Documents and Settings

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    This concerns Windoze 7, and my efforts to back it up.

    I tried to, using Linux, to make a copy of my complete C: drive into a NTFS folder on another drive, and my favorite tool for this is rsync. I did delete the hiberfil.sys file before the backup, but other than that I was expecting a reasonable image of my working C: drive. (Also deleted all but the most recent System Restore points.)

    I found the Documents and Settings folder did not get copied — rather jut a file by that name had been created on the destination. And at that point, there were big differences in the reported sizes of the C: drive and the destination image (with the original much bigger).

    In Windoze I didn’t seem to be able to really access that D and C folder, and somewhere I read about the need to adjust the security settings on that folder. After I made some changes there, I was able to (temporarily) surf a little deeper into that folder, but not really very successfully.

    I reran my rsync, and now the destination is much bigger than the original, but the new D & C folder still did not get everything that was in the original.

    Anyone have any good answers as to what should be done in backing up, specifically in regard to Documents and Settings folder?

    I am sure what I have done would not restore properly if I were to try it.

    Nick Francesco
    Nick Francesco

    Generally speaking, no operating system is good at backing up its own open files. Most simple backup systems assume you’re backing up things you created – documents – and not the operating system itself. Many don’t even back up hidden files. Also, backing up a whole drive to the same drive means you could get caught in a loop that backs up what you’ve already backed up to your backup!

    If you want to back up the entire operating system as well as the documents, you should do it to a separate (internal or external) drive. Windows 7 has Backup and Restore, but Macrium Reflect Free is free for personal use, and lets you either clone or image.



    I realize that Windoze does a poor job for backups! This was true in the days of DOS, and it still sucks.

    I have more than one internal SATA drive. The C: drive is on one, another is used for non-essential overflow, and also a temporary place for things like backups.

    I was using Linux to backup the Windoze, and specifically the rsync tool which I find great for that, generally.

    I will check out the Macrium program and see how it does. But, I don’t know now if my playing with the security settings on the folder have created problems, or not.



    Hmm, can’t think of a reason why rsync would have a problem in this case. Maybe do to permissions. Are you running rsync as root? A lot of the examples I’ve seen with rsync and NTFS use the “–modify-window=1” option which has something to do with handling the timestamps on NTFS. You could also try “–size-only” which ignores modification time and just looks at file size when determining which files need copying.

    If you don’t get it working, and since you’re copying the entire partition anyway, you could always use dd. Not the fastest method but it works. Something like:
    dd if=/dev/sda1 | gzip -c > /mnt/backup/sda1.img.gz



    Another option would be something that backs up whole partitions but knows enough about the underlying file-system to ignore unused sectors. Something like ntfsclone (part of ntfsprogs) or partclone.

    I liked partimage but it appears to be a dead project and while I’ve used its NTFS mode before, it’s marked as experimental.

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