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Windows 7: Windows Backup and Restore

01 Oct 2010   #11
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

I've seen this question so many times that I took the time to give this response.

Restore Points: Backs up a subset of the OS information. Windows will do it for example before installing updates so that if things go wrong you go back to a restore point containing the system subset information. I've had problems with restore points (probably a quirk of my system) and restore a full image if (rarely) needed.
Windows Backup & Restore: In addition to restore points Windows "Backup & Restore" form 2 additional and functionally separate backup capabilities.
Folder File Backup
One backs up folders and files you choose and/or a set of personal folders and files windows defaults to. This does not backup the OS or 3rd party applications which have been integrated into windows. Standalone *.exe apps can be stored. These backups are stored as *.zip files and are easily accessed and incrementally added to. You can browse and pull files easily without going into "Disk Management". I think it is intended for the average windows user to feel comfortable with. The down side is that the process tends to be on the slow side.
System Image Backup
A system image backsup everything (except what windows deems to be rubbish). This includes all the OS, 3rd party applications your files etc.... It's like a snapshot of the full computer back when the image was made. The backups are stored as very large *.vhd files. My computer can create an image for a 50 GB system in around 20 min to a USB ext HDD and restore in about the same time.
Windows stores the backups in a root partition as [WindowsImageBackup]. This one image per partition constraint is a weakness of the Windows imaging. The workaround is to simply rename the image to [WindowsImageBackupxxxx]. Rename it back to [WindowsImageBackup] for windows to recognise it in the restore process. I store multiple windows images on the one partition.
Windows enables you to select "Create a System Image" or include an image in the folder/file backup procedure. When you tick the image box you are selecting 2 separate backup processes to be run. I always create system images on their own and run file/folder backup alone without an image.

A windows image (vhd file) can be easily attached under disk management and browsed like you were browsing the original disk partition. Files can also be extracted but I think the more you touch the image the more you risk it's ultimate purpose - an image restore.

Some people have problems with windows imaging. It either doesn't work for them or they want greater flexibility. I use Macrium as well as a safeguard and when I need the added flexibility. It also use *.vhd files like windows and I find runs about the same speed as windows imaging but you can get higher compression if you want (big deal). Macrium images are very easily browsed.

Cloning is different again and is a blind bit copy of a disk to a disk. Imaging can often realise the same result. I recently restored a complete 3 partition system to an "out of the box" 1TB Seagate HDD. I put the drive in the disk 0 slot (alone) reimaged with Windows imaging. The system automatically rebooted with everything working including my 3rd party applications.
To avoid breaching the EULA and avoid piracy, this process will not allow you to restore to another computer. To transfer to a new computer you should be and need to use the deactivatio/reactivation process.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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01 Oct 2010   #12
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bigmck View Post
I am confused as to how Windows Backup and Restore works. I am not trying to use it, but would like to know. == If I backed up my HD and later wanted to do a Clean Install, it would seem that the format would erase my backups. Would I have to make a separate partition for the backups or how does that work?
The answer to your question:

You do not backup your system to the very disk you are backing up.

Think about it. If your disk crashes, you are lost.

Always backup to a different disk, preferably an external disk.

Here's an excellent tutorial on using Win 7 Backup and Restore written by Brink.
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

Yell at me if you have any questions as I'm an experienced user of Win 7 Backup and with zero problems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2010   #13
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by karlsnooks View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by bigmck View Post
I am confused as to how Windows Backup and Restore works. I am not trying to use it, but would like to know. == If I backed up my HD and later wanted to do a Clean Install, it would seem that the format would erase my backups. Would I have to make a separate partition for the backups or how does that work?
The answer to your question:

You do not backup your system to the very disk you are backing up.

Think about it. If your disk crashes, you are lost.

Always backup to a different disk, preferably an external disk.

Here's an excellent tutorial on using Win 7 Backup and Restore written by Brink.
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

Yell at me if you have any questions as I'm an experienced user of Win 7 Backup and with zero problems.
We are touchy aren't we.

I haven't seen a simple fundamental description like the one I felt prompted to give. (Including Brinks tutorial which is a specific "how to"). The same questions are continually asked! This was given in the spirit of contributing and if you want to criticize it's accuracy go ahead.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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01 Oct 2010   #14
bigmck

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-Bit - Build 7600 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
We are touchy aren't we.

I haven't seen a simple fundamental description like the one I felt prompted to give. (Including Brinks tutorial which is a specific "how to"). The same questions are continually asked! This was given in the spirit of contributing and if you want to criticize it's accuracy go ahead.
I am not sure what this is about. The only thing I saw was several different people attempting to answer a question I asked.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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