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Windows 7: Can "system image" be written to and restored from USB drive?

29 Mar 2011   #1
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 
Can "system image" be written to and restored from USB drive?

Having had my life saved several times now by the availability of a reasonably or completely current "system image" on a local non-boot second drive, I'm trying to come up with a suitable emergency recovery plan for my brother-in-law's new single drive Win7 machine.

I've already partitioned the single 300GB drive (for OS and data), and had previously copied all the contents of the previous two-drive (three partition) WinXP machine to a 2TB USB drive for copying back to the new Win7 machine of what is worth saving on the new local hard drives.

So I have this external 2TB USB drive that I've told him could be used as a very convenient primary backup storage device... for the NovaBackup program I've installed for him in Win7. These disk-resident compressed backup datasets can be very easily produced, and then recovered from if necessary.

He also has an external USB HP DDS5 tape drive which was used for years in the WinXP system (using Sonic's Backup MyPC v6.0, which does not run on Win7) as the primary backup device, but now can clearly be the "backup" secondary backup device.

I would like to also write the emergency "system image" backup to the 2TB USB drive as well (since he only has one internal hard drive on the machine).

But all of this plan this depends on whether that 2TB USB drive can be used by Win7's emergency repair process as a discovered source for "system image" datasets.


So, my question is simple: is an external USB drive usable by Win7 to write a "system image" to? If so, I would expect that Microsoft also produced the "restore system image" process to read an external USB drive.

Am I right? Can it be used as I want?

Thanks.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Mar 2011   #2
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Yes, a "system image" can be written to and restored from a USB drive. That's how I do all of mine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Mar 2011   #3
dsperber

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
Yes, a "system image" can be written to and restored from a USB drive. That's how I do all of mine.
Thank you. That's just what I wanted to hear.

Next question (for my nephew): what about a network connected storage device, which plugs directly into the router? I'm talking about a Drobo "self-healing RAID" product like one of these? He has one, although it's a SATA/USB version. But if it were a network-connected one, can "system image" go to a network drive location and be restored from there? Or must it be "locally attached" to the Win7 machine itself?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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29 Mar 2011   #4
Shootist

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

The only problem with using network storage for image files, whether a NAS or another computer on the network, is that you need to load the network card drivers on the boot CD or thumb drive that also has the image recovery program on it.

It is best, IMHO, to store images on both a internal drive and a copy of it on a USB external drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Mar 2011   #5
Golden
Microsoft MVP

Windows 7 Ult. x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dsperber;1318230
Next question (for my nephew): what about a network connected storage device, which plugs directly into the router? I'm talking about a [URL="http://www.drobo.com/products/index.php"
Drobo "self-healing RAID" product like one of these[/URL]? He has one, although it's a SATA/USB version. But if it were a network-connected one, can "system image" go to a network drive location and be restored from there? Or must it be "locally attached" to the Win7 machine itself?
What imaging software are you using? If its Macrium Reflect, then the answer is YES : images can be saved to and restored from a network storage. I use a Thecus N2200 without any trouble at all. I assume Windows system imaging can do the same?

Regards,
Golden
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2011   #6
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Of course people backup over networks all the time. If you don't need to I wouldn't since it just introduces another point of failure. I'd use a directly connected (USB) external HDD. I make Windows & Macrium images this way.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2011   #7
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
 
 

You need Win 7 Pro or above to do a windows system image to a NAS drive. Third party systems such as Macrium Reflect don't have this limitation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Can "system image" be written to and restored from USB drive?




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