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Windows 7: System Imaging Newbie

04 Feb 2015   #1

Windows 7 Pro x64
System Imaging Newbie

Fellow Forum Members,
I read several of the System Imaging tutorials and couldn't find my answer. I am using Windows 7 Ultimate. Is it possible to create a single System Image that can be added to as changes are made to the original C: Boot Drive? What I would like is to avoid ending up with 10 separate system images each at 25GB a piece. Therefore, is there a way possible to create a single system image and add to it as time goes by? I looked at the other option of setting up a schedule for backups in Windows but this approach does not seem to produce a full system image. It's only meant to backup selected directories and not the entire system with the reserved partition included.

Are there third party system imaging apps, free or for sale that can create a system image that allows one to add changes to it? Any comment will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2015   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

The paid version of Macrium Reflect can create incremental or differential images as far as I know.

That will save you some space, but introduces a possible point of failure.

Needing 10 images may be reasonable in your case, but it's unusual.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2015   #3
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

System images are not 250GB. Move your user data to a separate data partition and your images will be more likely 25GBs.

I prefer to keep full images rather than incrementals or differentials which are a lot harder to manage I usually keep a dozen. Here is the free Macrium that I would recommend. If you have questions, post back.

Imaging with free Macrium
My System SpecsSystem Spec

04 Feb 2015   #4
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

X2 for Macrium Reflect free. I also agree you are better off making full images instead of using incremental or differential images. When using incremental or differential images, you have to keep track of what images go together. Let just one get corrupted or lost and you lose most or everything. Multiple full images are much safer.

I have Macrium Reflect set to keep only the last eight weeks worth of images (I use a Pro version; I don't know if the free version has that option) and the initial image I made after I built my machine. I only make one image a week plus anytime I make a major change to the system, such as adding new software or hardware or making a major setting change.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Feb 2015   #5

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1

10 system images isn't that excessive. What are we talking about ~250-300GB = very little in today's terms. I keep images that span back ~6 months, 3 months then ideally weakly for the last month. I consider relying on images on a single external HDD is risky.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Feb 2015   #6
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
...I consider relying on images on a single external HDD is risky.
Absolutely! Any drive, even a backup drive, can fail at any time without warning. That's why I have multiple backup drives. I save my images to my main data drive in my computer, then that drive gets backed up to two external drives. I also keep two backup drives in my safe deposit box at my credit union. Those two get swapped out with the two at home at least once a month.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 System Imaging Newbie

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