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Windows 7: Disk Imaging Questions & Advice?

18 Jan 2013   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 
Disk Imaging Questions & Advice?

Hello denizens of SevenForums. :)

I have recently decided, after nearly 1 year since installing this copy of Windows 7, that it might be in my best interests to take a disk image of my Windows C: partition for backup purposes as I had never did so before. My experiences thus far over the years have largely been disk cloning when I was moving between computers, never handled disk imaging before!

Having read up on the topics here and using what I'd learned from having gone about disk cloning, I've learned that there are a variety of programs available to facilitate my endeavor such as Acronis and Macrium. After much deliberation, I settled on using Acronis because I use Western Digital HDDs and I am thus allowed access to the free version of Acronis that WD distributes to WD HDD owners like myself; I'd also used Acronis before for cloning HDDs and I am thus comfortable with their name to some extent.

I used Acronis to disk image my laptop's Windows C: partition as a sort of smoke test, as the data on the laptop is largely non-essential to me, and I noticed a few things about Acronis and its disk imaging routine:

1. Acronis installs a number of services on Windows. I had noticed this before on my Windows XP machine when I'd installed Maxtor's version of Acronis many years ago to clone HDDs. Are these services detrimental in anyway to Windows? I would presume not, especially since my XP machine I referred to is still going strong and seeing as Acronis appears to have quite the good reputation as well, but I've always been skeptical of third-party services.

2. I had expected that when I told Acronis to image C: that Acronis would shut down my laptop and it would image the drive after rebooting and before booting up Windows. However, what Acronis did instead was lock C: and then image the partition right then and there. I know what locking a partition means and I would be unconcerned if this were just some data partition, but C: is a Windows system partition and I am uncertain whether allowing Acronis to lock the Windows C: partition while Windows is running would be safe for Windows in the long term. Any advice regarding this?

Are there also any caveats and "gotcha!" moments that I should be on the look out for with disk imaging and recovering from disk images? I am largely clueless as to the finer workings here, so I am looking to be enlightened and educated by the experienced folks here for present and future endeavors. Thank you in advance for reading and possibly giving me a hand. :D

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Jan 2013   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Are you very sure acronis does lock C?! So windows doesn't respond at all then?

Can you post a screenshot of diskmanagment?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Jan 2013   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Acronis users shapshots to make backups on a running system
Acronis Backup & Recovery 11: Using Microsoft VSS instead of Acronis VSS | Knowledge Base
  • It initiates a snapshot.
  • Everything written to disk will automatically trigger: write old contents to snapshot.
  • acronis backups the snapshot
See it as a photo as it is at point of starting backup.... that will be backupped. You can backup C drive on a live system.

It's the same way "restore points" work. Sort of rollback mechanism.

Of course it's always better to backup from recovery CD/DVD
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Jan 2013   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Thank you very much Kaktussoft, that puts my mind to rest on that part. Acronis had written in its log that it was "locking" the partition when it was imaging the partition, so I assumed it had did what it said; Windows continued to operate normally however, which was why I was unsettled about it on top of already being unsettled about apparently locking the system partition on a running OS!

What would you say about the Windows services that Acronis installs? Are they of no concern? Alternatively to installing Acronis directly on this machine, could I take a recovery CD burned from the copy of Acronis on my laptop and use that to image (and later possibly recover) my main computer's drives without installing Acronis?

Thanks again for the speedy reply. :D
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jan 2013   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by King Arthur View Post
Thank you very much Kaktussoft, that puts my mind to rest on that part. Acronis had written in its log that it was "locking" the partition when it was imaging the partition, so I assumed it had did what it said; Windows continued to operate normally however, which was why I was unsettled about it on top of already being unsettled about apparently locking the system partition on a running OS!

What would you say about the Windows services that Acronis installs? Are they of no concern? Alternatively to installing Acronis directly on this machine, could I take a recovery CD burned from the copy of Acronis on my laptop and use that to image (and later possibly recover) my main computer's drives without installing Acronis?

Thanks again for the speedy reply.
Yes you can (and must... in case of failing OS partition) use the rescue CD. acronis can backup as well from it. But can rescue CD access usb3.0 and usb2.0 ports (to see your external disk)?

This tells you all Acronis Backup & Recovery 11: Using Acronis Media Builder to Build WinPE with Acronis Plug-In | Knowledge Base
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jan 2013   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Thanks for the link, will report back if I still have any questions and whatnot. For the time being I'll mark this topic as solved. :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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