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Windows 7: Macrium Reflect Free, AHCI, IDE system backup & restore


15 Mar 2014   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit SP1 (x2. Dual Boot)
 
 
Macrium Reflect Free, AHCI, IDE system backup & restore

Hi,

I have just upgraded my system and am now using a single Windows 7 install on a Samsung SSD hard drive. This was installed and running under AHCI rather than IDE which I was previously used to. This is for the performance benefits of Sata/SSD from what I can understand.

I know that I can't just switch to IDE any time I want as Windows 7 will no longer boot due to the mode the BIOS was set to during windows installation.

I am trying to get to grips with the best and cleanest way to backup my system drive correctly using Macrium Reflect Free. Previously I would use a "popular" boot disc and run my backup and restores from within a Windows XP boot environment.

This can obviously not see my drives when set to AHCI as XP is older and I would have to set my BIOS to IDE in order for me to see them in XP boot environment.

My first question is could I change my BIOS to IDE just to boot into XP boot disc and see my drives, run Macrium Reflect Free, create a full backup of my system drive, restore this from here, change my BIOS back to AHCI and have a successful system boot?

My assumption is no because Win 7 was installed when set to AHCI and I would assume when Macrium restores with the BIOS set to IDE, it will cause an issue when I set back to AHCI, no?
I'm not really sure about the processes Macrium goes through during restore.

My only other ideas are to give the Macrium boot disc/usb utility a go and hope this can see my system drive when set to AHCI and hope this can create and restore images without any problems. I did have problems using this method on my last system which was the reason I opted for an XP boot disc.

Failing that, maybe create another temp partition and install a new fresh temp Win 7 install, install Macrium and restore my system drive, then remove this partition and temporary win 7 install. Hoping here I would not accidently create a dual boot system.

Does anyone have any advice or clarifications about how this stuff would work, particularly Macrium and AHCI/IDE issues in a boot disc environment?

Much appreciated.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

15 Mar 2014   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Forget about your "popular boot disc". Not sure what it is, but it's irrelevant.

You should make and use a boot disk within Macrium itself. There are 2 types offered: Linux and Win PE. The latter is preferred--less likely to not boot and more intuitive. Look at your Macrium menus and you'll easily find both methods.

The AHCI thing is not a factor as far as I've ever known or heard. It's not an issue in Macrium. The image file you create will contain the AHCI setting if you are using AHCI and the restored image will contain AHCI as well.

Your first task after making the boot disk is to confirm that it is in fact bootable. If it isn't, you can't restore and any image file you have is useless.

If you use the Win PE boot disk and re-boot from it, you will land at a Macrium window that looks exactly like a Macrium window when started from your hard drive. You then locate your previously made image file and select where it is to be restored. Entire process takes maybe 20 minutes on a smallish Windows installation.

The process can fail for whatever reason, so you need to have a plan B in case that happens.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2014   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit SP1 (x2. Dual Boot)
 
 

Cheers,

I'm hesitant to mention the exact boot disc as i'm not sure if it will breech forum rules - bit of a debate about the legal status of it.

I think I can only use PE in the paid version right? I first want to understand if I can achieve what I want to do with the free version before paying for the PE feature.

I remeber it was the Linux boot I created that caused me a headache the last time but I can't remember the particulars of it. It was enough to warrant looking for another solution.

So from what you are saying, which I was hoping is that Macrium isn't dependant (doesn't care) what the BIOS is set because the AHCI, IDE setting is set within the image / windows installation itself when I installed Win 7?

Am I right to think Macrium is essentialy just copying and restoring every single system file and not much more meaning it doesn't care about AHCI or IDE?

This would mean I could achieve what I want to do within the XP boot environemnt and BIOS in temporary IDE mode - backing up and restoring the image, set back to AHCI and boot without problem.

I guess this is my preference because I have had successful backup and restores from within this environment on my old system so feel comfortable with it.

I could give the Linux boot another try if it is both intuitive and stable enough but from the sounds of it, the actual environment Macrium runs from isn't of huge concern as long as it can backup and restore successfully.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


15 Mar 2014   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-Bit - Build 7600 SP1
 
 

Macrium is a solid product and I have never had it fail. It does Restores flawlessly. A second plan is never a bad idea.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2014   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-Bit - Build 7600 SP1
 
 

Am I right to think Macrium is essentialy just copying and restoring every single system file and not much more meaning it doesn't care about AHCI or IDE?

When it makes the image, it is compressed. When you restore, the compressed file is copied to you drive and uncompressed. It is not actually file for file.

This would mean I could achieve what I want to do within the XP boot environemnt and BIOS in temporary IDE mode - backing up and restoring the image, set back to AHCI and boot without problem.

I don't quite follow the switching back to IDE and then back to AHCI?

I guess this is my preference because I have had successful backup and restores from within this environment on my old system so feel comfortable with it.

I could give the Linux boot another try if it is both intuitive and stable enough but from the sounds of it, the actual environment Macrium runs from isn't of huge concern as long as it can backup and restore successfully.

You can use either Win PE or Linux on the free version of Macrium. I use the free version and it works well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2014   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit SP1 (x2. Dual Boot)
 
 

I agree Macrium free seems solid and has worked well for me in the past. I paid for Acronis years ago and it caused me a lot of problems so was glad when I discovered Macrium.

The AHCI - IDE switching is only when I would use my Mini-XP boot disc instead of the rescue boot discs created from Macrium. This is in order to detect my hard drives which it does not under AHCI.

I may or may not have to do this switching if I used Linux or PE boot discs too but I would assume these would detect my drives under AHCI.

