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  • #2212987

    Backwards OS Install Tragedy


    by deiceray ·

    I was running WIN7 and being frustrated by its quirkiness, its complete lack of backwards support, and lack of drivers for XP programs. I decided to go back to XP.
    I thought installing WIN7 was a mistake, but the install program of XP caused the biggest mistake of my LIFE.
    Under WIN7, my 500 GB SATA drive was C: and E:, with D: assigned to the 200GB IDE drive.
    For some evil reason, XP (and I did not find this out until hours after the install) decided that the IDE was C.

    I lost basically my last five years of work – 160 GB of files. Sure, some is backed up on DVD, and maybe I can find a few GB of copies. Part of the install was motivated by the fact that I could not get the WIN7 system to burn DVDs to back up my data. So I had planned to back it up after the XP install.
    All of my graphics work, my entire website, all my raw photography images all the way back to 2006, tens of thousands of pictures; all my writings, over a thousand handmade scans of 35mm slides and negatives, and a host of other files and programs and data; I was using that D: partition as a temp storage for the install!
    So users beware; XP and WIN7 see hardware in fundamentally different ways. Apparently WIN7 sees a SATA as primary, and XP sees an IDE as primary.
    I am devastated. I’m not whining, I am warning. There was no way to tell that XP had altered the lettering of the drives by looking at the install screen. There’s nothing I can do now; I cannot afford to send the drive to have the data recovered.
    So – be careful out there.

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3023522

      I think it was Thoreau

      by santeewelding ·

      In reply to Backwards OS Install Tragedy

      Who said to accumulate and to go through life with no more than you could carry on your back.

      Seems there are drawbacks…

    • #3023488

      words i’ve had drilled into my head

      by purpleskys ·

      In reply to Backwards OS Install Tragedy

      back up, back up, back up…always and often, and preferably to an external hdd

    • #3023484

      Installation – another area Linux is better

      by j-mart ·

      In reply to Backwards OS Install Tragedy

      Take the time to gain a small amount of knowledge and you have full control of the partitioning, format, or not and where you set up your system in multi disk machines, you are not forced into “Microsoft knows best”

      • #3023464

        “Take the time to gain a small amount of knowledge”

        by charliespencer ·

        In reply to Installation – another area Linux is better

        If he’d taken time to gain a small amount of Windows installation knowledge, he’d have had more control of this installation too; enough to have prevented this disaster.

        On the flip side, without doing the knowledge gathering, he would have made the same mistake by assuming the distro’s installation process knew best. Yes, Linux provides more control, but if he didn’t know he needed it then the additional control is pointless.

        You’ve also overlooked one of the reasons he wanted to downgrade to XP in the first place: because W7 wasn’t backwards compatible with his XP apps. If W7 wasn’t, Linux sure isn’t either.

        In short, both OSs provide the knowledgeable user the controls needed to have prevented this. You’re attempting to find a Linux advantage where none exists.

    • #3023466

      SATA support under XP.

      by charliespencer ·

      In reply to Backwards OS Install Tragedy

      The reason XP decided the IDE was C:, not D:, was because XP installation media doesn’t include SATA drivers. It could see only the IDE drive, so that’s where it installed.

      During the pre-installation process, there’s a prompt to load storage drivers from USB or other media, a prompt you either missed or didn’t understand the significance of. You also missed the display of available drives, so you didn’t notice that Windows was reporting only one physical drive available as an installation target.

      Your system probably has a BIOS setting for ‘legacy’ or ‘ATA’ hard drive support as an alternative to its default ‘SATA’ setting. Had you set this first, the BIOS would have reported SATA drives as ATA / IDE drives to the installation process, and would have shown both SATA and IDE drives as available as installation targets.

      The real warning you failed to pass along is to ALWAYS do a FULL backup before attempting ANY major OS or hard drive operation (service pack, upgrade, replacement, repair re-installation, reconfiguring for dual- / multiple-boot, drive repair utility, virtualization, among others.)

      • #3025883

        off target

        by deiceray ·

        In reply to SATA support under XP.

        I really don’t want to get into the details but you are so far off the mark that I can’t bring you back to it. It simply was not as you portray it. Nice analysis, but wrong.

      • #3025881

        good to know

        by deiceray ·

        In reply to SATA support under XP.

        Late is better than never. Appreciate the explanation. At least I understand better what happened. BTW, there were 3 drives acceptable for the install, not one.

        • #3025836

          Okay, I’m confused.

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to good to know

          You’ve replied to me twice, but they appear to contradict each other. Was this a good analysis, as you indicate in the post I’m replying to; or was I way off the mark, as you said in your previous post? I’m okay with being incorrect, but I’d like to where I went wrong.

      • #3025806

        the full story

        by deiceray ·

        In reply to SATA support under XP.

