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Automated System Recovery: Reason to Go Pro?

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March 15, 2003 7:51:01 AM

Hello folks.

The big reason I am considering getting Windows XP Pro over Windows XP Home is because Windows XP Pro evidently has "Automated System Recovery" to back up the entire hard drive's contents (whereas Windows XP Home does not have this utility).

Would you be so kind as to tell me which of the following scenarios you would prefer (and why)?...

Windows XP Home + Norton Ghost
Windows XP Home + Drive Image
Windows XP Home + Other Program
Windows XP Pro (with "Automated System Recovery")

Thanks much!
DuckTape
March 15, 2003 12:01:03 PM

None of the above, if you don't mind.

My preference would be WinXP Pro and Drive Image 2002, without a reliance on the built-in System Recovery feature.

Why WinXP Pro? Because I want and need the features included in the OS that are missing from the Home Edition. Plus ... the Product Lifecycle support for Home is at least 2 years shorter than the Pro version.

<A HREF="http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/windowsxp_home_pro..." target="_new">Windows XP Home Edition vs. Professional Edition: What's the difference?</A>

<A HREF="http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycleconsumer.mspx" target="_new">Product Life-Cycle Road Map</A>

However, none of the above might appeal to you, or be necessary. And it's your wallet.

I prefer Drive Image 2002 for my system backups, as I think the interface is cleaner and less difficult to use than Ghost, but the differences between the two products are negligible, unless you have a need to backup to a newer DVD Writer, as Drive Image doesn't yet support these kind of devices.

Ghost also doesn't require rebooting to DOS for the backups, which might be very appealing to some users, but for myself, I actually prefer being able to access the system through Caldera DOS and restore an image. There have some situations where NOT being able to backup the system from DOS after a fresh partitioning/format/OS installation has been an indicator that something is wrong with the drive, such as an incorrectly written partition table, and it's helped me troubleshoot problems like this that don't necessarily show up in Windows Disk Management. Besides, having access to a drive through DOS is not something I am yet willing to relinquish at this time.

The prices for both products are the same, so that isn't a factor, IMHO.

As for System Recovery ... it doesn't always work as advertised. Plain and simple. It's also something of a memory hog, and if I wanted constant disk writes, I'd shift back to Win9x and allow Windows to handle the Virtual Memory. And I'd rather use my hard disk space for other things, like useful applications and personal files. The same thing goes for the Driver Rollback feature ... it doesn't always do the job. If I want to save a copy of my current drivers, I'd rather use <A HREF="http://www.jermar.com/wdrvbck.htm" target="_new">WinDriversBackup</A>, and leave Windows completely out of the picture in case of problems. I'd rather have some reliance on a program meant specifically for a particular task than naively assume that Windows will always correctly delegate and run the same task in a critical situation without errors.

And who needs System Recovery if you have an up-to-date, valid image? If your system happens to get contaminated by a virus, which would you rather trust ... the verified image, or Windows attempting to attempting to roll back the system files?

There's no real choice in the matter, to my way of thinking.

That's my take on the subject, but I'm sure that other users will have completely different opinions, each with their own personal working styles and program preferences. Investigate them all, and opt for whatever seems to be the best solution for your needs.

Toey

<font color=red>First Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=17935" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Devastating Dalek Destroyer</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
________________________________________

<A HREF="http://www.btvillarin.com/phpBB/index.php" target="_new"><b><font color=purple>BTVILLARIN.com</font color=purple></b></A> - <i><font color=orange>A better place to be</font color=orange></i>. :wink:
March 15, 2003 9:16:38 PM

Thanks for your reply, Toey.

<< Why WinXP Pro? Because I want and need the features included in the OS that are missing from the Home Edition. >>

Are all of these OS features named in the article link you posted in your reply? If not, would you be so kind as to name them?

Thanks again!
DuckTape
Related resources
March 15, 2003 10:43:33 PM

Features I personally need or want that are not found in Home Edition ... <i>not</i> counting the much more comprehensive Administrative and Networking tools only found in Pro.

1.) <font color=red>Bundled Remote Desktop:</font color=red>

While there are other third-party programs that can accomplish this, having the feature built-in can simplify matters when troubleshooting or working on a customer's computer without having to hop in the car and drive umpteen miles to the site.

Home Edition has Remote Assistance, but only Pro comes with Remote Desktop.

2.) <font color=red>Scalable processor support:</font color=red>

I'm planning in the near future to build a system for myself with dual-processors for graphic work and video editing, so I definitely want this feature.

3.) <font color=red>Encrypting File System:</font color=red>

For my personal work computer at the shop, I prefer NTFS, so that I can have some sort of added security in respect to certain files that I'd prefer to keep from prying eyes.

4.) <font color=red>Access Control:</font color=red>

In a nutshell, the ability to have restricted access to selected files, applications, and other resources, for the same reason as mentioned above.

