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Windows 7: Windows 7 Backup

26 Feb 2020   #1
Firefox1701

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 
Windows 7 Backup

Hello all,


To explain what I'm trying to do, I have a primary 1TB HDD and an internal 1TB backup HDD ( C and D drives respectively ). The D drive is failing. The plan is to image ( rather than clone; my understanding is that this is a better, less-risk option ) the existing C drive to a new external 1TB HDD, then restore from that image to a new internal 1TB SSD. The 1TB SSD will then become the primary drive, and the old 1TB HDD that was previously the C drive will become the new D ( internal backup ) drive.



I'm sure these will seem like silly questions to the more experienced users, but before embarking on this, can anyone tell me:


Various internet resources say that Windows 7 Backup will make an image on an external hard drive of literally everything on the originating drive, including all programmes, customisations of programmes, data files, and the operating system itself. But surely, it can't back up itself while it's actually being used, can it?


Does Windows 7 Backup create an image that is complete down to, essentially, the last zero and one on the originating drive?


Presumably, all other programmes and files have to be closed while the backup is in progress ( which kind of brings me back to the question of how it can take an image of itself while it's in use ...! )?


Various resources mention the 'restore' function; but, if the primary hard drive were to crash irretrievably, the native 'restore' function would obviously be unavailable. Is this where the 'create system restore disc' comes into play? - and if so, would that be the same process you'd use if you wanted to restore the imaged backup to a new drive?



As I say, I'm sure these will seem like silly questions to the more experienced users ... to be honest, a couple of them sound a bit iffy even to me! ... but better safe than sorry. As a matter of interest, I'm working on the assumption that I can do all of this using the native Windows 7 Backup facility ... does that sound right, or do I really need to get a third-party cloning / imaging programme like Macrium etc.?

All input very gratefully received!



My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Feb 2020   #2
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Quote:
But surely, it can't back up itself while it's actually being used, can it?
Of course it can, that is the point of it.

Quote:
Presumably, all other programmes and files have to be closed while the backup is in progress
No. But it will go more slowly if you are doing other things.


Quote:
Does Windows 7 Backup create an image that is complete down to, essentially, the last zero and one on the originating drive?
Some things are not included in the image, for example any existing system restore points and other stuff that is recreated on boot up - pagefile, hiberfile

Quote:
Is this where the 'create system restore disc' comes into play? - and if so, would that be the same process you'd use if you wanted to restore the imaged backup to a new drive?
Yes and yes. If you have installation media the image restore functions are already on that, so you don't necessarily need a "system repair disc" as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2020   #3
samuria

win 8 32 bit
 
 

Welcome to the forum. Assuming the disk has bad blocks on no account do a clone or image as this will copy bad blocks to a new drive which cant be reversed. The other thing is a lot of files may be corrupt so there is no point in copying anything. If you want to copy anything use built in robocopy or simliar as this just copies data and if it finds corrupted files it will tell you and not copy bad blocks
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Feb 2020   #4
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

You haven't explained why you think the disk is having problems. Did you run chkdsk yet?

From your first post:

Quote:
I have a primary 1TB HDD and an internal 1TB backup HDD ( C and D drives respectively ). The D drive is failing. The plan is to image ( rather than clone; my understanding is that this is a better, less-risk option ) the existing C drive to a new external 1TB HDD, then restore from that image to a new internal 1TB SSD.
The disk containing your operating system ( which you call c drive) is fine.

The other disk ( which you call d drive) has problems.

If so, then you shouldn't have any difficulty imaging your operating system.

