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Windows 7: Backup and Restore Questions

18 Dec 2010   #1

Windows 7 32 bit and 64 bit Professional
 
 
Backup and Restore Questions

If I want to backup several PC's in my home, can I put the system image and data files from each on the SAME USB hard drive ( given I have the space to do so ) ?

Next question : I have a friend who uses the Ghost product and creates a "bare metal" copy of the hard drive. Doesn't Windows 7 have a utility to do this ?

If it does, can I do multiple "bare metal" copies on the same USB drive ?

I thought I read somewhere that maybe the USB drive size and the drive you were backing up had to be the SAME size in order to work properly -- true ?

Thanx in advance for your help -- this forum has always been a big help

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Dec 2010   #2
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

1. I suggest you do not use Windows 7 imaging but free Macrium. It has a lot more function and is easier to use: Imaging with free Macrium

2. With Macrium, you can image to USB devices. For the different systems you may want to define different folders. Note, however, that images take about 55% of the occupied space in the partition to be imaged - so they can get rather large. An external disk is better than a USB stick.

3. Yes, Ghost can do bare metal (called a clone). So can a lot of other (mostly non-free) programs (Acronis, Paragon and Macrium Pro), but not free Macrium. Here you image partitions.

4. What you read about same size is something different. With Macrium (and some other free programs), the partition to which you reinstall an image has to be same or bigger size than the partition the partition size from where it was originally taken. Some other programs (e.g. free Paragon), can also deal with smaller target partitions. But that statement has nothing to do with the external disk to which you image. You just need enough space to fit the image.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2010   #3

Windows 7 32 bit and 64 bit Professional
 
 

Thank you for the tip on Macrium. I will look into this utility.

To be clear ==> I will be imaging to an external 500GB USB hard drive which I will probably have 3 partitions.

So when you say it uses 55% of any one partition I am a bit confused.

Lets say for example I have a 60GB partition of which 50GB are used ( 10GB free ).

When I go to use Macrium to take an image of this partition, do I need a 60GB partition on the USB drive or must it be larger. If its larger, then I will not be able to restore back to the "smaller" partition (?)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Dec 2010   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by porkr View Post
Thank you for the tip on Macrium. I will look into this utility.

To be clear ==> I will be imaging to an external 500GB USB hard drive which I will probably have 3 partitions.

So when you say it uses 55% of any one partition I am a bit confused.

Lets say for example I have a 60GB partition of which 50GB are used ( 10GB free ).

When I go to use Macrium to take an image of this partition, do I need a 60GB partition on the USB drive or must it be larger. If its larger, then I will not be able to restore back to the "smaller" partition (?)
Using your example: a 60 gig partition with 50 used.

WHS means that the Macrium image of that partition will be about 55% of 50 gigs in size---somewhere near 27.5 gigs. In other words, Macrium compresses the occupied space to about 55% of what it is on your source partition.

Images are just files. Your USB drive would need to have a partition big enough to accept a 27.5 gig file--that's all. Your destination drive is 500 GB. All you need to do is ensure that the destination partition on that 500 GB drive has enough space for a 27.5 GB file.

BUT, BUT---when you RESTORE that 27.5 gigabyte image file to another drive, Macrium will want to restore it to a partition that is AT LEAST 60 gigs in size.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2010   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by porkr View Post
Thank you for the tip on Macrium. I will look into this utility.

To be clear ==> I will be imaging to an external 500GB USB hard drive which I will probably have 3 partitions.

So when you say it uses 55% of any one partition I am a bit confused.

Lets say for example I have a 60GB partition of which 50GB are used ( 10GB free ).

When I go to use Macrium to take an image of this partition, do I need a 60GB partition on the USB drive or must it be larger. If its larger, then I will not be able to restore back to the "smaller" partition (?)
1. You do not need partitions on your external drive - just folders. That is a lot more flexible.

2. In your example the image would be appr. 25GBs +/-. Only the real data counts, not the freespace.

3. Yes, if you want to restore the partition from the image, you will need a 60GB partition or larger (in your example).

4. If you want to restore to smaller partitions, you should use free Paragon. But not many people use that. So if you need help, you will find a lot more Macrium helpers - at least here.

PS: I guess now you have 2 of the same answers. LOL.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2010   #6

Windows 7 32 bit and 64 bit Professional
 
 

Thank you for that explanation -- I am "playing" with Macrium now.

Data only partition to start with --- its the image of the system partition that scares me !
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2010   #7
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

No need to scare. I have developed a little safe guidance (see below) how to run a whole imaging and restore cycle without making any damage. Maybe you want to exercise that to get a feel for it. It looks lengthy, but it is really very simple.


Macrium test

1. Shrink 2GBs from C and define a simple volume (partition) - let's call it Y
2. Move some files (any files) into Y - I always also move the sample picture folder in (you'll see why)
3. Define a test folder on your external backup disk - call it Mtest
4. Make an image of Y to Mtest - requires that you make a new definition
5. Delete a couple of pictures from the sample picture folder on Y (I always use the 2 animals)
6. Reboot and tap (ESC, F2 or whatever it is on your system) to get into the BIOS boot sequence
7. Set your boot sequence to CD/DVD reader
8. Throw in the Macrium recovery CD and let it run, then hit Enter
9. Now you are in the recovery wizard, set it to Mtest where it says "Locate Image" and to Y where it says "Choose partition to overwrite with the image data".
Note: the partition letters may not be the same as on your system. Macrium uses its own lettering. Best is to go by the size of the partitions and open it with the little + in the front.
10. Watch out when it asks whether to replace the Master Boot Record - in this case say "do not replace" because this is only a data partition. If that were your system partition, you would replace the MBR provided you do not have a separate boot partition.
11. When you get the little window saying "Your computer will now reboot", you have to hit "Cancel" (on the bottom" to get it to reboot. That's a little strange way to end the session, but that's the way it is.
12. Check whether the 2 animals in the sample picture folder are back. That shows you that the recovery worked.

When you have done these steps, you did the whole cycle and have learned

1. That your recovery disk works
2. How to recover
3. That things work

Now you can delete the little 2GB partition and add it back to it's originating partition.
If you are not familiar with the creation and deletion of partitions, watch this tutorial: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/72427-data-partition.html
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2010   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by porkr View Post
Thank you for that explanation -- I am "playing" with Macrium now.

Data only partition to start with --- its the image of the system partition that scares me !

Hang with it.

It is HIGHLY intuitive compared to the competition.

Good idea to fiddle with a data partition. Make a few and delete them so you get an idea of how the interface works. Not many steps in making an image--maybe a few more in the restoration process. Test your recovery disk too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2010   #9

Windows 7 32 bit and 64 bit Professional
 
 

My concern is this :

I image the system partition as bootable per the instructions -- when I restore the system image and its does not boot -- YIKES !

Unless I create a test bootable partition to see if it boots after restoring the image.

Thoughts ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Dec 2010   #10
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

You worry too much. If you follow the instructions and do it easily, it will boot. I have done it more than 30 times.

I suggested the little exercise so that you could gain some practical experience. For the OS partition, there are only 2 differences:
1. you may have to make the partition "active" (see Note below)
2. you may have to restore the MBR

Note however: if you have the small 100MB active boot partition, things are a bit more complicated. In that case you would mark the OS partition as primary and not restore the MBR. You can leave the 100MB partition alone. Image it once - just in case. But normally you need not touch it - neither for imaging nor for restore. It never changes.

PS: before you make the exercise, please post a snip of your Disk Management so that I can have a look at it. There is a small danger in case you have more than 3 primary partitions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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