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Windows 7: Validating or verifying an image

28 Apr 2015   #1
betaupsilon

Windows 7 Home Prem 32 bit
 
 
Validating or verifying an image

Hi all,
I used this tutorial (System Image - Extract Files Using Disk Management) to create a VHD of the image of my system. It worked quite easily. However, I wanted to compare that image against the source partition. I used WINMERGE to do the comparison, but the results were somewhat confusing because 1) there were a number of aborted attempts, & 2) the current system from which the image was created is in a constant state of flux as the computer is being used; hence, there will be system & Appdata files that have changed since the image was created.

Is there a better tool or procedure to gain confidence in the image other than actually doing a full restoration?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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28 Apr 2015   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

I use another product to make images, not Windows--but:

I wouldn't put a lot of faith in whatever verification or validation scheme you come up with. That is, I would not assume that "perfect" verification or "perfect" validation meant that I could be positive of a successful outcome if I ever needed to restore an image in a critical situation.

I'd put more faith in a test restoration. Not only because that may provide confidence that you have a restorable image, but also because doing a test will familiarize you with the restoration procedure and its choices.

Imaging is a complex process and it seems other things, perhaps never identifiable, can go wrong and defeat a successful restore. You can easily find instances where restoration failed with no explanation to be found.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 May 2015   #3
betaupsilon

Windows 7 Home Prem 32 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
I use another product to make images, not Windows--but:

I wouldn't put a lot of faith in whatever verification or validation scheme you come up with. That is, I would not assume that "perfect" verification or "perfect" validation meant that I could be positive of a successful outcome if I ever needed to restore an image in a critical situation.

I'd put more faith in a test restoration. Not only because that may provide confidence that you have a restorable image, but also because doing a test will familiarize you with the restoration procedure and its choices.

Imaging is a complex process and it seems other things, perhaps never identifiable, can go wrong and defeat a successful restore. You can easily find instances where restoration failed with no explanation to be found.
ignatzatsonic: What you say is entirely correct, but it would be nice to have an alternative & I think I have found one.

Attempting to verify an image against its source is tricky because 2 sticky impediments will hinder the process. The first is UAC priviledges. WINDOWS will fight every step into scanning into protected directories such as \Windows\System32. The 2nd is while attempting to do the comparison while logged into the very system of the source drive the system acts almost as a living entity. During the process many system files are open and constantly changing.

What I have found is BEYOND COMPARE can operate within the WIN-PE mode. This circumvents the impediments previously discussed. To use this tool you want to mount the VHD file of your image via command prompt per Windows 7: Virtual Hard Drive VHD File - Create and Start with at Boot. Now BEYOND COMPARE can be run if installed on a USB flash drive to compare the VHD against the source system drive.

Maybe someone will find this handy as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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