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Windows 7: System Image Backup

12 Jan 2010   #1

System Image Backup

Does anyone know: is the actual backup image created during a system image backup available to be viewed in a directory tree structure anywhere ?

My interest stems from having executed the backup (successfully) onto an external drive from within a 2 500 GB disk RAID 0 environment, comprising several partitions striped across the disks.

Would the disk 0 image have been copied in its entirety, or would all system info as striped across both disks have been copied ?

Likewise, what will the restore operation actually write back, and to where ?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Jan 2010   #2

Windows 7 Professional x64


I am by no means the expert on RAID, but I know a bit.

I believe it depends on whether you have a hardware RAID controller or you are using a mirror from Windows. If you have a hardware array, the OS views it as one drive. If not, then you might run into issues.

Hope someone else can come along and correct/add to this.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jan 2010   #3

Hardware RAID controller

Thanks JK, yes the RAID architecture is run by:

Intel(R) ICH7R/DH SATA RAID Controller

I'm guessing that if I have a successful (C) partition image backup, along with the associated system & registry critical info that has been automatically selected, a restore to 2 naked disks would reproduce an operable system.

This ignores, of course, all other personal files, apps, etc.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

14 Jan 2010   #4

Backup software

Hi CC:

The system image backup was created using the Windows 7 system imaging feature.

I also have the Windows 7 backup run on a regular basis to capture normal files, etc.

My primary backup procedure however uses StorageCraft's Shadow Protect package. It'a a very capable package that can do in the home what normally occurs in the office. I do a weekly full backup of selected partitions, and a daily incremental of those partitions which reflects changes only. Layered on top of that, I do a separate monthly full backup. In this fashion, I can go back anywhere from 1 day to 6 months to find, retrieve, recover, etc. And yes, this package provides the mount/dismount to provide visibility of the saved partitions. It's all fully automatic, and set to run after midnight when I'm usually on the pillow and not on the keyboard.

These daily/weekly/monthly backups go onto external WD 500GB MyBook drives.

As a note of caution, while backups are of paramount importance, there is also a risk of being too backed-up. Lacking a structured hierarchy to the backup environment (as described above) can lead to having a backup library that is too current, resulting in the inability to retrieve a dataset that is old enough to not contain the undesirable that is causing the search for a backup copy to begin with.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jan 2010   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

Go to Disk Management, Click Action>Attach Vhd>browse to the backup image.

It should be mounted as a virtual hard drive - you can view like any other drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jan 2010   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
Go to Disk Management, Click Action>Attach Vhd>browse to the backup image.

It should be mounted as a virtual hard drive - you can view like any other drive.
I never knew that, great info!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Jan 2010   #7

Quote: Originally Posted by SIW2

Thanks for the tip SIW2.
Worked just fine.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Jan 2010   #8
Microsoft MVP


Si, when I browse to the Windows 7 backup image on my laptop I'm traveling with now, I get this:

System Image Backup-capture.png

I noticed earlier that file compression was enabled on Recov partition properties. I unchecked it and cannot see that the files are compressed. But they are strangely showing in blue in explorer:

System Image Backup-capture1.png

Any suggestions?

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 System Image Backup

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