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Windows 7: What is the best method to backup my C/D partitioned drive


29 May 2012   #1

32bit Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 
What is the best method to backup my C/D partitioned drive

Sorry everyone, be prepared to be bored once again.
Backups, imaging, rescue disks, restoring. All very confusing. Have been reading through all of the posts trying to glean info.
At the moment l have a partitioned C/D drive (60gb/440gb) and an E drive (500gb).
The C partition contains the Windows 7 OS (pretty damn obvious!) plus all of my programs which have all been free downloads. There are no personal files on there, and if l lost all of the programs, then so be it, l'll just download them all again. That'll be quite easy to do.
However, l've made numerous tweeks to Windows 7 and also to both my IE and FF browsers so losing everything will need a lot of donkey work to get it all back.
The D partition, believe it or not, is empty, but my 'E' drive contains everything (ie Music, Films, data files etc).
I suppose what l could do is to COPY all of the important data from 'E' to 'D' so if 'E' fails, at least all of the data is safe on the 'D' drive.
It's the 'C' drive that concerns me, so went into the Windows 7 backup and restore. Created a system repair disk which worked fine, and then tried to create a system image of the 'C' drive which cancelled as it couldn't fit it on to the dvd disk? I would have thought it should ask for a next disk to be inserted, but it didn't! Have also found out that l should save both 'C' and 'D' as it will restore both to how they should be.
Anyway, with me so far? Sorry to be a bore!
There's loads of posts on here but a couple in the sticky's are for Macrium. Don't know whether this will do the trick or not. Whatever the replies, the free version doesn't include files and folders backup. Didn't understand that as if it's an ISO image, surely everything will be restored?
Also don't understand that if l save the ISO image to my E drive, then how do l boot from it?
I would have thought that you change the bios to boot from 'E' but then if the ISO is with loads of other files, can this be selected (or does the rescue disk sort this out).
Blimey, l'm rambling on too much (sorry).
Bottom line is that if my 'C/D' drive fails, how do l get it all back. I've never had to do this before, so it's all pretty new to me.
Regards

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

29 May 2012   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-Bit
 
 

Tut for creating a system image: Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

And one for a system image recovery: System Image Recovery

Do not save your backup on your internal drive because if that goes AWOL you lose everything.

You can use an external hard drive, DVD-Rs (not recommended), a network server or the cloud to save your images.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 May 2012   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Willy:

See comments in bold


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by willythecat View Post
At the moment l have a partitioned C/D drive (60gb/440gb) and an E drive (500gb).
The C partition contains the Windows 7 OS

The D partition, believe it or not, is empty, but my 'E' drive contains everything (ie Music, Films, data files etc).

I suppose what l could do is to COPY all of the important data from 'E' to 'D' so if 'E' fails, at least all of the data is safe on the 'D' drive.

I assume C, D, and E are on the same drive? If so this is not much help. If the drive dies, you lose C, D, and E.

It's the 'C' drive that concerns me, so went into the Windows 7 backup and restore.

Windows 7 backup and restore would not be my first choice. It "works", but is fussy and not easy to understand. I would use Macrium.

Created a system repair disk which worked fine, and then tried to create a system image of the 'C' drive which cancelled as it couldn't fit it on to the dvd disk?

Bad form to make images onto DVDs. Much greater chance of problems. Use a hard drive, probably external.


Have also found out that l should save both 'C' and 'D' as it will restore both to how they should be.

Why image D since you say it is empty?


Macrium. Don't know whether this will do the trick or not. Whatever the replies, the free version doesn't include files and folders backup. Didn't understand that as if it's an ISO image, surely everything will be restored?

Macrium does not create ISO files. It creates MRIMG files.

The free version will make an image of whatever partitions you choose. That image WILL include ALL files on that partition. Therefore ALL of those files would be restored if you restore that partition.

But imaging doesn't always work. For that reason, you are best advised to make a separate "file by file" backup with some other program, not using an image.

Also, if you rely on images to restore data (as opposed to Windows), you may not restore your most recent data. Imagine this scenario: you make an image of a partition on April 1. On April 3, you acquire a lot more data. On April 6, your hard drive fails, so you restore the April 1 image to a new drive. In that scenario, the data acquired on April 3 is lost.




