocities.com/paleopete/)

clslate
04-25-2001, 10:02 AM
Hi,

I use and support both Macs and PCs so if you can be a little more specific about what you need to back up, I may be able to help.

Generally, if you have gone into the General Controls in the Control Panel and checked it to use a My Documents folder, all your documents will be stored there - otherwise they can be anywhere - generally in the folder with the software program you are using.

Most everything else you will need to save will be in the Preferences folder inside the System Folder.


Claudia



Originally posted by danira_fernando:
can anyone tell me how to do imac???????

thank you. http://www.PCGuide.com/ubb/wink.gif

wiltrot
07-28-2001, 03:46 PM
I have also found it difficult to back up Outlook... But what I do to my
contacts is export them in my Yahoo and then import them back when I need
them.

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What's up with that?

Stooge1976
09-09-2002, 09:51 PM
Originally posted by Paleo Pete
...(O)ne of the reasons backups are a pain sometimes, back up an application and it won't work. I think the reason is most programs and applications use shared files that are stored somewhere in the Windows or Windows\System folder, and those folders aren't usually backed up. Registry entries are also used that aren't backed up and restored, unless you know about it, so when you try a restore, it puts back the data in the main folders used by the application, but not the shared files in the Windows folder and Registry entries. So you end up with a program that won't work.
I experienced the same sort of thing when learning about backup from the school of hard knocks. I backed up the entire contents of some folders (e.g., C:\Program Files\WinZip), but after a HD reformat I tried restoring those programs & they wouldn't work. So to a few of those programs (including WinZip) for which I'd lost my registration codes--bye bye! From this I have learned that it would be wise, once you DL a software program, to store the install file in a special directory (C:\My Downloads or whatever) until there are enough of them fo fit onto a CD-R (or RW, but I've found R to be more reliable). As for other types of valuable files, C:\My Documents apparently was designed specifically for this purpose, judging from my scanning of other posts here. As for e-mail addresses & reg codes, write those down as you get them, then safeguard them like you would birth certificates & the like.

Paul Komski
09-09-2002, 11:47 PM
My 2 cents - and aimed at the "ordinary" user.

For "ordinary" users, multiple partitions and so on can get complicated, though they have huge advantages and can be used in many ways for more experienced users.

DriveImage 5.0 is IMHO a superb program because of the ability to run it from Windows (but have it on Floppies too for situations when you can't boot up normally). It is easy to restore either a full partition or individual files/folders from it.

Mirrored drives are great for businesses and intensive computer users but not needed for the "ordinary" user.

My advice goes along these lines (modified how you like):-

(1) Get a 2nd HDD (internal or external).

(2) Immediately after a Factory or Clean Install of the OS install DriveImage 5.0 and make an Image File on your 2nd HDD. Create "DriveImage on Floppies" for extra protection.

(3) Teach the user how to make these image files and TEACH them to keep adding new image files to the 2nd HDD before any major software or hardware installation AND as regularly as they wish their DATA to be backed-up.

(4) Teach the user how to restore the image files or be prepared to do this for them when the need arises.

So this is a bit like keeping restore points; but much more than that and having them completely under your own control. It is not then necessary to know where individual data files are stored for backing-up and one can very quickly get back to a "clean install configuration" or any of the other "restore points"(image files) that one has created.

Basically, if backing up is not fast and easy then it is most unlikely to be done with the regularity required.

RKBA
09-16-2002, 10:51 PM
Just want to second Paul's comments about DriveImage (I use DriveImage 2002). Once you master its foibles it's a good and painless way to do backups without worrying about backing up individual files/directories. My only complaints about DriveImage are: If there are any problems with a hard drive, it won't tell you about them until after you've spent 20 or 30 minutes waiting for it to finish a backup. My solution is to always run its disk checker operation first, before imaging a drive.
If running it from Windows 2000 and backing up the active Windows 2000 partition, it has to reboot and run the backup in DOS mode. That would be fine, except that the backup usually fails for one reason or another when it does this. The easiest solution is just to boot to DOS (it's on my boot menu) to perform the drive image - that way there's no problem with imaging whatever partition you wish.
Normally I use "high compression" to image a drive. It takes anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes to complete, and generates over 9 GB worth of image files so the number of image file backup versions is limited. This isn't a problem because I've always found that I've never wanted to go back more than one or two restore points (earlier than that and I've forgotten what my system setup was like, which programs were installed, etc).

I very much like clslate's suggestion about keeping a physical mirror image of my main drive in case of drive failure instead of an image file that needs to be restored to a new disk after a failure. With my present way of doing things, when the hard drive where my OS is installed goes bad I'll have to reformat one of my spares (I have 5 online hard drives total) and recreate an exact image of the failed drive before I can replace the bad one and be up an running again. The reason for this is that Windows 2000 is very picky about the partition it's on (although I might be able to restore it to a different partition and simply update "Boot.ini" with the correct partition number). My boot drive (the primary ATA master) has Win98/DOS on it just so that I have an easy way to boot into DOS, and my OS (Win2K) is master on the secondary ATA channel. That means Win2K resides on physical disk number 3 as drive letter "E". The forth drive ("F") is the slave on the secondary ATA channel, and is mounted in a removable drive tray that I use for backups and normally keep powered off. If I made it an exact mirror image of drive "E" on drive "F", I could very easily swap it with drive "F" merely by swapping jumpers and cable connectors without having to go to all the trouble of reformatting another drive (or even worse, ordering another one and waiting for it to arrive before replacing the failed drive!). Since they're both on the secondary ATA channel, I could swap them without problems with drive letter changes.

