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Windows 7: Win 7 backup fails to complete because of unnamed Fat32 partition

28 Aug 2013   #11
Microsoft MVP


Your files should always be backed up. Do not proceed without doing so. Use another HD or external HD, or a cloud method such as Sync, Backup and Store your Files to the Cloud with Skydrive

Do you know how the System partition which boots Win7 got put on a FAT32 partition?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2013   #12

Windows 7 Enterprise 64

Thanks to all who contributed to this thread. Macrium worked a treat.

My first priority has been to get a reliable backup in case of a problem. In the past I've kept copies of my files but I was getting increasingly nervous about not having a proper backup. Now I can go in and do a clean install and get rid the Fat partition and accumulated rubbish. However, that's not so urgent now so I'll start in a few days after I've gone through your posts carefully and worked out my options.

Any last words of advice before I take the plunge?

Thanks again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Aug 2013   #13

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64 +Linux_VMs +Chromium_VM

Glad to hear you got backup done with Macrium.

For the reinstall, you should follow Greg's advice from post #6 using the Clean Install tutorial:
To reinstall correctly you'd want to delete all partitions during install using the Drive Options at Steps 7 and 8 of Clean Install Windows 7 then create and format partitions you want, install to first partition ignoring the 100mb SysReserved the installer will create.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

30 Aug 2013   #14

Windows 7 Enterprise 64

Sorry gregrocker, I didn't realise I hadn't answered your questions and I certainly do appreciate all your help. Without it I'd still be struggling instead of having a good backup to rely on for the next steps.

Did you see my post of a few days ago?
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by absc View Post
I had the PC custom built 2 or 3 years ago by a small outfit that regrettably no longer exist. I don't know how they installed the OS but I do have an install disc copy together and a product key. They said they had an OEM licence. They did not normally supply the OS disc and I had to pay extra for it.

I have attached a new shot of the DM screen. I have followed the instructions on posting a screen shot to the letter and I can't find any more information no matter what options I try. I can't find anything on this page about an EFI system partition. I have removed the external HD. I see that what comes up in my reply is a thumbnail of the screen shot. Is that correct or what am I not doing?

As I understand it I do have EFI bootup. I can't find EFI mentioned anywhere in BIOS setup except on the Exit page where one of the options is to "Launch EFI Shell from filesystem device", and the bootup screen instructs to press F2 or del to run UEFI setup.

I'll try to create a disc image with Macrium as you suggest.
I have no idea why the system partition was put in a Fat 32 partition.

Is there anything else that you've asked? Have I missed a post somewhere?

Athough I feel more comfortable now that I have a backup, I've decided to clean up my system and I'm going over your suggestions to see how I should proceed. My thinking at this stage was that I should probably reformat the disc, do a clean install and progressively re-install all my applications, but I have some questions.

Is that a reasonable way to do it or is there an easier way , eg restore from the backup and use something like System Mechanic to clean up?

If I do a restore from the system image taken with the Fat 32 partition, will that re-create the problem Fat 32 partition or doesn't the restore affect that?

I would really appreciate your adice but I'm in no hurry now for the next step so enjoy your vacation.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Aug 2013   #15

Windows 7 Enterprise 64

Hi again gregrocker.

Remember there's an 8 hour time difference between me in Australia and Europe, and 12 to 15 hours for the US, so basically we have to work on a 24 hour turn-around.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Aug 2013   #16

Win7 Ultimate X64

Restoring a system image will put the disc back to exactly how it was when you took the image so prob not the best option for you
If you follow the clean install guide linked earlier you cant go wrong or alternatively have a look at gregs re-install guide which is a little bit better IMO Clean Reinstall - Factory OEM Windows 7 just read through the steps and dont rush it, install software bit by bit and make sure you take a backup when your done and you will never have to reinstall again

Also keep away from clean up and optimisation tools like system/registry mechanic, they were ok for older operating systems like XP but are not required for win 7 and often do more harm than good
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Aug 2013   #17
Microsoft MVP


Did your System Builder provide the COA sticker with Product Key, as is required to resell Win7? If they installed it for you then it's required by law to be stuck to the machine, otherwise it can be in the packaging. Make sure you have this. If not then audit the key using Belarc from the Clean Reinstall OEM steps to see what the Product Key is. If it says OEM in the PID string then you have to hope its a legit Builder's OEM copy and not cracked. No OEM in string means full or Upgrade retail.

You can first try the steps I gave you which have had no interaction to move the System flag to C, or delete and rebuild a true NTFS Primary System Reserved partition. Each requires marking it Active then running 3 Startup Repairs. The steps are in my first post.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Aug 2013   #18

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

You are not the only one who took some time to give the OP advice. Actually my advice to use Macrium as an emergency system image backup was what the OP wanted before proceeding any further.
Glad it worked for you. The next step is up to you. You can fix up or remove the system reserved. Alternatively given you have a Custom Build I would hope the builder (maybe you) have either retail or OEM installation disks for a clean install. I belive an OEM builder is obliged to give you the discs. If you have any paid software (eg. Photoshop) make sure it is deactivated before proceeding with a clean install then reactivate later.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Aug 2013   #19
Microsoft MVP


Michael I'm sorry I failed to recognize your good help steering the OP to using Macrium to successfully backup since his thread was about Win7 backup imaging not being able to do this due to the FAT32 partition.

It was because you'd already advised this that I focused on how to repair or replace the System partition.

Lee also came up with the novel idea to try converting the FAT32.

I will try to be more cognizant of others' advice and not just focus on my own so much. But I am on vacation now in Berlin.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Sep 2013   #20

Windows 7 Enterprise 64

Have not made any more progress as I've been out of town. Will get stuck into it again in the next few days.

As I now have a reliable backup to fall back on I've decided to do a clean reinstall as per gregrocker's first option. It may take longer but at least I'll know I have a clean system at the end of it. Just going through now making sure I have the CDs for all my programs and making export files for Outlook etc. There is a COA sticker on the PC that appears genuine. My Windows cd has the same product key with the last group the same as reported by Belarc, no OEM in the string, so everything should be OK. If not I suppose I'll just have to buy a new Windows cd!!
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Win 7 backup fails to complete because of unnamed Fat32 partition

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