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2 Bronze

What program generates a backup image of a series of .INP files?

We had one of our new Inspiron E6330 laptops have issues with the VGA port the other day, and in the course of the Dell technician making things worse, he messed up the hard drive.  In the end, he left us with a new hard drive, a directory full of files from some unknown backup program, and the old hard drive - which he unfortunately wiped & reinstalled Windows on.  He wasn't too clever.  It seems that the backup program he ran left us with a directory full of files which I can't identify.  I wasn't actually in the office when the Dell tech was on-site, so I'm left trying to piece this back together for my user.

The directory listing:

03/05/2013  07:04 PM    <DIR>          .
03/05/2013 07:04 PM <DIR> ..
10/12/2012 09:39 AM 153,486 APPS.INP
10/12/2012 09:39 AM 33,684 APPS_0000.INP
10/12/2012 09:39 AM 4,508,160 APPS_0001.INP
10/12/2012 09:38 AM 2,656,296 DATA.INP
10/12/2012 09:38 AM 664,728 DATA_0000.INP
10/12/2012 09:01 AM 650,879,488 DATA_0001.INP
10/12/2012 09:02 AM 650,309,120 DATA_0002.INP
10/12/2012 09:04 AM 650,276,352 DATA_0003.INP
10/12/2012 09:05 AM 650,746,880 DATA_0004.INP
10/12/2012 09:07 AM 650,466,304 DATA_0005.INP
10/12/2012 09:08 AM 650,816,512 DATA_0006.INP
10/12/2012 09:09 AM 650,859,008 DATA_0007.INP
10/12/2012 09:11 AM 651,010,048 DATA_0008.INP
10/12/2012 09:12 AM 650,892,288 DATA_0009.INP
10/12/2012 09:14 AM 650,792,960 DATA_0010.INP
10/12/2012 09:15 AM 650,490,880 DATA_0011.INP
10/12/2012 09:17 AM 650,898,432 DATA_0012.INP
10/12/2012 09:18 AM 650,224,640 DATA_0013.INP
10/12/2012 09:19 AM 650,524,672 DATA_0014.INP
10/12/2012 09:21 AM 650,130,944 DATA_0015.INP
10/12/2012 09:22 AM 650,725,376 DATA_0016.INP
10/12/2012 09:24 AM 650,927,104 DATA_0017.INP
10/12/2012 09:25 AM 650,540,544 DATA_0018.INP
10/12/2012 09:26 AM 650,946,560 DATA_0019.INP
10/12/2012 09:28 AM 650,661,376 DATA_0020.INP
10/12/2012 09:31 AM 650,337,280 DATA_0021.INP
10/12/2012 09:35 AM 650,465,792 DATA_0022.INP
10/12/2012 09:37 AM 650,399,744 DATA_0023.INP
10/12/2012 09:38 AM 67,526,656 DATA_0024.INP
10/12/2012 09:39 AM 1,658,524 include.xml
10/12/2012 09:40 AM 2,068,204 migr.xml
31 File(s) 15,043,592,042 bytes

The XML files are interesting - include.xml is a listing of all the user's files from the disk, and migr.xml contains a description of the old system.
Has anyone seen these sorts of files before?  I can't find any reference to a backup program using this.  When I consulted the technician (who works for Unisys, not Dell) he said that he is not a software guy and "just does the procedure".

Thanks in advance!
Solutions (2)

Accepted Solutions
2 Bronze

Nope, these .INP files are not from Abaqus.  I've done all the simple Google searches on this - trust me, this is not documented anywhere on the 'net!

We have figured it out after days of trial and error with various Dell software.  The Dell technician used a USB key which I believe is called a Dell Direct USB Key - it contains two flash disks inside, one which has Windows Home Premium and one which has a Dell application called Dell Recovery & Restore.

We had sent the technician away (in rage) when we found out he had deleted our data.  However we were able to get the USB disk back from him a few days later when we suspected we might need it.  I'm still unable to find a copy of the disk for download.  Dell Australia Support had no idea what the disk was and couldn't supply me with one.

When booted from this disk, it analyzes the system and offers to rebuild your system.  It will make a backup of all user data onto an external disk, which are in the format of a series of .INP files and two .XML files, include.xml and migr.xml.  If the host OS is Windows XP, it creates them in a different format, one of which is a .exe launcher and the others are a series of .DSB files.  Later in the program it will then wipe your built-in hard disk and reinstall Windows.  After which, it restores the data from your external hard disk using the .INP and .XML files.  When you then reboot the machine, all user data is retained rather seamlessly.  If it is restoring from Windows XP data, the .exe and .DSB files are copied into C:\Backup and these run on first login, restoring user data.

