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C:\Windows\System32\SAMSVR.dll Bad Image File

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March 20, 2012 7:10:58 PM

So, I'm new to the forums but have always found this site a wonderful place to find information that is worthy of the time it might take to search it. That being said, I am going to ask my question as I am at a loss.

Yesterday my computer popped up a message in the middle of my son playing a game and it said, "DLL C:\Windows\System32\SAMSVR.dll is not a valid windows image file" Ok... so I know what is going on, the file is missing now and I get that... but the problem is that the computer will now not boot into Windows. It also will not boot into safe mode, safe mode with networking etc. It gets me to the windows page with the scanning bars and then the message pops up and you can do nothing but click ok and then you sit at a gray screen. Ctrl/Alt/Delete will not take you out of the program, you cannot get access to Windows and obviously, you can't get into DOS then either.

So, I have re-inserted my Windows disk, gone into Bios and set it to CD boot only and went to repair... obviously once there, I get the "which disk do you want to repair" and I click 1 because it's the only OS I have on there and then enter for the admin password which brings me to C:\Windows. Once in there, there isn't much that I can do. It's not like they have left us with old DOS commands that you use to be able to use and search things out, run exe's ect. So... where do I go from here?

I can't log into Windows, so I can't load the file from anywhere... the CD doesn't allow me to repair any further than the C:\Windows or even cd c:\ to bring me to the main hard drive, I can't go into safe mode to pull the file from somewhere and add it. I REALLY, REALLY don't want to format the drive and start again... I guess I could possibly use my hard drive as a slave and try to get into the windows file (which I will try after I post this) and put the .dll file back where it needs to be but if my guess is right, as I have done this a few times before... even hooked up as a slave, I won't have access to the Windows files... only the most basic user related files.

Any help on this would be highly appreciated as I have college thesis on that drive and like a douche bag (you'd think I would have learned) I hadn't forwarded the files to my laptop yet and I didn't transfer them to my additional drive (I hadn't done my back up for the week yet when this happened).

My computer is protected (so how I lost the file or it got removed I don't know) and I had just ran a malwarebytes scan on it, adware and cleared it's cookies and temporary files as I do all the time and I never open files from my email that I don't know about... so this issue (though having a lot of computer knowledge) kind of bit me in the butt unexpectedly.

Thank you for anyone who attempts to help me with this problem. I was hoping that I could find something in my research that would have avoided my having to ask as I like to figure these things out myself but I seem to be stuck.
March 20, 2012 7:53:10 PM

adodgegirl said:
So, I'm new to the forums but have always found this site a wonderful place to find information that is worthy of the time it might take to search it. That being said, I am going to ask my question as I am at a loss.

Yesterday my computer popped up a message in the middle of my son playing a game and it said, "DLL C:\Windows\System32\SAMSVR.dll is not a valid windows image file" Ok... so I know what is going on, the file is missing now and I get that... but the problem is that the computer will now not boot into Windows. It also will not boot into safe mode, safe mode with networking etc. It gets me to the windows page with the scanning bars and then the message pops up and you can do nothing but click ok and then you sit at a gray screen. Ctrl/Alt/Delete will not take you out of the program, you cannot get access to Windows and obviously, you can't get into DOS then either.

So, I have re-inserted my Windows disk, gone into Bios and set it to CD boot only and went to repair... obviously once there, I get the "which disk do you want to repair" and I click 1 because it's the only OS I have on there and then enter for the admin password which brings me to C:\Windows. Once in there, there isn't much that I can do. It's not like they have left us with old DOS commands that you use to be able to use and search things out, run exe's ect. So... where do I go from here?

I can't log into Windows, so I can't load the file from anywhere... the CD doesn't allow me to repair any further than the C:\Windows or even cd c:\ to bring me to the main hard drive, I can't go into safe mode to pull the file from somewhere and add it. I REALLY, REALLY don't want to format the drive and start again... I guess I could possibly use my hard drive as a slave and try to get into the windows file (which I will try after I post this) and put the .dll file back where it needs to be but if my guess is right, as I have done this a few times before... even hooked up as a slave, I won't have access to the Windows files... only the most basic user related files.

