Windows 7 Forums

Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.


Windows 7: Are portable USB hard drives ok to use for Windows Image?

02 Feb 2016   #1
Scottyboy99

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 
Are portable USB hard drives ok to use for Windows Image?

I have always imaged my Windows 7 laptop using the in built Windows system image back up and it works great. A couple of times I have restored the image to get me out of a hole and it worked every time.

Anyway over the weekend I went to take an up to date image onto my USB 3.0 WD My Book Hard drive. I plugged the USB drive into the power strip and heard a loud bang like a balloon being burst. I quickly unplugged the USB drive. After a change of underwear I flipped the breaker back up to restore upstairs power. Everything came back to life indicating the problem must of been with the USB hard drive. But bizarrely when I tested the WD drive at another power strip it lit up and seemed to still be alive!!! So I put it down to one of those unexplained things and proceeded to start the windows image of the laptop. It took a while because it was backing up 650 gb of data and hadn't been done for nearly 6 months. After about 2 or 3 hours it was nearing the end of finishing the image backup when suddenly I got BSOD on Windows 7. Pretty annoying. I force powered off the laptop and rebooted windows. I decided to try and start the imaging off again but now the USB HD isn't detected by windows when I plug it into any of the USB ports. I tested the ports with a couple of small USB flash drives and they were detected just fine. So the problem obviously lies with the WD drive. I am just worried by the BSOD and whether that may of risked damage to my windows installation being disrupted during the image process. Everything does appear to be ok.

So a long winded story to my eventual question ... I am looking to order a portable Samsung USB 3.0 hard drive (1 Terrabyte). It draws it's power from the USB port and has no external supply. Is a portable drive still ok to take a Windows image on?

Samsung M3 1 TB USB 3.0 Slimline Portable Hard Drive - Black: Amazon.co.uk: Computers & Accessories

Cheers,
Wayne


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
02 Feb 2016   #2
strollin

W10 Pro desktop, W10 laptop, W10 laptop, W10 Pro tablet (all 64-bit)
 
 

Yes, no problem. The external drives that require their own power supply are generally 3.5" drives while the smaller drives that can be powered via the USB port are generally 2.5" drives. Neither is "safer" or more reliable so it's simply a matter of personal preference which you use. As long as the smaller drive is large enough disk space wise to handle your backup needs then it is certainly much handier since there's no need to plug in for additional power.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2016   #3
Scottyboy99

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Many thanks for the response. Yes, the capacity is 1TB, my laptop is only has a 750GB internal HD. I'll get one ordered and hopefully it'll be ok.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

02 Feb 2016   #4
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

A problem with some USB ext HDDs are:
1) They can use a propriety non sata interface for the internal drive. This means you can't connect the internal HDD to your PC sata ports to recover data when the interface electronics go bad.
2) They can include hardware encryption so you can't recover your data even if you can plug the internal into a sata port. WD do this on all their externals except the Essential Elements range.
3) The Mico USB connector is small and flimsy. After numerous connect/disconnects you may find it fails or drops you back to USB 2.

I consider a separate sata HDD and docking station to be a more reliable option. It's not as compact and portable as a little 3.5" external.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2016   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I have used external disks, HDDs and SSDs in enclosures, USB sticks, etc. They all worked. At one time there was only a problem with the recovery from USB3 - had to use USB2.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2016   #6
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

I have quite a few WD My Book Essentials and 1) and 2) are well recognised potential problems. I haven't experienced failures yet but if/when it happens the data is gone. I have experience problem 3) on a 2TB WD My Book Essentials and a 1TB WD 3.5" Elements.

Docking stations I use and maybe some third party enclosures(?) have the larger robust USB 3 connector so 3) isn't an issue.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2016   #7
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

I finally went to HotSwap bays and ssd's or hard drives. Of course that is for a desktop.
Now you have a sata connection. Just pop a drive in, complete the backup and pop it out and put it some place safe. Their are several brands one can choose.
Here is one.

