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 Post subject: System Restore
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 10:44 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:18 am
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Location: London, UK
Had a major computer disaster recently.
Furthermore, system restore didn't work. But then it NEVER works for me!
So 1. What are your experiences with system restore?
2. Do any of you use any proprietary restore software (free or otherwise)?
If so what do you advise?


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 Post subject: Re: System Restore
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 11:54 am 
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I have kept System Restore disabled for years. I use Clonezilla Live to clone my entire drives into a dedicated back-up drive.

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 Post subject: Re: System Restore
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 12:20 pm 
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Never used System Restore, but I keep it enabled (have no idea if/how it would work, so I don't put much trust in it). Because most of my apps are portable and I don't play with terabytes of data, I just use Zback for regular backup/synchronization jobs to an external drive. I also catalog my drives with Cathy so I know what file goes where. In case of a complete system failure, I realize it will take me quite a while to get it all working again the same as before, so it's not a very good approach for most people, but it is the best for me.

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 Post subject: Re: System Restore
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 2:42 pm 
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I started using System Restore back when I upgraded from Window 7 to Windows 8. I am currently using Windows 10 and it works perfectly. Recently, I got hit by a virus and was able to go successfully back to last restore point. Other than some policy keys that the virus added to the registry (found with the Emsisoft Emergency Kit), I was able to restore my system to it's proper state. The only thing I don't like about System Restore with Win 8+ is that there is no Manager to selectively remove old restore points; you can either remove all of them, or all but the last restore point. Maybe someday, Microsoft will provide a utility to selectively remove them.

Also, System Restore will leave all of your personal folders in tact (My Documents, Pictures, Videos, Music, etc.). If you had files in your Downloads folder when you created your restore point, System Restore will put them back as of the restore point.

BTW the System Restore Manager posted here viewtopic.php?p=78470 does not work on Windows 8 or above. The tool has been around sine 2011 and works great on Win 7. I have written to the author, asking if the program can be updated for Win 8/8.1/10. I will post the response as soon as I get it.

Hope this helps...


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 Post subject: Re: System Restore
PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 3:50 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:37 am
Posts: 104
XP & Win7
I use System Restore (aka Restore Points, System Check Points) almost daily
I even add it to the Start Menu on systems I own and others I maintain.

I find that, I don't need to manage the Restore Points, but if I want a quick look I use CCleaner,
which I always have to hand for its cleaning functions

As the CCleaner screenshot shows
Before I test run anything I think could possibly be harmful or leave residues, I
create a backup point This usually takes <15 seconds,
and name it so as to log what was installed when ('a.' is shorthand for 'ante' 'before')

I typically only have it 'Monitoring' my C: drive
and I have the capacity set to Max (12%) of the drive capacity

As I regularly create and restore back to 'Restore Points'
I have a high degree of confidence of it working when a real major (ie virus) issue arises
(like lifeboat drills effectively detect holes in wood)

Also when an out of DiskSpace situation arises I can consider taking the step of
stopping the monitoring on a drive and getting 12% back as a last resort

Very rarely, like twice in a decade, I have had restores fail (Virus each time)
and have had to roll back down the sets until one worked.
Once one of these restores has succeeded and we are past where the poison set in
I have cleared them all by turning off Monitoring on the drive and rebooting
Then turning back on and starting monitoring again, and creating and restoring from fresh Initial restore point

One small warning:
After a system restore, on the 'Restoration Complete' screen there is sometimes a small additional field
Quote:
Some folders were renamed to preserve their files. To view the list ofrenamed folders, click the link below
[Renamed files/folders]
Its easy 'click-through' and overlook this step but a quick look at these (and a screen capture maybe) may be a clue to any problems

Years ago I thought I read that there was some sort of problem with deleting RestorePoints.
I don't believe that to be true, but I avoid doing it anyway. (Who knows- it may be true under some rare circumstance but that could be where I'm at - Maybe I'm superstitious or paranoid :? )

A Big Plus of course is it can be run from BOOT in "Safe Mode with Command Prompt"
then run C:\Windows\system32\restore\rstrui.exe

I know my usage is excessive
but for most users it is a lot of security automatically done with minimal effort and overhead.

So yes I'm a fan of System Restore and Restore Points
I recommend using it :)


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 Post subject: Re: System Restore
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 3:15 am 
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SYSTEM wrote:
I have kept System Restore disabled for years. I use Clonezilla Live to clone my entire drives into a dedicated back-up drive.

    This is also what I did, up to the point where I started running Windows from a VHD. Now, I just backup the VHD file.


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 Post subject: Re: System Restore
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 6:18 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 19, 2006 9:18 am
Posts: 360
Location: London, UK
Some very interesting responses so far!
nickoftime and NickR have virtually no problems with System Restore . Yet together with a very large number of users (from googling) I cannot use it.
There must be some explanation for this but we're obviously not going to get it from Microsoft or elsewhere.

