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Windows 7: Can I use a partition of an external HDD for a system image?

17 Jun 2016   #1
RebeccaValentin

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 
Can I use a partition of an external HDD for a system image?

I want to create a clean system image after I fresh install Win7 in my Sony Vaio laptop. But I hear that external drives should be formatted with NTFS if they are to be used for this purpose. I only have one Sony HDD (1TB) & it has lots of stuff already which I cannot delete or move somewhere else. Can I, by any means, create an another partition in the same HDD & format the partition to NTFS & use it for system image while keeping the other partition with data in it untouched? (If yes, then please let me know how.. please )

Is Windows System Imaging the best in town? Or is there any other free way to create a system image efficiently without lots of manual work?

I know this is very basic for you all, but I know nothing about this stuff.. Any help would be great.. Please..


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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17 Jun 2016   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

see comments in bold

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by RebeccaValentin View Post
I want to create a clean system image after I fresh install Win7 in my Sony Vaio laptop. But I hear that external drives should be formatted with NTFS if they are to be used for this purpose. I only have one Sony HDD (1TB) & it has lots of stuff already which I cannot delete or move somewhere else. Can I, by any means, create an another partition in the same HDD & format the partition to NTFS & use it for system image while keeping the other partition with data in it untouched? (If yes, then please let me know how.. please )



I assume you mean an external when you say "Sony HDD"?

Do you know if your Sony HDD already is formatted NTFS? It certainly could be, but I don't use externals and don't know what file system they use. I'd guess NTFS.

NTFS is generally preferred because other file systems such as FAT 32 will not store large files of say 6 or 8 or 30 GB, like you might make if you used imaging.

You can have 2 file systems on one drive, but first find out what file system you have now.

You can find out by running Windows Disk Management. See the picture. Note that it says NTFS under file sys for 3 of my 4 partitions at the upper left.



Is Windows System Imaging the best in town? Or is there any other free way to create a system image efficiently without lots of manual work?

No to the first question and yes to the second.

Windows Imaging works if you know how to use it, but it's quirky, inflexible, and can be confusing. Who needs that?

Macrium Reflect Free Edition is probably the best other option. Or Aomei Backupper. Or even Acronis.

A Macrium image file will have an mrimg extension and be quite large--about half the size of the occupied space of the partitions that it represents. If your C partition is 400 GB, with 100 occupied, the mrimg file will be roughly 50 GB. So, you'd have to put it on an NTFS partition due to that large size.

There are Macrium tutorials on this site.

You will need to make "recovery" media to boot your PC from in case you need to restore an image. That's done within Macrium after you install it.

It's CRITICAL that you test the recovery media and confirm it will boot your PC. If it won't, you can't restore your image. The recovery media can be a CD, DVD, or USB flash drive.


Macrium Reflect Free



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17 Jun 2016   #3
RebeccaValentin

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Yes I mean an external HDD..
Nope.. its actually formatted with FAT32

I read about Macrium Reflect Free in this forum.. But was not sure if it would suit me because I am a beginner who is not much aware of stuff like this..
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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17 Jun 2016   #4
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by RebeccaValentin View Post
Yes I mean an external HDD..
Nope.. its actually formatted with FAT32

I read about Macrium Reflect Free in this forum.. But was not sure if it would suit me because I am a beginner who is not much aware of stuff like this..
Well, then make an NTFS partition on it of sufficent size to hold maybe 3 or 4 images and then tackle Macrium.

Imaging is not foolproof and not as simple as falling off a log, but it's relatively easy, particularly in comparison to Windows imaging.

Don't get yourself in a position where you are dependent on imaging. Know what you will do when it fails you.

All it does is save you time. Nothing more. If it fails, you just spend a bunch of hours to rebuild rather than 30 minutes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jun 2016   #5
RebeccaValentin

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post

Well, then make an NTFS partition on it of sufficent size to hold maybe 3 or 4 images and then tackle Macrium.

Imaging is not foolproof and not as simple as falling off a log, but it's relatively easy, particularly in comparison to Windows imaging.

Don't get yourself in a position where you are dependent on imaging. Know what you will do when it fails you.

All it does is save you time. Nothing more. If it fails, you just spend a bunch of hours to rebuild rather than 30 minutes.
So one CAN make such a partition? thanks a ton..
Yes got that
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jun 2016   #6
ThrashZone

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
 
 

Hi,
Why is the external formatted fat32 ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Can I use a partition of an external HDD for a system image?




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