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ERU - The Emergency Recovery Utility

Where do you want to go today? Probably just back to work, or maybe back to that cool game you were playing when your system crashed. Fortunately, Microsoft supplied a nice little utility for Windows 9x that quickly backs up and can restore the ten most critical files Windows needs to function properly. Best of all: It's easy to use and free.

The real beauty of this program is that it places a Dos utility in the backup folder so that, even if the system won't boot to Windows, you can perform a restore operation and this will often solve the problem preventing boot up!

If you want to do an upgrade to your hardware, do an ERU before you start and keep track of what boards come out of which slots. If it goes awry; simply replace the old hardware and restore the ERU.

If you want to make changes to your registry, performing an ERU before you start will allow you to "have at it" with the knowledge that you can restore what was there at any time.

If you are a tech, nothing I have found is as useful.

Getting the program

If you have a Windows95 CD, the ERU can be found in the Other\Misc folder; but, to make it simpler, if you right-click on this text and choose "save target as", I have created a self-extracting zip file that will place the program under "Program Files" and a shortcut under "Start-> Programs". Note where it is being saved, navigate to it, and double-click to install.

What it does

What the ERU does is make a backup copy of the critical system files used by Windows for booting and for the subsequent execution of virtually every operation executed on your system and installs a program to restore those files, if needed.

The following are backed up:

  • Config.sys - used in the boot process to add devices such as CDRom drives
  • Autoexec.bat - also part of the boot process
  • Win.ini - used by Windows to set options, fonts, some printers, .....
  • System.ini - Used by Windows for hardware and device initialization
  • Protocol.ini - Windows network protocols
  • User.dat - Your preferences for colors, fonts,....
  • System.dat - The most important file containing almost every detail of how your system works
  • Io.sys - another file needed to boot
  • Command.com - the command interpreter used to boot and for MSDos
  • Msdos.sys - a text file containing system information

The files are copied to a folder the utility creates and, when disaster strikes, the backups created by the ERU can be restored quickly and easily.

Running the ERU

1) Click Start, Programs, then Emergency Recovery

2) The first thing you'll see is the Welcome screen, click Next

3) On the next screen, click on Other Directory, then click Next

4) Make the directory look like this:

C:\ERD\YYMMDD (YY=year MM=month DD=day ) This will create a folder named "01114" as an example under the C:\ERD folder.

Then click on Next

5) The next screen shows you the list of files to be backed up, click Next

6) You'll then see a screen showing the progress of the backup

7) You (hopefully) will then notified that your backup was successful, click OK

If you do multiple changes in the same day or are troubleshooting, append an "A", "B", and so on to the date on successive backups. This will allow you to do complex system operations and take snapshots as you go.

When should you do an ERU?

Just before you modify or update any system settings, immediately before you add a new hardware or software component, and after any successful hardware or software modification. I do it once a month on general principle.

Sounds great. Does it fix every problem?

The utility can't solve any problems of a strictly hardware nature, though it can enable a device to work if the problem was in its software configuration. It can't remove from your system, nor protect against viruses that try to invade your system, but it can restore the ten files mentioned previously if a virus attacks and corrupts your system files.

It also doesn't back up the thousands of files your system uses. Many software upgrades, particularly web browsers, will render older backups useless.

What the utility will do is enable you to safely and easily recover from corruption of your system files, whether the result of accidental deletion, a program incorrectly modifying your system, a failed hardware installation, and many of the other glitches that can make your relationship with your computer not as friendly as it ought to be.

If you have any questions or comments, please E-mail me.

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