Also don't understand that if l save the ISO image to my E drive, then how do l boot from it?

You don't boot from the Macrium image. You boot from a Linux recovery disk you make within Macrium before disaster strikes. You then "restore" the image file to the desired drive from within that Linux environment.



Bottom line is that if my 'C/D' drive fails, how do l get it all back. I've never had to do this before, so it's all pretty new to me.

You get Windows back through one of 2 ways: reinstalling or restoring a previously made image file. Imaging can fail, so have a plan B if your image backup doesn't work out.

You could make images of data partitions (D, E, etc), but I don't do it due to image fallibility. I use "file by file" programs to back up data.



My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


29 May 2012   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower
 
 

One thing I do here is create images with two different programs. 1) Create system option in Backup & Restore with 7 2) Acronis True Image Home version

Results on restoring images created over the last three year period: 100% success for each image created and restored.

Where were images stored? Internal drives used for storage and backup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 May 2012   #5

32bit Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Thanks everyone for the replies, sorry for the delay in replying.
SEAVIXEN
Aha, that explains it more fully, thanks.
IGNATZATSONIC
No, l have two 500gb drives. The first drive is partitioned as C60gb) and D440gb). The second drive is labelled as E500gb). The link given by SeaVixen makes the windows backup clearer to understand, but l'll certainly give Macrium a look into as you suggest.
My C: drive contains nothing apart from the OS, my Browsers info, and "free" programs which have been tailored accordingly to meet my requirements. Any data created that l want to keep is moved immediately to the separate E: drive.
Couldn't care if l lose the C:/D: drive as l'll just reinstall Windows, and download all the "free" programs again. It'll take time, so an "image" restore would be a lot quicker.
I use the D: partition for lots of data files l work on which are either then saved to the E: drive immediately or deleted. At the moment the D: drive is empty. (I only thought that if l backed up my main drive as C: and D: partitions then it will restore it as C: and D: partitions).
Actually you've got me blimmin' well thinking now. My E: drive should also be backed up somewhere!
Cloud seems interesting as they are all data files.
Anyway, thanks for taking the time to reply, appreciated.
NIGHT HAWK
Funnily enough, got a "dodgy" copy of Acronis way way back now, can't even remember what version it was. Created a rescue disk and backup of my old XP system and when l had to use it, it just said the disks were invalid so l had to rebuild the system from scratch. Needless to say l got rid of Acronis, but will take another look at it to see what's new.
So thanks again everyone, lots to go away and look at.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 May 2012   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64, XP Mode, W8.1 Preview VM - 7 Pro x64 second remote tower
 
 

I'm still running the 2010 version while there's a newer 2012 release for Acronis TI available. Never ran any of the older versions since often ended up needing a clean install with XP but only a few with Vista.

The hard drive manufacturers Western Digital and Seagate with their rebranded Disk Wizard(Acronis under a different name) offer a free version of Acronis for their customers. Here I ended up trying both the freebie at first and then spotted the full version while in an office supply one day and had both on at one point.

One of the tools included in the full retail version is the option to mount a full image backup as the second C drive. For mounting the first image just made from a clean install of 7 you will notice the blue colored hard disk icon making it accessible as an extra drive in order to add more to it as an incremental backup or edit files out you no longer want.

The image restorations, several since trying the 2010 version out, plus those made with the Windows option have all been sucessful without any errors. I still create an image with both however in case one image doesn't quite work out or preserves an unseen error at the time a newer image is created while I rarely have to restore any.

The option to restore any image does save a great deal of time while I already have all files backed up on one or two of the other drives would no worry about cleaing C off completely for the clean install that was a little over due. That replaced the last image restored back in October 2010 made with the option in 7! The image was first created when first getting the present build all set up back in May 2010 showing it was reliable months later and ran with for over 1 1 1/2yrs.!

The ability to mount a full system image however is a valuable asset since once I got everything I wanted back on I will now be eliminating a few things(some extras that never worked well) to shrink the image you can see in the image here being mounted as the H drive.


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What is the best method to backup my C/D partitioned drive-acronis-mounted-second-c-drive.jpg  
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 What is the best method to backup my C/D partitioned drive




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