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Unanticipated ASR Behavior

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  • User profile image
    earnshaw

    The following concerns NTBACKUP, the now fully deprecated tool, that has shipped with Windows since the days of Windows NT.  Scenario:  slow HDD of 120GB capacity is fully backed up using ASR Wizard.  And successfully restored to a pair of new, fast 300GB HDDs. 

    So, once ASR is finished restoring, one finds that ASR has formatted DRIVE 0 with one 120GB partition with everything in it and one enormous unallocated partition with nothing in it.  There is an unwritten rule in Windows XP that says you may not extend the partition that contains boot files and/or system files, which, of course, the 120GB partition contains.  Also, you may not extend a partition that is not DYNAMIC.  Also, you may not extend a partition that was ever a boot partition and was ever BASIC even though it is now DYNAMIC. 

    I wanted to partition DRIVE 0 as one 300GB partition, but NTBACKUP says no.  Windows XP says no.  Waahhhhh!  I wanted to mirror DRIVE 0 and DRIVE 1, but the parental units (Windows XP, NTBACKUP) say no, no, no.

    Apparently, the only way to do what I want to do with the software I have is to format DRIVE 0 and install Windows XP fresh.  Then install other software from installation media I may or may no longer own.  Then manually restore e-mail and address books.  And on and on.  The File Settings and Transfer Wizard having been relegated to the category of  something that MAY work or MAY NOT.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    earnshaw wrote:
    The following concerns NTBACKUP, the now fully deprecated tool, that has shipped with Windows since the days of Windows NT. 


    First I've heard of this. Pray tell, what's the replacement, and is it available for NT5.x?

  • User profile image
    Steven J Ackerman

    Hmmm - perhaps something like Partition Manager ?

    Microsoft really never has had a backup strategy or software, just re-install the OS, all of your apps and data on your new HD...

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Steven J Ackerman wrote:
    Microsoft really never has had a backup strategy or software, just re-install the OS, all of your apps and data on your new HD...


    That's really not an option on servers.

  • User profile image
    earnshaw

    Vista has two backup utilities.  One creates an image of your system that you can use to restore your system in its entirety to the state it was in at the time of the snapshot.  (This takes care of registry settings, address books, e-mail, user profiles, and the odd assortment of third party software you may have installed.)  The other allows you to save some set of files that you consider critical.  Of course, neither solution is compatible with NTBACKUP.  On two separate occasions, the Mumbai Branch of Microsoft Product Support Services has informed me that problems with NTBACKUP are "outside the scope" of their responsibilities.  In other words, a new generation of developers is now working at Microsoft.  They took one look at NTBACKUP and said, "What is this dreck?"  Then went about creating its replacement.

    Incidentally, I was trying to mirror drives on Windows XP, only to discover that the feature is permanently on offer yet grayed out under all conditions.  That's a kind of false advertising that comes from relying too heavily on discoverability to patch holes in Help.  In depth reading of the foundation texts reveals mirroring is available only on Windows 2000 Server, Windows 2000 Advanced Server, and Windows 2000 Datacenter Server.  Also, one might imagine, Windows 2003 Server, and Windows 2008 Server.  The command line DISKPART utility actually spells out the reason why mirroring doesn't work:  It isn't supported on Windows XP.  The GUI silently makes the feature unavailable for reasons unstated.  I wish a grayed out menu item could be right-clicked to get an explanation why it cannot be used.

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