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Windows 7: Advice on how to create a bootable clone of my Windows 7 HD


10 Jul 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home 64bit
 
 
Advice on how to create a bootable clone of my Windows 7 HD

Sorry to ask a question that has been asked quite frequently, but I need some advice on how to make a bootable clone of my Windows 7 HD to a brand new spanking HD. The reason I am asking this is because my fully licienced Windows 7 has been running on a 6 year old 320gb WD hard drive and I'm worried one day its going to pack up. I have a new Samsung F1 1TB (currently mac format) that I want to clone onto...

As I am really new to Windows and its achitecture I would just like a point in the right direction i.e. what software to use, etc. as there seems to be so many ways and options. I have no partitions either, and I'm not fussed on having any on the Samsung, only if recommended though.

This shouldn't make any difference, but I am actually running Windows 7 on a MacPro, but as I mentioned earlier, on a dedicated hard drive and not a bootcamp partition.

Thanks in advance!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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10 Jul 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

On this forum, I'd guess the preferred software for that would be Macrium.

But most people would use imaging, rather than a clone, to protect against a possible drive failure.

Below is the cloning screen in Macrium 5.0 Free Edition.


Attached Thumbnails
Advice on how to create a bootable clone of my Windows 7 HD-untitled-1.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jul 2012   #3

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by daz1761 View Post
I have no partitions either, and I'm not fussed on having any on the Samsung, only if recommended though.
Give some thought to partitioning the 1T HD if you plan to start imaging your system. It will make that easier in the future. A system image will copy your system partition with the imaging software I've used.
Here's an example of what I'd do. But keep in mind if you have that 100mb Windows partition, ask about that here. I never dealt with it.
1. Install the 1tb.
2. Partition the 1tb with a 100gb partition, and a partition with all the rest.
Let's call them D: for the 100gb, and E: for the remaining 900gb. Your old drive is C:. You can set the D: as active when you partition. Don't know if Macrium will do that for you when you restore an image.
3. Move all the non-system files from the old drive C: to the new E:. If you don't already know, make sure you know what the system files are. If you installed programs into folders other than the default Win 7 install folders, leave them on C: This should get your old drive well below 60-70gb. Check C: properties to see what you have.
4. Install Macrium and make a system image of C:, putting it on E: Make 2 images if you really want to be safe. This is insurance, and getting familiar with Macrium.
Burn the Macrium recovery disk or use the WinPE Macrium disk whs put together. You can find it on this forum, so you could just burn that and and use the CD for all your imaging. It's a quick download and burn and works well.
5. In Win 7, shrink your C: to less than the size of your 100gb E: partition. 90gb should do. Most imaging tools won't restore to a smaller partition than the image was taken from.
6. Take another image (or 2) of your C: to the E: This is the image you will restore to the D:
7. Restore that image to the D: Since source and target is the same drive it will restore slower than "normal."
8. Reboot, and change your bios to point to the new drive active partition.
Should boot up, now named C:. Your old drive will now be E: You can then partition that that entire drive as a plain primary partition. It'll be good to keep images on, but if it's flaky you might want to replace it, and also get an external drive for a second image.
Just an outline there. Don't do anything you're not sure of. Don't want you lose data or your system. Ask here if you have a question. Lots of help here.
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11 Jul 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home 64bit
 
 

Quote:
3. Move all the non-system files from the old drive C: to the new E:. If you don't already know, make sure you know what the system files are. If you installed programs into folders other than the default Win 7 install folders, leave them on C:
Well, what can I say. Very helpful advice :-)

As I am so new to windows with a mac background, I am just wondering why an image is better than a clone? Its just on the mac Ive been cloning for years and all lincenced software, desktop alias, etc. have not been altered in the slightest, and you can boot up from the new disc by changing the startup options.

Anyway, I take it you mean non-system as in my dvd folder with all my films, and other media type stuff? Regarding programs, I've got very little so getting stuff on the C: drive to below 90GB should be fine :-)

Theres a problem regarding the bios as I dont think I can get near it as this computer is a MacPro. But there is a bootcamp startup alias on my desktop which enables me to get to all other bootable drives. If I can get to the bios, how do you do it?

Regarding Macrium, I've already downloaded it and fair doos it looks a nice bit of software so if this goes well I might just purchase it :-)

In the mean time, I will format my Samsung 1TB to MSdos on my mac laptop, then plug it into the MacPro via eSATA ready to format to NTFS!

Many thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jul 2012   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by daz1761 View Post

As I am so new to windows with a mac background, I am just wondering why an image is better than a clone? Its just on the mac Ive been cloning for years and all lincenced software, desktop alias, etc. have not been altered in the slightest, and you can boot up from the new disc by changing the startup options.

