Complete PC Backup fails, restore fails differently!

Discussion in 'Windows Vista Performance' started by Harry Coin, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. Harry Coin

    Harry Coin Guest

    Using Windows Vista Ultimate:

    I lost over a day as the 'Complete PC Backup' function advised me that I had
    a Device IO error. However, the source hard drive passed a total 'chkdsk'
    test with no errors, and the destination drive was reformatted - not quick -
    more than once and also passed chkdsk - the whole thing - with no errors.

    Searching online I find that indeed there is no reason to think there was a
    device error, all that was necessary is to disable and then, sometimes yes,
    sometimes no, re-enable the 'system restore' checkpoint creation function.
    Then the backup which failed due to a 'device error' had no problems at all.
    Obviously despite the wild-goose-chase direction Microsoft sends we users,
    there is nothing wrong with any of the devices whatsoever, there is a
    Microsoft Software error.

    The story gets worse. Having lost confidence that my backup really was a
    backup, it was necessary to see whether a 'Complete PC Restore' actually
    restored properly, before I could responsibly rely on the system at all. The
    source drive, 'C' was a little under 500 GB, but a little under 65 GB was
    used, just one partition. The backup drive was 'D', also 500G an empty NTFS
    partition save for the backup.

    So, I detach the 'C' drive, attach a brand new 150 GB drive to the same
    spot. Lauch the Vista Install DVD, boot, choose 'complete PC restore'.
    It tells me I'm about to restore from C: where it found the backup to C:.
    You know, that just cannot be good, it looks like the backup will overwrite
    itself. Microsoft backup publishes a warning box asking my permission to
    reformat the drive on which the backup resides. I'm thinking, no, that
    wouldn't be a good thing.

    So I detach the new drive, go to another computer, format it as one big
    empty NTFS partition, reinstall it, then reboot. Now Vista explains that it
    will restore from D to C. I should not have had to go through that delay,
    but progress, sort of.

    But, a moment after launching the restore process I get the error 0x80042401
    , which I've typed into search engines enough to know by heart now.
    Another day gone for no good reason. The complaint is that the destination
    drive doesn't have enough space. Nonsense, the whole backup takes 65GB, the
    C drive is empty and 150GB -- seems like lots of empty space to me.

    But, I go out, spend a totally useless $200 to buy another 500GB drive, use
    that to restore the 65GB worth of data, and the restore process completed.

    Obviously, the 150GB failed destination drive has nearly 90 gigabytes more
    space than it really needs, as the entire backup data size was under 65GB.
    Norton Ghost 2003 has no problems with windows XP, 2000, NT, Linux. But I
    went with Vista Ultimate so I wouldn't need extra applications. I've lost so
    much time on this process it is quite discouraging and makes use of Microsoft
    product feel very risky indeed. Most folk don't think of themselves as
    'early adopters' when a large company that ought to know better doesn't label
    a software release as 'beta'.

    On a related note: any application that shows moving 2-D video crashes on
    any monitor the moment the video is to be displayed if more than 4 monitors
    are enabled. 3-D is fine, normal windows operations are fine up to 7
    monitors. All combinations of 4 monitors work, no combination of 5 monitors
    works on any monitor. EVR.dll crash error - direct show v 10. 4 Nvidia
    boards, failure using latest WHQL drivers, Nvidia beta drivers, and the
    drivers shipped with Vista. It looks like a directshow limitation.

    If there are updates or fixes to either of these I'd like to know about them.


    Harry Coin
    Device driver developer
    N4 Communications
    Bettendorf, Iowa
    Harry Coin, Nov 15, 2007
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  2. Harry Coin

    AJR Guest

    Regarding "...So, I detach the 'C' drive, attach a brand new 150 GB drive to
    the same spot. Lauch the Vista Install DVD, boot, choose 'complete PC
    restore'. It tells me I'm about to restore from C: where it found the
    backup to C:...."
    "...go to another computer, format it as one big empty NTFS partition,
    reinstall it, then reboot. Now Vista explains that it will restore from D
    to C. ..."

    Evidently you did not partition and format the drive at original
    AJR, Nov 15, 2007
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  3. Harry Coin

    Harry Coin Guest

    AJR: I had a working formatted partiotion installation on drive 1, c. I
    backed it up to a working partitioned installation to drive 2, d. I
    removed Drive 1, c, and replaced it with a brand new drive. The complete
    restore was all ready to allow me to proceed to do a complete, reformatted
    and repartitioned restore from C to C. So you can't have your cake and eat
    it as well. Either Complete backup was about ready to wipe out it own
    source of backup as it didn't see the new drive at all, or everyone who wants
    to to a complete PC restore needs to first take the drive to somebody elses
    computer, install it as an extra drive, format it, partition it, then bring
    it back to the one in question ---- just so the complete PC backup can do it
    again? Hello?
    Harry Coin, Nov 16, 2007
  4. Why did you not just use Vistas setup to format the drive, then go back to
    the restore option and do the restore?

    There was no need to remove the drive to format it.

    Also, a limitation of Windows complete backup/restore is its inability to
    restore to a drive that is of a totally different size than what was
    originally in the system.

    IE: if you have a 500 gig drive, to a complete backup of that drive and even
    though the image ends up being only 60 gigs, you can't restore that image to
    a 250 gig drive. It has to be the same size drive as the original.

    Does this make sense? On some points; yes, it's designed to recover from a
    disaster and restore the same computer to the same state. On other points;
    no. If your drive dies and you upgrade to a new, larger drive, you're

    The only thing to do in this case is install Vista like you normally would,
    and either use the file backups you made (you are doing that also, correct?)
    to restore your user files, or you can install Virtual PC, load an OS onto a
    virtual hard drive, then mount the full backup image as a second drive in
    the VPC and recover your user files that way.
    Sadly, there's no boot information on the drive image that Complete Backup
    makes so you can't boot the VPC from that drive image, it has to be mounted
    as a second drive using another OS loaded in a VPC. Even if it did have a
    boot-strap on it, it would most likely choke when trying to load since the
    image would have hardware drivers for the actual PC and not the VPC.

    Michael Palumbo, Nov 16, 2007
  5. Harry Coin

    Harry Coin Guest

    To me, it is of more interest that 'Complete PC backup' appeared to offer
    the user the change to wipe out it's own backup source. Those who think of
    this as more of a sport, like which various means exist to create a partition
    which PC backup then says it is going to wipe and reformat. The right
    answer would be for a Microsoft program bundled with a configuration titled
    'Ultimate' to in fact not allow a user the chance to format the source of its
    own backup, to not advise users they have device errors when the device is in
    fact not in error, to not advise users that disks big enough to hold the
    backup two times over are too small as the original disk was 10 x too large.
    Compared to Norton product on the market in 2003 - Norton Ghost - this
    level of 'Ultimate' benefit from a company with more software design and
    testing engineers than many small cities -- well 'Ultimate' doesn't seem so
    well deserved.
    Harry Coin, Nov 16, 2007
  6. Harry Coin

    Dwarf Guest

    Hi Harry,

    I think that you are getting confused over the difference between disk
    backup and disk imaging. Disk backup is used primarily to backup your files,
    settings and applications. It is not advisable to use this for backing up
    your operating system. This is because it is a part of your operating system
    and relies on other system files and registry settings to work (some of which
    dynamically cahnge in the procedure). Should these items be changed (as they
    will be if they are overwritten), then the program will come up with an
    error. Should you need to do a full backup of everything, including your
    operating system, then you need a disk imaging program. These programs can
    also cope with transferring to different sized drives as they can dynamically
    modify the partition information.
    Dwarf, Nov 19, 2007
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