Solved: Only need to create XP-based recovery discs: earlier version of True Image best?

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Ms. Mia

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Hi, during a visit later this summer I plan to finally create recovery media for three of my out-of-state, technologically-clueless family's computers; and also for one or two of my own. I do have a clue, but not exactly a HUGE one.

I don't want to partition or leave TI running on any of them, all I want to be able to do is create CDs or DVDs that they can pop in to recover from any problems they might have that I can't help them figure out by phone. Their systems will probably never need to have new recovery discs made after the first time, as the only thing that changes on them are security updates and easily-reinstalled popular freeware. All the PCs are XP SP2, and of strictly "average juice," meaning none upgrade-able to Vista (not that I'd upgrade voluntarily, regardless). Two are about 5 or 6 years old. (Actually there's also an old W98SE laptop I might use TI on if the version I get works with it, but that one isn't at all important to include.)

So since my needs are few, might an earlier version of TI be best for me? For example smaller; easier on the machines; maybe simplest too? I think I've read that TI -- maybe only earlier versions, not sure -- isn't always very reliable for creating DVDs, which is all I DO want to do. So if that is something that is improved in more recent versions, I guess I should go with that. Or, in case the following round-a-bout method is any more reliable with TI, I could do it for all the machines: one of them has no DVD player/burner, so I plan to/hope it's possible to put the image on an external hard drive first, then transfer that to CDs.

Thanks, hope that made sense!
 

JohnWill

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IMO, there's not really a good reason not to use the latest version of TI for this scenario.
 

Ms. Mia

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Thanks JohnWill, good to get an opinion. I must have started studying this stuff in the wrong place, and it's become a larger issue to me than it should be. I've done pretty darned good at everything I've tried as a self-taught lay techie, so I don't know why it feels to me like it's such a long shot that this particular goal will work at all, much less on all machines I try it on. I'm picturing things like that at least one of the 3 to 5 PCs will bite the dust completely during the install & media creation process itself (I think I read that is always a not-tiny risk?); and that maybe I shouldn't use this method to fix what ain't broke yet after all... Any opinions on that most welcome too! :)
 

JohnWill

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Personally, I'd install TI on the machine and have a secondary hard disk and automated runs of TI about once a month. I'd also automate data backups more often, maybe even once a day. That way you can at least recover from almost any crash they might experience with minimal fuss. :)
 

Ms. Mia

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I'm not sure I get it? I was thinking that if I created one set of recovery discs per machine; and their machines don't change; and they don't have data that would matter much if it got lost... that they already would be ready to recover from almost any crash with minimal fuss..? No? (I've only done a recovery once, with discs made on a preinstalled partition, and it seemed easy, just insert disc A then b then c...) I'm probably missing a big chunk of how this works somewhere. Now my PC, wouldn't be a bad idea to go more out of the way for, as its data definitely does change and matter.
 

JohnWill

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If the above contention is true, you're right. I'm just assuming that they'll be doing things like putting their digital pictures on their machines, writing letters and papers for school, etc.

What you're planning is restoring them to whenever the snapshot was taken, and they'll lose anything they've done afterwards. In addition, running with no backup, they're likely to lose everything, it's only a matter of time.

Remember: Data you don't have at least two copies of is data you don't care about.
 

Ms. Mia

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Thanks JW! Yes, strange, but the family members involved here really could stand to lose their scarce data. They use Peachtree accounting but I have taught them well to use the program itself to make and keep a couple of external backups at all times; and other than that, my parents generate a new, not-critical Word doc here and there, but they are from the "store a paper copy" generation so have everything "backed up" that way. In other words, the PC is largely a typewriter to them. (I do make an electronic backup of their few Word files semi-annually, for the heck of it.) Other than that, they only use their PCs for email (which they don't save), and bad google searches. ;) Bro uses iTunes, but doesn't save the songs on his PC, burns them straight to CD and that's that. But, they'd feel lost without the ability to do those things.

So yep, they should be covered! Thanks! :)
 

JohnWill

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No problem, just wanted to make sure we were all on the same page. :D

One thing you may want to do, is test at least one of these backups after you make it. It would be a bummer to go to all this trouble and find out when you need them that they don't work. :eek:

You can mark your own threads solved using the thread tools at the top of the page in the upper right corner.© :)
 

Ms. Mia

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Hi there! I am not getting notifications at all on this thread, even after returning & leaving again, dunno why. If you're still there... Is the only way to test a backup to go ahead and restore it, just as though a real disaster had struck? If so are there any risks in that? Thanks!
 

JohnWill

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Well, yes, the risk is that it won't restore correctly and leave you with an unbootable system! :D

The way I do it is with a spare disk drive, that way there's no risk to the system in question.
 

Ms. Mia

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(STILL not getting notifications... I've never had to log out between thread visits but maybe I'll have to start!) Ok, does that mean I could use my 80 GB external hard drive to test the backups? (That's bigger than any of my family's computers.) Would I just restore straight to the external HDD, and set it to boot from that first...? I'm glad you brought this up, thanks!
 

JohnWill

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Actually, the boot disk can't be a USB drive, you'd have to temporarily install it as the primary drive in the computer.

While this sounds like a PITA, nothing is as bad as thinking you have backup, only to find out you don't when you need it. :)
 

Ms. Mia

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...and I suppose telling them to try using the backup for some mysterious but nonfatal problem, then having a faulty backup make it fatal, would be pretty bad too! Guess I'll surf up some instructions for installing the external HDD, or maybe the manual even has them. It'll be a few weeks until I go to visit, don't be surprised if you see me back here then! ;) Thanks again!
 

JohnWill

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You're welcome. Come back anytime if you have more questions. :)
 
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