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Windows 7: Windows 7 Image to new hard drive


23 Mar 2011   #1

Windows 7 Pro
 
 
Windows 7 Image to new hard drive

I was sitting around doing a lot of nothing and an idea hit me.

I have a couple of HDDs sitting around gathering dust not being used. I also have a PC with Win 7 running without flaws (if that is possible).

What I would like to do is create an image using Windows 7 built-in imager on an external HDD. Once that is done, then take one of my HDDs not being used and wipe it clean.

Now I have an image and a clean HDD. Is it possible to now restored my image to the now clean HDD without installing Win 7 first?

This would be the best backup I can think of. Any suggestions would be appreciated.. Thank You


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Mar 2011   #2
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Yes - if it's an internal HDD equal to or greater in size to the HDD imaged.
You need to take the existing OS HDD out, put the clean one in it's place and reimage to it. (You may need to run a system repair on it a few times).

This is basically how I made a cold standby so if my current HDD suddenly fails, I can quickly replace it with the cold standby.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Mar 2011   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bits
 
 

That's the magic of Windows 7 backup, very simple, i love it and ended tossing away other applications.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Mar 2011   #4

Windows 7 Pro
 
 

Thanks for the responses.

To Clarify:

The image can only be taken from an internal HDD to an internal HDD?

It CANNOT be taken from an external HDD to and internal ??
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Mar 2011   #5
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

No - if I understand you.
Typically you make an image of your current operational (internal) HDD to an external general purpose (typically USB connected) HDD.
With your "NEW" blank internal HDD installed ALONE (can be straight out of the bag if brand new), you boot from a system repair CD/DVD. Select the reimage option just like you would to reimage your existing HDD when things go bad.
Windows will format the blank HDD, set up the same partition structure of your original HDD and reimage. The next thing you know you should be staring at your old login screen but with a new internal HDD.

End of answer.............
Don't get confused about cloning. Cloning is from disk to disk and is little more than a straight bit copy/dubbing.
Imaging is a more flexible efficient way to achieve the same result and it's really easy!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Mar 2011   #6
Microsoft MVP

 

If you have WD or Seagate you can use their free Acronis premium cloning/imaging app to clone over your current HD to the new one - you can even change partition sizes on the fly. Download with Manual are on the Support Downloads webpage for your HD model.

Depends on whether you want the stored image.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Mar 2011   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Windows sys img GUI implementation is only intended for restoring to the exact same location on the exact same HD.

You can fool it by putting a different HD where the original was, as mjf suggested.

Should be ok as long as it is bigger than the original.


If you want something with a user friendly GUI that allows to image any volumes you like , and restore any of them to any location you like - get a 3rd party app. as Greg suggested. All 3rd party imaging apps. will do that.

There are several to choose from - The Acronis apps. greg mantioned are free ( if you have the right drives makes) and will also make images.

Macrium free is very popular.

Paragon backup and restore free is the only one to create partitions with correct nt6 alignment.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Mar 2011   #8
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
You can fool it by putting a different HD where the original was, as mjf suggested.

Should be ok as long as it is bigger than the original.
I have personally done it it twice to 2 different new HDDs and two different images.
It has also been recommended on the MS answers forum so MS are supportive.
I don't think anything is being "fooled" MS put no roadblocks in the way. The windows reimaging does the lot automatically (MBR, system reserved if you have one, Boot/OS partition, any other windows imaged partitions if you like).

I put my factory recovery partition back with Macrium. Windows won't do hidden partitions.

Absolute piece of cake.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Mar 2011   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Yes, they don't prevent you doing it.

However, it would be more convenient to be able to point it at a different drive - instead of having to replace the original.

Perhaps they will include that in future versions.


What you can't do is restore a single volume to a different drive - at least not if you already have volumes on there you don't want deleted.

One of the serious limitations, Im afraid.

However, it does the job it was intended for. Anybody who wants more flexibility will be aware of that and use something else.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Mar 2011   #10
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

SIW2
I cannot disagree. I don't expect Windows imaging to be a one stop imaging shop - it isn't and probably shouldn't be.

But I can get a new working HDD from any of the (probably too many) images I have going back 12 months in under 30 min. Undoing a few screws takes the most effort.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Windows 7 Image to new hard drive




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