Any help on this would be highly appreciated as I have college thesis on that drive and like a douche bag (you'd think I would have learned) I hadn't forwarded the files to my laptop yet and I didn't transfer them to my additional drive (I hadn't done my back up for the week yet when this happened).

My computer is protected (so how I lost the file or it got removed I don't know) and I had just ran a malwarebytes scan on it, adware and cleared it's cookies and temporary files as I do all the time and I never open files from my email that I don't know about... so this issue (though having a lot of computer knowledge) kind of bit me in the butt unexpectedly.

Thank you for anyone who attempts to help me with this problem. I was hoping that I could find something in my research that would have avoided my having to ask as I like to figure these things out myself but I seem to be stuck.

Gaming sites are famous for handing out more than games. Like clicking on links on facebook. But I'm sure you know that. I would think it is a bad nasty rootkit. Doing your slave thing, and scanning it there might do it.
On a working computer, Kapersky has a rescue CD or (USB if you prefer) to download and boot from and run their scan for infections. Plan on several hours from the time you download, burn a CD or USB, and complete the scan.
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March 20, 2012 9:15:30 PM

ksiemb said:
Gaming sites are famous for handing out more than games. Like clicking on links on facebook. But I'm sure you know that. I would think it is a bad nasty rootkit. Doing your slave thing, and scanning it there might do it.
On a working computer, Kapersky has a rescue CD or (USB if you prefer) to download and boot from and run their scan for infections. Plan on several hours from the time you download, burn a CD or USB, and complete the scan.



Thank you for the reply. The thing is, we don't play "online" games... it was a Sim's Game that has been on the computer for years. Otherwise, that would have been one of my first thoughts. Also, this isn't a virus that I am dealing with right now, though there might be some malware on there right now... (there always seems to be no matter if I only go on my college site or just open the net)... I'm dealing with a .dll file that has gone "missing"... interesting how they manage to just run off I think...! I will look into the rescue Cd though through them, though unless it can magically provide the specific .dll file that I am missing and execute it, It might be worthless... but hey! worth a shot right? :) 
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March 21, 2012 5:18:47 AM

adodgegirl said:
Thank you for the reply. The thing is, we don't play "online" games... it was a Sim's Game that has been on the computer for years. Otherwise, that would have been one of my first thoughts. Also, this isn't a virus that I am dealing with right now, though there might be some malware on there right now... (there always seems to be no matter if I only go on my college site or just open the net)... I'm dealing with a .dll file that has gone "missing"... interesting how they manage to just run off I think...! I will look into the rescue Cd though through them, though unless it can magically provide the specific .dll file that I am missing and execute it, It might be worthless... but hey! worth a shot right? :) 


Your error message indicates the file is corrupted, not missing (IMO).
If you can get to a command prompt, and Assuming XP is installed on your C drive and in the windows folder, XP Keeps copies of the 3498 files it cares about in this folder:

c:\windows\system32\dllcache

On a healthy system, Windows File Protection keeps track of the 3498 protected files and quickly and silently replaces any files in the list that comes up missing from the backup folder. Windows File Protection will not replace files that have somehow become corrupted or overwritten with bad files.

You can just copy the backup files from the dllcache folder into the folder where the suspicious or missing files are.

Using Explorer, navigate to the c:\windows\system32\dllcache folder and individually copy the backup files from there and then navigate to the folders where the suspicious or incorrect files are and paste in the copied files.

Depending on your installation, you may also find copies of the files in this folder:

c:\windows\ServicePackFiles\i386

Respond in the affirmative if you are asked to replace or overwrite the existing files.