        Full story:
        I have an AMD Phenom 2.7Ghz quad core system with 4GB or DDR2, a 200GB IDE HDD and a 500GB SATA, in two 250 GB partitions, and an external 500GB Maxtor One Touch HDD, and a double density Lite-on DVD Burner that supports all burnable media.
        I was running WIN7 pro 64 bit and not liking it at all, mostly because of the complete lack of legacy support and the lack of updates from the many thousands of dollars of software I had that ran perfectly in XP, that now would not function in WIN7. I installed WIN7 for the 64bit support, but never expected it to not support programs designed for XP. I wrote many emails to many vendors, who replied they had not as yet updated their programs to run in 7 – apparently no one was happy about the lack of backwards support. Further, the PC was rebooting itself overnight, every night, for some mysterious reason that could never be identified; they’d “let me know” said the little M$ dialog box, if they ever figured it out…
        I tried to backup my data on the Maxtor One Touch, but it consistently timed out and “stopped responding”, as Windows put it. I tried to burn it off onto DVDs, using Ashampoo’s Burning Studio 9, which had NEVER failed in XP, but the burner timed out as well. I tried just dragging and dropping into the window created by inserting a blank disk, but that worked no better and I got 3 failures for 1 success. So I moved all my data to the D drive, which was the IDE drive. I had 160 GB of files on the IDE when I finished. Safe on the D: drive I told myself.
        So I cleaned off C: Drive, the first partition on the SATA, (there was and still is an E: partition with all my music on it), and then rebooted to install XP. It began by reformatting the C: drive for the install; it went slow as I used a full NTFS format, not a quick one, and hours later I was up and running on XP; I activated and updated and by evening my system was operational and current. I began to install programs, when I noticed that the D: drive was different – it contained everything that had been left on C: in WIN7! It was NOT the D: drive; it was the old C: Drive!
        Here’s WHY: (thanks Palmetto)
        WIN7 sees a SATA drive first. XP sees an IDE first.
        XP formatted my D: DRIVE IDE BACKUP of ALL MY CRUCIAL FILES and called it C: !
        Over 750,000 files gone. ALL my GRAPHICS, ALL my Photoshop work, all my videos, and programs and saved data, and on and on, especially all my recent work. Gone. I admit I was devastated.
        Now I’ve seen some wimpy explanations and some chiding “you should have known better” comments. but I dare anyone to show me in print where Microsoft explicitly states that XP and WIN7 read hardware in a fundamentally different and opposite and potentially destructive way.
        I found a program called Recuva, by the people who make CCleaner, and it recovered about 130,000 files; a pathetic recovery in one sense, a masterful recovery in another, in that most all of those were my image files, so I have some of my graphic/photography life back.
        For those of you shouting “It’s your fault for not backing up,” I repeat, I TRIED, but WIN7 failed me.
        The Maxtor and the burner have been retested under XP and THEY WORK FINE.
        For this I blame COMPLETELY MICRO$OFT, and I will forever hold them in contempt, even as I continue to use their products; I see little choice, given the OS and software choices out there. THEY are directly responsible for my data loss because of their lack of specificity regarding OS’s abilities to see hardware consistently. No one can tell me with a straight face that I should have expected XP and WIN7 to see basic hardware components in fundamentally opposing ways! My C: Drive should BE my C: Drive! EVER FOR ALWAYS!
        So learn from this cautionary tale – be absolutely sure of what you do before you do it, and really – don’t bother wasting time and money on WINDOWS 7 – it’s just not worth it without the backwards support.
        For Palmetto – I know I repeated some info here, but it made sense to be linear about it. Your explanation of how the drives are seen by the Os’s was helpful, your speculation about backups was not. Thanks.

        • #3025798

          Ok you are an ungrateful jerk.

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to the full story

          Palmie’s advice about backups was dead on the mark. Had you followed it, you would not be in the position you are in.

          He was trying to help you, and you spat at him.

          I realise you are upset and frustrated. Thats no reason to bite the hand of those who are offering the advise you want.

          And you still don’t “get it”, re XP and SATA. When XP was written, SATA didn’t exist. So the install process doesn’t see a SATA drive. There is a point in the install where it give you the chance to add a driver (hit F6 if I recall correctly), this was for SCSI drives, RAID controllers, but also works for SATA – this allows you to direct the OS install to drivers that you can have on a floppy. I’ve done this many times, as my XP computer also has SATA as the boot drive.

          You may have attempted to do a full backup, but you should not have attempted an install of an OS without a successful backup. Thats advice everyone should understand.


        • #3025788

          No offense taken on my part

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to Ok you are an ungrateful jerk.

          After all, I did ask what part of my previous post wasn’t helpful.

          My backup advice wasn’t trying to help deICERAY; it was already too late for that. It was intended to benefit others who might read this discussion as preparation for a similar attempt.

          I was going to correct the statement that XP ‘sees an IDE drive first’, but I figured deICERAY was still too upset to care anyway.

        • #3026554

          Oh yeah, that was helpful!

          by deiceray ·

          In reply to Ok you are an ungrateful jerk.

          It’s a policy of mine to ignore smug, old farts but in your case I’ll make an exception. I did not “spit” on Palmetto – he asked where he was off the mark. From one “jerk” to another, your comments are just a casual skim and insult attack. I would also like to borrow your time machine so that I can go back and take advantage of advice I received after the fact. As for the “still don’t get it” part, your explanation is that it also works for SATA – even though it doesn’t mention SATA anywhere in the install? That’s sublimely helpful… that was sarcasm in case you don’t recognize it.
          Finally, did you notice the “retired” in my profile? I’m trying to keep up with the technology, I’m trying to do things right, and I thought I’d get help and commiseration – whoa, wrong there on your part!
          Oh yeah, since I was running the SATA under XP, I don’t “get” your XP was before SATA comment, and I maintain that it was perfectly logical of me to assume a hardware setup, run under XP, upgraded to WIN7, would then work with a reinstall of XP – pardon me, it must have been because I’m such a jerk. A retired jerk at that.

        • #3026547

          I’m sorry for your loss.

          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to Oh yeah, that was helpful!

          My condolences.
          Unfortunately Microsoft will not suffer from your contempt.
          You should consider a shift towards a more reliable OS.

        • #3026366

          I’m helpful to many, see my thumbs

          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Oh yeah, that was helpful!

          But you seemed more intent on venting then listening to Palmie, who is even more helpful and infinately more patient than me.

          I’ve gone through the XP with SATA install dozens of times, at work and at home. I held on to XP during Vista because my older games ran better on XP.

          The XP installer program doesn’t list SATA as SATA didn’t exist when it was written. If you’d like to use that time machine to tell MS to anticipate what hasn’t happened yet, go ahead.

          Instead, they made allowances for funky setups of the day, like RAID arrays with SCSI controllers etc. and gave you the option of hitting F6 and pointing to the driver. Thats how your XP must have been installed in the first place.

