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Windows 7: Image your system with free Macrium

13 Oct 2013   #1221
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Since this tutorial is pretty old, the situation in 2009 may have been different. Maybe Ignatz was right at the time and cloning was not supported. But I don't really remember what the situation was at the time.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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13 Oct 2013   #1222
Scoop

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Since this tutorial is pretty old, the situation in 2009 may have been different. Maybe Ignatz was right at the time and cloning was not supported. But I don't really remember what the situation was at the time.
I bet you're right about the time of the posts on page 1.

From the screencaps, it looks like Macrium has a friendly user interface setup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2013   #1223
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Quite a few to look at if you like that kind of thing. If you have been using Acronis, you know the general procedure, they are all quite similar - choose which volumes to image, choose where to store the image, that's pretty much it. There will be options for compression level, scheduling, naming, etc. Some allow incremental/differential, some will make a pe media with/without additional giant downloads.

Try a few and see what you like.

My own choice right now would be Free Download AOMEI Backupper: Windows Backup & Cloning Software if you want a free version. It offers more than any other freebie, and they don't have a paid version to sell.

I suggest either Paragon or Macrium if you want a paid version . Paragon gives a huge number of partitioning/drive management features in addition to imaging.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

13 Oct 2013   #1224
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
 
 

I use Macrium to back up my system. I have moved most of my data files onto another partition. In my case the Windows partition compresses to about 50% of the used space, not the partition size. It doesn't include empty sectors by default. You only need to image the system partition once, although it is so small that it simpler to include it in a regular Windows backup.

I back up my data separately using FreeFileSync which doesn't compress at all. The first backup with FFS is quite slow because it is a full backup. I have set it up to only copy changed files which usually takes only a few minutes a day,
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2013   #1225
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Scoop View Post
I started reading the thread since I'm interested in trying Macrium as a cloning tool. I read on the 1st page of the thread that Macrium doesn't support cloning, just imaging.

However, when I visit the Macrium site and read about the tool, it says that it does support cloning as well as imaging.

Just wanted to clear that up and ask the Macrium users here about this.
Reflect does support cloning. I make at least two clones a week with it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2013   #1226
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Scoop View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Personally I don't use cloning. It wastes the target drive. Imaging is better as it just creates a file on the target drive. I have never had a problem with a Macrium restore but I would recommend trying it for yourself
That's a good point and I've considered it as well. I'm basically learning about imaging but have had some questions about the compression rates and how that may affect my choice to try imaging vs cloning...
My backup scheme includes both cloning and imaging. I have my OS (Operating System, Win 7 in this case) on a separate drive (SSD) and my data on HDDs. Since the OS is the part that tends to get messed up the most often, using an image is the easiest way to recover from a disaster (malware infection, user error, regrettable program installation, etc.). The image of just the OS (and any other associated partitions) is faster and easier to restore than using a clone. I save the image a I make of the OS drive

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Scoop View Post
...My main objective (with cloning) is to have a plug-and-play complete bootable replacement HDD on the shelf in the event of an intrusion which either can't be cleaned or would be time-consuming to recover.
Except for the need to be bootable (I don't boot from my data drives), that is why I clone my data drives. My desktop computer has a 3.5" hot swap bay I plug my backup HDDs into (it also as a bay for 2.5" drives). While imaging would be best for recovery of an internal data HDD, by having the backup HDD being a clone, if the internal data drive should irreparably go south, I can just plug in one of the backup clones (I always make two) into the 3.5" hot swap bay and chug merrily along until I can get and install a replacement data drive.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Scoop View Post
...I used to run a Raid 1 config but due to unrelated issues with it, I discontinued it. Also, it's not a protection against malware/virus intrusions since both HDD's will be affected by such an intrusion.
And that, my friend, makes you brighter than the so called experts (who, admittedly, have forgotten more about computers than I will ever know) who insist that RAID is a backup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2013   #1227
alan10

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit SP1 x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Personally I don't use cloning. It wastes the target drive. Imaging is better as it just creates a file on the target drive. I have never had a problem with a Macrium restore but I would recommend trying it for yourself. There is a link to a pre-built PE disc at the beginning of this tutorial.Imaging with free Macrium[2]=Backup%20Restore
I totally agree.

If something I seldom use is not working as I remember from the past,
I can restore my system to the exact state it was in at any month of the last two years,
and can thus find WHEN it went wrong and then track down the cause.
All image backups are on a single drive that is then backed up on a separate external.

To achieve that with clones would require a long shelf with protection from "dust bunnies" and spring cleaning.

I can restore from an image in 6 minutes,
and perhaps 3 minutes more if I first validate its checksums.
If an image has been overwritten I can use its duplicate or choose another image from a similar time period.

Replacing one drive with another would take at least 6 minutes to clear a space on my desk before I get my tools out and open up the case and put tags on all the connectors that will need reconnecting once I have replaced the drive and skinned my knuckles - no thank you.

Were I to use a clone and the clone had fallen from the shelf,
and I had no other clones,
then

NB
Twice in 6 months an emergency unscheduled Windows Update made my system unusable.

