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Windows 7: Backing up system before installing OS on laptop

30 Jul 2013   #1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
Backing up system before installing OS on laptop

Hey all.

I have a laptop that is currently running Windows 7 Ultimate x86 (32bit). The laptop has no optical drives and so I can only guess it has a copy of the OEM Windows on a partition on the 60GB SSD it uses. I want to format the laptop and try a Linux distro but I first want to make sure I have everything cloned/imaged so that if the Linux install is unsuccessful or I choose to revert back to the OEM Windows then I'll be able to do so. What can I do to ensure this? As I mentioned, it has no CD/DVD drive so I can't just pop my Windows disc in and install the same way I did with my desktop. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Let me know if there is any additional info required.

Thank you.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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30 Jul 2013   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

What was the original OS that came preinstalled on the laptop, and why is it currently running Ultimate which doesn't normally come preinstalled because it is an expensive higher version with just a few extra expensive features that almost no consumer needs? How is Ultimate activated?

If you want to preserve the current genuine Windows 7 install then save a Windows 7 backup image externally before installing Linux: Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

If your Linux distro doesn't work out then I'd wipe the SSD with Diskpart Clean Command and reinstall the licensed version provided here along with everything else you need to get a perfect Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jul 2013   #3

Win 7 Pro x64
 
 

Do yourself a favor. Get an extra hard drive for Linux. Then you have a fall back with no loss of anything. OR if the current hard drive is large enough, you can do a DUAL boot (its near automatic to do that way). I would NOT recommend formatting over your existing O.S. and hoping a clone or back up will work (unless you are very experienced with disk imaging or restoring back ups...
FWIW, I am comparing Mint and Ubuntu (64bit) on a separate Hard drive. Its been a few years, and those distro's have come a long way.
Both have recognized my home networked printer (cheap epson). Older distros failed on many printers working. Also, Mint is very much like Windoz as far as layout and so on. Ubuntu is laid out a tad different, but is easily adaptable. Maybe more friendly to do some things that Mint isnt set up for. (for instance, Ubuntu plays MP4 files, Mint is going to take some tweaking. Just too busy to invest the time right now.....
Ubuntu and Mint can do almost everything I do now on Win 7 Pro, but Im not ready to say G'bye to M.S. just yet..
PS Linux distros have 32 and 64 bit versions, and have Long Term Support versions vs versions that change fairly often. I opted this time to try the long term 64bit versions..
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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30 Jul 2013   #4

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Thank you both for the input and quick reply.

I have restored the laptop to the original Windows Home Premium that came with the laptop. It's actually the Toshiba Libretto W100. I'm studying computer science at university so I'm not totally new to computers but I do share the fear of totally destroying something because I didn't take the time to do research before fiddling around. My main worry is that I will lose the custom Toshiba software that gets installed with the Windows install. Normally I feel that pre-packed software is just bloatware, but it adds really nice features to enhance the touch experience (the Libretto is a laptop with 2 touch screens and no physical keyboard and trackpad). The Ultimate was from an anytime upgrade, so it just updated when the key was inserted.

I think I'll err on the side of caution this time. I'll create an image backup now that I have a fresh install and then get myself a self powered external HDD to install Linux on, while keeping Windows 7 on the SSD (I feel 60GB is a bit small for both Windows 7 and Linux and then the programs I need for my studies). I've dabbled a bit with Ubuntu and Mint and I'm gonna be wading a bit deeper into the Linux waters by trying Arch Linux. Got a couple mates at university running it and it really seems great (albeit somewhat more complicated than Ubuntu and Mint )

Thanks again for your help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jul 2013   #5

Win 7 Pro x64
 
 

Forgot to mention, Ubuntu or Linux will run off the DVD/DC without installing. Its a fair bit slower because of running of the RAM, and your settings arent saved nor any extra updates or addons. But you could get a flavor of how it works.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jul 2013   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by rosiesdad View Post
Forgot to mention, Ubuntu or Linux will run off the DVD/DC without installing. Its a fair bit slower because of running of the RAM, and your settings arent saved nor any extra updates or addons. But you could get a flavor of how it works.
Unfortunately, the Libretto has no optical drive and I don't have an external optical drive, so that isn't an option. But I'm running it on my desktop, so that's given me a good overview (although not an indication of performance on the laptop, however, I am sure the performance will be better than when I was running Windows 7 Ultimate )
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jul 2013   #7
Microsoft MVP

 

Since you went with Factory Recovery, I'd minimize it's overhead with these steps to Clean Up Factory Bloatware.

You can still get very close to keeping a Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 if you'll stick with only tools and methods in the tutorial which work best with Windows 7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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