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Windows 7: Basic questions on Windows 7 native backup and restore


05 Mar 2013   #1

DELL Win 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 
Basic questions on Windows 7 native backup and restore

I have some basic Win 7 Home Premium questions re creating/restoring IMAGES of my C drive ( and hidden partitions) using native Windows backup and restore. Never really used it before as I use other software instead, but wanted to explore this option a bit further:

QUESTIONS:

1) When I created my first image, it created a directory , with mutliple files ( one large 32 GB one and many timy ones. I assume this is normal?

2) I note the directory name was time stamped, so I assume this means that every subsequent time I create an image, it will create another new directory and new set of files.....(and that I would need to manaually delete the old images if start running out of space). Is that correct?

3) Can the creation of Windows system images be scheduled?? I know the file-by-file backups can, but I didnt see anything similar for images.

4) Suppose my bootable hard drive crashed, and I buy a new drive. How do I restore the image. Is the system repair disc bootable??? and does it prompt me to pick an image??

Thanks.


My set up is as follows

Windows 7 Home Premium, SP1

Disk 0 ( my main drive)
-bootable
-hidden partiion
-C: partiton ( for the opeartions sytem, paaas, user profiles and settings)
-D: partition( for personal user data files)
Disk 1 (my internal backup drive)
-not bootable
-contains copies of system image of the hidden and C: drive (using Windows system image)
-contains copies of system image of the hidden and C: drive (using EaseUs)
-contains copies of my data files ( using Vice Versa)
An external USB drive
-not bootable
-contains time staggered copies of system image of the hidden and C: drive (using EaseUs)
-contains time staggered copies of my data files ( using Vice Versa)
Other machines and standalone hard drive literral yon the shelf
-contains older copies of system image of the hidden and C: drive (using EaseUs)
-contains older copies of my data files ( using Vice Versa)
Other software
-Store bought* Windows 7 SP1 OEM install DVD
-Windows 7 SP1* DVS created from Digital Reiver ISO file
-Windows 7 sytem repair disk
*Machine is Dell XPS 8500, whihc came with WIndows 8. It is now running Windows 7;

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

05 Mar 2013   #2
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Hello mediaman,

In Windows 7, you have two distinctive backup options.
Windows Backup = To back up all files in selected folders, and restore any file from the backup. You also have the option to include creating a system image. This can all be done an automatic schedule if you like.

System Image = To manually completely back up and restore selected drives/volumes.
Quote:
1) When I created my first image, it created a directory , with mutliple files ( one large 32 GB one and many timy ones. I assume this is normal?
System images are saved as backup periods in the WindowsImageBackup folder where saved to. The blue Note box at the top of the tutorial can give you more details about this.

Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
Quote:
2) I note the directory name was time stamped, so I assume this means that every subsequent time I create an image, it will create another new directory and new set of files.....(and that I would need to manaually delete the old images if start running out of space). Is that correct?
Each new system image created will create a new Backup YYYY-MM-DD-hh-mm-ss folder in the WindowsImageBackup\(ComputerName) folder.

The same note box above can give you more details on this as well.
Quote:
3) Can the creation of Windows system images be scheduled?? I know the file-by-file backups can, but I didnt see anything similar for images.
Sure can. You could use Windows Backup instead, select to include a system image (step 9), and set it to run on a schedule for when you like.
Quote:
4) Suppose my bootable hard drive crashed, and I buy a new drive. How do I restore the image. Is the system repair disc bootable??? and does it prompt me to pick an image??
The system image should be saved to a separate hard drive than the one Windows is installed on to be able to restore the image to another hard drive if the Windows hard drive should ever die.

The tutorial below can help show you how to do a system image recovery.

System Image Recovery
Hope this helps,
Shawn
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2013   #3

DELL Win 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

Many thanks for pulling this together. Will study the tutorials further...before asking any follow-ups!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


05 Mar 2013   #4
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

You're most welcome. Please feel free to ask anything you like.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2013   #5

 
 

You could always schedule a system image (sole, not associated with any file/folder backups) by using Task Scheduler and issuing the WBADMIN command (within a .bat script file) with the appropriate parameters.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Mar 2013   #6

Windows 7 x64 Ultimate SP1
 
 

Just to add one nice piece of information - I backed up my Windows 7 installation to system images (both disks, the whole partition map) when I had to RMA my laptop. I received the model with the same specs, but some parts were, well, slightly different. My RMAd disks (Seagate ST9640320AS) were using the old 512 byte disk sector technology. The 'new' disks (ST9640423AS) were using new Advanced Format (AF) technology (4096 byte sectors).

I restored, booting from the disc created during backup and restored all my partitions to both my disks. And guess what - all the partitions are properly aligned.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Mar 2013   #7

DELL Win 7 Home Premium 64 Bit
 
 

For what its worth, the visual below summarizes my backup/restore strategy.

Over the years I've tired and considered various approaches ; they each have pros and cons re levels of adequacy, ease of use, speed, skills set required, personal preference, risk cost, etc Clearly no one-size fits-all.


I just wanted to share what works for me. As I get older:
  • my time is getting more precious - want to minimize the hours rebuilding failed systems
  • my patience is getting more scarce - I get frustrated easily when I hit the downward spirals and I don't want to ever worry about losing critical data ( I have been extraordinary lucky these past thirty years so I must be doing something right)
  • my levels of trust is diminishing - some of the best laid plans dont work at the very time you need them ; I want multiple levels of redundancy and flexibility for the unforeseen.
I am not necessarily advocating keeping it simple, just want to keep understandable. Visual attached is where I am at now. Its far from perfect for many, but for me, it structured, understandable and has the right balance of redundancy, automation, and options when things don't go according to plan

Thought I would share, maybe it will help even one person some grief.

Also wanted to acknowleledge that when I have gotten in trouble in the past (mainly on the Windows re-installs), this group has certainly saved me. And I dont think there is any doubt that the forum provides the best turorials on the planet. All to say, its a good place to hang out!

Mediaman

Basic questions on Windows 7 native backup and restore-backup_strategy.jpg


My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Mar 2013   #8
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

That's a real nice layout of your backup strategy, and it's a great plan.

I've removed your email address you had at the top left corner in your screenshot here, but you might also want to on the hosting site you have the image uploaded to.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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