If I can get to the bios, how do you do it?

Regarding Macrium, I've already downloaded it and fair doos it looks a nice bit of software so if this goes well I might just purchase it :-)
Most people get by fine with the free version of Macrium; you probably won't have to buy anything.

Regarding the BIOS, what do you mean by "how do you do it"?

I think images are preferred because you can save images from a series of dates and are not stuck with a single date as on a cloned drive. Images typically take less than 10 minutes to make. You can choose which partitions to image and save them on any other drive. The only shortcoming is that they are not bootable as is, but they can be restored in a few minutes. Like clones, they don't have a 100% success rate.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jul 2012   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

daz1761,

As has been said, images are transportable since they are "simple" files.
You don't have to occupy a drive with the system partition (active, system).
It's just a simple file, that can be restored into a system.
Kind of like a dried, flattened sponge - just add water (image software) to make it usable. And like a sponge, an image can be compressed, making the file smaller so as to save space. I don't bother with that, because I have plenty of space and my system images are kept small, which is why I suggested you partition your new drive. It's an important initial consideration when setting up a new system drive if you intend to image. Which I encourage.
I have no experience with Macs, so can't help there.
Just remember to be careful how you go about it, so you don't lose data, or hose your system. I hate it when that happens.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jul 2012   #7

Windows 7 Home 64bit
 
 

Thats great thanks!

I can see how images can be a bit more useful, but I am now confused by the last post before yours (ignatzatsonic) saying that an image is not bootable, and both methods are unreliable? As far as data goes, I have nothing of importance other than my Microsoft collection (word, project, etc). But most importatly I am worried about my actual Windows 7 licence screwing up.

I will definatly stick to what you suggested: 100gb, then the rest so I can throw the images on, or maybe 150gb for D: and the rest for E: (is thats feasible with Macrium)

Regarding the BIOS, I meant how do you get into it, as in open in, access it?

Just literaly backing up my Samsung 1TB on my macbook then she's getting formatted!

Going back to Macrium, people say use the free one, but when I downloaded from their site it said 30 day trail, or am I missing something?

Many thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jul 2012   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Images are just files. They are not bootable. They need to be restored to be useful. When restored, the drive to which they are restored becomes bootable.

On a PC, you would get into the BIOS by holding a particular key down during the boot process. That might be F2 or delete. It varies by motherboard and OEM brand.

You must have downloaded a trial version of the paid Macrium.

Here is the free version:

http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx

Re reliability: it's probably above 90%, but this and any other tech forum has plenty of posts regarding failures.

So---hope they work and know what you will do if they don't. You need to have a plan B.

Re image restoration---Macrium requires you to make a bootable "recovery" disk. You boot from that to restore the image. If you cannot boot with that disc, you cannot restore.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jul 2012   #9

Windows 7 Home 64bit
 
 

Right!

Thats great!

Thanks for the link, I suppose if it does create an image file thats currupt, its no big deal as I will still have the original 320GB WD drive in tact! So when you say 90% you mean 90% it images properly or 90% as in once imaged and restored I could have a problem further down the line? If so I can always keep my 320GB drive safe, thats assuming that marcruim doesnt physically remove my Windows 7 licence whilst imaging.

Sorry for all the questions!

Iv'e formatted my 1TB so its all ready to be plugged in!

Silly questions, but how do you actually partition the disc. Iv'e formatted it but thats it so far...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jul 2012   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by daz1761 View Post
So when you say 90% you mean 90% it images properly or 90% as in once imaged and restored I could have a problem further down the line?
I mean that there is some chance that your image will not bail you out of whatever jam you might find yourself in---typically a failed hard drive or a badly corrupted Windows installation.

For whatever reason.

Reasonable people can differ on what the chance of failure is.


You likely wouldn't know it would fail until you got in a jam and attempted a restore. Maybe the image is corrupt. Maybe your recovery disk won't boot. Maybe it will boot, but you cannot see the image file or the target drive within the graphical interface. Maybe it will restore, but the restored image won't boot. Maybe it will boot, but not function properly.

The only purpose of imaging Windows is to save you time. No big deal. If it fails, you go to plan B and restore Windows manually.

I think Victor tests his images and in fact restores them after making the image file. On the other hand, I don't--I don't want to risk an overwrite of a C drive that is working well just to test my image.

You should certainly test your recovery disk to make sure it boots and to confirm that you can locate and identify your image files and your proposed destination drive for any restoration.

And you should back up your personal data (not Windows) through some method other than imaging.

I've made images for many years and never restored any of them. I've never had to and consider them only an emergency tool that may save me some time. If not, I have plan B.
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