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Windows 7: backups and partitioning


05 Jan 2010   #1

Windows 7
 
 
backups and partitioning

i just got a new 320gb hard drive for my thinkpad and installed it with no problems, and then did a clean install of windows 7. everything is working fine, but i'm wondering about setting up partitions and backups.

i back up my files to an external hard drive every couple weeks or so. i don't have anything set up on my laptop, though.

should i set up a partition on my laptop to create a backup?
how big should the partition be?
can i set it up even though i've already installed and formatted the drive?
any suggestions for an app to do backups with?

thanks for any help...

My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Jan 2010   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Congrats on the new hard drive toubab!

As for your question, yes you can partition your drive even though you've installed Windows 7. To do this you need to click on the start orb --> right click on Computer --> click on Manage --> click on Disk Management.

There you will have the opportunity to shrink your primary partition and change that freed space into a new partition.

As for should you back up your files to a partition on the drive. I would say no. It's not really a backup you see, because if your hard drive fails you've lost it all! You need an external drive to back up to.

One thing you can do with the new partition is save your documents and such to it, so that if you need to reformat your Windows partition, it won't affect those documents. Same with programs that don't need to be installed in the traditional registry method.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jan 2010   #3

Windows 7
 
 

thanks for the response. when i originally got my thinkpad, lenovo had set aside some backup space. why do manufacturers do this?

is it worth it to do a backup of my entire computer, or just important files and docs? is there any advantage to doing a full backup of the system? if not, then i would have to reinstall windows and my apps, correct?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Jan 2010   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, clean install, upgrade disc
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by toubab View Post
thanks for the response. when i originally got my thinkpad, lenovo had set aside some backup space. why do manufacturers do this?

is it worth it to do a backup of my entire computer, or just important files and docs? is there any advantage to doing a full backup of the system? if not, then i would have to reinstall windows and my apps, correct?
Are you sure that is backup space and not restore. Many mfg allow you to hit a certain combination of keys, to restore to the orig factory specs. You need that in case of a need to use the warranty. In addition if you did not change the OS, that partiton is used to bring you back to factory specs if nothing else works.

If the OS that you have preinstalled on your computer is Vista, that may be backup space so that you can utilize system restore .

Check your manual
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jan 2010   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

Manufacturers partition drives in a certain way for purposes of uniformity--they can't know the buyer's individual preferences and instead make all installations identical. You can undo all of that after you buy.

At a bare minimum, you should back up your own personal data--email, bookmarks, mp3s, video, pictures, Word and Excel documents, etc.

You can do that as part of an "image" file or separately.

Images normally contain EVERYTHING in a particular partition--include the operating system if the partition has one.

If you have an image of your operating system, you can then restore that image to another hard drive and your programs will work--if the restoration works properly. Images are not foolproof, so don't put all your eggs in that basket.

Most people don't use images. Most people probably don't even back up important files.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jan 2010   #6

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

My brother is big on images, I'm big on clean installs with healthy backups.

Yeah, that space probably has recovery files on it and you don't want to mess with it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2010   #7

Windows 7
 
 

thanks for the advice, all. i mainly use this laptop for work, and there aren't a lot of apps installed on it. i probably just stick to backing up the files every so often. if the laptop goes south, i can try reinstalling win 7 and at least i'll have my files someplace else.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Jan 2010   #8
Microsoft MVP

 

I put a primary formatted partition on each machine to store a Windows 7 backup image. Then if I'm traveling and I need to reinstall, I just reimage the HD in 15 minutes.

If you have the 100mb System Reserved partition it puts the Repair Console available by tapping F8 at bootup, otherwise use DVD or REpair disk to start the reimaging.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jan 2010   #9

Windows 7
 
 

thanks, gregrocker. i think what i'll do is create a backup image on an external hd, and partition one on my laptop's hd as well. i don't have much of anything on this laptop yet besides apps, so the image shouldn't be too small. then i'll just do regular backups of files after that.

how can i tell if i have that 100mb system reserved partition? i think i recall setting it up at install, but is there any way i can be sure?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Jan 2010   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 SP1, Home Premium, 64-bit
 
 

The 100 mb partition will show in Windows Disk Management.

It isn't "set up" by any particular action by the user. It is the default, but can be omitted by a workaround with diskpart early in the install process.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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