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Windows 7: Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

24 Jan 2012   #480
lehnerus2000

W7 Ultimate SP1, LM18 MATE, W10IP VM, W10 Home, #All 64 bit
 
 
Glitches occur

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
With Windows imaging you can "Attach" the image under Disk Manager. Browse your image and see if all looks well. At the very least you can pull files if you need to.
You can do that with Macrium also.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
The bottom line is if you don't have confidence in an imaging utility then don't use it. There are a number of alternatives out there.
It's not about confidence in the program, but the images themselves (from my perspective).
Glitches occur and no one can stop them.

Images may sit around for years.
I have images of "My Documents" dating back to July 2009.
How do you know if they are viable, without testing?

Let's say that you are going to install some program.
You have make a backup (in case something goes wrong or you don't like it).
You are relying on that image to "save your bacon".
If it's corrupt you are "out of luck".


My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jan 2012   #481
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

I think you may be out of luck if relying on old images. What confidence do you have in a program reporting "Verify OK". For me a little+.

I have restored from old images Windows & Macrium with no problems - but no guarantees.
That's why I say use more than one imaging routine. But above all else make sure your irreplaceable data is secure.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jan 2012   #482
lehnerus2000

W7 Ultimate SP1, LM18 MATE, W10IP VM, W10 Home, #All 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
I think you may be out of luck if relying on old images. What confidence do you have in a program reporting "Verify OK". For me a little+.
It depends on your paranoia level.
I only rely on the "Verify" function to tell me if the image is broken (i.e. don't bother using this image).

Do you trust MD5 numbers on downloads?
They only tell you that the file you downloaded, is the one that you selected.

They don't tell you if the file (and MD5) has been manipulated between uploading and your downloading of it.

I hope I never have to use the July 2009 image (the first I ever made).
That would mean that all of the images for the following months/years are broken/gone.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
I have restored from old images Windows & Macrium with no problems - but no guarantees.
That's why I say use more than one imaging routine. But above all else make sure your irrepressible data is secure.
Agreed.
I have at least 3 separate HDDs (2 external and 1 internal) storing my backup images.

The biggest problem is wading through all of the backups, when you are looking for some particular file.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Jan 2012   #483
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
Agreed.
I have at least 3 separate HDDs (2 external and 1 internal) storing my backup images.
That's funny. I use the same setup. And since the externals are sitting on my desk and have power switches, I always switch them off when not in use.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

25 Jan 2012   #484
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lehnerus2000 View Post

It's not about confidence in the program, but the images themselves (from my perspective).
Splitting hairs a little.
Confidence in the program means being able to make an image with the program and have confidence that the program will correctly restore its particular image format to give you a PC in the same state it was when the image was made.

Unless you have successfully carried out a full system reimage at least a couple of times you are running on luck.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Jan 2012   #485
lehnerus2000

W7 Ultimate SP1, LM18 MATE, W10IP VM, W10 Home, #All 64 bit
 
 
I guess I should have been more specific

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lehnerus2000 View Post

It's not about confidence in the program, but the images themselves (from my perspective).
Splitting hairs a little.
Confidence in the program means being able to make an image with the program and have confidence that the program will correctly restore its particular image format to give you a PC in the same state it was when the image was made.

Unless you have successfully carried out a full system reimage at least a couple of times you are running on luck.
The imager may function perfectly, but the image could be defective due to unrelated problems.
This could be things like block damage, controller glitches, or malware action (after the image was created).

If you know an image is faulty, you won't attempt to use it and therefore it will save you time and aggravation.
Have you ever try installing anything, from a set of floppies only, to get ~80% through and receive a "Disc Error" message?

I agree that the only real test is a successful reimage.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2012   #486
Hogtowner

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 

Hey Brink,

So, I've got W7 on this raid 1 array that is buggy. I've had a couple of crashes but managed to recover so far. I want to replace the disks, as you might guess. I have a standby disk installed in the same machine (all of the disks are 500GB). Is this the way to go? Create a backup, replace disks, and then recover? Or should I not be able just to replace a disk with a new disk somehow, since it is a raid 1 array? (I actually cannot see that happening, since the array wouldn't be recognized with a new disk in place.)

