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Windows 7: Concerns With Windows Backup Tool

06 Oct 2010   #1
Andy 01

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit
Concerns With Windows Backup Tool

Could do with some pointers on this please.
W7 Pro, backup facility.

I was allowing it to do a scheduled backup to a NAS, but it was taking to long to do the backup, so I put another drive in the case so it could back up to that.
This drive has nothing else on it, its just for the backup.
The C drive in the PC is 1 TB, and the backup drive is also 1 TB.

Now, I told windows to only keep the latest version of backup, so it should keep a bit of space free.
My C drive has approximately 350 gig used.
Following my second scheduled backup, the D drive now shows 800 gig used !!

How can it be taking 350 gig and turning it into 800 gig ??
My worry is if I get up to say 500 gig on C, a 1 TB drive would no longer be large enough to back it up !!

Any thoughts please.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2010   #2
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

How many images do you have on your drive now - my guess would be at lest 2. With proper compression, the images should be only about 50% of the used space on C (about 180GBs in your case) - that is at least what I get with Macrium.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2010   #3
Andy 01

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit

Thats part of my confusion
Only appear to have one image !
My System SpecsSystem Spec

06 Oct 2010   #4
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

This is indeed bizarre. I am not really an expert with the small details of Windows imaging since I use Macrium and Norton Ghost. I have therefore asked another member who is real knowledgeable with Win7 imaging to have a look at your problem.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2010   #5

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

In the mean time.
Windows backup uses 2 separate backup mechanisms which by default can run together. These are folder/file backups (uses hidden .zip files) and images of whole partitions (uses hidden .vhd files).
In your case out 350GB, 300GB may be personal files and folders and if these are being backed up they will appear as a separate entry like "your PC name" in addition to an image [WindowsImageBackup].
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Oct 2010   #6

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Andy 01 View Post
Thats part of my confusion
Only appear to have one image !
Ok here we go.

Connect your backup drive.

Using Wndows Explorer, rt-click on the icon for the drive. choose open.

Here's a snip of what my backup drive shows.
Concerns With Windows Backup Tool-contents-backup-drive.png

Now select the folder with the name of your computer and choose Open
Concerns With Windows Backup Tool-open-folder-name-your-computer.png
Rt-clk on the folder containing backups and choose Open
Concerns With Windows Backup Tool-folder-backups.png
You will see several backups listed.

My next objective here is to indicate to you the Win 7 backup is incremental. I will show you you, via properties, the size of the first backup and then I will repeat the same sequence using the latest backup.
You will see there is a considerable size difference.
What you will do is rt-clk on a folder, and choose the properties item.
Here are the clips of my first and last.
Concerns With Windows Backup Tool-oldest-backup-set.png
Concerns With Windows Backup Tool-newest-backup-set.png

That demonstrates the vast difference in the size of the backup of the folders and files on your computer.

Now we are going to look at the size of the image backup, a VHD file.

Using the Win explorer back arrow go back to that original display of folders on your backup drive. You will see a folder named WindowsImageBackup. Rt-clk, choose open.
Concerns With Windows Backup Tool-selecting-folder-containg-image-file.png

You are going to see a folder with your computer name. Rt-clk, Open
Concerns With Windows Backup Tool-once-again-folder-your-computer-name.png

You are going to see a backup folder. Rt-clk, Open
Concerns With Windows Backup Tool-once-again-backup-folder.png

You will see a list of files, most contain info that restore operation uses, but
you will see one VHD file per partition you included in the sytem backup.
Notice the size of the image file.
Concerns With Windows Backup Tool-actual-image-file-you-can-mount-disk-managment.png

This should help calm you worries about a rampart disk space chewer.

For a very excellent explanation of Win 7 Backup and Restore, I recommend Brink's tutorial:
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

You may want to look at another piece of his handiwork:
Backup User and System Files - Delete Backups - Windows 7 Forums

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2010   #7
Andy 01

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit

Thank you for such detailed responses.
I'm at work at present so will look into this tonight and report back.
Again, many thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2010   #8

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

Looking forward to hearing your questions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2010   #9
Andy 01

Windows 7 Professional 64 Bit

Hmm, Still struggle with the maths

OK, with the folder with my logon name, it shows two sets. 26/08/2010 (294 gig)and 03/10/2010 (193 gig).
Why two when I selected the option to only keep the latest backup ??

I then have the windows image folder, at 311 gig.

My total C drive usage is 334 gig.

So, how I see this is windows actually stores two backups !
One complete drive image, and another with personal files and folders.
As the bulk of my C drive usage is personal files, I guess thats why the user name folders are so large.

But if my assumption is correct, why does it need two backup types, effectivly doubling the required space needed on the target backup drive.
Does it re-do the drive image, or once taken its just safely stored ??

If I'm correct, my original worry still stands. I installed a 1TB drive to allow backup of the 1TB C drive.
If my usage of the C drive gets to say 500 GIG, the 1 TB available on the backup drive will no longer be enough ??

Looking like I may be needing a third party application to handle the backups.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Oct 2010   #10

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

If you investigate those two backups, you will find the first has zipped up about every folder and file. The 2nd backup will only have zipped up the files and folders you add/changed since the 1st backup.

Evidently you have some rather large files.

Futhermore, you have you system, your programs AND all of your data in one partition, C:

What the Win 7 Backup and Restore does, if you just go with the defaults, is generate a system image backup (the VHD file) AND zips up all of your folders and files. This approach is very powerful and flexible.

To reduce the size of your backups, you can:
1. create a new partition and put all of your libraries there OR
2. choose the custom backup option and only backup the folders of your choice. The system image will still be generated, but you will probably have far fewer folders being zipped OR
3. Use an approach which I personally use (except when generating examples for people who want to understand why the backups take so much space).

Approach 3 is: ONLY make a system image backup. With a system image you can always recover any individual folders/files by mounting the VHD file.

Since I use a notebook and a netbook and like to have all of my folders and files with me and to have both the notebook and the netbook in sync, then I use SyncToy to backup and to synchronize the data folders and files.

Approach 3 then gives me an image file which I make once every blue moon and allows me to have a fast backup and sync of folders/files between the two computer. I run synctoy about once a week.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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