          Me smug, not hardly. The reason I and others have mentioned the “do the backup first, before you attempt an OS install” is because we have all made the same mistake as you at some point or another. And I don’t think any of us were trying to rub it in as much as to make sure that before you do anything similar again, make sure you have the stuff you need backed up. Its a voice we hear in our own heads.

          Help, I thought Palmie was being helpful, and what came across when I read your reply wasn’t someone who was trying to understand what he was telling you, but someone who was venting their spleen.

          As for retired, there are several retired people on here that are trying to keep up as well, but they don’t use that status as an excuse.

          I’ve helped many people here over the years, with technical questions, business advice, resume reviews, interview tips. I’ve shopped for some people here, bought a few beers etc.

          Its the spirit with which you came in, looking for someone to blame, lashing out that caught me, or I would have been more patient in my response. There are lots of great people here who will and do help others on a regular basis, many much more than me.

          As that pop song goes, you get what you give.


    • #3023461

      First rule of Windows is :

      by deadly ernest ·

      In reply to Backwards OS Install Tragedy

      NEVER install a version of Windows on a system that has a hard drive with a LATER version already loaded on it, it will get screwed big time. You MUST remove the hard drive with the newer version or wipe it, before you try to install.

      • #3026630

        not only that

        by danerd ·

        In reply to First rule of Windows is :

        i recently had to reinstall xp and installed it on fat32 ( i wasnt paying attention ) now when i access wav music files that are on my other harddrive which is ntfs some of the text information relating to those music files is now missing and i am talking of the small difference in file systems ntfs vs fat32, so you can see how tempremental windows can be.

        • #3026629

          Windows is temperamental

          by santeewelding ·

          In reply to not only that

          Or, you are temperamental, like our friend?

        • #3026594

          No ‘small difference’

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to not only that

          “…i am talking of the small difference in file systems ntfs vs fat32…”

          That’s not a small difference. While many OSs can access either, individually they’re incompatible.

        • #3029948

          what i meant

          by danerd ·

          In reply to No ‘small difference’

          is fat32 and ntfs are supposed to be compatible, ( i stand corrected )therefore i cannot understand why eighty percent of my text information of my wav music files are missing on my (d) drive why not all of the text is missing, that prompted my comment that windows is temperemental

        • #3024365

          Why not just convert the FAT 32 drive to NTFS?

          by darryl~ ·

          In reply to not only that

          It’s pretty easy to do…then both drives will be compatable….plus NTFS has more security control.

          See this page for converting to NTFS….I’ve done it plenty of times….it’s never messed anything up on me.

        • #2826837

          it works

          by danerd ·

          In reply to Why not just convert the FAT 32 drive to NTFS?

          hi darryl, i did what you suggested and it WORKS, thank you for your help.

        • #2826697

          No Problem…

          by darryl~ ·

          In reply to it works

          I’ve done that a number of times & never had a problem converting the file system.

    • #3025882


      by deiceray ·

      In reply to Backwards OS Install Tragedy

      Recuva, a program from the makers of CCleaner, is a free file recovery that actually allowed me to recover over 200,000 files, about 20% of what was on the drive.
      For all the “Backup chidings”, I tried and failed in WIN7 to backup to an external (timed out) and to DVDs/CDs – transfers stopped responding – with both an internal and an external burner, so I had no alternative but go for the reinstall. So, some recovery is better than none, I hope this cautionary tale serves its purpose.

      • #3025791

        Recuva is a good tool

        by xnavydk ·

        In reply to encouraging

        as you said it only recovers what its been designed to do, essentially files that have not been overwritten just erased. there are deeper alternatives that are not free and can recover more if they are that critical. Check them out before you give up. Hirens Boot CD has another recovery tool that can be more thorough but can be buggy.

        • #3026553

          Thanks for the idea

          by deiceray ·

          In reply to Recuva is a good tool

          I’m retired and cannot afford a professional recovery utility/service. but it is good to have the reference. I am resigned to working with what I have recovered, and have spent some time telling others about this – to a person, they have all said – “I didn’t know that!” That, being XP doesn’t see a SATA as a primary drive. They were all grateful for the revelation, so again, thanks to Palmetto.

      • #3025787

        To be an ass and state the obvious…

        by ron k. ·

        In reply to encouraging

        you could’ve taken out the IDE drive with all of your backups, since they weren’t really backups because they only existed in one place. Good backup software, which you should’ve been using all along would’ve allowed you to retrieve single files, or an entire drive’s worth.

        If people don’t backup, meaning the data isn’t stored in only one location, I feel bad for their lost work and often wonder if they adopt a better backup system in the future.
        I’ve got roughly 50 grand’s worth of music on this computer. You can believe that it’s backed up, on-site and off-site in case of a disaster here.
        If this computer gets hit by some nasty virus or whatever I’ve timed my restoring of an image at 15-20 minutes.
        Your backup strategy, to beat a dead horse, should’ve started when you had a clean copy of XP, with your programs and data, before going to 7.

        • #3026552

          nope, not accurate at all

          by deiceray ·

          In reply to To be an ass and state the obvious…

          First, what possible reason would I have had for removing the IDE? It WAS MY D: DRIVE! Who worries about the D drive in an install? Again, I was already in WIN7, and it was not allowing me to back up, it would time out on both my external and my burner. So there was zero hope of getting a good backup of the data under WIN7. There was every expectation that the current C Drive would remain the C Drive – the discussion here is the first time I, and all of my friends, have ever heard that XP and WIN7 see hardware fundamentally different. I’ve backed up my data all the long, but ever since WIN7, I couldn’t. Tried, failed. I didn’t care about the OS IMAGE, it was the files and data I put(I thought) safely on the D Drive that was destroyed. So you’ve beaten the wrong dead horse, my friend, and it’s laying behind the cart at this point. Since I went back to XP, both the burner and the external work fine for backup! WIN7 sucks. Period. But thanks for the comments.

        • #3026537

          Drive letters are relative.

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to nope, not accurate at all

          Drive letters are assigned by operating systems, not by the BIOS.

