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Windows 7: How to create a full system backup for Windows 7?


23 Apr 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 
How to create a full system backup for Windows 7?




I have a Windows 7 Home Premium 32-bit with SP1 (OEM). I have already installed the Windows and activated online.

Also i have installed all my motherboards drivers such as audio, lan, raid and gpu.

The whole process took me around 1 hour 30 mins.

Next month i'm planning to format my hdd and clean my pc (cleaning the dust from the fans, cpu).

I do that every month.

In the future i don't want to install Windows all over again (by installing it from a disc) it takes too long for my liking.

Also with my OEM version of Windows i think you're only allowed 3 times activation by going online, then after that you have to call up Microsoft which is a hassle.

What i want:

* I want to create a full system image of my whole hdd/windows/pc
* After a month or so i insert a disc or from another hdd and copy the entire image to a new hdd or a formatted hdd and have all my previous windows all installed with activated and with all drivers.

I though about using Norton Ghost, but it cost $99AUS.

I read on forums that Windows 7 has the option to back up, but i don't know if the Windows 7 backup is the one i'm looking for.

Can somebody please help me?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Apr 2012   #2

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

There is a programme called Advanced Tokens Manager. This can save your oem activation key to a file. You can then copy that to a thumb drive. After you have installed windows you can restore your activation from that.
I've used it on many pcs after I've wiped the drives as I hate factory bloatware.

There are a few good programmes for imaging. Macrium Reflect Free is a good one. I use that and windows imaging too.

Not sure why you would want to keep formatting your drive once a month though?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2012   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by olliebalollie View Post
Next month i'm planning to format my hdd and clean my pc (cleaning the dust from the fans, cpu).
I do that every month.
Um, I feel that formatting and reinstalling once a month may be a little overkill.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by olliebalollie View Post
In the future i don't want to install Windows all over again (by installing it from a disc) it takes too long for my liking.
Agreed. You want an "image". You can do this with
I've used all of the above and they all work well. I personally pay for Acronis, many here use Macrium.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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23 Apr 2012   #4
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Here is the best free option. I use it since many years and it is perfect - fast, easy to use and most importantly reliable. Burn the WinPE recovery disc. The first time it takes a little time because of the WAIK download, but it is worth it. Imaging with free Macrium

If you have any questions, let us know. There are many Macrium experts here.

PS: the built-in Windows imaging is to be avoided like the plague.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 

So does every windows version have System Image from built in Windows Backup Tool?

What is the difference between windows back up that comes free and a paid software like Norton Ghost?

All i want is the image of my whole hdd so i can install windows easily next.

By the way thank you


I usually clean my pc (dust) about every month so i might as well format my hdd.

Its not like every single month i format my hdd, maybe every 2 or 3 months, but usually every couple of months i like to clean and format.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2012   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by olliebalollie View Post
What is the difference between windows back up that comes free and a paid software like Norton Ghost?
Other functionality. For example, some do file level backups as well and can do differential or incremental backups. Some have features to clone disks versus taking images. Some come with file shredders (secure erase), etc.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by olliebalollie View Post
All i want is the image of my whole hdd so i can install windows easily next.
Any of the software mentioned above will do that.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by olliebalollie View Post
I usually clean my pc (dust) about every month so i might as well format my hdd.
I can understand dusting out the PC, but I don't see the value in formatting and putting an image back down that often. I tend to keep my OS very clean and play with everything in a virtual machine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2012   #7

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

I only format my drive if I reinstall windows from scratch. And I only clean inside that case once every 12 months if that.
It depends on which type of software you prefer. Norton is expensive when there are free programs like Macrium which can do the same thing for free. Some people don't like the windows imaging utility but I've never had any problems with it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2012   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

As far as cleaning the computer goes, I HIGHLY recommend a good case with dust filters. My Antec P182 is nearly 3 years old and looks practically brand new on the inside. I've never cleaned it once...except for cleaning the dust shields in the front.

I'll never own another case without a dust shield again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2012   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 

"I tend to keep my OS very clean and play with everything in a virtual machine."

You mean like VirtualCD that mounts or emulates?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2012   #10

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by olliebalollie View Post
"I tend to keep my OS very clean and play with everything in a virtual machine."

You mean like VirtualCD that mounts or emulates?
I mean that I run an entirely separate operating system within a Window. The virtual machine software I recommend is vmware. VMWare Player is free, while VMWare Workstation costs around $199. Another great free VM software is Oracle VirtualBox.

Everything I do in the VM, only affects that VM. So, whenever I download something new and want to take a look at how it works, etc..I install to my VM. If I blow up my VM, no big deal, I just restore my snapshot and I'm right back at where I was.

At the end of the day, very, very little actually gets installed on my actual Windows 7 OS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 How to create a full system backup for Windows 7?




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