Test your functions now and then reboot your system to be sure the changes "stick", and then resolve any remaining issues.
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March 21, 2012 3:34:23 PM

967985,4,514026 said:
Your error message indicates the file is corrupted, not missing (IMO).
If you can get to a command prompt, and Assuming XP is installed on your C drive and in the windows folder, XP Keeps copies of the 3498 files it cares about in this folder:

c:\windows\system32\dllcache

On a healthy system, Windows File Protection keeps track of the 3498 protected files and quickly and silently replaces any files in the list that comes up missing from the backup folder. Windows File Protection will not replace files that have somehow become corrupted or overwritten with bad files.

You can just copy the backup files from the dllcache folder into the folder where the suspicious or missing files are.

Using Explorer, navigate to the c:\windows\system32\dllcache folder and individually copy the backup files from there and then navigate to the folders where the suspicious or incorrect files are and paste in the copied files.

Depending on your installation, you may also find copies of the files in this folder:

c:\windows\ServicePackFiles\i386

Respond in the affirmative if you are asked to replace or overwrite the existing files.

Test your functions now and then reboot your system to be sure the changes "stick", and then resolve any remaining issues.[/quotemsg



~~~~ Ok, that makes sense and I would do that... but the major problem here is that I can't fully log onto windows... So copy pasting while that would be the easiest way would be great, I can't access that.

So here's what the computer does. I turn it on and it goes through the process of loading, gets me to the part that shows Windows with the bar under it that shows it's loading to the log in area (where you might if you weren't the only user, have the user list and passwords to fully log in) and then it shows the error with an ok or cancel choice with a grey screen in the background. Then when you hit either ok or cancel, the error goes away but the computer sits indefinitely at the grey screen.

Now, that being said... when I throw in the Windows CD (not the upgrade because that one won't allow any use since I have service pack three on it and the upgrade is an older version) and I hit repair it will bring me to the normal repair situation bringing me ultimately to the C:/Windows prompt with the very basic uses of what DOS would do... though not enough to run exe files or copy paste things... I'm assuming you know which screen I'm talking about?

Of course there are the other ways to log on with the Windows CD as well... the ability to format the disk etc... (though I am hoping I don't have to do that as I would then lose the files that I would prefer to be able to keep though as I said before, if absolutely necessary... I guess I'll have to reload Windows again which would really suck).

I have taken your previous advice just for shi** and giggles and am running the CD/Flash drive you told me to do... and let's just say that a couple hours to check the system has taken (well... it's still running... LOL) forever! but I am almost positive it is not going to find anything and even if it does, I am assuming that it won't repair the problem on it's own? I wouldn't think that it could replace a corrupted file on it's own.

As for your thinking it's corrupted rather than missing... that would have been my thoughts as well seeings as the file wouldn't have necessarily just moved itself.

I do appreciate all of your help so far though. Usually when something happens to the computer I can fix it... but this one (and any ones where I am locked out of the UI in general) are much more difficult to repair.

Sincerely
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March 21, 2012 3:44:45 PM

adodgegirl said:
967985,4,514026 said:
Your error message indicates the file is corrupted, not missing (IMO).
If you can get to a command prompt, and Assuming XP is installed on your C drive and in the windows folder, XP Keeps copies of the 3498 files it cares about in this folder:

c:\windows\system32\dllcache

On a healthy system, Windows File Protection keeps track of the 3498 protected files and quickly and silently replaces any files in the list that comes up missing from the backup folder. Windows File Protection will not replace files that have somehow become corrupted or overwritten with bad files.

You can just copy the backup files from the dllcache folder into the folder where the suspicious or missing files are.

Using Explorer, navigate to the c:\windows\system32\dllcache folder and individually copy the backup files from there and then navigate to the folders where the suspicious or incorrect files are and paste in the copied files.

Depending on your installation, you may also find copies of the files in this folder:

c:\windows\ServicePackFiles\i386

Respond in the affirmative if you are asked to replace or overwrite the existing files.

Test your functions now and then reboot your system to be sure the changes "stick", and then resolve any remaining issues.[/quotemsg



~~~~ Ok, that makes sense and I would do that... but the major problem here is that I can't fully log onto windows... So copy pasting while that would be the easiest way would be great, I can't access that.

