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In our office we are currently running a windows XP pro desktop as a file/print server. My question is, am I able to mirror this windows Xp pro machine to another windows Xp pro machine so that in the event of hardware failure I can take down the downed machine and put up the working one and keep the office up and running?

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3 Answers 3

You could just back it up and restore it to another machine then take that second machine down, in the even of the first machine falling over you would be able to start the second machine and it would work fine. Bit of a 1980's solution but it will work.

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If your WinXP file/print server does not have RAID, I would recommend upgrading that system so that it does. However, RAID is not a replacement for backing up, so for creating a cost-effective mirror I would probably recommend using Norton Ghost.

Given your configuration, I'm assuming that a more commercial buy and install solution, such as Norton's Ghost, would be a better fit for you. If that's a bad assumption on my part, then you might want to look at something like Bacula although that would require having a Linux system, as I believe that while Bacula does support Windows clients, the Bacula Director doesn't run on Windows.

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All you can really do is assemble the various increments of protection/backup and present the options to the decision-maker to determine how much they want to spend / be protected.

This could be as simple as buying a 2nd drive and setting up RAID to guard against hard drive failure. However, that doesn't help if the computer goes belly-up, so the next step would be to ensure that you have a secondary system onsite. Of course, if the building burns down, it's generally catastrophic to the business to lose that data completely, so now you've also got to start producing an offsite backup.

There are scores of answers on this site on each of these topics, but what you choose will ultimately depend on your company & budget.

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