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Windows 7: BSOD at the end of creating system image!

13 Sep 2011   #1
blue skies

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
BSOD at the end of creating system image!

Hi, I was creating a system image with Windows built-in utility. It had been running for at least six hours and I think it may have been either finished or very close when my computer shut down due to a BSOD.

Is there any way to find out whether or not the image was finished and created successfully, or if not, is there a way to continue and finish writing the last little bit to salvage the image and have one that would work if I needed it to restore my computer?

The image was writing to an external HDD, and I think it had to erase/write over the previous image due to space considerations.

Please let me know if there is any kind of reliable resume function or at least a way to be sure if it was completed. Thanks so much for any advice!

My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Sep 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


My usual disclaimer: I'm not an expert at anything.

To the best of my knowledge the Windows 7 imaging tool will start from scratch the next time you try to make an image. If my memory is correct, during the imaging process you can cancel but not pause the process so there's no resume function. I also think that 6 hours is excessive to complete an image unless you're trying to image 500+ GB. On my machine the 7 utility takes about 30 minutes to image 45-50 GB. And as far as I know, the only way to know for sure if the image completed successfully is to try to restore your machine using that image. Not a very appealing thought if the image didn't turn out right.

You mentioned you might have written over a previous image due to available space on the external HD. My concern now is you have no usable image to work with. A couple of things you can try. Bite the bullet and erase the image file from the external HD, verify how much free space it now has, then try the Windows 7 utility again. Watch for the prompt telling you approximately how large the new image might be so you'll know if the HD has enough space. Another alternative is to try a different imaging program such as Macrium free. (Don't forget to make the companion system repair disk on a separate CD.)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
14 Sep 2011   #3
blue skies

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Thanks so much for your response! Yes, the image is over 500GB. Both my HDD and external HDD are ITB. I wish I had purchased the 2TB external drive so that I could always save the previous backup... I hate not having a reliable image right now.

Do you know if the Windows utility gives an option to erase the previous image before creating a new one? I think it will have to because of lack of space, but if there's enough room to make a new image I'd rather have the questionable one removed. Should I just manually delete all the folders on the external and start over?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

14 Sep 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


If things went according to plan, you should see a file called WindowsImageBackup on the external hard drive. As with any other file you can right-click > delete to get rid of it. If it didn't create a good System Image you may not see that file. Only suggestion in that case would be to look through the external HD contents and if you see something you know you didn't put there, erase it.

FYI, most of the online stores like Newegg and TigerDirect have been advertising Seagate and Western Digital 2TB external USB 2.0 HDs for around $80. Newegg has a special good for today only - Seagate 2 TB for $70 with instant $10 rebate. (If you live in the US. They don't ship overseas.) - Seagate Expansion 2TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive ST320005EXA101-RK
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Sep 2011   #5
blue skies

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Marsmimar, I really appreciate your advice! We had some storms in my area the other day and I had to put aside dealing with this because of the potential for a power outage. I don't have a battery backup and I didn't want to risk my backup getting interrupted again.

I looked on my external HDD, and I do have the WindowsImageBackup folder which includes a backup from 9/13/2011 with two VHD files - a small one and on that is a little over 500GB.

I'm still not sure if there is a problem with it though, so I am just going to go ahead and run the whole thing again today and hopefully get an image that is reliable.

Thanks again for your help!

ETA: Huh. I just redid the backup system image and it only took about 15 or 20 minutes to complete. I guess it just added whatever still needed to be added to the one that was interrupted. I was expecting it to take another 6+ hours.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
16 Sep 2011   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


I'm not knowledgeable enough to offer any thoughts on whether or not the newest system image just finished where it left off on the first image or if it simply updated the first system image with whatever might have changed. The fact that you show two VHD files is encouraging. Especially since one is over 500 GB.

From what I gather you should have a VHD file for each partition on your hard drive. My computer has a manufacturer's Recovery partition (14 GB), a System Reserve partition that contains the boot manger (100 MB) and the C: partition (about 562 GB) containing the operating system, other programs, etc. So my WindowsImageBackup has 3 VHD files. You could open Disk Management to see how many partitions your hard drive has.

Hope everything is working the way it should for you. And I hope you survived the storms OK.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Sep 2011   #7
blue skies

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

In Disk Management I have the 100 MB system reserve partition along with the C partition and the manufacturer's recovery partition... so I guess I must be missing a VHD in my backup image.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Sep 2011   #8

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient


Since the Windows 7 imaging tool doesn't give you the flexibility to image just one partition (at least not that I'm aware of) you might consider using Macrium free to image your hard drive. The System Reserve and Recovery partitions shouldn't change over time so you could image each of them just once and save to a separate folder. Then image the C: partition by itself. For any future images just do the C: partition. One of the Forum members did a pretty good tutorial for Macrium.

Imaging with free Macrium

Macrium also seems to do a better job of compressing the data than Win 7 (IMO) and seems to run faster than Win 7, even when imaging the entire hard drive. If you decide to give Macrium a try you'll also need to create their rescue CD in case the time ever comes that you can't boot into your computer. I think it's important that you have a good image stored someplace and then you can mess around some more with the Win 7 tool.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Sep 2011   #9

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit


Some of the behavior you describe doesn't fit with Windows Backup and Restore.

Are you using Windows Backup and Restore?

If yes,
then precisely which partitions were you trying to back up to where?

Also with Disk2VHD you can save any partition which is smaller than 128GB to VHD. Just as another option.

To make sure that I have a good picture of what is and what is trying to be done, the following will be helpful to me:
Run disk management:
is the key with the wavy flag.

Maximize the output of Disk Management:
ALT-Spacebar key combo (this pops up a menu) followed by X key (selects Maximize) |
Drag the field separators (such as between Status and Capacity) to show entire field. This is very important, otherwise, needed info is not visible.

Make a snapshot:
Drag the cursor around the area you want to snip.
File | Save as | select save location and name | Save

Post the snapshot:
Upload a File or Screenshot in Seven Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 BSOD at the end of creating system image!

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