Only Windows could make backup and restore such a nightmare - Linux

This is a discussion on Only Windows could make backup and restore such a nightmare - Linux ; I've just endured what may well be the most frustrating 24 hours of my life, mainly thanks to the extremely convoluted; proprietary and secretive nature of the Windows platform. My battle-worn laptop, an Acer Ferrari 4005, was overheating and tripping ...

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Thread: Only Windows could make backup and restore such a nightmare

  1. Only Windows could make backup and restore such a nightmare

    I've just endured what may well be the most frustrating 24 hours of my
    life, mainly thanks to the extremely convoluted; proprietary and
    secretive nature of the Windows platform.

    My battle-worn laptop, an Acer Ferrari 4005, was overheating and
    tripping out, so I arranged a repair with Acer's out-of-warranty
    service. I did consider just opening the machine myself (it is out of
    warranty, after all), but I suspect the problems extend further than
    just being choked-up with dust. I also suspect a floating joint
    somewhere, as the machine tends to freeze when picked up, or if pressure
    is applied to certain parts of the case.

    Because I'd installed Linux (the mere presence of which tends to cause
    rather uncooperative reactions from Windows service technicians), and
    also to protect my privacy, I thought it'd be best if I simply "reset"
    the machine back to its "factory default" state. I had all the necessary
    restore discs, so I assumed the process would be trivially easy.

    I couldn't have been more wrong.

    First of all, due to the overheating problem, it was necessary to
    balance the laptop on its side, next to an open window. The combination
    of a moderate wind and freezing temperatures kept the machine from
    tripping out, although the orientation and its awkward position made
    typing a pain.

    Then the fun began.

    Obviously the first thing I wanted to do is back-up both Windows and
    Linux. I've spent a considerable amount of time setting up both systems
    exactly the way I like them, so I wanted to image the drive, rather than
    just back-up data. There are plenty of both proprietary and Free tools
    for that task, but the mixture of NTFS and ext3 filesystems complicates
    things somewhat. Certainly "dd" is sufficient to image /any/ drive, but
    it isn't necessarily the most efficient or fastest method, since it will
    copy unused blocks, whereas other tools ignore them.

    I finally settled on Acronis TrueImage, since I knew from past
    experience that it was a quality application, and handled non-Windows
    filesystems well. At least it /used/ to, back when I originally
    purchased it. Unfortunately Linux development seems to move at a much
    faster pace than Windows (and its third-party vendors), and apparently
    even the latest version of TrueImage does not support LVM2, which is how
    I'd subsequently configured the Linux portion of the hard drive
    (ironically, in order to make consistent Linux backups with LVM snapshots).

    So in the end I had to use dd anyway. I used the trick of blanking
    unused space on the ext3 partition with "dd if=/dev/zero of=delete.me
    bs=64k; rm delete.me", which facilitates better compression, then I
    dumped the whole disk - piped through gzip - to a file on a USB HDD. The
    process was surprisingly quick, and resulted in a 54GB archive of a
    100GB disk. Not too shabby.

    The next step was to secure-wipe the drive (don't want those men in
    black prying into my private data). For this I used "Darik's Boot and
    Nuke" (a Linux distro dedicated to the task of secure-wiping hard
    drives) in "autonuke" mode, which uses the default MoD-Short method. It
    was obvious this process was going to take a /very/ long time, so I went
    to bed, and left it to it.

    When I woke up, I was relieved to see DBAN had completed without the
    machine tripping out, so I proceeded to the next step. Everything seemed
    to be going well, but my confidence was going to be short-lived.

    The first thing I do with any new (preconfigured) system, is back it up,
    in preparation for any changes I might make to the partitions, etc. I
    had done this at the time of purchase, and /tested/ the backup with a
    restore, so I believed there would be no problem restoring those backups
    now. Apparently, I was wrong.

    In its original configuration, this machine had a hidden partition (why
    do partitions even /need/ to be hidden?) on the so-called HPA (Host
    Protected Area). Since the contents of the HPA were purely for use by
    Acer's backup software (basically it's the Windows install files, plus
    third-party utilities), and I already had another backup (using
    TrueImage), AFAIWC that was just 3GB of wasted space, so I had deleted
    it and merged the free space into the Windows partition. The reason that
    I didn't simply use Acer's backup software (a rebranded version of
    Norton Ghost) in the first place, is that it uses the third partition
    (an empty partition that occupies the second-half of the disk, labelled
    "D: Data") as the backup destination, and I needed that partition for
    Linux. Also, I later discovered that Acer's backup software will not
    work with NTFS filesystems (the machine came configured as FAT32), and I
    really wasn't prepared to compromise the security of the Windows
    partition ... Windows is insecure enough as it is!