I was interested in SYSTEM's mention of Clonezilla Live.
My particular problem was one where I had overwritten a system file. Windows could not boot even in Safe mode.
How does Clonezilla cope with this situation?


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 Post subject: Re: System Restore
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 7:11 am 
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Location: USA
So I have been using CCleaner for several years now and I never looked at the 'System Restore' option. Sometimes, I can easily overlook the obvious :)

Thanks to NickR for calling this out - it solves my problem with deleting old restore points. I appreciate the kind feedback.... You guys are the best!


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 Post subject: Re: System Restore
PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 12:39 pm 
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JohnW wrote:
I was interested in SYSTEM's mention of Clonezilla Live.
My particular problem was one where I had overwritten a system file. Windows could not boot even in Safe mode.
How does Clonezilla cope with this situation?


Easily. Clonezilla Live is a live CD. It doesn't care if Windows can't boot. :P

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 Post subject: Re: System Restore
PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 8:45 pm 
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Hi JohnW, here is my two cents, :wink:

I do not use system restore.
I found it unreliable and can conduct to major disaster when it come to recover a PC. IMHO, system restore is supposed to be a bullet proof time machine for PC and it is not. Image created by system restore itself, virus, malware and so much more factor (Including defect hardware or in failure...) can damage the potential 'restorable' operation or even the ability of the PC to use this time machine so easily broken. Also, all know that with time windows performance degrade and need maintenance quite very often in an attempt to keep the operating system to standard which is not easy. Some people will just reinstall the whole OS in frustration. That is also the reason so many tools like the fantastic CCleaner was born. In fact we are collecting software for an OS that is so fragile in the long run, it is impossible to know all the maintenance tool available just for windows. Who's fault? So the best way to go (IMHO) is to clone the HDD into another. They are hardware and software solution for this. Then keep this Clone away till it's necessary to clone again, ideally inside the target PC (for desktop PC) but disconnected from power and connection to the motherboard . When the Hardware or software fail I just disconnect the guilty HDD and connect the clone (5 minutes work max with eventual BIOS boot modification). If it's a hardware failure and it happens, I replace the drive and it become the new clone. The only thing I do is usually a regular external backup of file and settings I absolutely do not want to lose. And this type of file are never located into the system drive. Using portable software avoid definitely difficult adaptation of the clone when it become the main one in term of software not included when imaging the clone. Portable software or painful re-installation of sometime a huge list of software needed for your purpose... choice is yours.

So here is how I proceed usually before a disaster could occur (from scratch, checklist sort of):
(1) Installation of windows on main system disk, drivers when completed. (Clean Install)
(2) Windows update that are necessary are downloaded and saved somewhere else for later use. Usually downloaded from another or the older PC when I upgrade.
(3) Windows update are installed regarding what I want to update.
(4) Installation of software that cannot be portable.
(5) Document and settings relocated onto a secondary drive (to backup as often as needed in the future)
(6) Portable software goes on the secondary drive. Registration of windows.
(7) Clone the system HDD while it is still in the state of the art and windows to it's maximum standard.
(8) Disconnect the clone.
(9) Start to use the PC as usual and wish I will not have to use the clone


I have done this for a long time now (from year 1981 till now) with all sorts of PC. And disaster occurred and will occur. That is based on my experience with hardware and software. Hardware will fail, software will crash eventually for a reason or another. This check list I follow saved me from major disaster situation without failing. I hope that it might inspire people to follow this system and help them.

Best trying to save the OS first?
If you are caught, why not using the tools contained into the Hirenboot CD: http://www.hiren.info/pages/bootcd. Of course you must have download prior been caught or able to access another PC to download and create the CD. Hirenboot CD can operate in DOS like environment or boot a Unix Distros with access to the internet and windows tool type like to help solve your problem(Called MiniXP and looks and feel like XP). It can also be use for various reason with windows itself. Take a look at the list of tools it provides, it's huge and various for various disaster that might occur to any Windows PC. Including tool to backup and access to the registry of a non boot able PC. Great tools, great add-on to a distros CD/DVD collection. The main goal of Hirenboot CD is to provide tools to AVOID and SOLVE situation where you have been caught in a disaster scenario. They are plenty Distros disk out there up for grab (Do not believe me? Check this list alone: https://livecdlist.com/) , but this one has answered lots of my customer needs when it come to save an OS. There is a downside to it, some tools are not intuitive and might confuse beginner. I have nothing to do with Hirenboot CD, BTW. :wink:
Alternative/Complementary to Hirenboot CD: Ultimate Boot CD here: http://www.ultimatebootcd.com/.

Pff done.

But this is just my opinion.

