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Windows 7: Need Explanation, Acronis.Reflect,EaseUS.Paragon Nothing works!


04 Aug 2011   #1

Windows 7 64bit Home Premium Enhanced
 
 
Need Explanation, Acronis.Reflect,EaseUS.Paragon Nothing works!



I'm a long time fan of Norton Ghost having used it to make image copies of my whole drive ( no matter how many partitions it has) so I can simply reinstall windows with all my apps and updated drivers intact.

Norton Ghost didn't support win 7 in 2009 so I either used Acronis True Image or the free version of Macrium Reflect. Macrium Reflect became my best go to app of choice because of it's speed and compression, Acronis was overkill having backup options I never used.

A year ago I got a new laptop and of course made an image with Macrium Reflect after I customized it. This worked flawlessly, always like it had on my desktop win 7 pc. Recently, I got hit with a nasty virus that didn't cause much harm, just hijacked my browser, nothing I did could remove it, spybot or malwarebytes or anything else, so it was time to rebuild a new OS. I used the factory install disks that came with my laptop, a Compaq Presario CQ61 411WM model with windows 7 64 bit. I removed some HP bloatware, updated the drivers, windows updates and installed a few critical apps like browsers movie players, iso burning software and some tweak utilities.

The tweak utilities I used are S.M.A.R.T v2 based on Black Vipers services configurations. I used the medium settings tweak. Info here:http://www.thewindowsclub.com/smart-...ta-xp-services.

I also use MZ7 Optimizer and tell it to auto optimize then re-check the settings for any recommended tweaks I want to undo. . Info here:Mz Ultimate Tools

Both of these programs make backup copies of your registry or set restore points before making changes so you can roll back if needed. Together they make my system lightening fast and I have never had any problems after they were applied. I use them because i'm a big believer of only letting windows run those processes and services I deem necessary to run when I want them to run, and not letting windows make choices for me. Nothing is different from my system setup in the past except for windows 7 service pack 1 being installed but that should not have caused anything to break that i know of.

Now here is where we get down to the problems. Marcium Reflect Free Edition latest version would work but during backup it would not write to disk number 2 even though the drive light blinked and the progress indicator looked like it was writing to the disk. Numbers 1 and 3 dvd's did have data on them. ( my image backups always take 3 dvd's) I tried again. This time disk 1 did not have data written to it even though the progress indicator said it was working and the drive light blinked, Disks 2 and 3 were written to fine.

Next I tried Acronis true Image Home 2011 and it got through all 3 dvd's but with errors on them. Could not find info about the error with a google search.

I then tried EaseUS ToDo Backup, and it did not even finish getting through all 3 disks without giving me errors.

Last I tried Paragon Backup and Restore 2011 advanced edition, and it made all 3 disks and said there were no errors BUT, I get errors when trying to restore by testing on a virtual machine or another 80 gig hard drive that has been wiped clean.

Altogether between image backups and restore dvds I have wasted 19 dvd now. This is driving me crazy. I have also tried rolling back the changes made by my two tweak utilities and this does not help.

After some searching I learned Win 7 had a built in Imaging and restore feature. I had been using win 7 for two years never knowing it. I tried it.

I actually made & backed up the image to 3 DVD's and bit the bullet - used the system restore disk to restore the image to recreate Windows and it worked with no errors or any problems. I knew if there were gonna be problems i'd lose my windows installation altogether but I took the chance and am very happy now I know I have a good working image to restore from. The whole backup and restore process took a little over an hour!

Most of the apps listed above that failed for me use the VSS shadow copy technology that Win 7 uses to make the images so I realize now those programs are little more than front ends for the tools already in windows 7.

So why did win 7 built in tool do the job flawlessly and all those others failed if they are using the same technology?

It is quite likely that the extra other features of those programs were interfering with the windows processes that created the images and caused it to fail. Since they are using the windows built in process anyway, they themselves broke the windows functionality by mixing in extra features. Just an opinion but I think it's possible.
This is just a guess on my part.



Anyway, that's what I want you guys to tell me. What are the reasons why none of the other apps worked while windows 7 built in app worked?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Aug 2011   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

I stopped reading when you mentioned Black Viper and MZ7 Optimizer. Both should be avoided, as both are a cross between snake oil, or at worse, recommendations for an unstable system. Black Viper has been known as QuackViper on enthusiast forums for his misleading, wasteful, or just plain dangerous advice. On some forum boards, it is bad enough that posters can be warned and banned for the mere mention on his name.