    I had assumed that merely restoring this HPA partition would be
    sufficient to enable the standard "factory default" restore process, but
    I had overlooked something rather non-obvious. In order to start the
    restore procedure, one boots the machine, then presses "-F10" to
    boot into that HPA and run Ghost (Acer Recovery Tools). The problem is
    that "-F10" simply resulted in an error along the lines of "invalid
    MBR" (from memory). Some research revealed that Acer use a custom
    bootloader to enable access to the HPA, and subsequently start the
    restore procedure. The all-important custom MBR had been overwritten by
    GRUB, at the time I installed Linux, and apparently TrueImage does /not/
    back-up the MBR for some reason, so that bootloader was gone forever,
    unless I could somehow find a way of rewriting it.

    Well at this point I decided that the best course of action was to
    simply use the recovery discs (an alternative procedure which is
    slower). So I booted up from disc 1 (the so-called "System disc") and
    followed the prompts. The process seemed to complete successfully,
    showing a message to the effect of "when the system restarts, the
    Windows install procedure will begin". Well the system restarted
    alright, but then stopped abruptly with a message like "No OS: insert
    system disk". Bugger. This was definitely /not/ going to be easy. It
    turns out that the recovery procedure had restored the system onto the
    /wrong/ partition - the HPA - instead of the second partition, where it
    should have.

    A second attempt was equally unsuccessful. I decided to simply removed
    /all/ partitions, then boot from the recovery system CD. This time Ghost
    produced the error "Invalid destination drive", because apparently the
    only way Ghost will restore a partition, is if that partition already
    exists and is formatted with a filesystem supported by the underlying
    DOS system (i.e. FAT32). Well, I should have expected as much from an
    *eight year* old DOS application (the copyright message indicated this
    was a version from the year 2000).

    A third attempt was partially successful. This time I created just /one/
    FAT32 partition, and didn't waste any time with the HPA. The restore
    (from CD) procedure completed, and I rebooted into Windows ... however
    .... /this/ time none of the drivers or third party utils were installed
    automatically. Worse still, this time around I was asked to "register
    with Microsoft", and I /really/ didn't want to travel down /that/ road -
    things were complicated enough without being "invalidated" by the b0rked
    WGA procedure.

    Essentially the /only/ way to truly restore this system to the factory
    default setting, is to use the "-F10" method, but to do this I
    would somehow have to restore the mysterious Acer bootloader.

    So where is this bootloader, and how does one restore it?

    It turns out the the bootloader is called "RTMBR.BIN" and needs to be
    installed using a DOS program called "MBRWRDOS.EXE" ... both of which
    actually reside /inside/ the hidden partition. Now certainly I could
    mount the hidden partition from a Linux LiveCD, but I was unsure if I'd
    be able to properly execute the DOS program, even using DOSBox or Wine,
    assuming I could even install and configure those packages on a LiveCD
    system at all. I've been lead to believe that running DOS programs, that
    require low-level hardware access, under emulation generally doesn't
    work too well.

    Further research turned up this, which explains the whole convoluted
    mess in more detail:

    http://www.notebookforums.com/thread150981.html

    Essentially, I had to:

    .. Reboot into the Linux LiveCD
    .. Remove all partitions
    .. Reboot into the TrueImage CD
    .. Attach the USB drive
    .. Restore the HPA (hidden partition)
    .. Reboot into the BIOS setup
    .. Disable "D2D" recovery
    .. Reboot into the Linux LiveCD
    .. Mount the hidden partition
    .. Rename AUTOEXEC.BAT to AUTOEXEC.BAK
    .. Unmount the hidden partition
    .. Change the filesystem type from "ID: 12 hex (18 dec) Compaq Setup" to
    "ID: 06 FAT32"
    .. Unhide the partition
    .. Set it active
    .. Reboot (into that previously hidden partition)
    .. Run "ACER\TOOLS\MBRWRDOS install ACER\TOOLS\RTMBR.BIN"
    .. Rename AUTOEXEC.BAK to AUTOEXEC.BAT
    .. Reboot into the Linux LiveCD
    .. Change the filesystem back to "ID: 12"
    .. Hide the partition
    .. Create two new FAT32 partitions of equal size; one primary (C: Acer),
    one logical (D: Data)
    .. Set the second FAT32 partition "C:" to active
    .. Reboot into the BIOS setup
    .. Enable "D2D" recovery
    .. Reboot
    .. Press "-F10"
    .. Initiate the recovery procedure
    .. Reboot
    .. Endure the usual Windows "Welcome" crap
    .. Wait for the Acer Setup program to finish installing drivers and
    Shovelware
    .. Shut down and box-up the Laptop ready for shipping

