Backup, System Restore, and Complete PC Backup Chat (July 11, 2007)

Chat Topic: Backup
Date: Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Welcome to today’s chat with the Complete PC Backup and System Restore Team team. We will try to answer as many questions as we can today. Participants should type their questions, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.” Those posts will go into a private queue, from which our experts will draft answers and repost questions in the upper window with their answers. (To confirm: if you selected the “Ask the experts” check box when you posted, you don’t need to resubmit.     

 

At this time, I’ll let the experts introduce themselves.

tatsuoy_MSFT (Expert):
Hi my name is Tatsuo and I’m a user assistance writer for the Windows team

Paul [MSFT] (Expert):
I’m a developer on Vista client backup technologies.

Ivan [MSFT] (Expert):
Hello, my name is Ivan and I work on the backup features

backup team [MS] (Expert):
Hi, this is Aparajita & Christine, we work on file backup feature.

jeffpatt_MSFT (Expert):
Hi! This is Jeff and I’m the Supportability Program Manager for backup technologies

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
Let’s get some questions!  We have lots of folks from the product group ready to answer all your questions!

Ivan [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: How do I restore a hard drive signature so that a Complete PC restore doesn’t require me to burn another activation when restoring to a new hard drive?
A: The CompletePC Restore puts back the disk signature when repartitioning and reformatting the disks. However the activation engine keys on the actual hardware, so it may decide it needs to re-activate due to significant hardware changes. CompletePC does not induce or circumvent this process.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
For those just joining us, today’s chat is with the Complete PC Backup and System Restore Team.  To post a question, please type your question, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.”

Paul [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: However, after doing the complete restore, I tried to restore all files for all users and only restore points through 7/4 were listed. All the others were ignored and I had to manually extract files from the ZIP images to get back user data.
A: Yes, this happens because the backup catalog is also restored when you do the CompletePC restore.  Instead of manually opening the zips you could use advanced restore and then select “restore from a backup made on a different computer”.  Then you can point to the backup location. 

Ivan [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: How do I secure the .vhd created by Complete PC ?
A: During backup the vhd files are strongly ACL-ed, so only administrators have access to them. If further protection is needed the best solution is to encrypt the backup target with BitLocker.

Ivan [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: How does Defrag affect Complete PC backup (many sectors change while overall the data on the disk is unchanged)?
A: If many files were moved around by Defrag the next incremental CompletePC backup could be bigger. If this is the first backup then there is no affect, the same amount of data will be backed up.

Paul [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: I have a problem with Out Look Express.  If I receive a graphic from someone and want to forward it on, I cannot do this.  When it is received by the recipient, all they receive is a box with a little X in it.  Can you tell me how to over come this.
A: Sorry, there aren’t any Outlook Express experts taking part in this chat. I’d suggest posing your question to a newsgroup devoted to Outlook and/or XP questions. Thanks.

Ivan [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Hi folks, how is automating the back-up process handled?  Ideally, I’d like to create a back-up process that requires very little user interaction.  Even, having to plugin a HD might severely drop our  usage, are there network backup options in Vista?
A: The file backup can be scheduled to backup the data to a network share. If the scheduled backup can connect to it, everything should just work, even without an user logged on the machine.

backup team [MS] (Expert):
Q: Using Complete PC Backup, can I discard old backups, or is the backup always only growing in size as changed sectors are added? (I’m backing up to an external hard disk)
A: you can discard the previous backups, but if you have the previous backup and decide to another backup, the backup is incremental. So yes, if you do incremental backup the backup grows in size until it hits 30% of the disk space, for which older backups will then get deleted.

Ivan [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: How do I do Complete PC backups from multiple machines to the same external hard drive ?
A: CompletePC supports this. You need to connect the hard disk to every machine that needs to be backed up. When the backup runs it will create a directory with the machine name on the hard disk.

Paul [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Hi & thanks for meeting to chat.  Is it possible to use a command line argument to backup a specific path or paths, E.g. c:usersjsmith*.* as was possible with backup selection lists in NTbackup?
A: Sorry there is no way to do this with Vista Backup, however we are considering this feature for future versions.

backup team [MS] (Expert):
Q: Hi & thanks for meeting to chat.  Is it possible to use a command line argument to backup a specific path or paths, E.g. c:usersjsmith*.* as was possible with backup selection lists in NTbackup?
A: You can select a drive or a network location as your backup target but not a specific path.

Ivan [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Do File Backup and/or Complete PC Backup work/integrate with Windows Home Server, or is Home Server using a completely different system to backup the home PCs?
A: Home Server uses a different backup technology, because it has to support Windows XP machines as well. The Vista backup solutions can backup to a share on the home server.

jeffpatt_MSFT (Expert):
Q: Do you intend to provid an option for an end user to create a recovery partition (similar to what OEM’s can create), so I don’t have to reboot from CD whenever there is a problem.

