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    From:    Bob Weir  ---  An experienced XXCOPY user
    To:      XXCOPY user
    Subject: A very quick recovery scheme for Win9X/ME
    Date:    2004-10-06
        This article is written for personal users of W9x/ME to help
        them appreciate and select the appropriate level of security
        for their standalone single PC and then pick a suitable scheme
        to effect recovery from a variety of PC failures.  It describes
        several options, all using XXCOPY, that can deliver quick
        recovery from a corrupted PC and which need a minimum of
        routine housekeeping.  For those with no previous knowledge
        of XXCOPY (or DOS), details are included on how to create
        a bootable recovery hard disk and the associated cloning
        icons and files for use on a single W9x/ME PC.
        It was first published together with data on achieved
        performance and illustrations (making it an easier read)
        in Micromart (UK) Issue 799, 2004-05-13.  This article is
        not easy to use from a screen (too long winded) but if the
        topic triggers serious interest after a quick scan, I
        recommend printing it out for recursive reading (perhaps as
        an installation guide!).
    The XXCOPY Bootable Clone Solution To the "OOPS" and Downs of a PC User:
        In a stand-alone Windows computer; a hard drive catastrophe,
        a propagating software fault, virus infection, incompatible
        new software or human error are terminal disasters that,
        eventually, afflict most users.  When this happens, the
        ability to revert quickly to an earlier condition is
        invaluable. There are several good proprietary solutions
        available but this low cost XXCOPY scheme is a custom
        self-build that can be tailored to suit individual needs.
        Restoring from a backup kept on CD-R, DVD-R, tape, etc.
        (or via a network connection) will need first a clean
        operating system running on the PC that has just failed!
        That takes time and knowledge.  Re-installing everything is
        a daunting task that can usually be avoided by taking an
        evening to implement a recovery scheme. Much quicker than
        starting with re-installation, is re-starting from a second
        hard disk carrying a recent BOOTABLE CLONE (not a compressed,
        proprietary or partial image).
        A BOOTABLE CLONE makes possible recovery to a working PC,
        running the last backup of the entire drive in about three
        minutes.  With IDE hard disk costs approaching $1/GB, putting
        a bootable clone on a second hard disk is now a cost-effective
        solution for fast re-writeable backup of whole drives.  The
        level of security needed for your system and data determines
        where to keep the clone and how long recovery will take.
        A second drive on the same disk is of limited use since it
        cannot protect against hard disk failure and recovering from
        other failures is a slow process.
        By using two internal fixed IDE disks, recovery from an HDD
        failure or drive corruption is achieved by changing the
        start-up sequence in the BIOS to re-boot from the clone disk.
        With two hard disks and one (or both) in removable caddies,
        recovery is even simpler, just a physical swap of disk
        location(s).  Storing a removable disk separately will make
        possible data recovery after PC theft or destruction
        (using your replacement new PC!).
        My preferred solution with W98SE/ME uses a second disk in
        a 5-1/4" removable rack (with fan for fast disks) fitted
        into an external firewire connected enclosure plus an
        identical empty 5-1/4" removable rack connected to IDE1
        Master.  Normal running boots from the internal disk on
        IDE1 Slave with the second disk in the external 5-1/4"
        enclosure.  Recovery is by changing over the location of
        the removable second disk.  To minimise the risk of
        corruption, only power the external cloned disk when needed.
        If you are paranoid about loss of data or corruption you can
        fit a third hard disk in the "spare" caddy and alternate the
        second and third disks in the external rack.
        The only software needed with W9X/ME is the XXCOPY multipurpose
        copying utility for Windows from www.xxcopy.com (free for
        personal use with one PC).  This generous licence applies
        both to fitting a new hard disk and, at present, to routine
        The diligent (e.g. daily) running of a short (incremental)
        re-cloning job is the only ongoing precautionary task.
