OS backup & Deployment

Hello experts

I need to backup my os drive. I running a Xp pro P. 4 with sp2. My main concern is being able to use this backup to quickly configure new machines I come across from now and then, without the need to install all the software from scratch.

I installed a separate HD in my pc and used Retrospect to restore my backup (Which is my whole os drive) on to it. Then I tried to boot from it (by disconnecting my regular drives) but got a message stating "NTLDR missing".

Is it possible to restore an operating sys. using a backup program on to an installed HD and then boot off it? What am I doing wrong?
WezzzeJoAsked:
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wparrottConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Although Retrospect claims to duplicate a hard disk, it doesn't do a bit-for-bit copy which is what you need to do in order to boot the other drive. A program such as Symantec's Ghost or Drive Image will do the type of backup you are looking for.

See this link:  http://www.symantec.com/sabu/ghost/ghost_personal/

You mention that you want to be able to use this backup to quickly load the OS and software on other computers. This method won't work, unless the hardware inside the other computer is identical to the one you are backing up. You will have to use a tool such as MS's SysPrep to prepare an image before trying to deploy it to other computers. There is an alternative that may work, but I've never done it. Here the link:

http://techtutorials.com/tutorials/xp/xpreboot.shtml

Basically, it involves re-installing Windows XP via the boot cd and letting it 'repair' the installation.

HTH...
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WakeupSpecialist 1Commented:
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WezzzeJoAuthor Commented:
Wow – u broke a major belief I had – that I'm able to take my os HD and use it on other pc's – that is with other hardware configurations – I was aware the differences will cause prob's but I figured that windows will be able at least to load, even without all proper drivers…

Just out of curiosity – how do u know retrospect doesn't backup bit for bit and ghost / drive image do?
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WakeupSpecialist 1Commented:
I know htat Ghost does bit for bit.  I use it all the time.  However Wparrott is right, you will probably need to run the repair on the system.  In order for it to run properly or even load.  You can't just clone a drive and hope it will work on different equipment.  However if the equipment is the same....then most of the time you will have no problems.
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wparrottCommented:
> Just out of curiosity – how do u know retrospect doesn't backup bit for bit and ghost / drive image do?

Went to http://www.dantz.com and did some reading up on the product. In order to do a restore using this product, you have to reinstall Windows, then install Retrospect, then restore. If it were a bit-for-bit image, you wouldn't need to re-install anything. Ghost and Drive Image both allow you to restore from a backup without the need to re-install the OS or any other application. Both also create a bootable disk that you use to restore the image, Retrospect doesn't offer that, as best I can tell.

HTH...
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