    Between backups; restoring; research; trial-and-error; editing
    partitions; reboots; the recovery process; and punching various pieces
    of furniture, the whole process took a full 24 hours.

    Tell me there's an easier way.

    Certainly I could have avoided this if I'd had the foresight to back-up
    the MBR separately, but then I /assumed/ that TrueImage had done that
    (never make assumptions). Oh well.

    But the convoluted; proprietary and secretive nature of this recovery
    process, and the entire Windows platform in general, made this
    unnecessarily difficult and time consuming. Had this been a purely Linux
    system, the process would have been trivial, but as it is - I wasted a
    full day on this nonsense.

    Even if this had been a purely /Windows/ system, any number of things
    can cause the MBR to be overwritten, and then I'd be back in the same
    predicament.

    This leaves several questions:

    .. Where is the official documentation for the process of restoring
    Acer's proprietary MBR?
    .. Why isn't MBRWRDOS.EXE and RTMBR.BIN provided on the recovery discs?
    .. Why doesn't Acronis TrueImage back up and restore the MBR?
    .. Why doesn't Acronis TrueImage support Linux LVM?
    .. Why does Acer ship laptops with such outdated backup software?
    .. Why does Norton Ghost need pre-existing partitions to work?
    .. Why doesn't the recovery procedure from /discs/ work in exactly the
    same way as the D2D method; restore /everything/; and not require
    re-registration with Microsoft?
    .. Why does DOS/Windows need "hidden" partitions?
    .. Why can't the standard Windows MBR handle HPAs, and why is there even
    a need for a custom MBR to handle the recovery process?
    .. Why can't OEMs simply ship /proper/ Windows CDs with their PCs,
    instead of this "recovery disc" rubbish?

    Honestly, backing up my *whole Linux network* is easier than this. How
    backing up and restoring just a single /laptop/ can be so difficult,
    defies belief.

    Welcome to the wonderful world of proprietary software.

    --
    K.
    http://slated.org

    ..----
    | 'When it comes to knowledge, "ownership" just doesn't make sense'
    | ~ Cory Doctorow, The Guardian. http://tinyurl.com/22bgx8
    `----

    Fedora release 8 (Werewolf) on sky, running kernel 2.6.23.8-63.fc8
    19:02:25 up 70 days, 16:38, 5 users, load average: 0.06, 0.02, 0.00

  2. Re: Only Windows could make backup and restore such a nightmare


    "[H]omer" wrote in message news:7g1m95-38s.ln1@sky.matrix...

    Translation - The fool installed linux and grub screwed up his MBR. If he
    had left the laptop alone in the first place none of this would have been a
    problem.

    Once again, linux screws the pooch.



    --
    Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


  3. Re: Only Windows could make backup and restore such a nightmare

    On Fri, 29 Feb 2008 14:18:37 -0500, Troy Kirkland wrote:

    > "[H]omer" wrote in message news:7g1m95-38s.ln1@sky.matrix...
    >
    > Translation - The fool installed linux and grub screwed up his MBR. If he
    > had left the laptop alone in the first place none of this would have been a
    > problem.
    >
    > Once again, linux screws the pooch.


    [Homer] seems to be getting more ignorant by the day...
    Let's see, he has a laptop that has a hardware problem, most likely has
    hosed data all over the place and when he can't back it up he blames
    Windows.

    Yea, that makes sense.

    FWIW I use Acronis Trueimage all the time without any issues.

    It's version 11 Build 8053 for the record.

    Like they say in COLA, "works for me".

    --
    Moshe Goldfarb
    Collector of soaps from around the globe.
    Please visit The Hall of Linux Idiots:
    http://linuxidiots.blogspot.com/

  4. Re: Only Windows could make backup and restore such a nightmare

    On Fri, 29 Feb 2008 19:03:02 +0000, [H]omer wrote:

    Actually, Only Acer could make backup and restore such a nightmare. The
    author even admits the entire issue would have been solved if he hadn't
    been ignorant.