Unfortunately in our case, the Dell tech used this program, but afterwards realized that the license on the machine is for Windows 7 Professional.  He then used another USB disk with Windows 7 Professional to install but it doesn't do the same procedure with backing up data to an external disk, so the disk was wiped and data lost save for the residual .INP/.XML files on the external disk.  The tech was incompetent and reckless - he didn't know what he was doing.

We got the USB disk back from him a few days later and found that during the backup process, you can select an existing backup on your external hard disk.  It then installs Windows 7 Home Premium on the laptop and all the user profiles are restored as-is.  It took us several days to find this solution, but it works, given you have the magic USB disk and a spare laptop you don't mind wiping.

A few minor details on this if anyone else is stuck doing this process.  Sometimes the USB disk would boot and give an error "Unable to continue the booting process. Some informations are corrupted or missing!!"  This seemed to happen intermittently - just reboot and try again and it'll usually work.  We also had warnings that we were using this software on an unsupported product - but this wasn't an issue, we just hit Continue when prompted.

Altogether, a disastrous mess left for us by an incompetent Dell (subcontracted to Unisys) technician, resolved with lots of trial and error and a scratch laptop.  I haven't managed to properly make a duplicate of the Dell USB key since it's two separate disks - I think it may have some sort of copy protection on it.

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Community Accepted Solution
2 Bronze

Dell Backup and Recovery software which comes preinstalled on the Dell Inspiron and other computers (and can be downloaded) will backup your system with INP files.  There are two ways that it can back up your files.  If you use the Backup feature, it will save selected data as INP files.  This backup will not have the include.xml and migr.xml files that the original post of this thread mentions.  The Backup and Recovery software can Restore these files easily.

However, if you select the option to restore a previous image of your hard drive, the software will offer to back up your data first and then automatically restore it.  It will save the data as INP files and the include.xml and migr.xml files.  However, there are two major flaws in the software design (in my opinion) that can be a huge source of grief for customers, and is the reason for this thread.

1.  While the software will automatically backup and restore your files while restoring a previous image of your drive, it does not have the ability to see or restore the INP files it makes at any other time.  So, if you interrupt the process for any reason, or if your hard drive subsequently crashes, or if a Dell technician restores your drive to factory settings, Dell Backup and Recovery will not be able to load and restore your data from the INP files that it had previously created. 

Luckily, there is another software program, called the Migration Restore Utility that can be used to recover data from these INP files.  This fact is not recorded in the help notes of Dell Backup and Recovery.  I only found out about it after 2 hours on the phone with Dell tech support.  This software will recover your data to a separate Windows backup folder.  You will then have to move the files you want into your normal windows folders - but at least your data isn't lost.

http://www.dell.com/support/troubleshooting/us/en/19/KCS/KcsArticles/ArticleView?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&doc...

 

2.  A second flaw in the Dell Backup and Recovery software design can still cause you to lose your data however.  The software doesn't save by directory, such as the MyDocuments directory.  Instead it saves by file extension, such as music or movie files.  Therefore, when I restored my drive to a previous image, it automatically backed up my data (or so I thought), and then restored my files.  I had placed all my important files in the MyDocuments folder so they would always be backed up.  During the automatic backup however, the software will NOT save any files with extensions it is not looking for.  So it did not save any of my programming files.  If you use your computer primarily for Word and Excel you should be ok.  If you use your computer for programming, creating animations, audio or art, it may not back up your files - even if they are stored in your MyDocument directory.  This cost me a LOT of work.  Had I known, I would not have lost my data.

 

The details of my experience may be helpful to Dell or those trying to restore INP files:

After purchasing my Dell Inspiron, the computer prompted me to make Recovery Media disks, which I did.  Later the computer suffered a problem that prevented it from booting to Windows.  It could only access the bios.  So I booted from the Recovery Media Disk and it gave me the option to back up my data and restore the drive to a prior image.  This saved my data as INP files with the include.xml and migr.xml.  When this didn't fix the problem I called Dell and they had me mail the computer to a repair center.  They replaced the motherboard and a windows hardware key and reimaged the drive - wiping it clean in the process.

I spent two weeks trying to find a way to restore the INP files, including 2 hours with Dell on the phone.  Afterward, I was able to restore the data with the Migration Restore Utility only to find that the Backup and Recovery software had saved my music and movies, but none of my programming files - which is what I needed most.  So Dell's Backup and Restore software had given me a false sense of security in thinking it was backing up my files, when it really was deleting them. 

To Dell I would have two requests. 

- Add notes to the Dell Backup and Recovery help file that explains that the software can't restore its automatically backed up files and tell the user about the Migration Utility.

- Automatic backups should always backup the contents of the MyDocument folder, regardless of file type.  Perhaps have the software ask the user what file types they want to backup or what directories they want backed up.

