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Windows 7: Which hard drive to restore to?

2 Weeks Ago   #1
Firefox1701

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 
Which hard drive to restore to?

To anyone who's read my previous thread ( as opposed to just waiting for the film to come out ), congratulations on having not lost the will to live ( as I almost have ).


By what ended up being a process of trial and error, I managed to get where I was going. I won't bore you with all the details a second time - if for some reason you want to read the whole of the previous thread, be my guest!! - but I now have two problems. I have two drives in the computer: the C drive is now a 1TB Samsung Evo 860 SSD; the D drive is what was previously my old C drive, a 1TB WD Caviar HDD. I now know how to do a system image to an external HDD, and I've successfully restored that image to my new C drive. However, at that time, only the Samsung SSD was installed in the computer ( aside, obviously, from the external HDD from which I was restoring the image ). So my first question is: if I do future backups by creating a system image of the primary drive, without having to open up the computer and physically disconnect one of the drives each time, if I want to restore that image, how do I tell the computer which drive to restore to? - I don't want to do this by trial and error, for obvious reasons!


I know I said there were two problems: I've posted the other one separately, for anyone who's feeling adventurous!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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2 Weeks Ago   #2
iko22

Windows 7 x64, Vista x64, 8.1 smartphone
 
 

What software are you using for creating backups? If you use Windows built-in backup, then the recovery is tied to the system image that it "sees".
My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #3
Firefox1701

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

I used the native Windows 7 'Backup and restore' facility to create the system image on the external hard drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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2 Weeks Ago   #4
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

By default it will restore to the same place the image was created from. Presumably that is what you want to do.

In the unlikely event you want to restore somewhere else - for example you want to restore to new larger hard disk you have just purchased. Or the original hard disk has failed and you want to restore to a differnt internal disk.

If you want to restore somewhere else, there is an exclude disks button - in your case ( to avoid mistakes between the chair and the keyboard ) - it is simpler and safer to unplug any disks you want to exclude. Easily done by unplugging the power/data cable from the disk you want excluded.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #5
Firefox1701

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Quote:
to avoid mistakes between the chair and the keyboard
That is the best euphemism for 'human error' ( which itself is a euphemism for 'mucking it up' ) that I've ever seen.


In fact, I do need to restore to a different disc than the one from which the image was taken; for the reasons mentioned, the imaged D drive needs to be restored to the new C drive. In the future, it will be the other way around: since the object of the exercise was always to be able to use this method as a backup procedure ( and as an alternative to cloning ), the image will be taken from the C drive and restored to the D drive ( although it's beginning to look like cloning might be the better option, if there's no risk of damage ).


As you say, unplugging the appropriate disc takes it out of the equation, and although, even as a one-off, that's a cumbersome process, it would solve the problem in this instance. I obviously don't want to have to go through that every time I do a backup, however.


When I did the restore the first time round, I wouldn't have seen the 'exclude discs' button inasmuch as there was only one internal drive plugged in at the time. If I find myself with no choice but to take the chance on what happens between chair and keyboard, as it were, where will that button appear ( as it didn't do so up to the point of following the 'option 2' guidelines that I used last time )?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #6
iko22

Windows 7 x64, Vista x64, 8.1 smartphone
 
 

I am not entirely convinced the "exclude disks" button would work in your case, as you still need to point the restore process in the direction of a disk that you would like to use, and I don't see an option for that. You can "check out before you try" via this tutorial How to restore Windows 7 from a Systems Image | How to Geek . If you can make it work, then you are one up on me.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #7
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Quote:
As you say, unplugging the appropriate disc takes it out of the equation, and although, even as a one-off, that's a cumbersome process, it would solve the problem in this instance. I obviously don't want to have to go through that every time I do a backup, however.
You don't need to do that to create an image. I suggest you do if you want to restore an image to a different disk.

How often will you want to create an image of disk0 and then restore it to disk1 or vice versa ?

No need to disconnect anything if you are restoring back to the same place the image was created from.

The usual scenario is to create a"system image". That means the system partition ( which is sometimes a separate small first partition on the disk without a drive letter) - and the OS partition ( usually C).

Then if something goes wrong, the usual thing is to restore back onto the same disk.

If you are unlucky and the disk dies, then the usual thing is to replace it and restore the image onto the replacement disk.

