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Windows 7: Windows Image and Recovery Partition

19 Jan 2011   #1

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
Windows Image and Recovery Partition


So I got a new computer and I've finally set things up. I decided to make a Windows system image on to my external hard drive in case of an emergency. Anyway, I have an OEM recovery partition on my computer, and I'd like to keep if I have to restore from the image. Will restoring the image from the Windows install DVD remove my recovery partition, or do I get to choose the partition to restore to? Also, if this will remove the recovery partition, then what is a good backing up solutio/program?


My System SpecsSystem Spec

19 Jan 2011   #2
Microsoft MVP


You might want to use free Macrium Reflect or Paragon 10 for more reimaging options than the new Windows 7 backup imaging has yet.

However, if you don't tick the box on Windows 7 reimaging app to format the HD it is supposed to reimage only to the offsets (partitioning) you originally had - even if all partitions aren't included in image.

You might consider including Recov partition in your image. Be sure to make your Recov disks so you have a way to restore to factory condition regardless.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2011   #3
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

Burning the recovery DVDs from the recovery partition will leave the recovery partition intact. It is good to keep that partition (unless you scramble for disk space). You never know whether the DVDs you burnt will work (and your optical reader can be broken too), plus I find it easier to reinstall from the recovery partition than from DVDs.

But the best way to protect yourself is, of course, imaging.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

19 Jan 2011   #4

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

Thank you for the fast replies!

@gregrocker: So basically you're saying that the Win 7 restore tool has a tickbox for restoring the image to a specific partition? Also, I can't add my recov partition in there because Windows doesn't mount it or use it. It is seen as a recovery partition in disk management though.

@whs: That is exactly why I want to keep the partition.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jan 2011   #5
Microsoft MVP


It is hard to explain how Windows 7 reimages, so read Step Two here which explains it with screenshots: System Image Recovery

There is a way to image or copy your Recovery Partition - someone should know.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jan 2011   #6

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

Your recovery partition is important because it contains the OS, drivers and some OEM utilities. Plus, unfortunately, some advertising bloatware to delete (the price you pay for a cheaper PC). It puts your system in the same state when you first bought it.
Your factory recovery DVDs will effectively copy this partition. But DVDs are not always reliable. So don't delete your recovery partition. In fact use Macrium to make a couple of images of it for safekeeping. You can restore these to your current HDD or a new HDD.

Your recovery partition should be protected and Windows reimaging should not harm it. BUT when reimaging to the same disk, if you have the option NOT to select the reformat & partition option, don't. Otherwise you can have data partitions reformatted as well losing your data. I have followed this practice many times and never lost a data partition in an image restore. Windows will restore images to the partitions they came from which is generally what you want.

Macrium is more flexible than Windows in what partitions it images. I don't trust windows imaging by itself or Macrium. But with the two I feel very comfortable I have a very safe image. Having said this, neither has let me down so far.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows Image and Recovery Partition

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