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Windows 7: Multiple copies of a system image in Win 7

16 Jan 2010   #1
Dethoff

Windows 7 home premium
 
 
Multiple copies of a system image in Win 7

I have two drives on my Windows 7 (64 bit) computer

disk 0 Intel 160 Gb SSD partitioned into c (OS) and a 100 MB reserved partition which was put there as part of the Windows 7 install
disk 1 WD 1 TB HDD with two partitions: drive (D) 600 GB for data and drive (K) 375 GB for backups of my system.


After installing Windows 7, and updates, I successfully used the "create system image" feature to create an image of C: (and the reserved partition) to drive (K).

A few days later after installing my programs, I wanted to make a second system image of (C) but desired to keep the original image since it represented a "clean install" of Windows 7. According to the message during the creation of the second image, it said windows would create multiple images until the space began to fill up on the drive.... then older images would be automatically deleted. Since my (K) drive was only filled to 1/20th of its capacity, I assumed that both images would be saved.

But, in fact, the first image was overwritten leaving me with only the more recent one.

So, is there a way to store multiple copies of a system image? I have done a reasonable amount of searching on the subject with no solution.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2010   #2
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I suggest you use this program. It is easy, faster, makes smaller images and keeps whatever you don't delete.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Jan 2010   #3
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

As you have found out, built in imaging has limitations and the GUI to it is confusing.

I gave up on it when I discovered that and went with Macrium and a free version of Acronis.

Among the possible limitations (going from memory; I don't recall all details):

Maybe only 1 full image possible with Home Premium and below; all others may be incremental only?

Imaging to a network drive available only on Pro and Ultimate?

Scheduled imaging available only on Pro and Ultimate?

Possible problems if you move the image file around or rename it. Windows wants to find it in exactly one place?

Interface confusion as to EXACTLY what is included or can be excluded from a given image. C only? C and D from the same drive? D only, but not C? C, but not the system reserved partition? Etcetera.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jan 2010   #4
Greg S

Windows 7 Professional 32-bit (6.1, Build 7600)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Dethoff View Post
I have two drives on my Windows 7 (64 bit) computer

disk 0 Intel 160 Gb SSD partitioned into c (OS) and a 100 MB reserved partition which was put there as part of the Windows 7 install
disk 1 WD 1 TB HDD with two partitions: drive (D) 600 GB for data and drive (K) 375 GB for backups of my system.


After installing Windows 7, and updates, I successfully used the "create system image" feature to create an image of C: (and the reserved partition) to drive (K).

A few days later after installing my programs, I wanted to make a second system image of (C) but desired to keep the original image since it represented a "clean install" of Windows 7. According to the message during the creation of the second image, it said windows would create multiple images until the space began to fill up on the drive.... then older images would be automatically deleted. Since my (K) drive was only filled to 1/20th of its capacity, I assumed that both images would be saved.

But, in fact, the first image was overwritten leaving me with only the more recent one.

So, is there a way to store multiple copies of a system image? I have done a reasonable amount of searching on the subject with no solution.
If I'm not mistaken, the help file warns of this and said to copy the WindowsImageBackup folder somewhere other than the original location because it would be overwritten. Like you, I found out a little too late.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jan 2010   #5
Tews

64-bit Windows 8.1 Pro
 
 

+1 for Acronis...its the most reliable intuitive backup system Ive found...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jan 2010   #6
nate42nd

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

If you DO want to keep different copies of images with Windows 7s tool, here is what Windows 7 has to say. This is from the "help files".

Quote:
Keeping different versions of system images
If you're saving your system images on an internal or external drive, or on CDs or DVDs, you can keep several versions of system images. On internal and external hard drives, older system images will be deleted when the drive runs out of space. To help conserve disk space, you can manually delete older system images. For more information, see What backup settings should I use to maximize my disk space?

If you're saving your system images in a network location, you can only keep the most current system image for each computer. System images are saved in the format of drive\WindowsImageBackup\computer name\. If you have an existing system image for a computer and are creating a new one for the same computer, the new system image will overwrite the existing one. If you want to keep the existing system image, you can copy it to a different location before creating the new system image by following these steps:

Navigate to the location of the system image.

Copy the WindowsImageBackup folder to a new location.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jan 2010   #7
Dethoff

Windows 7 home premium
 
 

As quoted from the windows help file above:

"On internal and external hard drives, older system images will be deleted when the drive runs out of space."


But my drive is only 1/20th filled...so why did windows delete the previous one?
That is the question I am seeking an answer for.


in the case of network drives where it is known windows won't keep more than one copy:
"If you want to keep the existing system image, you can copy it to a different location before creating the new system image by following these steps:"

It is good to know that this should be a valid workaround.

I am becoming increasingly convinced that it is time to look for another solution via third party utility.

Thanks for all your input
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jan 2010   #8
surfasb

Windows 7
 
 

I've used Acronis and Ghost for years. One thing I've found about built in backup solutions is that they are never flexible enough for my needs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jan 2010   #9
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by surfasb View Post
I've used Acronis and Ghost for years. One thing I've found about built in backup solutions is that they are never flexible enough for my needs.
What kind of flexibility are you looking for?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Jan 2010   #10
Greg S

Windows 7 Professional 32-bit (6.1, Build 7600)
 
 

Has anyone researched the possibilty of changing the Image destination path? Possibly a reg adjustment
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Multiple copies of a system image in Win 7




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