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Windows 7: Macrium Image Backup & Dual Boot Configurations.

09 May 2011   #21

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit SP1 (x2. Dual Boot)

EDIT - Frustrating, it wont seem to keep my formatted post and just appears as one hard to read block of text, even when I try to edit the post. Strange. Sorry about that. Hey, While I definitely see the appeal of the separate physical hard drive setup as the most ideal (and I thank you and Greg for the easy to follow instructions), I am personaly not that confident yet to keep opening up the case and plugging and unplugging drives during OS installs and image restores. I have sight problems so I usually require help with fitting computer hardware. This solution while simple in terms of independant OS may be complex for me with removing / re-enabling physical drives. It certanly is something i'm willing to try in the near future with a friends help (maybe when doing fresh reinstalls of both OS) but it may not be needed at this moment in time. I am glad I now know I can do this. I may not have explained clearly or I am misunderstanding - The way I have it now is that I am dual booting two Windows 7 64-bit OS and one of these operating systems I use for audio work is already perfectly set up, ready for backup. Restoring to this image point at any time would be very beneficial to me. The other OS, that I use for general use is not, and I would like to reinstall this again, so that I can then back it up with Macrium, after Windows updates and drivers but while it is still in that fresh clean state i.e not been used. This would then be an ideal image restore point if anything ever went wrong. I would be covered for both operating systems then and good to go. The reason for my original query is that I am unsure about this area, and wether removing / reinstalling the one Win7 OS would stop the other "Audio" OS from working or booting at all, rendering it useless and requring complete reinstall too? Your second point about backing up after the first / standard WIn 7 OS and system reserved partition but before installing the second seems a good idea but is something I can only really do in the future because I do not wish to lose the first installed OS (of two), which is at this moment optimised. I really wish I had looked into this before setting up my dual boot again recently! You mention it would depend on the bootmgr config. I am unsure how to verify this but the OS I want left on was installed first (Audio OS), the General OS was installed second (to a separate physical drive) and this automatically created the small 100mb system reserved partition on another third seperate drive. Btw, I do not intend to install / dual boot with Linux OS. I mentioned Linux when refering to the created rescue disc from the free Macrium Reflect version. Thanks.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2011   #22
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

1. Your 100MB partition ended up on drive0 because the installer always grabs the first physical drive it can find. But that in itself is not bad or detrimental for your installation.

2. As long as the 100MB partition functions for the bootmgr, you can image and restore the OS partitions without touching the 100MB partition. Just make sure that you DO NOT declare the OS partitions as Active - your 100MB partition is the Active partition for both systems.

3. I am not 100% sure what will happens to the bootmgr in the 100MB partition when you uninstall one of the systems. If push comes to shove, you may have to repair it. But Greg or SIW know more about that case and maybe they can give you further details.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2011   #23

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit SP1 x64

I know XP quite well, and have only recently started using W7.
I use the WinPE version of Macrium which has a price,
but believe the Free version with a Linux rescue disc would allow the following :-

Immediately install Macrium in your perfect Audio O.S. and make a Rescue Boot CD,
and also create images of this Audio O.S. and the bootmgr,
and also images of any other partitions you consider worth preserving.
Consider whether you want to preserve your existing General O.S.

I could be wrong but I would expect that a fresh install of Windows for the "General" O.S. would proceed well, and then you could install Macrium there as well if you wish.

Your Linux Boot Recovery CD will restore any image to any partition.

If you can boot into either Windows then Macrium within will restore to any of the other partitions without needing Boot CD, but for Macrium to restore the Windows it is running under may require the Boot CD or the non-free WinPE.

If "System Reserved" dies you may have no O.S. so the Linux Boot is your only option.


I use an eSATA connected external 1 TB HDD for long term storage that survives should all of my Internal drives die in a single disaster.
For convenience I create on my secondary Disc images of my Primary Disc partitions,
and periodically before a significant change I connect the eSATA HDD and use TeraCopy to copy and checksum validate the latest image.

If Disc 0 fails there is no O.S. and the Boot CD will not be able to use images on T:\, so the "System Reserved" image is useless unless it is on either Disc 1 or Disc 2 or External.

If Disc 0 is good you should have at least one bootable O.S.

Image files for Disc 1 partitions could be held on either Disc 0 or Disc 2 or External.
Image files for Disc 2 partitions could be held on either Disc 0 or Disc 1 or External.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

09 May 2011   #24


If you would like to keep both OS's booted via the System Reserved partition on DISK0 then simply boot the Win7 DVD to reinstall Win7 to it's target partition: Clean Install Windows 7

The installer should autoconfigure the Dual Boot menu updating the boot files on the System Reserved partition as long as no other partitions are marked Active. If not, install EasyBCD 2.02 to the reinstalled Win7 to add the other one on the Add OS tab. EasyBCD 2.0.2 - NeoSmart Technologies

Remember that you cannot remove DISK0 and still be able to boot the other two HD's Win7 without marking each Win7 Active to run Startup Repair 3 times to write the boot files to each one with the other unplugged. If you dont' want to unplug the HD's you can disable each in BIOS setup while repairing the other. This would make the HD's independently booted via the BIOS.

