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Windows 7: Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup

31 Jul 2009   #1

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup

I need to back-up my Windows 7 Home Premium retail upgrade as soon as I have completed its setup.

I will be using the RC (Release Candidate) I downloaded from Microsoft as the OS I upgrade from. The problem is, as has been reported here on Windows Seven Forums, that if the hard drive crashes and I am unable to recover my Windows 7 OS, after June 2010 (hourly reboots start March 2010), I will no longer be able to install the RC, activate it, and upgrade to the retail 7.

To avoid this issue I want a backup that will install without any activation issues. One solution is to create an "image" of the hard drive with the complete Windows 7 OS that can be restored. I plan to do this with the open-source software "Clonezilla" as an alternative to the Windows 7 Imaging Utility.

Before posting here, I took an old orphaned computer,
Windows 7 x64 RC
AMD Athlon 64 3400+
Gigabyte GA-K8N Pro-SLI
4 X 1GB OCZ Platinum DDR 400
2 X BFG GeForce 6800GT 256MB PCIe x16 SLI
WD 1600LS 149GB
Enermax EG565AX-VEFMA2.0-SLI
Lian Li PC-7 B Plus Aluminum Case
installed 7 RC, imaged the OS with "Clonezilla", and restored the OS successfully.

As there are already tutorials on using "Clonezilla", I only want to describe how I accomplished this step by step, not all the possibilities. Here are the steps I took to get my image:
1. Prepare a place for the image. What is the size of the data on the partition to be imaged? Clonezilla does not save empty space. If you are saving an activated install of a RC or retail upgrade, 12GB to 13GB, then 10GB (or less) will hold the image you create. If you are saving your current working computer, 60GB to 80GB, then you will need 50GB to 70GB for your image. Moving files like pictures and video to a seperate storage device and backing up seperately will reduce the size needed for the image. You can use (create) a seperate partition on your internal hard drive, a second internal hard drive, or an external or USB drive to hold the image.

As I anticipate installing the Windows 7 Home Premium Upgrade, I want a separate 20GB partition (NTFS) to hold the "image". After it has been created there, I can choose to store the "image" externally to my home network or another storage device. On my experimental computer, I left 20 GB of space unused when creating the partition to install Windows 7. It is possible to "shrink" the "C" drive in Windows 7 to create the "unallocated" space that can then be turned into your "backup" partition.

After installing 7 RC, Windows Live, and all my other programs I had used 12.5GB. I then used the Windows built-in "Disk Management" utility to create and format the 20GB NTFS partition.

2. Download Clonezilla from the website and burn the iso to a CD. Reboot the computer to the CD. It is a "live" CD in that the program runs off of the CD and does not install anything to the hard drive.

3. Select the screen resolution you wish to use.

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_01.png

4. Select your language.

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_02.png

5. Keep or change your keyboard layout.

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_03.png

6. Start Clonezilla

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_04.png
7. Select "device-image" to save the image, "device-device" to move a partition to another drive.

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_05.png

8. Select to use a local device (hard drive) or a network source.

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_06.png

NOTE: After selecting "local_dev" you are given the option of inserting a USB drive.
9. Press Enter to continue
Linux names hard drives "hda#" or in my case "sda1, 2, and 3". The 105MB boot partition is sda1, the Windows partition is sda2. Clonezilla wants to mount the partition where it is going to put the image, in my case sda3, a backup partition I created.
10. Select: sda3

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_07.png

11. Select Top_directory

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_08.png

12. Now you get to see some info, press enter to continue.

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_09.png

13. Select Beginner for Default options

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_10.png

14. Select "saveparts" to image your boot and windows partitions.

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_11.png

NOTE: It is at this point that you would also choose to restore the partitions (restore parts) later.
15. Accept the default file name or create one of your choice.

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_12.png

16. Select: both sda1 and sda2. When you restore to a new hard drive, you will have your boot partition as well.

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_13.png

17. You will get a message about using command line. Press ENTER to continue, then type "y" and ENTER.

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_14.png

18. You will see a message when the image is finished, press enter to continue

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_15.png]

19. Make a selection from the menu and press enter.

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_16.png

20. The CD tray will open so you can remove the CD, then close the CD tray, press enter, and reboot into Windows.

Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-clonez_17.png

Clonezilla saved my 12.5GB Windows partition to 6.78GB and the 105MB boot partition to 9.75MB. As Windows grows so will the size of the saved image and the partition to save it in.

It is not reccommended to keep backup files or images on the internal hard drive with the Operating System. Should the hard drive crash, you will have lost the files needed to restore your computer. However, even if you initially save the image to an internal partition on your C: drive, like I have, you can now move the "image" files to the external media of your choice.
Restoring the Image to a New Hard Drive

You can easily restore your computer with a new hard drive, your 7 DVD, and Clonezilla. Put the new hard drive in the computer. Use the 7 DVD to install 7 but do not activate. Use 7 to create the internal partition if that is how you saved your image. Use Clonezilla to restore the saved image to the partitions 7 created during the install. Boot to Windows 7.

