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Windows 7: Creating duplicate installations of Windows 7 on one PC

18 Nov 2013   #11
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Hmm, I have copied the bootmgr to C many times and never had a problem. I am sorry to hear that it messed up your system.

If you can deal with Windows 7 imaging, go ahead. I hope you are not going to be one of the many where we have to recover the Windows 7 image from the VHD.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Nov 2013   #12
Viscon

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

First of all having a copy of OS on second physical drive is safe since I have this kind of configuration for the same reason as OP. It is also convenient for trying hotfixes, new apps and drivers to see if they might cause issues, conflicts etc.

Now, here's my scenario, how I did it.
1) I installed OS on drive 1
2) partitioned drive 2 the same way as drive 1
3) used norton ghost v11.5.2 (ghost.exe on bootable USB) and made an image of partition C: with OS on it
4) booted to drive 1 and used norton ghost but this time ghost32.exe which runs under Windows, to restore an image to primary active partition on drive 2
5) copied the content of partition D:\ from drive 1 to the second partition of drve 2 (I did this because in my setting C:\ is only for OS with drivers plus some most important applications like antivir... other applications go to D:\
6) now I have exact copy of two crucial partitions (C:\ and D:\ of drive 1 on drive 2
7) I can choose the drive to boot with thanks to boot menu of my motherboard, just need to press F8 when PC starts, of course you can choose a drive to boot from BIOS as well, no need to have any boot managers if you don't switch drives too often.

There are no conflicts with volumes - when I boot with drive 1 the system partition is C:\ and the programs partitions is always D:\ - the same when I boot from drive 2 but this time C:\ and D:\ are the first partitions of drive 2.
That's all. You don't need to use ghost of course, I think Macrium can do the same job as well as Active Disk Image or Paragon HardDrive Manager. I use ghost since it never failed on me and I just got used to it, it's simple just two small files (ghost.exe for DOS and ghost32.exe for Win) plus another one ghost exoplorer to open image files, no need to install.
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18 Nov 2013   #13
martinlest

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
 
 

Thanks for the most recent posts. Will follow them up as soon as I get my new SSHD..
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18 Nov 2013   #14
gregrocker

 

Martin, there should be no problem using Win7 backup imaging if you prefer that.

What I would do is a test run with your latest image applied to the new SSHD when you get it. Unplug all others but the SSHD, boot the Win7 DVD to do System Image Recovery from image you've stored on external.

Afterwards unplug the external, reboot. If ever a recovered Win7 doesn't boot, confirm that 100mb (if you have it) or C is Partition Marked Active then run Startup Repair - Run up to 3 Separate Times which is always the best way to repair or move the System boot.

Once you confirm it boots then plug back in the primary HDD, set it first to boot and ignore the clone until the time you need to fall back to it. You can also schedule Windows Backup to save a new image every week or so to your external - just keep it plugged in. I would rename the current baseline image in case the latest one fails, since you'll know for sure it works after test. You only have to change its name back to WindowsImageBackup to have it detected.

A good secondary method is to install Macrium and save its backup image to external. When I've done this as a secondary to Windows Backup Imaging I've never even had to make the Macrium disk since it was never needed.
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18 Nov 2013   #15
Sardonicus

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by martinlest View Post
And copy the bootmgr from the 100MB system partition to C. Then you have to only deal with image/restore of C.

I did that once, on advice from these forums, using exactly the link you posted, and it made such a mess of my PC I could have wept - it went immediately from taking just 45 seconds to reboot completely to taking some five minutes: the boot process used to wait for ever at the 'Starting Windows' screen. Spent days trying to get things back to how they were - even an image restore from before the change did nothing to help. As far as I can recall, I had to completely reinstall to get things back to normal. I dare say the thread, full of my tears, is still here!

Would never try that again and although many may do this with no problem, I would very strongly advise others to beware of doing any such thing. The process went exactly as in the thread you reference, but it was a disaster for me.

Why do you say the Win7 native imaging restore sucks? I've never had any problem with it at all. I'll look at Macrium though, I do have it on a DVD somewhere.

As for the backup installation - that's what I will do; it's risk free...
I've made some backups with Windows backup and sometimes I got an error and couldn't do the restore. I've been using Macrium and it has been more reliable. They update their software with fixes, from time to time. I'm not sure if Microsoft does that on a regular basis, if at all.

But you should test them, as some people have not come across any problems with either.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Nov 2013   #16
martinlest

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
 
 

When I get my PC up and running and as I want it with the new HDD, I'll try using Macrium Reflect instead of Windows' native imaging. My disc boots fine, so why not? My nightmare, yes, would be having Windows restore telling me is can't restore the image file I made with Win7.. Not unthinkable at all, I know. If MR really has better reliability from that point of view, I use it of course.

M
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Nov 2013   #17
martinlest

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
 
 

Why can things not just work for me first time? Decided to make a new image of my laptop boot drive, so booted with the Macrium disc (I assume I need to back up partitions this way and not whilst still in Windows, as I can with the Win7 imaging tool?), my USB drive, where I want to store the image, connected.

Macrium says I don't have USB drivers loaded (or Ethernet or Network, but I don't need those). No idea exactly where the drivers are so I let it scan C:/Windows and after almost ten minutes it says all the drivers are loaded. But when I search for the USB drive as the target for the image, it's not there as an option.

Googled this and looked at posts for quarter of an hour or so, but I haven't got the time (or right now, patience, to be honest!) to investigate this further, so will use Windows 7 (which sees the USB HDD) to make the image.
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19 Nov 2013   #18
gregrocker

 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by martinlest View Post
Why can things not just work for me first time? Decided to make a new image of my laptop boot drive, so booted with the Macrium disc (I assume I need to back up partitions this way and not whilst still in Windows, as I can with the Win7 imaging tool?),
Did you even read the last sentence in my last post? You wouldn't have had to wonder or even bother with all of that if you'd read it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Nov 2013   #19
martinlest

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
 
 

No, missed it. But that means, whatever, I can't use the Macrium boot disk I have, as it won't recognise USB drives? I have to install the programme to the internal hard drive?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Nov 2013   #20
gregrocker

 

No I offered this as a matter of convenience so you didn't need to burn the disk until it was needed as a secondary backup method which is almost never.

If Windows imaging fails then you can deal with using the disk then. There are several methods to build the PE disk and experts here like SIW2 who can even build it for you.
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