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Windows 7: Personalized Image-Backup Strategy Advice please?

07 Jul 2011   #1

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1
Personalized Image-Backup Strategy Advice please?

Over the past couple days and even some over the past couple weeks, I still haven't found any posts here specific enough to my needs, and questions.

My drive setup right now:
1. For my rig, I have the OS installed on a 118GB SSD.
2. I followed Kari's tutorial here and have successfully had my User Profile running off of my 2nd drive, a 2TB HDD. For the time being, this usually contains between 350-400GB of data files. (I deal with a lot of video.)
3. I also own a 1TB external, partitioned into 3 parts. This is portable & updated manually since I may be changing these files while at school, then bringing it back home & updating my rig's same files with the new changes.1 NTFS for work files (school, commissions)
1 NTFS for personal pleasures (music, movies)
& 1 smaller 100GB FAT32 portion to bypass large file transfer limits when dealing with a Mac at school.
4. 500GB Maxtor One Touch. I grew frustrated with the program associated with it, reformatted it to completely empty, and now just keep it as a clean solid backup of everything. I'm considering reinstating it...

I'm looking into using just Windows or Maxtor, Acronis, Macrium-- but I'm not sure which will really give me what I'm concerned about. I'm all good with backing up the data files.

My problem: Windows image backup says that it must include any partition that has the OS installed on it, and that includes D:\ with my User Profile on it. However, the OS + 350GB of data is a lot to compress into an image. I understand it needs the User Profile to access the OS at all, but I don't need those data files included in the image. Not to mention, the larger it is the more something is likely to go wrong, or get corrupted, and then the whole thing is shot. How can I make a system image that excludes my data? I wouldn't mind moving them back over via firewire/esata. Also, just to make sure I understand, could I save that image on my Maxtor via firewire?

Any advice greatly appreciated, thanks!

[What's doubly annoying is that I used Acronis Disk Director to try to cut out of the 2TB a 50GB partition- not big enough. 100GB- still not big enough. 1TB- still not big enough, though I suspect Windows was trying to keep within a 30% of the partition rule. Finally, 1.5TB- ended up wiping itself out and I couldn't logon as there was now NOTHING on the entire HDD. --.-- I don't even know how it did that. Reinstalled, whatever.]

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jul 2011   #2

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

Maybe just changing the Default Location of Windows 7 User Folders would simplify things. Use your current data (non image) backup strategy for these folders.
I don't know how Windows imaging treats this situation but I would guess Macrium would be fine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jul 2011   #3

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1

I don't use any of the "precustomized" User Folders, though. I don't know how I'd do that in the first place. I tried that a couple months ago but got so fed up that it only worked for some of my folders, that happened to have the same name and thus it assimilated them, and even then it didn't always redirect to the correct spot. I kept losing track of files cuz sometimesthey'd end up really being saved to C:\, when I thought they were on D:\, but then found that they actually weren't. Also WMP told me there was no music files anywhere in my computer. (I don't know how it missed 38GB.) Also wreaked havoc on my Downloads folder. I was so glad when I found how to just move the entire User Profile, and it's been so smooth. I guess, maybe for every folder & any hereafter I'd have to make it actually just a shortcut? (Like how My Documents is relocated in XP...) And wouldn't it still want to follow those links and include them-- maybe? I don't know...
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Jul 2011   #4

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

I'm a bit confused but hopefully someone will give further suggestions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jul 2011   #5

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit


Please post a copy of the output of disk manager using following procedure:


Run disk management:
WIN is the key with the wavy flag.

Maximize the output of Disk Management:
ALT-Spacebar key combo (this pops up a menu) |
X key (selects Maximize) |
Drag the field separators (such as between Status and Capacity) to show entire field. This is very important, otherwise, needed info is not visible.

