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Windows 7: Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup


22 Nov 2008   #539
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

How to Create a System Image Backup in Windows 7

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My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Nov 2012   #540
PeterAstle

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Brink View Post
Since you have the OS on the active C now and boot from it, you could mark D as inactive.

Well, we know that C is on there obviosly since it's where Windows is installed.

A is on there since you moved your user accounts to be saved and open from there.

What do you have on B?

Ok, I have marked D as inactive though this is not related to the main issue here.

B contains all my original raw photograhic images (which are backed up on an external drive.)

The curious thing is that before I whipped out my motherboard for repair, the system images I created were only of the order of 64 GB and therefore could not have included everything from my A drive which contains 384 GB. My user account has been on A drive ever since I installed my SSD about a year ago when I moved it from C to A as the SSD was not big enough. The last 64 GB system image was created on Oct 3rd last!

So what is being included in the sytem images I create now which are 438 GB? Now 64 + 384 = 448 which is not far away from 438, so it looks like the clear answer is all my user files from A!

Surely if my user account were on C, all my user files would not be included in a sytem image, just the system files. So why are user files from A being included and not just any system files there might be on A?

So the question remains how to create a system image without including all user files from A?

Maybe I should forget Windows and use the NTI software I mentioned earlier as that produces a 64 GB image (of just C I presume.)

Appologies for the length of my exposition - I hope I make sense.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Nov 2012   #541
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

A system image would also include anything in your user folders since that is part to the system for Windows 7 to be able to run.

Do you have any folders from these A and B locations included in any of your libraries?

Just to clarify. Did you actually move your user folders to the A drive for them to run off the A drive, or did you just copy them there as a backup? If you actually moved them, then the only way to not have A included in the system image is to restore the user folders back to the default C drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Nov 2012   #542
PeterAstle

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

I moved my entire user account onto A drive following the tutorial in this forum here . So all my libraries, files, documents etc. are on A.

B just contains lots of folders of photos and is independent of everything else.

I am still very puzzled as to why having my user account on A causes user files to be included in a system image whereas having my user account on C does not.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Nov 2012   #543
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Well, moving your profile like that is what is causing all of the A drive to be included in the system image. Don't know why it didn't before, but it should have.

I'm not sure why B is being included in the system image.

Did you also move your page file, "Temporary Internet Files" folder, or any other system cache or folder to another location like this?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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09 Nov 2012   #544
PeterAstle

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

I must have misled you somewhere - B is not included in the system image (it can't be as there is more than another 300 GB there!) Only A and C are included.

Page file is still on C but all temporary files are on A including temporary internet files and all environment varaibles. Could this be the cause of the problem?

The reason I moved all temp files to A from C was following documented advice (reliable?) about reducing the number of writes to my SSD. I could try moving them back to C to see what then occurs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2012   #545
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Oh, sorry. It's not you, it was me. I looked at the screenshot wrong and thought B was checked somehow.

The temp files would be considered system files as well, and would be another reason why A is included.

Since the old first generation of SSDs, the number of reads/writes are no longer an issue with SSDs thanks to built in Trim feature. If you have the free space, it's best to keep stuff like the temp file on the SSD for better performance.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Nov 2012   #546
PeterAstle

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

I tried moving all temp files back to C but this made no difference so I guess you are correct in saying that I will have to move my user account back to C to avoid this issue. May try this when I can find the time.

Hope this doesn't sound cheeky (it's not meant to!) but why did you create a tutorial showing how to move a user account when you appear not to approve of this?

Out of interest I made a system image using NTI Backup Now EZ which was only 64GB and took about 5 mins to create. I used this image to do a system restore and it worked just fine, again in about 5 mins. Clearly this software is not copying my user files as they are 370+ GB. At the moment this seems to be my best bet.

Thanks for all your help and advice.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Nov 2012   #547
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

The best way to do it is to move the user accounts back but leave the bulk of the files on the spinner. You can always link the folders into the library structure. That will not cause them to be included in an image.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Nov 2012   #548
Brink
Microsoft MVP

64-bit Windows 8.1 Enterprise
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by PeterAstle View Post
I tried moving all temp files back to C but this made no difference so I guess you are correct in saying that I will have to move my user account back to C to avoid this issue. May try this when I can find the time.

Hope this doesn't sound cheeky (it's not meant to!) but why did you create a tutorial showing how to move a user account when you appear not to approve of this?

Out of interest I made a system image using NTI Backup Now EZ which was only 64GB and took about 5 mins to create. I used this image to do a system restore and it worked just fine, again in about 5 mins. Clearly this software is not copying my user files as they are 370+ GB. At the moment this seems to be my best bet.

Thanks for all your help and advice.

Yep, you will need to move your user folders back to C before A will not be included since your user folders are required for Windows to run.

Not cheeky at all. I created that tutorial since it's a feature in Windows 7, and many people wanted to use it. I wanted to help make it easy to use for those that wanted to do it. I just personally feel that using libraries (TIP box at link) instead would be easier, less risky, and don't have to have the drive the profile moved to included in a system image. That's all.

Sure, the NTI Backup Now EZ will work just fine so long as your user folders do not have the drive letter change, get deleted, or moved again. The only difference is that the Windows System Image included the user folders in the image so that it makes sure that they will be at the different location when the image is restored. Since the NTI Backup Now EZ didn't include them, if something happens to the HDD, you have not backup of your user folders like you would with Windows System Image.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Nov 2012   #549
PeterAstle

Windows 7 64 bit
 
 

If I do move my user account back to C, what's the best approach as my SSD is only 120 GB and too small for all my user files?

Do I
  1. move the contents My Documents, My Pictures etc first so the folders are empty
  2. move my account to C
  3. change the location of My Documents etc. to A?
  4. copy the contents back again
or is there a quicker way forward?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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