As for the optimizer program, there is no such thing for Windows 7. The best tweak is to leave it alone. Those utilities can mess with system and registry settings, without any easy way of an undo or rollback.

This is just a suggestion, but if it was me, I'd back up my data, wipe the drive clean, and do a clean install, following good computing practices. Then I'd create my new, prisitine system image and be done with it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Aug 2011   #3

Windows 7 64bit Home Premium Enhanced
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DeaconFrost View Post
I stopped reading when you mentioned Black Viper and MZ7 Optimizer. Both should be avoided, as both are a cross between snake oil, or at worse, recommendations for an unstable system. Black Viper has been known as QuackViper on enthusiast forums for his misleading, wasteful, or just plain dangerous advice. On some forum boards, it is bad enough that posters can be warned and banned for the mere mention on his name.

As for the optimizer program, there is no such thing for Windows 7. The best tweak is to leave it alone. Those utilities can mess with system and registry settings, without any easy way of an undo or rollback.

This is just a suggestion, but if it was me, I'd back up my data, wipe the drive clean, and do a clean install, following good computing practices. Then I'd create my new, prisitine system image and be done with it.
Thank you for the answer. This is the first time I have heard anything bad about Black Viper's tweaks. His ideas only suggest turning off services you may not need to free up some system resources. If I disable one, then get an error in windows saying this program won't run because it needs this service, then I know I need to re-enable that service.

You say there is no optimizer for windows 7. How long have you been using a pc and do you really know what the heck your talking about? I ask because such a blatant statement as this flies in the face of experience. In other words, your gonna have to Prove it to me. You are also making the claim hence that if there is no way to further optimize windows 7, than as is, windows 7 must be, Perfect. I don't think Microsoft would even make that claim. I know from disabling services in the past, editing registry entries and the like, can speed up your computer and free up resources that is not needed. Anything running in Ram or has the option to auto start up in Ram that you don't need or want is a very BAD THING. This site in fact is loaded with proven win 7 optimizations.

Here's a case: I edited my registry files and options in msconfig to cause my sata hard drive/windows 7 to reboot in 36 seconds on the average. To me this is optimization.

You wouldn't even recommend using SysInternals autosruns or a Tweak UI?

Black Viper encourages people to study the processes and services to know if they are needed or not. You Must understand what the changes do and why before you make each change he says. This is solid advice and to me, your blasting of him seems little more than Flaming and Spam.

I'm sure if you really do have good solid reason for making these claims you will tell them to me, and I would appreciate you for it, but I want to know why in detail Black Vipers advice is as bad as you say or why you feel there is no optimization for windows 7. again, your going to have to prove these things to me so I will understand, why your advice is the correct advice. In detail.

You could for instance list each of Black Vipers recommendations to disable in each of his 3 categories and tell me if I shut this off, it will cause X, X and X not to work down the line. (of course Black Viper does give such info, the challenge is on you to show where his info is in error. If I understand his info, and Know the risks, and I make a bad choice, the fault is on ME not Black Viper.. thus to blame Black Viper, you need to show his info is wrong) This would be a LOT of info you would have to impart for each category, and frankly, I doubt most advanced windows 7 users or mods, admins, or frequent "experts" on this forum will know the differences. Not saying you do not, but this would be the best way for you to prove your claims. please give me this type of info if you really do know it, I will give you a few days to gather it and make your post, no rush, I am sure everyone here would benefit greatly from your info.

Or you could go through Black Vipers info and find all the things it suggests to disable and how that could have caused my problem. That would be an easy way out for you, but still I fear too hard for even most experts even those who are MISE certified.

And besides.. Your prejudice caused you to stop reading too soon. I said that I also reverted those black viper and mz 7 changes to windows default so it was as if never used those programs, so your answer cannot apply to my situation. Just ignore that then and say, it was a clean default windows install and try again to answer my concerns in that light.

Quote:
Altogether between image backups and restore dvds I have wasted 19 dvd now. This is driving me crazy. I have also tried rolling back the changes made by my two tweak utilities and this does not help.
DeaconFrost, I am not trying to be argumentative or have anything against you or your advise, please understand I am simply asking for more detailed information.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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09 Aug 2011   #4

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Calm down, I'm sure DeaconFront is not picking on you. He probably stopped reading because your post reads like an essay!