Once I immediately (6 minutes) recovered by restoring a recent image backup.
The other time I first used the WinPE Boot rescue CD to create an image of the broken Windows,
then I restored the previous image backup,
and then booted into Windows,
and under Windows I mounted the backup of the broken Windows,
and copied the documents I had been creating and not been able to backup up before Windows destroyed itself.

Images forever
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2013   #1228
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by harpua View Post
I have never used Macrium, but if it's a true clone, there should be no need to restore anything. One simply installs or swaps the clone drive into the spot where the C: disk resides and fire up the machine and you should be up and running as if nothing happened.
The beauty of an image is you don't have to swap drives; you can use the image to restore the drive while it's still in situ. You can also do that with a clone—just clone back to the original drive—but it takes longer than using an image.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2013   #1229
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

If cloning suites you then that's fine. Imaging is more efficient and you can do a complete system restore to an existing HDD/SSD or brand new ones. I've got multiple images on 2 separate HDDs spanning periods of time using 2 different imaging programs (Windows inbuilt and free Macrium). You can't practically do that with cloning. The only thing likely to bite me in the neck is a motherboard failure and reactivation issues with an OEM OS.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2013   #1230
Scoop

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by SIW2 View Post
Quite a few to look at if you like that kind of thing. If you have been using Acronis, you know the general procedure, they are all quite similar - choose which volumes to image, choose where to store the image, that's pretty much it. There will be options for compression level, scheduling, naming, etc. Some allow incremental/differential, some will make a pe media with/without additional giant downloads.

Try a few and see what you like.

My own choice right now would be Free Download AOMEI Backupper: Windows Backup & Cloning Software if you want a free version. It offers more than any other freebie, and they don't have a paid version to sell.

I suggest either Paragon or Macrium if you want a paid version . Paragon gives a huge number of partitioning/drive management features in addition to imaging.
I need to get more familiar with imaging in Acronis, that's certain. Up to this point, my basic cloning routine has worked for me but I'm definitely interested in multi-imaging my full HDD.

Thanks for the link I bookmarked it for future reading.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
I use Macrium to back up my system. I have moved most of my data files onto another partition. In my case the Windows partition compresses to about 50% of the used space, not the partition size. It doesn't include empty sectors by default. You only need to image the system partition once, although it is so small that it simpler to include it in a regular Windows backup.

I back up my data separately using FreeFileSync which doesn't compress at all. The first backup with FFS is quite slow because it is a full backup. I have set it up to only copy changed files which usually takes only a few minutes a day,
Thanks, good info. I'm not experienced with custom-OS installs and partitioning, ie, OS on one partition, data on another, but I understand the reasons for it and it makes sense to me as well as you all here at this fourm.

The only problem for me is that I'm about as far from you guy's experience here as the "Voyager 1" space probe is from Earth today (Astronomy "geek" time for me again :d )

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post

Reflect does support cloning. I make at least two clones a week with it.
Good to get that confirmed by Macrium users. Thanks

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post

My backup scheme includes both cloning and imaging. I have my OS (Operating System, Win 7 in this case) on a separate drive (SSD) and my data on HDDs. Since the OS is the part that tends to get messed up the most often, using an image is the easiest way to recover from a disaster (malware infection, user error, regrettable program installation, etc.). The image of just the OS (and any other associated partitions) is faster and easier to restore than using a clone. I save the image a I make of the OS drive.
Your routine sounds great. I've got a long way to go before I can get the gist of in-depth backups but I'm picking up excellent info here.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post

Except for the need to be bootable (I don't boot from my data drives), that is why I clone my data drives. My desktop computer has a 3.5" hot swap bay I plug my backup HDDs into (it also as a bay for 2.5" drives). While imaging would be best for recovery of an internal data HDD, by having the backup HDD being a clone, if the internal data drive should irreparably go south, I can just plug in one of the backup clones (I always make two) into the 3.5" hot swap bay and chug merrily along until I can get and install a replacement data drive.
I also have 2 hot-swap SATA racks in my tower. That's why cloning is fairly fast and easy for me to do periodically. At present, I clone once every 4 weeks. If something happens, I'm 4 weeks past from today in a worst-case scenario.

I've already used my cloned HDD twice to recover from malware/viruses. The last time was to recover from that "FBI" malware. I remember laughing at it when the audio voice came from my speakers. All I did was plug in my clone and I was back running again.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Scoop View Post
...I used to run a Raid 1 config but due to unrelated issues with it, I discontinued it. Also, it's not a protection against malware/virus intrusions since both HDD's will be affected by such an intrusion.
And that, my friend, makes you brighter than the so called experts (who, admittedly, have forgotten more about computers than I will ever know) who insist that RAID is a backup.
Believe me, I'm in kindergarten compared to you all but thanks for the words

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by alan10 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Personally I don't use cloning. It wastes the target drive. Imaging is better as it just creates a file on the target drive. I have never had a problem with a Macrium restore but I would recommend trying it for yourself. There is a link to a pre-built PE disc at the beginning of this tutorial.Imaging with free Macrium[2]=Backup%20Restore
I totally agree.

