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OS on it's own hard drive?

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June 10, 2009 6:05:24 PM

I see a lot of good advice on this site, thanks to all. this sit is now in my favorites.
Objective #1: When my windows OS crashes, or I upgrade, I do not want to have to reload all my programs, ie Adobe cs3, office 2007 etc.
Objective #2: System speed is very important.
Objective #3: Frugality is not that important to me, time and the elimination of stress is.

My theroy: drive #1 small fast SAS hard drive for the windows OS, and maybe temporary files too.
drive #2, medium sized and fast SAS, for all of my programs, ie Adobe, office, etc
drive #3, Very large hard drive, SATA 300 Back up for all of my stuff, videos, music, projects, etc.
What do you think? I am sick of having to reload all of my programs because of an OS failure, or because of a computer part upgrade which causes windows to crash. this has happened to me several times over the last 15yrs. I dread the words, "we need to wipe your hard drive" aaarrrgggg%$#*(%#$@.

More about : hard drive

June 10, 2009 6:17:06 PM

If the OS crash, then all the registry, dll and other stuff installed by your programs is lost, meaning you'll have to reinstall everything anyway.

June 10, 2009 6:36:28 PM

It sounds like what you need is a backup. If you are running Vista, it includes a backup feature that is actually useful (unlike those included in previous MS OS's). You can also purchase a WD MyBook or WorldBook and use the included WD software for backup, which works well.

If you already have an external HD or even an internal HD that is large enough to dedicate to backups, you can also use a nice little program called Drive Image XML available here: http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm from Runtime Software to create backup images.

If you choose to re-install Windows, or upgrade to a future version (such as Win7), you can simply choose to upgrade rather than re-format and re-install. I don't ever recommend doing this though, as there are almost always unforseen issues with upgrading rather than starting fresh when you move to a new OS. Hope this helps!
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June 10, 2009 6:38:44 PM

I would say to eliminate the hassle of having to reinstall Windows + Programs when something goes wrong is just to have a drive for backups and image your system every so often so if something bad does happen, you can just reload the image.
June 10, 2009 7:11:19 PM

IMHO There are several solutions to accomplish what you are asking and all of the previous posters are all correct. It is a matter of how far you want to go on this pursuit of speed and redundancy. If you want to go down the path of what you have described as to a proposed set up then you will not be protected in the event that the OS has an issue. Your best bet would be to do as fpoama states and "just to have a drive for backups and image your system every so often so if something bad does happen, you can just reload the image." Image the drive before any changes are made and you will be good to go.... Personally I use Acronis software and a separate hard drive to store it all..... I can’t tell you how many times that I have successful restored a system with it…..
June 10, 2009 7:38:41 PM

Thanks for your fast responses.
I am very good at many things in life, computer OS loading stuff is not one of them...

I still do not understand why I would need to reload my programs that are on a different hard drive than the OS.
I like to build my own computer, and upgrade it. But sometimes windows destroys it because of the paranoia of Microsoft thinking I am pirating, which I am not!

Anyhow, from what I am hearing, If I get the blue screen of death, I need to wipe all my hard drives? but not the backed up files?
June 10, 2009 8:00:52 PM

firefire said:
Thanks for your fast responses.
I am very good at many things in life, computer OS loading stuff is not one of them...

I still do not understand why I would need to reload my programs that are on a different hard drive than the OS.
I like to build my own computer, and upgrade it. But sometimes windows destroys it because of the paranoia of Microsoft thinking I am pirating, which I am not!

Anyhow, from what I am hearing, If I get the blue screen of death, I need to wipe all my hard drives? but not the backed up files?



The reason it won't help you to load your programs onto a HD separate from the HD holding your Windows installation has to do with the way Windows handles installation and programs. Microsoft has seen fit to hold onto an abortion they call a 'Registry' sometimes also called a 'Hive'. Every time a program is installed, or a system setting is changed, information is changed, added to, or removed from the registry. The registry is what allows programs to share common libraries and API's provided with Windows. The registry is always found in the c:\Windows\system32 folder (Windows installation path).

Here is one possible solution that may work for you, without having to re-install all of your programs, while keeping all installed programs on a drive separate from the drive holding the Windows install.

Step one - Click Start>Run, then type in 'regedit'. This will allow you to access the registry. You'll see a split-pane window open, with folders in the left hand pane. Make sure 'My computer' is selected at the top of the list of folders. Now click on 'File', then click 'Export'. This will allow you to save a copy of the current registry information as a file, which can be re-loaded later. Make sure to save this on a separate storage device such as a USB flash drive or a CD.

