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Windows 7: System Imaging as Additional Protection


20 Aug 2010   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 
System Imaging as Additional Protection

System imaging should be a common practice with modern PCs, although many have never heard of or understand the importance of it.

It should be considered, not only for unexpected drive failure, but as a form of system security as well.

Although it should never be used in place of a proper security setup. Proper Security is still top priority.

Everyone should be aware of its importance, and IMHO, put it into practice.




What is System Imaging?

Imaging is quite simply a "snapshot" of the partiton or Hard Drive you Imaged.

It is an exact copy of your Windows installation, files,folders settings etc at that exact moment in time the image is created.





Why is System Imaging important?

As we all know, the first defense against a Virus and/or Malware attack is your Security system itself. (AV & Firewall)
Generally speaking, the name of the game is preventing an infection from ever happening.

But what happens when dispite our best efforts something gets through?

Many times, you can remove & recover from an infection.
However, occasionally the damage may be so severe there simply is no recovery, in which case a clean install of Windows may be needed.

There are also other factors you must consider that may not involve a Malware or Virus infection at all.

Such as:
1) A failing or defective harddrive.
2) A Bad software or driver Update
3) File Corruption
4) Registry corruption or system file corruption
(which may not be able to be repaired)

These things can be caused by faulty software, user error etc.


In the event something bad does happen, and all resources including System Restore fail, you can simply re-image the Entire system back to a know good state.

Quite lierally, anything that happened or changed after that image was created, never happened.







What is the best method to use for a System Image?

There are a few options at your disposal. Many of which are free, and cost only a couple minutes of your time. The payoff however, should you ever need it, will be worth its weight in gold.



Some of the most common & recommended software is as follows:

1. Windows 7 built in Imaging
Free & included with Windows 7



Tutorial: Imaging with free Macrium
Macrium offers a free and paid version of their software.

3. Paragon Free Backup Software: Paragon Backup & Recovery Free Edition - Overview
Paragon offers a free and paid version of the software.

4. Acronis ( Backup and restore system software and PC system utilities for Windows and Linux OSs)
Acronis is a paid software & offers many advanced features such as Incremental, Differential backups. As well automatic scheduled task and much more.

** Many HD manufactures also offer a free version of Acronis (such as Western Digital) This is a basic version of the software allowing you to clone and make basic back ups. You just need to register your product to gain access to it.




When should I make a Image and how often?

1) The first Image you should make should be right after you install Windows.
Install your prefered imaging software and activate Windows.
Make a image right then!
This way, you always have a fresh, clean activated image Windows with no drivers or software you can fall back on.
Burn this Image to a DVD, or an external HD and store it somewhere safe.

2) The next main image you should make is after you get all your main software installed, activated, updated, and Windows set up the way you want it.

3) Before any major system change.
This includes installation of any new software, Updating or rolling back graphics drivers etc.

4) Before any major update/patch such as Windows updates.

5) How often you image will depend how often you change things on your system, and your own habits.
I would suggest a complete Image at least once a week.
As long as space is not a issue, you can really never make to many.

For how often, just keep in mind:
If something devastating happened right now, how many days could you lose without losing to much work? A week, 2 days?


Remember, its a good habit to keep a few images in store. Perhaps 1 or 2 a week fro the last month.
Not just the most current.





I can not stress the importance creating System Images has.
Many of the tools are completely free (unless you wish to have extra features) and cost only a few minutes of time.
The time it can & will save you in case of disaster however, will be significant.



My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

20 Aug 2010   #2

Windows 7 Professional SP1 64-bit
 
 

This should be stickied. Or at least put in security basics.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2010   #3

Systems 1 and 2: Windows 7 Enterprise x64, Win 8 Developer
 
 

+1 for Macrium
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


20 Aug 2010   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Pro 64 SP1
 
 

Excellent Post! I agree, it should be,

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Petey7 View Post
This should be stickied. Or at least put in security basics.
Also agree,

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lemur View Post
+1 for Macrium
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2010   #5
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Excellent - maybe it can find a place in the tutorial section.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2010   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Thanks

I wasn't sure exactly where to put it. As a tutorial or a topic.

I thought this may be the best place for it.

Hopefully between everyone we decide the best place for it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2010   #7

Windows 7 64x
 
 

Macrium FTW!!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2010   #8

64-bit Windows 8.1 Pro
 
 

Very well said Wishmaster!!! This should be required reading for all new members... Its sooo much easier/faster to restore an image than reinstall the OS/programs...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2010   #9

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Although I do use system imaging from time to time, with as fast as it is to load an operating system these days and the fact that I keep my data backed up separately, I don't find that imaging is an absolute necessity. For most people though, who don't want to go through the hassle or put in the effort, this makes sense and should be strongly considered.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2010   #10

Windows 7 64x
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
Although I do use system imaging from time to time, with as fast as it is to load an operating system these days and the fact that I keep my data backed up separately, I don't find that imaging is an absolute necessity. For most people though, who don't want to go through the hassle or put in the effort, this makes sense and should be strongly considered.
I do like to perform a fresh install from time to time but can be a hassle if you need your system up pronto. Installing an OS+apps can take hours and reloading an image takes minutes and you get the same results.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 System Imaging as Additional Protection




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