If you are thinking of imaging a disk which already has problems:
If the disk is not in too bad shape, making an image now is sensible.
Depending on the damage, it might fail while you are imaging, or whatever is wrong with the disk might prevent a system image from being completed properly.
The same caveats apply to any type of imaging/cloning once a disk is having problems.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2020   #5
Firefox1701

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Firstly, apologies for the somewhat clunky and obviously-not-completely-clear initial explanation.
To answer the questions asked so far:
Quote:
You haven't explained why you think the disk is having problems. Did you run chkdsk yet?
No, is the short answer, but twice when I've re-started the computer over the course of the last month or so, a message has appeared saying that the D drive is failing. To be honest, I've taken it at face value.
Quote:
The disk containing your operating system ( which you call c drive) is fine.
The other disk ( which you call d drive) has problems.
If so, then you shouldn't have any difficulty imaging your operating system.
If you are thinking of imaging a disk which already has problems:
If the disk is not in too bad shape, making an image now is sensible.
Depending on the damage, it might fail while you are imaging, or whatever is wrong with the disk might prevent a system image from being completed properly.
The same caveats apply to any type of imaging/cloning once a disk is having problems.
The first two statements are correct, and, I think, so is the third ( I'll come back to that ). The D drive is purely a backup drive containing data only; it has nothing directly to do with the operating system, which is on my existing C drive, a 1TB HDD. Since the D drive itself only contains copied files, I have no need to be taking a copy, clone or image from it.
Quote:
Assuming the disk has bad blocks on no account do a clone or image as this will copy bad blocks to a new drive which cant be reversed. The other thing is a lot of files may be corrupt so there is no point in copying anything. If you want to copy anything use built in robocopy or simliar as this just copies data and if it finds corrupted files it will tell you and not copy bad blocks
To the best of my knowledge, the C drive from which I'm taking the image is in good condition. Although I have some limited knowledge, it is limited, as you'll have gathered, and it stops a little short of knowing what bad blocks are; however, the C drive is what it is, and since it contains the operating system, one way or another, that's what I need to image or clone. I don't know if 'built-in robocopy' refers to the Windows Backup facility - I suspect not - but the object is to create an image which I can use to duplicate the operating system to a new internal SSD drive.
With regard to the most recent post from SIW2: as I said, I'm sure some of my questions would seem obvious to a more experienced user ... on the face of it, it seemed to me that using the Windows Backup facility to take an image of everything including itself was sort of like trying to take a picture of the camera you were using to take the picture with. Still: now I know different, and that's why I needed to ask the question!
By the same token, I guessed that if other programmes were in use at the time, and therefore files being used by those programmes were in a 'state of flux' as it were, to return to the camera analogy, it would be like trying to take video footage using a Kodak Instamatic. Again, I take your response at face value, and thank you for it.
Once again the limits of my knowledge come into play, but my impression is that the things that are not copied in the course of this process are things that you don't need copied anyway, in order to achieve what I'm seeking to achieve. Fingers crossed that I'm right ...!
As for the final thing about the System Restore disc, I haven't got to that stage yet, but will bear it in mind. Out of interest, does it literally have to be a disc, as in CD or DVD, or could it be something like an external hard drive or flash-drive?
... phew ...
Armed with your various input, I gave this a shot last night. It took around nine hours in all, which I gather is not particularly unusual; I was copying from the C drive ( 1TB HDD ) to an external 2TB HDD via USB3 cable. However ...
The C drive shows 240 GB of 931 GB free; so presumably, 691 GB used. What I've ended up with on the portable HDD is one file titled 'Indoor' ( the name given to this computer when it was first built, to distinguish it from my studio computer ), a folder titled 'WindowsImageBackup', and a file titled MediaID.bin. I assume, in the absence of any knowledge to the contrary, that this is as it should be...?
As yet, I haven't bought the new SSD, so not yet in a position to try restoring this image with a view to making the SSD the new primary drive ... one thing at a time! ... but at the stage I'm at so far, these are the new questions:
Firstly, given that only 691 GB of the original HDD is used, the portable 2TB HDD is showing 930GB free out of 1.81TB. If I'm doing my sums right, that means the image has occupied 880GB of space. Does this make sense? ( Again: apologies if this is a stupid question! )
Finally, assuming I've done everything right so far ...
I'm thinking in terms of buying a Samsung SSD to be the new primary drive, it being the case that I've had numerous recommendations. Three of the eight possibilities on the Samsung website are NVME, which I gather is the thing to have; however ( granted that none of you have a crystal ball ), is it likely that my computer, built around ten years ago, would be compatible with this ( without any additional modifications, given that I'm provisionally hoping to attempt the procedure myself )? I'm in the process of narrowing down the possibilities, and that would narrow the field to five, which would be a good start!
Again, all input gratefully received, and thank you all for your indulgence!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2020   #6
RolandJS

