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Windows 7: Can you restore the C drive by just copying files

21 Apr 2013   #1
Tomtom111

Windows 7 Professional SP1 x64
 
 
Can you restore the C drive by just copying files

Hi,

I was wondering if I copied all the contents of the C drive to an external drive, and something when wrong with the C drive, could you restore the files by copying them from the external drive to the C drive partition (in Linux running from a DVD for instance) and when you boot into windows, would it work normally. I'm ignoring windows backup or any other backup solution for now, just wondering what would happen if you just copy and pasted the files back to the C drive.

Thanks,
Tom


My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2013   #2
PSCO2007

Windows 7 Professional X64
 
 

You can't just copy - nothing would work, as far as programs,OS)
You can copy pictures and such and that would be OK.
You have to do a backup, and I don't know why you are not doing so.

That is a recipe for disaster.

I use Acronis Trueimage DiscWizard | Seagate

The program is free if you have a Seagate or Maxtor HDD.
You can also get the program free if you have W a WD HDD WD Support

You create a boot cd (from the program) and if your comp won't boot, the cd will bring up your backup locations and will restore your comp exactly as it was.

BTW - less space is needed on the backup drive because the backup is compressed -My C drive backup is only 21GB complete.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2013   #3
Tomtom111

Windows 7 Professional SP1 x64
 
 

I'm not actually doing that, I'm using windows backup to backup my files, I was just wondering if it would work because all the files would be there for everything to work- so why wouldn't it?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2013   #4
PSCO2007

Windows 7 Professional X64
 
 

I'm confused.

You said you were NOT using a backup program.
You can copy to an external HDD, but if you are talking about a System crash and restoring from that - it will not work.

Download the program I mentioned and put that on your external HDD.


If you have a crash, you can easily restore your C drive - programs, OS, and all.

Make a boot cd (from program instructions) and if your comp won't boot, the cd will bring up your Recovery location(s) and you'll be back in business quickly.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2013   #5
LMiller7

Windows 7 Home Premium 32 bit
 
 

The problem with simply copying the files on the C: drive is that not all files will be copied. There are critical system files, including the registry, that are locked for exclusive access and cannot be copied. Without a valid registry you have no hope of restoring the system to a workable state.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Apr 2013   #6
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

It's entirely possible for that to be done and if done correctly it WILL WORK. However, problem is to do that correctly. For the copy to be done correctly, you must do that from outside the OS, from that Linux you name for example, but anything that can read/write to NTFS will do. And watch out for that hidden 100MB partition many Windows installs have, you must copy that too (the external OS must be able to see it).
Apart from copying all that, you must be able to regenerate the boot sector of the HD too (the only thing that isn't in a file). Again, booting from another OS you can run some tool to install the bootcode for Windows 6.x there. The Windows install CD is also a viable option.

Anyway, I don't think that such a "brute force" backup is preferable. It's possible, sure, but often more serious backup programs or strategies are better.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2013   #7
cyrilhubert

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

The answer is no. Copying all the contents of the C drive to an external drive, and when something goes wrong with the C drive, you just copy everything back and hope it works. Not possible, dear! The technology is not here yet. MS will not make life easier for all of us.

You cannot restore the files by copying them from the external drive to the C drive partition (in Linux running from a DVD for instance) and when you boot into windows, it would not work normally.
The registry is damaged, boot up items damaged, and drivers damaged. You have not repaired them. How is your PC going to work.?
Your copying did not include these working items.

Imaging the drive, yes. Copying, no. Try imaging.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2013   #8
Tomtom111

Windows 7 Professional SP1 x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by LMiller7 View Post
The problem with simply copying the files on the C: drive is that not all files will be copied. There are critical system files, including the registry, that are locked for exclusive access and cannot be copied. Without a valid registry you have no hope of restoring the system to a workable state.
Best answer!

This entire thing was just about can it be done, not I want to do it. I'm am not or want to use that method. I use Windows Backup to backup my files. I was just curious if it were possible, and as it turns out it isn't.
Just one more question: even if I show all hidden system files, would it still not work.

Sorry for the confusion I have caused. Didn't mean to!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Apr 2013   #9
benjy206

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Tomtom111 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by LMiller7 View Post
The problem with simply copying the files on the C: drive is that not all files will be copied. There are critical system files, including the registry, that are locked for exclusive access and cannot be copied. Without a valid registry you have no hope of restoring the system to a workable state.
Best answer!

This entire thing was just about can it be done, not I want to do it. I'm am not or want to use that method. I use Windows Backup to backup my files. I was just curious if it were possible, and as it turns out it isn't.
Just one more question: even if I show all hidden system files, would it still not work.

Sorry for the confusion I have caused. Didn't mean to!
No even the hidden system files will not work.

You could make a ghost copy of your OS which will work and plenty of other things but no you cannot do what your asking. Keep doing it with Windows Backup or another program and you will be fine
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Apr 2013   #10
Tomtom111

Windows 7 Professional SP1 x64
 
 

Thanks for answering my questions, sorry again about the confusion.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Can you restore the C drive by just copying files




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