Have a nice day, :D

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 Post subject: Re: System Restore
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 11:56 am 
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Posts: 7377
Location: US, Texas
JohnW wrote:
Had a major computer disaster recently.
Furthermore, system restore didn't work. But then it NEVER works for me!
So 1. What are your experiences with system restore?
2. Do any of you use any proprietary restore software (free or otherwise)?
If so what do you advise?

What to do?

Storage is cheap. Buy or borrow a big external hard drive and copy over whatever files possible from the drive. You can probably get them from the computer in Safe Mode or with Hiren (as tactictoe mentioned). Then, once you have the files copied over, reinstall with a fresh copy of Windows. You will reinstall all programs you had before and will likely need to re-do all the settings for the installed programs. Hopefully everything you had saved to that drive went into the C:\User\USERNAME\Documents and Desktop folders but you might have to dig around a bit for some files you had.


What about System Restore?

Ultimately, you should stop trusting Windows to keep its house in order. One of the reasons I got into portable software is because of the failure of that OS to stay alive over long periods of time. I do frequent backups (with tools mentioned by above posters) along with a whole OS reinstall about once a year.

Remember that you are only as good as your last backup.

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 Post subject: Re: System Restore
PostPosted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:02 pm 
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I forgot to mention in my checklist and I add it recently. Due to Microsoft aggressive attitude with windows 10 upgrade/update (people are 'yelled at' to migrate to windows 10, so to speak), as in Windows 10 upgrade/update as moved to 'RECOMMENDED UPDATE' change automatic update to download but do not install. Or you might go to bed with windows 8.1 and wake-up to realize Window 10 is on its way to be installed. A very unfriendly way and debatable attitude from Microsoft to force for migration to their New Os, not the object of this topic but worth mention IMHO.

Personally, I remove any part of windows 10 going into my windows 8.1 installation. I just refuse to go with it for now but on VMWare. Don't ask me if I like Windows 10 there is a topic in this forum, very agitated btw : http://www.portablefreeware.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=21700. Indeed I want to sit in a 'GURU MEDITATION' 7FFF type like and 'that is all I am gonna say about it'.

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 Post subject: Re: System Restore
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 3:05 am 
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Joined: Sat Apr 18, 2015 11:02 pm
Posts: 95
here's my 2 cents:
I have 3 partitions:
1. System (with irretrievably installable stuff)
2. Apps (Portable of course whether natively, pafed, yaPed or 5Virtualized- Mostly freeware of course)
3. Data: The whole mess of stuff organized (from pictures to critical projects).

SYSTEM gets imaged as soon as it's freshly installed, optimized and configured.
APPS get backed up externally periodically.
DATA is synced externally when needed by category.

So, when problems arise namely virus, hardware failure, lamer (me) misuse, etc. I get it all back to working order in a matter of minutes.


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 Post subject: Re: System Restore
PostPosted: Sat Feb 13, 2016 8:12 pm 
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xor wrote:
here's my 2 cents:
I have 3 partitions:
1. System (with irretrievably installable stuff)
2. Apps (Portable of course whether natively, pafed, yaPed or 5Virtualized- Mostly freeware of course)
3. Data: The whole mess of stuff organized (from pictures to critical projects).

SYSTEM gets imaged as soon as it's freshly installed, optimized and configured.
APPS get backed up externally periodically.
DATA is synced externally when needed by category.

So, when problems arise namely virus, hardware failure, lamer (me) misuse, etc. I get it all back to working order in a matter of minutes.

Very similar 2 cents, Hardware is cheap these days... so Yes this also a very good solution to me.

One logic would suggest:
If the hardware (HDD, or other media) can fail and the software can fail what would you protect first?
The answer is clear: the hardware contains the software. (HDD)

How? Clone, image, external backup.
What would be the fastest way to recover: Clone (Hardware solution), image (Software solution: needs to re image a drive)
These two solutions are very good.

In the end it all depends on how worth your data. Backup, you were told... did you ever do it, do you maintain these backups?

Some will go 'paranoid' and says: the clone might fail too, the image might fail too...
Unlikely, but possible. Where does the 'paranoia' ends then?

Note on hardware: Every electronic exposed to current will fail. So it it not a matter of IF it fails but WHEN will it fails. Unfortunately there is no way to determine it, just estimation regarding engineering factory test. And how to know what is best then: get informed, read article, read forum, google for info. The more you are informed the more you can make your point regarding purchase of hardware. In case of manufacturer of classic HDD (mechanical), did you know they are only two manufacturers of HDD on the planet: Western Digital (Germany) and Seagate (Japan).

Conclusion:
In my humble experience, if your clone and/or image are stored in a safe place, it is more than unlikely they will fail when needed. Unfortunately they also have a life duration, which is quite long though, but does anything does not have a duration of life? I have an old Amiga that still running with his all 100MB HDD; yes, you read well 100 MB. What is the point? The point is: there is no sure way to be safe but if you need to choose the less subject option to failure when it comes to recovery: Clone and image are the way to go, IMHO.

Have a nice day

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