          A ‘fresh’ (non-upgrade) OS installation process cannot know the drive letters an existing OS uses. Drive letter were assigned by the existing OS (in this case, W7), were valid only while that OS was booted and running, and could not have been recognized by XP (or other version of Windows, or *nix, or any other OS installation process). The BIOS made both your SATA and IDE drives available to the installation process, without placing any ‘priority’ or ‘default’ on either of them as you keep insisting. Since the XP installation process is unable to recognize SATA drives without user intervention, all it could ‘see’ was the IDE. (Technically, what XP didn’t have drivers for was the SATA drive controller.) When the actual writing of files began, it assigned that the letter C: to the only drive it could access.

          A Linux installation would not have assigned drive letters at all. Depending on the age of the distribution, it may not have seen the SATA drives either. I don’t know what an OS X downgrade on Apple iron would have done.

          XP doesn’t see hardware ‘fundamentally different’ from W7, or from any other OS. No OS can see a device it doesn’t have drivers for. XP doesn’t have drivers for SATA controllers on the installation CD. NT and 95 didn’t have USB drivers. Some Linux distros struggle with wireless cards. W7 didn’t have drivers for your burner and external drive.

          You attempted a major operation based on several false assumptions (a ten-year-old OS would see a much newer SATA drive, your data drive would be ignored, the drive letters would remain the same across OS installations) and KNOWING you didn’t have a successful backup. That doesn’t mean W7 sucks (or XP either), and the fault doesn’t lie with Microsoft. I’m sympathetic, but take responsibility for the consequences of your actions.

        • #3026509


          by jamesrl ·

          In reply to Drive letters are relative.

          I declined to get into a further pointless pissing match, you’ve covered this well without making it personal.


        • #3026567

          tough love

          by deiceray ·

          In reply to Drive letters are relative.

          yup I accept final responsibility; and I admit there’s nothing I can do about the tough crap attitude. To quibble, the SATA drive HAD been running under XP for a long time, and was there when I upgraded and downgraded. So XP knew about it in my mind.
          WIN7 sucks for other reasons than you listed. But, I’m busy now restoring the system and am calming down a little. Thanks for your comments and enlightenments; I’m the first to admit there’s a lot to learn and a lot to be wary of.

        • #3030007

          “…XP knew about it …”

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to tough love

          “…the SATA drive HAD been running under XP for a long time, and was there when I upgraded …”

          But when you downgraded, the SATA drivers that had been added to the original XP installation (and were present by default in W7) were not accessible to the XP installation process. The installation process can only use what’s on its installation media, not what’s included in the OS it’s replacing.

          Sorry to be brutal earlier, but I wanted to get the technical facts posted for the benefit of future OS downgraders.

      • #3025783

        we back up

        by purpleskys ·

        In reply to encouraging

        our Win7 Pro 64-bit pcs to an external hdd once a month…never have had an issue yet

        • #3025779

          We image all of our XP PCs to huge secondary drives.

          by ron k. ·

          In reply to we back up

          Once a week, every week.

          I create an image before I install new software, just in case I don’t like it. If I do like it it gets incorporated into the next backup image.
          I’ve thought of going to network attached storage but what we’re doing is working do far.
          I’ve restored images several times now. Every one went without a hitch.
          We use Acronis True Image Home 2010 PC Backup and Recovery where formerly we used Ghost 9. Since Symantec quit making Ghost we went to Acronis.
          I generally say that your anti-virus, anti-malware and other security tools are only as good as your latest clean image.

        • #3025703

          well said

          by purpleskys ·

          In reply to We image all of our XP PCs to huge secondary drives.

          indeed 🙂

        • #3026551

          this is also off the mark

          by deiceray ·

          In reply to We image all of our XP PCs to huge secondary drives.

          Again, I tried and tried and tried under WIN7 to backup, it wouldn’t it timed out both on the external and the burner. In case you missed it, I’m retired, I don’t have HUGE SECONDARY DRIVES lying around to backup to, and even if I did I have zero confidence in WIN7 working with them.
          I completely agree with both your strategy and advice, as long as you agree they have nothing to do with my situation.

        • #3026513

          Sorry for your lost data

          by rwatters ·

          In reply to this is also off the mark

          It sucks that you lost the data, but I can tell you that we’ve had a lot of success with Windows 7 64bit that we’ve been moving our install base towards. Generally haven’t had any issues with any hardware, but we’ve been installing to standard Dell boxes that were geared towards a corporate environment, so may have had more general hardware in place than you had.

          It won’t help you this time, but here’s some more information if you decide to move things around again. Not going to hit on the SATA thing because it’s already been covered upthread well enough, Windows XP doesn’t recognize SATA without a storage device driver.

          As you install the OS, Windows does tell you at least the size of the drive that it’s looking at installing on. If I remember from your full story post, this would have been your first hint that something wasn’t exactly kosher, as the drive size was different. It should also have told you how many drives it saw. When it only saw one drive to install on, that also should have red flagged for you. When you’re working with something like an OS install, if there’s a chance you could lose data with a misstep, it pays to double check things as you go along so you’re sure about what’s going to happen with the install.

          You had years worth of work that was at risk it appears, and you can’t really blame the OS installation for the lost data. If you’ve been accumulating this data for as long as it sounds like, at least a good chunk of it should already have been backed up. A backup doesn’t mean it’s sitting on a drive that you’ve decided is a backup drive, it needs to live in more than one location.

          I realize that you’d repeatedly stated that you weren’t able to backup your data as your external drive would time out and you couldn’t get it to write to your dvd writer. To me, I’d say that best practice would have been to remove that hard drive before doing the OS installation so there was no chance of overwriting that data that was your only copy until you were sure you had a stable environment to get it backed up. Failing that, more attention to the information that the install was giving you about what it was doing should have gotten you to back out before you overwrote your data.

          The real lessons here are to back up your data more frequently so you have more than one copy of your data, and to more closely watch the information that your computer is giving you when doing massive system altering changes.

