What is ASR in Windows XP and Windows Server 2003?
What is the ASR feature in Windows XP/2003? How do I use it?
If you run a Windows XP Pro or Windows Server 2003 computer and you wish to backup the system you can use a new feature called Automated System Recovery (ASR).
The ASR process allows to restore the system disk (usually the C: drive) including the Windows files, all Registry settings and all user programs and data, allowing to recover a completely crashed system. To use this procedure you must be able to boot the Windows XP Pro Setup-program from the installation CD-ROM.
During the restore process all data previously found on the System partition (usually C:) will be erased, then XP/2003 will be reinstalled, and the data from the ASR backup will be restored.
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Create the ASR backup
In order to use ASR you first need to create the ASR backup. Follow these steps:
- Run NTBACKUP.EXE from the Run command or from the Program Files > Accessories > System Tools.
- When the program starts click on the ASR button to invoke it’s wizard.
- The Wizard will start with a Welcome screen, advising that a Backup and the ASR disk will be created. Click Next.
- Choose a destination and filename for the ASR backup. Make sure you do NOT select A: as the destination (duh…) nor C:, and that you have at least 2GB of free space on that partition.
- The “Completing the ASR Preparation Wizard” will appear.When you click Finish, the Wizard creates a backup of your system files. You will then be asked to insert a floppy disk. You will later use this disk and the backup to restore your System in an event of a major failure.
- To close this wizard and to begin the backup, click Finish”.
- The system will create a list of all files and then start the backup processes, creating a disk-backup-file. Once the disk-backup is done, you will be prompted for a floppy disk (blank, formatted) to store some ASR-data.
Use ASR to recover your system
In case all other methods to start the XP/2003 system fail, you can use the ASR backup and floppy disk to restore the system to the status as during the creation of the ASR backup.
- Insert your Windows XP Professional Installation CD-ROM and boot from CD-ROM. If you get the message to “press any key to boot from CD…”, press any key.
- As soon as you see “Press F2 to run Automated System Recovery (ASR) …” on the bottom line – press F2. You only have about 2 seconds to do so, so be prepared.
- You will then be prompted to insert the ASR floppy disk. Do so. You have for a few seconds still the time to abort the ASR process by pressing ESC.
- Warning! The system will now start to format your C: drive. When it’s done it will start with a process very similar to the XP installation.
- After the file copying is done, the system will reboot and continue with the installation process, but it will not continue a complete installation. It starts the Automated System Recovery Wizard. This screen will wait for 90 sec, then it will continue automatically.
- A screen will appear, asking you to confirm the location of the disk backup-file.
- At the end of the ASR process, NTBACKUP.EXE is automatically used to restore the information on the C: drive.
- After the process is over check to see if all data and settings have been restored properly.