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Windows 7: Best way to make mirror images of your HDD you can continue backups on

08 Oct 2012   #1
MetalMan228

Windows 7 professional 64 bit
 
 
Best way to make mirror images of your HDD you can continue backups on

Good morning all. I have a brand new HP desktop with Win7. The HD is very noisy and i want to make a mirror image of my HDD that as time goes along i can continue backing up as i add pictures, favorites etc. I would hate to have to make backup DVD's every week or so. My questions are:

1) Do i HAVE to have aftermarket (paid) software to do this?
2) Can i just use a suitable sized external HD, utilizing the built in backup program built into my PC's Windows 7 OS?

I would rather pay for an external HDD rather than for software i may need support from to get back up and running. If my HDD fails, as soon as i install the new HDD i want to be able to very quickly upload the mirror image to the new drive and be off.

Comments, thoughts, opinions wanted!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Oct 2012   #2
Golden
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64
 
 

Hi,

You definately do not require paid software, so spend any money on a good external HDD.

For user data, you could try this:

Download: SyncToy 2.1 - Microsoft Download Center - Download Details

For full system images, I recommend this:

Imaging with free Macrium

Regards,
Golden
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2012   #3
MetalMan228

Windows 7 professional 64 bit
 
 

Cool, i figured the external HDD was the way to go. I still would prefer to use the OEM Microsoft program though. It seems easy to use, with not a lot of variables an inexperienced user would get confused with. Plus, I could get all the killer support i needed right here on this forum!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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08 Oct 2012   #4
Golden
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64
 
 

If you find that easier, go for it The quality of the support is the same, regardless of software
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2012   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

The Windows7 built in imaging facility is full of surprises. It is my observation that half of the people that used it could not recover when needed. Some people got stuck so badly, that I was compelled to write a tutorial on how they could recover from that bad scenario with the use of free Macrium.

I therefore really advise that you go with the recommendations that Golden has given you - it is much safer and more reliable. In addition, I would create a seperate data partition for your use data. That would make backups easier and faster and the backup frequency on the system and the user data is usually different.

Just make sure that you check in disk management that you have a maximum of 3 primary partitions on your system. If, by chance, you have 4 primary partitions (which is quite frequent on new systems), you cannot create an additional partition before making some accomodations.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2012   #6
MetalMan228

Windows 7 professional 64 bit
 
 

OK whs, that's great information!! If the OE program is that touchy, i will use the Macrium. And what is the purpose of the separate data partition? And what do you mean by "data"? I posted a pic with my partitions too. Thanks guys for all the help, i'm almost there!


Attached Thumbnails
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My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2012   #7
Golden
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64
 
 

Hi,

Having a separate partition for data (photos, music, documents etc. etc. anything that is not explicitly system information) allows you to have a small C drive (system partition), which means imaging is very fast. For example, my images take about 12 minutes, start to end. Having large partitions takes far longer, with large resultant image files.

Regards,
Golden
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2012   #8
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

1. You could go ahead and create a data partition - you have only 3 primary partitions. Shrink a good chunk from the C partition for that and move the user data folders as explained in the tutorial.

2. As Golden explained, 2 partitions are more efficient. Another advantage is that you do not lose your data should you ever lose your system partition, you do not use your data. The system is always easy to replace (even if you have no images). But your data may be gone for good.

Another advantage is that you can backup system and data independently and depending on need. The updates of the system and the data usually do not occur at the same time. I image the data partition too, but for the data you can also use a sync program which would be faster.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2012   #9
MetalMan228

Windows 7 professional 64 bit
 
 

So if i have this right, if i make a data partition, i will have 4 different partitions that will all back up, (but at different times) to create the "mirror image"? And, assuming the worst case scenario, (which is what i am planning for) after the new HDD is installed i can reload all four partitions, and my PC would be as if nothing was ever wrong, correct? Oh, and can i save that video to my HDD? It is very stuttery and hard to watch.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Oct 2012   #10
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

The system partition (the small 100MB partition), you image only once because it never changes. Keep it in a seperate folder.

The recovery partition you can also backup once but because you will have the system images, you will probably never need it.

On a regular basis you backup the C partition with the OS and your data.

On your backup drive, create a seperate folder for each partition so that you know which is which.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Best way to make mirror images of your HDD you can continue backups on




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