Do Automated Cross-Platform Network Backups The Easy Way, Part 1 - page 4
I've never been a fan of restoring Windows from backup. An average Windows system accumulates a staggering amount of junk, no matter how careful you are, and performance degrades over time. So you might look at a bare-metal restore as an opportunity for a fresh start from clean media, rather than recycling the gormy old bits.
You're thinking about re-applying all those updates and service packs, and re-installing applications, and re-entering all those blimey registration codes and clicking all them silly EULAs which are bogus make-work designed to punish you for being their customer, and fighting back tears. (Actually EULAs are beyond silly- take the time to read them. You'll be amazed at what you are "agreeing" to.) Especially since Microsoft started making users jump through more hoops and requiring personal visits from the mother ship just to get updates and service packs. It's as though they don't want you to restore your system, but to dash out and buy a new one.
Weep not, for thanks to cloning software you can avoid that particular slough of despond. If you want to spend anywhere from $69 to thousands of dollars, depending on whether you are cloning workstations or servers, and how many, commercial Windows cloning programs like Acronis True Image or Symantec LiveState Recovery (which used to be Norton Ghost) work splendidly well, but dang they are expensive. You might as well just buy a new system. An excellent free alternative is g4u, or "ghost for UNIX." g4u will clone any partition containing any filesystem. It doesn't make silly artificial distinctions between servers and workstations. It is easy to use, but slow, because it relies on the dd command. But at least it's not hours of toil, it's just putting it to work and then finding something else to do until it's finished.
Next week we'll set up our excellent BackupPC server, and learn a couple of tips for getting the most out of g4u.
- Samba-3: Windows file and directory ACLs is a fascinating discussion of Windows and UNIX ACLs, common Windows errors, and how to manage the two
- Personal Folders Backup
- g4u - Harddisk Image Cloning for PCs
This article first appeared on Enterprise Networking Planet, a JupiterWeb site.