How to purposely corrupt Windows XP



deko
07-10-2005, 03:19 AM
I want to test my backup system by purposely corrupting my OS (Windows XP).
My backup system is nothing but a secondary internal SATA hard drive that I
periodically copy my data to. My concern is that my backup disk will
somehow become inaccessible in the event of an OS corruption. Is it
possible for the Partition Table (or some other thing) of my backup disk to
get screwed up by a corrupt OS?

Here are some proposed ways to purposely corrupt my Windows XP operating
system:

1) delete C:\WINDOWS\system32\Hall.dll
more info: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=314477
2) delete C:\boot.ini
3) delete C:\WINDOWS\system32\secur32.dll
4) open the C:\WINDOWS\System32 folder, sort the files by Type, and select
and delete at random any 5 .dll files

If anyone can think of other options that could potentially make my
secondary internal HDD inaccessible, please le me know.

Thanks in advance.

deko
07-10-2005, 03:19 AM
> I want to test my backup system by purposely corrupting my OS (Windows
XP).
> My backup system is nothing but a secondary internal SATA hard drive that
I
> periodically copy my data to. My concern is that my backup disk will
> somehow become inaccessible in the event of an OS corruption. Is it
> possible for the Partition Table (or some other thing) of my backup disk
to
> get screwed up by a corrupt OS?

Just to be clear:

To recover my data in case of disaster, I plan to reinstall Windows XP on my
System disk, and then copy all my data from my Backup disk to my System
disk. All data and system files reside on my System disk; the only thing I
use the Backup disk for is a secondary copy of my data (only data),
periodically copied from my System disk.

The exercise at hand is to somehow find a way to make my backup system fail.

Even if the motherboard in my PC were to meltdown and take my System disk
with it, I could still buy a new PC and simply connect my Backup disk to it
and recover all my data! This system is bulletproof!!

Shenan Stanley
07-10-2005, 03:19 AM
deko wrote:
>> I want to test my backup system by purposely corrupting my OS
>> (Windows XP). My backup system is nothing but a secondary internal
>> SATA hard drive that I periodically copy my data to. My concern is
>> that my backup disk will somehow become inaccessible in the event of
>> an OS corruption. Is it possible for the Partition Table (or some
>> other thing) of my backup disk to get screwed up by a corrupt OS?
>
> Just to be clear:
>
> To recover my data in case of disaster, I plan to reinstall Windows
> XP on my System disk, and then copy all my data from my Backup disk
> to my System disk. All data and system files reside on my System
> disk; the only thing I use the Backup disk for is a secondary copy of
> my data (only data), periodically copied from my System disk.
>
> The exercise at hand is to somehow find a way to make my backup
> system fail.
>
> Even if the motherboard in my PC were to meltdown and take my System
> disk with it, I could still buy a new PC and simply connect my Backup
> disk to it and recover all my data! This system is bulletproof!!

Unless your backup disk goes bad and you do not know it.
It happens - trust me.
Nothing is "bulletproof" when it comes to computers (or life for that
matter.)

The trouble with your backup system as I see it - you are putting all of the
eggs - including the backup egg - in one basket. No external/removable
media involved here. Your bulletproof backup system can be eliminated by
one powerful surge (yes - they can get through UPS systems) or physical
damage/loss of the one containing PC case.

You really need some form of "off-site" storage. Whether that is a DVD you
burn once a week/month (time-frame up to you) or a tape backup
system/external hard drive system you store elsewhere.. (I personally like
the network hard drives from companies like Ximeta - I can backup to a drive
elsewhere on my network with no attached computer - and that drive can be
used via USB or network and is just like any other external hard drive in
that aspect.)

"Making" your current backup system fail should not be the central concern.
Having it all contained in one box - making it more likely that something
will happen to that one location should be. Sure - if your CPU melts and
somehow only affects one hard drive that is directly connected to it - your
system is "bulletproof", but why would it only affect that one directly
connected drive.. what magic wall protects your second internal hard drive
from the same damage? Backing up to external media is the best bet.
Storing a copy of that external media away from that main system helps
insure you are not left high-and-dry in case something happens, it gets
stolen, etc. Sure - you can still use your internal drive to
hardware/software mirror the first drive - that's great; however, anything
that happens to the system that can fry the first drive physically has just
as much chance to fry the second internal drive in that system.

If you are trying to simulate a failure - do it smartly. Ghost a copy of
your working bootable partition. Then wipe it. That best simulates a
complete disaster. As you say yourself that the second drive is not even
really a mirror - but a DATA ONLY backup drive - that simulates it
perfectly. You have NO OS - now you have to follow through your disaster
recovery plan - reinstall Windows XP, all of your applications and
patches/drivers and then restore your data from the secondary drive. You
could even speed up that process by making integrated Windows XP SP2/patches
CD and even add the applications to it - possibly even make a DVD instead
that does all of the installation of all your common applications for you
(http://unattended.msfn.org) - so you won't "forget something" or start out
with a vulnerable/unpatched system.

If you want to know how a software glitch could mess up your data only
backup drive - I don't see anything on your suggestions that would do it.
All of those things make the boot drive possibly fail - but doubtful they
would do much more. Even then - the damage could likely be reversed with a
repair install or perhaps using the Ultimate Boot CD for Windows..
(http://www.ubcd4win.com/) - in fact using the UBCD4Win you could boot and
see the data on the secondary drive - barring hardware failures.

--
Shenan Stanley
MS-MVP
--
How To Ask Questions The Smart Way
http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/smart-questions.html


How to purposely corrupt Windows XP