        • #3030004

          all too true, except;

          by deiceray ·

          In reply to Sorry for your lost data

          Except that during the XP install I’m sure there were three choices, C, D, E, which was what I expected to see. The size clue may have been helpful, except that they were all around 200GB, all three, so YES I was being casual in my selection, and yes I was too trustful that all was well, and choosing C might have been done more cautiously, although why I would have paid attention to the other drives is lost to me, ignorance being the operative state, trusting that C is C, you know? Finally, having calmed down a bit from the shock of loss, I have realized that I must have copies of everything up to the install of WIN7 in terms of images and photos, so ultimately all I’ve lost is my cool (what was left of it) and the photos and work done since the upgrade to WIN7; having gotten some of it back is a small consolation, but better than nothing. Removing the D drive would never had occurred to me, as I obviously assumed C was C! Wiser I am now. Thanks.

        • #3026440

          the idea

          by purpleskys ·

          In reply to this is also off the mark

          was to have done the back up BEFORE (while still under XP) installing win7 in the first place and you don’t need to have huge secondary drives kicking around either, just something large enough to back everything up before installing Win 7…before installing Win 7 on two computers here, they were backed up before the installation.

          I also am not knocking the “warning” that you are trying to say, but I’m also trying to warn others to BACK UP BACK UP BACK UP before doing any kind of program installation, especially if it’s a new OS.

        • #3030001

          just a slight correction

          by deiceray ·

          In reply to the idea

          The data that was created before WIN7 is restorable; it’s on old HDDs, and CDs and DVDs here somewhere. The truly lost data is everything after the install, and I got WIN7 the day tigerdirect released it. Yes, I should have realized I was going down a dead end when I couldn’t back up the new data. SO I waited too long and lost too much, and had I been able to, I would have backed up as I always have, up until WIN7, which I think I am going to refer to as LOSE7 from now on.
          Yup – BACK UP if you can! If you can’t don’t put it on! Got it!

        • #3024363

          We do a “full” backup once a month….

          by darryl~ ·

          In reply to we back up

          we do differencial backups both weekly and daily.

        • #3024356

          in a business situation – not enough

          by deiceray ·

          In reply to We do a “full” backup once a month….

          In every company I’ve worked for they added a step that I consider critical for most all businesses: a revolving, off-site complete system backup. A backup left on site is useless if its been melted into slag. If your system records are off-site all you need to do to recover from a catastrophe is buy a new PC to restore to, and you’re good to go. Inventory can be purchased, but data is, as these discussions have pointed out, is priceless. I even consulted with a finance company that had two off-site backups, one was mobile! Yes, on the road, always in a different location, 24/7. Can’t say more than that, but no way were they going to lose their data.

        • #3024351

          You misunderstood….

          by darryl~ ·

          In reply to in a business situation – not enough

          I was commenting to PurpleSkys (my wife)…at home, the monthly full backup & weekly/daily differentials is fine for me.

          At work we have a totally different system in place…tape library…etc….tapes go to the safe deposit box at the bank up the street.

    • #3026465


      by jeslurkin ·

      In reply to Backwards OS Install Tragedy

      My own disaster was not quite as bad as yours, and was caused by a different set of details, though the main problem was the same:

      A series of temporarily unimportant problems occur, and until redressed, can form a chain that leads to a _real_ failure.

      Pros know this, and are charged with preventing it,… even so, I have seen _them_ get burned occasionally.

      Homies such as I are almost ‘preordained’ to fail. My current machine didn’t come with a burner,nor any other means of BU, just a reader.

      Buy a machine,… _wait_,_don’t_use_it_! Spend more time and money to buy and install a burner (and ‘enough’ media). Now you can use it, just BU, BU, BU! (Stuff) happens.

      • #3029999


        by deiceray ·

        In reply to Commiseration:

        I’ve got the message. back up back up back up; and if you can’t, don’t put it on!
        I’m resolved to stick with XP until the rust on the CPU causes the machine to lockup forever. I’ve also stocked up on recordable media compatible with my burner and good ol’ XP!
        Thanks for sharing.

    • #3026591

      Graduate Degree from school of hard knocks!!!!

      by 1bn0 ·

      In reply to Backwards OS Install Tragedy


      You have learned the fundamental lesson that is driving all of the other comments about backing up.


      Unfortunately that lesson is always learned the hard way.

      I would also agree , guys, you are all harping on about backing up from a system where it was clearly stated that backups of any sort WERE NOT WORKING.


      Yes backing up is your first line of defence against failure.

      Just because your diploma was date stamped a long time ago doesn’t mean you didn’t earn it the same way.

      In this situation I ALWAYS disconnect any unneccessary storage devices when installing Windows. I’ve been fortunate enough not to lose data because of it, but I have witnessed it after others have ignored my advice. If it\s not connected , Windows can’t screw it up during the instalaltion.

      I get paranoid because I am usually working with someone elses data. It doesn’t hurt to practice a little paranoia on your own behalf either.

      For the client installs, Windows installation is a brain dead process that assumes you only have on drive and there is nothing on it to worry about. If Windows worked the way Microsft says iot does, most of would be unemployed.

      to delCERAY. I have used active file recovery to recover files from drives other programs couldn’t even read. Even after the drive had been reformatted.

      It’s the most effective tool i have used.

      • #3026586

        Why we keep harping on the backups.

        by charliespencer ·

        In reply to Graduate Degree from school of hard knocks!!!!

        “…guys, you are all harping on about backing up from a system where it was clearly stated that backups of any sort WERE NOT WORKING.”

        Then the OS conversion should not have been attempted in the first place. This is no different from finding your spare tire is no good but starting on a trip across the desert anyway. You fix the tire first, you don’t make the trip hoping to fix it at the end. The manufacturers of his external drive and DVD probably offered W7 drivers on their web sites. Frankly, it sounds like his decision to upgrade from XP to W7 was a poorly thought-out one from the beginning. It’s now obvious he didn’t check for compatibility with his existing hardware or software.