  5. Re: Only Windows could make backup and restore such a nightmare

    On Fri, 29 Feb 2008 19:03:02 +0000, [H]omer wrote:

    > I've just endured what may well be the most frustrating 24 hours of my
    > life, mainly thanks to the extremely convoluted; proprietary and
    > secretive nature of the Windows platform.


    Why? Perhaps because the whole basis of proprietary software is
    predicated on the basis of denial. It starts with denial to you of any
    rights whatever in your purchase.

    But then it goes further, and leads you to forget your denial of your
    consumer rights, so that you become collusive with the denial. It is as
    if you and your denier had become partners in a scheme to deny reality.

    It's a psychological defence mechanism that's employed to get people
    hooked on proprietary software.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial



  6. Re: Only Windows could make backup and restore such a nightmare

    In comp.os.linux.advocacy, [H]omer

    wrote
    on Fri, 29 Feb 2008 19:03:02 +0000
    <7g1m95-38s.ln1@sky.matrix>:
    > I've just endured what may well be the most frustrating 24 hours of my
    > life, mainly thanks to the extremely convoluted; proprietary and
    > secretive nature of the Windows platform.
    >
    > My battle-worn laptop, an Acer Ferrari 4005, was overheating and
    > tripping out, so I arranged a repair with Acer's out-of-warranty
    > service. I did consider just opening the machine myself (it is out of
    > warranty, after all), but I suspect the problems extend further than
    > just being choked-up with dust. I also suspect a floating joint
    > somewhere, as the machine tends to freeze when picked up, or if pressure
    > is applied to certain parts of the case.
    >
    > Because I'd installed Linux (the mere presence of which tends to cause
    > rather uncooperative reactions from Windows service technicians), and
    > also to protect my privacy, I thought it'd be best if I simply "reset"
    > the machine back to its "factory default" state. I had all the necessary
    > restore discs, so I assumed the process would be trivially easy.
    >
    > I couldn't have been more wrong.
    >
    > First of all, due to the overheating problem, it was necessary to
    > balance the laptop on its side, next to an open window. The combination
    > of a moderate wind and freezing temperatures kept the machine from
    > tripping out, although the orientation and its awkward position made
    > typing a pain.


    My nx9010 has connections for a mouse or a keyboard
    (puzzledly, not both), plus one can attach an external
    monitor. No doubt this might have assisted your display
    and/or typing.

    I'm mildly surprised one could not use, say, small
    paperback books, but then it depends on where your Acer's
    "pressure-points" are.

    >
    > Then the fun began.


    FSVO, obviously. :-/

    >
    > Obviously the first thing I wanted to do is back-up both Windows and
    > Linux. I've spent a considerable amount of time setting up both systems
    > exactly the way I like them, so I wanted to image the drive, rather than
    > just back-up data. There are plenty of both proprietary and Free tools
    > for that task, but the mixture of NTFS and ext3 filesystems complicates
    > things somewhat. Certainly "dd" is sufficient to image /any/ drive, but
    > it isn't necessarily the most efficient or fastest method, since it will
    > copy unused blocks, whereas other tools ignore them.


    There's also the issue of geometry; the replacement drive has to be
    compatible.

