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Windows 7: Take multiple full system image backups

15 Mar 2010   #1
tempid159

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 
Take multiple full system image backups

Is it possible to take multiple full system image backups? I don't want increments. I want full everytime like ghost 2003. Here is what I'm trying to do - Clean Windows 7 Install and activation (and do a full backup) Install anti-virus, other utilities (and do a full backup) Install Photoshop (and do a full backup) Install Premiere (and do a full backup) and the list goes on.. I need to be able to restore to any backup image and do a full system image restore. I do want to increments and heard of volume shadow copy blah blah.. I don't want to use 3rd-party tools like acronis, macrium unless I really need to. Thanks for any help.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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15 Mar 2010   #2
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

tempid,
One of way doing this would be to create a small partition on an external disk and use Win 7's Backup to do a full system image backup. Then create another small partition, install you next program, and backup. You would continue creating a parition, adding software and the backing up.

Another approach, which I've not tried yet, would be to use Disk2VHD and put the image on a vhd file on your external drive. Then when needed you would restore from the
VHD. As said, I've not done this yet and don't like to recommend something I've not done myself. The first solution I've tried and that works like a champ.

Another approach would be to work with WIM files. ImageX in the Windows Automated Installation Kit can create and apply WIM files. The one time I tried this it worked but I did have a couple of peculiarities which may have been due to the fact that I restored to different sized partitions. Right now the only procedure I can recommend, using only Microsoft software is the first offered solution. I have just today used Acronis True Image 2010 successfully to save and restore and using the Acronis software then multiple images would be easy to work with, however, this is a non-microsoft solution and there are others out there.

My trouble is that presently I don't have a system that I can sacrifice for the type of experimentation I'd like to try. Let's hope that someone else has a good solution for you using MS software.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2010   #3
rerice

windows 7 RTM
 
 

You can do this with Windows Image Backup. Just save each backup in a
separate file.

Richard
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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16 Mar 2010   #4
tempid159

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by rerice View Post
Just save each backup in a
separate file.

Richard
Hi Richard, could you please elaborate?

Here is what I've done so far -

I've 1 hdd with 2 partitions C (50gb) and D (850gb). C drive has Windows. D is for storage. After a clean install, I created a system restore backup image on the D drive. Windows created a "WindowsImageBackup" folder on the D drive and inside it has a folder with my machine name something like this -

D:\WindowsImageBackup\MyPC\<backup files>

Total size is about 7.5gb. I read somewhere that if I rename the MyPC folder to something else (like MyPC-CleanInstall) and create another system image, it creates a full image instead of an incremental image because a full image with the machine name doesn't already exist. So I created a new text document on the desktop (so I can differentiate this image from the original one) and created a new system image. It created a new folder in the WindowsImageBackup folder with my machine name and it's about the same size as my original image. At this point, I ended up with 2 folders in the WindowsImageBackup folder -

D:\WindowsImageBackup\MyPC-CleanInstall (original image re-named)
D:\WindowsImageBackup\MyPC (second image)

I now wanted to restore to my original "MyPC-CleanInstall" image to make sure the text document I created on the desktop doesn't show up. I booted into WinRE and I saw 2 images (MyPC & MyPC-CleanInstall) to restore from. I selected "MyPC-CleanInstall" and once it's done and restarted, I did not see the text document I created which meant that this is the original image.

Here's the weird part -- I now connected my external USB drive, created a WindowsImageBackup folder at the root and copied the contents of MyPC-CleanInstall (D:\WindowsImageBackup\MyPC-CleanInstall) into it and re-named it. I wanted to make sure that the images are not tied to the location somehow (D drive and volume shadow copy thing). I need to be able to move these images anywhere and should be able to restore. So now it looked something like -

E:\WindowsImageBackup\MyPC-CleanInstall-External

and I booted into WinRE with my USB drive still connected. To my surprise, the only image I could restore from was this one - D:\WindowsImageBackup\MyPC. It's the second image which has the text document on the desktop. It didn't recognize the other image that is at the same location nor did it the recognize the image on the USB drive. There was an option to select a driver and open any other storage device which opened a browse window and I was able to see the external drive, C and D drives. I thought I will be able to see 3 restore images to choose from but I saw only one!

At this point, I'm totally confused.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2010   #5
tempid159

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by karlsnooks View Post
tempid,
One of way doing this would be to create a small partition on an external disk and use Win 7's Backup to do a full system image backup. Then create another small partition, install you next program, and backup. You would continue creating a parition, adding software and the backing up.
That seems very tedious. There should an easier way.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by karlsnooks View Post
Another approach, which I've not tried yet, would be to use Disk2VHD and put the image on a vhd file on your external drive.
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by karlsnooks View Post
Another approach would be to work with WIM files. ImageX in the Windows Automated Installation Kit can create and apply WIM files.
I will look into it and let you know. Thanks .
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2010   #6
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

tempid,
the rename approach should work for you, if you always put your backups on an external drive. Backing up to a drive you want to backup is sort of senseless in my opinion.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2010   #7
polarbear

Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit
 
 

I have been testing Paragon Backup and Recovery for a few months now and have backup my system and restored it every which way... Worth the look and the read... GL
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2010   #8
tempid159

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by karlsnooks View Post
tempid,
the rename approach should work for you, if you always put your backups on an external drive. Backing up to a drive you want to backup is sort of senseless in my opinion.
I get your point. But I want 2 copies of the backups just to be safe. I will have to move the backup images to some other location anyway and looks like it's not gonna work that way. With Ghost 2003, I could copy/move the backups to any location and it still restores everything nicely as long as it's able to find the image.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2010   #9
tempid159

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by polarbear View Post
I have been testing Paragon Backup and Recovery for a few months now and have backup my system and restored it every which way... Worth the look and the read... GL
I just checked their website (http://www.paragon-software.com/prod...backuprecovery) and its $69.95. I am looking for something free.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Mar 2010   #10
tempid159

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by karlsnooks View Post
tempid,
the rename approach should work for you, if you always put your backups on an external drive. Backing up to a drive you want to backup is sort of senseless in my opinion.
Also, when I had 2 images on the D drive and backed-up to the first image and booted into WinRE to restore the 2nd image, it's not able to see the second image. It only recognizes the first one. The reason I believe is that the second copy was created later than the first one and I'm now in the environment where the second image hasn't been created yet so Windows doesn't know its there. (hope i'm making sense)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Take multiple full system image backups




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