Amazon.com: StarTech.com 5.25in Trayless Hot Swap Mobile Rack for 3.5in Hard Drive - Internal SATA Backplane Enclosure: Electronics
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2016   #8
Scottyboy99

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Well I got the portable but am having issues trying Windows image. Near the end it reports back up failed, the device is no longer connected followed by an error code I've now forgotten. Annoying as it takes a good couple hours to reach this point of failure. So am now sweating as I have no image. Windows image always worked before. I'm wondering if I need a powered USB drive. It's strange as when I check under devices it still shows the Samsung drive as connected. I'm going to try one more time tomorrow after deleting the back up folder and using a different port. Maybe start afresh instead of trying to go over top of previous failed image as Windows does may make a difference. If it fails again I'll buy another HD. But are there any good easy to use alternative ways to take an image. I really need a free one as my wallet can ill afford taking hits/gambles. Already 40 down on the HD, another one will prob cost same so I need to watch the costs. If my wife knew .....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2016   #9
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

There is AOMEI which is pretty good too.

Best Free Backup Software for Windows 10, Windows 8.1/8, Windows 7, Vista, XP

And here are some useful tutorials that come with it.

AOMEI Backupper Tutorials: Windows 7/8 Resources, Windows Server Resources, Clone/Imaging Resources, etc

BTW - USB2 does not have a lot of power. Only USB3 will work in the long run if you have no wallpower.

For a cost efficient approach I use external enclosures that are wall-powered and stick the naked disks into there. Then you can use HDDs, SSHDs and SSDs - whatever you have lying around. I use mainly the recovered HDDs from my laptops when I upgraded them to SSDs. Example:

Mediasonic NSO1-SU3 USB 3.0 2.5" / 3.5" Hot-Swappble SATA HDD UASP Docking Station - Newegg.com
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2016   #10
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Scottyboy99 View Post
Annoying as it takes a good couple hours to reach this point of failure.
You say you are backing up 650GB of data. Presumably that's a partition with the OS and lots of data. You should try to keep most of your data on a separate partition and restrict the OS partition occupancy to ~50GB (say around a 100GB partition). A system image on an ext USB 3 should then take ~10 minutes. I assume most of the data is fairly static and I would have a different backup strategy for that.

Before you put data on the Samsung you might want to run their diagnostics. I think they are made by Seagate and the SeaTools is the diagnostic utility. You can start with the short tests.

I don't use Windows inbuilt system imaging now and rely on the popular (free) Macrium Reflect.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
Reply

 Are portable USB hard drives ok to use for Windows Image?




Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search




Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
Can Windows 10 be installed on a portable USB hard disk?
I couldn't find anywhere else to post this question. Why would you want to install W10 on a portable usb hard diskj you may ask? Simply because I don't want to ruin my current W7 desktop installation+software configuration and I would liker to try W10.
Installation & Setup
Checking Drives for errors and difference between portable and large
I was wondering what the best way to make sure your external drive is functioning as it should? Also, how much damage is done if your drive loses power abruptly? Also, why would someone want a larger drive that needs an additional power source compared to a portable drive?
Hardware & Devices
portable hard drives
I need a portable hard drive to backup picures an movies & files ,Does any body no of a good one at lease 1 TB , i have 2.0 usb ports . Any help would be appreciated Thanks in advance:D
Hardware & Devices
A file on my portable hard drives says it requires system permission
A file on my portable hard drives says it requires system permission but when i give it system permission it still doesnt let me delete it, it bother me, ive scanned it with 3 virus programs and it's not a virus. http://www.sevenforums.com/attachment.php?attachmentid=178798&stc=1&d=1318382732
System Security
Portable Hard Drives
I use a few portable USB drives with my Zinwell media player. I safely remove the drive from the player. When I plug in back into the pc, I get a message asking if I want to scan for errors. It does this each time I plug it back into the pc. I had a Seagate player and the same thing happened. ...
Hardware & Devices
How to install Windows 7 on a portable hard drive
I have a portable hard drive 270gb. I want to install Windows 7 on it. Anybody knows? I need help. Thanks
Installation & Setup


Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:21.

Twitter Facebook Google+



Windows 7 Forums

Seven Forums Android App Seven Forums IOS App