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Windows 7: Imaging when system folders are on seperate drives


25 Oct 2011   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Imaging when system folders are on seperate drives

Hey guys, this is my first post on the Seven Forums. Seems like a really helpful and positive place so I thought I'd sign up and ask!

I'm formatting and reinstalling Windows on my build for a clean-slate start. I just need some aid when it comes to imaging the new installation. What I'll be doing is installing Windows 7 x64 Home Premium on my 60GB SSD using Kari's tutorial which details how to move the ProgramData and User folders to another disk using the installation's Audit Mode. From there, it's the usual driver installations, Windows Update and upgrade to Windows 7 x64 Ultimate. The drives will be set-up as such:

- 60GB SSD (1x OS Partition + that 100MB System Reserved thing)
- 1TB HDD (1x Windows System Folders partition [User/ProgramData folders], 1x Data Partition, 1x Partition where backups will be held)

When imaging this setup, I want to image seperately the Data and the OS so that if I do have to reimage my drives, all that will be put on there is the OS and it's programs. However, as my System Folders are on seperate physical drives, how do I approach this?

Do I just image as per usual and the program (undecided on which I'll use, but I'm leaning towards Macrium) will detect this anomaly and act accordingly? The optimal result I see is a reimage that will result in:

- 60GB SSD (1x OS Partition reimaged + that 100MB System Reserved thing reimaged)
- 1TB HDD (1x Windows System Folders partition reimaged, then the rest is unallocated space)

Can anyone aid with this? Thanks in advance!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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25 Oct 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Good choice to lean toward Macrium.

Rather an unusual setup. As far as I know, you would just image normally and restore each separate image if and when necessary.

But I have to ask:

Why are system folders on a separate partition on a separate drive?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Oct 2011   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

That's what I thought. Assuming the regular partition is C:\ and the seperate partition is U:\, I was thinking that all I would have to do is image C:\ and U:\, then restore those two whenever necessary. They're on seperate drives mainly for sake of space. My regular Windows installation is around 30GBs, leaving 25GBs which runs out surprisingly fast. Also, it saves some writes to the SSD. It's probably paranoia, but if it keeps things a bit more organised, I guess it can't hurt. It does seem a lot simpler just to put it all on one drive.

What if I put all my Windows installation on the SSD, then some of the more beefier programs on an HDD partition? If something goes awry, restoring my Windows image would be all that's necessary, correct? Say I had Steam + Games, Sony Vegas and Photoshop on my HDD and Windows on my SSD; the Windows installation somehow becomes corrupted. All I would have to do is reimage my Windows installation and Steam/Sony Vegas/Photoshop will work as they previously did, not needing much - if any - configuration?

Sorry for these questions, this is the first time I've done much of anything with imaging. I've never had to deal with corrupted drives, if I reformat it's usually been done by will.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Oct 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by apSlain View Post

What if I put all my Windows installation on the SSD, then some of the more beefier programs on an HDD partition? If something goes awry, restoring my Windows image would be all that's necessary, correct? Say I had Steam + Games, Sony Vegas and Photoshop on my HDD and Windows on my SSD; the Windows installation somehow becomes corrupted. All I would have to do is reimage my Windows installation and Steam/Sony Vegas/Photoshop will work as they previously did, not needing much - if any - configuration?
Yes to both questions if I understand you correctly. With the caveat that imaging is not foolproof and can fail.

I have an 80 GB SSD and don't have space issues, but I know some people put all of Windows, but only some applications on C---with other apps going on D. As far as I know it works OK.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2011   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

It isn't foolproof, but it's better than nothing

I don't know why I run out of space so fast - I think it's the programs I'm putting on there for University. I may experiment with both setups seeing as I have some time before I need it for anything.

Thanks for your help, ignatzatsonic! I'll check back in if I make any progress with this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2011   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Look at these items regarding space disappearing:

Hibernation file: you can get rid of this entirely if you don't use hibernation. The file is the same size as your RAM

System Restore: this can grow quite large if you don't configure it through its menu to your chosen size.

Page file
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Hibernation and System Restore are always turned off for me; as for the Page File, I whittled that down to 1.5GB already. I'm thinking I just have to be more careful with what I'm installing and where.

I tested this imaging scenario just then with a bare Windows 7 installation. Macrium Reflect wouldn't install for some reason - probably because I neglected to install drivers for this scenario - so I opted to go for the in-built Windows 7 solution. Backed up to an external HDD, shut down, wiped my drives clean. Booted up with the Windows 7 installation disk, opted to repair with a system image. It worked.

System Folders remained in their right places, partitions were re-instated and sized correctly, all that good stuff. I wasn't expecting it to work with the in-built Windows 7 tool - but it did
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Oct 2011   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 X64 (Windows 8.1, Linux Mint, Windows XP and others in VM)
 
 

The only problem with windows system image is it will only allow you to have 1 image. Each time it overwrites the previous image. The work around it to rename the system image. The image is called windowsimagebackup. I rename mine by date, ie. windowsimagebackup10-26. In that way you can keep as many as you like. The only thing is to use them you have to rename them back to the original name.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Oct 2011   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by essenbe View Post
The only problem with windows system image is it will only allow you to have 1 image. Each time it overwrites the previous image. The work around it to rename the system image. The image is called windowsimagebackup. I rename mine by date, ie. windowsimagebackup10-26. In that way you can keep as many as you like. The only thing is to use them you have to rename them back to the original name.
Ahh, thanks for that information. Not much a limitation, used to doing those little manual changes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Imaging when system folders are on seperate drives




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