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Kudos0

Backup question

Hello,

I had to completely reinstall from scratch, W7 x64, on one of my pc's because MS update KB 2982791 was a killer.

I used a competitor's product for a complete restore BUT I found a serious, in my opinion, flaw.

The OS system image backup went ok but, after restore, all the Windows Update history was gone and WU reported some errors that the stupid MS Fix it troubleshooters were not, as usual, able to fix.

After some serious digging in regedit, I found out that Microsoft is setting, don't know why, some keys in registry in:

HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\BackupRestore\FilesNotToBackup       and

HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\BackupRestore\FilesNotToSnapshot

and there, among others, in each key, there is an entry for WUA, Windows Update Agent.

With these 2 entries, VSS, when making a "hot" image, does not copy the Software Distribution files or copies just the file structure and the folders are empty.

Result, no WU history and problems with WU agent.

I backed up those 2 keys, then deleted and reboot, and when I tried to make a new image , BINGO!!, all the Windows Update history was intact.

The issue does not occur when making a "cold" image via WinPE or Linux cd, it seems to work under Windows and it makes an exact sector by sector backup.

That way, no problem with WU history.

My question is if SSR13 has a compensation mechanism to deal with this issue when making a "hot" image or the above described procedure is also required.

Thank you.

Regards,

Replies

Kudos0

Re: Backup question

It honors those registry keys and does not backup certain things that MS deem unnecessary.

Kudos0

Re: Backup question

" It honors those registry keys and does not backup certain things that MS deem unnecessary."

Thanks for replying,

Well, as I found out it is not uneccessary, because if before backup you did not delete those keys, then backup then import these back, when you open Windows 7 CP, and click on "View recent history", there is zero updates which means that the Software Distribution folder and subfolders is not restored.

However, the list of installed updates is there.

I can live with that, but when you run Windows Update, it can download and install new updates, BUT when you look at Reliabilty History it throws an unmanaged scan error, (Host Process), because it finds 0 cached updates.

Running the famous Windows troubleshooters, can detect the problem, WU service registration, but cannot fix it.

When those 2 mentionned registry keys are temporarily deleted, after restore process, the WU history is intact, even before running WU and when it runs it throws 0 errors.

I believe that MS has erroneously added these 2 registry values for WUA.

Cheers,

Kudos0

Re: Backup question

Just a quick note to add that same thing also applies for .ost files (Outlook).

It's in the VSS exclusion list too.

Regards,

Kudos0

Re: Backup question

And certain media files recored with Windows Media Center.

Kudos0

Re: Backup question


Apostolos wrote:

Hello,

I had to completely reinstall from scratch, W7 x64, on one of my pc's because MS update KB 2982791 was a killer.

I used a competitor's product for a complete restore BUT I found a serious, in my opinion, flaw.

The OS system image backup went ok but, after restore, all the Windows Update history was gone and WU reported some errors that the stupid MS Fix it troubleshooters were not, as usual, able to fix.

After some serious digging in regedit, I found out that Microsoft is setting, don't know why, some keys in registry in:

HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\BackupRestore\FilesNotToBackup       and

HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\BackupRestore\FilesNotToSnapshot

and there, among others, in each key, there is an entry for WUA, Windows Update Agent.

With these 2 entries, VSS, when making a "hot" image, does not copy the Software Distribution files or copies just the file structure and the folders are empty.

Result, no WU history and problems with WU agent.

I backed up those 2 keys, then deleted and reboot, and when I tried to make a new image , BINGO!!, all the Windows Update history was intact.

The issue does not occur when making a "cold" image via WinPE or Linux cd, it seems to work under Windows and it makes an exact sector by sector backup.

That way, no problem with WU history.

My question is if SSR13 has a compensation mechanism to deal with this issue when making a "hot" image or the above described procedure is also required.

Thank you.

