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Windows 7: Imaging To an Identical SSD, Question

15 Aug 2016   #1

Win 10 Pro 64x
Imaging To an Identical SSD, Question

I'm not a seasoned BU image guy but want to do better. I have some questions.
I run my system on a 1TB Sandisk X400 SSD.
I am a simple home user / photographer of sorts.

I want to talk about my imaging pipe dream.

I want to get another Sandisk 1TB X400 and image to it at least once a week if not more.
I have an SATA dock built into my PC mid tower that's easy to use and reach.
I would like to image to it and unplug it at random having a shortcut on my desk to hit that will overwrite the previous image.

Then if I have a crash and the image disk not being a part of the tragedy, would it be as simple as unplugging the corrupted OS X400 SSD and installing the imaged X400 SSD and hit the go button and be back in the running? Does it work like this?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
15 Aug 2016   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

No, it doesn't work like that.

An image of a partition is a file. You store it wherever it will fit---just like any other file.

It isn't bootable. It's a representation of one or more partitions on your hard drive, but that's all it is. If the imaged partition in question is a bootable partition, the image file has to be "restored" to a hard drive to make that hard drive bootable.

You may be thinking of a "clone"--which is entirely different.

If it works as advertised, a clone of a bootable drive would be bootable as it sits and would not have to be restored.

But, if you are talking about recovering from a bad situation such as a failed hard drive, a bad virus infestation, or anything that makes you want to go back to a better situation, imaging is generally a better idea than cloning---even though it's not immediately bootable. There's several reasons why that's true.

Restoring an image takes less than a half hour in a typical situation.

Making an image might take 5 to 30 minutes, depending.

You can make a new image every day, week, month, whatever. I make one a month and keep the most recent two.

Macrium Reflect is the most commonly used tool around here.

Cloning and imaging can both fail. Know what you'll do when that happens.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
17 Aug 2016   #3

Windows 10 Pro x64

My System SpecsSystem Spec

17 Aug 2016   #4

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

As mentioned earlier, from personal experience, I recommend making full images of your OS and data partitions onto your chosen backup-receiving media, the 2nd SSD HD. I tried the cloning option for awhile, found it safer OS-wise to make full images, disable the backup HD when not in use. Have done restores in the past both via cloning and via images from backup HD to original HD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2016   #5

Win 10 Pro 64x

Thanks, Guys,

I'm new at this whole thing and the lingo has me spinning.
I'm using EaseUS Todo (free for now) and it seems to be doing well for a person who is not sure what he is doing.
Until now I thaught imaging was all in one ball of wax. But I see there is Disk/Partition, System, Files, and Smart Backup.

Whats the difference between System and Disk/Partition?

What I (think I) want is crash recovery. I want to have an external HDD Box setup to do weekly's with daily incrementals.
Then the duplicate SSD for inserting into the SATA dock and hitting a go button to back it all up.

I'm not sure I understand all I know about this stuff. Please suggest if you can. I hope you like EaseUS Todo because I tried several and its the one I am most comfortable with.
If your suggestions include me upgrading to the home version so be it.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2016   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

see comments in bold

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by 2therock View Post

Whats the difference between System and Disk/Partition?

In a Windows PC, one of the hard drive partitions will be the "system" partition. That might be the C partition and might not be--it depends on how the PC was configured when Windows was installed.

You need to look at Windows Disk Management to easily see what's what.

When you do that, you will see one partition marked as System. "System" means it contains your boot files and that partition must be imaged and later restored if you want to recover from a bad situation.

On my old PC, C was also the system partition. On my new one, it is not. With my old PC, I only had to make an image of C to restore Windows. On my new PC, I must make an image of more than just C.

What I (think I) want is crash recovery. I want to have an external HDD Box setup to do weekly's with daily incrementals.
Then the duplicate SSD for inserting into the SATA dock and hitting a go button to back it all up.

That confuses me.

You say you want "crash recovery". I assume that means a failed hard drive or a major Windows problem that you can't fix. OK--that's doable with your idea of an external HDD with weekly images, but I'd try to avoid incrementals.

The best tool for "crash recovery" is imaging, not cloning.

You then speak of a "duplicate SSD" in a dock "to back it all up".

Back what up? You use the pronoun "it". What does "it" refer to?

You'd already have "it" backed up using the external HDD, not an SSD in a dock--if "it" means your Windows installation.

Or is the "duplicate SSD" in the dock intended to be a backup of something else?

Or is the "duplicate SSD" intended to be a clone that is immediately bootable, not an image?

