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Windows 7: Restoring Win7 image backup to smaller partition?

06 Jan 2014   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit
Restoring Win7 image backup to smaller partition?

I am sure the answer is out there, but haven't found an exact solution to this question, so...

I back up my System Reserved partition + C partition with both the native Win7 software (create an image file) and also, to be safe, with Acronis, creating the images on separate external USB drives.

My question is this: in the event of the drive on which I have my O/S failing (it's on an SSD, and I just had my other SDD fail on me) would I be able to restore one of the images - Windows or Acronis - to a different, smaller partition on a different disk, provided that the original, uncompressed size of the data on the original partitions is smaller than that of the partition I want to restore it to? In other words, if my current C drive is on a partition of 80GBs, but occupies only 40GBs of that - the rest being unused, free space, would I be able to restore one of the backup images to a partition of, say 60GBs? Or does the unused space 'count'?



My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2014   #2

Windows 7 Pro x64 SP1

Martinlest, I know that the internal Microsoft image backup won't install on a smaller drive than it was created from.
I don't believe that Acronis will either but I am not 100% sure. Nothing to lose by trying. Have you gotten on the
acronis forum and asked the question?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2014   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

Windows system image will not restore to a smaller drive.

I have no idea if Acronis can.

However, there is an excellent free imaging program which can. It is completely free for all uses. It is also small and very fast.

FREE Backup software for Windows 7, 8 and Server 2008 R2, 2012
My System SpecsSystem Spec

06 Jan 2014   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit

OK, thanks. No, I haven't tried on the Acronis forum yet - I will. I'll have a look at the link to other software (Aomei - never heard of it) too. ..
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2014   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bits 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1

My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jan 2014   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1 64-bit


The reason I asked is that my C drive is a 70GB partition (total size, with unused space) on an SDD. The rest of the available space on the SSD is a separate, blank, unformatted partition. Seems reasonable to use Partition Manager to add that unused space to the C drive.

Having recently had another SDD fail on the same PC though, I am keeping an empty 70GB partition on one of my HDDs so that, in the event of my O/S SSD failing too at some stage, I can restore an image of my C drive to it, and, hopefully, use that (+ the System reserved space) as my temporary boot partition. Would save a lot of hassle of reinstalling a new copy of Windows to the 'emergency' partition...

Of course, if I add the blank space to my C drive, it will be 110GBs, including unused space, and, well, hence my post! I guess if I use Acronis and then maybe Aomei instead of Windows 7 as my 'second line of defence', I should be OK...

My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Restoring Win7 image backup to smaller partition?

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