If something I seldom use is not working as I remember from the past,
I can restore my system to the exact state it was in at any month of the last two years,
and can thus find WHEN it went wrong and then track down the cause.
All image backups are on a single drive that is then backed up on a separate external.

To achieve that with clones would require a long shelf with protection from "dust bunnies" and spring cleaning.

I can restore from an image in 6 minutes,
and perhaps 3 minutes more if I first validate its checksums.
If an image has been overwritten I can use its duplicate or choose another image from a similar time period.

Replacing one drive with another would take at least 6 minutes to clear a space on my desk before I get my tools out and open up the case and put tags on all the connectors that will need reconnecting once I have replaced the drive and skinned my knuckles - no thank you.

Were I to use a clone and the clone had fallen from the shelf,
and I had no other clones,
then

NB
Twice in 6 months an emergency unscheduled Windows Update made my system unusable.

Once I immediately (6 minutes) recovered by restoring a recent image backup.
The other time I first used the WinPE Boot rescue CD to create an image of the broken Windows,
then I restored the previous image backup,
and then booted into Windows,
and under Windows I mounted the backup of the broken Windows,
and copied the documents I had been creating and not been able to backup up before Windows destroyed itself.

Images forever
Good points This is why I'm trying to get familiar with imaging. I'd like to have multi-images available of my full HDD in case they're needed for recovery.

Since I have the SATA hot-swap racks in my tower (and an external enclosure for my Laptop backups), I avoid the issue of using tools and accessing my internal components inside my Desktop tower.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by harpua View Post
I have never used Macrium, but if it's a true clone, there should be no need to restore anything. One simply installs or swaps the clone drive into the spot where the C: disk resides and fire up the machine and you should be up and running as if nothing happened.
The beauty of an image is you don't have to swap drives; you can use the image to restore the drive while it's still in situ. You can also do that with a clone—just clone back to the original drive—but it takes longer than using an image.
That's been my routine, when I've had to use the shelf clone to recover. I install it, insure that it's working ok, then retrieve a few of my "must-have" items from another USB HDD that I use for nightly Acronis backups, and I'm running the Desktop PC fairly fast.

Then I'll format the original HDD with "Gparted" (to keep all of the formatting outside of Windows), and boot up on the Acronis CD to clone back to the other HDD. I know I can clone with Acronis from within Windows (is it the "shadow" technology in Windows that allows this?) but I like the idea of cloning outside of Windows.

It takes about 40 minutes to clone my everyday HDD.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
If cloning suites you then that's fine. Imaging is more efficient and you can do a complete system restore to an existing HDD/SSD or brand new ones. I've got multiple images on 2 separate HDDs spanning periods of time using 2 different imaging programs (Windows inbuilt and free Macrium). You can't practically do that with cloning. The only thing likely to bite me in the neck is a motherboard failure and reactivation issues with an OEM OS.
I know you're right along with the other members here, imaging has a lot of advantages vs cloning. I guess I originally gravitated towards cloning since that's the first thing I learned and not imaging.

One thing I've learned and I see it daily at my AV forum site; there's a lot of PC users out there that either don't have a backup routine in place or they like the challenge of cleaning up/recovering their HDD's from attacks.

From what I read over there, there's a lot of headaches that they are going through. I read posts daily about help requests from the resident malware guru at that forum.

I hate to see them go through that since I've been there a few years ago before I learned about cloning and backups. I made a vow to never have to wipe my HDD and re-install Windows again, and start over, installing apps/programs and dragging that big "Documents" folder over to the HDD to recover.

So far, I've been ok with about 3 years running on my original Win 7 install. Without the cloning, I'd have had to format and re-install a couple of times.

I also have a 2nd clone HDD on the shelf that's about 6 months old, an emergency backup.

The only possible issue that I see with scheduled imaging is that, correct me if I'm wrong here, you'd need to have the external target HDD installed 24/7 to your PC. If an intrusion got into the PC, all devices attached to the PC would be in jeopardy. This is my understanding about it but perhaps that's incorrect.

My shelf clone isn't connected to my PC so in the event of a malware/virus hit, it's isolated. That's the only advantage that I can see with how I clone vs a scheduled imaging setup.

Having said that though, since I've been using home 'net (2004), I've never had that happen, ie, an attack that also affected a USB or externally-connected HDD to my PC.

I also haven't experienced one of those "stealth , delayed trigger" (or "rootkit"?) attacks with my PC's. In other words, in 9 years of home 'net use, the intrusions that I've encountered are all obvious ones, where a pop-up appears or I'm blocked out of the browser, all of my icons on the desktop are "dis-associated", or there's one of those official-looking bogus Windows Security Shield icons that appear in the System Tray that tells me that I've got a multi-infected PC and to click here to run a scan.

I like those kind since I know immediately that it's time to pop in the clone HDD.

all, for the great advice here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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