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Windows 7: create a system repair disc?

16 Apr 2011   #1

windows 7 upgrade as stand alone 64bit
create a system repair disc?

Hi all

Windows updates have been doing some unpredictable things to my system so I have done a system restore and and now creating a mirror image using the tutorial on this forum. I read that it should only take about 15 mins and need over 1GB of space to do this (I am backing up on a DVD as I don't have an external hard drive). So far, it has been going for well over 2 hrs and am on my fourth DVD (4.7GB each) and it looks like it's only about 1/4 done (according to the 'windows is saving the back up' indicator). Does this sound normal? My hard drive is 320GB and currently has 128GB used. Do I need to run out and buy enough DVD's to cover 128GB?

Also, the tutorial suggests selecting the NO option to creating a system restore disc when it is finished. May I ask why?

Just worried I am doing wrong.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Apr 2011   #2

Windows 7 Pro x64

Run out and buy a external USB drive of about 500GB>1TB in size. Forget DVDs for any serious backup.

Then when you come home go on the net and get a REAL backup/imaging program. Like Acronis True Image or another make/brand that you know from reading recommendations will work.
Once you install that imaging program make the bootable rescue disk that is included with most any of these programs so you can boot your PC from that disk, with the USB external drive connected and use your most current image to restore your PC.

Do a image before all Windows ?Updates? (some times better known as Windows Screw ups). Do the updates and if you have any problems you can reimage the drive back to before the updates were done.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Apr 2011   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Generally speaking, most people recommend making a system image on an external hard drive rather than using DVDs. It usually takes multiple DVDs (as you're finding out) and the chances are much greater that a DVD won't burn correctly. If one of those DVDs is corrupt in any way, you won't be able to restore the image.

Creating a system image is not the same as creating a repair disk. A repair disk is for a worst case scenario when you can no longer boot your computer and acess Windows 7. You set your BIOS to boot from the optical drive as the first choice (rather than booting from the hard drive.) You insert the repair disk, let the computer boot from that disk, and then you can access several repair functions including the ability to restore your machine from the system image you made earlier. It's been my experience that the repair disk will easily fit on one CD and it takes about 15-20 minutes to create it.

Many people recommend the free Macrium Reflect or Paragon over the Windows 7 imaging tool or paid products.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

16 Apr 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

If you have 128 GB used, your image will probably occupy somewhere around half that much. You are likely to need at least 10 DVDs. Take Shootist's advice and get another HD. With a hard drive as the destination, you can make an image in 10 or 20 minutes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Apr 2011   #5

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86

Do you have windows and data on the same partition, that is do you have only one partition on the hard drive? A better strategy is to have at least 2 partitions, one for the OS and programs, another for data. That way data can be backed up (copy/paste) to an external drive while the OS partition can be imaged using either the inbuilt utility or macrium/acronis etc. This has other advantages also, if the OS gets messed, you can just restore from the image and the data stays intact. Also, separating the data means OS and app files stay at the fastest part of the hard disk.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Apr 2011   #6

windows 7 upgrade as stand alone 64bit

Thanks the swift replies and advice everyone. I'll be buying an external hard drive a.s.a.p! Sounds like the most reliable and time saving option all round. I probably should have spent a little more time researching my options before I dived in all gung ho this morning.

Bill- After I last did a clean install I did set up 2 partitions but for some reason I only allocated 13GB to my 2nd partition (I've never utilized it) which makes it kind of useless as I have WAY more data than that (assuming by data you mean photos, music etc). Now I get why a 2nd partition would be useful and will certainly allocate more space next time I have to reinstall as I really like that idea.

Thanks again for the great direction I always get on this forum. I really appreciate it, and always find it a valuable learning tool for a non-tech person like myself.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Apr 2011   #7

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I agree...I have a old 500GB IDE drive which I am using to create a system image of my drive C: which will require about 300GB of the space. It is in a caddy, but IMO, a better buy would be a USB/eSATA drive dock where you can just insert HDD's as needed (I've only seen the SATA variety), but the better docks will handle 2.5/3.5" drives (1TB seems to be the standard, but there are some docks which will handle the newer 2TB SATA drives).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Apr 2011   #8

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by livichops View Post
I only allocated 13GB to my 2nd partition (I've never utilized it) which makes it kind of useless as I have WAY more data than that (assuming by data you mean photos, music etc). Now I get why a 2nd partition would be useful and will certainly allocate more space next time I have to reinstall as I really like that idea.
A 500GB external HDD should cost ~ $60/40pound --- a must have.
I suggest you use 2 separate imaging programs and make separate images. You may only know you have a problem with an imaging program when it comes time to restore.
I use the inbuilt Windows imaging extensively AND Macrium Reflect (free). Both have never failed me.

When you have some images to fall back on you can repartition your 320GB without needing to reinstall. I would suggest 100GB for your OS/Programs.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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