        The scheme is widely applicable but may not be compatible
        with some proprietary system modifications or with software
        registered to specific disks.  Although XXCOPY will copy WinXP
        files, it will not create a BOOTABLE CLONE of an XP system,
        that task requires an XP cloning utility (under development
        as XXCLONE).
        Identifying and backing up all "critical" OS and personalised
        files etc. is desirable but is too complicated for non-expert
        users.  The simple alternative is entire or holistic backup
        of the drive(s) but most "copy all" backup schemes for an
        entire drive are too slow for routine use.  Cloning with the
        incrementing + DECREMENTING scheme described here will be quick
        enough for most users if run over an IDE, Firewire or USB2
        connection.  USB1 is only tolerable for occasional use.
        Routine re-cloning is safer with a desktop icon and a C2D
        batch file (avoids typing errors that can wipe clean a whole
        drive).  Remember that if any backup scheme is scheduled,
        is run in background, or otherwise automated (like RAID1)
        it may produce a corrupt copy of a corrupt drive.  Where a
        problem is known to be present and cannot be fixed - shut
        down and recover to the last clone.  Re-clone as needed to
        sustain two sound, bootable, disks.
        Microsoft's XCOPY cannot duplicate a drive but XXCOPY copes
        with attributes, long and short filenames, filetime
        differences and the decrementing action needed when
        routinely updating the content of a clone disk.  Now for
        the up front DIY tasks on hardware and software.  If you
        are happy about fitting a new ATA/IDE drive in your PC,
        installing new software and typing a few command lines,
        the result will be more dependable W9X computing.
        The main task is to prepare separately a second hard disk
        and create an active formatted partition on it.  The XXCOPY
        technical bulletin www.xxcopy.com/xxtb_010.htm describes
        this task.
        Given the choice, use a twin of the first hard disk.  Check
        the partition data in the original disk and prepare the
        second disk with the same partitions, file system and format.
        Avoid using more than two logical drives per disk (i.e. just
        one drive in the extended partition).  Remembering that
        C and E are on the running fixed disk with D and F on the
        second fixed disk is simple enough for W9X (and the user!)
        to keep track of changing drive letter allocations when they
        are swapped.  If you use one fixed and one external disk
        this will probably be C and D on the fixed, E and F on the
        To prepare the second hard disk, disconnect the power lead
        from the original master (or CS) disk, jumper the new disk
        as a slave (or CS on grey if you use an 80 wire ATA66/100
        cable) and connect it.  Prepare a W9X start-up diskette and
        boot from it (you need to add FORMAT.COM to an ME start-up
        diskette by copying it from C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND).  From the
        A:\> prompt, run FDISK and create twins of the partition(s)
        on the original disk.  Set the new primary partition to active.
        FDISK will not create a second active primary partition,
        so this second disk has to be prepared separately in the PC.
        Now format the second disk for file access.
        At the A:\> prompt, run
            FORMAT C:
        Label this volume to identify that it is on disk2, e.g.,
        DISK2-PRY.  Format any drive in the extended partition and
        label it, e.g. DISK2-EXT.  Re-connect the power lead to the
        original master disk, fit the new disk after setting the
        jumper to suit the location (sharing with an ATA33 device
        may slow routine cloning).  Check that the D (F) drive(s)
        on disk2 are recognised.  To use two fixed hard disks,
        the BIOS must include a start-up sequence that can start
        from "D" (the second disk) and, preferably, supports
        To use a pair of removable disks on one 80 wire ATA66/100
        cable, set the disks to CS and fit the original disk to the
        end (black) master connector and the new disk to the middle
        (grey) slave connector.  To use one fixed with one removable
        disk in an external enclosure put the fixed disk as the
        slave and a second (empty) 51/4" rack as the master on the
        primary IDE connector.  In most PC's, you cannot create the
        active partition on a disk when it is in an external USB or
        Firewire connected enclosure, it has to be done on an internal
        IDE connection.
