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Windows 7: System Image - what does it not include?


14 Nov 2009   #1

W7 Home Premium
 
 
System Image - what does it not include?

Below is my understanding of creating a System Image Backup..please correct where I am wrong.

Creating a system image makes an exact "image" of your hard drive and backs up all of the following..

- OS settings and configuration (but NOT the actual OS)
- C drive data (including all files such as pictures, music, movies..etc.)
- All Programs in loaded on the OS such as MS Word, Excel, Itunes etc.

The reason I ask....is the actual back-up image file I created was quite a bit smaller than what my current hard drive stated that my "used" space was.
For example..my Hard drive shows 59 gig used...but the Backup System Image file was only 39 Gig.

Please let me know what I am missing.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Nov 2009   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

I don't use Windows System Image - but most image programs will image the entire contents of the drive - except the o/s auxilliary files ( pagefile and hibernation file) and shadow copies ( restore points).


That makes it quite a bit smaller.

It will include the entire o/s.

After restoring the image - you should be able to boot straight into it
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2009   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, clean install, upgrade disc
 
 

I think you are confusing system restore, with system image; two different things. System restore does not include any personal information, files, email etc. System image is everything on your backed up drive. It is a clone, an exact copy.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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14 Nov 2009   #4
Microsoft MVP

 

There is compression in the Windows 7 Backup Image. It includes whatever partitions you check when you Create an Image. It reimages the exact image back onto the hard drive or a replacement. You cannot pick and choose what files or features to save in an image, only when backing up files (which is also included in the Backup Center).

On each of my computers, I make a primary formatted partition and save an Image backup there, which I also copy to an external drive in case of HDD failure. Instead of reinstalling then all I have to do is boot from the Windows 7 installer (or a repair disk) and in the Repair console choose "Recover using an Image" and it will detect the stored image in a primary partition or a plugged external drive (or DVD's). Then it takes about 15 minutes to flawlessly reimage the HDD or a replacement.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2009   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

The System Image Backup, can you use to restore your computer to a previous state.

Even if you format your drive and delete partitions, if you created a system image backup of that drive, you will be able to restore your computer, and Windows 7 will work again like it did before the format.

To know more about system image backup, read link below.
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

Best way to understand if the system image backup works for you, is to try it yourself.

To know more about system image recovery, read link below.
System Image Recovery

I did it, and it worked perfect ;-)

Best regards,

zx81
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Nov 2009   #6

W7 Home Premium
 
 

So in my case those "auxilliary files " files are 20 Gig? wow

And I used a System Image Backup....and then after I did a system repair disk right away.

The System Image Backup cannot be an exact copy or the size of the System Image Backup file would have been the same size as what my hard drive says my used space is...

correct?.....unless the system image backup is a "compressed" version of what was on my hard drive at the time of back up...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Nov 2009   #7

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

ckmerc:

You should try to think of images as consisting of ALL data on a PARTITION and NOT necessarily all data on a hard drive.

If the hard drive in question has only one PARTITION, (C), then the image would effectively contain everything on the drive. If the hard drive had two PARTITIONS, then the image may or may not contain all the data on both partitions or on the entire drive. It might contain info from only 1 partition.

The terms "partition" and "hard drive" are not synonyms, but are effectively used as synonyms IF AND ONLY IF the drive has just a single partition.

When you make an image, you typically have the choice of including one or multiple partitions.

As to size, imaging normally uses some degree of compression, so you should not expect an image to be as large as the partition that it represents.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Nov 2009   #8
Microsoft MVP

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ckmerc View Post
So in my case those "auxilliary files " files are 20 Gig? wow

And I used a System Image Backup....and then after I did a system repair disk right away.

The System Image Backup cannot be an exact copy or the size of the System Image Backup file would have been the same size as what my hard drive says my used space is...

correct?.....unless the system image backup is a "compressed" version of what was on my hard drive at the time of back up...
Yes, there is image compression - not as much in Windows 7 Backup Image as in Paragon HDD Manager, for example, but it is free and is included.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Nov 2009   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

You have 6gb RAM .

Take a look at the size of Pagefile and Hibernation file and see how big just those two are.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Nov 2009   #10

W7 Home Premium
 
 

Ok..so because my hard drive does not have any partitions (or just one BIG one)...then the System Image Backup created an exact copy of all of the data on my hard drive. And the reason the system image backup file is only 39 Gig vs. the 59 gig my computer says I have used is because the files are compressed down approx. 20 Gigs.

Reason I am asking is because I currently have a system image backup AND a backup of all of my music and picture files....If the system image backup has all of my music and pic files contained in it.. I probably don't need to do both...just the sys image backup.

"Take a look at the size of Pagefile and Hibernation file and see how big just those two are."
- not sure which files these are..I just went through all of my files and folder of the back up and I only found one file that was very large..it was approx 38 gig...nearly all of the backup image size...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 System Image - what does it not include?




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