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Windows 7: System Image Backup Strategies/Thoughts

11 Jun 2012   #41
pincushion

Windows 7 x64 SP1
 
 

I would agree with the previous advice about separating out all data from the OS, including the locations where any applications use large amounts of data - they usually give you options as to where to save stuff. All this data is then backed up separately. I have moved my Favorites to a data drive also and when I restore an image I lose nothing other than perhaps some AV updates which are no problem.




My System SpecsSystem Spec
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11 Jun 2012   #42
Brds7t7

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

I'm in the same situation as Kado, I have around 600gb of personal data. Including this is in an image would be impractical.
It would take up too much space, would take me hours to do the backups and same to restore them.
At the moment my Windows partition is 60gb and the backups take a few minutes (after the initial first backup which takes around 20 minutes).
I've restored my image when things have gone majorly wrong and windows did it in about 20 minutes. It doesn't delete my data partition as it isn't included in the image.
That's the only thing you need to be careful with when separating your windows and data drives, Do not include anything from the data partition or windows will wipe it and replace it with whatever you included in your image.

I've found the easiest way to avoid this is to use the "create a system image" option in backup control panel and just tick the Windows and System Reserved partition if you have one?
If you use that method instead of the "Set up backup" option in control panel as this gives more options and can get a little more confusing on what to backup.
First time I used imaging I used the setup backup option and ended up wiping my data partition just because I had included one folder from that partition in my image.
Luckily I had my data partition backed up.

I hope we're not bombarding you with too much info at once?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2012   #43
Brds7t7

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

Oh and same goes for Macrium, that won't delete your data partition If you didn't include it in your image. I think that's probably the same for all imaging programs. Don't quote me on that though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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11 Jun 2012   #44
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
 
 

You have to be careful. With Windows imaging, if your data partition contains anything that Windows regards as "System", then it will automatically include the partition in the image and you can't prevent it. Third party backup programs such as Macrium aren't so picky. It is up to you to ensure that you have everything that is needed in the image.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2012   #45
Brds7t7

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

Here's just an example of how you can separate Your Windows and Data. Of course everyone has their own different setups. As you can see my first partition on my external HDD (S) includes my different images and 2nd partition (T) is basically just a copy of my (D) Data partition.

System Image Backup Strategies/Thoughts-capture-01.png

System Image Backup Strategies/Thoughts-capture-02.png

System Image Backup Strategies/Thoughts-capture-03.png

System Image Backup Strategies/Thoughts-capture-04.png


My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2012   #46
Brds7t7

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

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
You have to be careful. With Windows imaging, if your data partition contains anything that Windows regards as "System", then it will automatically include the partition in the image and you can't prevent it. Third party backup programs such as Macrium aren't so picky. It is up to you to ensure that you have everything that is needed in the image.
Agreed, and that's why a lot of people prefer Macrium over Windows imaging. Much more flexible.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2012   #47
Victor S

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
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.
Yes, huge amounts of data on the system partition is the main reason making system imaging impractical for many people.
But there's also some danger in losing data by doing a restore, and since I always restore before taking an image, I've learned to be careful about that.
I decided long ago to always install apps to to the default Win folder, and have the apps and their registry entries as part of the image, avoiding any possible location/version registry conflicts. I have exactly 2 apps that keep changing data I care about on the system partition, and that data can't be redirected to another partition. One is Quicken, which is how I do my accounting and pay my bills, and the other my PIM, which has all my appointments and all my PW's, links, etc.
But both apps can create their own proprietary backup file.
I'm not "real" good at making a backup file every time I use those apps.
If I had a crash I might have to restore a few day's to a week's worth of data.
Not fun, as I found out one time I restored an image without due care.
I don't want my restores to replicate a "crash" scenario, so I do backups of those app's data before a restore, then reload the backups after the restore. Just part of my process.
Everybody commonly restoring images probably has something like this issue to consider, even if they try hard to keep all personal data off the system partition.
Gaming is an issue for some. Though I'm a hardcore gamer, I don't consider that "important" as far as imaging goes. Others do.
So doing a restore shouldn't be taken lightly until you have a process in place.
Knowing exactly where all your personal data resides is usually important to anybody doing any kind of backup/restore. That's the hardest hurdle for most people.
Some just aren't cut out for it, or don't have "important" data on their PC.
As soon as I bought my dad his first PC, I spent too much time trying to teach him about the simple directory structure.
He's been doing all kinds of stuff on PC's for 12 years since then, and still can't use Explorer! A couple times a year his PC gets screwed up in some fashion, and my BIL, whose business is fixing PC's and lives down there, fixes whatever's wrong.
Dad doesn't worry too much when his PC breaks down. People who post here are usually more "serious" about it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2012   #48
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
 
 

I too have a small amount of data on my Windows partition about 1GB which is needed if I use my laptop without any attached drives. That is one reason that I do a differential image of my C drive daily.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2012   #49
moralessly

windows 7 home premium
 
 

Waah y not
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jun 2012   #50
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
 
 

Welcome to Seven Forums moralessly. Not quite sure what you mean.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 System Image Backup Strategies/Thoughts




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