    The Initial Cloning:
        After creating an active primary partition on the second
        disk, re-boot from the original drive.  Check the volume
        names and drive letters for both disks (the primary partition
        drive letter on an external USB or FW disk may not be D).
        Install XXCOPY in C:\WINDOWS\COMMAND\ on the original hard
        disc.  Re-start in safe mode (hold CTRL during start-up).
        Run SCANDISK and DEFRAG on C.  In safe mode open the MSDOS
        prompt, check that the destination drive is D, and, if so,
        at C:\WINDOWS> type:
           XXCOPY C:\ D:\ /CLONE /X:WIN386.SWP
        This excludes Win386.SWP from the clone but do not worry,
        it is created afresh on every start-up.  Repeat this /CLONE
        command line and do a refresh run (much quicker).  Repeat
        if necessary to get a no error cloning, then re-start normally.
        XXCOPY does not copy the master boot record (MBR), volume
        name or volume serial number.
        Now test the clone.  Swap the original with the second disk
        and re-start.  With two fixed disks, change the start-up
        sequence from "C" or HDDO in BIOS features set-up to one
        that will start from "D" or HDD1, save and re-start.
        The PC will now boot from the new disk with the drive in
        its primary partition becoming Drive C and the drive in
        the primary partition of the original disk becoming Drive D
        (or E with two drives on both the fixed and the external disks).
        Some third party multi boot and multi partition software can
        cause atypical changes and problems here.  If the clone is
        okay, swap back the disk(s) (or return the BIOS start-up to
        its original setting).
    The Backup Routine:
        To refresh the clone routinely, it is safer to use a batch
        file that clones C to D and a desktop icon.  For an adequate
        version of these, open the MSDOS prompt box and at C:\WINDOWS>
          COPY CON XXC2D.BAT
          XXCOPY C:\ D:\ /CLONE /X:WIN386.SWP /FF
          /^Z (that's CTRL+Z)
        At C:\WINDOWS> type
        and create a new desktop shortcut to C:\WINDOWS\XXC2D.BAT.
        Right click this shortcut icon; select properties, then
        program and tick close on exit.  To make selection easier,
        exchange the MSDOS icon for an Xx icon from XXCOPY or XXPBAR.
        Re-name this shortcut C2D.  For a second drive, create
        a similar E2F batch file and icon.  With two drives on an
        internal hard disk and two drives on an external hard disk the
        batch files should be C2E and D2F.
        The (now redundant) Restore function in ME has "always in use"
        files that slow the cloning process, adding /X:_RESTORE\ to
        the second command line above will exclude these files.  For
        faster re-cloning exclude multiple items from the clone by
        listing them in an OMIT.TXT file and replacing /X:WIN386.SWP
        with /EXOMIT.TXT in the second line of the XXC2D batch file.
        Use Notepad to create your own custom OMIT.TXT file with one
        item per line and save in C:\Windows for example:
        The crucial task of recovery comes last in any backup process
        but needs "proof testing" at the outset.  Starting-up from
        the bootable clone by changing over the removable disk(s) or
        the fixed disk start-up sequence will recover to (not partially
        restore from) a previous backup.  No other supplementary
        procedure or hardware is required.
        After an enforced recovery, if the original hard disk is not
        ruined, run a virus scan and check the work done since the
        last re-cloning (it will be on drive "D" (or "E") after the
        disk changeover).  If everything is healthy, copy the work
        back to "C".
        That's it!
        Since it faithfully copies a cluttered source, cloning won't
        completely eliminate re-installs but you only re-install
        when you want to, not when you have to. Take great care,
        /clone clears all unmatched existing data from the destination
        drive so check the source and destination meticulously before
        cloning (or use the /BU switch instead of /CLONE).
    Bob Weir  (Click here  to contact via Yahoo Group.)
        Note:  This article was contributed by Mr. Bob Weir who uses
               XXCOPY on his home computers.
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