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Other Hardware and Peripherals Other Apple systems and peripherals discussion.

Have a new Windows PC? Just a quick tip regarding recovery partitions


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cwa107

 
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I realize this is somewhat out of place on a Mac forum, but I know that many of our members have Windows machines as well, or know people that do. So, I figured I'd share a bit of wisdom that I hope you'll share with those you know (or maybe learn something new yourself).

As a little side-job, I repair PCs on the weekends - most frequently notebooks - and about 95% of the time, they're Windows machines. The majority of problems surrounds malware (viruses, trojans, etc), but the second biggest problem is in failed hard disks, particularly in notebooks.

While a hard drive replacement is pretty trivial relative to some of the other hardware repairs I do, getting the machine back to a useful state with the OS loaded is often a painful experience. Why? Because for the past 10 years or so, manufacturers have all but eliminated system recovery discs. And unlike with most modern Macs, you can't simply hit Command+R at boot time and download the OS. If you haven't bothered to create a set of recovery discs, you're stuck buying a new copy of Windows (or begging a set of disks out of the vendor) if the recovery partition can't be exhumed from the failed hard disk.

Most PCs that ship without recovery discs will prompt the user to create a set when they're first booted up. And it's been my experience that most users, in their excitement to start setting up their new PC, often overlook this important step.

This is a huge mistake. The first thing you should do, before anything else, is to figure out how to create system recovery disc(s).

Dell has a fantastic solution in their own-branded Dell DataSafe utility. At first glance, it looks like just a typical piece of trial/nagware and is easily dismissed. But if you're the owner of a Dell machine, and you've dismissed that offer to open the software to create recovery discs, you can do it at any time (before the system fails) by simply opening it from the Start menu.

I've seen that HP, Acer/Gateway and several others have their own options for building recovery discs. If you have one of these machines, take this opportunity to either reference your system's documentation, or visit the respective support site to see how to create a recovery disc. It's often easier than you might think and you should do so now BEFORE you have this problem. Remember, it's not a question of "if" a hard disk will fail, but "when".

And if you can't find the option, please be sure to use a program like Acronis, Norton Ghost or EaseUS Todo to create a FULL backup (including the recovery partition) on an external HDD.

This may save you, or the tech that needs to replace your hard disk, a ton of time and money.

Liquid and computers don't mix. It might seem simple, but we see an incredible amount of people post here about spills. Keep drinks and other liquids away from your expensive electronics!
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harryb2448

 
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Nice article however for the life of me can never get two programs to work successfully and these are Acronis True Image and Winclone, both paid and unpaid.

Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!
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chscag

 
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Acronis True Image will not work with an EFI system Harry. It needs to "see" a BIOS in order to recover a cloned partition or drive. I've got the latest version here which I use on our PCs and have continually tried to make it work on my two Macs. It will go so far as to make the clone, but it refuses to restore it. And that's both from Boot Camp and VMWare Fusion.

I gave up on WinClone long ago. Although I've heard the new pay version works well.
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RavingMac

 
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Good write-up.

Hope to never need it though. We are a Mac only house-hold and the Windows machines at work are locked down so I can't do anything with them.

I've always wanted to be smart, handsome and modest. But, I guess I'll have to be satisfied with two out of three . . .
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