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Windows 7: Two PCs with the same restore partitions are these interchangable

22 Dec 2012   #1

windows 7 64 home premium
Two PCs with the same restore partitions are these interchangable

Hi, I am not too technical but will try to give as much info as I can.
I have two Medion PCs bought at the same time so basically mirrors of each other. I had a problem with the HDD being noisy so replaced the 1TB HDDs with Intel 180GB SSDs, all quiet now.....
So far so good, I used Intel migration software so the recovery partitions were also copied.

I now want to re-use the old HDDs as secondary drives, one was quiet and the other noisy, but would like to use all of the HDD but would lose a possible second backup of the recovery partition.
So what I would like to know is if these partitions will work in any machine. So if I just keep one (on the old noisy drive kepy in a drawer) can I use that on either PC if it fails ?

I still have the recovery partitions on my SSDs but wouldn't mind removing that to free up space, so even more important to have a copy of the original recovery partition.

Basically I don't know if these are different on all PCs or the same one on all of them. So in my case if a PC operating system did fail in the future I could just pop in the dodgy HDD and restore from there regardless of which PC it came from.

I did back up the OS as required but this all went on one DVD so I could restore from this anyway ?
Not sure about that.....
I can't understand why the recovery partition uses 18GB of storage yet a Win7 install DVD is only one disc ? Same as the recovey DVD I created for each PC, only one.
So if everything goes 'Pete Tong' can I really just put in the recovery DVD I created when setting up the PC, press start and all will be well ?

Never had to do a restore in anger (did a couple when setting up but not as a result of a system failure) and hope I never will. Just trying to be sure I can recover should I need to.
Any information appreciated.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Dec 2012   #2

Desk1 7 Home Prem / Desk2 10 Pro / Main lap Asus ROG 10 Pro 2 laptop Toshiba 7 Pro Asus P2520 7 & 10

Hello and welcome charente a lot of info mate so just to make things clear the SSD did you do a completely fresh install on it? ie did you use the original CD that Windows came on? Because the OS is tied to your motherboard not the drive in both machines.

I am just wondering why you migrated the old drive data to the new drive personally I would have just copied what I wanted and ditched the rest or stuck it in a case and keep it as an external. . That would have left you with a couple of HDD's that then be wiped or extraneous data removed.

The drive that is noisy I would be getting anything off of it asap as it sounds like it is on it's last legs.

Now a good idea would be to turn off the defrag for the SSD as it shortens the life of them and this can be found in this -[2]=Performance Maintenance plus other stuff you will find very handy - if you don't mind losing a bit of the "bling".

Plus just a few more specs my friend like machine model number is good and if you want to find out the machine specs use this Speccy - System Information - Free Download < download from piriform - it is free and will tell you all details of the machine.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2012   #3

windows 7 64 home premium

Thanks for replying, I knew I would miss something out.
I had the PCs running having bought them new (Medion Akoya 2039 models) so switched on and the OS installed. I then copied my stuff, photos etc, from an external drive I had them on.
When I bought the SSD I use the Intel toolbox and copied all of this from the old HDD to the SSD. Clever stuff, just hit go and it copies, swap HDD for SSD and it woke up like nothing had happened.

Problem was with the 2nd PC where first HDD had the 'click of death' so I returned it. Replacement had a 'humming' HDD which implies an out of balance disck or dodgy bearing.
Like you said, I didn't trust it to last long. Not as bad as the clicking one but eventually the bearing would fail. That is why I thought I would use it as a 'keep in a drawer and forget' type backup. Ok to use it occasionally but not to leave it running.

The first HDD was fine, totally silent, so I have reused that for video editing. I would like to use all of it though hence my question about deleting the recovery bit on it.

I am just triple covering any future problems as if the current OS has a problem I cab restore from the recovery partition on the SSD. If the SSD fails I can (I assume) just fit a new one and use the recovery DVD I created which will restore the original version of Win 7. If this doesn't work I can just put in the old hard drive and start again from there.

Not bothered about data as I back that up regularly, just reinstalling the OS as it came from the manufacturer. Just because I am paranoid doesn't mean all of the above couldn't happen

I have a set of leads that allow me to use any HDD as external but when I look at the HDD I removed using this it says it needs reformatting. Maybe because it was a system disc ?
I would like to do this and use all of the disc.

My main problem is that I am unsure how these recovery partitions work, I tried copying all files in one of them but the copy was slightly smaller than the original so not sure what happened there. I am guessing I can't copy the files only, that there is something else in that partition that I can't see. Tried show hidden files but nothing else showed up.
Folders in this partition are Recover, Tools and Drivers, plus files pass.rpt and swftcon.dat. Is that all I would need ? nothing missing.

I would only be using the original recovery partition to restore to the PC it came with.
I would try it and see what happens but all working well at the moment and I don't want to mess things up. Just don't want to re-use the recovery partitions then find I can't use the recovery DVD I created without them.

I would guess the DVD I created would restore the system to an empty HDD so should work anyway. These are meant to restore the system if the HDD dies ?
I did try microsoft to read up on this but very confusing, I couldn't find a single place where someone simply said - put in recovery disk, press on switch and it will load no problem. I would hope that would be the case ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

23 Dec 2012   #4

Desk1 7 Home Prem / Desk2 10 Pro / Main lap Asus ROG 10 Pro 2 laptop Toshiba 7 Pro Asus P2520 7 & 10

Hmm Mate you seem to be worried about the SSD failing now I doubt - unless you do something extremely drastic that is going to happen.