        As I said earlier, I mention backups not for deICERAY’s benefit, but for those who may read this discussion later in preparation for such an attempt.

        • #3029994

          wrong again, sorry

          by deiceray ·

          In reply to Why we keep harping on the backups.

          I ran a compatibility utility not once but twice; it said I was good to go. I also tried and abandoned the “transfer all your stuff” utility from M$ and that didn’t work at all – it was endless BSOD and reboots for hours. A clean install of LOSE7 got it started. My hardware was all LOSE7 compatible according to everything I could find/run/read.
          So I hope everybody gets it: BACK UP! Got it, have always done it, will do it; but in the final analysis, if all you tough-love people will step back a pace, my mistakes were good-faith ones, I was trying to get out of a bad situation, and there were casualties. As long as I stay with what I know, remain in XP, I should be relatively safe; maybe. BACK IT UP BUD! BACK IT ALL UP!

        • #3029989

          My mistake.

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to wrong again, sorry

          See where assumptions get us? Regardless, I hope you can find time this weekend for something other than data restoration. Many of these problems often look smaller when viewed through a frosty mug.

      • #3030006


        by deiceray ·

        In reply to Graduate Degree from school of hard knocks!!!!

        Thanks! I looked at that program and it says the downloadable demo version has the write function disabled, so I didn’t try it; it would just be sad to see all that stuff and not get it. The recovered files have, upon inspection, been mostly worthless little 1k files. It’s ok, I got the message and a larger one as well – my photography and graphic work aren’t that important to the universe, so if they’re important to me, I’d better learn to take better care of them. I will. Already taken the first step by going back to the well supported and legacy friendly XP.

    • #3026577

      Maxtor One Touch

      by pysces83 ·

      In reply to Backwards OS Install Tragedy

      You said the Maxtor One Touch kept “timing out”. I presume this was the software which came with the Hard Drive and that Windows reconised the External Hard Drive – couldn’t you have copy and pasted all your data to this external drive as a short-term backup before the installation? It would have taken a while, but you could have grabbed a coffee or something.

      • #3029998

        been there tried that

        by deiceray ·

        In reply to Maxtor One Touch

        Nope, I tried both the software and manual transfer – it timed out in both the software and a copy/paste, and drag and drop. I had run this external for a long time under XP with only an occasional ‘that didn’t work, try again’ thing. In fact, now that I think of it, I had a lot stored on it, and when I installed LOSE7 I then transferred the files to my SATA so that I could access them directly (I work with them a lot). Later, I decided to clear the external for use in backing up! The clearing went well, it was the restoring that didn’t fly… so many ways to make a fool of oneself.

        • #3029967

          So… the bottom line…

          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to been there tried that

          Before installing any microsoft OS, physically unplug all other drives than the intended install drive. (Also disable in BIOS all other drives and “drives” available, I have had various removables as C: because I didn’t).
          Just to be sure. You never know, but even Microsoft cannot screw things up without electricity, so the powered-down drives are safe.

      • #3029996

        Windows Vista/7 copy

        by rwatters ·

        In reply to Maxtor One Touch

        Meh, if you’re grabbing a large chunk of data spread across a ton of individual files I still have issues with Windows 7’s copy. They swear it’s fixed from back in Vista’s day, but it’s still a pig of a copy function that still just doesn’t work like it should for me, so I could see a large copy operation going to a USB drive as timing out or having other issues. If you’re doing a large copy job, copy+paste isn’t the way to go. I use robocopy, and highly recommend it.

        There’s a tip for you going forward deICERAY, check out robocopy. Ntbackup is fine for some things, but if you’ve got the drive space to spare on your external, I like using robocopy. It will do file comparisons and only copy new files. It’s easy to set up a batch file that can be run under scheduled tasks to automate your backup during the wee morning hours. Then if have an issue with your original copy, you don’t have to worry about extracting from a .bak file, you just nab it right off your external drive from the mirrored directory structure. Be careful with making sure you have your source and destination straight if you use the /MIR switch, but otherwise it’s a great utility.

        • #3029992

          Excellent suggestion

          by deiceray ·

          In reply to Windows Vista/7 copy

          I will look into that! I have a screen capture image somewhere of LOSE7 sending me a copy message; I was copying about 20GB of data from one SATA partition to the other on the same drive, and it assured me it would be done in just “over 1 day” and later timed out. So it robocopy runs under XP, I’m interested!

    • #3029976

      This thread has evolved into something useful…

      by jeslurkin ·

      In reply to Backwards OS Install Tragedy

      …at least to me.

      Thanks for links, info, recommendations.

      • #3029946

        How the heck did that happen?

        by charliespencer ·

        In reply to This thread has evolved into something useful…

        Somebody form a committee. We need to study this so it won’t happen again.

        • #3024467

          minor update of the backwards migration

          by deiceray ·

          In reply to How the heck did that happen?

          It seems the results from the Recuva utility have been less than helpful; most of the files are 1k crap from browsers, data files from programs, tiny icons, and broken images; I am getting indexing errors every few minutes (three since I started typing here!), which I believe is because the IDE drive is so messed up. Yesterday I organized the recovered files into smaller directories and deleted tens of thousands of those useless files. Then I copied them onto the SATA so I can then format the IDE again and get a clean drive to use as the D drive going forward, only a power outage in last night’s storm happened halfway through the copy/paste and now I have to figure out what got copied and what didn’t. Hopefully the index problem will go away then too. By the way, when I loaded up windirstat to examine the IDE, the raw recovered files seemed to know where they had originally come from, even as they sat in a huge \RECOVER directory, all mixed together – that was weird).
          What a strange trip this has been. Thanks for all of your help to everyone. I hope somebody can get some clarity and some useful, protective procedures out of this; I’ve certainly learned a lot!

        • #3024431

          Are you sure you’ve done all you can to recover?

