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Windows 7: Win 7 System Images - incremental or not?

12 May 2011   #31
hw360

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

That command shows there are many versions available.
I don't have a DVD burner on this machine to burn the Recovery CD. I will find a way to boot into Recovery mode and try again.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 May 2011   #32
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

I've always been under the impression that the image is overwritten.
A very simple test would be that a small change would require much less time to carry out the incremental change - this wasn't my (distant) experience.

I don't even have Windows overwrite images now. I delete, rename or move before creating a fresh image.
Although I use it, Windows imaging is a fledgling product.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 May 2011   #33
hw360

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

My latest tests shows: SIW2 is right!

The Windows 7 System Image is incremental. It's not visible from Windows Backup & Restore application, it's visible if you boot from Recovery CD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 May 2011   #34
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Yes, it's misleading - looking at the backup folder makes you think there is only one.

Thanks for testing hw360.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2011   #35
hw360

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I wonder where the incremental data are saved?

After above test, I copied the E:\WindowsImageBackup to another drive F:\, detached the E: drive, and attached F: drive to the machine.

Both Windows 7 Recover Disk and wpadmin command show there is only one system image in F: drive, no more previous versions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2011   #36
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Larry, you are getting a lot of good input and also some conflicting advice. And if you like intellectual challenges, do experiment some more with Windows imaging - I do that too. But I would never trust my system to that facility.

If you want to make your life easy and be sure that you can recover one day, follow the advice of SIW2 and use Paragon or Macrium. I did not get around to write a Paragon tutorial yet, but for Macrium, have a look at this: Imaging with free Macrium

Both programs are free, so you loose nothing. Acronis is probably also a good alternative. You get it for free with some disk drives.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2011   #37
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

hw360,

Older files are moved into Shadow storage on the backup drive.

If that gets borked - and it may - then you only have the most recent image remaining.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2011   #38
Frozenthunder

Windows 7 64bit
 
 

Even the normal file backup doesn't work incremental....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2011   #39
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 May 2011   #40
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
hw360,

Older files are moved into Shadow storage on the backup drive.

If that gets borked - and it may - then you only have the most recent image remaining.
It has been my practice for a while now to always to make one image only.
I delete, rename or move. I consider it a conservative but safe approach and I can spare 30 minutes once a week to make an image.

EXPERIMENT
1) Used "Create a System Image". Not scheduled imaging.
2) Made an image. Took ~34 minutes.
3) Deleted a folder from the imaged partition.
4) Sometime later made a second image "over" the first. Took ~3minutes.
5) Booted from system repair and searched for image. Found only one image.
6) Attached image under disk management. The deleted folder was missing.
7) 200MB folder added (next day)
8) Imaged next day. Took ~7min
9) Still only one image found
10) attached vhd shows added data
11) deleting shadow storage made no apparent difference to the contents of the attached image. However, the next image took the full time of a fresh image ~ 34 minutes.

CONCLUSION
It overwrites the image but in a "smart" fashion accounting for the much faster imaging time. Looks like some form of differential or incremental imaging to me but overwriting the original image not keeping a base image.
Shadow storage plays a role in speeding up subsequent imaging.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Win 7 System Images - incremental or not?




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