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Backup - but correct

If you want to change the operating system, there are some things to consider (12.7.2016)

The new computer is there and it is about to move or the old computer should get a new operating system. How to proceed?

With a new computer you copy the files and reinstall your programs. And notices that one or the other had forgotten. IF the old computer is still there, you can extract the data (with a lot of experience) there and transfer it to the new computer. So far so good. 

When upgrading the old computer, this is more complicated (or not): Many PC users use the Internet "somehow on the computer friendly request from Microsoft" to switch or insert the upgrade DVD and off they go... And most of the time it works - but only most of the time! If you start to think about what you could have done afterwards, you will soon notice that a good PRE planning before the upgrade is irreplaceable. Even the option "Undo" of the upgrade can only be used if the update process has created an executable system for me. if not, I have to reinstall everything, don't I?

Note: This article describes what you should think about, but now HOW the data should be backed up in individual cases. This would go beyond the scope of the article and varies from OS version to OS version! Only a lot of time can help to plan in and get smart on the internet! The effort should always be in proportion to the risk of data loss!

So how does the switch not become a roulette game?

1. Clarify Licensing Issues!

For the operating system, in addition, all other installed programs, the exact program designations, possibly installation media, however, above all the license keys save and ready! With some programs you have to uninstall the program first (license is administered by the provider in the net -> license release, in order to be allowed to install them then again). Some products are also linked to the hardware and SHOULD NOT BE TRANSFERED. The question of whether the upgrade can be installed at all must of course also be clarified. 

2. Check Hardware for Compatibility

With the help of tools AND information from the manufacturers, download drivers in advance (at least for LAN and graphics card, possibly for special chipsets on the motherboard).

3. Perform data backups (!!)

There are several possibilities:

  • Full backup of the operating system with all data (create image)
    • There are also special programs that allow access to individual files of the backup afterwards, which can be very helpful!
  • Backup individual data/information of different users
    • This variant is complex, but can help to really bring the newly installed computer back up to date. 

The full backup helps to restore the computer to its original state after a failed upgrade. This is always a good option! However, this does not help if individual components or programs no longer work after the upgrade or are "lost" and you basically want to work with the new system. Then you have to "somehow" get the missing information back into the system. So let's hope that the "in-place upgrade" works and we can save this work. Still. safe is safe. So keep it in the program!

So if you want to secure individual information separately from the image, you should think of the following.

3.2 Backing up personal files (i.e. the files you create yourself)
  • This is also ABSOLUTELY necessary for ALL USERS who have an account on the computer. You do not always think about the "other files" of the other users. 
3.2 Additional fuses for
  • List of installed programs 
    • This should be easy with point 1. now - but many programs come from the net and do not need a license (or do they? Programs that are "free for private use" are often not allowed to be used for free on university computers!)
  • Information about additional accounts (e.g. in the net/cloud, etc.) with the corresponding access data (e.g. Sciebo, etc.)
    • and also the passwords for services in the network (if stored carelessly in the browser or other programs). Tip: With the help of programs like Keypass or Passwordsafe you can store your most important information and passwords encrypted in a file! Very recommendable! It also makes it easier to generate and manage SECURE passwords with a minimum length of 13 characters (including special characters). But this is another topic!
  • This also includes, but should be listed separately: Access data to your Internet provider or corresponding routers in the network you are using!
  • Bookmark from browsers (--> Export or save whole profiles)
  • Local E-Mails (e.g. if you are still POP or have local archives on your computer)
  • Local copies of digital media (iTunes, Amazon, Google, etc.) - if they cannot be downloaded again via the Internet. This also applies to multiple accounts (see above) if you - or other users - use them on your computer. 
  • Key files: If you have used encryption, you also need to safely outsource the (PGP-keyrings, local keys for Boxcryptor, etc., or even Windows keys) externally (which should already have been done anyway). 
    • Note: If the files (or hard disk) were encrypted with your own hardware (TPM chips), the data must be decrypted in the backup. A subsequent decryption is not intended and possible!
  • additionally installed certificates - whether personal or general (e.g. "Deutsche Telekom Root CA 2") - even if they can be downloaded from the Internet again. Personal certificates must be secured in any case or should already be available externally. 
  • DRM ("Digital Rights Management") and similar information - if you have a copy - protected files (music, videos, etc.) on your computer
    • This also includes all eBooks or files that come from central providers and have been assigned to the computer without being possible to download them multiple times.
  • Synchronization tools should be switched off beforehand or the files should be completely backed up so that a new synchronization does not lead to the loss of data in the (data protection-legally permitted!) cloud memories.

...(?). If you can extend the list based on your personal experience, please contact me. I will be happy to accept your suggestion if several users may be affected.

If you use other features locally on your PC that are not listed above, please also consider these. The keywords listed here are only intended to draw attention to the scope of the topic.

If you have made such a backup of all the relevant information about your system, you are not only better protected during an upgrade, but also, for examp0le, if your hard disk becomes defective (standard disks break down on average after about 5 years)

And: such a backup can easily be updated once a year. Independent of the image or other backups that have to be performed much more frequently.

PS: The FSI (Fileservice Infrastructure) is NOT intended to store complete images or full backups of computers. This is intended exclusively for the "user data", i.e. ultimately for the "own files" of the university members. For these, however, the system has clear additional benefits. 

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