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Windows 7: System image installed on another partition...backup OS install?


06 Sep 2013   #1

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 
System image installed on another partition...backup OS install?

It looks like a virus has damaged my uncle's Win7Pro 64bit system beyond repair so I'm going to have to reinstall Windows on a wiped hard drive. Unfortunately, no image was taken of the current installation before it got infected, so we'll be starting from scratch.

Here's the idea I had:
C partition (primary Windows 7 installation)
D partition (secondary Windows 7 installation, basically an image of the C partition)
E partition (documents and picture storage)

Would this be possible, and would you recommend it or not? The idea is if they ruined the C partition with a virus or malware again, they could boot to the D partition instead and immediately have a replacement backup OS configured with their same user accounts and programs that points to E for their document storage, just like the C partition. Other than not having access to newly-installed programs or files saved to the desktop, it would otherwise be equivalent.

I have the original Windows 7 Pro 64-bit disc since this is a homebuilt computer.

The kids are home schooled and rely heavily on this computer for everything school-related. I'm not always available to rescue them in a timely manner if something goes bad with the computer.

I'm looking for a solution that accomplishes two things: (1) easy for them to switch to and keeps downtime at an absolute minimum, and (2) doesn't require my immediate intervention and physical presence at their home to implement it.

I'm open to all other alternatives as well. Thanks in advance.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Sep 2013   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

ME/XP/Vista/Win7
 
 

Quote:
Here's the idea I had:
C partition (primary Windows 7 installation)
D partition (secondary Windows 7 installation, basically an image of the C partition)
E partition (documents and picture storage)
NO, back up should not be on the same HDD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Sep 2013   #3

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by theog View Post
Quote:
Here's the idea I had:
C partition (primary Windows 7 installation)
D partition (secondary Windows 7 installation, basically an image of the C partition)
E partition (documents and picture storage)
NO, back up should not be on the same HDD.
Let me clarify my question. I would most definitely keep the image backed up on a separate external HDD somewhere.

I was asking whether I could also install the same image on the D partition now to serve as a backup OS installation if they screw up the C partition again. This may not be possible, or practical, or even a good idea for any number of reasons. I've never tried or considered it before, hence my question.

My uncle and his family do not have the technical knowledge to reinstall Windows using an image. I live 30 minutes away and our schedules don't always align for me to help them out. I'm looking for a way they can boot to a different, clean, installation of Windows -- on their own -- with minimal downtime involved.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Sep 2013   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Not if you are using windows system image. Any other imaging program will do it. Or you can use a partition manager to copy the partition . Paragon does the job, ( Partition Wizard free version does also iirc.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Sep 2013   #5

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
Not if you are using windows system image. Any other imaging program will do it. Or you can use a partition manager to copy the partition . Paragon does the job, ( Partition Wizard free version does also iirc.)
Thinking about this some more, won't there be drive letter conflicts if Windows and every installed program still believes it is installed on partition C when in fact it's on D?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Sep 2013   #6

Windows 7 Professional x64 Linux Mint 16
 
 

Windows will not be on D, just the image you make of it.

You can teach someone how to restore windows from a disk image, it`s very easy.

If the only means you have to store a disk image on is the same drive but another partition, that`s perfectly fine, not the best practice, but perfectly fine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Sep 2013   #7

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by AddRAM View Post
Windows will not be on D, just the image you make of it.
The idea was to have Windows installed and operational on both C and D simultaneously so that if C failed they could boot D instead and continue about their business.

I never meant storing the image on D simply for storage purposes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Sep 2013   #8

Win 7 Pro x64 SP1, Win 7 Ult x86 SP1
 
 

A bootable (operational) secondary installation implies a dual-boot, and legally that requires 2 Win 7 licenses.
Are you willing to spend $ for another license so they can reboot "OS2", if they corrupt "OS1"?

Another option to consider is using a VM (Virtual Machine).
No matter which way you go, someone will need some "Tech training" to recover from a failed OS...
Even with a dual-boot, someone needs to know how/when/why to choose which OS to boot from.

Also consider, if malware is the problem, maybe the malware is smart enough to infect OS2 when OS1 is running...
That's one reason I always keep at least one copy of backup images offline...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Sep 2013   #9

Windows 7 Pro 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidW7ncus View Post
A bootable (operational) secondary installation implies a dual-boot, and legally that requires 2 Win 7 licenses.
Are you willing to spend $ for another license so they can reboot "OS2", if they corrupt "OS1"?
I was thinking it would work for both since the motherboard would be identical, but your point is duly noted...

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidW7ncus View Post
Another option to consider is using a VM (Virtual Machine).
No matter which way you go, someone will need some "Tech training" to recover from a failed OS...
Even with a dual-boot, someone needs to know how/when/why to choose which OS to boot from.
They could probably handle the latter with me coaching them through it, but as it was, they needed my help to access the BIOS the other night.

I'm sure most of the people reading this have been in my shoes at one time or another. I love my family but it's aggravating when they ignore my repeated advice to keep the virus and malware scanners up to date, then dump the problems in my lap later. As it stands now, I'm up to 13 hours and counting trying to rescue them from the current nightmare. Can't accomplish much when it takes ten minutes to boot into safe mode, only to be met with frequent BSOD's.

How would you reinstall Windows 7 for them if you were in my shoes? More specifically, what partitioning would you do on each drive and how would you handle the HDD images? They have a 1TB HDD and a 1TB external HDD with about 100 GB's of pictures and documents right now.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Sep 2013   #10
Microsoft MVP

 

The Best Practice as implied is to store a Windows 7 backup or other image externally. If you want a copy of it on the same HD for portability this can work but requires the disk as RAM limitations may reject doing it from F8 System Recovery Options so portability is limited by that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 System image installed on another partition...backup OS install?




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