Saturday, August 06, 2005

Now what do I do? Part 3

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Now that I have given you two different methods of keeping your data/information/sanity safe, I guess I should expound on why the two should be used – together. The two methods are Symantic Ghost and a backup program such as Simply Safe Backup 2005.

The two have very separate and useful advantages. Ghost quite literally takes a Snapshot of your system and saves it in what is termed an Image. This Image contains all of the set-up data, program files, and every scrap of data you have on the hard drive at the time you build it. Everything! That means that you can reconstruct your system on either new media (a freshly formatted hard drive) or a completely different system! So, if the unthinkable happens (your system is totally destroyed) and you have the Image saved on one or more CD(s), you can resurrect your system in a matter of minutes.

To build an Image, a good procedure to follow would be to configure your system the way you would want it to be if you restored it from scratch and make the Image. If you’re working with a new system, install all of the programs and configure them. Then make your Image. From that point on, anytime you need to restore your system, it will be exactly the way you configured it. System name, programs, operating system, all of it. I suggest when you make the Image CDs that you make then bootable. Otherwise you need a diskette in addition to the CDs.

Ok! Got it so far? Good. Now for the Backups! The Backups are best viewed as being a source to recover lost files. A backup will NOT give you a fully functional system in case of disaster like the Ghost Image will. The Backup is used to recover the various documents, downloaded files, etc. So then, a procedure for Backups? Ok, first decide what you want to have backed up. Since you have the Image built, any file that is changed, like the files for your ‘Opus’ you were working on, are good candidates for backing up. You have a lot of downloaded software you want to have on hand? Back them up, too.

Now, the ‘unthinkable’ happens and you HAVE to buy a new system (yeah, right!)( wink, wink, nudge, nudge), how is it done? You power up the new system, access the BIOS and set the CD drive as bootable. Insert the Bootable Image CD (number 1 if you have several). And boot your system. Follow the directions on the screen, sit back, and enjoy the feeling of owning a new system (IF that’s what you did). You’ll soon have a functioning system. BUT, you aren’t done yet! Now is the time to use your Backup to restore files. NOW you’re done!

It sounds complicated but take my word for it, the whole process won’t take anywhere near the amount of time it will take to manually install all of your software. In the amount of time it would take to install Windows XP (around 35 minutes) you will be romping around in your new system and enjoying the rest of your day.

Have Fun!