5.) <font color=red>Group Policy:</font color=red>

A very important features, in my eyes. Not having access to the Group Policy Editor is a crippling missing element in Home Edition. Do a search for the component, and see for yourself how powerful this tool can be, and how much you'll miss it when it's gone. It's not just for corporate situations ... but a welcome addition for people with children where you'd like have some control over how they use the system. I couldn't imagine running a desktop without it.

6.) <font color=red>Roaming User Profiles</font color=red>

Access to all your documents and settings no matter where you log on.

'Nuff said ... self-explanatory in nature.

7.) <font color=red>Remote Installation Service (RIS)</font color=red>

Support for remote operating system installations where desktops can be installed across the network.

For someone in my job, it's nice to know that I don't always, absolutely have to be there.

8.) <font color=red>Viewing network shares offline:</font color=red>

You can set WinXP Pro to automatically cache specified network shares at logon for availability off-line. Got a laptop? It's great for traveling and doing business.

9.) <font color=red>Multiple Monitors:</font color=red>

Pro supports up to nine monitors ... Home, only one. I expect that I'll be running dual-monitors with the new system.

Final notes: If you are upgrading from Win2K or NT, Pro is the only option. And you can do a full OS installation with an upgrade disk, so that's something to consider.

Home comes without a backup utility, unless you install it manually from the \VALUEADD\MSFT\NTBACKUP\Ntbackup.msi on the OS CD. A typical example of how Micros$ft casually castrated Home edition without regard for the users, all for the sake of the almighty dollar.

If you want to do some more reading on WinXP before you make your decision, check out this <A HREF="http://www.funwithxp.com/" target="_new">link</A>. This one should keep you busy for a while! LOL!

Toey

<font color=red>First Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=17935" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Devastating Dalek Destroyer</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
________________________________________

<A HREF="http://www.btvillarin.com/phpBB/index.php" target="_new"><b><font color=purple>BTVILLARIN.com</font color=purple></b></A> - <i><font color=orange>A better place to be</font color=orange></i>. :wink:
March 15, 2003 11:13:47 PM

Thanks again, Toey.

<< Pro supports up to nine monitors ... Home, only one. I expect that I'll be running dual-monitors with the new system. >>

You know, I feel I keep reading conflicting information on the internet about whether or not Windows XP Home supports dual monitors.

I hope you don't mind me asking...

Are you absolutely sure that Windows XP Home does NOT support dual monitors?

And is there a web page at microsoft.com that you (or someone else) knows of which might confirm this one way or the other?

Many thanks!
DuckTape
March 16, 2003 1:05:46 AM

Just in case you're a student, you can go buy WinXP Pro for $80 on campus. It might make your decision easier.

<font color=red>
<A HREF="http://kevan.org/brain.cgi?dhlucke" target="_new">The French are being described as cheese-eating surrender monkeys.</A></font color=red>
March 16, 2003 1:54:58 AM

This site is generally a pretty good resource:

<A HREF="http://www.techtv.com/screensavers/print/0,23102,335493... " target="_new">Windows XP: Go Home or Go Pro</A>

To the best of my knowledge, you can run dual-monitors with Home edition with two video cards, one AGP and one PCI. But Microsoft originally did not plan to add support for an Extended Desktop, which is a stretched screen which spans multiple displays, instead of two separate images.

However, with the advent of newer drivers, things might have changed ... and I won't kid you, I haven't installed Home on a system recently and tried it, personally. Very few of my customers want Home Edition in the first place, so I don't have the occasion to install it that often. Because of this, my info on the subject might be out-of-date, so it would probably be best to contact the video card manufacturer before you decided to purchase a new card and see if their latest drivers support Dual View AND Extended Desktop in Home Edition. Better safe than sorry.

Toey

<font color=red>First Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=17935" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Devastating Dalek Destroyer</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
________________________________________

<A HREF="http://www.btvillarin.com/phpBB/index.php" target="_new"><b><font color=purple>BTVILLARIN.com</font color=purple></b></A> - <i><font color=orange>A better place to be</font color=orange></i>. :wink:
March 16, 2003 5:20:12 AM

Thanks, Toey.

<< To the best of my knowledge, you can run dual-monitors with Home edition with two video cards, one AGP and one PCI. But Microsoft originally did not plan to add support for an Extended Desktop, which is a stretched screen which spans multiple displays, instead of two separate images. >>

Oh, I see. So, Windows XP Home evidently does not support dual monitors from a single graphics card, though there is the exception with using two graphics cards.

Got it!

