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28 posts

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# 34202 21-May-2009 10:52
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im having problems with my windows xp pro os now i have lost all my restore cds and that and am now in the process of downloading windows 7 (legally) to give that a bash how daft would it be to just install windows 7 without backing up anything cos the files that i want to keep i have no space for anywhere on my computer what is the chances of me losing these files i want to keep?? now we are talkin 2 folders 1 bein 25.6gig and the other 31.2 so in total 56.8 gig i have tried backin them up but told there aint enough space or is there another way around this problem??


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Ultimate Geek


  # 216588 21-May-2009 11:11
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Best thing I can think of is to buy an external hard drive (or a second internal drive) to backup all your documents to before you install Windows 7.


Personally I did an new install of Windows 7 on a second hard drive so cant comment on an upgrade.



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Uber Geek


  # 216590 21-May-2009 11:21
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Go and buy a external HDD for a couple hundy, you will probably need to, as with XP as according to MSoft you  will have to do a reinstall of all your applications

from MSoft
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/windows-7/faq.aspx

If you are running Windows XP, you'll need to back up your data (preferably on an external device) and then do a clean installation of the Windows 7 Release Candidate. After installing Windows 7, you will need to reinstall applications and restore your files.


This differs from Vista which will allow you to do it over the top.in regard to applications.

 
 
 
 




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  # 216591 21-May-2009 11:26
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so would it be more logical to go and buy windows vista?? im unemployed at the moment and cant afford and external hdd i would assume this would be cheaper and as you said it can be installed over the top??

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  # 216610 21-May-2009 11:53
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Buying Windows Vista won't save you. Your files will be wiped out when you install Windows Vista or Windows 7.

Knowing from your other discussion that you have a borked pirated Windows XP install you will have to erase your HDD to install the new OS, so you MUST BUY A HDD (EXTERNAL ONE IS GOOD) AND DO A BACKUP NOW.

It seems you have a lot of data and never done a backup, so NOW IS GOOD AND GO COPY YOUR FILES.





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  # 216629 21-May-2009 12:44
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Dont forget the figures we have quoted are in NZD, you'll be paying GBP or something so it's cheaper. You can get a decent size external drive for ?50. Obviously this is not as cheap as "buying" Vista but even if you do that you'll still need somewhere to backup your data to.

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  # 216655 21-May-2009 13:42
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Just in case it is not clear enough:

BUY AN EXTERNAL HDD AND DO A BACKUP

No matter what you choose to install afterwards, if the data you want to keep is important, get it done.




"Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads." - Doc Emmet Brown

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Ultimate Geek


  # 216674 21-May-2009 14:26
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The cheapest way to backup is to backup to data DVD's, if you don't know how to do it, send me a private message. Two copies (do you know why you need two?) of 50GB will cost you the equivalent of about 3.5 Big Macs. This is substantially cheaper than using an external USB drive (and you should buy 2 drives, not one).

Edit: you will need to verify the content of the DVD's before wiping your hard drive.

 
 
 
 


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Ultimate Geek

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  # 216757 21-May-2009 17:59
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Geez, what's with all the naysayer comments above?

You don't "need" to backup or buy an external drive if you don't have the resources. All you have to do is create a seperate partition and move your data there. You can use GParted on the Parted Magic live cd (partedmagic.com) for that.

When installing Windows, just choose the first partition and format it. If you do this properly and don't randomly click on stuff, your data should be intact.

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  # 216761 21-May-2009 18:17
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d3Xt3r: Geez, what's with all the naysayer comments above?


Reality is, one day he's going to lose one file, or many files. It will be a software failure, or worst the HDD goes to the HDD heaven. Backups are a thing you have to be used to have. On DVD, external HDD, online, whatever. If you value your data, you have to backup.

Since the OP is running a pirated copy of Windows I'd bet that this is not the cleanest install - even more reason to have a copy of his data in another device.




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  # 216790 21-May-2009 19:42
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+1 with partitioning or DVD backup (he really needs the cheap options guys). how big is your hard drive?

no point buying vista - it's NOT going to help you. installing vista could wipe all your data. just backup first. then do what you like - the W7 RC is free till early next year when it will just self destruct like mission impossible - then you'll have to think of something.