Step two - Use the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard to create a transfer file for your current profile. To do this in XP, click Start>Programs>Accessories>System Tools>Files and Settings Transfer Wizard. When prompted, choose 'Old Computer'. For the next set of options, choose 'Other', and choose a place to save the current profile (user account). The wizard will save the contents of My documents, as well as desktop settings, power settings, and preferences.


After having done these two things, you now have a backup of your registry and your profile. At this point if you completely wipe out your Windows installation, then re-install, keeping all of the data on the other hard drives (such as programs, videos, music, etc.) exactly the same, you *should* be able to simply import the registry backup into the current registry, then use the backup made by the Files and Settings Transfer Wizard to restore your profile from the previous Windows installation.

It's a lot of work, but it would accomplish what you were looking for. Backups are infinitely easier though!
June 10, 2009 8:34:10 PM

Thank you a lot!
I am always trying to learn more about computers, but there is only so much time in life.
Thanks for your time.
a b G Storage
June 10, 2009 8:48:45 PM

To protect from drive crash and avoid long reinstall i image my drives, and or specific folders.

For drive imaging (i.e. drive c:\, data folders d:\data\) some of your options are:
1) For 64BIT OS(vista-64): Acronis True Image. It supports 64bit and 32 bit OS. It can image entire drive, specific data folders. You can save your image file in another drive, DVD DISCS, Blue Ray Disc, USB disc.
2) For 32 Bit OS option1) will apply too. Norton Ghost, Drive-Image will work for XP and older 32 bit OS.

I have an image file of freshly installed OS, Application Softwares without any drivers. I can load it on any PC in ~ 20mins.

I also have an image files of OS, Drivers, Application softwares.... It takes ~ 20 mins to reload my PC.

My computer makes a backup of my important data files 1x/week and my OS drive 1x/week. I'm using acronis to this automatically image my drive/files @ 2:00AM 1x/week.

My Data files and save-game files are on separate drive.
June 10, 2009 9:24:53 PM

Just keep an image of a fresh (and activated) install. I keep an image of a fresh vista install on my external drive and I usually use some tool in XP to restore it. I don't have an image of my XP partition since it doesn't take me too long to do a fresh install on that anyway :D . You can also use backup programs to automatically back up your settings and files. I prefer to burn related files onto DVDs (and before that CDs) such as having a disk of game patches and others relating to various programming endeavors ^_^
January 10, 2010 3:46:36 AM

vh1atomicpunk said:
It sounds like what you need is a backup. If you are running Vista, it includes a backup feature that is actually useful (unlike those included in previous MS OS's). You can also purchase a WD MyBook or WorldBook and use the included WD software for backup, which works well.

If you already have an external HD or even an internal HD that is large enough to dedicate to backups, you can also use a nice little program called Drive Image XML available here: http://www.runtime.org/driveimage-xml.htm from Runtime Software to create backup images.

If you choose to re-install Windows, or upgrade to a future version (such as Win7), you can simply choose to upgrade rather than re-format and re-install. I don't ever recommend doing this though, as there are almost always unforseen issues with upgrading rather than starting fresh when you move to a new OS. Hope this helps!



I am interested in knowing if it is feasible to export an existing registry to an internal hard drive [new ] within the same OS versions. Example: Existing OS, Windows 7 RC { registry, data, programs } exporting all information from this OS, including the existing registry to a newly installed Hard drive with the newer Windows 7 RTM. I do not want to do an upgrade, nor do I want to do a clean install, cause you will surely have to reinstall all your programs as they have their own registry values. So, is it possible to transfer the registry values of your existing programs to a new hard drive and maintain the functionality of those programs from the existing OS to the newer OS of the same build { Utimate to Ultimate } You can kindly respond to John Haskins, jhaskins75@comcast.net Thank you
February 17, 2011 10:31:03 PM

What you are asking about IS a clean install, and then to port over all issues/problems from a previous install (if this is taking place on the same machine I am assuming). That would be a waste of time.
February 18, 2011 12:02:28 AM

vh1atomicpunk said:
What you are asking about IS a clean install, and then to port over all issues/problems from a previous install (if this is taking place on the same machine I am assuming). That would be a waste of time.


I was able to do a work around with the present windows 7 RC, by installing the RTM upgrade, but changing the build number of the present RC. I did not notice any degrade in performance, and I retained all programs.
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