New Method, 2005. Now that hard drives of huge capacity are cheap.
My first computer had a 163mb hard drive. My camera now has 1 GB! The falling price of memory has made have a second hard drive financially feasible for everyone. Depending on your wishes and talents, either 1) buy a new HD of the same capacity as your C drive or more, install it, or 2) buy an external hard drive. Unless you want your backups to take longer than paint drying in a rainstorm, you MUST have either USB 2.0 (pretty standard since 2003, but check) or a firewire port!) Format your hard drive in the same file system as your C drive (i.e., FAT32, NTFS.)
Windows 95, 98, and ME Users: Download a free copy of XXCOPY at http://www.xxcopy.com/index.htm#download . It's like the old DOS XCOPY on steroids. Install it. From your Windows desktop, go to Programs/Accessories/MS-DOS Prompt. Right click, Send To Desktop. Open the MS-DOS prompt. Type in (without quotes) "c:\ d:\ /clone /yy" This will tell XXCOPY to make the D drive exactly the same as the C drive! It's called an incremental backup. Hit enter. After the first time, it will go extremely fast.
You can even make your backup hard drive bootable! Do not try this if you aren't comfortable with fdisk! Use fdisk from DOS to make the drive "Active." It has to be the only drive on the system. Once this is done, you won't have to do it again regardless of master or slave positions.
Windows 2000 and XP Users: The above system works great, too. It just won't copy the system files, which means you can't boot from your slave drive if needed. The makers of XXCOPY came to the rescue and developed XXCLONE. I've not used it, but I trust the makers.
Old Method, 2002. Before the days of cheap hard drives!
Background: Bill Gates an’ his boys, for all their millions of lines of code, never have included some way of backing up Windows 95 or 98! If you try to copy the Windows directory while in Windows, some files either will not copy or will not go back where they are supposed to, since they are in use. Good work, Bill! One day when you go to boot to Windows, you will get discouraging messages about not finding files, or they are corrupted, or the dreaded “install Windows again.” Installing Windows isn’t so bad, its just that you’ve lost every setting and preference you painfully developed! However, there is a way around all this by using two freeware programs, CLONE.EXE and DOSLFNBK.EXE.
DOS to the Rescue! You can’t very well resuscitate Windows from a Windows that won’t boot, right? So we use DOS, the program that got Bill’s foot in the door with IBM that made him a gazillionaire. It’s really pretty easy if you just follow these instructions.
Preparing for the Inevitable: It isn’t a question of if, it’s
more like when. Some people keep flashlights and a good spare tire,
others get stranded on the side of the road. Here’s how you will
be prepared for a computer “flat tire.”
1. Copy the two files mentioned to either or both your C:\ root directory and/or your Windows Emergency or Boot-To-Dos floppy. The procedure will work faster from the C drive.
2. Make a promise to yourself that you will backup Windows at least once a week, or when you are having a chocolate attack, or washing the dog is the only less meaningful thing you have to do. Every time you install a program or change settings, Windows’ files change. If Windows crashes after that installation and you don’t have a backup, you will have to reinstall the application or setting.
Making the Backup: With CLONE and DOSLFNBK on your C drive, boot to the C drive by either: (Win95) tapping F8 during the Windows boot, getting the boot menu and selecting “Command Line”, or (Win98) holding down the “Control” key until the same menu and option pops up, or best of all, boot to the A:\ prompt by using your floppy with “Smartdrive” loaded via the Autoexec.bat file (see end of this paper). If it isn’t, CLONE runs slower than a 1988 IBM XT! It does work, it just takes a whole lot longer!
The next thing we have to do is make a home for the backup.
If you have the luxury of two hard drives, definitely put it on the
second (usually the D drive). I use “Winback” for mine (Windows
Backup. Get it?). If you are at the c:\ prompt, type “md winback”
(all commands from here in quotes mean you don’t type the quotes).
If you are at the A:\ prompt, type
(From here on I am going to assume you are working from the c:\ prompt. If you are using the A:\, just add c:\ in front of the commands.)
Now we are going to get rid of a big ol’ file that Windows will
rebuild upon boot anyway. If you don’t do this, it just takes time
and space. The “Win386.swp” file usually resides in the c:\windows
directory. I’ve seen it live in the C:\ root directory.
Don’t ask me, I just criticize Windows! Assuming it’s in Windows,
when you are at the c:\ prompt, type
“del windows\win386.swp”. Poof! Gone!
You may as well get rid of some directories in Windows that just
accumulate junk and Windows won’t let you delete from within Windows.
These are c:\windows\temp and c:\windows\temporary internet. Because
DOS cannot read the long file name of the last one, we will type something
a little different, as will be seen. OK, at the c:\ prompt, type
“deltree indows\temp”. A question will pop up asking if you are sure
you want to delete. The correct answer is, of course, “How stupid
are you? Didn’t I tell you to delete it?” The Internet Files
directory deletes similarly: type “deltree indows\tempor~1".
The ~ (tiddle) is found above the TAB key while pressing the Shift key.
Type in “clone -sham C:\ windows C:\winback”. If you are using a different hard drive for your backup, use that letter, for example, “d:\winback”. You screen will show every file as it is being copied. Five to ten minutes is typical for this to take place. When it is done, you have made a copy of Windows, but you have lost all of your long file names! This is where DOSLFNBK comes to the rescue!
DOSLFNBK will make a file called “backup.lfn” on your C:\ root directory that holds the information to convert short DOS 8.3 file names back to what they were supposed to be. The file doesn’t take a whole lot of room, so I suggest backing up all file names on the C drive. It’s fast, too.
Now you’ve backed up the files by CLONE, type “doslfnbk c:\ /all
/v”. If you have done this before, it will ask you if it should overwrite
the file called backup.lfn. The answer is Yes. In a minute or less,
it will be done.
Congratulations! You have just done what used to be impossible!
Re-installing Windows from your Backup: Now your computer won’t boot, or you get nasty messages like I mentioned earlier, or the thing keeps crashing or running as fast as a slug on a winter’s day - in the shade. Time to re-install Windows! And unlike the folks who don’t know how to do this, you will be up and running in ten minutes with all of your preferences set!
Boot to the C:\ prompt. Once again, it will be faster if you have Smartdrive loaded. Type “clone -sham c:\winback c:\windows”. If your Winback is on another drive, use that letter. CLONE will replace and overwrite all of your Windows files.
To get back your long file names, type “doslfnbk c:\ /r /v”.
Last, remove your floppy, if any, and reboot. Have another cup of coffee. You just did what Bill never wanted you to do. For free!
About Smartdrive: Smartdrive is a simple DOS program that keeps the information that your computer will need next close and fast and ready. Sort of like a mind reader! You will find it on pre-Windows DOS disks or directories. All you need to do is copy it from the source to your floppy and then have a line in “Autoexec.bat” telling the computer to load it. Assuming you have a bootable floppy with “Autoexec.bat” on it, go ahead and boot to it. At the A:\ prompt, type “edit autoexec.bat”. A screen will pop up with different command lines on it. Using your arrow keys, start a new line and type in “LH a:\smartdrv a b c”. Press your “Alt” key. Arrow down to “Exit”. Hit “Enter”. It will ask you if you want to save the changes. Answer - duh! - “Yes”. You’re done.