Though inevitable, system crashes can either be a nightmare or just an inconvenience depending on how you plan for them. While it’s routine to keep a backup of your important files, what about your whole operating system? Check out this Windows 2000 Professional TechMail tip to find out how a backup copy of Windows can be installed on either a single or dual partition system.

Back up now to save time later
Install a backup copy of Windows 2000 in order to back up and restore the main installation quickly and easily. If you only have one hard disk with a single partition, install the second copy in the same partition as your existing installation. Or you can install the other copy of Windows 2000 to a different partition if one is available. (Note: You’ll need about 600 MB of free space for the new installation.)

Using two partitions
Here are the basic steps to follow for backing up a new system with two partitions:

  1. Create the two partitions, making the backup partition active. Restart and then install Windows 2000 to that partition.
  2. Apply service packs and updates to make it current.
  3. Use Disk Administrator to make the main partition active and reboot.
  4. Install the main copy of Windows 2000 and install your applications to this partition.
  5. Change boot menu entries in Boot.ini to differentiate between the backup and main installation.
  6. Boot the backup installation and use Backup or your favorite backup utility to back up your main partition to a file (or tape, although tape provides slower recovery).
  7. Restart the main installation. Any time you make a change such as installing new software, boot the backup and make a new backup copy of the main installation.
  8. If you have a problem or want to restore the system to the way it was as of the last backup, boot the backup installation, restore the main one, and restart the machine.

Using a single partition
In order to achieve the same results on an existing system, make a backup of your main installation as a precaution. Then, install a new copy to the same partition that houses your existing installation, using \WINNTBAK as the target folder. Apply service packs and updates to it, edit Boot.ini to differentiate the installations, and perform a backup of the main installation. Then reboot to your main installation to continue working.

Read up on backing up your system
Check out these other TechRepublic articles and columns for more information on planning for and recovering from a system crash:

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