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restore system

Posted on 1998-08-13
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Last Modified: 2010-04-26
What are all the files one should make a copy of in order to
restore a pc to its original configuration when installing
new hardware or software.  If the new hardware or software
doesn't work I may want to revert back to what I had.
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Question by:jrhinely
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8 Comments
 
LVL 7

Accepted Solution

by:
dankh earned 600 total points
ID: 1020595
Jr,

    Your best bet is to get CleanSweep by Quarterdeck.  This program will monitor software installations and keep a log of what was changed and added to your computer.  You then can uninstall the program 100% later on.
 
www.quarterdeck.com/

As for hardware, all you have to do is remove the device in question and remove its drivers.  EAsy as that.
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LVL 2

Expert Comment

by:kinkajou
ID: 1020596
Ultimately, all of the files needed by software and hardware are kept in the Windows\System and Windows directories. The only problem you may run into is if the software or hardware doesn't put the system files into these directories, which some don't. Also, some specific files will be located down the path from the Windows directory. Addittionally, files will be loaded in the various program's directory. To be safe: zip the entire hard drive. To be pretty safe: zip the Windows directory. To be sorta safe: zip just the Windows\System and Windows directories.
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Expert Comment

by:cmcgee
ID: 1020597
For win95

Your System.dat, user.dat, win.ini and system.ini contain a majority of your machines hardware and software settings.

The System.dat and user.dat are your registry files and also backed up as system.da0 and user.da0. They are hidden in the windows directory.

If you were to backup the 4 files I mentioned earlier and restored them when necessary, you would effectively revert back to the state your system was in at the time of the backup.

Also, when resoring the System.dat and the user.dat, be sure to overwrite the syste.da0 with the system.dat as well as overwrite the user.da0 with the user.dat. If windows sees that these files  do not match you will get a registry conflict.

There is also a file hidden in your root directory called system.1st . This file is the registry file that was on your system right after you first installed 95 after the first reboot. If you copy this over to your windows\system.dat and system.da0, it will set your machine back to the point of installation where it starts to go through the hardware detection.

Hope this helps,
Craig
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LVL 9

Expert Comment

by:rmarotta
ID: 1020598
What about same-named DLL, VXD, etc. files?

It's a tough call, because even Window does it to you with upgrades!

I've seen CleanSweep cause its share of problems.

The only sure-fire way to do what you want is to have a full backup of your last desired setup.

Regards,
Ralph

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Expert Comment

by:kinkajou
ID: 1020599
So, doesn't it depend on what jrhinely is trying to backup. Saving a registry file (system.dax) won't help if the necessary DLL's are missing from the system. So, if you're not removing the DLL's, backing up the registry files is good, but if you are removing the DLL's, which may happen if you are reinstalling an operating system, you'll need all of the DLL's and software files backedup.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:dankh
ID: 1020600
Jr,

   I agree with Ralph, have a full backup of your entire harddrive before the installation.  However, the next best way is CleanSweep.
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LVL 7

Expert Comment

by:cmcgee
ID: 1020601
It look like I misunderstood the question. I was thinking he was trying to get back to the point of the original 95 install minus any added software.

With all the DLL's and VXD's it would be tough to do a restore without a complete backup of the windows & windows\system directories.

Have fun,
Craig

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Expert Comment

by:kinkajou
ID: 1020602
I suppose it really depends on what jrhinely wants to do, whether that person is re-installing everything or just updating a device with a new driver. CleanSweep is great for the updating a driver while re-installing everything requires some subset of backing up the hard drive I mentioned earlier.
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