Involuntary autocorrect in operation on mobile device. Apologies in advance.


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Ultimate Geek


  # 216803 21-May-2009 20:38
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d3Xt3r: Geez, what's with all the naysayer comments above?

You don't "need" to backup [...]


We don't know how valuable the data on OP's hard drive is.  It could be the only copy of photos of their baby 12 hours old, or it could be DVD rips of Friends.  It's probably wise to assume that the data is valuable, whether it is or not is another thing.  We've all seen it here on Geekzone as well as other forums, I've even read about it in the newspaper.  Someones data/disk/home videotapes/memory card etc got erased/stood on/stolen/went to HDD heaven.  Inevitably they "didn't know" that they had to backup, they just assumed that it would last forever. 

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Master Geek


  # 217073 22-May-2009 22:21
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What they are really trying to say is.....


GET A BACKUP..NOW....



Or your could buy a new hdd, install into your PC and load W7 to boot off that new HDD, revert to XP when you need to i.e. dual b00t




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  # 217108 23-May-2009 08:24
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d3Xt3r: Geez, what's with all the naysayer comments above?
You don't "need" to backup


Here speakith a person that has never had a HDD die... Wink You are right, IF the data is not critical and/or you can replace it.
Maybe a partial backup is possible if some of the data is critical but a lot is not. Providing you take your time doing the install and don't click on screens without reading and understanding what you are being asked your data will not be lost. However there is always the chance that due to your error or something going wrong with the PC that you could lose the data on the PC so always critical that you at least backup your critical data before a major install and in fact any time it has been awhile since the last backup.







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  # 217109 23-May-2009 08:29
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I've seen cases where an interrupted install wouldn't start again unless you completely deleted all partitions on the drive - I couldn't get the installer to use the correct partition.

If this happens then you will lose your data.

Come on folks. BACKUP IS IMPORTANT, shift happens.





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  # 217341 23-May-2009 23:16
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@Nety: Personally, HDDs have died on me atleast thrice (540MB, 8GB and 20GB). I've also lost quite a few important floppy disks. I've also had remote servers fail. Trust me, I know the pain of loosing data. Heck, I even backup long posts like this in before posting!

I've dealt with plenty of dead and dying HDDs. I've also restored quite a few 'presumed dead' HDDs (basically, stiction problem drives). One of my hobbies is to buy faulty HDDs for real cheap, restore them and use them for temp/data-transfer and/or sell them. Yes, sometimes the drives are indeed dead, but you win some you loose some.

Point is, I don't see how your point of HDDs dying has anything to do with installing W7. This isn't about undermining the concept of backups, but about realistic risk assessment for the task at hand. It's definitely not a long time oriented advise, which you all are giving.

By quoting me partially ("You don't "need" to backup") without the full message, you're changing the essence of it. If you read my post carefully, you'd have understood that I meant that there's no 100% necessity to backup to external media if he doesn't have the resources, and if he follows the instructions properly. I mean they way you guys were screaming "backup", it seemed as if there's no other option.


---


@freitasm: How many cases have you seen, and were it all with 7100? Also, at what point were the setups interrupted?

I've just finished an extensive interrupt-testing and I was able to restart the setup just fine. If it's interrupted anywhere before or during step 1 (Copying files), simply restarting the setup and selecting the partition works fine. If it's during step 2, restart the setup but you may have to format or delete the partition. After step 3, simply boot off the HDD and setup will resume.

I've tried this the whole day today with various configurations, and I haven't come across a situation wherein it required deletion of all partitions. Also, I've contacted a Microsoft programmer (he comes across W7 issues often), who says that he never heard of such a thing. I'm not saying that it's not possible, but you have to agree that the possibility of such a thing happening is rare.

In any case, the partition-deletion-to-continue-setup has to be done manually, so it's still in the OP's hands to prevent data loss.