I like that idea very much, thank you clslate! In fact, I think I'll do that right now...

-- Ron

rond36
09-17-2002, 12:37 AM
Originally posted by RKBA
Just want to second Paul's comments about DriveImage (I use DriveImage 2002). Once you master its foibles it's a good and painless way to do backups without worrying about backing up individual files/directories. My only complaints about DriveImage are: If there are any problems with a hard drive, it won't tell you about them until after you've spent 20 or 30 minutes waiting for it to finish a backup. My solution is to always run its disk checker operation first, before imaging a drive.
If running it from Windows 2000 and backing up the active Windows 2000 partition, it has to reboot and run the backup in DOS mode. That would be fine, except that the backup usually fails for one reason or another when it does this. The easiest solution is just to boot to DOS (it's on my boot menu) to perform the drive image - that way there's no problem with imaging whatever partition you wish.
Normally I use "high compression" to image a drive. It takes anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes to complete, and generates over 9 GB worth of image files so the number of image file backup versions is limited. This isn't a problem because I've always found that I've never wanted to go back more than one or two restore points (earlier than that and I've forgotten what my system setup was like, which programs were installed, etc).

I very much like clslate's suggestion about keeping a physical mirror image of my main drive in case of drive failure instead of an image file that needs to be restored to a new disk after a failure. With my present way of doing things, when the hard drive where my OS is installed goes bad I'll have to reformat one of my spares (I have 5 online hard drives total) and recreate an exact image of the failed drive before I can replace the bad one and be up an running again. The reason for this is that Windows 2000 is very picky about the partition it's on (although I might be able to restore it to a different partition and simply update "Boot.ini" with the correct partition number). My boot drive (the primary ATA master) has Win98/DOS on it just so that I have an easy way to boot into DOS, and my OS (Win2K) is master on the secondary ATA channel. That means Win2K resides on physical disk number 3 as drive letter "E". The forth drive ("F") is the slave on the secondary ATA channel, and is mounted in a removable drive tray that I use for backups and normally keep powered off. If I made it an exact mirror image of drive "E" on drive "F", I could very easily swap it with drive "F" merely by swapping jumpers and cable connectors without having to go to all the trouble of reformatting another drive (or even worse, ordering another one and waiting for it to arrive before replacing the failed drive!). Since they're both on the secondary ATA channel, I could swap them without problems with drive letter changes.

I like that idea very much, thank you clslate! In fact, I think I'll do that right now...

-- Ron

I would like to third Paul's comments about Drive Image. I also use Drive Image 2002. The thing I like best about it is after you make an image and later find that you need a file back you can browse the image for the file that you want and restore it from the image without restoring the whole image.

--Also Ron

rahulkothari
09-17-2002, 04:37 PM
Paleo Pete: The problem mentioned above is one of the reasons backups are a pain sometimes, back up an application and it won't work. I think the reason is most programs and applications use shared files that are stored somewhere in the Windows or Windows\System folder, and those folders aren't usually backed up.

I have an advice for all of you. Never delete or even move c:\Program files\Common files directory as it contains the shared files used by various applications.

i have moved it twice till date and am not looking for a hattrick :mad: coz ...
the first time i moved it, Norton anti-virus stopped working. Even after moving back the common files folder to its original location, NAV didnt work...had to re-install it. :eek:
second time, IE started acting strange, uninstalled IE thru IEradicator and downloaded a fresh copy. Also, few folder layout templates got corrupted. :(

Fruss Tray Ted
09-17-2002, 07:11 PM
I'm not saying this is not a useful thread but,

RKBA, I'm not so sure your thanks are being heard...


07-28-2001 02:46 PM

wiltrot
Aspirant Master Geek

Registered: Jun 2001
Location: Jacksonville Fl, USA
Posts: 153

edited for length

09-09-2002 08:51 PM

Stooge1976

/edit

There was a 14 month spread between adjacent posts and was originally started in January of 2001.

Someone wasn't paying attention... :o :o :o

Good info nonetheless... but it's kinda hard to use Drive Image 2002 in 2001 wouldn't you think??? :eek:

jabarnutcase
09-17-2002, 09:50 PM
HeHe- I noticed that too...Thought it would be fun this time just to watch for a while.
Last time I pointed out that a reply was almost a year to late, I never saw the guy again!

:D

RKBA
09-18-2002, 04:13 AM
Oops, ...must have pushed the wrong button on my time machine! ;)

-- Ron