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Windows 7: Is Making a clone of your hard drive illegal?


02 Aug 2010   #1

 
 
Is Making a clone of your hard drive illegal?

Hi does anyone know if making periodic backup hard drive image clones considered illegal, because everytime you make a backup, you clone the hard drive along with the OS.

Usually in MS Eula's they say you may only install one copy of the software and you may only make one Back-up copy, so does that mean after I install windows, then all the proper drivers, and softwares, and then make a hard drive image periodically so that just in case my system crashes i don't have to reinstall from scratch - is this considered illegal since I have so many periodic clones (and thus periodic backup copies of windows)?

Also does this apply to the third party softwares installed in windows when backing up so that i don't have to waste time and effort re-installing them everytime my system crashes - is that considered illegal aswell? Cause some of those third party softwares also say you may only make one back-up and you may not modify or distribute it in any way shape or form.

Also is using a theme or skin of one OS on another considered illegal, for example i see alot of examples of people making Ubuntu look like Mac OSX or XP look like Mac OSX or XP look like Vista etc... are these all considered illegal, since there just using a theme and not pirating the actual software

If anyone knows the true legal and legit answers to these questions, I'd be very gratefull and clear my conscious and allow me to backup my data or use themes.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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02 Aug 2010   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

When they say you are allowed 1 backup...I think they are actually referring to a copy of the physical install media itself (CD or DVD). Or in other words, you cannot copy it say 10 times and hand it out at a work party.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Aug 2010   #3

 
 

Thanks for the quick reply, what about say you make a backup of the installation media, and then a service pack came out (for example for xp, service pack 1,2 and 3 came out), but now you make a backup of the OS media with the service pack slipstreamed so that you don't have to waste time downloading through microsoft update everytime you install it, do you have to destroy the other backup media you made before?

Cause before I made a backup copy for xp service pack 1 for my sister just in case the original cd got scratched or something, now recently i made another backup copy with sp3 slipstreamed but because i was scared it would be illegal, i destroyed the old backup copy - i felt like i wasted some money though.

I have a similar situation with windows vista - when i initially bought it i made a back-up copy of the dvd, but know sp2 is out for vista, and if i make another backup copy with sp2 slipstreamed, do i have to destroy the older backup copy? It really feels like i wasted an extra DVD.

And what about making one OS look like another - is that illegal?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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02 Aug 2010   #4
Microsoft MVP

 

There is no EULA provision for making backup images. They are backup.

If you're using Windows 7 backup image, remember it must be labeled exactly and only WindowsImageBackup and be located in the root of the drive to be detected by the booted DVD/CD Repair utility to "Recover Using an Image." You can store it in folders and rename it for multiple backups in same folder, but it must be changed back and placed into root to reimage.

Keeping multiple backups of the install media is your own personal business. EULA wants you to limit it to one of the purchased copy. SP's are a different version. None of this is bothered with at all by MS unless you are doling out copies for cash.

Skins are also your own business if done by yourself, except that the modded Skins versions of Windows 7 on the torrents are illegal if they are cracked, and are dodgy even when they allow you to use your own Product Key.

Modding as well as tweaking in Windows 7 is not recommended and works against you in the long run. It is a perfectly balanced OS with many personalization options found by rightclicking the Desktop.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Aug 2010   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

System Images are perfectly fine. It will only work on your system as it is anyway. (In terms of activation)

Meaning, if it was to put on another PC, Windows would make you re-activate. Which then becomes a choice of which PC you want that copy of Windows to run on. You are only allowed 1 PC per key.

Restoring that image to the same PC, all remains the same and activated.

AS far as the physical media, Im not sure MS cares if you have a couple copies of it, or slipstreamed a SP.

They certainly do not care that your created HD images in case of a problem. they even offer they own method of doing so within windows.

They care only that:
1. the activation key is legit
2. it is only activated on 1 PC at any given time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Aug 2010   #6

 
 

thank you all for the replys as it really clarifies alot of things but i still have 2 concern

1) when i mean make one os look like another, for example i have a computer that is almost 10 years old with xp (ya i know its old but with xp it runs pretty smooth), if i use some third party theme/app to make it like vista or windows 7, is that considered illegal, similar people have made ubuntu (linux) look like mac osx, are these all considered illegal?

2) also when making the backup hard drive image, if i have third party apps already installed on the OS (like adobe reader, gconvert, ms office 2007 <= legit i bought it retail) is it ok to make the image with the apps included in the os, or do i have to uninstall the apps first, make a hard drive image of the OS, and then install it again whenever i reisntall the image ---- since these 3rd party apps are also licensed and you can make only one install and one backup, and you may not modify or transfer with another software (ie the OS backup image).

it would be alot easier if i can just take a snapshot of the current hard drive with the apps, because otherwise it takes hours to resintall all the programs i have. And i hope its not illegal to make hard drive image with the 3rd party software/apps included.

--- by the way thank you soo much for already the replys you guys made.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Aug 2010   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

When you make a Image of your HD, (using Win7s built in, Acronis, Macrium Reflect or whatever program you prefer) it will image the entire HD as it is at that moment.

This means EVERYTHING, will be just as it is at the time the image was made.
This includes all software, apps, games, photos, music, videos. Everything, including its activation status. Whatever is currently on the drive being imaged.
Even down to any temporary files you have, or even a virus for that matter, if it is present. it will be a mirror copy of everything currently on that drive.

Lets say you mess up something in the registry by accident so many things no longer function properly. OR possibly, you get a nasty virus you cant get rid of or it destroys Files.

By erasing the drive, and re-imaging it from a known good image you made before, everything will be normal again. just as it was, except for any changes that were made AFTER the image was made. Anything that changed after, well ... it never happened.

This works the same even if you replace the HD altogether, like moving to a bigger one.

I would recommend making a fresh FULL image at least weekly. And, before any major changes.
This way, if something bad ever does happen,. you can always roll the system back to a state where everything was fine.

As long as you are reimaging to the same PC, there will be no issues of activations, on any of your software.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Aug 2010   #8

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Windows7UserAsk View Post
1) when i mean make one os look like another, for example i have a computer that is almost 10 years old with xp (ya i know its old but with xp it runs pretty smooth), if i use some third party theme/app to make it like vista or windows 7, is that considered illegal, similar people have made ubuntu (linux) look like mac osx, are these all considered illegal?
No, this is in no way violating any rules. You are free to customize as you wish.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Windows7UserAsk View Post
2) also when making the backup hard drive image, if i have third party apps already installed on the OS (like adobe reader, gconvert, ms office 2007 <= legit i bought it retail) is it ok to make the image with the apps included in the os, or do i have to uninstall the apps first, make a hard drive image of the OS, and then install it again whenever i reisntall the image ---- since these 3rd party apps are also licensed and you can make only one install and one backup, and you may not modify or transfer with another software (ie the OS backup image).
You are worried far too much about having these 2 copies of things. You can image your machine with the software that you use and have installed to it. It's not like you are going to take that image and give it to your neighbor to use.

You can make as many backups of your installed system as you want. Companies do it all the time and people at home do it all the time.

You just cannot make copies of your software and give it away. I'm sure that even if you made 100 copies and they were all in your basement...that MS wouldn't care at all. They might wonder what you are trying to accomplish, but that is about it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Aug 2010   #9

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Speaking to the OP, AFAIK, pretty much anything you do with Windows for personal use is OK ... police aren't going to come knocking on your door because you made Microsoft Windows look different, or because you backed up your system more than once, at least not in the world we know today.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Aug 2010   #10

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

windows7userask,
The making of a clone is legal.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Is Making a clone of your hard drive illegal?




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