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Windows 7: Backing up/Reinstalling OS on a Netbook

18 Sep 2012   #1

Backing up/Reinstalling OS on a Netbook


Here's what I would like to do, maybe it's not possible but thought I'd ask.

I have two netbooks here. One I'm keeping and the other I'm giving to a friend. The one I want to keep has no operating system on at present, it used to have XP but now the HD is clean. The one I'm letting my friend have has Windows 7 starter edition. My friend is not interested in Windows 7 so I will remove the OS before I let go of it.

Now the license agreement EULA allows the OS to be installed on one PC only at a time so in legal terms it's possible for me to wipe the OS from one PC and reinstall it on the one I'm keeping.

The problem is the Netbook did not come with installation CD's nor has it an optical drive. I believe there is a sort of "system reinstallation" utility on the drive, on a separate partition I believe.

Is there a way I can back up the Win 7 OS before I reformat the drive and reinstall it on the other PC. I'd have to make an install flash drive to boot from but that's the easy part. My concern is can i back up the existing OS to create an install CD/flash? I have the use of a fully functional desktop PC as well if that would help.

Thaks for any advice.


My System SpecsSystem Spec

18 Sep 2012   #2

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit

Hi TrishC,

Welcome to SevenForums.

You are allowed to install one OS on one machine - yes - and in respect of OEM machines only on that machine and that OS that came preinstalled on that one machine. You cannot transfer the OS to a different machine. It will not work. Forget about it. Install XP on the machine that came with it and let Windows 7 remain where it belongs to and tied to.( Well, you may buy a new Windows 7 with a valid licence and install it on your machine provided it passes the hardware compatibility test to run Windows 7)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2012   #3


OK well I take your point. I'll have to obtain a new version of Win 7 to install on the machine I want to keep. I presume there are versions for installing from a flash? or would I have to create one since there is no optical drive.

But this raises another question then. On a netbook with the OEM version of the OS installed what would happen if the HD either failed or became corrupted so you couldn't recover it? Am I correct in assuming that you'd be well and truelly screwed since you don't have install disks?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

18 Sep 2012   #4

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

For installation if you have access to another PC this may help
USB Windows 7 Installation Key Drive - Create

Re the netbook: a full system image of all partitions will protect you. You can restore these to your existing HDD if something screws up or to a new HDD if your current one fails. For this I would recommend:
Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download
It is free and very popular with members.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2012   #5

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

You will be pleased to learn that we have several excellent tutorials on installing Win 7.

To locate and view, these tutorials:
Go to the Tutorials section of SevenForums, use the built-in search feature.
Here is a snip showing the search box.

Backing up/Reinstalling OS on a Netbook-sf-tutorial-search.png

You will also find that we have excellent tutorials on making a system image backup and restoring such using the Windows 7 Backup and Restore which comes with Win 7
Here is the excellent tutorial that shows just how simple and easy this is:
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2012   #6

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

For general OS imaging Windows inbuilt works fine for me but not for some. To fully image an OEM HDD you are likely to have partitions which Windows will not image (eg. Recovery, tools). Free Macrium Reflect will allow you to image all partitions and restore all partitions (eg. including recovery, tools etc) to a new HDD. The new HDD will look exactly like the original. For a video tutorial:
Imaging with free Macrium
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2012   #7

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

Windows Backup and Restore will successfully image ALL partitions. One must simply put a checkmark by them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2012   #8

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

OEM Recovery, tools ... partitions generally don't have a letter attached (for good reason) and the recovery partition can be hidden. Windows needs a partition which has a letter attached and is not hidden. Also, with Windows inbuilt you cannot restore a partition without restoring the OS partition as well. In short Windows imaging is quite restrictive but fine for normal OS recovery.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2012   #9

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

I've never had a problem on any system.
I've found Win 7Backup and Restore to be extremely easy to use.

Incidentally you can restore just a partition although that is not the normal usage.
Win 7 uses VHD files, thus allowing many possibilities.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2012   #10

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

We're going around in circles KarlS. I know Windows is easy to use - I use it all the time. It will not image hidden (recovery) partitions like I have needed to do on an ACER machine.

It would be interesting if you could give us the instructions for doing an image restore from just a vhd file. I think wbadmin still requires the WindowsImageBackup folder structure to be intact.
Ironically, when you cannot auto locate your image it is third party software that can come to the rescue. Paid Acronis can often do it and you can use Macrium in a round about fashion to recover the vhd image.

Edit: By the way in case you are confused - mounting a vhd is NOT restoring an image.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Backing up/Reinstalling OS on a Netbook

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