    >
    > I finally settled on Acronis TrueImage, since I knew from past
    > experience that it was a quality application, and handled non-Windows
    > filesystems well. At least it /used/ to, back when I originally
    > purchased it. Unfortunately Linux development seems to move at a much
    > faster pace than Windows (and its third-party vendors), and apparently
    > even the latest version of TrueImage does not support LVM2, which is how
    > I'd subsequently configured the Linux portion of the hard drive
    > (ironically, in order to make consistent Linux backups with LVM snapshots).
    >
    > So in the end I had to use dd anyway. I used the trick of blanking
    > unused space on the ext3 partition with "dd if=/dev/zero of=delete.me
    > bs=64k; rm delete.me", which facilitates better compression, then I
    > dumped the whole disk - piped through gzip - to a file on a USB HDD. The
    > process was surprisingly quick, and resulted in a 54GB archive of a
    > 100GB disk. Not too shabby.
    >
    > The next step was to secure-wipe the drive (don't want those men in
    > black prying into my private data). For this I used "Darik's Boot and
    > Nuke" (a Linux distro dedicated to the task of secure-wiping hard
    > drives) in "autonuke" mode, which uses the default MoD-Short method. It
    > was obvious this process was going to take a /very/ long time, so I went
    > to bed, and left it to it.
    >
    > When I woke up, I was relieved to see DBAN had completed without the
    > machine tripping out, so I proceeded to the next step. Everything seemed
    > to be going well, but my confidence was going to be short-lived.
    >
    > The first thing I do with any new (preconfigured) system, is back it up,
    > in preparation for any changes I might make to the partitions, etc. I
    > had done this at the time of purchase, and /tested/ the backup with a
    > restore, so I believed there would be no problem restoring those backups
    > now. Apparently, I was wrong.
    >
    > In its original configuration, this machine had a hidden partition (why
    > do partitions even /need/ to be hidden?) on the so-called HPA (Host
    > Protected Area). Since the contents of the HPA were purely for use by
    > Acer's backup software (basically it's the Windows install files, plus
    > third-party utilities), and I already had another backup (using
    > TrueImage), AFAIWC that was just 3GB of wasted space, so I had deleted
    > it and merged the free space into the Windows partition. The reason that
    > I didn't simply use Acer's backup software (a rebranded version of
    > Norton Ghost) in the first place, is that it uses the third partition
    > (an empty partition that occupies the second-half of the disk, labelled
    > "D: Data") as the backup destination, and I needed that partition for
    > Linux. Also, I later discovered that Acer's backup software will not
    > work with NTFS filesystems (the machine came configured as FAT32), and I
    > really wasn't prepared to compromise the security of the Windows
    > partition ... Windows is insecure enough as it is!
    >
    > I had assumed that merely restoring this HPA partition would be
    > sufficient to enable the standard "factory default" restore process, but
    > I had overlooked something rather non-obvious. In order to start the
    > restore procedure, one boots the machine, then presses "-F10" to
    > boot into that HPA and run Ghost (Acer Recovery Tools). The problem is
    > that "-F10" simply resulted in an error along the lines of "invalid
    > MBR" (from memory). Some research revealed that Acer use a custom
    > bootloader to enable access to the HPA, and subsequently start the
    > restore procedure. The all-important custom MBR had been overwritten by
    > GRUB, at the time I installed Linux, and apparently TrueImage does /not/
    > back-up the MBR for some reason, so that bootloader was gone forever,
    > unless I could somehow find a way of rewriting it.
    >
    > Well at this point I decided that the best course of action was to
    > simply use the recovery discs (an alternative procedure which is
    > slower). So I booted up from disc 1 (the so-called "System disc") and
    > followed the prompts. The process seemed to complete successfully,
    > showing a message to the effect of "when the system restarts, the
    > Windows install procedure will begin". Well the system restarted
    > alright, but then stopped abruptly with a message like "No OS: insert
    > system disk". Bugger. This was definitely /not/ going to be easy. It
    > turns out that the recovery procedure had restored the system onto the
    > /wrong/ partition - the HPA - instead of the second partition, where it
    > should have.
    >
    > A second attempt was equally unsuccessful. I decided to simply removed
    > /all/ partitions, then boot from the recovery system CD. This time Ghost
    > produced the error "Invalid destination drive", because apparently the
    > only way Ghost will restore a partition, is if that partition already
    > exists and is formatted with a filesystem supported by the underlying
    > DOS system (i.e. FAT32). Well, I should have expected as much from an
    > *eight year* old DOS application (the copyright message indicated this
    > was a version from the year 2000).
    >
    > A third attempt was partially successful. This time I created just /one/
    > FAT32 partition, and didn't waste any time with the HPA. The restore
    > (from CD) procedure completed, and I rebooted into Windows ... however
    > ... /this/ time none of the drivers or third party utils were installed
    > automatically. Worse still, this time around I was asked to "register
    > with Microsoft", and I /really/ didn't want to travel down /that/ road -
    > things were complicated enough without being "invalidated" by the b0rked
    > WGA procedure.
    >
    > Essentially the /only/ way to truly restore this system to the factory
    > default setting, is to use the "-F10" method, but to do this I
    > would somehow have to restore the mysterious Acer bootloader.
    >
    > So where is this bootloader, and how does one restore it?
    >
    > It turns out the the bootloader is called "RTMBR.BIN" and needs to be
    > installed using a DOS program called "MBRWRDOS.EXE" ... both of which
    > actually reside /inside/ the hidden partition. Now certainly I could
    > mount the hidden partition from a Linux LiveCD, but I was unsure if I'd
    > be able to properly execute the DOS program, even using DOSBox or Wine,
    > assuming I could even install and configure those packages on a LiveCD
    > system at all. I've been lead to believe that running DOS programs, that
    > require low-level hardware access, under emulation generally doesn't
    > work too well.
    >
    > Further research turned up this, which explains the whole convoluted
    > mess in more detail:
    >
    > http://www.notebookforums.com/thread150981.html
    >
    > Essentially, I had to:
    >
    > . Reboot into the Linux LiveCD
    > . Remove all partitions
    > . Reboot into the TrueImage CD
    > . Attach the USB drive
    > . Restore the HPA (hidden partition)
    > . Reboot into the BIOS setup
    > . Disable "D2D" recovery
    > . Reboot into the Linux LiveCD
    > . Mount the hidden partition
    > . Rename AUTOEXEC.BAT to AUTOEXEC.BAK
    > . Unmount the hidden partition
    > . Change the filesystem type from "ID: 12 hex (18 dec) Compaq Setup" to
    > "ID: 06 FAT32"
    > . Unhide the partition
    > . Set it active
    > . Reboot (into that previously hidden partition)
    > . Run "ACER\TOOLS\MBRWRDOS install ACER\TOOLS\RTMBR.BIN"
    > . Rename AUTOEXEC.BAK to AUTOEXEC.BAT
    > . Reboot into the Linux LiveCD
    > . Change the filesystem back to "ID: 12"
    > . Hide the partition
    > . Create two new FAT32 partitions of equal size; one primary (C: Acer),
    > one logical (D: Data)
    > . Set the second FAT32 partition "C:" to active
    > . Reboot into the BIOS setup
    > . Enable "D2D" recovery
    > . Reboot
    > . Press "-F10"
    > . Initiate the recovery procedure
    > . Reboot
    > . Endure the usual Windows "Welcome" crap
    > . Wait for the Acer Setup program to finish installing drivers and
    > Shovelware
    > . Shut down and box-up the Laptop ready for shipping
    >
    > Between backups; restoring; research; trial-and-error; editing
    > partitions; reboots; the recovery process; and punching various pieces
    > of furniture, the whole process took a full 24 hours.
    >
    > Tell me there's an easier way.


