15. How to Recover Your Entire System

A complete system failure can be a traumatic event. The first thing to do is not to panic. While the HFS is not suited to recovering your full system, it can help in restoring your (user) data. The steps outlined below while general in nature should, in most cases, get a system back up and running. They do, however, gloss over much of the detail in recovering / reinstalling your system files, for which your local IT support should be engaged. The steps below assume that you have made regular and effective backups of your data to the HFS. In most cases you will need access to an administrator account on the machine you are working on. In all cases you should engage your local IT support wherever you face difficulty.

  1. Install or repair your Operating System files. Update your system to the latest security and service packs. Ensure that you have network access to the Oxford Network. Remember, this will all take some time.
  2. If you have repaired your system - rather than installed a new system, some or all of your application programs and data may still reside on your system. Check this and, if your TSM program is still there, you can skip the following steps and just use this to restore any missing data as per platform specific instructions on using TSM Backup and Restore.
  3. If no TSM client software exists on your machine, register a new desktop account with the HFS. Using a new account prevents accidentally overwriting your backups of your old machine with backups from your new machine.
  4. Download and install the latest TSM client.
  5. Now follow the platform-specific instructions for restoring your data to another machine. These exist for windows platforms and for Mac, Linux/Unix and Netware using the command line client. Remember That your current machine must be running the same Operating System as your old machine. The TSM software does not support cross-platform restores - i.e. restoring files from a Windows system to a Mac or vice versa.

Your local IT Support may offer a desktop imaging service that can restore a base image of your Operating System (and applications ) to your machine.

In the absence of the above, there is a huge amount of support information on the web on the topic of recovering your Operating System. Using search terms such as ‘Windows System Repair’, ‘Mac OSX Archive and Install’ and ‘Unix System Recovery’ amongst others, should yield a large amount of good information.

Among the many reasons why the HFS does not itself support a full-system restore are:

  • Recovery from installation media is quicker, easier and more reliable.
  • Restoring your system files over a pre-existing system, even a partially-broken one, is not supported and usually leads to more corruption.
  • The HFS no longer backs up much of the Operating System.

Up: Contents Previous: 14. OSS Watch Newsletters Next: 16. Projects at OUCS