To maintain a Windows-managed Dual Boot without the SysReserved partition on separate HD, you would force-delete SysReserved, set Disk1 first HD to boot in BIOS, mark Win7 active to run the Repairs, then when it starts up add DISK2 Win7 using EasyBCD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2011   #25

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit SP1 (x2. Dual Boot)

Wow, thanks for the replies everyone. That all makes total sense. Good to know I could clean install Win 7 to target partition (replace existing General OS) and it would update the system reserved partition on Disk 0. I have used EasyBCD before so that's good to know.

I understand the importance of Disk 0's system reserve partition being vital to all the operating system's boot processes so I was going to back that up too. Everything, including the system reserved would be backed to multiple external drives as I am most paranoid about internal drive failures, especially disk 0 (hence trying to get to grips with image backups before it happens).

I think I now understand what you meant Greg about this config being a mess. Everything rests on Disk 0 in effect. That goes under and the dual boot is gone and requires each one to be repaired.

You could configure it correctly now by unplugging DISK0 temporarily along with one of the OS HD's, set the remaining OS HD first to boot in BIOS (after DVD drive), mark Windows 7 partition Active then runn the Startup Repairs. Partition - Mark as Active
Startup Repair - Run 3 Separate Times

Once Windows 7 starts on it's own, power down to unplug it, plug in the other OS HD and repeat the process.
With regards to this independant method again, are you saying I could do all those steps to fix my existing setup now but simply by disabling the drives in Bios, never having to unplug the physical drives inside the case?

Although I keep debating between Windows managed or Bios managed dual boot, this independant way seems so much more ideal for backing up and restoring.

I hope not to overreach here, and I think i've now got most things covered but I have never in my time of using computers, had the need to go into the BIOS menu. What I thought was BIOS menu was not. It was where I could boot into OS safemode, etc. My PC seems so quick on start that I do not get chance to see what key to press to get into BIOS (needed to disable physical drives). Is there a standardised F key? It's an ASUS P7P55D motherboard.

That might just be the silliest question asked on these forums but i'm very new to this area.

Thanks everyone for their contributions.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2011   #26


Yes, if there is an option to disable the HD in BIOS then you can do that in place of physically unplugging.

Not understanding BIOS Boot Menu function is quite common. THe key used on most Asus' is F8. Try tapping the key now immediately as it displays the Asus splash screen - if you wait too long it will enter the HD's Advanced Boot Options

As an experiment, try choosing either of your Win7 HD's from the BIOS Boot Menu to see if they will boot as they may already have their boot files onboard.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2011   #27

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

I don't think so -they are not active.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 May 2011   #28

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit SP1 (x2. Dual Boot)

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gregrocker View Post
Yes, if there is an option to disable the HD in BIOS then you can do that in place of physically unplugging.

Not understanding BIOS Boot Menu function is quite common. THe key used on most Asus' is F8. Try tapping the key now immediately as it displays the Asus splash screen - if you wait too long it will enter the HD's Advanced Boot Options

As an experiment, try choosing either of your Win7 HD's from the BIOS Boot Menu to see if they will boot as they may already have their boot files onboard.
I looked into the BIOS again today. F8 does indeed bring up the BIOS one time boot prompt while the delete key brings up the main BIOS settings. Unfortunatly I can only re-order the boot priority but not disable a hard drive, unless I am missing something? I read the whole manual for the ASUS P7P55D but it did not mention anything about disabling hard drives, only reordering the boot.

So this means that I would most likely have to physically unplug the drives. My question is, would that be a one-time thing I would need to do? - Unplug drives, mark as active, system repair x3 so that once they are up and running independantly, I can then back up and restore each independant OS with Macrium (just the same way as a single boot system) OR would I need to do this plugging / unplugging drives every single time I restored an OS image in order for it to work?

I think this may be the deciding factor for me as to wether BIOS boot is more or less convenient than a Windows managed dual boot.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 May 2011   #29


You're only unplugging the System Reserved HD to keep it from interfering while you mark Active and run Startup Repair to write the System Boot Files to Win7, then once Win7 boots you're unplugging it to keep it from interfering while doing the same for the other Win7 HD.

Once the HD's are booting independently via the BIOS, there is no reason to unplug them again until you want to move or remove them. They now boot completely independently via the BIOS Boot Order and one-time BIOS Boot Menu key.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 May 2011   #30

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit SP1 (x2. Dual Boot)

I fully understand it now. Dual boot back ups are no longer a daunting prospect like I first thought. Thank you everyone for your help, and especially to Greg & whs for providing extra details and dealing with my endless questions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Macrium Image Backup & Dual Boot Configurations.

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