Easy Recovery
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This page is a copy of the help file.

 Contents:
Getting Started
Alternative Method
Recovery Method
Errors when making recovery files
Making a Windows CD
How to Restore


Getting Started

Easy Recovery is a very simple tool to use. It offers three different methods for recovering from a crash when the reinstallation of Windows is required. First, it can create a Windows installation CD for those users who only have a recovery disk and are forced to format when they reinstall Windows. Even if you do not have a recovery CD Easy Recovery may still be able to make you a Windows installation CD. This feature will allow you to reinstall Windows without having to format. Secondly, Easy Recovery can make reinstalling Windows obsolete for the most part  by backing up all the Windows operating files and allowing the user to restore them from DOS, using the recovery files that Easy Recovery creates.. This is the Recovery Method. Third, it offers you a way to help get all your software up and running again should you need to reinstall Window. If you need to format read this first for an Alternative Method.

Make a Windows installation CD, if you do not have one already, and create the recovery files with Easy Recovery. Now you are ready to recover without formatting when a Windows installation seems to be the only way to fix a crash or problem. The recommended procedure for recovering is to first try the Recovery Method which takes about 5 to 10 minutes in DOS. If this does not fix the problem, try reinstalling Windows to it's own folder, on top of itself using your Windows installation CD. Reinstalling Windows may take an hour or more. If that fails also, use the Alternative Method.

I know trying the three different steps takes a little bit of time, but you will not lose all your data and most like the Recovery Method will fix Windows. If the recovery files work you will save a lot of time.


Making a Windows CD

Easy Recovery can create a Windows CD installation disk for you. Use the feature in the Options menu. If you do not have a CD burner you can still create a folder on your hard drive to install Windows from with the information Easy Recovery will give you. It will display the location of the installation files on the interface. When you need to reinstall Windows you will need to go to this folder and start Setup.exe. However, this feature is not totally enabled with the Trial Version. It is fully functional on the registered version.

If Easy Recovery does not find any of the needed files, do a search on your computer for the file Precopy1. If the file appears in the file menu, open the Windows Explorer and the folder that the file Precopy1 is located in. Example: you may find it in C:\Windows\Options\Install. Right click each folder and subfolder in the path, selecting Properties, and ensure that none of them have Hidden attributes. In this example you need to check the Windows folder, the Options folder and the Install folder. Now try to create a CD again.

If Easy Recovery reports that a file is missing , insert your Recovery CD that comes with your computer and do a search on your computer for the file reported missing. Then copy the file to the path that Easy Recovery told you the file was missing from, then try again.

You must have all the cabinet file in sequential number order, such as: Precopy1, Base2, Base3, Net4, Catalog5, Win98_6, etc. The name of the cabinet file really does not matter (Win98_ or Base or Net). An exception to the rule is Windows 95, it will have Precopy1.cab and Precopy2.cab, your next file maybe Win95_02.cab instead of Win95_03.cab, normally you can only have one cabinet file #2.

If you get a message that a cabinet file is missing or could not be made, like "Cabinet file number 23 was not found in the folder ", it may not be needed by your computer manufacturer. The file number that is reported missing must be the next file number after your highest file number that is on your hard drive. Example: If you check the folder where your cabinet files are located and you have Precopy1.cab and Win95_02.cab,etc, to Win95_22.cab and you are missing cabinet file 23 then create an empty file to replace it for now. This will allow Easy Recovery to make the CD, and the Windows Setup will not be looking for this file. I am not telling you that the missing file is definitely not needed, but it may not be. If you need to create a missing file that is needed or you want to know how to determine if it is needed go to our newsletter

If you were missing the file Win95_19.cab and you have Win95_20.cab, creating an empty file to replace Win95_19.cab will not work when you need to reinstall Windows. You will need to locate Win95_19.cab on your Recovery CD, hard drive, etc.

If you get the missing cabinet file from someone else it may not work, as your computer manufacturer may have reorganized the files inside your cabinet files. Another reason why getting the missing cab from a freind may not work is that many computer manufacturers rewrite drivers for their hardware. Example: when Windows installs a driver for a sound card, it identifies the hardware, then reads an inf file which tells it to look for Sb300.drv. The manufacturer needed to create its own file NewDr.drv and rename it to Sb300.drv in order to have Windows install the sound card and have it work correctly.

To create an empty file, open notepad and save the file as the missing cabinet file. Attempt to make the CD again, and repeat the process until no more cabinet files are missing. Creating an empty file for other  missing files such as Setup.exe, etc will not work. Once the CD is made and before closing the CD, you can delete the empty files from the CD after Easy Recovery copies them to your CD burner. You must have your CD software make the CD writeable through the Windows Explorer. You may also check our site http://www.easydesksoftware.com/optional.htm for any missing files. If you do not find the file you need there, please email us, tell us the file name and the version of Windows you have and we will post it for you. We cannot post any cabinet files (cab), we will only post the miscellaneous  files such as format.com, etc

Once you have created the CD successfully you must remember to close the CD. Closing the CD is organizing the CD so that it can be read by most standard CD-ROM drives. You will be unable to write to it any more once it is closed.

