[It’s still a great story, and I’ve now upgraded to the latest release Acronis True Image Home 2011 — I love the new interface, too.]
Even though I reinstalled Windows, Acronis True Image Home 2009 and my image backups of C: and D: came to my rescue.
When I planned my backup and reinstall, I used ATIH 2009 to back up my C: and D: drives (my two partitions on my one physical hard drive in my computer) onto my external hard drive. I also routinely and daily copy any changed files from my hard drive across my network to another computer. That way, I know I’ve got the latest available for backup from a system problem or a user error.
I also have ATIH 2009 set to make an incremental image (an image of just those files that have changed since the last full or incremental image) every three (3) days.
I’ve found that for a large amount of data, it is far faster to restore a bunch of folders to the hard drive by using one of the features of Acronis True Image. I’m able to "mount" an image as if it were another hard drive. Well, not just that, if the image has multiple partitions (e.g., C: and D: in the same image), each of them is mounted as a drive.
At that point, I’m able to access the drive using Windows Explorer, so I can copy anything I want to copy to the hard drive.
That’s a neat feature. But, what makes it so much better is that it copies everything. I was surprised at all the little utilities that stored their configuration data in their folders within C:\Program Files or in C:\Documents and Settings\[myUserID]\Application Data\ or in C:\Documents and Settings\[myUserID]\Local Settings\Application Data\.
If you haven’t noticed the Application Data or Local Settings folders, and if you look for them and don’t find them, that’s because Windows has them set as Hidden by default. You can easily set Windows Explorer to Show Hidden Files and Folders
In my planning for the backup, as I wrote in my emai newsletter last week, I had copied a lot of data to a third partition on my notebook computer. Unfortunately, Windows XP’s installation routine messed up all those plans. If there’s an existing partition on the hard drive, even at the end of the drive (as this one was), Windows XP will name it C: and will proceed to install Windows on a new partition that it will call D:.
Unfortunately, some of the Windows files will still get installed on C:, which, in my case, became unbootable. Arghhh…. The only solution was to delete the partition so that XP could install itself on a new partition that was the only partition (at that time) on the hard drive and lose the data I had backed up onto that partition.
After I reinstalled Windows XP and reinstalled some of my more commonly used programs, I began to find that programs like Replicator stored crucial data in the Applications Data or Local Settings folders.
When I need the absolute latest files, I hook up my external hard drive (remember, I mainly use a notebook, so the external drive isn’t usually set up or plugged i), start up Acronis True Image Home 2009 and mount the backup image as a drive. If earlier backups will do, I just start up ATIH 2009 and then browse across the network to my earlier backup image. I mount it as a drive and then I can copy files and folders across the network.
As a practical matter, I install the program I’m missing from CD or I download the latest version from the vendor. Then, I install. That’s when I use rename the newly installed configuration file (that came with the program) and start up ATIH 2009 to copy the configuration file with my data from the image flle.