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Windows 7: Windows 7 Image Backup Restore Problems

03 Jul 2010   #1

Windows 7
 
 
Windows 7 Image Backup Restore Problems

My laptop came with a the following partition config:
Pri Act ..... "Recovery Partition" - 20GB (14GB Used)
Pri ........... Windows 7 "OS Partition" - 60GB (14GB Used)
Extend...... Data Partition - 210GB (0GB Used)
As you can see the OS partition is not set as "Active" and the "Active" partition is in the "Recovery Partition". Once in a while I would like to switch between Windows XP and Windows 7 by restoring OS image backup to the "OS Partition" - I just don't want a dual boot setup and don't ask me why. So I did an image backup of the whole Windows 7 OS Partition and to save backup storage I only have a files backup on the / level + the /BOOT in the "Recovery Partition" .

After that I re-format the OS Partition and let XP install into it and everything going fine.

When I try restore Windows 7 to the OS Partition + all the files backup of the "Recovery Partition" and reboot it reported:

" Windows could not start because the following file is missing: Windows root/system32/ntoskrnl.exe"

I am sure the "Windows root/system32/ntoskrnl.exe" is already restore to the Windows 7 OS partition.

Am I missing something in the Windows 7 "Recovery Partition" to backup beside just the / level files and /BOOT? I don't want to backup the whole 14GB so I tried to avoid the Windows 7 recovery disk images in that partition.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Jul 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP

 

How about recovering the System MBR into Windows 7 partition?

The Recovery Partition should only mark itself Active to run Recovery.

Have you made your Recovery Disk set as a backup to the partition?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2010   #3

Windows 7
 
 

Am I correct that there is only 1 MBR located in the first sector of each physical disk? I don't understand what you mean by recovering System MBR into Windows 7 partition.

My understanding is that the Recovery Partition being mark as Active not just to run Windows 7 Recovery, Vista/XP OS boot loaders (boot.ini , ntldr, NTDETECT.COM) are being installed in the root level of Active Primary partition instead of the OS partition which in my case only marked as Primary. I believe Windows 7 also need files inside /BOOT for booting in addition to the Vista/XP boot loaders.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Jul 2010   #4
Microsoft MVP

 

You can have only one System partition per HD. In order to change the System partition to Windows 7, you need to boot Windows 7 DVD Repair console or Repair CD, click through to Recovery Tools list to run Startup Repair up to 3 separate times after marking Windows 7 partition active.
System Repair Disc - Create


I do not know why your Recovery partition is still marked Active. Normally they will mark themselves active when you press the Key(s) to run Recovery.

I would want my System partition MBR updated to be on Windows 7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2010   #5

Windows 7
 
 

Please understand that I DO want my Recovery Partition remain Active, because that is the way Dell deliver it and I believe it may break the Recovery Disc created by Dell's DataSafe software if I make chances to it.

What I want to know is beside image backup the Recovery Partition, what kind of files I need to backup in the Recovery Partition and restore them can make Windows 7 bootable.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2010   #6
Microsoft MVP

 

If you are using Recovery Partition to restore XP for its occasional use instead of Dual Booting, and it is working to accomplish this unusual purpose, then it should be left alone completely and not have any Windows 7 files added there.

If you are asking how you can store a Windows 7 Backup Image that will also restore the Recovery Partition since it must be included when using the Windows 7 imaging utility anyway, then I would store the Windows 7 backup image in the separate data partition, or create out of the Data partition a primary-formatted Windows 7 Recov partition to store the image.

It is possible, however, that restoring the Recovery partition along with Windows 7 in this way might also break the bootability of the Recov partition. Have you tried this yet?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2010   #7

Windows 7
 
 

Since Dell already created 4 partitions in the HD so I can not create more Primary Partition to hold Windows XP for dual boot, what I mean is that I have to over-write the Windows 7 OS partition every time I want to restore XP, and restore Windows 7 back to it when finished. I cannot touch the Recovery Partition because Windows 7 System Image Backup already there.

It seems that I need to use bcdedit to modify the Windows Legacy OS Loader entry and no need to backup anything on the Recovery Partition because restore the OS partition with an image backup won't trigger any modification to the Primary Active Recovery Partition. I will give it a try later and report back.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jul 2010   #8
Microsoft MVP

 

You report in OP that the Data partition is Extended which means it is Logical. Since you can have 4 primary, you should be able to either shrink Windows 7 to create another Primary partition to install XP, or shrink the Logical Data partition to create a partition to install XP there.

An OS can be installed to a Logical partition but cannot be marked active to become System partition, but this shouldn't be a problem since you want to maintain Recovery as your System Partition, or could even move System MBR to Windows 7 partition if you want.

The procedure would be to install XP in the space you create, using XP installer to create and format it. Once XP starts up, mark Recovery or Windows 7 active from XP DIsk Management, then boot the Windows 7 DVD REpair console or Repair CD to restore System MBR to one of those Primary partitions.

Once Windows 7 Starts up, install EasyBCD 2.0 beta after doing quick registration to use beta, add XP on the Add/Remove tab, accept offered boot files, let it autocomplete drive letter, Save, restart to Dual Boot menu.

The complication is having your System Active partition remain a Recovery partition which contains both the factory XP image and your Windows 7 backup image. I am not sure how this works at all.

Out of hundreds of dual boots we have helped sort out here, this is one of the strangest. Please post a screenshot so we can understand it better and make suggestions to create a workable Dual Boot for you. Use the Snipping Tool in Start Menu.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jul 2010   #9

Windows 7
 
 

Thanks for let me know my environment is one of the strangest here

In fact, I believe this is the way how Dell ship their laptops so I am sure many users will face the same problems as mine.

I am sorry for I forgot to mention one missing partition that came with the laptop, so the full picture as follow:
Pri Act ..... "Recovery Partition" - 20GB (14GB Used)
Pri ........... Windows 7 "OS Partition" - 60GB (14GB Used)
Extend...... Data Partition - 210GB (0GB Used)
Pri.............FAT32 Unlabeled - 96MB (4MB Used)
the last Unlabeled FAT32 partition I don't know what it used for but I just made an image backup of it and deleted it. As you suggested I shrink the 60GB Windows 7 partition to 50GB and created a 10GB primary partition for XP and restore the previous backup image to it. I use EasyBCD beta in Windows 7 to automatically rebuild the boot.ini and advance edit the "Windows Legacy OS Loader" entry to boot from "BOOT" , since Dell did not assign a drive letter to the Recovery Partition but EasyBCD provide a BOOT drive and it works!!! Now I can dual boot to XP and Windows 7 by making use of the hidden Pri,Act Recovery Partition as the Boot / Factory Backup partition.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jul 2010   #10
Microsoft MVP

 

Nice work. So did you actually run the Recovery Partition to install XP to it's new partition, or use Recovery Disks you had made or came with it? If so that would be quite a hat trick.

I am impressed with Dell's recovery and often use it instead of an ideal clean reinstall to wiped HD. However I recently had the opportunity to compare a clean reinstall on wiped Dell with a recovery-from-partition and the clean reinstall as expected performs better.

I believe this is because the Dell utilities bog the system like all factory utilities which are mostly useless and better replaced by Windows 7's own built-in utility, including image backup.

Glad you got your Dual Boot. Let us know how it holds up as it can always be recovered into Windows 7 if the Recov partition destablizes it at all.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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