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Windows 7: Win 7 OS partition restore via files and folders?

12 Jan 2012   #1

windows 7 64 bit
Win 7 OS partition restore via files and folders?

For Windows XP, I wrote a program that does the equivalent of a file and folder copy of the OS partition to a folder on another hard drive is sufficient for backup. I have to run this backup from another instance of Windows (I use XP 64 bit to backup XP 32 bit and vice versa). The OS partition can be quick formatted, the volume serial number restored (this avoids activation issues due to volume serial number changing, you can download a volume serial number utility), and file and folder copy from the backup folder to the XP OS partition will work (except for an issue with \windows\installer directory that will require a second restore).

For Windows 7, this process doesn't work One issue is seems to be the digital certificates. The other seems to be related to the junction points (reparse points). After a restore, the system will boot, but nothing has a digital signature, and you get various errors. It appears I need to add the ability to backup and restore reparse points in my utility, I'll investigate this later.

The reason I prefer a file and folder oriented backup to an image backup is that a format / restore can be used to defrag and sequentialize the files (so all files in each folder are adjacent to each other, which speeds up the system, and also the backup / verify process). It also allows me to selectively look at or restore individual files.

Is there a backup utility that does something similar?

The alternative would be a defrag utility that also sequentializes file and folder order. (The order is process all files in current directory, then process each sub-directory recursively, in the same fashion). In this case I would use this to "clean" up the OS partition, and image backup restore.

I haven't tested the file and folder backup / format / restore on non-os partitions, such as a partition where I've installed applications. Hopefully a non OS partition won't have certificate or junction point issues.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jan 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Have you yet been able to use your preferred backup method on Windows 7??

From your comments, I assume you have not because you say "this process doesn't work".

If you have not yet been able to use your preferred method, how is it that you know your method "speeds up the system", as you say, on Windows 7?

Or am I confused, and you actually have measured some differences, on Windows 7, using your preferred method?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jan 2012   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1

You could try Puran. I don't think it does exactly what you say but it has features which optimize file and folder placement. The link is in my signature.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Jan 2012   #4

windows 7 64 bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
Have you yet been able to use your preferred backup method on Windows 7?
I can do a backup / format / restore, but its' not really working, Win 7 will boot, but it's not fully restored. I'm not sure of all the issues I'll be running into. Junction points (reparse points) are one issue, since Win 7 creates a few of these (XP doesn't have any unless you or an application you run creates these). I'm not sure about the digital certificates either. Win 7 is new to me. Currently I'm using an image backup for the actual backup. The backup / format / restore via file / folder is just experimental at this point for Win 7 (it does work for XP).

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
If you have not yet been able to use your preferred method, how is it that you know your method "speeds up the system", as you say, on Windows 7?
In the case of Windows XP, it speeds up loading tmes somewhat, but the main speed improvement, is backup and verify time after having done a backup / format / restore. (Note I do a verify with windiff after backups and restores).

As mentioned a defrag / sequentialize app would accomplish the same thing, and I would stick with the image backup for Windows 7.

Currently my primary system is still XP, on a system that is now triple boot, XP 32 bit, XP 64 bit, Win 7 64 bit, each on a separate hard drive and partition. Currently I'm just experimenting with Windows 7.

This is a system I recently bought that uses an Intel DP67BG motherboard, and in about 4 years when it's time to replace this system, I may not be able to find a motherboard that still offers Win XP drivers.

The sequentialization of files follows traditional backup applications ordering (I used to work on these for a tape drive company). An example ordering:


The point is to keep all files in each directory in adjacent clusters on a disk, so all files in directory1 are adjancent, all fiels in subdir1 are adjacent, ... . This speeds up load times but I haven't really benchmarked this. If doing a file / folder backup or verify with sequentialized files (in the same ordering as the backup app), the I/O is essentially sequential, so it's almost as fast an image backup.

If what I'm looking for doesn't exist, then I'll stick with image backup for the OS partition. I install almost all applications on a separate partition, and assuming this doesn't create more parse points or certificates on the separate partition, I can use the file / folder backup utitlity I use now. I keep data in yet another partition. Keeping OS, apps and data in separate partitions reduces restore time if there's an issue, since genreally only one partition wil need to be restored.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Win 7 OS partition restore via files and folders?

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