So here's what the computer does. I turn it on and it goes through the process of loading, gets me to the part that shows Windows with the bar under it that shows it's loading to the log in area (where you might if you weren't the only user, have the user list and passwords to fully log in) and then it shows the error with an ok or cancel choice with a grey screen in the background. Then when you hit either ok or cancel, the error goes away but the computer sits indefinitely at the grey screen.

Now, that being said... when I throw in the Windows CD (not the upgrade because that one won't allow any use since I have service pack three on it and the upgrade is an older version) and I hit repair it will bring me to the normal repair situation bringing me ultimately to the C:/Windows prompt with the very basic uses of what DOS would do... though not enough to run exe files or copy paste things... I'm assuming you know which screen I'm talking about?

Of course there are the other ways to log on with the Windows CD as well... the ability to format the disk etc... (though I am hoping I don't have to do that as I would then lose the files that I would prefer to be able to keep though as I said before, if absolutely necessary... I guess I'll have to reload Windows again which would really suck).

I have taken your previous advice just for shi** and giggles and am running the CD/Flash drive you told me to do... and let's just say that a couple hours to check the system has taken (well... it's still running... LOL) forever! but I am almost positive it is not going to find anything and even if it does, I am assuming that it won't repair the problem on it's own? I wouldn't think that it could replace a corrupted file on it's own.

As for your thinking it's corrupted rather than missing... that would have been my thoughts as well seeings as the file wouldn't have necessarily just moved itself.

I do appreciate all of your help so far though. Usually when something happens to the computer I can fix it... but this one (and any ones where I am locked out of the UI in general) are much more difficult to repair.

Sincerely
said:

Hmmmm - You got into DOS - can you do this ?
(substitute filename with one in question)
copy c:\windows\system32\dllcache \filename c:\windows\system32
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March 21, 2012 6:42:19 PM

Okay, I can kind of understand what you are asking if I can do... so, how am I suppose to do that though? I have never done that before. How would I "copy" C:\Windows\System32\SAMSVR.dll and move it to another file through DOS? Sorry if that seems like a dumb question. I can do most things with my computer on my own but remembering back to DOS back in the days... I knew you could get into dir files (which even now they don't show up complete as they use to) and you could run an .exe file from there for games and programs... but to copy/paste a file? Or am I over thinking what you are wanting me to try and do?
Also, the Kaspersky rescue disk is only 90% done right now... (I started it yesterday about an hour after you suggested it... lol, seems that I have a lot of files for it to go through eh?)
Thank you again for keeping up with all this... even if I can't end up in the end repairing it, I know what it's like taking time out of your day to work through things like this and I appreciate your time very much.

:-)
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March 21, 2012 7:12:32 PM

adodgegirl said:
Okay, I can kind of understand what you are asking if I can do... so, how am I suppose to do that though? I have never done that before. How would I "copy" C:\Windows\System32\SAMSVR.dll and move it to another file through DOS? Sorry if that seems like a dumb question. I can do most things with my computer on my own but remembering back to DOS back in the days... I knew you could get into dir files (which even now they don't show up complete as they use to) and you could run an .exe file from there for games and programs... but to copy/paste a file? Or am I over thinking what you are wanting me to try and do?
Also, the Kaspersky rescue disk is only 90% done right now... (I started it yesterday about an hour after you suggested it... lol, seems that I have a lot of files for it to go through eh?)
Thank you again for keeping up with all this... even if I can't end up in the end repairing it, I know what it's like taking time out of your day to work through things like this and I appreciate your time very much.

:-)

Not a problem, taking time out of my day - I'm Retired ! !
Lets see if I can walk you thru this...

