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Windows OS General Issue

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  • Windows OS General Issue

    This is an odd problem, it is related to general maintenance / recovery issues of any Windows OS post Vista but an easy solution for it is evading me.

    Scenario - a user manages to destroy their machine, machine is rebuilt using a backup image to a new hard drive and all is good - BUT - we need to recover some data from the 'old' User profile folders or registry on the old hard drive.

    Issue - placing the old drive in a USB caddy seems to confuse Windows and the OS happily starts updating profile folders on the 'old disk' - don't say it doesn't I've watched it do it as it merrily copies across my profile data to the disk in the caddy - WTF !! - unsetting the volume active flag makes no difference.

    Is their any way to place an 'old' system disk in a drive caddy and tell windows to leave it the hell alone - even renaming the folders such as Users in an non windows system before mounting it doesn't help - if you check the properties the folder continues to be called Users regardless of what is displayed.

    I tried to mount the disk as read only but Windows somehow bypasses even that and continues its hijack of the 'old' system / profile folders and my profile magically appears where it wasn't before.

    Copy the entire user profile folder onto a USB stick in a non windows system and then mount in Windows and guess what - Windows hijacks it, clearly something is set in the NTFS stream tags or such that identifies the folder as a Users profile folder.

    And of course if you want to mount the registry located in the profile folder - yup you guessed it Windows hijacks it too.

    The only way seems to be to put both disks in a non windows based machine - but then you can't determine the success or otherwise of the 'recovery' efforts and you can't access the registry data.

    Why is this such a problem - because of the BS way in which many applications license themselves these days - your activation is in use - no it isn't the machine crashed, and yet one of our licenses is used up and then the BS involved in getting it 'unused up' starts, then there are all kinds of other things that the user hasn't got a backup of etc etc.

    I'd like to be able to put the new image on a drive and then load the old system drive and copy data as needed without interference from the OS - this is proving impossible.

    If anyone has any ideas I would love to hear them.

  • #2
    Re: Windows OS General Issue

    Hi Ben.

    When you say "updating profile folders on the 'old disk'" what does that mean?

    Also, what do you mean when you say Windows hijacks the registry too?

    Network Consultant/Engineer
    Baltimore - Washington area and beyond


    • #3
      Re: Windows OS General Issue

      I've done this numerous times and never experienced the issues that you describe. Its generally the first thing I do is to remove the old drive and remove any data from it.

      What happens to a blank drive that is installed in the caddy and attached to one of your systems?

      Is there any software installed on the systems that could potentially be creating backups when external drives are attached?

      Do you have any folder redirection setup?

      Do you have the system powered on an logged in before attaching the drives? Just wondering if Windows is having some sort of hissy and booting from the USB caddy rather than the internal drive.

      I presume that there are no viruses/malware/rootkits on the "new" system?

      Any GPO's that could potentially be doing this?

      Are you restoring for a SOE image or from the recovery partitions on the drive?

      How are you actually doing the recovery?