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Windows 7: Windows Backup includes C + E drive in system image. Why?

01 May 2013   #11

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit Service Pack 1

No, it didn't. At this point, I don't know what to do except, if I want Windows to backup my files, I'll have to physically remove the E: drive and let the program run.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 May 2013   #12

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

I figured it out. I had a hunch it might be something I installed over there and Pauly also suggested it could be applications. Well, sort of. First, the registry setting I was using to place my favorites onto the E drive was not a problem. Second, I had an application on my E drive that installed a kernel mode driver... was also not a problem because during the installation, it placed a copy of the driver into the Windows driver directory. Third, resetting the backup did not work. I thought about shares, but I don't have any there. I thought about iTunes but reasoned that since only the music files are there and the application is still on the C drive, Windows should not feel like it *HAS* to back those up. I thought about Windows gadgets and Windows themes which I have there but I remembered that they, too, get installed into the Windows folder. So, my "going-in strategy" was to uninstall every application I had on the E drive that came with an installer (maybe 10 apps) but leave my portable applications alone. Which I did and the problem was still there. But...

I saved one for last, which was the Steam folder. It was the one application that I and rzn6jw had in common. I knew it wasn't Steam itself because I didn't install it with an installer. But I had Steam games that had installers, so I got rid of them first... problem was still there. Only one Steam application was left... the Hi-Rez Studios Authenticate & Update Service, which apparently installed itself from the E drive and operated there. Once I uninstalled that service... I went back again and checked the SystemImage creation facility and, voila! no more E drive. :) In retrospect, I am not surprised since Steam tries to act like a portable application and tries not to put anything into your Windows folder. So, applications installed via Steam will tend to run out of that environment and if they need to run services, well, you see what happened to me.

I then put all the apps I uninstalled back on, put my favorites back to my E drive, and my system image is still just the C drive. I did not put the Hi-Rez Studios application back on. :)

So, in summary, if you ever have a situation where Windows Backup is trying to include another drive as part of your image, and you know you have applications there, look to see if there are services running that only exist on your 2nd drive. In other words, find out the name of the dll(s) responsible for the service and check your Windows\System32 directory to see if a copy of it resides there. If not, it could be emanating from the install location on your 2nd drive which marks the drive as "system" as far as WBU is concerned.

Microsoft made a global call to force you to always have all your services backed up because they are started before you log in. We could discuss the merits of them doing this, i.e. forcing you to back it up, but, really, in the end, I'm back to my original question which is: in the statement: "A system image is a copy of the drives required for Windows to run". What does "Windows to run" mean? If the Hi-Rez service fails to start, that will not stop a system from booting up. They don't appear to differentiate their services from other installed services. There are certain Microsoft services that must run for your system to boot but those are installed in the Windows folder. But, there's others that can fail to start and not be catastrophic. What I would like to see them do in their literature where they make generic statements like the one above, to expand on it to describe examples of what they're talking about. Like, they could have said, "...required for Windows to run, for example any services or blah-blah". Citing a few examples can go a long way towards fostering understanding. Thanks to everyone for helping me find this solution.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
02 May 2013   #13

Win7 Ultimate X64

Thanks for taking the time to post back so others can learn from your findings, it is my understanding that the purpose of the system image is to, in the event of drive failure, give you the ability to restore to the exact condition on a new drive at the point in time the image was taken with everything working as it was so i suppose its understandable that those files would be required. Its hard to know where to draw the line :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Aug 2013   #14

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit Service Pack 1

Was unable to reset to default. Can only make a backup if the E: drive is disconnected (which is a pain)!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Aug 2013   #15

Windows 7 Pro 64-bit Service Pack 1

Resetting backup to default did not correct the situation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Nov 2014   #16

Windows 7 Professional x64


Ran into the same issue. Here's my story:

I have :
1 SSD OS only
1 Fast HDD for Other programs
1 HDD for storage.

I wanted to backup with "Include system image drives" and Drive K:\ was automatically selected. Even if I used Create system image. C, D and K were pre-selected and grayed out.

The problem is that K Drive was not involved in system routines - or so I thought.

Even more, K Drive was just a logical partition, with no "Active" nor "Primary"

So, first i started with the obvious : "Maybe some programs that i do not know of are running from K Drive and therefore the K partition is marked as system related."


Fond out using default Uninstall windows utility by adding the custom column "Location" which programs were installed in K Drive.

After this I used CCleaner to search for other programs involved into system related tasks:
-Task Scheduler
-Context menu

After I found all related progmras to K drive I had to chose - either uninstall, either move.
Uninstall part is easy.
Move is not so.

I had to deal with:
  • BSPlayer installed with all codecs in K:\ Drive
    -Move folder to new location
    -Find and replace all registries(regedit) entries
  • Apache24 installed and had service that ran from K:\ Drive.
    -deleted service "sc delete Apache"
  • MySQL installed and had service that ran from K:\ Drive.
    -deleted service "sc delete MySQL"
  • 3 scheduled tasks that turns down volume at night automatically created by me running from K:\ Drive.
    -corrected paths to new location from K:\, after i moved the batch files.
  • Startup and registry setup to replace Task manager - Process Explorer - Running from K:\ Drive.
    -uninstalled and installed process explorer in correct path.

After all of this i tried again to create System image but K:\ drive was still grayed out.

Ran CCleaner and clean registry.
Restarted OS.

After boot K:\ drive was not marked as system again.


Divide and Conquered
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Nov 2014   #17

Win7 Ultimate X64

Thanks for sharing your solution robbykrlos, I would like to add a small note for others that if you plan to use a program like ccleaner to clean the registry (which is not generally advised or needed) to deal with situations like this make sure you take a full backup beforehand so you have a fall back if your system gets hosed or does not function as required, changing registry is a one way ticket and if problems follow you have no way back without a backup of the registry

Heres a link with instructions of how to do this if needed
Registry - Backup and Restore
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Windows Backup includes C + E drive in system image. Why?

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