I will most likely use another computer in my home network to create the needed partitions and copy the saved image, then use Clonezilla to restore my activated copy of Windows 7 Home Premium. As part of a regular backup strategy, I intend to create a new image monthly.


Windows 7 users have many choices on how to backup their systems. How you decide to do so depends on your circumstances. All computer users should back-up their computers regularly; however few actually do.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Aug 2009   #2


I added some screenshots to my post. Hope it makes it easier to follow.

To clarify one point: Clonezilla is capable of restoring to a blank hard drive, no other software, OS or otherwise is required. The "image" to be restored just needs to be available, on a second hard drive or an external USB drive. Boot to the CD and restore the "image" from storage to the blank hard drive and boot to windows.

As I do not have a USB drive large enough (not yet - money is tight), I have not done the USB thing. However, shortly I plan to thoroughly test the USB function as I have restoring from an internal partition.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Aug 2009   #3

win7 home premium 64bit

This was useful to me, thanks. I cloned my desktop after a fresh install so I have the RC ready with everything installed and set up if I screw it up again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

21 Aug 2009   #4

Windows 7 Ult x64(x2), HomePrem x32(x4), Server 08 (+VM), 08 R2 (VM) , SuSe 11.2 (VM), XP 32 (VM)

this is great software...
used it clone a WinSer2008 to another drive (one of the drives partions were acting up which i sent back to manufacturer) and it went work on the drive and it work as a charm...)
no activation needed (which i love) and it was setup the way had it....
this should be made an official tutorial...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Aug 2009   #5


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by tannim View Post
This was useful to me, thanks. I cloned my desktop after a fresh install so I have the RC ready with everything installed and set up if I screw it up again.
Thank you for the feedback! This does make it more convenient for those of us who like to experiment as it makes it possible to put everything back with little additional effort.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Aug 2009   #6


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by darkassain View Post
this is great software...
used it clone a WinSer2008 to another drive (one of the drives partions were acting up which i sent back to manufacturer) and it went work on the drive and it work as a charm...)
no activation needed (which i love) and it was setup the way had it....
this should be made an official tutorial...
Thanks for bringing that up! Although I did not include drive to drive cloning in my original post, it is a feature of Clonezilla and something I have done many times.

Thanks again!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Sep 2009   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate

Hi @ll!

I have a Problem with restore an Image and Clonezilla.
I made an Image from the whole Harddisk and Windows 7 Ultimate.

My System runs on an 500GB Samsung HDD, the Backup is on an 500GB Samsung HDD and i want to restore on another 500GB Samsung HDD.

The HDDs are all three the same model.

But when i want to restore i always get an error (see pic)
Is it important to install win 7 again and then restore the image or not?
Because the threadstarter wrote yes, in the second post there is a no.

I hope somebody can help me!


Attached Thumbnails
Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-015.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Sep 2009   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate

Here is an Screen from my Image, can anybody tell me if 2 Partitions are saved? The 100MB and the OS itself?

Attached Thumbnails
Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup-img.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Sep 2009   #9


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by sony View Post
Here is an Screen from my Image, can anybody tell me if 2 Partitions are saved? The 100MB and the OS itself?
Hello sony, and welcome to Windows Seven Forums.

The image you posted shows two partitions: sdb1 and sdb2, sdb1 is probably the 100 MB boot partition leaving sdb2 as the Windows OS partition.

No you do not have to reinstall Windows 7 first, but it can avoid the kind of problems you have experienced here if you do. The image you save MUST be the same size or smaller than the hard drive space you are going to restore to. It saves time if you shrink the Windows 7 partition before you make an image of it, and also assures it will fit onto the hard drive of your choice.

Without more details about the hard drives you are using, I can't say for certain but I would suggest you remove any partitions created on the third hard drive leaving it blank before restoring your saved image to that hard drive.

The advantage of installing Windows first and then restoring the image is that you can create the exact partition sizes of the image you saved. Say you shrink your Windows 7 partition to 40GB? You can create a 40GB partition on your blank drive and when you install 7, you will have the 100MB and 40GB partitions matching exactly the image you save. Restoring the image should go with no problems.

If you are just unable to restore the image you created, I suggest you shrink the Windows partition and create a new image and restore the new image.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Sep 2009   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate

Thank you for your answer.

All three Harddrives are Samsung HD501LJ 500GB.
I compared, the number of cylinders are the same at both: 60801.
But there is a small differnce in the physikal sector.

The next time i should inform me before i'll do something

Because it is not easy for me now, i made the image from my system when it was "clean" and "fresh" and now it isn't, so i don't want to do an image now.

So do you think it could work on a bigger HDD or is there no chance?

If i choose "only restore partition" it is working but only the 100MB Partition. I can't choose the "os partition".

Sorry for my bad english, I'm from Austria.

thx sony
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Clonezilla Open-Source Image Backup

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