You will need either a Startup diskette or you will need to make the CD bootable. To make a Startup diskette (use Windows 98 as the example) open the Control Panel applet "Add/Remove Software"


Recovery Method

This method recovers Windows by installing all the backup files that Easy Recovery has made. Easy Recovery will copy and compress all the files in the Windows, Windows\System and subfolders. When you need to reinstall Windows, Easy Recovery will uncompress all these files and restore them from the DOS prompt. This should take about ten minutes or less. Much faster then reinstalling Windows! It will restore the Registry to the day you last updated the recovery files. Easy Recovery also has an option to update the Registry backup files so you do not need to update all the recovery files. When restoring from the DOS prompt, Easy Recovery will offer to install the latest copy of the Registry you made.

If you installed new software since the last time you updated the recovery files you should update them again. This will also update the Registry files and delete any  Registry updates you created in Easy Recovery in the past.

There is one issue left that you need to know. Easy Recovery will restore your Windows operating files back to the same configuration as the day you had Easy Recovery "Save Recovery Files" ( or update them).   Should your problem be a FAT loss or a problem other than your Windows system files; you may need to reinstall Windows completely. Remember, the only files and Registry it can restore, are the ones it saves.

How to Restore: You should make a Windows Startup disk, using the applet Add/Remove Software in the Control Panel. You will need this to get to a DOS prompt if you need to restore Windows with Easy Recovery. Windows 95 users can use the F8 key and 98 users can use the Ctrl key when you see the words Starting Windows or hold the key down just before you see it. ME users must use a startup disk to get to the DOS prompt.

To restore Windows, boot to the DOS prompt using your Windows Startup diskette. Then type the drive letter your Windows folder is on. Example: If your Windows folder is D:\Windows you need to type the letter D and a colon (:) at the A:> prompt, then press the Enter button. Then type the word "Recover" without the quotes and press Enter again.

When you choose the option of restoring the updated Registry during the restoration process it may take up to about 30 minutes. If you select no, then you may use this option in Windows on Easy Recovery's option list and it will only take a few seconds.

It is important for you to note that Easy Recovery cannot fix every problem. It can only restore the files it backed up It cannot repair FAT errors. FAT errors that Scandisk cannot repair are best repaired by low level formatting. It may not repair viruses or crashes due to installation of new hardware. Installation of new software may not be repairable using Easy Recovery if files are added to the Iosubsys or Vmm folders.

If after restoring, you have any problems you should install the last good set of Registry files.
Windows 98 and Millennium: run "Scanreg /restore" at the Windows/command prompt or use WinSafe 2001.
Windows 95: Use WinSafe 2001 or make daily backups of the Registry and install them when needed.


Alternative Method

Easy Recovery offers you an alternative to formatting. When it is time to format try this method instead first.

From the DOS prompt, rename your Windows folder. At the C:\> prompt (or the drive letter Windows is on) type the words REN Windows Winold. Press Enter. This will rename the Windows folder to Winold. Now you can reinstall Windows to C:\Windows without formatting and losing all your data. Once the installation is complete you will find that Windows did gather a lot of information from the Registry from the Winold installation.

Next, start each piece of software that is on your machine. If the program complains about a DLL or other file missing start Easy Recovery and go to the Options.Use the "Find me a file from my old Windows Folder", then point Easy Recovery once to the Winold folder, Easy Recovery will remember the path to your old Windows folder. Easy Recovery will verify that you have pointed it to the old Windows folder by looking for the file Windows\Win.ini.

Tell Easy Recovery what file you want by typing the name of the file in the upper right window. It will find the file if it exists and install it to the correct folder in the new Windows folder. Easy Recovery will also create a log of all the files copied or replaced to the file CopyFile.log located in the Easy Recovery folder.

Easy Recovery will not offer to move all the files in a folder, because moving all the files from one folder may cause the problem that you had to begin with, therefore you can only move one file at a time.


Errors When Making Recovery Files

Should you have any problems while Easy Recovery is backing up files you can use the option, "Allow me to see compressing" to find the error. If you get a message "Some files could not be backed up..." review the Error.log file.

If you get the following message: "An error has occurred, recovery files were not all saved...", then one of the important cabinet files could not be made. The following is a list of the associated folder and Cabinet file, if any are missing you may wish to manuall backup the associated folder if the folder exists.
Recover1.cab=Windows\System
Recover2.cab=Windows\System\Color
Recover3.cab=Windows\System32\Drivers
Recover4.cab=Windows\System\Iosubsys
Recover5.cab=Windows\System\Vmm32
Recover6.cab=:\Windows\Fonts
Recover7.cab=:\Windows
Recover8.cab=Updated Registry backup (only made when you update Registry backupfiles)