    Um...buy a new laptop? ;-)

    >
    > Certainly I could have avoided this if I'd had the foresight to back-up
    > the MBR separately, but then I /assumed/ that TrueImage had done that
    > (never make assumptions). Oh well.
    >
    > But the convoluted; proprietary and secretive nature of this recovery
    > process, and the entire Windows platform in general, made this
    > unnecessarily difficult and time consuming. Had this been a purely Linux
    > system, the process would have been trivial, but as it is - I wasted a
    > full day on this nonsense.
    >
    > Even if this had been a purely /Windows/ system, any number of things
    > can cause the MBR to be overwritten, and then I'd be back in the same
    > predicament.
    >
    > This leaves several questions:
    >
    > . Where is the official documentation for the process of restoring
    > Acer's proprietary MBR?
    > . Why isn't MBRWRDOS.EXE and RTMBR.BIN provided on the recovery discs?
    > . Why doesn't Acronis TrueImage back up and restore the MBR?
    > . Why doesn't Acronis TrueImage support Linux LVM?
    > . Why does Acer ship laptops with such outdated backup software?
    > . Why does Norton Ghost need pre-existing partitions to work?
    > . Why doesn't the recovery procedure from /discs/ work in exactly the
    > same way as the D2D method; restore /everything/; and not require
    > re-registration with Microsoft?
    > . Why does DOS/Windows need "hidden" partitions?
    > . Why can't the standard Windows MBR handle HPAs, and why is there even
    > a need for a custom MBR to handle the recovery process?
    > . Why can't OEMs simply ship /proper/ Windows CDs with their PCs,
    > instead of this "recovery disc" rubbish?


    And why do ordinary people tolerate this sort of thing? Ye gods.

    >
    > Honestly, backing up my *whole Linux network* is easier than this. How
    > backing up and restoring just a single /laptop/ can be so difficult,
    > defies belief.
    >
    > Welcome to the wonderful world of proprietary software.
    >


    --
    #191, ewill3@earthlink.net
    Murphy was an optimist.

