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Windows 7: How to make a system image for a dual boot system

09 May 2012   #11
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

You already got a lot of good advice - including some that I would not follow. Here is what I would do:

1. Use free Macrium. It is the most reliable, fastest and free imaging program that I know: Imaging with free Macrium

Some of the other programs that were mentioned are good programs too, but they are either more complex, slower or less reliable. And some cost money which would be a waste. But in all cases, DO NOT use the built-in Windows imaging. It is a nightmare.

2. With Macrium, burn the WinPE recovery disc/stick immediately. That is a bit of a pain because during the burning process it will download the 1.7GB WAIK, but it is worth it. And once you have the WAIK on your system, you can make more copies of the WinPE disc/stick very quickly. The Linux recovery disc that you can quickly create has a lot less options.

Besides, you can use the WinPE for imaging/recovery on any system. No need to even install Macrium.

3. Image to an external disk or a seperate internal disk. Do not even consider to make the image(s) to a partition on the same disk or to DVDs. That would be only acceptable as a temporary emergency solution.

4. Create a seperate folder on your external drive for each partition that you want to image. Names like 'system partition', Windows 7', 'XP', 'data', etc. That will make it a lot easier during the recovery step to find the proper image that you want to recover.

Then image those partitions individually into their respective folders. And do not forget to give meaningful names to each definition (in the very last step of the definition) so that you can easily id your XML file when you want to make more recent images later.

If you clearly seperate the partition images, you will be able to reimage those partitions on an 'as needed' basis. E.g. your data partition may have a lot of changes all the time. So for that you may want to make a new image frequently. Your XP partition though may rarely change. So there would be no need of frequent imaging. And your 100MB system partition never changes anyhow unless you add or delete an OS. So that may never have to be reimaged.

5. If you have any questions, just ask.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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09 May 2012   #12
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Spirit Wolfe View Post
The BEST way to image a hard drive that I have found in the past was to fine and utilize a FULL version of Norton's Ghost.
Yeah, Ghost is only around $25 or less at NewEgg. I hope by finding a copy of Ghost you weren't encouraging somebody to obtain it via piracy? It's hard to accept a recommendation for a product, if you aren't actually willing to pay for said product.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2012   #13
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Although I had used Ghost 14 for a few years, I find it to be way inferior and more complex than Macrium. But maybe that is just me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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09 May 2012   #14
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

I agree with a lot of the strategies/concepts here, but will add:

Quote:
3. ... Do not even consider to make the image(s) to a partition on the same disk or to DVDs. That would be only acceptable as a temporary emergency solution.
I don't agree with this for the reasons i posted in post #10.
I don't consider ANY backup image permanent - thus the need for backup redundancy...

The OP wants to be able to restore OS(s) for reasons in Post #3 (not a HD failure)

Quote:
my need for on the fly recovery is due to a few times when i have been several hundred mile from home on a project and end up with an unbootable or BSOD OS.
(i do service on high end label/laser printers and have had drivers that were needed cause my system to BSOD even w/o the units being plugged in)
A single OS can be restored to a multi-boot PC using a single HD...
I have done it a many times...


If this involves Air Travel where carrying an extra HD is luggage, I question how good that is for a HD...getting thrown around...
What good is the external HD image if the HD is damaged in transit?
If travel is by personal Automobile, that offers a lot more control of "HD handling".
I still wouldn't want to carry around my "Backup Drive" regularly - more room for error.

If I had the need of the OP, I would look into storing backup images in the "cloud"...
If you are on-site, corrupt an OS, you could then get the image off the web...and restore the OS

If you normally corrupt BOTH OS's with what you do, that's an important consideration...
For an unbootable PC, having a bootable CD for Image recovery would be wise...

This idea certainly would need to be tested, but what doesn't?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2012   #15
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
If this involves Air Travel where carrying an extra HD is luggage, I question how good that is for a HD...getting thrown around...
I don't have this problem. I travel between the US and Europe. All my laptops have SSDs and my external disk is an older Intel Gen1 SSD. So if you are worried about damage, this is the solution. HDDs are only good for stationary application. Btw, a SSD weighs only a few grams.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2012   #16
DavidE

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64
 
 

+1 for SSD's... I agree with you.
Using SSD's is a cost question for the OP.

I just don't agree with dismissing the use of saving images on the same HD/SSD as the OS.
These images are just "another backup level", and for me the most often used.
I think many people advocate "never save an image to the same HD" because of a possible HD failure...
I understand a HD fail possibility...but is that the most likely cause of needing to restore an image?

My restore % experience:
Backups restored = 100
Restore needed for an HD fail = 1
Restore needed for an OS/Boot problem = 99

99 times out of 100, i restored from an image on the same HD...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2012   #17
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

There is nothing wrong with having an image on the same HD.

OEM's do it all the time.

You can use it to get out of most situations.

However, HD failure is one situation that it won't help with.

It is sensible to have an image stored externally as well - just in case.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2012   #18
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

A portable WD 500GB HDD is relatively cheap and the size of a pack of cards.
This is only a very small addition to carry on luggage with air travel.
I'd simply use free Macrium Reflect to image each partition.
Store an image on the laptop's HDD if you want but I don't really see much point. I'd guess you'd would be using other backup media for work data and presentations anyway.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2012   #19
Victor S

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidW7ncus View Post
I just don't agree with dismissing the use of saving images on the same HD/SSD as the OS.
Why would you image or restore on one drive if you have other drives available?
Besides the issue of hard drive failure, it's not efficient.
Hard drive head movement will be greatly increased, and you'll use only one
controller versus 2 for data transfer.
In my IT experience it was standard practice to assign the indices of keyed files to
a different drive than the data, simply for efficiency.
Never bothered testing the time difference, because hard drive failure/corruption
is enough reason for me to use different drives, even though that hasn't happened in a long time.
Of course I make 2 images to different drives in case one image can't be used for whatever reason.
But if one is on the same drive that failed the OS, my redundancy is gone.
Since putting the image on the same drive as the source has no advantage, but only disadvantages, I assume you don't have the additional drives. In that case, an image on the same drive as the source is certainly better than no image at all.
Otherwise, why do it?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 May 2012   #20
willymcmahon

32&64 bit win7 sp1 and windows xp sp3
 
 

Thanks for all the helpful comments everyone

it is just handy in the field to have an image locally stored to revert to when having issues.
oem restore features Are very handy. if i could have one for a my dual boot setup... BTW i also have images of both system partitions on an external but i agree with davidW7. i have only had boot problems due to a dead drive once or twice. my issues are virtually all OS/software/kernel/driver related problems hindering successful boot attempts.

how hard would it be to extract a bootable image manager to a partition and add it to the boot manager with win 7 and xp?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 How to make a system image for a dual boot system




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