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Windows 7: System Image Backup Strategies/Thoughts

08 Jun 2012   #21
Brds7t7

Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit, Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit
 
 

System Recovery Options

System Image Recovery


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Jun 2012   #22
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

My backup strategy is a bit long winded, but straight forward.

I have a dedicated file server box at home. I don't use it at all as a desktop, it's headless. I keep 2 physical hard drives installed in the box. I have shares on my first drive (data, music, downloads). My data share is about 20GB in space and is the critical share. My music is either stuff I have ripped or can download again from Amazon. My downloads are internet downloads and are easily replaceable. My second drive has a folder called "redundant_data" and there is a subfolder in that folder called data. And inside of data is a subfolder for each day of the week (mon, tues, wed, thus, fri, sat, sun). I have a robocopy job that runs at 3am daily, and syncs my C:\data folder with my D:\redundant_data\data\day_of_week folder. Therefore, I've always got the 7 previous days version of my data at all times. So, in the event that both hard drives in my server are toast, I have copies of my data offsite from a relatively recent period of time.

Then, on a regular basis, I connect an external hard drive to my network and I sync all 3 of my shares (data, music, downloads) using robocopy to this external hard drive. This hard drive is stored off-site (therefore, if my house burns to the ground, or I am robbed, I don't lose everything). And I keep 2 external drives offsite, just in case one of my externals were to fail.

My workstation is imaged occasionally, when patches are applied or substantial changes are made. This image is made of my C drive only (SSD) and it's stored on my D drive (mechanical) within my workstation. In the event both my primary and secondary drives were to fail, I don't really care about losing that image. Reloading my OS and my few apps would be very little trouble.

So, this has worked well for me for years. I find it extremely important to keep some of those data backups offsite. You never know what might happen inside of your house (fire, flood, robbery, etc).

I'm currently working out a method using cloud storage to keep copies of my data folder on a remote cloud system as well as all of the above.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jun 2012   #23
pincushion

Windows 7 x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Victor S View Post
Some interesting perspectives, all workable. I really think many people waste their time system imaging, giving up as soon as it gives them problems, usually space related, because they image data along with the system.
Or they've bought a PC with just one huge system partition.
But it is what it is, and I would never discourage taking images.
Personally, I use imaging for 2 reasons, both related to my aversion to reinstalling everything, and retweaking everything. Really, many of us have *years* invested in setting things up as we like them. Who wants to redo all that?

1. I want my system back to a clean version in 5 minutes, no matter what I do to it, what a virus might do to it, or what a hardware fault might do to it. Sure, I use a firewall and anti-virus, but they aren't perfect. Like most everybody else here I also install and try a lot of unsuitable software. I want no trace of it left in my system. For those reasons, when I want a new base image, I always restore my last image, do my app install and/or updates, then immediately create the new base image. It's all very fast to do, and I'm totally relaxed tinkering, downloading, and browsing the internet. Because my system is invincible!!

2. All the images in the world are for naught if they won't restore. You see that sometimes on this forum. As I said, I would never discourage taking an image, but also recommend they be tested.

The first is why I image - it is just so much easier, quicker and more reliable than any other method to recover particularly if like yourself and I you tend to tweak your system rather than leave it mostly 'as found'. And I also agree about testing your restore capabilities, using something that is reliable sometimes has to be a leap of faith initially - like deleting the inbuilt Factory Restore partition and relying on imaging - but for myself it is worthwhile having used a similar system with XP.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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09 Jun 2012   #24
boyboyds

Windows 7 Home 64bit
 
 

Unrelated observation - Google does not return relevant search results any longer.
I typed in --- windows seven forum ---- and could not find this site.
Went to Yahoo and it pointed me to this site immediately.
Is Google going down.....?

....back to the issue.......

Thank you all - this is the first time I actually understood the recovery process.

And I hope Windows 7 imaging tool is enough to get me covered,
I do not want to spend money on macrium.

I will definitely follow the good practices suggested here.


BBDS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jun 2012   #25
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
 
 

There is a free version of Macrium. The link is in my signature.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jun 2012   #26
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by boyboyds View Post
I do not want to spend money on macrium.
Macrium is free.

You would likely find it more easily understood than Windows imaging.

It takes 3 or 4 clicks to start the image making process, and it completes in 5 minutes on my system (80 GB C partition, 29 GB occupied). The resulting file is about 12 GB.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jun 2012   #27
Brds7t7

Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit, Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit
 
 

When windows imaging works it works very well. However, there have been issues with it. It has problems with the System Reserved partition. If the free space on that partition goes below 50mb them Windows Imaging will refuse to work. It will just say an error about lack of free space. That's why a lot of people either delete the system reserved partition or expand it like I have mine.

Macrium doesn't have that problem. Even if you lack the free space it will still be able to do the image and restore no problem.

It's very flexible when compared to windows imaging.

I have the PRO version but the Free version really is an amazing imaging tool. I'd say the best free one around, but that's just my opinion.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jun 2012   #28
boyboyds

Windows 7 Home 64bit
 
 

OK, I will try free macrium on both my XP and W7.

I should definitely get more pro-active about my backups,
I was somewhat intimidated and confused about the whole imaging issue.

Thanks for all your help.

BBDS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jun 2012   #29
Brds7t7

Windows 7 Pro 64-Bit, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-Bit, Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit
 
 

You can never be too careful when it comes to backups.

I actually use 3 different backup tools. Windows imaging, macrium and a programme for backing up my data partition which I don't image, it just copies the folders to another drive. Probably overkill for some people but you can never be too careful. I have some data going back 10 years so I'd be gutted if I lost it!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jun 2012   #30
Roderunner

Win7 H.Prem. 32bit+SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by boyboyds View Post
Unrelated observation - Google does not return relevant search results any longer.
I typed in --- windows seven forum ---- and could not find this site.
Went to Yahoo and it pointed me to this site immediately.
Is Google going down.....?

....back to the issue.......
If you look at the address bar in your browser then try a search with the correct spelling/name.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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