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Windows 7: Able to restore complete image of a HDD from an USB 3.0 drive?

19 May 2011   #21
Bellzemos

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

1. I looked but I don't know which process could it be.

2. OK, that's no problem to me, I were only concerned about the safety of backup. So I can use the computer when I'm making a system image, that's great. Do you maybe know when exactly the backup tool takes the snapshot of all the files that will go into the system image? At the beginning of the backup maybe? And if I change some file druing backup it's the old version that will end up on the backup?

3. That's a pity. Well, I'm a little afraid to restore it to my PC in use. I attached the VHD file and I was able to copy files from it - I guess that means that the system image works fine. By the way, why did the backup create three VHD files? I only have one HDD, I think I've read somewhere that it saves a whole HDD into one VHD file, not a VHD file for every partition.

Again, thank you very much, I appreciate your help.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 May 2011   #22
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

ad1) I would not worry too much about the safely remove. The whole scenario is to protect you from incomplete writes from the buffer. But if you wait a couple of minutes after completion of the image, you can be sure that the buffer was emptied. The remaining handles on your HDD are irrelevant at that time.

ad3) I would certainly not recommend that you experiment with restoring your whole system - especially not with Windows imaging which is liable to fail.

I suggest you create a small 2GB partition, copy some (any) data into it and image that. Then you can experiment restores without breaking the bank.

But if you want to experiment with your current system image, make an extra image with Macrium or Paragon first so that you have a safe fallback.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 May 2011   #23
Bellzemos

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
especially not with Windows imaging which is liable to fail.
I've read that it's reliable. Thank you though.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 May 2011   #24
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

It is fairly reliable- there have a number of problems with it here and elsewhere - but it is very inflexible.

You are doing the right thing making images.

I think whs was suggesting you may be better served using a different program to do it.

There are a couple of good free ones around.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 May 2011   #25
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

SIW2 is right. I would not bet my system on the Windows imaging. There is nothing wrong trying it out and playing around with it - I do that too (with mediocre success). But if you want reliable images for emergencies, there are better options.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2011   #26
jimbo45

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers
 
 

Hi all
I don't want to Hijack the thread -- but really these days you need something a bit more sophisticated than Windows standard Backup / restore.

Considering that most people have loads of multi-media stored on computers plus other valuable data which could be either expensive to recover (music for example) or in some cases impossible then IMO IT'S WORTH EVERY CENT PAYING FOR A ROBUST FLEXIBLE SAFE BACKUP PROGRAM. (CAPS INTENDED).

Even if you are a "torrent addict" downloading many GB's of files again even if you can find them is more pain than its worth.

Decent commercial programs only cost around 50 USD and I can definitely say that these have saved me so much time in the past that I couldn't ever imagine NOT HAVING BACKUP.

I use Acronis but others are Macrium, Paragon etc. You can also use Linux products too like BRUBACKUP etc.

The FREE versions of some of these programs IMO are just too hobbled - but are certainly better than nothing.


What the commercial programs offer are things like

1) "Scheduled unattended backups" - you can run selective backups at specific times automatically.

2) "Incremental backups" - backups where only changes made since the last backup are taken, complete image backups, selective backups

3) Backups / restores can be stored on remote / network drives etc .

4) MOST IMPORTANT THEY CAN SPAN MULTI-MEDIA --- free backups invariably fail when the device you are backing up to is full. Commercial backups will just prompt you to load another piece of media - including another usb disk drive if the original one gets full. You can even specify that the backup file will get split say into 2 GB files (or whatever you want) so you could backup to 10 Zillion CD's if you wanted to !!!!!.

Actually this isn't so stupid in some cases -- In one emergency case I had to use a really old W95 computer to restore a W7 remote machine. Since the W95 computer could only read a max file size this facility was useful -- it just read the several .tib images (acronis) and restored them to the remote computer over the network. !!!!!

The commercial products will have networking incorporated so on a "bootable" restore you will still be able to access your backup file on a remote Network drive

You can also backup to different devices AT THE SAME TIME -- I always have two copies of a backup just in case of a failure -- rarely happens but IT IS POSSIBLE. Failure can occur also through non computer causes such as you dropping the disk, spilling coffee on it etc etc.

Incidentally these backups always have a bootable version so you can do a "Bare metal" recovery even if your host OS disk is totally hosed up.

BTW if you use incremental backups - make sure that you DO make a complete backup every so often -- if you need a bare metal restore you need to start with the last complete backup plus the incremental ones taken since the last full backup.

I know this might be a bit of "Horses and Stable doors" but treat it as a lesson for next time.

And any others reading this thread -- ALWAYS TAKE BACKUPS -- YOU REALLY CAN'T HAVE TOO MANY.

The time (and money) you save is YOURS.

Cheers
jimbo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2011   #27
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Hi Jimbo, this is a good summary. The one thing I would add is the advantage of differentials over incrementals. If, for whatever reason, you prefer not to take full images every time, you are best served with differentials. They always relate to the latest full image rather than to the previous incremental. Thus you are still operational even if an earlier differential was corrupted - which is not the case with an earlier incremental.

Examples are free Paragon or Macrium Pro which provide the differential capability.

I personally prefer to take full images each time because they are the safest and the easiest to manage. I have no disk space constraints and the time it takes to image does not bother because my images run in the background.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2011   #28
seekermeister

W7x64 Pro, SuSe 12.1/** W7 x64 Pro, XP MCE
 
 

That sounds reasonable to me, but I wonder why Acronis recommends incremental over differential?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2011   #29
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Probably because they are smaller and quicker. Not so robust, tho.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 May 2011   #30
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by seekermeister View Post
That sounds reasonable to me, but I wonder why Acronis recommends incremental over differential?
In a perfect world, that would be a good recommendation. But we all know the hazards of disks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Able to restore complete image of a HDD from an USB 3.0 drive?




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