And still more on Windows Backups!

"Oh lord!", you say. "Is he still on about backups?"

Well, yes I am. My Windows strategy failed, and I had to regroup. To review (if people really care), here is my first post where I laid out my current thinking and strategy - super briefly I buy an external USB or Firewire drive and clone my computer's main drive onto the external. In that post I recommended a program called Acronis Home Image for Windows machines. Turns out that Acronis doesn't support something about the Boot Camp partitioning of an Intel Mac. I explained how to hack around that using Parallels in my second post. Then lastly I mentioned in the third post that Parallels had broken. This is the flaw with that backup strategy - if Parallels breaks you can't restore. D'oh!

So I looked around and found a solution. Even better it's all freeware! There's one key bit I failed to notice before, and that is you need to be able to boot and run the restore EVEN IF THE OS IN QUESTION HAS FAILED. So here I present a suite of tools that work on a Mac Pro with a hard drive split into an OS X and a NTFS Boot Camp partition. This has even been verified. I managed to screw up the networking drivers for Boot Camp as well while doing Registry surgery, so I booted from an external CD-ROM and restored my entire XP partition to fix it.

1) DriveImage XML. You can go ahead and install this just like normal on Windows XP. Run it periodically to clone your drive to the external drive.

2) Bart's Preinstalled Environment (Bart PE). This is some slick software. In a nutshell it slurps just enough of XP's installer to run drivers and some software. It uses that to burn a CD that can boot a limited Windows GUI - with the right drivers for your machine.

3) Once you have BartPE set up install the DriveImage XML plugin. Notice that this page talks about using WindowsPE, but it also works with Bart PE.

In a pinch you can boot the Mac Pro while holding down Command. If you have the Bart PE disc in the drive you can boot from it, mount the external drive and run DriveImage and restore the entire drive from there. Reboot again into Boot Camp and Bob's your uncle!

Not the most exciting article I've ever written but if you want to Boot Camp an Intel Mac, this is useful stuff. Wish I had figured it out BEFORE blowing up my XP install . . . .

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