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