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Windows 7: Image & clone ?

19 Sep 2012   #1

Windows system 7 64 bit & Windows 8.1
Image & clone ?

I have been confused regarding size of the backup hdrive.
I have a 750 system drive. I only used 1/3 of that system drive.
I did a Windows backup image on a 1TB which I had 2 partitions of aprox. 480GB each.
I had to do a restore only one and it was the first time that I ever restored an image. Windows successfully restored it for me. Windows would put more than one image on a partition if there was room. And if there wasn't room it would remove the previous outdated image. I just don't think an image takes into consideration the partition size. But what do I know. This thought just makes sense to me. It will go to the same size system drive it came from I suppose.

I have done a lot of clones. I always used the same size hdrive as my XP system drive. System drive 350GB and the clone backup drive 350GB. Tough I am only using 1/3 of the 350GB pf the system drive. Same with image backups. So if I use only a small amount space in the system drive, size of the image backup drive shouldn't really make a difference.

So I'm am getting nervous about my image not able to restore because of the what I've been reading in this forum. Regarding the above of only using 1/2 of the system drive space and putting the image on a 1TB with 2 partitions of 480GB each. There is plenty of room for the image.

Am I safe? I have one backup up as above and I'm about to do another on the other partition. I am hesitant to attempt a test restore for fear of messing up my system drive creating more more than I want.

With appreciation...

My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Sep 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

No, you're not "safe" if by "safe" you mean is it guaranteed that your images will restore successfully.

Usually they do. Sometimes they don't.

Hope they do. Know what you will do if they don't.

If you have a spare drive laying around, you could try to restore to that drive and see if you can then boot from it---but all that would prove is that the image restored that time to that drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Sep 2012   #3

Windows system 7 64 bit & Windows 8.1

Thanks for the reply...
That is why I am making several images to a few hdrives when I had the XP.
I need to get money together for a 750GB hdrive so I can do clones. I never had a problem with clone. Whenever I had a problem I'd just swap hdrives...then do a new clone over that problem system drive.
I never had a problem with Acronis...I cloned from DOS at bootup. I don't like Acronis any longer. Can't even figure out how to use it. I liked 2009 or earlier...can't quite remember.
I am now using Macrium Reflect PE...images from DOS. I like the Macrium but I never did a restore yet.
Your precautions are good to know about.
Thanks for your reply...
My System SpecsSystem Spec

19 Sep 2012   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Make sure that your Macrium recovery disk will actually boot your PC. If it won't, you can't restore. You have to be able to boot and locate your image file and your destination drive in the interface. You can go several steps into the restore process without passing the point of no return and actually wiping out your current install.

The "WinPE" recovery disk is likely to give you fewer issues than the Linux-based recovery disk.

You might consider using 2 different imaging programs in an alternating fashion. The idea being that maybe you'll have better luck with the second program if the first one completely lets you down.

I use Macrium, but I've never yet had to restore. I periodically make a new recovery disk---particularly if I install a new version of Macrium.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Sep 2012   #5

Windows system 7 64 bit & Windows 8.1

hi...thanks for the advice.
Yes...that is what I've been thinking. I never did backups with images before until I started with Win 7 64 bit HP Pavilion. I want to do clone backups like did with the old XP...but I have dig up the money for the 750GB hdrive. But reading so much about size of backup drive or size of system drive has been a little difficult when, I think, that more than one image can be backed up in the same partition of a 2 partition 1TB backup drive. But, I can only do 1 per partition. Thats why I'm looking for past experience and advice of others. I may not be understanding others advice. Clones are not a problem just my inexperience with images and sizes of this or that drive...whatever. So Might as well make 3-4 images backups on 2 of my old XP IDE drives after formatting.
I appreciate all replies...I don't consider myself very experienced. I got involved when I had to do a full recovery with my XP. A half day and half the nite looking and installing (hopefully) software, and then 3-4 hours waiting for Microsoft finishes with installing all the updates.
with appreciation...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Sep 2012   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Not sure of your partition setup, but I have an 80 GB C drive that has 30 GB occupied.

A Macrium image of that partition occupies about 13 GB---which means I could store over 50 image files on a 750 GB drive, if I wanted to keep that many. In reality, I keep only 3---totaling about 40 GB.

The problem with clones is that they tie up a drive and the installation goes stale over time. No problem with them as long as you can deal with the limitations.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Sep 2012   #7
Victor S

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

The only way to erase concerns about your system image restore working right is to test it. That requires a drive you can use for testing. Until you've tested, you always leave your working system drive alone.
You want the "can't lose" scenario every time.
Any cheap drive will do for testing, as long as it has a partition as large as the system partition from which the image was originally taken.
After your test you won't think twice about restoring a system image to your working system partition, except for the normal data protection precautions.
You are overlaying the entire partition, reverting it back to when you took the image.
Imaging and restoring images is well-tested technology. What trips people up is the partitioning, or in some cases the imaging software's inability to locate the image.
And sometimes thinking an image will work on different hardware without a sysprep before taking the image.
I've restored well over 100 system images using Ghost, Macrium and the Win 7 tool. Success rate? 100%. I installed Win 7 once, about 3 years ago. Same with XP, installed once, then used for about 5 years.
The Win 7 utility does incrementals unless you delete or rename the previous image. In my experience it is also touchy about image location and/or addressing the incremental images when you have multiple copies of the image sets - and you DO want multiple copies of images on different drives for best practice.
I don't recommend the Win 7 imaging utility, but won't say it can't work for you.
Your call. I like it simple. Only full images.
Ghost 15 and its predecessors have always worked perfectly for me. I've tested the free Macrium and found it suitable. Slower than Ghost, and as I recall it uses a multiple file image.
Ghost uses a single file named at image creaton time. I like that.
Use what suits your preference after testing with a test drive.
Here's a few rules I use for system imaging. They work for me.
1. Keep your system image - partition - small. Saves time and space. Distinguish "system" and "data" and back up data separately.
2. Test the imaging software by restoring the images on your test drive after moving the image around as you would do in the real world. In other words, make the image, copy it to various locations, including networked drives if that fits your scenario, and restore from those locations. That's real world. If you followed the advice of keeping the system partition small, it's only a matter of a few minutes
for a restore test.
3. Make more than one image to a different physical device. That's simple redundancy protection. I never had to go to a redundant image, but I still make the copies. Again, a small system partition makes the time spent making multiple images tolerable. I make 3 images to different drives about 15 minutes, including one to a usb drive connected only for backup purposes in case my PC takes a power spike or otherwise burns up its drives. How far and where you take redundancy is your call. But you should have some minimum.
4. Keep images at least a few months in case you've got a time bomb virus in an image. Never happened to me, but hey. I use normal compression for images, and they don't take much space.

That's about covers it, because I don't want a novel here.
I haven't cloned, because imaging has always met my needs.
I can't imagine relying on imaging where I haven't tested and I have 100% confidence that the software and my process works 100% of the time.
Might be my IT background and I just can't help it.
But it's really not a big deal testing that it works, and you might find that restoring images can replace other system housekeeping, serve as a virus antidote, and generally make your PC maintenance life much easier.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Image & clone ?

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