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

I believe your backup plan is aok! I recommend doing two Intelligent Copy backups onto external media; one backup after another. That way, if one backup/restore program fails to do a restore, the other one probably will work just fine. Intelligent Copy is a Macrium Reflect phrase that simply means: sector single pass and un-used sectors not copied.
The above "dual" idea may not be feasible or economical, at least do one backup set onto external media.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2020   #7
Bree

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Firefox1701 View Post
What I've ended up with on the portable HDD is one file titled 'Indoor' ( the name given to this computer when it was first built, to distinguish it from my studio computer ), a folder titled 'WindowsImageBackup', and a file titled MediaID.bin. I assume, in the absence of any knowledge to the contrary, that this is as it should be...?

Yes, that all looks as it should be. You have asked Backup & Restore to performed both a backup of your user files and include a System Image. The two serve different purposes.

The folder with the PC's name on the root of the external drive is a backup of your user files and folders. They have been stored in a series of multiple .zip files, Backup & Restore can be used to retrieve one or more files from this Backup Set.

The WindowsImageBackup folder also contains a folder with the name of your PC. This contains images of the partition(s) of the drive(s) of the PC you backed up. By default only the partition(s) required to restore the working system have been backed up. Partitions that are just used for data are not needed, but can optionally be included in the image.

You need to boot to the recovery environment in order to restore the system image. You should have been offer the chance to create a recovery CD at the end of backing up the system image. You can boot from this if you need to restore the system image.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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01 Mar 2020   #8
Firefox1701

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Again, thank you all for your input.
The new SSD is on it's way ( a 1 TB Samsung 860 EVO ). The only things I'm still not sure about are:
  • Not that it matters that much, given the size of the external hard drive, but how come 691GB on the original C drive occupied 880GB when imaged on to the external one?
  • That aside: re the recovery disc, I don't recall that option being offered when I did the image, but it may be that I just overlooked it. Presumably it can be created after the event?
  • ... and does it in fact have to be a disc, or could it be a flash drive?
  • I'm assuming, given what it is that I'm aiming to achieve, that the aforesaid recovery disc ( or flash drive ) is what will allow me to restore the image from the external hard drive on to the new SSD when it arrives, and I'm assuming that that will then allow me to treat the new SSD as my primary drive - which is to say, if I unplug the existing C drive, plug in the new SSD, restore the image to it and then attempt to restart the computer, it will automatically recognised the SSD as the new C drive and essentially carry on as though nothing had happened ( but hopefully a lot faster ) ... yes?If that all works and I then plug the old 1TB HDD C drive back in with the intention of using it as the new D drive ( i.e. internal backup ), will there be any conflict in the fact that the identical operating system will then exist on both drives?
  • And last but not least, assuming that all works, once I've created the system restore disc / flash drive, can I use that every time I do this, or do I need to create a new system restore disc / flash drive each time?
Once again, all, thank you for your indulgence, and all information gratefully received.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Mar 2020   #9
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Probably shadow storage. It is created to allow the image to be used for system restore points, and when you make a new image, older blocks are moved into shadow storage.

You will need to be able to boot to media that contains the system image restore program. Either a "repair disc", or the installation media.

The image restore functions are exactly the same on both.

you don't need to keep remaking it.

Quote:
it will automatically recognised the SSD as the new C drive and essentially carry on as though nothing had happened ( but hopefully a lot faster ) ... yes?
yes


Quote:
I then plug the old 1TB HDD C drive back in ...will there be any conflict
If it is first in the bios boot order and has an active flag set in the mbr executable code, the machine might attempt to boot from the old disk. That is a function of the motherboard bios, and nothing to do with the imaging program.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Mar 2020   #10
Bree

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Firefox1701 View Post
Not that it matters that much, given the size of the external hard drive, but how come 691GB on the original C drive occupied 880GB when imaged on to the external one?
You user files have been backed up twice, once in the files and folders backup, but they are also in the system image backup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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