Thanks again!
Glen
March 16, 2003 2:56:36 PM

I ahve had good luck with GoBack. It has never failed to recover or roll back. The only draw back if your your system does crash to the point of no boot GoBack has to uninstalled or it is almost impossible to format.You can however you can write Zeros to the drive to get rid of it.I to am interestd in drive image and will check into it. Bruce

Is it true that cannibals don't eat clowns because they taste funny?
March 16, 2003 3:33:51 PM

I wrote a brief <A HREF="http://forums.btvillarin.com/index.php?act=ST&f=39&t=18..." target="_new">FAQ</A> on Drive Image, Bruce, which you might find interesting.

Personally, I'd rather have a recent image on hand for repair and recovery than a program like Goback. For example, the ImageExplorer feature within Drive Image can access individual files within the image for restoration or repairs, and this without needing to run a program constantly that takes up system memory and hard drive space, thereby lessening performance. And if a system is invaded by a virus, GoBack might not be able to roll back the system enough to eliminate the problem, while an image created before the virus infection can be a life-saver.

I recall running GoBack briefly, about a year or so ago, and I was dismayed at the sluggishness of the system while the program was active. I didn't use it for very long, as you might imagine. It was even more memory-intensive than the System Recovery application in WinXP, and frankly, I'm surprised that you can tolerate using it.

But that's just me. I like lean, fast-booting systems, and I prefer to run as few applications at startup as possible. I run my systems with no more than 12 processes loading at the boot, which gives me a nice, low Commit Charge. I image my active partition once a week (more often if I make any serious changes to the OS), which takes less than thirty minutes of my time, and can be scheduled to run while I'm asleep. Then I burn two CD's, and I'm good-to-go. With these on hand, I can walk back a system right to the point when Drive Image was first installed, which was right after the OS was freshly installed and completely tweaked to my satisfaction.

You should also be aware that imaging programs can come into conflict when Goback is on a system, such mentioned <A HREF="http://service1.symantec.com/SUPPORT/ghost.nsf/docid/20..." target="_new">here</A>, and also on this <A HREF="http://www.roxio.com/en/support/goback/knowledgebase.jh..." target="_new">page</A>, for example.

Comments?

Toey


<font color=red>First Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=17935" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Devastating Dalek Destroyer</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
________________________________________

<A HREF="http://www.btvillarin.com/phpBB/index.php" target="_new"><b><font color=purple>BTVILLARIN.com</font color=purple></b></A> - <i><font color=orange>A better place to be</font color=orange></i>. :wink:
March 16, 2003 5:50:32 PM

That is a great reply Toey. Thanks. You nak a lot of sence, GoBack is a resourse hog and thus takes a little longer to boot. I have used it for years to help with simple roll backs. I suggest it to alot of friends that can barley operate a keyboard because it is simple to use. I agree with your overview and will get a copy of Drive Image and see what it can do. thanks. Bruce

Is it true that cannibals don't eat clowns because they taste funny?
March 18, 2003 4:18:02 PM

I know with Home Edition and the newer vid cards on the market, (Radeon series, GeForce series) dual monitors are supported. I haven't had a chance to actually test it out, I've only had it connected to a monitor and TV.

I have one question for you Toey. Is there any way to make a Home Edition comp a member of a domain? I was poking around one day trying to find it, and I couldn't it. I thought that this was a very glaring omission... considering 95/98/ME can be joined to a domain. Of course this could be Microsoft's desire to get businesses to use XP Pro only at the office...

<font color=red> If you design software that is fool-proof, only a fool will want to use it. </font color=red>
March 18, 2003 4:58:07 PM

You aren't going to find it, either. You can't logon to an Active Directory domain with Home, and that's why you couldn't find the Domain Wizard. This is why the Group Policy Editor (gpedit.msc) and the Roaming Profiles are also not included. Home can only access peer-to-peer workgroups.

I would suspect that missing elements like this are part of the reason why Home can't be used to upgrade from Win2K.

However ... there is a "fix", of a sort. Download <A HREF="http://www.majorgeeks.com/article.php?sid=127" target="_new">Xteq X-Setup 6.3</A>, and navigate to the "Network-Auto Login-Windows NT\2K\XP-Settings" option. Enter the appropriate information and click "Apply Changes" - upon your next reboot, you should be able to join domains.

The good thing is that X-Setup is useful in a lot of ways ... <i>and</i> freeware.

Toey

<font color=red>First Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=17935" target="_new"><font color=green>Toejam31's Devastating Dalek Destroyer</font color=green></A>
<font color=red>Second Rig:</font color=red> <A HREF="http://www.anandtech.com/mysystemrig.html?rigid=15942" target="_new"><font color=green>Toey's Dynamite DDR Duron</font color=green></A>
________________________________________

<A HREF="http://www.btvillarin.com/phpBB/index.php" target="_new"><b><font color=purple>BTVILLARIN.com</font color=purple></b></A> - <i><font color=orange>A better place to be</font color=orange></i>. :wink:
!