My windows 7 SSD installation has two partitions to it - the normal primary and a 100mb EFI system. Is there anything I need to look out for when creating and restoring image of this SSD drive?

I mark as Primary as normal then simply restore to that drive right?

Thanks for your help guys.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2014   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

See comments in bold:

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MrJWilson View Post

I'm hesitant to mention the exact boot disc as i'm not sure if it will breech forum rules - bit of a debate about the legal status of it.

I wouldn't mention it. But you don't need it, whatever it is.


I think I can only use PE in the paid version right?

Wrong. I use Win PE on the free version. See Macrium web site for delineation of features in each version. Possible but unlikely you'd need or want paid version

I remeber it was the Linux boot I created that caused me a headache the last time but I can't remember the particulars of it. It was enough to warrant looking for another solution.

Headache might have been that it wouldn't boot. You need to confirm repeat confirm it will boot. Win PE more version more likely to boot. Driver issues are usually why it wouldn't boot.

So from what you are saying, which I was hoping is that Macrium isn't dependant (doesn't care) what the BIOS is set because the AHCI, IDE setting is set within the image / windows installation itself when I installed Win 7?

Correct. I use AHCI and have never heard even the slightest hint that AHCI/IDE is a factor whatsoever.

Am I right to think Macrium is essentialy just copying and restoring every single system file and not much more meaning it doesn't care about AHCI or IDE?

Yes, but not just "system files". As I understand it, it copies sectors on the HD rather than files per se. Including all configuration details, licensing info, pictures of your cat, whatever is on the selected partitions. You could image a partition that contained data only, not Windows. You can access individual files within the image file if need be, but it's not a reliable way to back up data precisely because imaging isn't foolproof.


This would mean I could achieve what I want to do within the XP boot environemnt and BIOS in temporary IDE mode - backing up and restoring the image, set back to AHCI and boot without problem.

I guess this is my preference because I have had successful backup and restores from within this environment on my old system so feel comfortable with it.

I'm not clear on these references to XP boot environment or "temporary IDE mode". Never used Macrium on XP, but assume it would work. The "environment" you'd restore from would be the environment you are presented with when you boot from the boot disk. Whatever that is. Full stop. After restore, you'd be in whatever state the system was in at the time the image was made. Full stop. With the understanding that imaging can fail for whatever reason, known or unknown. Know what you will do when that happens.

I could give the Linux boot another try if it is both intuitive and stable enough but from the sounds of it, the actual environment Macrium runs from isn't of huge concern as long as it can backup and restore successfully.


Why use Linux when Win PE is more reliable/likely to boot? Linux method on screen display is a bit cryptic with brief instructions. Win PE method looks just like Windows and perfectly intuitive. But you need to confirm Win PE disk will boot as you would with Linux disc.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2014   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MrJWilson View Post

My windows 7 SSD installation has two partitions to it - the normal primary and a 100mb EFI system. Is there anything I need to look out for when creating and restoring image of this SSD drive?

I mark as Primary as normal then simply restore to that drive right?

Thanks for your help guys.
You need to image that EFI partition if it is marked as "active" in Windows Disk Management. I suspect it contains your boot files. An image of C alone would not be bootable if restored.

You can include C and EFI in the same image file or in separate image files. If separate, you'd need to image EFI only once and you'd have to restore it separately when the time comes. If combined, just include EFI and C in the same image file each time you want to make a new backup.

If the SSD is properly aligned now, any restored image of it should also be properly aligned, but you can check it and correct it.

You don't need to mark anything as primary. If C is already primary, any restoration of its image will already be primary.

Think of imaging in terms of partitions not drives.

You need to be careful to restore to the right location. If you choose the wrong destination, you could over-write a data partition. As I recall, you can't rely on drive letters to indicate proper locations in Linux environment---you'd have to be able to ID partitions on some other basis, such as size. I don't think Win PE has that issue, but be careful regardless.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2014   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit SP1 (x2. Dual Boot)
 
 

I'm refering to Hirens Boot CD as an XP environment to run Macrium from (feel free to edit or remove this mention - sorry. my vagueness was causing confusion).

It was something I was comfortable using as a computer novice and never had problems booting it and running Macrium from it other than detecting drives under AHCI.

I see from what you are saying that the in built Win PE will work fine anyway so I proberbly wouldn't need anything else, provding PE boots up fine and drivers are loaded.

I think I remember the issue being that PE only lets you restore an image, not create it. You have to create it within Windows 7 itself unless this has changed? None of that should be an issue to me now anyway but my old system was running dual boot so I prefered to create the backup images without being in one of the Windows 7 system itself if that makes sense.

I somehow assumed this way was "cleaner" and likely to render a backup image that would restore without problem.

Thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Mar 2014   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

LOL. We know what Hiren's is.

Macrium and other popular imaging programs will make their own boot media. You will be ok with that.

You might be better using the little utility I made to create your winpe.

here


It will include macrium if you have it installed, as well as a number of other popular programs, so you can have them all on one bot disc/usb. It also includes the windows recovery options and a few other goodies.

My own preferred imaging program is Aomei backupper , the best free one. You can use macrium if you like, it works fine too.You may as well install a partitioning program so that can be included on your winpe.

Aomei partition assistant is good and comes in both bit versions, so it is worth having that. Partition guru is the other freebie that comes in both bit versions.You can include that as well, if you like.

FREE Backup software for Windows 7, 8 and Server 2008 R2, 2012


Free Partition Manager - AOMEI Partition Assistant Standard


Recover deleted files, Partition manager and Windows backup - PartitionGuru
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Macrium Reflect Free, AHCI, IDE system backup & restore




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