If you get to a DOS command prompt, not sure what yours will say, but something like:

c:\Documents and Settings\user name

change the directory to the dllcache:
cd c:\windows\system32\dllcache

copy the file from dllcache to system32:
copy samsvr.dll c:\windows\system32

Hopefully the file is there to be copied. I just did this (XP/PRO), but file was not listed in the dllcache on my system. If you enter this command, you can scroll thru all entries in the dllcache by pressing enter key after each screen. This is the directory command, with Pause parameter.


dir /p
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March 21, 2012 7:29:12 PM

OH! I see what your saying... but that still requires me to be in the "Windows DOS" not the DOS that I get into by doing a repair from the Windows disk... So, I can't ctrl/C or ctrl/V anything while in dos even if I'm in a dir /p I don't think...
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March 21, 2012 7:30:02 PM

Oh, and when I get into "DOS" that the repair throws me into, it automatically brings me to C:\\Windows but I can cd to any other place of course.
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March 21, 2012 8:01:41 PM

adodgegirl said:
Oh, and when I get into "DOS" that the repair throws me into, it automatically brings me to C:\\Windows but I can cd to any other place of course.


I don't remember if we discussed this, but can you boot into safe mode & command prompt ? Do you have any other old win98 "STUFF" that might boot you into DOS ?
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March 21, 2012 8:20:30 PM

As for booting into safe mode... don't I wish... :(  Whatever the error is/corruption is, it won't let me boot into "anything" at all. I've tried all ways to boot into it.

As for old 98 stuff... I don't have any of that either anymore. I just might have to break down and bring it in and have them use their old disks to replace the file. I really don't want to do that because they take forever to get the computer back and they charge more than their worth.
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March 21, 2012 8:31:26 PM

adodgegirl said:
As for booting into safe mode... don't I wish... :(  Whatever the error is/corruption is, it won't let me boot into "anything" at all. I've tried all ways to boot into it.

As for old 98 stuff... I don't have any of that either anymore. I just might have to break down and bring it in and have them use their old disks to replace the file. I really don't want to do that because they take forever to get the computer back and they charge more than their worth.



The idea of slaving the HD is a better idea, that you previously mentioned.
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March 21, 2012 8:52:16 PM

I think when this scan finishes (it's finally at 95%!!!) I will do the slave option. I think when I remember doing a slave last time I ran into a situation where not all of the folders where available for my use... but it's better to do that than to spend the money and time to take it in since it's something I have done before.

Again, thank you so much and if you want (or even just to leave the post up here for another persons possible use) I'll give you an update as I work toward getting it back up and running!
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March 21, 2012 9:52:32 PM

adodgegirl said:
I think when this scan finishes (it's finally at 95%!!!) I will do the slave option. I think when I remember doing a slave last time I ran into a situation where not all of the folders where available for my use... but it's better to do that than to spend the money and time to take it in since it's something I have done before.

Again, thank you so much and if you want (or even just to leave the post up here for another persons possible use) I'll give you an update as I work toward getting it back up and running!


Looking forward to a successful reply ! And, all posts remain for just that reason, to help others. Good Luck.
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March 22, 2012 3:06:56 AM

So, the scan finished and had nothing to show... but interesting turn of events. So, through the scan program you can access all files on desktop, documents and all hard drives... so until I can fix the problem (and save myself about 100 bucks to have it fixed) I have moved the file over that I needed to my other hard drive and have my file... but here was the interesting part.

When you open up the program that is with the scanner and it gives you access to all files which also would have allowed for copy/paste options, I went to the c:\\windows\system32 folder and the file that was "missing or corrupted or a bad image file as the notice was telling me" was there! So, I thought... wtf right? Why is it there but supposedly it's not there?

Also, you can run through the sub folder while in the "dos" area that is under repair and I found another link of another line of code to try (link here:http://www.pcreview.co.uk/forums/xp-wont-launch-t257194...) and it says to go into the c:\\windows\system32 and then type: COPY DLLcache\samsrv.dll

Ok, so I did that... and it said that it couldn't find the file... but while playing around with the DOS coding, I realized that you need to remove the cache and DLL info leaving you with COPY samsry.dll then it asks me, would you like to override the file that is already there Yes/No/All... and of course I said yes... (I mean, what could happen, the main drive would be shot? in other words, I would be in the same place I am not)... well, it said that the file was in use! How it was in use, I don't know!

