Posts Tagged ‘restore’

Today’s Edition of “Always do your backups” is a Win7 Netbook

Friday, January 14th, 2011

I was not pleased to see that the new netbook that I mentioned in a previous post, did not come with restore DVD’s.  However, I just realized that since there is no DVD drive, most regular people wouldn’t know what to do with restore DVDs.

Anyway, I decided to make a full disk image backup, in case the drive in the netbook crashes badly.   Hard drives have moving parts, they all die eventually, the only question is if you have retired the computer before it goes.

Without restore DVDs, my next thought was to use  the Windows 7 built-in disk image backup.  I re-discovered that this feature does not back up over  network drives*. You’re supposed to use  an external USB hard drive, which is OK, given the price of external drives. But since I’m not familiar with the Win7 backup tools, and in particular, I can’t figure out if it will backup the hidden partitions that contain the original install files for Windows and the rest of the software bundle, I decided to fall back on my favorite disk image tool, G4L.

I have used G4L ( for clients and personal use for years, so I strongly prefer to use it. Without a DVD drive, I needed to make a bootable USB thumb drive.  That was surprisingly easy.

To create the bootable USB drive, I  followed the instructions here:

As I type this, G4L is busily sending a perfect disk image of the netbook to our on-site FTP server.  It’s not quite a factory image (the netbook has been lightly used),  but it’s close enough.  Plus, the real restore partition is being backed up in case I really need to return it to factory settings.

* There are some tricks to do Windows 7 disk image backups over a network, one using Virtual drives feature of Win7, and another using iSCSI… but I digress.

Fixing the Time in an SME Server Running in VMWare Server 2

Monday, November 8th, 2010

First, a PSA: Please do a backup of all your data, if you haven’t done one in the last week!

A good daily backup over the network  saved my behind this week, after a hard drive crash on our home “server”.  My data was safe, though, I do have some rebuilding of the operating systems to do (Yes, systems, the server is a virtual machine).

I had the craziest time trying to get the time in the VM to stay in sync with the universe.   There are many posts on the web about a dozen different tricks and settings for making the time in a Linux VM work properly.  In my case, I think it turned out to be a simple problem, I didn’t have VMWare Tools automatically starting at boot time.

This page gave me the hints I needed:

The gist:
At the SME console:
/etc/rc.d/init.d/vmware-tools start
Make tools start on reboot:
# Redhat-based distros
chkconfig vmware-tools on
# SME 7
ln -s /etc/rc.d/init.d/vmware-tools /etc/rc7.d/S19vmware-tools


I had to do a song and dance to restore my DAR2 backup, but, generally I’m happy.  I still can’t access SME Server’s “/server-manager” web based GUI… that may be the next post on the PSI blog.

Background: My home server runs SME Server, formerly known as E-smith, from  I’ve been running this Linux based, server bundle for years, maybe even a decade.  However, a couple years ago, I migrated it into a virtual machine to reduce the number of computers that are running 24×7 at home.

Epilog: It might be time to do RAID at home.  Backups are good, but reconfiguration of a highly customized computer still takes a while.