          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to minor update of the backwards migration

          I don’t know myself, as I’m no expert on recovery apps, but just make sure you’ve exhausted your options before you pull the plug. Remember, don’t make it worse in a hurry. Didn’t the files originate on a different drive, and you wiped that first?
          Have you checked both drives for recoverable materials?

        • #3024409

          Temporarily, turn off the indexing.

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to minor update of the backwards migration

          In Windows Explorer, right-click the drive the IDE drive, click Properties, and uncheck the Indexing box. It may take several minutes.

        • #3024438

          Not difficult…

          by jeslurkin ·

          In reply to How the heck did that happen?

          …when dealing w/ someone as ‘behinder’ as I.

          Someday I may need to remember that XP does not natively come with SATA drivers, etc. Links to apps of which I was not aware are helpful too. My own ‘disaster’ taught me that I need to make an even greater effort to be ‘backupable’. 🙂

    • #3024410

      Okay…really….let me get this straight

      by darryl~ ·

      In reply to Backwards OS Install Tragedy

      You had 5 years worth of work (160 GB) that you didn?t bother backing up before upgrading to a new operating system?.then you tried to go back to the former operating system after installing the new one and you?re complaining about losing stuff.

      Well duh!

      Every dummy knows they should back up their files before changing computers/operating systems.

      What do you think would happen if you blew a hard drive? Do you think you?d be able to pull all that data out of thin air magically?
      And yeah, when you install a new OS (operating system) it almost always reconfigures the hard drive/partition assignments?then to try to go back to the old OS?..well?.what the H311 were you thinking when you didn?t ?bother? to back anything up?

      Now?.as for your comment?.let me quote it?? I am devastated. I’m not whining, I am warning?.

      You?re most certainly whining in my books….and I should add….there are many freeware programs out there that can be quite useful in recovering deleted data….even from delete partitions……
      Maybe you should try using Google or Bing before making judgments about the way an OS installer works…..

      Better yet….maybe you learn how to backup your data….Paragon has a nice utility & it?s FREE….check it out….

      PurpleSkys & I use it across our network?.differential backups every night?full backups on the weekends?.works great?..get yourself a 1 TB external drive & start doing backups?.you?ll save yourself once in awhile.

      • #3024408

        Darryl, buddy, let it go.

        by charliespencer ·

        In reply to Okay…really….let me get this straight

        deICERAY has acknowledged he didn’t go about this the right way. He had an external, but W7 wouldn’t recognize it. That’s one of the reasons he wanted XP back, however mistaken his approach may have been. We’ve already fed him ration load of grief; please don’t pile more on now that he’s come to grips with his mistake.


        • #3024407

          i told him

          by purpleskys ·

          In reply to Darryl, buddy, let it go.

          he should have read through the rest first…but ya know how it goes 😉
          he had to run with it… 😛

        • #3024404

          She knows I don’t

          by darryl~ ·

          In reply to i told him

          listen to her.


        • #3024403


          by purpleskys ·

          In reply to She knows I don’t

          sure, tell these nice folks what you will 😉 only person that needs convincing is you 😀 lol…and seeing how i can’t watch a good hockey game tonight, i’m off to watch Dr. Who…have a good one good ppl 🙂
          edited: for bad spelling as pointed out by my pesky husband

        • #3024402

          See….now here we go…

          by darryl~ ·

          In reply to pffttt

          Not sure what hockey game

        • #3024399

          See what I mean?….check the time on the edit.

          by darryl~ ·

          In reply to pffttt

          It’s hard to be be an Eagle when there’s a partridge hanging around…

          Had to do that varation….just to give you a giggle.

          So…..I ask her….”What hockey game are you talking about tonight”

          She say….uuppss….don’t type back & hit “enter”….well duh…I’m a male & a husband….caught the wife in something that I’d never be able to live down if it was me….

          So then she does the “edit”….I couldn’t resist a reply to note that…(check the time of my post & the time of her edit).

        • #3024396

          Dude, I hope you have a comfortable sofa. No, repeat NO, text.

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to pffttt


        • #3024359

          She doesn’t listen to me either….

          by darryl~ ·

          In reply to Dude, I hope you have a comfortable sofa. No, repeat NO, text.

          It works well that way….we just talk away to ourselves 🙂

        • #3024355


          by deiceray ·

          In reply to pffttt

          Hey, I have relatives up in Nova Scotia, one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been; I’m related to the Mortons up their; the best vacation I ever had was on their farm – I gained ten pounds the first week! They are the friendliest people I’ve ever been atound, so I’m a little taken back to be text-whipped like this, but I know you mean well, eh?
          I’ve admitted from the start I screwed up and was further done in by my ignorance. In recovering files, most are useless little peanuts, but there’s enough left over to encourage me to work with them – I’ve spent the week pouring over them, organizing and have deleted most of the recovered stuff, useless dlls, and other bits, and I’m not even close to re-organizing what will be left.
          It was not just the loss of the data and images, it was the work I had put in – hundreds of categories and sub-sub-categories, cleaning up old images; I had put on the drive everything I had and worked with them to refine my collection. That’s the true loss. Anyway, how about those Habs! As a Bruin fan, well they played like I installed!

        • #3024349

          re hello deICERAY

          by purpleskys ·

          In reply to HELLO

          take a quick read to my recent post to Palmetto, he picked on me a bit for trading in my Penguins avatar for something else. Everyone in our house is a huge Pens fan, or at least a big Sid fan 🙂

        • #3024347

          RE: Bruins fan….

          by darryl~ ·

          In reply to HELLO

          That last game just totally sucked! I had Purple converted to the “dark side” by the time they were up 2-0 (after the Pens lost…she converted to the Flyers)…I so wanted Boston to win that game….I can’t believe they blew it.

          As for the “text-whipping”…I sometimes get tired of hearing people complain about “losing” data because the computer/Windows messed up when in reality it was because they didn’t have a proper backup system in place….reading through the posts this morning, I discovered you have learned that (the hard way) as I’ve done many times myself….I think most IT pros have.

