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Windows 7: Questions about backup on windows 7. Wanting to test out win10

11 Aug 2015   #1
ringo14

Windows 7 and Vista basic
 
 
Questions about backup on windows 7. Wanting to test out win10

1.What's the best method of backing up? I never actual have backed up my laptop due to the fact I hardly ever mess around with it. I checked the windows 7 back up options and I am confused. I have an external hard drive(With around 12 gb left). Can I back it up to that? Or can I create a partition of lets say around 60 gb and back it up to that? Also what is the difference between a normal back up and an system image back up.


2.What back up should I use if I do not like win10 and want to downgrade and go back to how my win7 os was left. With all my personal files still in tack. Which backup would I need or does it matter?
Hope my questions make sense. TL;DR: Which backup should I use if I want to downgrade from win10 to win7 and have my windows 7 os remain the same before I did the update.

Running windows 7 ultimate 64 bit on a 500 gb hdd


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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11 Aug 2015   #2
Stevekir

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ringo14 View Post
1.What's the best method of backing up? I never actual have backed up my laptop due to the fact I hardly ever mess around with it. I checked the windows 7 back up options and I am confused. I have an external hard drive(With around 12 gb left). Can I back it up to that? Or can I create a partition of lets say around 60 gb and back it up to that? Also what is the difference between a normal back up and an system image back up.


2.What back up should I use if I do not like win10 and want to downgrade and go back to how my win7 os was left. With all my personal files still in tack. Which backup would I need or does it matter?
Hope my questions make sense. TL;DR: Which backup should I use if I want to downgrade from win10 to win7 and have my windows 7 os remain the same before I did the update.

Running windows 7 ultimate 64 bit on a 500 gb hdd
I rely on Windows 7's Backup and Restore, plus additional automatic backups of Pictures, Movies, Music and Documents and some other precious stuff, made to a 1 TB external USB drive by Second Copy (a backup program.)

W7's BU and Restore makes an image (a snapshot, called a System Image) of the C: drive. The idea is that if your C: drive gets heavily corrupted you load the system image on to the drive and get back to where you were when the system image was made (unless of course your C: drive is itself faulty, in which case you could install a new drive and load the system image on to it.). Because the system image is a block all-or-nothing thing rather then a set of your various files, you cannot choose to restore individual files separately. Go to Start button and type Backup. Choose Backup and Restore.

On my machine the system image is 146 GB in size, so your external HD with 12 GB left is far too small. Ext. USB drives are not expensive, even at 2 TB size.

With Windows 7's Backup and Restore you can create Restore Points now and again (Start > type system restore). These record the features of the OS at that time and allow you to return to that point later on if a fault occurs.

Moving from a Mac I was totally ignorant of the Windows world, but I bought a guide (Visual Quickstart Guide, there are others) which explained a lot. It takes time but it became clear. Incidentally, asking friends for advice was useless. All of them hadn't a clue on how Windows works and most of them knew nothing about backing up!. Microsoft's site has many excellent help files including on backups at:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/...%20Windows%207

I can't help on your second question, about reverting from 10 (backing up) to 7. Perhaps others could advise on whether a system image made in 10 could be used on 7 (I doubt it, because the systems must be significantly different.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2015   #3
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

I think you can go back from Win 10 to Win 7 by simply making choices in a menu in within Win 10 if you don't like it. I think that is good for 30 days. Can you decide on Windows 10 within 30 days? I think the term they use is "revert".

But you should make a system image of 7 before you move to Win 10 just in case. That would work indefinitely, not just for 30 days. I'd use Macrium.

"Backup" means different thing to different people.

A "system image" would include Windows and all of your applications. Other forms of backup might not.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

11 Aug 2015   #4
Stevekir

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
I think you can go back from Win 10 to Win 7 by simply making choices in a menu in within Win 10 if you don't like it. I think that is good for 30 days. Can you decide on Windows 10 within 30 days? I think the term they use is "revert".

But you should make a system image of 7 before you move to Win 10 just in case. That would work indefinitely, not just for 30 days. I'd use Macrium.

"Backup" means different thing to different people.

A "system image" would include Windows and all of your applications. Other forms of backup might not.
Many people advise using Macrium, but what does it offer extra to Windows 7's Backup and Restore, which allows you to make a System Image at any time?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2015   #5
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

I also highly recommend Macrium Reflect Free. Many people here on Seven forums have found it to be easier to use and more reliable than Windows Backup and Restore. I also find it more reliable than Windows Restore (the latter I could never get to work properly in Win 7).

While win 10 has a provision to allow one to roll back to the original OS for one month after the change to Win 10, I have seen several reports of people having problems doing so. It would be much safer to make an image with Macrium Reflect and save it to an external drive and make a rescue CD or USB stick (Macrium Reflect will do that for you) before you make the change to Win 10.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2015   #6
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Nothing wrong with Windows Backup and Restore.

If you understand it.

Some people do.

The rubber meets the road when you attempt a restore. Most people who "back up" have never done a restore. Many of them are in for a rude awakening, regardless of what imaging application they use. They post on this forum all the time after they have awakened from a false sense of security.