 

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Community Accepted Solution
Replies (11)
9 Rhodium

Windows Dassault Systemes Abaqus files.  It is NOT a backup File.

www.3ds.com/.../overview

The Abaqus Unified FEA product suite offers powerful and complete solutions for both routine and sophisticated engineering problems covering a vast spectrum of industrial applications.

File Type Abaqus Input File

Developer Dassault Systemes

Input file used by Abaqus engineering simulation and analysis software; saves input data for a job, which can produce output visualizations and other data.

This is Not supported Nor a Dell Product.

 


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Diagnostics & Tools

2 Bronze

Nope, these .INP files are not from Abaqus.  I've done all the simple Google searches on this - trust me, this is not documented anywhere on the 'net!

We have figured it out after days of trial and error with various Dell software.  The Dell technician used a USB key which I believe is called a Dell Direct USB Key - it contains two flash disks inside, one which has Windows Home Premium and one which has a Dell application called Dell Recovery & Restore.

We had sent the technician away (in rage) when we found out he had deleted our data.  However we were able to get the USB disk back from him a few days later when we suspected we might need it.  I'm still unable to find a copy of the disk for download.  Dell Australia Support had no idea what the disk was and couldn't supply me with one.

When booted from this disk, it analyzes the system and offers to rebuild your system.  It will make a backup of all user data onto an external disk, which are in the format of a series of .INP files and two .XML files, include.xml and migr.xml.  If the host OS is Windows XP, it creates them in a different format, one of which is a .exe launcher and the others are a series of .DSB files.  Later in the program it will then wipe your built-in hard disk and reinstall Windows.  After which, it restores the data from your external hard disk using the .INP and .XML files.  When you then reboot the machine, all user data is retained rather seamlessly.  If it is restoring from Windows XP data, the .exe and .DSB files are copied into C:\Backup and these run on first login, restoring user data.

Unfortunately in our case, the Dell tech used this program, but afterwards realized that the license on the machine is for Windows 7 Professional.  He then used another USB disk with Windows 7 Professional to install but it doesn't do the same procedure with backing up data to an external disk, so the disk was wiped and data lost save for the residual .INP/.XML files on the external disk.  The tech was incompetent and reckless - he didn't know what he was doing.

We got the USB disk back from him a few days later and found that during the backup process, you can select an existing backup on your external hard disk.  It then installs Windows 7 Home Premium on the laptop and all the user profiles are restored as-is.  It took us several days to find this solution, but it works, given you have the magic USB disk and a spare laptop you don't mind wiping.

A few minor details on this if anyone else is stuck doing this process.  Sometimes the USB disk would boot and give an error "Unable to continue the booting process. Some informations are corrupted or missing!!"  This seemed to happen intermittently - just reboot and try again and it'll usually work.  We also had warnings that we were using this software on an unsupported product - but this wasn't an issue, we just hit Continue when prompted.

Altogether, a disastrous mess left for us by an incompetent Dell (subcontracted to Unisys) technician, resolved with lots of trial and error and a scratch laptop.  I haven't managed to properly make a duplicate of the Dell USB key since it's two separate disks - I think it may have some sort of copy protection on it.

Community Accepted Solution
Not applicable

My wife's Inspiron 15Z malfunctioned after the first two months. (and now is doing so again) Blue screen of death!

Dell sent us a doggle to attach to a USB (thumb drive). It was to be used to return her system to the factory image, we thought. However, it first did a backup with backup.exe that is on the doggle. Then after supplying the original image it restored the backup using the restore.exe program found on the doggle.

Note that there were programs she had not yet had a chance to reinstall when we did that restore. Those programs did not get the associated, accumulated, output files restored. So, we re-installed all the programs that she had on the computer previously (from her notes before the return to the factory image). Once again we did the restore part of the doggle procedure and all the personal, data files were restored. It all was well done!

So, I would suggest you inform Dell of the unprofessional manner in which the dude did his work, make them aware that the procedure they train those people to use broke down and the restore did not get completed. They owe you big-time.

--johne

 

2 Bronze

Dell Backup and Recovery software which comes preinstalled on the Dell Inspiron and other computers (and can be downloaded) will backup your system with INP files.  There are two ways that it can back up your files.  If you use the Backup feature, it will save selected data as INP files.  This backup will not have the include.xml and migr.xml files that the original post of this thread mentions.  The Backup and Recovery software can Restore these files easily.

However, if you select the option to restore a previous image of your hard drive, the software will offer to back up your data first and then automatically restore it.  It will save the data as INP files and the include.xml and migr.xml files.  However, there are two major flaws in the software design (in my opinion) that can be a huge source of grief for customers, and is the reason for this thread.