Sorry to impose on you like this. Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

---------------------------------------------------
Update on progress so far...

I ran into a fairly common problem, it seems, with running the system image backup. The routine goes through the typical preparatory stages successfully, even to the point of determining the needed space for a backup, in my case less than 10% of the available. Fine. Then the routine starts in earnest, with the typical sliding progress bar for my amusement. Around 5% of the task being completed, an error pops up declaiming my lack of available disk space and rebuking me for not having available space amounting to about 1/10 of that which, in fact, I have available.

After quite a lot of searching for fixes (I won't bother to report the error code, since this seems relatively arbitrary, that is, the solution apparently fixes many differently coded errors), I ran across a discussion of the USN journal, and how that pops its ugly little head up during the process. It seems the Maximum Size reported in the journal for the SR partition (my z: drive) was a ridiculously high value (indeed larger than my c: drive, which fills the remainder of the 500GB disk).

Various solutions are mooted for the fix of this problem, the most elegant of all being the deletion of the journal via:
fsutil usn deletejournal /d z:
I have now found that after a while, without the disable switch (/n), the journal comes back with a more reasonable Maximum Size.

As a caveat, I cannot claim that this is a direct fix of the problem, since I do not know how the USN journal might come into play with the backup procedure. I do know that the process of deleting the journal worked for me, and has not had any negative side effects (so far). In fact, I do not know what a/the USN is, how used, why stored. But just such questions keep me out of the bars and off the streets.

I will update again once my new drives arrive. I hope this post will be useful to those a little shy of this procedure.

--------------------------------
Final Update

Could not do it. After hours of trying to get the recovery program to recognize my new raid 1 array, I had to give up.

I was able to format and partition the array using the recovery program's DOS window, and the recovery program found the drive, started the process, and then a pop-up error would inform me that 'no drive could be found that was suitable to take the recovery'. I wish I could be more specific, but I couldn't figure a way to get a screen grab of the error message. I do remember that it gave a checklist of three options for fixing the problem, none of which applied to the current situation. Could it be that it is necessary to actually do an install of Win 7 onto the array before you can recover to it?

The whole mess was pretty frustrating, and has called into question why anyone would bother to make a system image, given that it is so difficult to use in an actual recovery situation.

For my machine, however, all was not lost since I actually had a functioning system disk. As you will remember, I was replacing a raid 1 array that had crashed a couple of times, though each time had been able to rebuild itself. The procedure I used to replace this array was to replace one disk at a time, and let the IRST procedure rebuild the array (rinse and repeat). As time consuming as this was, I would suggest it as the first thing to try for anyone replacing a raid 1 array.

I would like to hear some comments on this. Especially from anyone who has recovered to a blank array successfully.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2012   #487
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Hello Hogtowner,

It's no imposition at all.

As long as the new HDD is the same size or larger than what you included in the system image backup, then yes you should be able to do a system image recovery with that image backup to the new HDD to restore everything.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2012   #488
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

And if the new HDD is smaller, you can shrink the VHD, reimage that and then restore. Sounds complicated but really is not.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Feb 2012   #489
lizlio

windows 7 64 bit
 
 
Confused with Back up on external hard drive

I've read the tutorial on Back up and totally confused and have also skimmed through posts which have not helped me.

I back up on an external hard drive ((Hitachi 250 gb). I only wish to back up new documents and images.

In xp I backed up without a problem, choosing only new files to back up. With W7 (Home Premium) I notice the back up does everything.

I do not wish to back up entire content once/ week.

I do not wish to use the Control Panel back up option. I prefer copies on an external hard drive.

Somewhere I read backing up only new files is possible only on DVD etc. (For me that is a lot of DVD's).This may have been a google search, sorry can't remember.

I thank you in advance for any help you can give me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup




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