You need to do 2 things:

1: post a screen shot of Windows Disk Management so we can see what's going on.

2: Explain your intent more clearly.

Is your personal data on the same partition as Windows?

I used EaseUS Todo 6 or 8 years ago, so I don't recall much about it. It's generally regarded as OK as far as I know, but not many here are highly familiar with it.

Lastly, why do you think you need daily incremental images?

If the reason is to back up your personal data as opposed to Windows itself, I wouldn't use imaging for that purpose.

If the reason involves Windows, then daily imaging might be plausible, but it would be unusual unless your Windows installation changes considerably every day--like if you were constantly making significant changes in your software or configuration. Most people don't do that---usually the Windows installation changes slowly over time, not quickly day to day.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2016   #7

win 8 32 bit

There are two things here you want to have second disk that if the main one does you can boot up with into date system. To do that you need to clone is copy the whole hard drive generally you can't do that in Windows you would have to boot a DVD. You could do a image to s third drive and then write it go the second drive messy but would work. You photos daily backup is a separate job the simple solutions is to save files to OneDrive or Google drive were there safe
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2016   #8

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit

"...but I'd try to avoid incrementals..." +1; I avoid both incrementals and differentials [except in cars] because the hassles of doing restore after restore after restore, first of old old old stuff, then the next old old, then the next old. I recommend doing full images of your OS partition and your data partition on a weekly or bi-monthly basis if your computing really doesn't change the OS or your data much. However, if you make lots of data changes, I can see doing bi-weekly full images as a good thing.

Over time, I've learned that OnePartition for OS and data, and EZ quick backups often led to omg-lengthy, HolyMoly-complicated, restores. Almost like eHarmony's "Do you want fast or forever?" -- Do you want backups, or do you want reliable, trustworthy, almost-guaranteed RESTORES?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2016   #9

Win 10 Pro 64x

I feel like I came to the right place thanks guys, I need the hand holding on this one for sure.

From your comments so far I see and agree need to explain more. I can see now I am over complicating this.

My usage is modest now days. As a former PI of several years and no longer in the business I have several empty discs no longer containing case files. I swapped to an SSD for the speed and am loving the 28 second from cold boot to full ready state.
I built this PC from the ground up, a Gigabyte Z77X-UD5H MoBo/Ivy bridge 3770ok stable clocked @4.5/ Water cooled /Maximum Hi performance RAM......

But doing backups is my weakness.

I run Genie Backup Manager Pro9 to backup my files on a spare internal HDD for now just to make sure it works. Doing it off site will be my next adventure.

My fears are a virus, corrupted OS, or drive failure. This is not a business PC. I guess I would like to do monthly, insert drive, clone, remove drive, to be able to boot right up, and somewhere in there do full imaging but right now I am confused.

My internet connection is ATT Uverse and a 1.5Mbps upload from N. GA to Tampa. My 1st upload to off site will take a while for sure.

Below is my management screen shot.
Disk0 is the SSD OS
Disks 1,2,3,4, are spares and I have two more WD 750GB RE3's, and two more WD 1TB Black 1TB's on a shelf.
I recently had a external eSATA RAID box fail after several years.
Before the SSD I was running my OS on two 1TB WD Blacks in RAID1 for a run flat type of BU but got tired of every time a little hiccup happened it had to rebuild and such, enter the SSD.

So I hope you guys can help me do something that makes sense.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Aug 2016   #10

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Unless you say otherwise specifically, I'm going to assume that Disk 0 in that screen shot contains NO personal files and that it holds ONLY Windows and installed applications. And that you do NOT have any programs installed anywhere except C.

Is that correct?

Which of that pile of hard drives in the pic contains your "original" data files? If they are on disk 0, partition C, are you married to that idea--as opposed to putting them on another drive?

You refer to all those other drives as "spares" and yet they obviously contain something. We don't know what as you haven't said.

The best way to "back up" your Windows installation and all applications installed on C is to back up ALL partitions on Disk 0. Most likely, there's a partition or two on Disk 0 that are not shown in that pic.

I'd just use Macrium. It has a choice named something like "back up all partitions necessary to restore Windows". You poke that choice and let it make a single image file that represented ALL of the partitions on disk 0 in a single file.

Store it on any disk other than disk 0.

Disc 0 is a half full 1 TB drive. The image file you create will be circa 250 GB.

How many GB does ALL, I say ALL of your data occupy?? Not "backups", just the original data, excluding Windows and installed applications?

More info still needed so you can develop a sensible plan. Start by answering the specific question I've posed.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Imaging To an Identical SSD, Question

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