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How to Set up and Use Automated System Recovery in Windows XP

This article describes how to set up and use Automated System Recovery in Windows XP. ASR is a two–part system of recovery: ASR backup and ASR restore.

You should create Automated System Recovery (ASR) sets on a regular basis as part of an overall plan for system recovery in case of system failure. ASR should be a last resort for system recovery, used only after you have exhausted other options, such as Safe Mode Boot and Last Known Good.

ASR Backup

The backup portion is accomplished through the ASR Wizard located in Backup. The wizard backs up the system state, system services, and all disks associated with the operating system components. It also creates a file containing information about the backup, the disk configurations (including basic and dynamic volumes) and how to accomplish a restore.

To create an Automated System Recovery set using Backup

Important  You will need a blank 1.44 megabyte (MB) floppy disk to save your system settings and media to contain the backup files.

  1. Open Backup. Click Start, point to All Programs, point to Accessories, point to System Tools, and then click Backup. The Backup Utility Wizard starts by default, unless it is disabled.

  2. Click the Advanced Mode button in the Backup Utility Wizard as shown below.

    Backkup Utility Advanced Mode

    Figure 1. Selecting Backup Utility Advanced Mode

  3. On the Tools menu, click ASR Wizard.

  4. Follow the instructions that appear on your screen.

    Note  Only those system files necessary for starting up your system will be backed up by this procedure.

ASR Restore

You can access the restore portion by pressing F2 when prompted in the text–mode portion of setup. ASR will read the disk configurations from the file that it creates and restore all of the disk signatures, volumes and partitions on, at a minimum, the disks required to start the computer. (It will attempt to restore all of the disk configurations, but under some circumstances, it might not be able to.) ASR then installs a simple installation of Windows and automatically starts a restoration using the backup created by the ASR wizard as shown in Figure 1 above.

To recover from a system failure using Automated System Recovery

  1. Make sure you have the following items before you begin the recovery procedure:

    • Your previously created Automated System Recovery (ASR) floppy disk.

    • Your previously created backup media.

    • The original operating system installation CD.

  2. Insert the original operating system installation CD into your CD drive.

  3. Restart your computer. If prompted to press a key in order to start the computer from CD, press the appropriate key.

  4. Press F2 when prompted during the text–only mode section of Setup. You will be prompted to insert the ASR floppy disk you have previously created.

  5. Follow the directions on the screen.

    Note  ASR will not restore your data files.

Choosing Recovery Actions if Windows Stops Unexpectedly

Using Startup and Recovery in System in Control Panel, you can configure Windows to do the following when a severe error (called a Stop error or Fatal system error) occurs:

  • Write an event to the system log.

  • Alert administrators.

  • Dump system memory to a file that advanced users can use for debugging.

  • Automatically restart the computer.

The dump of system memory to a log file can be valuable for debugging the cause of the Stop error. If you contact technical support about the error, they might ask for the log file. Note that Windows writes the log file to the same file name (Memory.dmp, by default) each time a Stop error occurs. To preserve log files, you should rename the log file with a unique name after the computer restarts.