    --
    Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


  7. Re: Only Windows could make backup and restore such a nightmare

    Troy Kirkland wrote:
    > "[H]omer" wrote in message news:7g1m95-38s.ln1@sky.matrix...
    >
    > Translation - The fool installed linux and grub screwed up his MBR. If he
    > had left the laptop alone in the first place none of this would have been a
    > problem.
    >
    > Once again, linux screws the pooch.
    >
    >
    >

    Tell us how things would have been different if he had installed a new HD.

    --
    Rick

  8. Re: Only Windows could make backup and restore such a nightmare

    In comp.os.linux.advocacy, Troy Kirkland

    wrote
    on Fri, 29 Feb 2008 14:18:37 -0500
    <47c84eff$0$26089$88260bb3@free.teranews.com>:
    >
    > "[H]omer" wrote in message news:7g1m95-38s.ln1@sky.matrix...
    >
    > Translation - The fool installed linux and grub screwed up his MBR. If he
    > had left the laptop alone in the first place none of this would have been a
    > problem.
    >
    > Once again, linux screws the pooch.
    >


    Of course. Everyone knows Windows will satisfy all of [H]omer's needs,
    using appropriate proprietary software.



    --
    #191, ewill3@earthlink.net
    Useless C++ Programming Idea #889123:
    std::vector<...> v; for(int i = 0; i < v.size(); i++) v.erase(v.begin() + i);

    --
    Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com


  9. Re: Only Windows could make backup and restore such a nightmare

    The Ghost In The Machine wrote:
    > In comp.os.linux.advocacy, [H]omer wrote on Fri, 29
    > Feb 2008 19:03:02 +0000 <7g1m95-38s.ln1@sky.matrix>:


    >> First of all, due to the overheating problem, it was necessary to
    >> balance the laptop on its side, next to an open window. The
    >> combination of a moderate wind and freezing temperatures kept the
    >> machine from tripping out, although the orientation and its awkward
    >> position made typing a pain.

    >
    > My nx9010 has connections for a mouse or a keyboard (puzzledly, not
    > both), plus one can attach an external monitor. No doubt this might
    > have assisted your display and/or typing.


    There are no PS2, or any other legacy serial, connectors on that
    machine (which is odd, because the BIOS thinks there are). Presumably
    one is expected to use USB keyboards and rodents, and I simply don't own
    such a thing. It did come with a Bluetooth mouse, however there is no
    support for that in DOS, such as when running Ghost, or any of the other
    non-Linux recovery tools, for example.

    Side note: given the proliferation of software (even *new* software)
    that still requires DOS access, isn't it more than about time that
    Microsoft updated it? When are they going to release "PowerShell" boot
    disks? I also note with some interest, that Acronis' boot environments
    for their various applications is actually a modified Linux system. Hmm,
    where's the GPL notice and source code?

    There is a DVI connector (with VGA gender-bender) for an external
    monitor, however all of my monitors are gargantuan CRTs that weigh
    several hundred tons each (or so it seems), and I fear they simply would
    not fit onto the meagre windowsill next to the laptop, assuming the
    windowsill could even support the weight. I could have put one on the
    floor, but it was awkward enough typing vertically - without also having
    to lean backwards to view a monitor on the floor. That's assuming I
    survived lifting the monitors long enough to view them, of course.

    > I'm mildly surprised one could not use, say, small paperback books,
    > but then it depends on where your Acer's "pressure-points" are.


    Actually it was more a question of temperature. I needed to face the
    intake fans towards the icy north wind, and those fans are on the
    underside of the case. Anything else resulted in the machine hitting
    90°C within seconds, and immediately powering down.

    [rest snipped for brewery]

    --
    K.
    http://slated.org

    ..----
    | 'When it comes to knowledge, "ownership" just doesn't make sense'
    | ~ Cory Doctorow, The Guardian. http://tinyurl.com/22bgx8
    `----

    Fedora release 8 (Werewolf) on sky, running kernel 2.6.23.8-63.fc8
    23:37:10 up 70 days, 21:13, 5 users, load average: 0.01, 0.03, 0.00

  10. Re: Only Windows could make backup and restore such a nightmare

    Robin T Cox wrote:
    > On Fri, 29 Feb 2008 19:03:02 +0000, [H]omer wrote:


    >> I've just endured what may well be the most frustrating 24 hours of
    >> my life, mainly thanks to the extremely convoluted; proprietary and
    >> secretive nature of the Windows platform.

