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Windows 7: Windows 7 backup - To a Smaller HDD?

02 Dec 2009   #1

Windows 7
Windows 7 backup - To a Smaller HDD?

Hey guys,

looking to take advantage of the built-in backup that comes with Win7.

My main drive is a 640GB drive, and I have a 500GB drive that I can use as my backup drive.

Now, because my main drive is bigger than my backup, does that mean I can't do a full backup to the 500gb disk?

I won't use near 500GB of the 640GB on the main drive, so will it allow me to do a full systme image backup as long as my main drive used size is less than the size of my backup drive?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Dec 2009   #2

W7x64 Pro, SuSe 12.1/** W7 x64 Pro, XP MCE

I'm not positive about W7's backup system, because I never got it to work for me, but with most any other backup software, it's not the size of the drive that matters, but the size of the data to be imaged that does. I'm assuming that your 640GB drive is not totally full...and probably not all in one partition. Personally, I prefer to select individual partitions for each image.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Dec 2009   #3
Microsoft MVP


The image is much smaller than your HD, in fact much smaller than the amount of space you use on your HD. It uses compression to reduce the size.

For example, my single partition on HD uses 112 gb of the 320 gb drive. My backup image is 72 gb.

So even if you filled up your 640gb HD, then imaging all of its partitions (you get to choose) would most likely not take up all of your 500 gb drive.

You can find out how much space it wants by formatting your backup drive Primary NTFS in Disk Management, then click on Create a System Image in Backup Center. It will detect the backup drive and tell you how much of its space it will need.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Dec 2009   #4

W7 X-64 W8.1 X-64 Opensuse 13.1 W2003 Server

Hi there
It's always a good idea to keep the OS separate from the data partition. A Windows 7 typical partition of around 35 GB should be PLENTY even if you've got a huge amount of programs installed. Keep your data (music, documents, photos, email etc) on another partition.

So Before you start - if you've got User data on your "C" drive copy it to another partition and DELETE it from the "C" drive.

Now use Acronis (or similar) to copy the image to a backup area at Max compression -- provided you've moved all your USER files off the "C" drive this will probably amount to a 15 GB file or so (even if your Windows "C" drive is 400GB etc).

Create a bootable CD of the backup program you used to create your image.

Now using GPARTED (download from the web) re-partition your disk.

Boot the image restore program and restore - the restore will allow you to specify a new partition size.

After the restore you *could* get a boot failure if the Windows system ahs one of those 100MB hidden system partitions.

In this case simply load your W7 install disk and choose repair - startup.

Now it should all be fixed -- you'll have a sensible size Windows partition and the rest of the disk for data etc.

(Also having a separate Windows partition means you don't have to re-create all the User DATA that was on the "C" drive if you need to do a clean install of Windows again).

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows 7 backup - To a Smaller HDD?

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