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Windows 7: Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

01 Feb 2011   #400
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Hello John, and welcome to Seven Forums.

It's not going to hurt anything no matter what you rename the backup folders just as long as you rename it back before trying to use it to do a system image recovery with. I'd say rename them to anything that makes it easier for you to know when and what they were for.

Unfortunately the only test to see if the images work or not is to try and do a system image recovery with them. It will either work or not. Usually if they do not work, then something has either corrupted them or they did not get moved back or rename to default before trying to restore with them.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2011   #401
PappaG

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 
Naming convention for Backups

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brink View Post
Hello John, and welcome to Seven Forums.

It's not going to hurt anything no matter what you rename the backup folders just as long as you rename it back before trying to use it to do a system image recovery with. I'd say rename them to anything that makes it easier for you to know when and what they were for.

Unfortunately the only test to see if the images work or not is to try and do a system image recovery with them. It will either work or not. Usually if they do not work, then something has either corrupted them or they did not get moved back or rename to default before trying to restore with them.
Hello Brink,

Thanks for the reply.
So basically when ever I do a backup using Windows 7 I will need to restore it in order to check if it's working? (which is Fine).
Some more questions (sorry)

1> If the restore fails for whatever reason will I still be able to use the existing system prior to the restore?
2> Is there a chance I will end up with nothing if the restore fails part way through for example?
3> Can I move the backup root folder to another larger HDD putting it in the root of the HDD and then restore from there?
4> Can I put a new larger HDD in my system to take the O/S, i.e. a New C: drive (formatted NTFS and pinned as Master) and restore the backup to this new HDD? from by backup HDD (seperate disk).

These questions have most definitely been asked before but am a newbie to forums (any tips on searching would be appreciated as I have not had much success so far), so please bare with me whilst I get the hang of it.

By the way I did a backup and within the backup root folder is a date & time named folder so should have did first and asked after,
apologies for an uneccessary question/s.


Without wishing to sound creepy, this is a great forum and I have read some of your posts which have been very easy to follow with a lot of detailed graphical guides, which believe me when it comes to easy to follow I definitely need, along with a lot of others I would guess.

Anyway Thanks Brink,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2011   #402
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

You're most welcome PappaG.

Your questions are answered inline.

1> If the restore fails for whatever reason will I still be able to use the existing system prior to the restore?
Usually when a image recovery fails, it reverts back to the prior installation automatically.
2> Is there a chance I will end up with nothing if the restore fails part way through for example?
There's always a chance of say a power outage or somthing that may cause it to fail. If the system image is good, then you could just start the recovery over again. If the system image is not good and it didn't automatically revert to the prior installation, then you may need to do a clean reinstall.
3> Can I move the backup root folder to another larger HDD putting it in the root of the HDD and then restore from there?
I have not tried that, so I can't say for sure. If it doesn't work, then it should be able to by moving it back to the original location.
4> Can I put a new larger HDD in my system to take the O/S, i.e. a New C: drive (formatted NTFS and pinned as Master) and restore the backup to this new HDD? from by backup HDD (seperate disk).
Yes, you sure can. However, you will have unallocated space left over on the new larger drive for the size difference between what the image of the older drive was for and the new larger drive.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2011   #403
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

PappaG, for testing my recovery disk and to evaluate the whole procedure, I always create a little 2GB test partition, copy some data into there and image that partition. Then I delete something from that test partition (usually a couple of pictures) and do a restore from the image. If the deleted pictures are back, I know the restore worked correctly. And in the process I learned the whole procedure.
That does not harm anything if there is a problem and I can repeat it as often as required without putting my system at risk.

If you want my advice, I would not use the Windows7 imaging. Even with Shawns wonderful tutorial, you will have your hands full to deal with it. Windows imaging has very poor functionality, is difficult to understand what it does and seems to be very unreliable (mostly because it is difficult to understand).

The most straight forward imaging program I have found if free Macrium. It has a lot of function, is easy to understand and works flawlessly. I have made many recoveries with it and there was never a problem or a doubt of what it was doing. If you want to have a look, here is my video tutorial for it: Imaging with free Macrium
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

02 Feb 2011   #404
PappaG

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brink View Post
You're most welcome PappaG.

Your questions are answered inline.

3> Can I move the backup root folder to another larger HDD putting it in the root of the HDD and then restore from there?
"I have not tried that, so I can't say for sure. If it doesn't work, then it should be able to by moving it back to the original location."
4> Can I put a new larger HDD in my system to take the O/S, i.e. a New C: drive (formatted NTFS and pinned as Master) and restore the backup to this new HDD? from by backup HDD (seperate disk).
Yes, you sure can. However, you will have unallocated space left over on the new larger drive for the size difference between what the image of the older drive was for and the new larger drive.


Thanks for your help.

> I have now tried a Windows image backup.

> I then proceeded to carryout a restore earlier today (added folders and files, including deleting some also, after taking the image), being very nervious after spending a couple of days doing a fresh install of O/s and App's/programs and reactivating some of them also.
Restarted windows and went into what I can only describe as a basic driver windows (very much like when doing a fresh install of XP), the only reason I mention this is that during this operation it actually scans looking for the image/s (of which mine was on a seperate HDD) and eventually found it, also giving the option for selecting a different image. So there maybe a possibility of putting the image on another formatted HDD, I am waiting delivery of 2 new HDD's so I will try this out and let you know.
Restarted back into windows giving a message box saying success and asking if I want to restore files, but I had skipped this part so didn't need it.
Checked the created/deleted folders and files to discover they were either gone or returned.
Conclusion: Seemed very straight forward and worked well, including being quick. Whilst this lacks any additional functionality it did what I wanted it too so am very happy.
I have also installed Easeus and although not particularly user friendly seems to give me options for differentials etc, so I will use both to create an initial image of my system then use Easeus for folder/file backups.
If Easeus fails to impress I will use Macrium as suggested by WHS as this seems Ok and both are free.
I need to get myself in a position where I have a reliable backup that I can revert to with everything installed and running good and I am nearly there with my programs. Then I will focus on trying out several backup options but will probably still use Windows backup as I found this easy to use.