---

All you "backup! backup! backup!" people are missing the point. The OP *does* want to take a backup - he just doesn't have the resources at the moment. Repeating it over and over will not magically transfer funds into his account. He just can't get an external backup option and nothing you say will change that, so get over it already. (Although one of the points made by Nety - to atleast backup critical data - is sensible)

Summarising, the OP wanted to know a) The chances of loosing his files if he installs W7 without backing up and b) a way to backup the files in a cost-effective way.

I posted a legit, practical reply.

I understand the importance of and agree that people need to regularly backup their data to an external media, etc, etc, and I'm sure the OP would want to do the same once he has the resources, but you're missing the point here.

My point is that the chances of permanentaly loosing all/most data is relatively low. I'm being realistic here. Partitioning is a relatively safe procedure if you do it properly, using the right tools and taking proper precautions. Sure, s*** happens, but you can recover from it. (Unless you end up doing a dd if=/dev/urandom .... :P)



Now lets analyze the real risk factor involved in each step:


1. Delete unwanted data like old windows files, to freeup some space.

Risk: Minimal. Even if wanted data is deleted, it can be easily and quickly undeleted with PhotoRec or similar.


2. Resize old partition to reduce it by 60 GB.

Risk: Minimal - Moderate. If resizing operation gets interrupted or fails for some unknown reason, the partition table could go corrupt - which can be easily fixed by TestDisk or similar. If the operation fails when moving data, that particular file could become corrupt. If the OP has a large number of small files, one partially corrupt file amongst a 1000 isn't such a bad thing. Of course, if the OP has a single encrypted binary of gigabytes - that could be a huge loss of data. But on an average, home users don't have encrypted/binary files that large - usually they're movies, ISOs or archives. Movies - no problem there - only a few frames would go bad. Players like GOM would play them fine. If not, there are plenty of media fixers there, starting with VirtualDub. If it's an ISO or archive, it could be repaired using WinRAR or similar - although there will be partial data loss.


3. Create new partition from unused space.

Risk: Zero/Minimal. The worse that could happen is a failure when the partition table is being written, but that can be easily fixed with TestDisk or backing up the partition table beforehand.


4. Copy data from old partition to new partition.

Risk: Zero.


5. Verify integrity of new data.

Risk: Zero


6. Delete old partition.

Risk: Minimal. If in the unlikely event that the new partition is deleted, the partition table can be easily restored by TestDisk or a partition-table backup.


7. Boot from W7 disk, choose custom install, select the unallocated partition, create a new partition and install.

Risk: Minimal-Moderate.

- To prevent accidental installation into the incorrect partition (your backup partition), there are a few workarounds like

- - a) Make sure that the backup partition has less than 5 GB space. (W7 will not install to a partition that has less than 5.7 GB space)
- - b) Create/convert the backup partition to an unsupported filesystem like ReiserFS (You can use GParted for this)

- In the event that the setup gets interrupted, you could easily resume it without risking your data partition. (Ref. my reply to freitasm above.)

- In the low-probability event that the above takes place and all partitions have to be erased in order to proceed installation, the solution is simple: Stop! There might be other solutions, like wiping the partition table, then using TestDisk to scan and add your backup partition, and continuing the setup after that.

- In the very-low-probability event that all partitions are erased and Win7 starts to install, the chances of loosing your data is slim, as the setup files are more likely to be written in the upper areas of the disk. Your backup data should be (for the most part) intact. Again, which could be restored with TestDisk or similar.

- Finally, in the extremely-low-probability event that you format your backup partition and choose to install Win7 on it, you can still get back a majority of your data. (Assuming, that the majority are not large-non-archived-binary files) That's because Win7 occupies about 8GB after a fresh install, and 8GB lost means you still have a chance of recovering ~50GB of data. You can minimize the extent of loss if you stay alert during the installation and reset/shutdown the computer within the first few stages of the setup - so you'd might be loosing around 5.7GB or lesser, instead of 8GB.


---


Of course, I have no clue what sort of data you might be keeping, okihavenoclue, so my final advise is that you weigh the emotional and monetary value of your data and try backing up externally the most critical data accordingly, and then analyze if it's worth taking the risk.

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