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An Elephant stepped on my Thinkpad - Rescue and Recovery

2012-07-17, 11:56 AM

My backup solution for my thinkpad is an external usb drive using Rescue and Recovery which I keep at my place of work. So if I lose my laptop or it gets stolen or an elephant steps on it (at the zoo?), I still have my backup.


And if the building burns down where the usb drive is stored, I still have my laptop which I always take home every night. I think its a pretty good redundancy solution. The only risk is if I go out for lunch, leaving the thinkpad in the office and the building burns down destroying the laptop and external hard drive together. Its a risk I'm willing to accept.


Now most backup systems have a "recovery disk" where if your computer stops working or is subject to one of the disasters mentioned above, you can load this disk into another computer, boot into a recovery operating environment and recover your precious files. Thinkpad's Rescue and Recovery system goes one step further where you can have the recovery environment on the usb hard drive itself. All you have to do is plug it in and turn on your computer to boot into the recovery operating system. Great idea!


Well I thought......and here is my dilemma....


If my thinkpad is stepped on by an elephant, I would naturally plug my usb drive into my desktop to recover my data files. The problem is, my desktop isn't a Lenovo...so the Rescue and Recovery operating environment doesn't load into memory. It seems to go into this continuous loop of trying to load but fails. Remember I don't want to install Rescue and Recovery onto my desktop, I just want it to load into memory so that I can get access to my back up and transfer my data files to my desktop until such time when I purchase another Thinkpad.


So my question to this forum is; is it true? is Rescue and Recovery crippled in this way that it only works on Lenovo branded machines, even if your Lenovo has been stepped on by an elephant and you don't have another Lenovo immediately on hand?


I mean, is the Rescue and Recovery back up solution, just an external hard drive or is it really a external hard drive and another Lenovo computer:smileywink:


Or is there something (I hope) I have to do in the desktop Bios to be able to get Rescue and Recovery working?


Just wondering...has anyone done a similar test?   



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Re: An Elephant stepped on my Thinkpad - Rescue and Recovery

2012-07-17, 14:41 PM

You're right - Rescue and Recovery is limited to Lenovo computers only.


(1)  Where R&R excels is doing a full system restore.  So if your HDD went bad, you could replace the HDD and be up and running again quickly.


(2)  Where R&R does not excel is trying to restore single files.  It's incredibly slow and cumbersome, especially if you want to restore lots of single files.  And it won't work on the non-Lenovo computer as your noted.  So if you are worried about the elephant and needed to get to your files inside the backup, using a non-Lenovo computer, honestly R&R would not be the right tool for that scenario.


So I might recommend 2 approaches.  Continue using R&R for the (1) scenario.  But also back up your individual data files (My Documents, My Pictures, My Videos, etc) using the Windows 7 built-in backup tool, for the (2) scenario.  You can keep these files on the same HDD you use for R&R backups if you want, or it's never a bad idea to have multiple backup devices.


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Re: An Elephant stepped on my Thinkpad - Rescue and Recovery

2012-07-18, 8:48 AM



Hopefully this email reaches you before an elephant steps on your ThinkPad.


You might find a white paper I wrote about a year ago of interest:  It's called Options for backing up your computer [PDF, 861KB] and goes over some of the various ways in which home and SOHO users can backup their systems.  It's product and operating system agnostic, so it doesn't get into specific recommendations for tools to use, but does go over the types of backup hardware and software available.  One thing it does not cover is cloud-based solutions, though, so that's something you'll want to look into separately.


You didn not mention which model of ThinkPad you had, but you might want to look into something like a Pelican Case for yours, if it fits.  While I'm not sure it would be very effective against elephants, it should give you a chance against probably anything smaller than one of the big cats.




Aryeh Goretsky


I am a volunteer and neither a Lenovo nor a Microsoft employee.

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