          The link I gave for Paragon Disk Recovery is worth looking into once you get XP fully set up again….it works well & I even backup across our home network….I have 2 Win 7 computers & 1 XP system all doing scheduled backups to a single external drive…and the best part is that it’s a free program, there is a “Pro” version with a few extra features but the free one works well.

          As for vacationing in Nova Scotia…..yeah, I hear that a lot….it’s a pretty laid back place around here….I don’t expect to see many Americans here this year though….our dollar is pretty much par with the USD & our gas is near double….that really kills the tourism industry.

          I don’t even want to discuss the Habs….I haven’t been a Habs supporter for about 40 years…..Leafs all the way here 😉

        • #3024395

          Off-topic – talk about your ‘fair weather fans’

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to i told him

          Geez, lose the playoff and out goes the avatar. Talk about team loyalty…

        • #3024370

          my maple leaf avatar?

          by purpleskys ·

          In reply to Off-topic – talk about your ‘fair weather fans’

          I’ve had my maple leaf avatar since the olympics (who got the gold medal winning goal?)…I’m always loyal to my team (you haven’t seen what my car looks like with the Pens plate on the front, plate holder on the back and all my window stickers) but i’m loyal to my country too. Then there’s the Pens t-shirt, Crosby jersey (oh, and I have a team Canada jersey too with #87 on the back), my Pens coffee mug that my fabulous sister in law bought me, and I’m waiting on my Pens rain jacket as my Mother’s Day gift from Darryl and the kids to arrive.

          Fast fact: did you know that at least 17 players on the Penguins’ team is a Canadian?

          And I think it’s been a proven fact, Pens fans are the most dedicated sports fan in the world of hockey

          So “fair weather fan” …not likely 😉 I love my team, I have for 5 years now. Even when they were hitting the bottom of the league back then, I was still in with everything I got every single game, and I still am. And it’s all good, they just need a summer to “regroup” before making another run for the cup next year 😀 !

        • #3024316

          Ah. My apologies.

          by charliespencer ·

          In reply to my maple leaf avatar?

          I usually run in ‘Print / View All’ mode, and don’t see avatars often. I noticed the change and jumped to a conclusion. It’s the only exercise I get.

        • #3024315

          no worries

          by purpleskys ·

          In reply to Ah. My apologies.

          i’m not completely crushed 😉 But I do understand how it could happen when you view the posts that way…i’ve never tried to view them that way before, i should give it a go one of these days, sounds like it would be easier to read them all that way as opposed to hitting “next” all the time…

          Well, it’s game time…and it goes against my grain, but I have to root for the Flyers cause for the life of me, I can’t bring myself to cheer the Habs on 🙂

        • #3024113

          follow-up for you

          by deiceray ·

          In reply to Ah. My apologies.

          So far I’m on my 4th re-install of XP; this time I only can get 1 of 2 monitors to be recognized, even though it will run in SLI. I had serious indexing issues with the first downgrade; the 2nd and third failed when the MB install CD insisted on creating a floppy nvidia driver disk; first time the floppy failed, and I could not get past that step; 2nd time the cd wiped out the entire c: drive on the floppy install… so even though I’m not religious, I’m going for the “I’m cursed” explanation; I’ve created an install bag – every piece of software used in an install is now in a carry bag hung next to the PC ready for immediate (and apparantly frequent) use. So this latest install is at least functional, if not fully implimented. As for the lost files, I’ve managed to locate all but the last three months of work; most of the recovered files were useless or duplicates, as explained eleswhere. Thanks for all your help. and for all the help and comments I got on this one. “It ain’t over til it’s over.”

        • #3023922

          That sounds very strange.

          by ansugisalas ·

          In reply to Ah. My apologies.

          If you’ve done what you could to recover, have you considered going from a blank slate? Like, repartitioning that HD completely (leave all other disks unplugged, hey).
          It should be possible to install a working OS on a clean disk. In theory at least :p

        • #3024366

          I’ll have to side with her on this one…

          by darryl~ ·

          In reply to Off-topic – talk about your ‘fair weather fans’

          Everything she said in her reply seems accurate to me. SHe’s been a vocal/visable supporter of the Pens since Sidney Crosby joined the team….I suspect she would be supporting which ever team he was playing on….his hometown is about an hour from us.

        • #3024405

          No…some people need more GRIEF!

          by darryl~ ·

          In reply to Darryl, buddy, let it go.


    • #3024342

      Similar thing happened to me

      by jkameleon ·

      In reply to Backwards OS Install Tragedy

      XP to XP on newer machine. Once I had everything up & running, I decided I’d rather have RAID5 instead of RAID0. So, I backed everything up on external drive, reconfigured RAID, and proceeded to install XP anew. XP install, in all its wisdom, decided that my external drive is C: . I haven’t noticed that in time, and consequently, XP got installed over my backups.

      I don’t think I lost anything important, because I still got most of my crap on my old box, plus a couple of DVDs with the important stuff, plus source safe copy of my programs on remote location. There never are enough backups. It was serious annoyance to get everything back together again, though.

      • #3024338

        Unplug, gentlemen, unplug!!!

        by ansugisalas ·

        In reply to Similar thing happened to me

        Even windows can only mess up what it’s connected to.
        Remove all drives that you don’t want to be C:, except the CD if you install from there.

        • #3024337

          Yeah, that’s what I’ve been telling people ever since ;-)

          by jkameleon ·

          In reply to Unplug, gentlemen, unplug!!!

          Another example. My son dutifully backed up his graphical diploma work on external drive, exactly as I’ve taught him: Backups, my son, bakups, and more backups. And, one beautiful day, a bug in a graphical program erased each and every file he was trying to open. He thought: “Never mind, I still have backups”. And he plugged his external drive, and, as you’ve already guessed, opened his files directly from the backup drive.

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