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Windows 7: Do I need to format HDD before loading system image for best results?

04 Oct 2011   #11
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

I mentioned linux.
Reimage with Windows replaces the MBR, system reserved and the operating system partition. If a virus was not pre-existing when the image was made then these areas should be clean after a reimage. Other partitions not reimaged need to be looked at on a needs basis.

Malware experts may care to comment.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Oct 2011   #12
axel66

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Thanks for the replies

Really what I would like to know is the best / fastest method of reinstalling Windows using an image e.g.:

1. I have an image of a fresh install with all of my main apps
2. I would like to re-install Windows, not nessararily due to system failure, could be due to system slowing down etc.

Many thanks

Axel
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Oct 2011   #13
theog

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

ME/XP/Vista/Win7
 
 

If you are reimaging to a clean HD Drive, Windows backup will do a quick format & reimage.
I can do one of my rig's in 10 mins.
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05 Oct 2011   #14
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

@axel66
I think your question is understood. You essentially have 2 different opinions to choose from. Choose whichever you are comfortable with.

Again my view from my experience: Unless you have a linux GRUB specific issue you do a straight reimage.
During Windows reimaging format options are described in Step 2 Point 7 of the tutorial
System Image Recovery

When I reimage I have 2 data partitions which I definitely don't want reformatted.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2011   #15
bigmck

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-Bit - Build 7600 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
@axel66
I think your question is understood. You essentially have 2 different opinions to choose from. Choose whichever you are comfortable with.

Again my view from my experience: Unless you have a linux GRUB specific issue you do a straight reimage.
During Windows reimaging format options are described in Step 2 Point 7 of the tutorial
System Image Recovery

When I reimage I have 2 data partitions which I definitely don't want reformatted.

I have only reimaged one time. I use Macrium. The reimage was about two weeks old. I have my programs on the same partition as my OS. Everything reimaged fine except that I discovered all of my emails from the last weeks were sent to me again. That was kind of annoying.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2011   #16
Wishmaster

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

My OS is on a SSD & I actually do both methods. And I actually re-image often.


For the most part, as mentioned, a format is not needed.
The partition you restore will get deleted and a quick format prior to the image being restored anyway.
So if Im just testing something, and decide to roll back this is the method I use.


But, after I have done a system restore several times, I will secure erase and re-image.

But not everytime. I would say maybe once every 6 moths or so. Unless theres another reason which requires a erasing first.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2011   #17
MilesAhead

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by axel66 View Post
Thanks for the replies

Really what I would like to know is the best / fastest method of reinstalling Windows using an image e.g.:

1. I have an image of a fresh install with all of my main apps
2. I would like to re-install Windows, not nessararily due to system failure, could be due to system slowing down etc.

Many thanks

Axel
What did you use to make the image? That's going to limit your choices. Most imaging programs, unless they are sector by sector images, use a proprietary format. Macrium won't restore using ToDo that I know of.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2011   #18
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

I've carried out full restores with Windows and Macrium and my comments apply to both. Windows uses vhd format and Macrium their mrimg format but can't see how the end results change.

@MilesAhead
I don't know what
"Macrium won't restore using ToDo that I know of."
means.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2011   #19
cluberti

Windows 10 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by axel66 View Post
But do I have to format my HDD first then load the image for best results.
...
Do I need to format the HDD then load the image or is it just a good to load the image without formating.
You must have a partition and filesystem already on a drive to restore an image using Microsoft's tools (assuming we're not talking about Windows backup and restore, which will most definitely not be suited to your needs for what you're trying to do - this has it's own functionality which does format, repartition, etc if necessary). Placing the image back down, once captured, onto other computers is another story - again, the WIM file can go down on top of existing data, so it can be used for recovery/repair or clean/new installations. What you do there is your choice, although if you're removing an old OS and replacing it with a new one, your best bet is to use USMT and Microsoft's MDT or SCCM to do deployment (not manually using the WAIK tools, which is time-consuming and prone to error).

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
Windows imaging will force a reformat if you are reimaging to a HDD whose partition structure has changed since the image was made. In this case Windows will reformat and repartition automatically. This will cause data to be lost in partitions not reimaged.
That depends on if we're talking about Windows backup as part of the OS, or the more specialized (and better) tools for imaging/deployment, like MDT or SCCM.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
When you format you create a file system. When you reimage you overwrite that file system anyway.
Not necessarily - it is worth noting that Microsoft has documented what is actually required when using their image format, and they have documented what you need to do to restore a WIM (and of course, what you do not need to do ):
Quote:
Note that at no point during the capture process is partition information (size or type) gathered. Nor does the apply process partition the system. Unlike most imaging tools, ImageX, being partition neutral, requires that the partition be created and formatted prior to application. To automate the process before applying your image, you should use the diskpart and format command-line tools.
If you need to repartition or reformat when restoring a WIM, that's a tools problem (or the WIM is too large for the partition, of course). A WIM is ultimately just a compressed container of files (ala a .cab file) with additional metadata regarding ACLs and other filesystem-specific data that comes into play when capturing or restoring to an NTFS-formatted volume, and single-instance storage to minimize duplication of files within the container (so as to reduce space and improve compression). As such it restores in the size it requires to restore the files inside, but given there's no partition information in the image, it is impossible for the WIM itself to require repartitioning (in fact, one of the cool things you can do is restore a WIM over an existing filesystem, and keep the old files).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2011   #20
MilesAhead

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
I've carried out full restores with Windows and Macrium and my comments apply to both. Windows uses vhd format and Macrium their mrimg format but can't see how the end results change.

@MilesAhead
I don't know what
"Macrium won't restore using ToDo that I know of."
means.
Quote:
axel66 E.g:
I want to re-install Windows 7 and I have a system image that I created just after a fresh install and installing my main apps.
Quote:
axel66 Really what I would like to know is the best / fastest method of reinstalling Windows using an image e.g.:

1. I have an image of a fresh install with all of my main apps
I don't see it anywhere stated what software was used to make the image. That's why I asked the OP what was used to make the image.

As far as I know, ToDo backup software will not restore Macrium images and vice/versa. I don't use Windows Backup. If either of them will import it I have no knowledge of it.
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 Do I need to format HDD before loading system image for best results?




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