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[ The PC Guide | Procedure Guide | Software Procedures ]

Manual Windows 95 Recovery Procedure

Disaster recovery refers to the process of getting a system going again after a "disaster", usually considered any system problem significant enough to warrant a full restore from backup. Disaster recovery under DOS is a relatively simple affair, but under Windows 95 it can be problematic. The main reason is that unless your backup software includes the single-step recovery feature, you have to reinstall and run Windows 95 to do the restore. Then, when the restore software tries to restore your Windows 95 environment, it creates a mess because it tries to overwrite files that are already in use. See this section for more details on this problem. This procedure provides a potential work-around for this problem, by making use of two hard disk partitions to avoid the conflict that can occur during recovery.

Procedure Overview:

  • Difficulty Level: 3-4 (Moderate to High). This procedure is a bit tricky and you may have to be careful and "ad lib" a bit. The procedure may not always work. It is also not described in as much detail as some of the other procedures, and requires you to know how to reinstall Windows 95 and other software.
  • Risk Factor: 2 (Low). If you are starting with a wiped-out disk there's not much to lose, right? :^)
  • Hardware Required: None.
  • Software Required:
    • Windows 95 CD-ROM.
    • Backup / restore software.
  • Time to Perform: Depends entirely on the size of the hard disk being restored and the backup method. Can be a few minutes to a few hours.
  • Preparation / Warnings:
    • You must partition and format your hard disk drive before commencing, and install your CD-ROM driver to allow you to reinstall Windows 95 from CD-ROM.
    • Your system must have at least two disk volumes for this procedure to work. If you only have C: on your PC, you cannot use this procedure.
    • This procedure assumes that you normally have your WIndows directory on your C: disk volume, as most people do.
    • I have not tried this process myself but I have done something similar in the past, and others have reported success with it.

Procedure Steps:

  1. Perform a Minimum Windows 95 Reinstall, to an Alternative Disk Volume: Reinstall Windows 95, but when you do, install it not to the C: drive where you would normally put it, but rather some other drive, say D:. Just do enough of an install to get the backup software running, don't worry about fine-tuning or setting up all your peripherals and drivers; the installation is not going to be around for long. This install should proceed without any problems.
  2. Reinstall Your Backup Software: Reinstall your backup and recovery software onto D: as well.
  3. Restore C: Disk Volume: Run your restore software to restore the contents of only your C: drive. Since Windows 95 is running from the D: drive there should be no conflicts. Now your original system files and original Windows 95 copy should be restored.
  4. Reboot the PC: After rebooting the PC, your system should be using the restored proper copy of Windows 95 on the  C: drive, and all your settings should be back to normal.
  5. Delete the Temporary Windows 95 Installation: You don't need this any more once the restored version is running.
  6. Delete the Temporary Backup Software: Most people keep utility software on their C: drive, so this would now be restored as well. If so, then delete the temporary copy that was installed to the D: (or other) volume. Otherwise, leave it intact.
  7. Restore Your Other Disk Volumes: Restore the disk volumes other than C:, running from the Windows 95 installation that is on C:.
  8. Test Everything: Test out Windows 95 and your applications to ensure that they are functioning properly.

Next: Windows 95 Installation Procedure

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