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Windows 7: Win 7 Ultimate scheduled Restore size is getting huge!

07 May 2012   #1

Win 7 32 bit
Win 7 Ultimate scheduled Restore size is getting huge!

Hello Friends, This query is concerning how Win 7 Ultimate Scheduled Backup works.
These are my needs:
Often in the past, Win7 has become unstable in some way, such that different pgms including Windows Explorer, and other system tools become corrupt. I decide to re-install Win 7 Ultimate 32bit.

I have an external 500Gb drive with an Acronis True Image Home 2009 full partition backup on it. The backup is a fully updated, fully game installed backup, and is way faster to use compared to the individual software installations. Since win7 starts acting up about every 3-6 months for me, I replace it. But:

Recently (last restore) I decided to let win Backup and Restore do a scheduled backup every 7 days. I let Win choose what to backup. I intend to let Win be THE backup to use to replace the OS when needed. I have always had problems running out of space where to let Win Backup to on some drives, so I dedicated a 443Gb partition to Backup only. This is on the other half of a 1Tb drive. (I know in some cases it is not wise to use the same drive, but I put all the important things on another physical drive) I have 4 drives, totaling about 3.8Tb. 2 have XP Pro, and 2 have Win7 Ultimate. The main C: is 487Gb, with 231Gb used space. The other half of it is N: 443Gb; on which the Backup is written to each week. The size of the backup is now 407.12Gb. The backup on N: is approaching TWICE the size of the used space on the C: drive! And within about a month there will be no more room.

I want mainly to retain a pristine Operating System to reload, along with the basic games which are huge. This will save the time WHEN, not IF win7 begins to fail again. (not saying it is a bad or weak OS, just that it fails for me for reasons needing replacement. If only it were as robust as XP has been in the past.) So:

1. How can I retain a PERFECT OS and games image to use as a basic unchanged original with Win Backup?

2. As Win gets corrupted, how can I know that the latest Backup I might want to restore from isn't corrupt?

3. Can Backup be set to not make redundant Backups that become so huge, yet maintain the original perfect OS and game set, such as a dated incremental backup that can be used to piece together a C: drive again?

4. How do I know that Backup isn't backing-up malware?

5. If I save the latest backup, and the first one, how big should each one actually be?

6. Can I get into the actual backup files individually to decide if I want to restore from them--the options are limited.

7. Win says that it will work "without taking up more than 30 percent of space on the backup disk". Out of a 443Gb drive letter, there is only 33Gb of space left. All done automatically.

8. Is the fact that there is a total of 4 OS's on this computer making the Backups so large? I would assume it is only doing the C: drive, as I would wish, yet something is getting copied over and over, likely. Again, possibility of the latest backup being corrupted is on my mind.

Short of cloning a new disk to replace the later corrupt one, updating it just prior to copying it over, the only other thing I can see doing is to only run the OS on the C: drive, making it easier to replace, yet that has many inherent problems with pgms not working after the OS is replaced, and needing to reinstall anyway.

Sorry about the length of this inquiry, but you can see I need assistance. Thanks for the professional correct answers in advance! I know it is time consuming. But If I am clear about my needs, maybe all can be taken care of by a particular method of doing it all at once. Thank you. Scott. Please notify my email of an answer?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

A few points:

You can assume that any image of a corrupt Windows installation is itself corrupt.

Likewise for an image of a malware-infected Windows.

You might find that backup programs such as Macrium and Acronis are more flexible and understandable.

Macrium images are roughly half the size of the occupied space on the partitions contained in the image. For instance--if you have a 400 GB partition with 300 occupied, the image would be roughly 150 using standard compression. Smaller if you choose a higher compression level.

You can extract individual files from Macrium images. I don't know if this can be done with Windows imaging.

I think the Windows backup tool has its own notion of what must be included in an image--and you have little control over that. That might explain the size of your images. Other imaging programs give you more control.

Lastly--if you are having continual corruption issues, I'd guess you either have hardware issues or are doing something wrong. That isn't the standard experience with Windows 7.

The only way to have an uncorrupted image backup would be to begin with an uncorrupted Windows installation---that might require a clean install in your case.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2012   #3

Win 7 32 bit

Thanks, ignatzatsonic-- I will try the Macrium pgm you suggest, as Acronis is not so easy unless hours are spent figuring out how to do what I want done. It is hard to find it listed exactly what I want--the process is hidden inside unknown titles, etc. But it may be easier with an updated version of that software! Acronis is difficult for me. Thanks.
What might you think of just getting an identical drive, and only connecting it to clone to the C: drive, and updates? I'm not so much in need of backups as in replacing the OS.
The OS gets nailed by malware sometimes, and breaks portions of Win--especially restore, and virus updates. Also Explorer, and other system functions. That's when I won't put up with it anymore. I have AVG, and do a lot of time on the internet; emails have problems sometimes.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 May 2012   #4

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

I have zero problems with Win 7 Backup and Restore and I've been using same from before the RTM of Win7.

Now let's get to some practicalities.

Never put a backup onto the same physical drive.

Think about it. If the hard disk goes south, then there goes your backup.

Next, Win7 backup has two basic capabilites: 1. to make a sytem image backup of your system, 2. to make periodic backups of your folders.

Win 7 Backup and Restore is strong in the area of system image backup.

Win 7 backup and restore is weak, although sound, in the area of functioning as a backup of your data files.

I use Win 7 Backup and Restore for system image backup.

For my needs, a weekly system image backup is more than sufficient. I do not need to backup my data files. Why? Win 7 system image backup creates VHD files. If I need to recover a data file, I simply mount the vhd and extract the file. I also use SkyDrive to backup my data files.

I suggest to everyone that they investigate the vastly, vastly improved SkyDrive. SkyDrive has many other advantages. Nice to know that I can access the files from anywhere and that they are kept in sync automatically by SkyDrive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2012   #5

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

And yes,, you can access, as I mentioned, and extract individual files from a system image backup.
And yes, you can specify what you want backed up.
And yes, you can specify when.

Personally, I don't schedule the system image backups but rather run them at a time when the background image backup will not slow down anything else. One thing nice about Win 7 Backup and Restore is that you can continue with your normal computer usage while the system image backup is being made. I try to avoid doing such but seems that I end up doing such frequently.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2012   #6

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

If you include an image with your scheduled backup then difference images will be made each time and stored in shadow storage space. I consider this a risky business and can consume lots of HDD space. I would use the "let me choose" option and untick the create a system image box. Then use the separate "create a system image" box to periodically make images. More tips here
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

I also use free Macrium. It is very reliable and highly regarded.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2012   #7

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

I never mix the two.

Use Win 7 backup and restore for system images (from which I can always extract any file).

I use SkyDrive for data backup with sync and access anywhere that i can access the internet.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2012   #8

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

I think it is safe practice to have images from 2 different imaging programs. One may let you down. Even though I have never had a problem with Windows imaging others have experienced problems. Macrium is more flexible and having the two in your tool kit isn't a bad idea IMO.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2012   #9

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by karlsnooks View Post

I use SkyDrive for data backup with sync and access anywhere that i can access the internet.
Skydrive with Sync is a poor choice for data backup. The reason is that any corrupted or deleted file is immediately synced with no opportunity to stop or reverse that. SkyDrive does not even have a recycle bin.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 May 2012   #10

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit

Our numbers are legion and increasing daily.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Win 7 Ultimate scheduled Restore size is getting huge!

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