File backup tips & tricks

Posted on 2005-04-14
Last Modified: 2010-04-03
I fix computers for people that are having virus problems etc, back up their data, re-partition their hard drive, then re-load software and their files and get everything working again. Are there any "tips and tricks" to backing up files. I typically take the hard drive out and set it up as a "slave" in my technician computer, but I usually get some time of permission error along the way that stops the copy process. Is there a way to ensure that I won't have permissions problems like that. I know it's a pretty general question, but any input will be appreciated.
Question by:scottdfreer
    LVL 22

    Expert Comment

    Perhaps Ghost would be just the thing.
    LVL 16

    Accepted Solution

    This is my new favorite repair utility. I've used Knoppix for data/system recovery, but it has trouble with NTFS. Use the bartpe program below to create a bootable cd. If you have access to a Windows XP pc, can install the program on that pc and have access to a burner on that pc. It will create a bootable iso image that will let you access a NTFS formatted drive (xp). When creating the image it has the option to burn straight to a cd, if desired. Install bartpe and run bartpe. Select build, wait while it builds the iso, and then burn it to a cd. Stick the cd in the crashed pc and boot. Pay attention, you will have to press a key to boot into it or select the cd rom as the boot device. If you get into the bartpe environment, follow the instructions in the links or try what's below.

    After booting into bartpe, use the go button on the lower left and run the plugin/program a43. This is the program to access your c: drive. From here you can move files super easy. Bartpe ignores permissions and will allow you to copy your files off the hard drive or move system files like the SAM, SECURITY, DEFAULT, SYSTEM, and SOFTWARE (very critical) files with ease. Sounds like you want to do the latter.

    You will want to browse to the c:\system volume information\_restore{somecrazylongnumber}\ Find the rdp folder with the highest number or second highest. The highest means the latest or time it worked last. You can view them by date and select one from when the laptop was last working.  Within these rdp folders there is a snapshot folder with multiple files. The following five are what you're looking for. (You will have to rename them when they are copied to the c:\windows\system32\config folder.)
    _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SAM   will be renamed as SAM in the config folder
    _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SECURITY will be renamed as SECURITY in the config folder
    _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SOFTWARE will be renamed as SOFTWARE in the config folder
    _REGISTRY_MACHINE_SYSTEM will be renamed as SYSTEM in the config folder
    _REGISTRY_USER_.DEFAULT will be renamed as Default in the config folder
    Copy them to the c:\windows\system32\config folder.
    Rename them as DEFAULT, SECURITY, SOFTWARE, SYSTEM, and SAM (rename these files before copying over them, like default.bad security.bad, etc.) Reboot. If you still cant login, at the very least, you can boot back into bartpe and copy your data off the hard drive through the network or slave it to another system.

    You can find Bart's Windows PE disk here -  
    A full set off instructions for Barts PE disk on this site -

    Also if you load the files from c:\windows\repair it is basically a fresh install. These files are created when the OS is first installed. You would have to go through the work of reinstalling all programs or going into the rdp folder i described above and then back into the system recovery console again

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