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Windows 7: Should I regularly back up my system using imaging?

03 Jan 2014   #11

Win 7 Pro 64 bit

Thanks for the tip about SSDs - but my OS is already on an SSD so it's as fast as I can expect, other than the clutter. To anyone reading this who hasn't got an SSD, they are great. If you can't afford one, two conventional disks configured as RAID1 is worth a go too, but more unstable.

I recently ran a full disk cleanup using the built in Microsoft "right click on disk" cleanup tool and got rid of around 9GB of unnecessary files. Whether that will make my system go faster I don't know but worth trying.

In the past I have typically done a complete Windows reinstall once a year (occasionally more often if I had a bad software update) and found it gained me a noticably fast machine as a result but took a weekend to get all the updates etc configured. Now I'm using Macrium, if I ever need to reverse my system to an earlier state I can do so in under an hour - but at the cost of my backup not restoring a completely "clean" system any more, unless I restore back to the first image I made after installing Windows, in which case I have to negotiate hundreds of Windows and other updates. Horses for courses I suppose.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jan 2014   #12

Windows 7 Home Premium 32-Bit - Build 7600 SP1

I am very confused about your "clutter" remark I have read several times. I use Macrium in this way. == I have my OS and programs on one partition and my Docs on another. Once a week I make a Macrium image of both partitions. They are complete images, not incremental. About every two months I have to go in and delete the older images so there will be room for the newer images on my backup HD. There is no "clutter" that I am aware of. Each week you are getting an image of your HD in the present state. The images are done automatically. No muss, no fuss.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jan 2014   #13

Many: XP, 7, Home & Pro, Slax, FreeNAS, OS-X 10.9 10.6.8

The "clutter' he is referring to is the general 'crap' that Windows crashes, programs or program installs/un installs, failed Windows updates , temp files that don't get deleted etc ..that are left behind in the system during daily use.

All the sort of stuff that over a period time does slow the machine down.

Your images are of your working system and you can go back to that, but you are not going back to that 'clean fresh install ' system. Just that latest working system

Who has not noticed a speed increase of any machine caused just by a clean install?

Yes, no doubt it may be possible to clean up a running system with various utilities, un-installers, reg cleaners etc but it is rarely as good as a fresh install.

Trouble with a fresh install is that you have to then re-install all your software, special drivers , MS updates etc. It can take days. But having an image taken just after your last fresh install + Software + Updates etc means you can go back to that new almost OOB machine when ever needed.

What he was asking about was a strategy to keep an up to date image of a clean system.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

05 Jan 2014   #14

Win 7 Pro 64 bit

Correct Neil thanks - and yes I had effectively been doing what you described as backup 3, ie I made a backup some months ago, since which I have added various Windows updates, new software etc, then when I was happy it was working I restored that clean backup and added all the Windows updates and software in one go to avoid Windows clutter.

Trouble was, certain updates didn't like updating all in one go, and to get back to what had been a stable system (albeit one that had evolved over months and piucked up clutter along the way) I had rather more tweaking and the frustration of seeing software updates trying to update and failing several times before getting installed. Hence my potentially provocative question about whether after a period of time it was better to go back to an earlier, known working backup, do all the updates in one go and once satisfied the system was working, reimage that, versus using tools to reduce Windows clutter immediately before making the next backup which would be stable but potentially cluttered.

As I suspected there isn't a "perfect" hasslefree way to ensure that my PC always has the latest backups AND is devoid of trash...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jan 2014   #15

Many: XP, 7, Home & Pro, Slax, FreeNAS, OS-X 10.9 10.6.8

Well ..and i did not think I would ever have said this...but I went to Mac back in 08...and never had an issue since..This is my first foray back in to Windows since then.

Mac is by no means perfect as some of the Mac fans would like you to believe..i probably dislike it just as much as any other OS..they all have their good points ..and bad points..
But for general system reliability and stability and keeping a working clean system it beats Win of any sort hands down
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jan 2014   #16
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

I think the Mac is 'clean' because Apple controls what goes on the system. With Windows that is different. The OS is also 'clean', especially now that MS has a better control over the drivers. It is the OEMs that put all the garbage on the systems. E.g. my Toshiba laptop came with appr. 5GBs worth of all kinds of stuff that was not part of the Windows OS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jan 2014   #17

Many: XP, 7, Home & Pro, Slax, FreeNAS, OS-X 10.9 10.6.8

Oh yes, This Tosh I have been mucking with recently is loaded with all sorts of stuff. Most utter crap.

So many install routines, just seem to add so much extra startup stuff, services etc..but Mac is not immune to that either. In theory any app just has everything in one package so removing an app is as simple as deleting one package, but in practice this never happens and stuff gets left all over the system too.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Should I regularly back up my system using imaging?

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