Windows 7 Forums
Welcome to Windows 7 Forums. Our forum is dedicated to helping you find support and solutions for any problems regarding your Windows 7 PC be it Dell, HP, Acer, Asus or a custom build. We also provide an extensive Windows 7 tutorial section that covers a wide range of tips and tricks.

Windows 7: Help me learn and practice backup and restore.

03 Aug 2012   #1

Help me learn and practice backup and restore.

I have a system with a 1TB internal drive. I've been backing up to an external 2TB USB disk. I backup the system image and data files. I also have a recovery disk. I think that's working, but I've never tested it. If my hard drive fails, I want to be assured I can do a full recovery of the system, all my applications, all my user customization, and all my data. I'll never know if my backup is working unless I test it. Today I put the system recovery disk in and booted from it. I could find the image on my USB drive, but to move ahead, it wanted to reformat all my internal drives. So, I can't test it without causing the event I want to verify I can recover from. I have an older internal 75GB hard drive connected. I was hoping I could restore just the image to that. Based upon what I saw today, I can't. I was hoping I could do that as a demo for re-installing my image on a SSD drive. I won't buy a SSD if it means starting over with my OS and applications. I'd like to demonstrate I can recover my existing setup onto a new SSD. I want to demonstrate I can recover my system if my 1TB drive dies. I want to do that without reformatting my existing drive. I want to know how to restore my image onto a SSD using the 75GB drive as a test. Is there anyway I can use the 75GB drive to accomplish both goals?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Aug 2012   #2
Victor S

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Trying to address just your question, this is basically how system images work. I've only used Win 7 imager, Ghost 15, and free Macrium. If I mistate anything, others will correct it.

1. The system image is based on the system partition size. To restore the system image, the target partition must be AT LEAST AS LARGE AS THE PARTITION THE IMAGE WAS TAKEN FROM.
Example: I recently bought a 64gb SSD to use as my system drive. My system partition on the spinner was 100gb, even though the system image size was only about 20gb. Image size depends on actual space used, but still contains partition size info. A 100gb partion image would not restore to a 64gb SSD with the imaging/restore software I had, even though it was only 20gb of actual data.
What I had to do was shrink the spinner system partition to the SSD size or smaller (I think it would only shrink to 59gb, but that was small enough) , then make an image of that to restore to the new SSD. It worked.
So that's your first hurdle.

2. Anything you do should have a backup plan. In my example, I had images and other spinners to fall back to if the shrinking went wrong, if the restore to the SSD went wrong, etc. There was no way I would lose my system.
What you really want, despite the cost, is a drive to test with. In your case, probably another 1TB. It will come in handy for other uses, and redundancy of your backups. That's my strongest recommendation without knowing more.
When testing partitioning and restores, you unplug your main known good system drive to keep it safe. That's what I do, and I don't worry about hammering data because the drive letter is different in the partitioning/imaging software, or I fatfinger a key. After you know it's working as expected, you don't need to unplug.
Without knowing your partition setup and current imaging strategy, it's tough to advise specifically.
But IMO your aim is to organize your partitons so the system partiton is small enough to easily manage your system images. Then keep system images and data backups as separate entities. This is my strategy, and it has worked well.
You have the right view about testing images so you know they work.
The only really safe way to do this is to have a test drive.
After some testing, restoring will become second nature. I use image restores as
my "housekeeping" mechanism, and do them frequently.

3. There are other "complications," such as the Win 7 reserved system partition if you have that, knowing the imaging software, etc. But the main thing to start with is partition organization, and a test drive. With that, the rest is easy because
you've removed most of the danger of data loss.
All the rest can be thrashed out here. Many ways to do it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Aug 2012   #3


Ok, that makes sense. My 1TB disk is pretty full; loaded up with an increasing load of video and pictures. That's why I've been spending more time thinking about my backups plus performance with Adobe Lightroom. Now I just need to spend some money. Thanks for your help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec


 Help me learn and practice backup and restore.

Thread Tools

Similar help and support threads
Thread Forum
Windows Backup and Restore fails to create backup
I've used Windows Backup and Restore successfully on many occasions but I now get the error "0x81000037: Windows Backup failed while trying to read from the shadow copy on one of the volumes being backed up" and I don't understand it. I've spent hours researching this issue and cannot seem to...
Backup and Restore
Selecting Folders to restore in Microsoft Windows 7 Backup and Restore
I have taken a full (Image ?) backup of both my laptops to an external expansion drive. I am now trying to recover some files and folders from one of the backups. I have some folders in the C:\ root directory and some in the C:\users\fred\applications folder. I cannot get the restore...
Backup and Restore
Windows7 Backup and Restore utility: I can't find the file to backup
Hi, New to this forum. I am using Win7 Backup and Restore, along with a Seagate external drive for my backup needs. I backup every week, and have been using it for about 1 year. I see the backups happening each week, but I've never had the need to restore anything. For the first time, I've...
Backup and Restore
Backup and Restore: restore files in Recycler (Win7 Enterprise x64)
Hi: I have a Win 7 Enterprise Pro x64 laptop. Most of the files in my recycler/recycle bin mysteriously disappeared a few days back (I am guessing some OS quirk since desktop.ini also seems to have been modified then, though everything is still running smoothly). So I want to get those files...
Backup and Restore
System Backup & Restore will not restore bookmarks or e-mails
OK, so a couple of days ago, my HP desktop crashed and then went through the whole System Recovery loop(I couldn't login to Safe mode, wouldn't let me past the System Recovery Screen). Well I backed up the entire C drive using Backup your files in the menu. Then it shows you all the file types it...
Backup and Restore
Backup Image with Windows Backup and Restore
I have been using Acronis Rescue disk to make images of my system. It works fine, but is a pain because I have open up the case and disconnect my secondary hard drive and change from my wireless mouse to a wired mouse. So I decided to try to the built-in Backup and Restore in Win 7 Pro and...
Backup and Restore

Our Sites

Site Links

About Us

Find Us

Windows 7 Forums is an independent web site and has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by Microsoft Corporation. "Windows 7" and related materials are trademarks of Microsoft Corp.

Designer Media Ltd

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:32.
Twitter Facebook Google+ Seven Forums iOS App Seven Forums Android App