Make a snapshot:
Click the New button.
Drag the cursor around the area you want to snip.
File | Save as | select save location and name | Save button

Post the snapshot:
· Click on the paperclip icon in that row of icons at the top of the message box.
· Click on a BROWSE button. There are 5 of them.
· Navigate to the folder containing the snapshot.
· Click on the snapshot.
· Click on the OPEN button.
· Click on the UPLOAD button adjacent to the 5th BROWSE button.
· Close the MANAGE ATTACHMENTS window.
· Position the cursor at the spot in the message where you want the
snapshot to appear.
· Click on the PaperClip again.
· Click on the file which you want to insert
· Attach code will be inserted into your message.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jul 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I would suggest leaving your profile on the C drive, and then simply creating a VIDEO folder on the D drive and storing your video there.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jul 2011   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

The way I set mine up (for better or worse) is like this:

SSD #1 = Windows 7, and all applications
HD #1 = Steam & all other Games
HD #2 = Partition 1 = Documents/Downloads
Partition 2=Media (Music/Videos/Pictures)
SSD#2 = High Disk use Games

HD#3 BackUp

I just moved the location of the actual User folders.
You could also, as pparks suggested, just make your own folders elsewhere, and simply add that location to your librarys list.

I use Acronis, and have it setup on a schedule.
The My Documents Folder is backed up daily, as a differential Backup.
My OS Drive gets Backed up every 2 days
Media I just BackUp manually since mine does not change that often.

This setup works quite well for me.
Documents I have backed up often, simply due to save Games and other items that change frequently.
I also choose differential just in case I want to recover or rollback a specific file from a specific day.

Also, having Documents, Music, Videos, Pictures, and Games away from the OS ..
A complete disc system restore on the OS drive only takes about 6minutes.

Acronis has a lot of options & extra features and excellent Scheduling in whatever increments you want etc.
It of course is not free, and may not be the best choice for everyone ... but IMHO, its well worth it.

Acronis does not care about the other partions connected to the OS.

And by that I mean, with this setup I found Windows Imaging tool wanted to back up my games drive as well, resulting in quite large Images.
I found this annoying, as most of my games have been backed up to disc, and therefore not needed.

Im fairly certain Macrium will treat the system Image or partiion Image in the same way Acronis does.
So it too would be a good alternative to the built in tool, and its free.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jul 2011   #8

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Miranova23 View Post
I don't use any of the "precustomized" User Folders, though.
Maybe I should have elaborated that it was this statement that stumped me and still does. It seems to defeat the advice some of the other members have offered.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jul 2011   #9

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1

When I first tried just moving the User Folders, the original folders (set up back in XP) of "My Music, My Pictures, My Videos, & Downloads" became the User Folders. The icons changed and there were no duplicates. However, they were showing many discrepancies and just making life horribly confusing. My other folders are organized for my actual everyday use: AIPH (school), Notes, Commissions (contains Docs, Vids, & Pics), My Audio, My Books, Apps (installers)... WMP imported all of My Music, but couldn't play a single file. Despite my best efforts, I lost any control over Downloads. There may be remedies to those issues, but the 2 top things making me pull my hair out was that depending on where I looked, the 2 folders changing the most, Downloads & My Video, were different. The worst is, isn't this still more clicks to get to the folders? I did this to avoid such hassles...

I found that moving the entire User Profile (at installation), and changing the names to Muzik, Pix, Vids, and DownLow, left me with duplicates initially, but was ultimately easier. I redirected WMP to Muzik, and everything imported and played perfectly fine. I even got it to recognize my old playlists. Nothing unseen has gotten into my DownLow folder. I know that the folders I put things into are the "real" folders. I don't have a before pic, but here's what I have now:

Personalized Image-Backup Strategy Advice please?-folder-setup.jpg
(This is before running the reg files to take ownership to permanently delete the duplicates, or any navigation pane edits. I know at one point I'd found something to create a User Profile link, much like how My Documents was always listed above Computer.)

Disk Management:
Guess I should've included this right off the bat, sorry. ^.^>
Personalized Image-Backup Strategy Advice please?-disk-management.jpg

I just don't know what to do... =/

My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Jul 2011   #10

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit


Refresh me here. Just exactly what do you want?

And thanks for the snapshot even if you didn't drag the dividers so that we could see all of the textual description in the top pane.

Right now you are possibly your own worst enemy. Using the registry to "take possession" can have deleterious side effects.

Let us know what you want to do. Forget all of the history. We will be able to help you and you will receive many different approaches to solving your problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Personalized Image-Backup Strategy Advice please?

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