Anyways, so far that's the update I have... if you have any suggestions, I'm all ears!

Sincerely
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March 22, 2012 3:09:15 AM

You know... I just thought of this but since my opposing drive is 500 gigs and I can partition it... I might just partition it and throw XP on it... and then I can transfer all the files that are important from the main hard drive (which is only 80 gigs and WAY old) and just toss it... though I would like to still solve the problem since I still have yet to find any posts out there that have solved it when you are locked out of the UI of Windows...
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March 22, 2012 5:43:17 AM

adodgegirl said:
You know... I just thought of this but since my opposing drive is 500 gigs and I can partition it... I might just partition it and throw XP on it... and then I can transfer all the files that are important from the main hard drive (which is only 80 gigs and WAY old) and just toss it... though I would like to still solve the problem since I still have yet to find any posts out there that have solved it when you are locked out of the UI of Windows...


I went to the article you mention here:
Also, you can run through the sub folder while in the "dos" area that is under repair and I found another link of another line of code to try (link here:http://www.pcreview.co.uk/forums/xp-wont-launch-t257194...) and it says to go into the c:\\windows\system32 and then type: COPY DLLcache\samsrv.dll


The COPY command is in the wrong format, but guess you figured that out already. samsrv.dll is a "System Account Manager" and could be used by a number of other "Services", and probably why it is "In Use"

And hey ! - Don't toss that 80Gig drive - Leave it slaved, and later down the road when you don't need it, use it for backing up your system. Even if you already have a backup location, my motto is, "If it is worth backing up, do it twice" !
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March 22, 2012 6:22:12 AM

Download samsrv.dll file from DLL site, unzip it, and copy the file to system directory:

c:\windows\system32

Hope the problem is resolved.


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March 22, 2012 1:16:38 PM

As for the copy and pasting to the system directory, It won't let me do that... though I am going to do it a different way. Currently there is only access to the "C/D" drive (main two hard drives) and since there is no way for me to get the file onto there while the drives are still attached, I am going to run my larger HD as the slave it is on another computer and then transfer the downloaded file to the drive and then when I put it back on the main computer, I can open up the scan disk, run into the main UI to get into the folders and then copy/paste from the drive that I have used to put the file on.

I don't think that had I not had another drive on the computer, this computer could have been repaired without taking it in. Unless that is, I had the other disks that could force DOS but even then, there wouldn't have been a way to get the non-corrupted file onto the drive seeings as it's accessible unless of course you took the main drive out and ran it as a slave and then placed the new file into the document and settings folder (as you don't have access to the Windows Files or OS files while slaved in) and then unslave it and use it as main, run the scan drive and under the UI from there, take the file and replace it.

Hopefully this will complete this issue and by this afternoon, it will be resolved.

This just shows you that no matter how much you know, sometimes keeping all that old stuff that you "use" to use around for times like this when there is no other way to get into it without. There's a cable that you can buy (don't remember what it is) and I had one for a while but loaned it to a friend to use and he gave it back damaged... Ugh... anyways, when I remember what it is (it was used to connect to all types of hard drives by IDE or SATA and allowed for searching/removal and repair of hard drives in just these types of situations. Let me tell you, that cord (when it wasn't destroyed) was the best forty or so dollars I ever spent!
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March 22, 2012 1:21:36 PM

BTW, that comment above was for alishathomaz. :)  If you read the whole post, you'll see that this computer problem doesn't allow for copy and paste in it's current condition but thanks for the advice!

Response to ksiemb: I did notice that the DOS command was off and thankfully I was able to correct it but yes, it was in use for the reason you mentioned. I noticed that there are more than 20 programs that run when that file starts up and also about 6 or 7 of them that shut down when that one runs also.

As for not tossing the 80 gig. Thanks for the idea on backing it up there! I was using it as an OS because it was easy to manage with ONLY keeping OS files on there and loading all my Art programs on the larger HD but using it as a back up is a great idea. I normally backed up the system once a week via the larger HD because nothing ever goes on it that would be hampered with but using the smaller one would make more sense.
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