A: You can create a recovery partition (WinRE) by performing the steps documented on the following site:

<http://technet2.microsoft.com/WindowsVista/en/library/61e08b15-82d8-46bd-a5f1-7947193e6ed81033.mspx?mfr=true>



Ivan [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Will a scheduled backup wake a machine from a suspended state?
A: No the scheduled backup will not wake the machine. In general waking by a scheduled task is possible only on certain type of newer hardware.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
For those just joining us, today’s chat is with the Complete PC Backup and System Restore Team.  To post a question, please type your question, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.”



backup team [MS] (Expert):
Q: How does Complete PC Backup work with BitLocker Encryption? Can I restore a BitLocker system in one step? Is CPC Backup aware of BitLocker partition?
A: The CPC backup is aware of bitlocker encryption. When you backup a bitlocker encrypted drive we suggest you back it up on a bitlocker encrypted drive so the data is still secure.  you have to go one more step after restoring the bitlocker encrypted drive in that you will have to encrypt the drive again.

Ivan [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Is it possible to create a bootable restore disk that will run unattended?
A: It may be possible to create a customized restore disc that scripts the command line tool (wbadmin.exe), but we don’t have tool that does all of this together, you will need to combine by hand the different tools.

backup team [MS] (Expert):
Q: Re: Q[6] – So when 30% of my external HD is reached incremeantal backup will start to discard old states? Can I increment this limit? I’m using the external hd for backup purposes only.
A: No, unfortunately you cannot. We’ve identified this problem and are investigating ways to address this in the future.

backup team [MS] (Expert):
Q: is there any option to degrade my operating system?
A: Can you be more specific?

Ivan [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: How do I create a restore that is hardware agnostic?
A: I am assuming this question is targetted at CompletePC restores, since the file backup is always hardware agnostic.

The backup can be restored only on compatible CPU and same type of firmware (BIOS vs. EFI). Also the IDE controller has to be handled by the same driver. We are working on a future release to support restoring on a different IDE controller.

backup team [MS] (Expert):
Q: Does Complete PC backup support backup of the complete harddisk image onto an external USB-Storage?
A: You can do Complete PC backup to external USB hard drives

jeffpatt_MSFT (Expert):
Q: RE the WinRE suggestion… Note I said END USER! Isn’t it possible to just make it a simple install option?
A: Q: RE the WinRE suggestion… Note I said END USER! Isn’t it possible to just make it a simple install option?

A: This option doesn’t exist today but we’re investigating this feature for future releases.

 


Paul [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: can you create a system restore that will not be overwritten by future auto restore points?
A: Sorry, there is no direct way of doing exactly this.  The closest would be to use CompletePC to take a full backup  of your system.  The difference is then when you restore you restore everything on your computer, including documents, music, pictures, etc.

Ivan [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: When will it be possible to restore to a smaller physical disk, as long as it is big enough to hold the backup up partitition? I’ve had problems restoring an 80Gb drive to another 80Gb drive from a different manufacturer, due to formatting differences
A: We may consider this in a future release. For Vista the hard disks at restore time need to be at least as big as the corresponding hard disks at backup time. The reason for that is the current automatic assignment algorithm becomes incredibly complicated and undeterministic.

Wendy [MSFT] (Moderator):
For those just joining us, today’s chat is with the Complete PC Backup and System Restore Team.  To post a question, please type your question, select the “Ask the experts” check box, and click “Send.”

Paul [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: Asumming that the hardware supports wake from suspend for Media center video recording, will it also wake from suspend to perform a scheduled backup?
A: Even with this hardware support we will not wake the machine to perform a backup.  This is done because on notebooks we should not wake the machine.  There is no way to only wake if on AC and not on battery.  Hopefully future hardware will support this.

 

backup team [MS] (Expert):
Q: Does Complete PC Backup has the utility to create bootable CD/DVD and store complete harddisk image backup onto the CD/DVD?
A: We support complete PC backup onto a DVD, but currently do not have plans to make that DVD bootable. Most backup would not fit on one DVD, so it is not clear that it would be a benefit to most users.

Ivan [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: I’d like to archive backup sets and image backups. Is it safe to copy the directories with standard tools to offline storage?
A: Please make sure you copy the mediaid.bin file from the root of the hard disk as well. Also when copying backup sets please make sure you copy all of the backups inside of it. The restore process may require any of them to be able to get a file from an incremental backup.

If backup is on CD/DVD, then it cannot be restore directly from hard disk/network share location where it was copied. It needs to be put back to separate medias before restored. However if you just copy the CD/DVDs with some CD burning program that should work fine.

Paul [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: I want to create a restore partition.  I’ve done so but I need to use a cd to kick it off.  Is there software that will allow me to create the partition and run from that partition.  F6 and it auto restores to the default image you saved?
A: An OEM may provide this functionality.  We also make available the Vista AIK (search microsoft.com) that may help you out here.

Paul [MSFT] (Expert):
Q: …folders & pix to the 2nd HD. I am having great difficulty retrieving & restoring the backed up info. Can anyone assist? Thank you.
A:

Which tool did you use to backup your files?

Ivan [MSFT] (Expert):