    >
    > Why? Perhaps because the whole basis of proprietary software is
    > predicated on the basis of denial. It starts with denial to you of
    > any rights whatever in your purchase.
    >
    > But then it goes further, and leads you to forget your denial of your
    > consumer rights, so that you become collusive with the denial. It is
    > as if you and your denier had become partners in a scheme to deny
    > reality.
    >
    > It's a psychological defence mechanism that's employed to get people
    > hooked on proprietary software.


    Ah yes, the propaganda machine at work - expounding the "Intellectual
    Monopoly" indoctrination that we are all criminals, and our penance is
    unquestioning obedience. Fundamentally, we are being punished for a
    crime that we didn't commit, and should not even exist ... and meekly
    accepting that punishment for fear of losing even more of our liberty.

    --
    K.
    http://slated.org

    ..----
    | 'When it comes to knowledge, "ownership" just doesn't make sense'
    | ~ Cory Doctorow, The Guardian. http://tinyurl.com/22bgx8
    `----

    Fedora release 8 (Werewolf) on sky, running kernel 2.6.23.8-63.fc8
    23:53:55 up 70 days, 21:29, 5 users, load average: 0.02, 0.06, 0.06

  11. Re: Only Windows could make backup and restore such a nightmare

    [H]omer wrote:

    > Obviously the first thing I wanted to do is back-up both Windows and
    > Linux. I've spent a considerable amount of time setting up both systems
    > exactly the way I like them, so I wanted to image the drive, rather than
    > just back-up data. There are plenty of both proprietary and Free tools
    > for that task, but the mixture of NTFS and ext3 filesystems complicates
    > things somewhat. Certainly "dd" is sufficient to image /any/ drive, but
    > it isn't necessarily the most efficient or fastest method, since it will
    > copy unused blocks, whereas other tools ignore them.


    Why use proprietary tools to backup your drive when there is a proper native
    linux tool, partimage (http://www.partimage.org/Main_Page) that would have
    backed up both the linux and the windows partitions (although only backs up
    1 partition at a time whereas some other tools such as ghost can do the
    whole drive) and unlike dd it ignores unused blocks.

    It can also use gzip or bzip2 compression on the images created, although
    this obviously makes image creation a lot slower.

    Unlike what you found with Truimage the partimage tool does backup the MBR
    and when restoring gives you the option of restoring a whole partition or
    just the MBR.

    It won't resize partitions during restore unfortunately but has no problems
    as long as destination partition is same size or bigger than the one the
    image was created from (you just waste the extra space if restoring to
    larger partition unless you use other tools to resize it afterwards).

    I've used this tool to backup machines running both windows and Linux to
    external USB drives (It's included with knoppix live CD so I use this for
    both systems to make sure drives aren't mounted or in use during the
    backup) as using DOS based tools to backup to USB tends to be rather
    unreliable on some motherboards due to a mixture of problems with DOS USB
    driver and poor support for large modern drives making the system corrupt
    data on the USB drive.

    When I use it to make a backup I usually manually create images of all
    partitions (together with using sfdisk to dump partition table and dd'ing
    the first sector of the drive to a file) then create a script in same
    directory called restore.sh that can be run later to fully restore the
    drive.



  12. Re: Only Windows could make backup and restore such a nightmare

    Nigel Feltham wrote:

    > Why use proprietary tools to backup your drive when there is a proper
    > native linux tool, partimage (http://www.partimage.org/Main_Page)


    Unfortunately partimage does not yet support LVM. I'd have to manually
    recreate the logical volumes first, before restoring them. I'd much
    prefer a tool that images the whole drive, then restores it later, with
    the minimum of interaction. Other than dd, AFAICT there are no tools
    (either Free or proprietary) currently capable of dealing with LVM.

    However, a quick look at the partimage forums revealed a link to this:

    http://lrs.linbox.org/

    Perhaps the first tool to support automatic LVM backup and restore?

    --
    K.
    http://slated.org

    ..----
    | 'When it comes to knowledge, "ownership" just doesn't make sense'
    | ~ Cory Doctorow, The Guardian. http://tinyurl.com/22bgx8
    `----

    Fedora release 8 (Werewolf) on sky, running kernel 2.6.23.8-63.fc8
    02:00:24 up 70 days, 23:36, 5 users, load average: 0.07, 0.05, 0.08

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