I have gone on way too long apologies.

Thank you for all your help and I dare say I will be popping back with other questions soon.

PappaG
(John)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2011   #405
PappaG

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
PappaG, for testing my recovery disk and to evaluate the whole procedure, I always create a little 2GB test partition, copy some data into there and image that partition. Then I delete something from that test partition (usually a couple of pictures) and do a restore from the image. If the deleted pictures are back, I know the restore worked correctly. And in the process I learned the whole procedure.
That does not harm anything if there is a problem and I can repeat it as often as required without putting my system at risk.

If you want my advice, I would not use the Windows7 imaging. Even with Shawns wonderful tutorial, you will have your hands full to deal with it. Windows imaging has very poor functionality, is difficult to understand what it does and seems to be very unreliable (mostly because it is difficult to understand).

The most straight forward imaging program I have found if free Macrium. It has a lot of function, is easy to understand and works flawlessly. I have made many recoveries with it and there was never a problem or a doubt of what it was doing. If you want to have a look, here is my video tutorial for it: Imaging with free Macrium
WHS,

Thanks for your post and I hear what your saying and the video was great.
However I have created a successful image with windows so will be keeping that for a while at least. As for Macrium I will give it a try after testing out Easeus as I have already started playing with it (I am an average PC user) and want to see what it's pro's & con's are. I will probably be trying out several as I know what I want but finding it in one package is unlikely.

Very much appreciate your advice and I will definitely not put all my eggs in one basket as this has been a very painful lesson, I'd like a dollar for everytime I have said I must do a backup before something go's wrong, I would clearly be in a position to be able to pay Bill Gates to come around and install it personally

This is a fresh install I'm doing so a golden opportunity to get it right this time.

Thanks again WHS,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2011   #406
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

You're most welcome John. Just let us know if you have any other questions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 Feb 2011   #407
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Hi John, I think you are right. Trying out different options is the best way to find the solution that suits you best. I also have been on Norton Ghost (for 2 years on Vista), Paragon, Acronis, Macrium, Windows7 Imaging and a few others. It was only after that experience that I chose Macrium as the option that suited my need best.

Just one little hint. I personally think that incremental images are dangerous. Since each next one depends on the previous one, you lose everything if you lose one in the middle. That is different with differentials. That is one reason I always make full images. With the price of disk space today, that is no problem. And the full images are also easier to manage. I can e.g. delete any one without effecting the others.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Feb 2011   #408
PappaG

Windows 7 Professional 64 bit
 
 

Hi WHS,

Thank you for the alternatives, I did use Northon Ghost years ago so will definitely look at that as a pay option, as within reason I will need to way up the options between free & paid, if it does the job then I would be willing to pay.
With regard to incrementals and doing full images, you are absolutely right as managing multiple incrementals is more likely to cause problems especially if one is corrupt or missing. Also as it is only home data and not business data why should I make things more complicated than they need to be, so thanks very much for that excellent and sound advice.
This is another reason I am so glad for this forum.
I will be trying some options with swapping around new HDD's over the coming weeks and trying restoring images to and from them and will let you know how I get on.
Trying one option at a time, testing it then moving on to the next.

Thanks once again WHS,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Feb 2011   #409
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Hi John, you are very welcome. Norton Ghost served me well at the time. But with at least free Macrium and free Paragon around, I really do not think there is a need to pay for it.

As far as testing is concerned, I have developed this little scenario (see below) for the students in my computer club class. It is based on Macrium but can be applied to other imaging programs too. The advantage is that you need not put your system on the line and if it does not work, nothing dramatic has happened.

Imaging test

1. Shrink 2GBs from C and define a logical drive (partition) - let's call it Y
2. Move some files (any files) into Y - I always also move the sample picture folder in (you'll see why)
3. Define a test folder on your external backup disk - call it Mtest
4. Make an image of Y to Mtest - requires that you make a new definition
5. Delete a couple of pictures from the sample picture folder on Y (I always use the 2 animals)
6. Reboot and tap (ESC, F2 or whatever it is on your system) to get into the BIOS boot sequence
7. Set your boot sequence to CD/DVD reader
8. Throw in the Macrium recovery CD and let it run, then hit Enter
9. Now you are in the recovery wizard, set it to Mtest where it says "Locate Image" and to Y where it says "Choose partition to overwrite with the image data".
Note: the partition letters may not be the same as on your system. Macrium uses its own lettering. Best is to go by the size of the partitions and open it with the little + in the front.
10. Watch out when it asks whether to replace the Master Boot Record - in this case say "do not replace" because this is only a data partition. If that were your system partition, you would replace the MBR provided you do not have a separate boot partition.
11. When you get the little window saying "Your computer will now reboot", you have to hit "Cancel" (on the bottom" to get it to reboot. That's a little strange way to end the session, but that's the way it is.
12. Check whether the 2 animals in the sample picture folder are back. That shows you that the recovery worked.

When you have done these steps, you did the whole cycle and have learned

1. That your recovery disk works
2. How to recover
3. That things work

Now you can delete the little 2GB partition and add it back to it's originating partition.
If you are not familiar with the creation and deletion of partitions, watch this tutorial: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/72427-data-partition.html
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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