Regards,


Hi, Apostolos.  I have had this problem with SSR 2013 since purchase - and have been working-around the problem by doing cold backups using the Bootable CD-ROM.  I have one machine where SSR is installed and another where SSR is not - the two

machines are nearly identical.  One is an Asus P5Q3Deluxe, the other is an Asus P5Q Deluxe - they have the same hardware other than one uses DDR3, the other DDR2 memory.  Both run W7 Ultimate X64, NIS 2012 and Office 2010.

On the machine where SSR is installed (the P5Q Deluxe), any hot image created by the installed software is missing the WU History when that image is restored.  The initial run of WU after the restore shows an error (red X) - which clears after WU is run once manually.  After that WU runs normally again - though the update history is empty as of the Image Restore.

With the info you provided, I checked the full set of Registry Entries under the BackupRestore key on both my machines.  The two registry keysets were identical.  This indicates SSR 2013 did not modify this information in any way during its install process.  The key changes were the result of modifications made by other programs and/or Windows Update itself.

Things I have noticed:

1. Both WUA and WER are excluded in their entirety.  This means a restore done with any program that respects the "NotToBackup" or "NotToSnapshot" keys will restore with no memory of previous Windows Updates or Windows Error Reports.

2. Tempfiles and tempfile subfolders are also not backed up or restored.  For users who archive their update logs, this is another catastrophe - similar to that mentioned in Item 1 above.  To work around this problem, the entire update logfile set must be moved completely outside the tempfile structure (which is awkward and slows down the archiving process) - or the user must be willing to completely lose their update-logfile-history - simply by using an Image Backup program that respects the BackupRestore subkeys.

3. IMO, all three of the above exclusions are stupid in the extreme.  Personally, I consider it extremely important to have a list of success/failure notifications for Windows Update entries.  Having all this history of WUA and WER and their associated logfiles "magically disappear" - simply because I did an Image Backup from within Windows itself and then restored said Backup - destroys a major portion of the usefulness of the Image Backup/Restore process. 

Note: A common reason I am doing things like Image Backup/Restore is because I am tracking down updates that cause WUA Hell (as you mention in your originating post) - or updates that affect Sleep/Wake reliability.  I need the WUA and WER and logfile histories to track the effectiveness of my investigations - thus the reason for using cold-backup for all my images up to this point.

4. There are modifications to both the "NotToBackup" and "NotToSnapshot" keys - that look to be part of the NIS and Office installation processes.  Some of these exclusions look to be legitimate.  Others may be just as bogus as the ones mentioned above.  This requires further investigation.

Kudos0

Re: Backup question

Hi Twixt,

So far the workarounds, and I use the word "workarounds" because this is not, imo a permanent solution, (I think that Backup software vendors should add code in order not to to take account of these entries, or at least provide a "box" in the main GUI so user can include these files if he/she desires to), are:

1) Boot from the Recovery cd and perform the backup from there. (cold backup). Everything is backed up, WU History included.

In my case, perform the restore either from the recovery cd or IN Windows, is ok, everything is restored.

2) Use SSR or other programs to make a hot image but not use VSS, I suppose that SSR should have also a proprietary hot processing algorithm.

3) If you use VSS, the temporary deletion, that makes the difference, is the WUA entry in FilesNotToSnapshot. If deleted while making the backup, (you can restore it in the registry after the backup is done), then the WU History is saved.

If you delete only the entry WUA in FilesNotToBackup and leave it in FilesNotToSnapshot, the WU history is NOT saved.

In my case, I delete both WUA entries and the Temporary Files entry as well. Everything is saved and restored.

I've also noticed that if you make a hot VSS backup, and not deleting those keys, WU is reset to "Never" when opening for the first time and although it can run and catch all the missing updates since the day the backup was made, if you look in Event Viewer, there is an error related to WU registration service, missing or corrupted.

It's not a major issue, since running WU a few more times makes the error disappear but the WU history never comes back, it was reset.

For the .ost files, I do not use Outlook 2010, but you could try to delete the appropriate keys in the FilesNotToSnapshot section in regedit.

Best regards,

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