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Windows 7: Multiple Disc Images ?

26 Jun 2011   #11
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Firstly you need to be aware that these are fairly large tutorials that have grown over time. They were not produced in one sitting and therefore some confusion may have crept in. (I hope I'm not taking a liberty with the comment Brink).

Here is some more detail:
I tried to explain in an earlier post that you can effectively adopt one of 2 approaches to making multiple images. Using Windows imaging alone will rely on a differencing VHD approach that uses Shadow storage. I believe this to be too risky and don't use it.
Here is a further explanation of the approach.

A second approach is to make single images and manage them by deleting, renaming or moving. I always use this approach. I store and have restored many full system images and never once had a problem.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Jun 2011   #12

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Thanks for the link mjf. Much clearer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #13

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1
 
 

Welcome Mike99 to the windows 7 forums.

Not to sound like a broken record, BUT, for a better solution, I use Acronis home 2010 which allows me to create images as I wish and give them a unique name. I normally create an image each week on an external usb hard disk in a sub directory on the external hard disk. I have 4 or 5 of them and image each of my systems each week. Finding and keeping track of which is which is easy as Acronis allows you to name the image. I normally name it machine, date and time so that I can restore the correct one.

I buy my copies thru the User Group store (which I have no financial interests) for around $25.
they are located at ugr.com

I have had acronis saved my bananas many times after installing some program to test... It is a real warm fuzzy
which sometimes makes me over confident knowing that I can recover easily.

Rich
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Jun 2011   #14

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by marsmimar View Post
Quote:
(1) The Microsoft tutorial that I saw on their website never mentioned or cautioned that old images would get deleted.

(2) When I went to create an image a message came up stating if there was not enough room on the hard drive that older images would be deleted. I believe it was only a single sentence. But that would/should mean if there is enough room then the old images would not get deleted. So I proceeded. And consequently lost my original image.
(1) You might find these tutorials a bit more "user friendly".

How to Create a System Image in Windows 7 - How-To Geek

How To Restore Windows 7 from a System Image - How-To Geek

(2) If the old image was still named WindowsImageBackup then it would have been over-written by the new system image. Did you rename it before creating the new image as I suggested in my previous post?
(1) The Create tutorial does not mention anything about multiple images.

(2) The Restore tutorial shows the ability to select an image.

Consequently I did not rename my original image. I figured a new file would get a new name, or a date as shown in the tutorials. Again, the only warning I got was older images would be deleted if there was not enough room on the HDD. After I could not find the original image is when I started to investigate where it went. I may not ever have used that original, but it would have been nice to have.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #15

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Yes it is confusing. That is the step you go through to get at the other hidden images on a standard backup. It can also be used to locate an image on another drive. It will only find images named WindowsImageBackup in the root folder. If you follow the renaming procedure it will not find the renamed images. For it to find these you must rename them back to the original before starting the restore.
What do you mean by "other hidden images on a standard backup"?
You cannot see the previous images by looking in the file system. They are held in shadow storage (where restore points are held). I don't know the details as to how this is done but the file system only shows the vhd files for the latest image, the previous images are reconstructed from this and data held in shadow storage.
I guess I'm still confused about "other hidden images". How can there be other images if the system recognizes only the name "WindowsImageBackup", and there can be only one file with that name because earlier ones get deleted?

I was reading through other threads & it looks like I can do weekly or monthly images along with the scheduled backups. I'm left with the impression that the system will save multiple copies of these images. Am I understanding that correctly? Do these scheduled images get different names that are somehow recognized by the system? Is this what you are referring to?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #16

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Quote:
(1) The Create tutorial does not mention anything about multiple images.

(2) The Restore tutorial shows the ability to select an image.

Consequently I did not rename my original image. I figured a new file would get a new name, or a date as shown in the tutorials. Again, the only warning I got was older images would be deleted if there was not enough room on the HDD. After I could not find the original image is when I started to investigate where it went. I may not ever have used that original, but it would have been nice to have.
Hello again, Mike. I realize that sometimes figuring out how Windows 7 works is a mystery. Having a recent system image is usually more valuable than having one that is several weeks or months old. To that end, I'd respectfully suggest you make a new system image as soon as possible and store it on your external hard drive. At this point, don't concern yourself with following any tutorial. Just do the following: If your external drive already has a file called WindowsImageBackup, please rename it to something else. Then create a new system image by clicking on the "Create a system image" link.

Multiple Disc Images ?-createimage.jpg

Follow the prompts (including the one to create a System Repair Disc if you haven't already done so.) When the new system image has finished you'll get a screen that says "The backup has completed successfully". At this point check your external hard drive. It should have your renamed system image and a brand new one called WindowsImageBackup. If it does, you're finished, unless you want to also rename the latest image. I further recommend creating a new system image at least once a week or once every couple of weeks, depending on how many changes are made to your computer. If you need to restore your computer it'll never be more than a week or two outdated. Just make sure that whatever system image you choose to use is renamed back to WindowsImageBackup.

I'd also suggest not relying on a scheduled task to create your system images. It would be a shame if you had a system image scheduled to be made at 3pm (just as an example) but your machine wasn't turned on or you were in the middle of some major project like a term paper and the system image wasn't made. Like Murphy's Law says, "If something can go wrong it will happen at the most inconvenient time."


My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #17

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
Firstly you need to be aware that these are fairly large tutorials that have grown over time. They were not produced in one sitting and therefore some confusion may have crept in. (I hope I'm not taking a liberty with the comment Brink).

Here is some more detail:
I tried to explain in an earlier post that you can effectively adopt one of 2 approaches to making multiple images. Using Windows imaging alone will rely on a differencing VHD approach that uses Shadow storage. I believe this to be too risky and don't use it.
Here is a further explanation of the approach.

A second approach is to make single images and manage them by deleting, renaming or moving. I always use this approach. I store and have restored many full system images and never once had a problem.
In the tutorial section titled “What is a system image and how does it work?” The second paragraph states “The next time a system image is created, only new and changed data is written to the .vhd file,…”

Is this an incremental image backup, vs. an incremental data backup?

If I did the single image renaming method & my HDD crashed, & I had to boot from the recovery disc in order to re-image, how would I be able to change the name of the image back to "WindowsImageBackup" in order to restore it?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #18

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

You can run a command prompt from the recovery disk and rename it from there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #19

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I renamed my previous image. When I went to create a new image the system searched & came back & said my last image was 6-3-2011, which is correct. But since it was renamed, how did the system find & recognize it?

Is this normal behavior? My concern is that since this image was found that it will get deleted when I create a new one.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #20
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

The tutorial points you to:
System Image Recovery
for moving images
and describes the renaming process using the command prompt.

As I have said I would not mix the two multiple imaging strategies described in my earlier post. Exactly what MS do in terms of image differencing I don't know. I think the following gives some insight
VHD (file format) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
and
"What are the Different VHD File Types"
These have the concepts of Parent and Child images and renaming/moving can obviously get you into trouble.

When you make single VHDs delete, rename or move them I believe you are working with what MS refers to as "Fixed VHDs". From practice I find this robust.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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