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Windows 7: System Image Backup Strategies/Thoughts

09 Jun 2012   #31
Victor S

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by boyboyds View Post
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.
Unless you almost live and breathe PS'c, it's always confusing.
You really should post your specs (hard drives and how the partitions are set up) here and get advice. You might be wasting your time otherwise.
For example, if you don't have at least one hard drive besides the drive your system is on, it's probably a waste of time even thinking about system images.
There are guys here who know Macrium very well, and they can make it pretty easy for you.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
09 Jun 2012   #32
Victor S

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pincushion View Post
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.

Right. And some people see it as no big deal reinstalling Windows. Different strokes. I know some people who even seem to *like* reinstalling.
As to "leap of faith," not me. I always disconnect my install hard drive and test the restore function of new imaging software on a different hard drive. It's just once.
When it works - and it always has - I'm good to go with a normal process.
But I never had a factory restore partition, or that special Windows restore partition, because I didn't allow Windows to set that up.
So I think I understand what you're saying. And I understand that some people either might not have a spare hard drive, or think about repurposing a drive for that purpose.
But once your image restore works on that test drive, you're free to hack off whatever you wish on the original drive.
So I just have a minor quibble about "leap of faith."
Sounds too much like "Take the reins, Murphy!"
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jun 2012   #33
F5ing

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Victor S View Post
As to "leap of faith," not me. I always disconnect my install hard drive and test the restore function of new imaging software on a different hard drive. It's just once.
When it works - and it always has - I'm good to go with a normal process.
Same here. Unless you've tested the restore you never really know if you can truly rely on it.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Victor S View Post
So I think I understand what you're saying. And I understand that some people either might not have a spare hard drive, or think about repurposing a drive for that purpose.
But once your image restore works on that test drive, you're free to hack off whatever you wish on the original drive.
If you think about it, that may be the best way for someone to get started. They've got to purchase extra media anyway, so instead of purchasing an external hard drive they buy an internal instead. Buy one extra device that's relatively cheap: an external HD dock.

Do the initial image saving to the external. Copy the image file(s) back to internal, then restore the image to the external. Swap drives to see if it works. If it does, you're set. Now you know you've got a reliable imaging app and a place to store images/standard data backups/whatever.

As funding permits you can buy extra HD's to allow offsite storage, many multiple versions, etc.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

10 Jun 2012   #34
pincushion

Windows 7 x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Victor S View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pincushion View Post
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.

Right. And some people see it as no big deal reinstalling Windows. Different strokes. I know some people who even seem to *like* reinstalling.
As to "leap of faith," not me. I always disconnect my install hard drive and test the restore function of new imaging software on a different hard drive. It's just once.
When it works - and it always has - I'm good to go with a normal process.
But I never had a factory restore partition, or that special Windows restore partition, because I didn't allow Windows to set that up.
So I think I understand what you're saying. And I understand that some people either might not have a spare hard drive, or think about repurposing a drive for that purpose.
But once your image restore works on that test drive, you're free to hack off whatever you wish on the original drive.
So I just have a minor quibble about "leap of faith."
Sounds too much like "Take the reins, Murphy!"
Perhaps I should have expanded a bit. Once you have altered your partitions to suit, i.e. bringing the system partition down to a managable size then the Factory Restore is useless and the only thing appropriate then is some form of imaging, like Macrium. That is what I meant by 'leap of faith' - not much point having the Factory Restore when it will not do that but just destroy everything that you have set up.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jun 2012   #35
boyboyds

Windows 7 Home 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Victor S View Post
For example, if you don't have at least one hard drive besides the drive your system is on, it's probably a waste of time even thinking about system images.
Do you mean if my HDD is not partitioned it would be a waste of time to create an image....?

Or do you mean I need an external HDD for this....?

What kind of details about my system are needed for a successful system image.....?

Thanks,
BBDS
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jun 2012   #36
Brds7t7

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

Boyboyds, he means you need to backup a system image to a different drive.

If you only have the one drive and that drive fails then you have lost your System Image backup too.

An external HDD is the best option for System Images.

Also if you split your partitions so that you have Windows on one and Your Personal Data on another then the System Images will be much smaller and quicker to backup/restore.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jun 2012   #37
boyboyds

Windows 7 Home 64bit
 
 

Of course, there is no question here - image backup needs to be saved to a separate HDD.

Though I can find where my personal stuff is, like My Documents etc., I will need to figure out where the Windows are.

And I need to do it for both XP and W7. Does macrium work the same way for both....?

I think most/all programs I installed are in C:\Programs.


Thanks,
BBDS
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Jun 2012   #38
F5ing

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

boyboyds,

Imaging apps are typically going to work with whole disks or one or more whole partitions. If you keep your personal stuff in the default locations it would be included in your image, along with your OS/apps.

That works fine but is not the most efficient way of doing things. To reduce the size of your images, the time it takes to make them, as well as how often you would need to make new ones, you would want to store all your personal stuff on a separate partition.

If you separate your personal data from the OS/app, you only need to image when your OS/apps change (ie, OS/app updates, new apps installed, settings you make that you don't ever want to lose, etc.). That may mean doing it only once a month or so. Although some folks do it much more frequently.

Your personal stuff on a different partition would be backed up with a different routine/method, keeping in mind that it's the stuff that's very hard to replace, if not impossible. If you add to or change your personal stuff frequently that could mean everyday or even much more often.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2012   #39
Victor S

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Good advice from Burdus77 and F5ing.
You really have to understand what is the "system," (Win 7 and XP) and what is "personal data."

Keeping any important data in My Documents folders, or letting programs store important data in their default C:\Programs or C:\Programs(x86) folders is dangerous if you start imaging the "system".
Because all those folders are part of the "system" image.
So if you restore a system image you can easily lose all the data that has been added since you took the image.
So, as F5ing said, consider backing up your system (system image) and your personal data (other backup mechanisms) as separate processes.
Pretty sure that's the general consensus among those who use imaging.
Some people image the system and their personal data together, and most soon run into problems, usually because of size.
If you don't mind reinstalling your system and your apps in the rare event where the system fails - and it really is a rare event for most people - don't bother with imaging. It won't pay you back.
Just choose a program that backs up your personal data to your preference.
Personal data is simply files that can be put anywhere. Different topic.
The "system" is a different animal, and requires imaging. (Maybe cloning works too, but I haven't done that.)
Here I am talking like this, when I said before I would never discourage imaging.
Well, I'm a big fan of imaging, but millions of people get along fine without it.
You may be one of them, especially if you don't want to do some work in understanding how it works, which is perfectly understandble.
There are some on this forum who know plenty about imaging, but prefer doing a reinstall. That works for them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2012   #40
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
 
 

It's not so much the programs that is the problem. It is the data. documents, pictures, music and Videos which tan take a huge amount of space and are better backed up separately and more frequently. If you use a backup program that uses versioning, after the first long backup all others are incremental. I have 500GB of data which is backed up daily with FreeFileSync and the daily backup only takes a few minutes and I can always go to the versions if I need an older or deleted document.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 System Image Backup Strategies/Thoughts




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