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Windows 7: Multiple Disc Images ?

25 Jun 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Multiple Disc Images ?

Can I have multiple disc images on my external HD?

When I created a second disc image there was a warning if there was not enough room on the HDD that older images would be deleted. I have over 800 GB & still have plenty of room.

The WindowsImageBackup folder is dated March 23, 2011. This is when I created my first disc image.

However when I view the files in that folder I only see the second image file.
J:\WindowsImageBackup\Myname\Backup 2011-06-04 032234

This tutorial talks about renaming the image in order to keep multiple versions on the same drive.
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

But in this tutorial they make it sound like itís no problem to select which image to restore.
System Image Recovery

Where is my first image from a couple months ago? Is it hidden somewhere or did it get deleted?

Do I have to rename images in order to have multiple copies on the drive??

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

26 Jun 2011   #2
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post
Can I have multiple disc images on my external HD?

When I created a second disc image there was a warning if there was not enough room on the HDD that older images would be deleted. I have over 800 GB & still have plenty of room.
(1)
Yes you can make multiple Windows System Images on the same external HDD and restore them. The tutorials you refer to tell you how.
Windows imaging will recognize a folder called precisely WindowsImageBackup in the root of any partition as a valid image. If it lives somewhere else or is called something else Windows just treats it as a folder with subfolders and files.
When it's moved or renamed back to WindowsImageBackup in the root of a partition Windows will recognize it as an image folder. Clearly at any point in time you can only have one with this name.

If you use "Create a System Image" Windows will overwrite any existing image folder called WindowsImageBackup in the nominated partition root. I always manually delete an unwanted image.
If you create multiple images within the backup schedule, Windows appears to use a form of differential imaging which effectively allows currently plus older images. I would not rename or move images made in this way.
I personally don't like this approach because there is too much to go wrong. I prefer single, manually created images. These can definitely be moved, renamed and this allows easy management of multiple images.

(2)
The issue concerning disk space appears to be a separate imaging issue. Can you provide more information?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

Let's suppose your external hard drive is empty. The first system image you create with the built in Windows 7 imaging tool will automatically be called WindowsImageBackup. If you want to store multiple images you can simply rename this first WindowsImageBackup to something distinctive like WIB-011511-InstalledAdobe. The second image will now be called WindowsImageBackup. On your external hard drive you will see two entries:

WIB-012511-InstalledAdobe
WindowsImageBackup

If you create a 3rd system image and leave the external hard drive exactly as above, the 3rd system image will over-write WindowsImageBackup. If you want to save the second image it too must be renamed to something like WIB-062611-InstalledJava. Then you can create the third image and your external drive would look like this:

WIB-011511-InstalledAdobe
WIB-062611-InstalledJava
WindowsImageBackup

Now let's say you want to restore your computer back to the very first system image. You would have to rename WIB-011511-InstalledAdobe back to WindowsImageBackup. Since the third image is also name WindowsImageBackup you can either rename it to something distinctive or, during the restore process you can select which one of the WindowsImageBackup files you want to use. Personally, as soon as I create a system image I immediately rename it so I can remember what prompted me to make the image in the first place. Hope this helps.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


26 Jun 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

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

The warning about older images being deleted is standard. Notice it only says might delete older images. Windows imaging will set aside 30% of your disk to hold images before it deletes any old ones. The reason you only see the newer image is that the differencing procedure uses shadow storage to hold the image set. The only way you can really see what is going on is to start the restore process and instead of selecting the latest image ask it to look for others. As mjf says not a very good system. At least with the single image renaming system described above and in the tutorial you know what you have and the 30% limit does not apply and you can manually delete older images.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

In the recovery tutorial
System Image Recovery

Step One refers to if you renamed or moved the image.

But Step Two, number 5 states “To Use the Latest System Image”. And number 6 “To Select a System Image”, which lets you choose the date & time of the image you wish to choose.

The screen shot does not show any filename, it shows the date. I’m not trying to be argumentative, but I don’t understand. That would seem to imply the system is letting me choose which image to use. Why would it let me choose if it only recognizes the one name of “WindowsImageBackup”?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

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

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.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

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"?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post
Can I have multiple disc images on my external HD?

When I created a second disc image there was a warning if there was not enough room on the HDD that older images would be deleted. I have over 800 GB & still have plenty of room.
(1)
Yes you can make multiple Windows System Images on the same external HDD and restore them. The tutorials you refer to tell you how.
Windows imaging will recognize a folder called precisely WindowsImageBackup in the root of any partition as a valid image. If it lives somewhere else or is called something else Windows just treats it as a folder with subfolders and files.
When it's moved or renamed back to WindowsImageBackup in the root of a partition Windows will recognize it as an image folder. Clearly at any point in time you can only have one with this name.

If you use "Create a System Image" Windows will overwrite any existing image folder called WindowsImageBackup in the nominated partition root. I always manually delete an unwanted image.
If you create multiple images within the backup schedule, Windows appears to use a form of differential imaging which effectively allows currently plus older images. I would not rename or move images made in this way.
I personally don't like this approach because there is too much to go wrong. I prefer single, manually created images. These can definitely be moved, renamed and this allows easy management of multiple images.

(2)
The issue concerning disk space appears to be a separate imaging issue. Can you provide more information?

(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.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Win 7 Pro 64-bit
 
 

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?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2011   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

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

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.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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