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Windows 7: Forced full backups after a successful restore

27 May 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Forced full backups after a successful restore

Every single time I have to restore my installation for whatever reason, the backup/restore utility always creates a new, full data files/image backup. As one can imagine, this gets very large after a while and I would prefer it to continue backing up incrementally. Is there any way of informing or resetting Windows that the backup is still there, intact, and that there is no need for another full backup? I did find a bit of a workaround using the "make incremental backup" tutorial/download here on the forums, but I was wondering if there was possibly another way without doing any more backups (until scheduled, of course). Let me know if any more info is needed. Thanks in advance. Edit: Upon checking the backup files, the above workaround does not work, unfortunately. It still thinks it must perform another full backup.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 May 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Hi amrobx and welcome to Seven Forums.

I don't think you have any control over the image backup but the file and folder backup can be controlled. See this tutorial Backup - Make a "Create Incremental Backup" Shortcut
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 May 2012   #3

W7 X-64 RTM,SUSE 11.1, XP PRO SP3 as a VM, VMware ESXi
 
 

Hi there
note however in addition to the tutorial that if you do a FULL restore using incremental backups you need to do the following

1) FULL restore from the last FULL backup you have taken.
2) Restore ALL the incremental backups in the order they were taken up to an including the last one.

on a NON FULL restore

you need to restore ALL the incremental backups from the earliest known COMPLETE file GOOD date to the latest good date.

for example you need to restore file X. You know it was good on wed, and thur but not sure about Fri.
so you restore full file from wed and thur version. (You need both since the thur version will only have the CHANGES from wed).


@kado897 -- I'm 100% positive that image copies (partition copies for example) can only be restored in their entirety -- not a problem when restoring an OS. Data however can be restored via incremental backups as you've stated.

Cheers
jimbo
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27 May 2012   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Image copies can only be restored in their entirety except that if you know what you are doing you can mount the VHD file in the WindowsImageBackup folder and extract files from it. Virtual Hard Disk - Create and Attach VHD
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 May 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
Hi there
note however in addition to the tutorial that if you do a FULL restore using incremental backups you need to do the following

1) FULL restore from the last FULL backup you have taken.
2) Restore ALL the incremental backups in the order they were taken up to an including the last one.

on a NON FULL restore

you need to restore ALL the incremental backups from the earliest known COMPLETE file GOOD date to the latest good date.

for example you need to restore file X. You know it was good on wed, and thur but not sure about Fri.
so you restore full file from wed and thur version. (You need both since the thur version will only have the CHANGES from wed).


@kado897 -- I'm 100% positive that image copies (partition copies for example) can only be restored in their entirety -- not a problem when restoring an OS. Data however can be restored via incremental backups as you've stated.

Cheers
jimbo
That seems like a fair amount of restoration to get the desired effect, especially considering the amount of data I have. So I would have to restore, incrementally, each file to the date of the last backup in order for the utility to behave as if the files were unchanged from the image restore? Also, how do I differentiate files in the backups as incremental vs. full?

@Kado
That was the tutorial I used before. At first, I thought it was incremental, but it actually did not change its behavior. It made a completely new full backup from the one made prior to re-imaging.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 May 2012   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by amrobx View Post
@Kado
That was the tutorial I used before. At first, I thought it was incremental, but it actually did not change its behavior. It made a completely new full backup from the one made prior to re-imaging.
The image portion of the backup, if any is included, will be differential with the WindowsImageBackup folder representing the final state and the differentials held in shadow storage. The incremental description refers to the File and Folder part of the backup. In normal circumstances Windows backup uses it's own nearly indecipherable rules to determine whether this should be full or incremental. This shortcut forces an incremental, provided of course that there is already a full backup to be the base.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 May 2012   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

You might do better by making system and data imaging separate processes.
I haven't done all the various backup permutations the Win 7 utility allows, but fairly quickly found some disadvantages it has compared to other imaging software, and decided not to use it. But that was just due to my preferences.
Since you like incrementals for your data, you might find that doing them without the system image ticked will allow those to be restored without a needless extra image being taken.
Do the system images separately, either with Win 7 or other imaging software.
I don't know if that would resolve your issue, but it's easy enough to test.
I don't want to dismiss the Win 7 incremental and scheduling capabilities, since that can be valuable to some people. So the object is to get it doing what you want, by adjusting to its capabilities.
Sometimes I wish I had stayed with the Win 7 backup, so I could play guru here.
But I didn't. Still, as a long time computer guy, I can confidently say that fully automated processes often add more complexity than is good, and that divide and conquer is the best tool for solving problems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 May 2012   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
In normal circumstances Windows backup uses it's own nearly indecipherable rules to determine whether this should be full or incremental. This shortcut forces an incremental, provided of course that there is already a full backup to be the base.
I am beginning to believe the indecipherable part. There was a preexisting full file backup prior to the image restore, but even with the shortcut mentioned above, it still made another full file backup.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Victor S View Post
You might do better by making system and data imaging separate processes.
I haven't done all the various backup permutations the Win 7 utility allows, but fairly quickly found some disadvantages it has compared to other imaging software, and decided not to use it. But that was just due to my preferences.
Since you like incrementals for your data, you might find that doing them without the system image ticked will allow those to be restored without a needless extra image being taken.
Do the system images separately, either with Win 7 or other imaging software.
I don't know if that would resolve your issue, but it's easy enough to test.
I don't want to dismiss the Win 7 incremental and scheduling capabilities, since that can be valuable to some people. So the object is to get it doing what you want, by adjusting to its capabilities.
Sometimes I wish I had stayed with the Win 7 backup, so I could play guru here.
But I didn't. Still, as a long time computer guy, I can confidently say that fully automated processes often add more complexity than is good, and that divide and conquer is the best tool for solving problems.
It's not the most feature-rich utility, granted, but it is native and doesn't require more installations. I've also had a bad taste left behind by several of the more popular utilities, both free and shareware. They usually either caused a BSOD, corrupted the MBR, or something along those lines. Surprisingly or not, I've never encountered any weird issues stemming from the native backup.

As far as doing them separately, the imaging isn't the only problem, since the data file backup also makes another full backup. That is what makes the whole thing so large and it is only after a restore that this happens.


If it comes down to it, is there a particular backup utility, preferably freeware, that would be recommended? Either that or I can just learn to live with the annoyance and delete older data as needed, I suppose.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 May 2012   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by amrobx View Post

If it comes down to it, is there a particular backup utility, preferably freeware, that would be recommended? Either that or I can just learn to live with the annoyance and delete older data as needed, I suppose.
Macrium Reflect Free Edition is the most common recommendation to backup your C partition (Windows and whatever else is on C)

Synctoy and Karen's Replicator are among the most common recommendations to back up your personal files, not Windows.

All of them free. All of them are about as easily understood as possible for such applications.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 May 2012   #10
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by amrobx View Post
Every single time I have to restore my installation for whatever reason, the backup/restore utility always creates a new, full data files/image backup.
Firstly when using Windows Backup and Restore I think it is wise to separate the
1) file/folder backup process and
2) the image process

They are totally different and do not need to be performed simultaneously. In your backup schedule select "Let me choose" and untick the create a system image box. This way only file/folder backups will be made. When you want an image use the separate "Create a system image" button on the left of the Backup and restore screen.

When you reimage you also replace the file/folder contents in the image. This may be different from your latest file/folder backup set. If the image is older you may want to restore file/folder user files after the reimage. In any event Windows file/folder backup creates a new backup set as a consistent starting point after the reimage. A bit crude I suppose.
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 Forced full backups after a successful restore





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