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Windows 7: Imaging strategies


17 Jun 2012   #91

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by wanchoo View Post
Neither do I. I have kept System Restore switched off almost ever since it appeared. However many are of the opinion that Imaging and System Restore are mutually exclusive functions and therefore System Restore should not be switched off.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
I don't bother with system restores.
Probably dependent on "philosophy" and habit.
I guess those who use system protection either don't keep recent images, or combine data with system images, or are leery of doing image restores because they don't trust images. Might have mostly to do with comfort level and "convenience."
Since I'll restore an image at the drop of a hat if I see any problem at all, I've never used system protection. But it's pretty slick, and I've seen where it's saved a lot of peoples' bacon.
The way I see it, imaging can replace system protection, but system protection can't replace imaging. After that it's a question of what overhead you prefer.

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17 Jun 2012   #92

Windows 7 Pro with SP1 32bit
 
 

Rabbiting on, because I agree with you, maybe I too am not getting the idea.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
I don't want to rabbit on but I have considered a reimage to be superset of System Restore and not mutually exclusive. Maybe I miss something.
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17 Jun 2012   #93

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

I do like the fact that Windows Imaging and System Restore work together. One thing I do like is the fact I can look in the System Restore panel and see which software has changed since my last image. You can't do that with some other imaging programs.

I also use the System Protection feature for my data drive as a few times I've had to Restore a Previous Version of a file that's changed or been deleted. Handy feature, although I don't actually use SR to Restore my pc hardly ever. If something isn't working right I'll just restore my image instead.
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18 Jun 2012   #94

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
 
 

I keep System Restore switched off but still use the Windows 7 disk imaging function. A disk image is like the ultimate system restore anyway. There doesn't seem a need to use the System Restore function as well. I'll usually update (overwrite) the most current disk image just before installing a program or making other changes, then there is always a way back if necessary. I don't back up files when prompted to do so during a re-imaging procedure because all created files are stored on a second internal drive.

I keep a few images, one without any security programs on it. I can load this if I want to try out various security programs. This seems easier than removing programs in order to try others. It's not always easy to clean a system entirely of security programs, so a disk image that doesn't have any on it comes in handy sometimes.

I've tried third-party imaging programs. They have worked OK but find none do the imaging any better than Windows 7's own included way. It has always worked very reliably for me.
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27 Jun 2012   #95

Windows 7 Professional -64 bit
 
 

Many of the imagining products have issues with the strange partition systems that Windows 7 64-bit makes. I usually make a single partition with gparted before letting windows 7 do its install to eliminate problems.

Acronis and different versions of Ghosty I have tried are not reliable otherwise.

One thing that I worked out when trying to use the inbuilt windows 7 imaging tool is that it is NOT a cloning tool. It will not restore your image to another machine even if identical in specs.

I recently upgraded a pile of computers at my work from windows XP to Win 7, so I set up the first computer with a base operating system updates and standard applications. I din't activate windows at that time.

I then ran the Windows 7 backup, and then tried to restore to another identical computer....and it wouldn't.

The implication for this is that if your computer has a hardware failure (probably other than hard drive) ie motherboard, network card Windows 7 backup will detect your rebuilt computer as not being the same as the one that was backed up. It won't restore and you will have a major problem getting your computer working again.

Why Microsoft did this i have no idea. Maybe they didn't want to compete with other companies in the cloning market. Your guess is as good as mine.
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27 Jun 2012   #96

Windows 7 Pro with SP1 32bit
 
 

Please clarify what you mean by "strange partition systems that Windows 7 64-bit makes". Are you meaning the System Reserved Partition?

I have used Acronis for imaging for the last seven years or thereabout. I must have made over 100 images during this period and restored as many. There has only been one occasion when the image made with Acronis did not qualify in the validation process. There has never been a failure in restoring the image. I therefore find Acronis very reliable. How many failures have you had?

I think Windows Imaging Tool came on the scene with W 7. By then I was so steeped in Acronis that I never felt the need to cross-over.
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27 Jun 2012   #97
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jbheller View Post

The implication for this is that if your computer has a hardware failure (probably other than hard drive) ie motherboard, network card Windows 7 backup will detect your rebuilt computer as not being the same as the one that was backed up. It won't restore and you will have a major problem getting your computer working again.
I certainly haven't needed to do a mass Windows 7 install. There are people on this forum who do it as part of their job, so they may give you advice on this matter.

Concerning the specific comment above, you certainly can reimage to a new HDD. However, Windows imaging wants to restore the full MBR from the original PC the image was made. This includes the partition table. So you will get a failure if the new HDD is smaller.
I think reimaging to an altered PC should work since it is a process driven by the reimaging process provided on the system repair boot CD. But you may then get problems with activation and drivers. On the same PC windows allows a number of hardware changes before it decides "This is a new PC" and needs reactivation.
If you have a retail OS license then you can change the whole PC or its components. This link may help
Some questions about re-activation when hardware changes - Microsoft Answers
This tutorial may also help
Windows 7 Installation - Transfer to a New Computer
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28 Jun 2012   #98

Microsoft Windows 8.1 Professional
 
 

I have 1 fresh install image created with Clonezilla and take weekly images with Drive Snapshot, not a single issue this way.
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07 Aug 2012   #99

MS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
 
 

From what I remember, Win 7 is locked in to the PC where it is installed. In which case, it is probably not helpful to look for a program that will clone the system and allow one to install it in a new PC.

With that, what one will probably do given a new PC is to install a new copy of the OS (if it doesn't have one), then load the system image as a virtual, copy various files to a temporary directory in the hard disk of the new PC, then copy any data files and configurations that one wants or can use.
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14 Oct 2012   #100

win 7 64 home premium
 
 

hey, nice article. with computers, nothing is written in stone and each of us has their own way of getting things done. but this article gives the basics of save, save, save which we all need to do. i have been using macrium free with a win pe rescue disc and they work great together. and i have almost exactly the set-up you portray. ssd main drive with two partitions, operating system and stuff. 2nd internal hdd, two partitions, operating system and stuff. and an external ter hdd set the same way. everything is simple and easy to image and restore. thanks again for the nice article.
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