Now if it were me I would get another external HDD and "clone" the SSD to it which means that you have an exact copy of the SSD. Then if the SSD does fail and I don't think it will then you just boot from the external and clone it back to the new SSD. You can repeat this later if you wish to keep the "clone" up to date.

To clone I use this (it is free and a very helpful tool for other stuff) Partition Manager Server, server partition manager and partition magic server for Windows Server 2000/2003/2008. Server Partition software for Windows Server and None-Server partitions < free version.

The alternative is to just reinstall to the new SSD and recover the data from the clone.

Now I don't know if you have a Windows CD to do that - if not you can download the 7 ISO from here
Official Windows 7 SP1 ISO from Digital River My Digital Life > save to a stick > set the BIOS to boot from the USB and use the activation code on the COA sticker to activate when you get to that.

But first get the SSD ready using this SSD Alignment < you should always do this before use I even do my spinners with it.

Now I don't know what brand HDD's you are using but they certainly don't sound that good I use Seagates for spinners and Samsung (830) and Crucial (M4) for SSD's. The one spinner you have with the noise sounds suspect to me get it backed up asap.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2012   #5

windows 7 64 home premium

Thanks, I think the idea of downloading an ISO version of Win7 is the simplest thing to do. As you say I have the keys on the PCs so no problem there.

I bought Intel as they seem a well respected brand and also the procesor is Intel so I thought it couldn't hurt to keep them the same. Sure it doesn't make any real difference but if these processors and SSDs can't communicate properly what can ?

HDD is an Hitach HDS721010DLE630, not the best as 2 out of 3 have had problems. First was and is perfect, second had click of death and humming, last one just had humming. so 66% failure rate.......
The Medion PCs were good but had many problems, HDDs, DVD-CD readers (Samsung) old model and couldn't read all CDs I tried.
Basically as Medion were trying but failing to fix things and Samsung couldn't care less I figured I was better off to void the guarantee (such as it was - 'return for repair') and fix it myself. Hence the SSD conversion as it was easier to just replace them, PCs were only 2 weeks old but not expensive so I thought what the hell and fixed them myself.
Now just a bit paranoid something else will fail, but ok for over 2 months now so any electronics that last that long usually are ok. As you said I don't think I have anything to worry about.

It is just that I like to know the anser before I get asked the question, so if the PC had a problem I could always restore to factory settings and hopefully fix it. Just making sure I had everything yo hand just in case. Downloading the ISO Win7 is it I think, Thank you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2012   #6

Desk1 7 Home Prem / Desk2 10 Pro / Main lap Asus ROG 10 Pro 2 laptop Toshiba 7 Pro Asus P2520 7 & 10

No probs charantejohn Personally I do not like large hard drives - too much to be lost.

The Seagate 500GB Barracuda - Seagate Barracuda 500GB ST500DM002 [ST500DM002] - $60.00 : PC Case Gear < just where I get mine from but it shows the specs - is perfect as I find the Seagate 1TB is a very quiet hummer - more annoying than a problem.

The Samsung 830 120GB is a top gun SSD and the Crucial M4 not that far behind. The Intel is ok but they use a different "controller" chip - a Sandforce one that does not have a very good reputation Samsung and Crucial use other types.

So if you go down the path of a new SSD then the Samsung use the align tutorial and then install as the USB ISO. The large drives you can use to keep data from the SSD therefore keeping it uncluttered and one more thing you need to TURN OFF the defrag with SSD's - see how to do thi here plus other stuff that will make the machine run faster. Optimize Windows 7[2]=Performance Maintenance < brilliant stuff if you get stuck Brink will help you out or just PM me if you want to but Brink is a real nice fellow and he says the only dumb question is the one that doesn't get asked.

The factory default mate you have to use the original hard drive but I think besides the bloatware you are left with a slower drive bite the bullet and keep with the SSD. Having said that about the Intel it is fine just use it until it kicks up - personally I would keep it as a spare and go Samsung.

Let us know how you get on I am interested as you seem to have your head screwed on the right way round
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Dec 2012   #7
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

If you make periodic images of your system, you will never need the recovery partition or your backup discs. Use the noisy HDD to store the images.

Imaging with free Macrium
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Dec 2012   #8

windows 7 64 home premium

I did look at a Seagate external HDD, main selling points were only 500GB and didn't need an external power supply. I may buy one yet. Seems the 500GB size of anything is getting harder to find.
I di have an old style 250GB Seagate external drive bought years ago, very good but takes some setting up as it needs a power supply.

I thought since I had two brand new HDDs I may as well use them, the good one (now internal in my PC) for video editing as may as well use the space. The dodgy one (external via 'patch' leads) for general backups of photos etc.

Massive hard drives do seem a bit much unless you really need them. The SSDs I bought are 180GB (20GB used for recovery partition) and currently only 70GB in use for the OS and various photos and music. For general net surfing and computing there are fine, the speed difference is well worth it, I could never go back.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Two PCs with the same restore partitions are these interchangable

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