You certainly can't understand how to use an imaging application until you do a restore. Without that experience, the only purpose such applications have is to allow you to live in a Fool's Paradise, which has its merits.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Aug 2015   #7
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

One thing that's nice about Macrium Reflect is you can verify an image after making it. I have never had a verified image fail to restore. I've only had one image fail to verify and all I did was make another image and it verified.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Aug 2015   #8
Stevekir

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
Nothing wrong with Windows Backup and Restore.

If you understand it.

Some people do.

The rubber meets the road when you attempt a restore. Most people who "back up" have never done a restore. Many of them are in for a rude awakening, regardless of what imaging application they use. They post on this forum all the time after they have awakened from a false sense of security.

You certainly can't understand how to use an imaging application until you do a restore. Without that experience, the only purpose such applications have is to allow you to live in a Fool's Paradise, which has its merits.
I have thought about the Fools Paradise issue. I have been reluctant to do a restore from a system image for fear (based on years of desktop computing) that it won't work and I will be in trouble. Therefore, (my system is working perfectly) should I be brave and take the issue by the spherical objects and do a restore from a system image and get it out of my system?

A note: my C: drive is on an SSD while all my Documents, Pictures etc. are on the internal HD and also backed up externally. However, the SSD contains some important programs (Photoshop, InDesign, MS Office). I think I would need to re-install those (is that correct?) and that is another source of trouble (I have installation files).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Aug 2015   #9
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

A safer way to try it out would be to create an image of an external drive, saving the image on a drive in their computer, then delete everything on the external drive and try to restore the image made back to the external drive (one needs only a few files on the external drive to do the test which will keep the image size small and creation and restoration time short).

Some people create a test partition on one of the drives in their computers to test image restoration but that's too much work for me since I have plenty of unused 2.5" drives knocking about that I can use in a dock as guinea pigs.

When a restoration of your C: drive is successful, you will not need to reinstall your programs.

Since you mentioned that you already have your data segregated from your OS and programs, I would suggest imaging only your C: drive and using a folder/file syncing program to back up your data. Although imaging (or cloning) is necessary for backing up System files (OS and programs), using a folder/file syncing program is faster, more efficient, and requires less space than imaging.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Aug 2015   #10
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

see comments in bold:

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Stevekir View Post
I have been reluctant to do a restore from a system image for fear (based on years of desktop computing) that it won't work and I will be in trouble. Therefore, (my system is working perfectly) should I be brave and take the issue by the spherical objects and do a restore from a system image and get it out of my system?

"it won't work and I will be in trouble". If it won't work, would you rather know that now, when you are not under pressure and all hardware is working fine---or later, when you are in a jam with a failed hard disk?

Put another way: Is it better to be in a Fool's Paradise and be blissfully unaware of it or to be aware that you are, in fact, living in a Fool's Paradise?

Better to know or not know that, as a matter of fact, you don't really have car or medical insurance? etc etc.

You could certainly do this:

Make a temporary partition on your SSD. Call it F. Put something on it--pictures of your cat or whatever. Make an image of it. Restore that image to some other drive--an external, another internal, etc. Can you then find and open your cat pictures on this restored partition? If not, you don't have the know-how to restore an image of Windows.

This leaves aside the additional issue of whether or not your imaging application has in fact backed up the necessary files to restore Windows---as opposed to pictures of your cat. The cat pictures partition is not bootable, does not contain Windows, is not expected to ever be bootable, etc.

You could also make an image of your SSD, store the image on your external drive, then temporarily replace the SSD with a standard hard drive and try to restore the SSD image to the temporary internal and see if you can boot from it. Your SSD would be unharmed because you removed it for the test.


A note: my C: drive is on an SSD while all my Documents, Pictures etc. are on the internal HD and also backed up externally. However, the SSD contains some important programs (Photoshop, InDesign, MS Office). I think I would need to re-install those (is that correct?) and that is another source of trouble (I have installation files).

If I understand you correctly, no, that is not correct.

C is a partition. Not a drive. Images are typically made on a partition by partition basis. All partitions, some partitions, 2 of 5 partitions, etc. If you wanted to "make an image of everything on the drive", you'd have to select all partitions on that drive--one way or another, manually or automatically, knowingly or not. That in itself can lead to surprises for the uninitiated.

And images are typically of EVERYTHING on a partition. Not just some of it. Not just the Windows part. Not just the cat pictures. Not just the applications.

Therefore--if you in fact make an image of the C partition (who knows?), it will include EVERYTHING on C--Windows, cat pictures, applications, licensing information, minute details of the configuration, etc. Whatever is on C, in its entirety.

This is complicated by the fact that your so-called "system files" aka "Windows files" may not be just on C. It's up to you to know where they are and see to it that you have an image of that partition as well as C.

Windows Backup and Restore has its own idea of what the "system files" are and tries to include the partition on which they are found. I've only read about this, but it has confused some users. On the other hand, Macrium is more flexible and gives you direct control over what partitions are to be imaged.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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