A lot of data storage, today is done electronically through computers. However, there can be a system failure, which may cause data loss. Automated system recovery disk is something which can help one out in such dicey situations.
Computers have become the irreplaceable storage depots for all electronic information in today’s world. However, they are machines after all and they too are susceptible to failures. A computer has multiple reasons for failure that could attribute to hardware failures (power failures) or software failures (operating system).
So, the information stored in the machine has to be secured, should any such unwelcome conditions occur. In such cases, ASR disk offers an effective solution.
Automated System Recovery Disk for XP
The Windows automated system recovery (also known as ASR) is an extension to the regular backup and restore protocol. The disk is an inbuilt functionality of the Windows OS, which records and stores the state of the Windows OS at intermittent intervals of time.
If at all there is a system failure, the previous operating state can be recovered through this recovery disk. The recovery is done in a two stage process.
Boot Recovery Process:
A fresh copy of Windows is used for installation in the target machine on a temporary basis.
OS Restore Process:
This process restores the data files of the lastly saved Windows installation. This happens with the help of the backup and restore application. In the backup process, all the system services and all disk content associated with the computer OS are saved.
All this information is contained in a file which is created by the disk. The file further contains disk configurations and restore procedures.
ASR disk reads the disk configurations from the file created and restores all the disk partitions, volumes, and signatures required to start the machine. The restore process can be started by pressing F2, in the text mode of OS setup.
Preparing ASR Disk
Given are the steps to be followed to create an ASR disk.
- Click on Start. Navigate as Start→Accessories→System Tools→Backup
- You will now find a backup utility wizard popping up. This wizard gives you three options, Backup wizard (advanced), Restore wizard (advanced), and ASR wizard.
- Select the third option and you will find the ASR wizard popping up. This helps in creation of the ASR disk and the backup files for the data. So, click next.
- The wizard will now ask you for the preference of the location, as to where you want your data to be saved. Also maintain a floppy disk (1.44 MB)/CD to create a recovery disk that will come handy, whenever any system failures are encountered.
- The wizard now prompts you to click on the Finish button, to commence with the backup process.
- Once the Finish button is clicked, the backup process kick starts by transferring all the relevant information to the necessary location specified. Meanwhile, the wizard will ask you to insert the external media to start with making the recovery disk.
- Once the floppy disk or the CD is inserted, the recovery process writes all the requisite data to the external media. After the completion of backup and recovery, remove the external media, label it with the purpose, and keep it safe. This disk will come handy in system failures, should they happen in the future.
The ASR disk is not integrated with the OS in Windows XP. Although it is available in the backup utility of Windows XP Home, it is functional only in Windows XP Professional.
Using ASR Disk
When your machine encounters a system failure, the first thing to be done is rebooting the machine. When rebooting, press F2 to enter the Windows setup. The setup screen will prompt you to enter the ASR disk which has been already prepared. After inserting the disk, the formatting of C: drive starts.
Once the formatting and the disk partitioning is over, the ASR wizard pops up, prompting you to enter the path of backup files. Click Next and the wizard will prompt for system restoration. Click on Finish. The restoration will take a while.
Microsoft recommends ASR disk strongly. However, this method should be considered only if other means of recovering the OS fail to succeed. For instance, if you encounter a sudden system failure, the system pops up with a message asking you to try the Safe Mode Boot.
In case, you are unable to recover the system by such means, ASR disk is the only palpable option. Nowadays, many sites offer free downloads and hence downloading them is not a problem at all. Microsoft itself offers free ASR downloads.
All you have to do is click on “Download a Windows XP recovery disk from Microsoft” in their site. Click on “Download”, and “Save” it in the external media. Creating an ASR disk is an important activity.
One cannot secure a system persistently as it is always vulnerable to viruses and worms in the Internet. So, the best way is to take a backup of important files and make a Windows XP recovery disk. It will surely save you a lot of unwelcome troubles!