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Windows 7: Thanks for nothing MS!

20 Aug 2012   #1

Win7 Pro 64
Thanks for nothing MS!

It seems that just like a lot of you out there, I too am now the victim of false hopes when it comes to relying on MS image recovery as a reliable means to recover your data after a drive failure.

Although once before I have had to rely on restoring my system from an image & it worked ok, I must stress that this was simply restoring the image to the same drive & hadn't involved any hardware failures (like drives).

So my 500GB drive fails, on this drive is only 120GB~ of data, so my logical thinking brain wrongly assumes that if I purchase a 240GB SSD then this will fit just fine...

2 days after receiving the new drive - after countless hours after work trying to find a way to get the system repair boot disk wizard program to accept the image on my SSD, I discover a multitude of forum posts highlighting the fact that this aint gonna work! Since the new HDD needs to be the same size or more than the old one. However I also read that if I shrink the volume on the drive to less than the drive size, then it will still work.

3 days later - I have now restored my image to the 2nd 500GB drive (storage drive) I had within my machine and started the process of trying to shrink the volume to less than the 220GB (formatted size) SSD. This went something like: CLICK SHRINK - system shrinks the 500GB volume to 300GB, not enough! DEFRAG & SHIRINK AGAIN - system shrinks to 290GB, then the same again & again. Next I uninstall programs I can bare removing, this brings the actual data within the volume down from 120GB to 55GB. DEFRAG & SHRINK AGAIN - now the volume gets down to 250GB, still not enough!
As this uses up another entire evening at home, I again resort to some forums for help and discover that the Windows defrag tool won't actually move everything that a lot of other tools will do. Within one of these posts comes a well reviewed recommendation for PerfectDisk, so I purchase this and give it a go and hey presto it gets my volume down to 90GB just like that. Then I create a new system image and cross my fingers.

4 Days later - So now you'd think that 55GB of data on a 90GB volume would easily fit onto a 220GB SSD wouldn't you but not in the MS world of logic! Again another wasted evening trying to get the repair disk wizard to put the friggin image on the friggin drive!!!! (Obviously the reasons for this are much clearer now).

So the final fix needed for my system to stand any chance of utilising it's new SSD, was to get the factory restore disk out and do a fresh install & then go through the painful process of re-installing all the Win updates, applications and other software from scratch (fortunately I did have personal data backed up elsewhere).

As you might have guessed from this post, I have two main issues with MS over this.

1. Improve the defrag tool
2. Why allow users to choose the volume they want to create an image of, if the image recovery requires you to recover all other volumes on the same drive, thus making it impossible to recover the image to a smaller drive!!! If you insist on doing it like this, then make it more obvious when the user is choosing to create the system image.

Windows images deleted - I will now be using Acronis for all my imaging needs.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2012   #2

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

Alternate software to consider:
Imaging: Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download
I use the free version and it is viewed highly by forum members
Disk Partition Operations: Best Free Partition Manager Freeware and free partition magic for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Vista and Windows XP 32 bit & 64 bit. MiniTool Free Partition Manager Software Home Edition.
Turnkey SSD Migrate: Paragon Migrate OS to SSD - System migration to Solid State Drives (SSD) - Overview

I have nothing negative to say about Acronis but then I'm also happy Windows own Imaging accepting its limitations.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2012   #3
Victor S

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by LSI View Post
4 Days later - So now you'd think that 55GB of data on a 90GB volume would easily fit onto a 220GB SSD wouldn't you but not in the MS world of logic! Again another wasted evening trying to get the repair disk wizard to put the friggin image on the friggin drive!!!! (Obviously the reasons for this are much clearer now).
Terrible experience. You have my sympathy. What are the "clear" reasons for the last failure?
I did similar to what you did a month or two ago, but with Ghost 15.
Started with the system on a 100gb HD partition. 20gb of actual data.
Bought a 64gb SSD for use as a system drive.
Using Win 7 data management, it shrank the 100gb to 59gb. I didn't check defrag, as that was small enough. I did wonder why it didn't shrink further, and was glad I had a 64gb SSD and not a 58gb SSD.
Did the usual SSD prep (format) using Win 7.
Then I took an image of the now 59gb HD partiton with Ghost 15, swapped drives, and restored the image to the new SSD with no issues.
Seems you did similar, starting at a worse place, but getting to where you should be.
I discarded Win 7 imaging long ago for other reasons (portability issues and not wanting incrementals) but would have expected you meet success with your restore after making all the right moves, as you did.
Why wouldn't the image restore to your SSD?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

20 Aug 2012   #4

Windows 7 Ult, Windows 8.1 Pro,

Hmm Strange, when ever I use an image from Windows file recovery it ALWAYS works perfectly, the drive size doesn't matter nor does the partition size, it simply works every time. The SSD is my main system drive so there is no defragging or shrinking required here.

This is restoring from a dual partition 250GB standard drive that has two different images.

One image is created right after I had all my programs and updates installed, and another that contains weekly updated full system images. Using Windows recovery from the Windows CD, delete old messed up Op system image and install new one from the 250GB standard drive to my 120GB SSD. The images work flawlessly for me and I can't tell the difference between these images and a clean install. Much faster and easier than a clean install.

These are full system images, not incremental or partial with EVERYTHING on them including programs, files, folders, games.

I'd have to place the blame on all the unnecessary shrinking and defragging that went on before the image was created.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Thanks for nothing MS!

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