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Windows 7: I got a question (about backup, of course)

30 Mar 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 
I got a question (about backup, of course)

First off, I am a new owner (3 days ago) of a Windows 7-64bit PC, and of course I got some questions.

I Googled and browsed alot of responses from this forum about the "create a system image" topic, and I (Mr. Nontechsavvy) am still confused if what I have done will work or not, in case of system failure. So, to make it easier, I'll just tell you my setup and you can answer yes or no.

I have a 1TB drive in my PC. I also have a 500GB external drive. I have already made the repair disc in Windows Backup and Restore. Then I created a system image of my 1TB internal drive, which was only about 64GB file placed onto my empty 500GB external. When I go to restore this image, will it work? In dummy language, why or why not? (I like to learn by examples too )


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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30 Mar 2011   #2

Several, including Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
 
 

If you used windows backup to put the image on the drive, then yes, it should work.

However, I am not too happy with Windows backups, and I use this for backing up;

Free Download EASEUS Todo Backup Freeware and Trial version. Complete Backup and Restore Software for Windows & Linux.

Free, easy to use, fast, versatile ( it can make incremental file backups, run a schedule etc.), and very reliable.

Regards....Mike Connor
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Mar 2011   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

The only reason why I am asking is because I keep hearing alot of people saying when they restore it the computer won't recognize the drive. Something about the drives need to be the same size or larger, but I am confused on which drives need to be larger.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Mar 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lmw2184 View Post
The only reason why I am asking is because I keep hearing alot of people saying when they restore it the computer won't recognize the drive. Something about the drives need to be the same size or larger, but I am confused on which drives need to be larger.
They mean that the "destination drive" has to be the same size or larger than the "source drive".

In your case, the destination drive for a restore would be the 1 TB and the source drive would be 64 GB in size, so you would be OK on that requirement.

Will it work? Probably. But you should be prepared for it to fail completely and know what you will do in that case. And you shouldn't rely on imaging as the only backup for you personal files (pictures, mp3s, Word documents, email, etc).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2011   #5
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lmw2184 View Post
When I go to restore this image, will it work? In dummy language, why or why not? (I like to learn by examples too )
What you have described sounds totally in order.

"will it work" - a good chance but no 100% guarantee
"why not" - many reasons but you have followed the correct procedure.

I use Windows imaging much in the way you describe and have restored well over 10 images without a problem. I haven't had a problem yet. Others have had problems so I also keep some images using
Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download
The free version of this program (& the paid) is highly regarded by many members.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2011   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lmw2184 View Post
The only reason why I am asking is because I keep hearing alot of people saying when they restore it the computer won't recognize the drive. Something about the drives need to be the same size or larger, but I am confused on which drives need to be larger.
They mean that the "destination drive" has to be the same size or larger than the "source drive".

In your case, the destination drive for a restore would be the 1 TB and the source drive would be 64 GB in size, so you would be OK on that requirement.

Will it work? Probably. But you should be prepared for it to fail completely and know what you will do in that case. And you shouldn't rely on imaging as the only backup for you personal files (pictures, mp3s, Word documents, email, etc).
I thought people were saying because (in my instance) my external is 500GB and my internal is 1TB when I go to restore the image from the 500GB it thinks my internal is 500GB and partitions it to that but doesnt recognize the entire 1TB drive.

If I shouldn't rely on imaging only what else do you suggest?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2011   #7

Several, including Windows 7 x64 Ultimate
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lmw2184 View Post

If I shouldn't rely on imaging only what else do you suggest?
You should image your system drive, and use a file backup for your data.

Regards....Mike Connor
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2011   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lmw2184 View Post

I thought people were saying because (in my instance) my external is 500GB and my internal is 1TB when I go to restore the image from the 500GB it thinks my internal is 500GB and partitions it to that but doesnt recognize the entire 1TB drive.

If I shouldn't rely on imaging only what else do you suggest?
No.

The comparison is the size of your imaged partition (64 gb) to the size of the partition to which it will be restored (1 TB). The first has to be smaller than the second. The actual full size of the partition on which the image file resides (500 gb in your case) means nothing. There are usually some controls in the imaging application that may let you control the size of the partition to which you restore--that is maybe it will let you make a 200 gb partition on the destination drive or maybe it will let you only accept the full size (1 TB) as a partition. In either case, both are larger than 64 gb, so no problems.

Re your personal data: if it is on the C drive, it will be part of any image of C. However, for all you know your image attempt will go in the toilet when you attempt to restore it---in which case, you have no valid backup.

For that reason, use "file by file" backup for personal data. There are many programs out there to do that, such as Second Copy, Synctoy, Karen's Replicator, etc. Some free, some not. The advantage of them is that your backup is NOT complicated by imaging and is therefore much less likely to fail when you most desperately need it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2011   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

As long as you back and restore to the same hard drive, the sizes will be the same. The built-in tool however can not image a 500GB drive and then later lay it back down on a new 80GB SSD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2011   #10
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Clearly you can restore to your existing HDD. You can also restore to a new (out of the box) HDD provided it is at least as big as the original drive that was imaged. I've done this twice with plain old inbuilt Windows imaging.

A simple way to look at it is that an image is typically a snapshot of the information on the disk partitions you image along with a template of the partitioning structure of the whole disk you made the image from.
For many (re)imaging applications you need to be able to fit not just the information but the template as well. If the disk is big enough to fit the template you're fine. Windows imaging falls into this category.

Just taking this simple model a couple of steps further for Windows imaging:

If your original partition template is the same then you should be able to reimage without reformating and losing data on other partitions - the templates match. In this case you do not need to tick the format drive option during the reimaging process. If you do tick it you will lose the data on non the imaged partitions of that disk.

If you've changed your partitions in any way the templates don't match and windows will reimage but with a reformat and repartition. The format box will be ticked and grayed out. You will then lose data on the other non imaged partitions. The format box will be ticked and grayed out when reimaging to a new disk since it doesn't have an existing or appropriate format/partition template for the image to be placed into.

If you are reimaging, say C: (including system reserved), from another partition on the same drive, say D:, and the format/partition template is the same then the format box will be unticked and grayed out. You are allowed to reimage but clearly you can't format the disk the image is on.

Macrium Reflect free is a little more flexible but not much. There are often work arounds to these problems.

Some paid applications make it easier to reimage into smaller partitions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 I got a question (about backup, of course)




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