MS have tried to keep the user interface simple - for the average user.

So if you want to do something unusual, disconnect disks you don't want involved in the image restore.

( Advanced users can do unusual restores via command prompt )
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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2 Weeks Ago   #8
Snick

Win 10 x64, Linux Lite, Win 7 x64, BlackArch, & Kali
 
 

Members here recommend 3rd party backup programs.
AOMEI Backupper free
and
Macrium Reflect free
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Unlimited Giveaway AOMEI Backupper Professional 5.3 - Free License ...

My System SpecsSystem Spec
2 Weeks Ago   #9
Firefox1701

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 

Quote:
How often will you want to create an image of disk0 and then restore it to disk1 or vice versa ?
In the first instance, this was just a case of installing a new SSD and getting that up and running as an exact duplicate of the original HDD. That, I'm glad to say, is a bridge I think I've 99% crossed now. However:


As mentioned in my first thread, as well as installing the new SSD, it was also my intention to revise my regular backup process. Up to this point, my problem had always been that although my data was backed up regularly, the operating system and programmes weren't; the primary hard drive contained the only copy of any of that, so if that drive crashed, it would be catastrophic.


I worked on the assumption that I could install the new SSD as follows:
  • Image old C drive to portable hard drive;
  • Shut down computer; install new SSD; remove original C drive.
  • Restore image from portable hard drive to new SSD, making this, if you like, the new C drive.
  • Shut down computer; re-install old C drive to become new D drive ( i.e. internal backup ). I'm now starting from a point where all the information on both drives should be precisely identical.
From the word go, it was a toss-up whether to clone from one drive to another or to use the method of image-and-restore that I ultimately used. There seemed to be a school of thought, not shared by everyone but by enough knowledgeable people to put me off it, that cloning carried a far higher risk of potential irretrievable damage to the original C drive, which is a ten-year-old 1TB HDD. The image-and-restore plan was seemingly longer-winded ( ain't that the truth ) but safer in the long run. Touch wood, as I say, it seems to have worked.


Aside from potential damage, the other cloning-vs-imaging argument was that cloning produces an immediately bootable and usable twin copy, so that if the primary drive does crash, you can be back up and running within minutes. However, if you take an image of the primary drive, restoring that image ( I now know because I've experienced it ) takes something like six hours, in my case. So, the plan, in theory, was to have the best of both worlds, so that the backup process ( in my case, every week to ten days ) would go as follows:
  • Take an image of the primary C drive ( now a 1TB Samsung 860 EVO SSD ) to a portable HDD.
  • Restore that image ( immediately after having taken it ) to the secondary, internal backup drive ( a 1TB WD HDD, which was originally working as my C drive before all this ).
This way, I still have a fully working, bootable copy, containing all OS and programme data including recently-added keyboard shortcuts etc., accessible at any time and as up-to-date as whenever I did the last backup. Yes, it takes six hours to do the image and six hours to restore it; but I can leave the machine running overnight, so that's not a problem.


Cloning does seem quicker, but although the HDD would now be the recipient rather than the donor, I still worry about damaging what is at present a perfectly good working drive, and in theory, the method above seemed perfectly viable. However:
Quote:
if you want to do something unusual, disconnect disks you don't want involved in the image restore
... to be honest, before I embarked on this, it never occurred to me for a moment that something as fundamental as choosing which disc to image from or to, or which disc to restore from or to, would be considered 'unusual', by Windows or any other standards. From what you say, it seems this is another lesson learned on my part.


As mentioned previously, I welcome any input from those more knowledgeable than myself, which I've come to realise probably covers more than 90% of the contributors to this forum. Indeed, it is that very input which has enabled me to get even this far, and I am grateful for it. That also includes anyone who might want to weigh in on the cloning-vs.-imaging discussion in this context. As Snick mentions below, it seems that perhaps using a third-party backup programme might be something I should consider.


It doesn't have to be anything super-fancy. All I need it to do is allow me to choose which disc I want to image from and to, and choose which disc I want to restore to, preferably with a user interface that doesn't require a diploma to understand. Macrium Reflect Free is something I've heard mentioned a number of times, which seems to tick the boxes...?


As always, any thoughts or opinions on any of the above would be very much appreciated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Which hard drive to restore to?




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