1.  While the software will automatically backup and restore your files while restoring a previous image of your drive, it does not have the ability to see or restore the INP files it makes at any other time.  So, if you interrupt the process for any reason, or if your hard drive subsequently crashes, or if a Dell technician restores your drive to factory settings, Dell Backup and Recovery will not be able to load and restore your data from the INP files that it had previously created. 

Luckily, there is another software program, called the Migration Restore Utility that can be used to recover data from these INP files.  This fact is not recorded in the help notes of Dell Backup and Recovery.  I only found out about it after 2 hours on the phone with Dell tech support.  This software will recover your data to a separate Windows backup folder.  You will then have to move the files you want into your normal windows folders - but at least your data isn't lost.

http://www.dell.com/support/troubleshooting/us/en/19/KCS/KcsArticles/ArticleView?c=us&l=en&s=dhs&doc...

 

2.  A second flaw in the Dell Backup and Recovery software design can still cause you to lose your data however.  The software doesn't save by directory, such as the MyDocuments directory.  Instead it saves by file extension, such as music or movie files.  Therefore, when I restored my drive to a previous image, it automatically backed up my data (or so I thought), and then restored my files.  I had placed all my important files in the MyDocuments folder so they would always be backed up.  During the automatic backup however, the software will NOT save any files with extensions it is not looking for.  So it did not save any of my programming files.  If you use your computer primarily for Word and Excel you should be ok.  If you use your computer for programming, creating animations, audio or art, it may not back up your files - even if they are stored in your MyDocument directory.  This cost me a LOT of work.  Had I known, I would not have lost my data.

 

The details of my experience may be helpful to Dell or those trying to restore INP files:

After purchasing my Dell Inspiron, the computer prompted me to make Recovery Media disks, which I did.  Later the computer suffered a problem that prevented it from booting to Windows.  It could only access the bios.  So I booted from the Recovery Media Disk and it gave me the option to back up my data and restore the drive to a prior image.  This saved my data as INP files with the include.xml and migr.xml.  When this didn't fix the problem I called Dell and they had me mail the computer to a repair center.  They replaced the motherboard and a windows hardware key and reimaged the drive - wiping it clean in the process.

I spent two weeks trying to find a way to restore the INP files, including 2 hours with Dell on the phone.  Afterward, I was able to restore the data with the Migration Restore Utility only to find that the Backup and Recovery software had saved my music and movies, but none of my programming files - which is what I needed most.  So Dell's Backup and Restore software had given me a false sense of security in thinking it was backing up my files, when it really was deleting them. 

To Dell I would have two requests. 

- Add notes to the Dell Backup and Recovery help file that explains that the software can't restore its automatically backed up files and tell the user about the Migration Utility.

- Automatic backups should always backup the contents of the MyDocument folder, regardless of file type.  Perhaps have the software ask the user what file types they want to backup or what directories they want backed up.

 

Community Accepted Solution
Not applicable

K-Dog, I hope and pray you are still around, but I wanted to ask you about the Migration Restore Utility outlined in the 4th paragraph of your post. I downloaded it, hooked up an external HDD containing a Dell Back up and Restore folder with all those INP files, ran it, received no error messages... but it seems like when it gets through with its restore process nothing happens. I can't seem to find the separate windows backup folder you mentioned. I checked the folders containing the restore software, the desktop, I even searched the computer for files created with today's date. Not sure what I am missing here. please help and thank you in advance.

2 Bronze

HI there

Although i have never tried to generate a inp image,i have tried to generate an image direclty using an image processing program.

They supports to provide comprehensive sample codes.For untrained end-users, detailed tutorials are also provided,

You can also have a try at these kind of image tool.Best wishes.

2 Bronze

I recently purchased a Dell XPS 8700.   During the set-up and file transfer process I was badgered from time to time to run the utility that was going to back-up my files, cure my warts, and save the planet!   Eventually I gave in, and did as I was told.

Later, in preparation for transferring the remaining data files from my old PC, I temporarily moved all the contents of my "Documents" folder into a "Temp" folder.   It took far longer than it should have, which prompted me to look for a reason.

The answer was that the "Documents" folder now contained a folder named "Profile1" that I knew nothing about... its contents looked almost identical to Patrick's example.

A bit of basic detective work (which is about my limit, I ain't no expert!) satisfied me that this was the results of the Dell Rescue Utility.   I'm not sure why they are in the "Documents" folder, as I thought I had selected my USB  External drive as the destination.

It all gets confusder and confusder... I hope this helps to de-confuse someone somewhere!

Regards,

Pieface.

2 Bronze

That MigRestore software that you pointed out, completely worked and I got tons of my old info back, but it took my the better part of the day, which was such waste of time, as this could have been easily prevented by Dell..

Anyway, thanks for the post! 

2 Bronze

I am trying to restore inp files from a previous backup from another computer that was stolen.  I installed MigRestore on my new computer but it won't recognize my external drive.  Any suggestions

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