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Windows 7: Can you restore an image to a "smaller" partition?

04 Apr 2011   #11
Shootist

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bare Foot Kid View Post
If there is a System Reserved partition and that is the system volume where the "System" boot files are stored and that is not added and consequently restored, no the 'new' image will not boot.
In my test I use a drive that has a backup Win 7 OS on it which is the exact same image that I am running right now and that I used for my test. So the sys reserve partition is the same.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Apr 2011   #12
Shootist

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TVeblen View Post
Wow. What great information (and what a lot of work!) Thank you very much for that.

And yes, I get the picture now, very clearly.

One other curiosity, maybe you know this (or maybe you answered this already):

If the hard drive has one 100MB SR partition, one 100GB system partition (C:, Boot (MBR), Page File, Yada-Yada), and one user files partition (D:, Extended)

And no partition sizing has changed.

And you restore the image of C: only (not the SR partition too), would the box boot?

Or do you have to restore both every time?
In all my working with computer over the last 18+ years and using backup programs for most of that time the only way I've found to get a system back up and running is to restore the complete drive.
Doing just parts of it never worked for me, and I've tried. Just like I did in my test.

Just looked up MBR to refresh my memory.
The MBR holds the partition table, along with other things. So if you try to load the OS on a smaller or larger partition the current MBR store in the disk image is not the same because the partitions are different. Now that may not matter for other drives in the system but for the OS it is very important.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Apr 2011   #13
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

I've got some XP boxes that I have restored just the C: drive on many times without issue - leaving all the user files drives/partitions as is (or "as was"). Never a problem.

But W7 is a different animal and amazingly I've never needed to do a restore on any box I babysit. I keep making these images with no experience on restoring them. Scary!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Apr 2011   #14
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I am not sure what imaging program you use. I use free Macrium. But I highly recommend to go thru the whole cycle including restore on a small test partition into which you copy a bit of data. Then take an image, delete a few files from the test partition, roll the image back in and check whether the deleted files are back to make sure it worked.

There are a lot of things you learn in the process that you do not want to face in an emergency. Especially in Win7 where you are faced with the 100MB active system partition the process is a bit more complicated - although I never restore the 100MB partition nor the MBR if I restore to the partition from where the image was taken. That is, of course, different if you change the partition parameters.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2011   #15
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Good info. The picture is becoming clearer.

I've been using Acronis True Image Home 11.

I always image and restore using the bootable CD (linux bootloader) and never had a hiccup restoring trashed XP machines.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2011   #16
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Shootist View Post
Whenever I have restored a system image, a image of the boot drive along with the MBR (Master Boot Record), which you have to do if you want the PC to boot to the OS. Acronis, all version as far as I know, deletes any existing partitions and recreates the paritions as they were when the image was made.
With Win 7 when restoring you need to restore the System Reserve partition, the main partition (the one that has the OS install on it) and the MBR and any other partition on that physical drive. In other words the whole drive. That is if you want the OS to boot.

I'm going to do a test and post back in about 20 minutes.
Hi Shootist - sorry, more questions:

You mention the MBR as if it were a separate option (include in the image, or don't include). I've never seen that as an option in any of the images I've taken. What backup program do you use?

Keep in mind that when I take an image it is a "Full Backup" of the entire partition (drive). I do not do incremental backups of operating system images, only full.

The laptop in question has a System Reserved partition marked "System" and "Active" in Disk Management.
The C: drive partition is marked "Boot", "Page File", and "Crash Dump".

My assumption is that "Boot" means the MBR is on the C: drive, and imaging the entire C: drive would include MBR, so it should be a non issue?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2011   #17
Shootist

Windows 7 Pro x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by TVeblen View Post

Hi Shootist - sorry, more questions:

You mention the MBR as if it were a separate option (include in the image, or don't include). I've never seen that as an option in any of the images I've taken. What backup program do you use?

Keep in mind that when I take an image it is a "Full Backup" of the entire partition (drive). I do not do incremental backups of operating system images, only full.

The laptop in question has a System Reserved partition marked "System" and "Active" in Disk Management.
The C: drive partition is marked "Boot", "Page File", and "Crash Dump".

My assumption is that "Boot" means the MBR is on the C: drive, and imaging the entire C: drive would include MBR, so it should be a non issue?
It's not a option when making a image. It is a option when restoring a image made of the system drive. It's that way in XP also using older TI versions.
Say you have your main drive, Disk 0, that has the OS on it and all that goes with that depending on what OS you are using. Along with that you have 2-X number of partitions on that physical drive (And with 7 you will more then likely have at least 2 partitions. One the 100MB sys reserve and another that holds the OS). For me I have 3 partitions on the drive that hold the OS. 1 the system Reserve, 2nd that hold all the OS files (and whatever) and the 3rd that has most of my programs (I do install some programs, like utilities, on the C partition) installed on it.
When I create a image it is of the whole main drive. When I restore a image it is of the whole main drive. If you don't the OS will not boot.
If I was to just create a image of the C (2nd) partition of that drive and then try to restore that image the OS will not boot.
If I create a image of the whole main drive and then try to restore just the C partition the OS will not boot.
Never tried just restoring the D partition from a image of the whole drive but I would think since you haven't touched the OS partition the OS would boot.
Now this not true for any other physical disk you have in the system. More then likely if you have a disk that had X number of partitions on it and no OS you could restore just one of those and have everything work.
For me I only make images of the main boot drive. No need to image any other physical disks or partitions on any physical disk as I have all my data backed up on multiple computers and on external drives.
Here a picture of the TI 2011 restore window where you select what partitions to restore out of a image you created.

Can you restore an image to a "smaller" partition?-img_1051.jpg

When backing up the OS drive you need to create a image of the whole drive and when restoring you need to restore the whole drive. That is if you want the OS to boot.

Yes it is a non issue if you restore the whole drive.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2011   #18
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
 
 

Here's the basic descriptions ...


"System" = where the boot files for the entier system are stored (including dual/multi boot)

"Boot" = Simply indicates the OS that is running

"Active" = the flag that 'tells' WinRE where to (re)create the "System" boot files if a startup repair is done


The above is simplistic but accurate
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2011   #19
TVeblen

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 64 Bit Home Premium SP1
 
 

Ah. Thank you guys.

"System" = Boot Files makes it all very clear now.

So glad I did not install that reserved partition on this system. So much simpler.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Can you restore an image to a "smaller" partition?




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