I have no idea why Windows 'Backup & Restore' works but other tools don't, but I can tell you how I do imaging.

1. I always do imaging from a boot disc or usb drive, so that there is no question Windows will interfere with the process.
2. Divide your hd into at least 2 partitions. My boot partition is 60GB, make it bigger if you play games. Move all your data, such as pictures & music, to the 2nd partition. This way, not only is your boot partition faster to image, you will be able to restore without affecting your data.
3. Now create your image to the 2nd partition. This will be much faster and more reliable than imaging straight to dvd. If you want to eventually save the image to dvd, select option to split image into 4GB chunks.

Always work for me. I use True Image, btw.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Aug 2011   #5

Windows 7 64bit Home Premium Enhanced
 
 

I wasn't upset, didn't mean to come across that way.. and yes, I do tend to get a little wordy, but that's just me. I found what he was saying about Black Viper interesting enough to want know the full story behind those pros and cons you see.. that's all.

Your step # 1, you cannot do with windows built in imaging tool can you? I would have to use Macrium Reflect or True Image? (something with a rescue disk that lets you backup from the restore environment) I like your idea but I don't have data like that.. I don't store pictures, movies, music on the drive. Everything is either games or applications plus a few virtual machines. My drive is small at 238 gigs. My full backup with windows and default apps are about 26 gigs of that size which fit on 3 dvd's. I normally then just back up the downloaded apps I gather as time goes to dvd's when that folder starts getting pretty full. Not much of a strategy but I'm used to it. Your #3 idea I like but because my drive is so small I don't like the thought of using it for that. I plan to get one of these soon, Newegg.com - Vantec 2.5"/3.5"/5.25" SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adapter - Model CB-ISATAU2 to use with regular 500 gig drive I have laying around so I will have more storage space for the laptop.. I figure I could install apps there, possibly use it to store the image but then if I did both, I don't know how I would back that up - if I installed apps on it, I could not image it as if it were part of windows. I'd just have to back up any important application data on a disk then reinstall the apps when I reinstall the system I suppose. Too bad they dont make dirt cheap terabyte drives for laptops.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Aug 2011   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

The problem with QuackViper is that he used to wildly recommend disabling services in Windows XP, with no explanation of what they were for, or when you need to leave them be. People would follow his guides and hose their systems. XP was also a different animal, where you could tweak it to get better performance.

Vista may not have been a huge hit, but it opened the door for Windows 7, in the fact that an OS didn't need to be tweaked to run best. When QuackViper tried to create the same guides for Vista and Windows 7, he failed to mention the fact that these OSes already run at peak performance. He failed to account for the fact that Microsoft got smart at tweaking the OS. He also failed to listen when Microsoft's own developers and members of various enthusiast forums started taking him to task...asking him to repeat tests showing the difference between a default system and one with services disabled. The proof and results where, if you disable unneeded services, you gain nothing in performance. All you gain, at best is no change...at worst, a hosed system with random issues and errors.

On many of these same forums, if you start a thread and mention following his guides, your thread is locked and the amdins tell you to reinstall. The reason I don't often go into detail about it is because it's been rehashed and redebated so many times, dead horses were beaten.

The reason I said I stopped reading (I actually did read the entire thread) was because anytime you follow his guides, you are likely to create strange issues. Add in the "optimizer" software, and who knows what was bungled up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Aug 2011   #7

Windows 7 Professional 64bit
 
 

Wait, why would you install apps in the external hd? You are making this more complicated than it has to be. Just install apps in the windows partition, then image to external hd.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Aug 2011   #8

Windows 7 64bit Home Premium Enhanced
 
 

Fair enough DeaconFrost, Thanks!

prelius, I'm not talking about my initial image for back up, I'm talking the stuff I collect as time goes on .. i"m always downloading something new. I can easily fill up a terabyte worth of space with apps in a few months. The idea here is to simply have more space to install stuff in the laptop than the 238 gigs I have. It would keep me from having to back up and reinstall the whole thing every 4 months.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Need Explanation, Acronis.Reflect,EaseUS.Paragon Nothing works!




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