I now know why I have been backing up my computer for all these years even though I never had any use for it.

It all began, as so often, with a dreaded BSD (bad_pool_header to be precise). Pretty routine so I just rebooted, expecting that everything would return to normal as it always has in the past. Big mistake. The computer took on a life of its own, rebooted, ran a system check, went into repair mode, installed a Windows patch which must have been downloaded earlier (they’re not supposed to install without me specifically authorising it), rebooted yet again and left me with only basic functions. No access to any programs, no network (not even local, let alone internet) no printer … Time for the Windows installation disk! Rebooted from that, ran the system repair tools, got the same result. This was beginning to annoy me more than a bit, so on to the memory check which informed me there was a hardware problem (without of course saying what).

I’ve had problems with dust getting into the beast before and causing hardware problems so I opened it up, removed the processor heat sink, cleaned it, put it back, removed all the memory sticks and tested them for reliability, checked all the connections and still had the same problem. Only one thing left to try before handing the machine to the computer technician in town (always a problem as my system is in English and he only speaks French)- the famous backup disc that had been sitting all those years quietly doing whatever it is they do.

So in with the PC Tools recovery disk, reboot and bingo, I find myself in Linux! Not good news, I thought. I know nothing about Linux. But fortunately whoever designed the PC Tools Simple Backup program knows there are a lot of us computer illiterates out there and led me by the hand, step by step. Plug in your backup drive. Done that? OK, which backup do you want to restore? The system backup? OK, select that, Now tell me which drive you want to restore it to. Fine. Now press go. Do not switch off the computer whatever happens.

It took hours, largely because after restoring the files it insisted on running chkdsk on the 500 GB backup drive. But who was I to argue. At 1 a.m. I gave up and left it to get on with it and lo and behold, this morning I had an almost perfectly restored system. The only thing that didn’t work properly was the mouse and even that worked well enough. A quick download and re-installation of the Logitech Setpoint software and I was back to normal.

So guess what? Next time I’ll START with the backup!

Nick, I use PC Tools Simple Backup ( It is what it says it is, simple. Once installed you forget about it and it beavers away in the background backing up, creating restore points and so on. It comes with a recovery CD. It adds to the cost but for non-experts it makes the backup process idiot proof. You just boot from the CD and it tells you what to do. I also use their Spyware Doctor and AV which has so far not let anything through. I used to have just Spyware Doctor to handle the malware and McAfee for the AV. But the two didn’t work well together and McAfee continually demanded a bigger and bigger share of resources so I dumped then and shifted to a unified system. Works a lot better. The only problem I have come across with the backup software is that it doesn’t always clear space for itself on the backup drive by removing old backups as it is supposed to do. I talked to their hotline and they wanted me to call the USA to sort the problem out. This was going to cost me more than the software so I insisted and they eventually said that if I waited 24 hours the problem would go away. And it does. So a minor glitch really which they’ll no doubt sort out in an upgrade.

A good tale, and really good news you got it back up and running. It is a lesson for all of us, that good backup’s are worth their weight in gold.

I have taken a slightly different path these days, and 90% of all the information and applications I need access to are in the cloud, so the access machine becomes significantly less important. The other 10% I backup to external drives. Once I have moved my virtual test images to Amazons cloud as well, then that last 10% will not be as important.

Always good to remind people though of the value of tested, often taken backups. Terry, can you post exactly what you use so that others can see what you used so successfully.



I don’t back up anything to the web but I do have a second hard disk to which I manually copy all my docs and photos regularly. Too many irreplaceable family photos not to have at least two copies of everything.

I just knew someone would say I should be using Ubuntu but my money was on Nick being first! You may all be right, in fact I know you probably are, and if I had two computers I’d probably run one on Ubuntu just to see. But I’m reluctant to take the risk of screwing everything up unless I have someone sitting right next to me who can fix it. Maybe next time my son is visiting, or even my 15-year-old grandson who is far more computer savvy than I’ll ever be! I suspect the problem I had was caused by the installation of the KB-whatever in the middle of a restore operation. Anyway, I now know how to restore a backup so something good came out of it. That and confidence that the PC tools software really does the job.

Cant think of the last time I saw a BSOD :slight_smile:

Ditto here, both our systems are running Ubuntu and have had no major difficulties especially anything like a blue screen of death.

But the important thing is that you did your backup. Question, are you also backing up your most important files to an online service? That’s another automatic level of security you can get yourself. I use Dropbox for mine, works well - if you feel like trying it use my LINK HERE and it will give you an extra 250mb on top of the free 2gb.

If you were running Ubuntu Linux you would never see the BSD. Hard disks are so cheap these days (€45 for 1 Tb) that both of our linux boxes now have second hard disks in them to backup to,
This is also helpful for those people who never backup as it shows that a Ubuntu live CD will allow you to access a broken Windows system to recover your stuff from the windows hard disk.