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Windows 7: Image your system with free Macrium

19 Feb 2017   #1951
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

As LF has stated you want to keep your OS/installed programs partition separate from your large data partitions. The reason is that you mainly image your OS partition and you want to limit its size (say ~60GB or less) so that system imaging takes ~10 min or less. This way you can easily make regular system images and restore them in a reasonable time. I keep numerous system images and if things go bad (eg. malware or a bad update) I can go back as far as I like until I get a stable image.

I've always used Macrium system imaging to transfer HDD to SSD. Cloning is ok but you should use the drag and drop method to maintain alignment:
Understanding partition alignment - KnowledgeBase - Macrium Reflect Knowledgebase
You probably can use the rescue boot CD for this purpose but I would probably just use the installed Macrium.

In any transfer if alignment is out the the free Partition Wizard software will fix it for you.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Feb 2017   #1952
Bellzemos

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

My HDD is MBR, I guess that the new out of the box SSD I'll buy will be MBR as well, when I clone the HDD to it. If that means alignment and triw will be fine I'm happy. I will use Rescue media and am guessing it will work exactly as if I'd do it in the program itself. I always chack the Auto Verify option and Intelligent Sector Copy, thanx.

I always clone/image the whole drive too. But yes, I'd like to merge both partitions because my OS partition is too small and I don't need two partitions. I want one single C partition for OS and data.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2017   #1953
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
 
 

I'm pretty sure that you can't use Macrium to merge partitions. There is however a function to do that with Minitool Partition Wizard.

Caveat I have never used this feature myself so cannot say how good it is.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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19 Feb 2017   #1954
ThrashZone

Win-7-Pro64bit 7-H-Prem-64bit
 
 

Hi,
Had fun yesterday setting up reflect and using the winpe recovery cd on my mom's dell win-8 now 10 machine
Boot cd was the funnest boot order was whack and of course secure boot had to be changed before the press any key to boot to the cd would work
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2017   #1955
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bellzemos View Post
My HDD is MBR, I guess that the new out of the box SSD I'll buy will be MBR as well, when I clone the HDD to it. If that means alignment and triw will be fine I'm happy. I will use Rescue media and am guessing it will work exactly as if I'd do it in the program itself. I always chack the Auto Verify option and Intelligent Sector Copy, thanx.

I always clone/image the whole drive too. But yes, I'd like to merge both partitions because my OS partition is too small and I don't need two partitions. I want one single C partition for OS and data.
The new out of the box SSD will not be initialized and formatted. Before you can clone it, you will have to initialize and format it. During formatting, you can choose either MBR or GPT. Since your HDD is MBR, that's what you need to format the SSD to.

Why are you insisting on using the rescue media to clone the HDD to the SSD? Do you just like doing things the hard way? I can't think of reason to use the rescue media for anything other than restoring an image to a drive that is too messed up to boot or to a drive that is replacing one that has died.

You still haven't told us why you want to combine your OS and data partitions. If you have both your data and OS on the same drive/partition, you will be wasting a lot of time and storage space when you image the drive, reducing the number of previous images that you can keep. There are only two ways to backup System (OS and programs) files; imaging and cloning. Cloning takes longer and you can have only one clone on a drive or partition, severely limiting the number of backups you can have. Imaging is a little faster and you can store multiple images on a drive or partition.

For data, however, other than for replicating a drive (such as moving data from a smaller drive to a larger one; for that cloning is ideal), cloning and imaging is too time consuming and wastes too much space since you are repeatedly backing up data that you have already backed up before. It is much faster to use a folder/file syncing programs such as SyncToy or FreeFileSync (I personally prefer the latter although SyncToy has a good reputation) set to Mirror mode (not the same as RAID 1). Once you make the initial backup (that will take time since it is basically a copy of the data drive/partition), every time you update your backup, a folder/file syncing program will examine both your data drive/partition and the backup drive, then copy, paste and delete files as necessary (without touching the original drive/partition) to make the backup essentially an exact copy of the drive/partition being backed up. Since only folders and files that have been added, changed, or deleted since the previous backups, the process is much faster and involves far less writing to the backup drive. FreeFileSync also has an optional provision that will allow you to send deleted files to a versioning folder or drive. That way, you can retrieve earlier versions of files or ones you accidentally deleted (we have all done it at one time or another).

My notebooks are little one drive wonders so I have to use the same drive for my System and data files. Both of them have 500GB SSDs in them. Each one has a small partition (100GB) for the OS and programs. My data is kept on another partition. Since my System and data files are segregated, I can use Macrium Reflect to image my System partition. I keep a few images in the data partition for convenience (normally, it is a bad idea to keep images on the same drive with the System but I get away with it since the data partition, including the images, gets backed up). It takes less than ten minutes to image and verify the image. I use FreeFileSync to backup the data partition to a backup drive I keep in my notebook case.

In the case of my desktop computer, I have a 128GB SSD for my boot drive. Up to recently, I had two 2TB and one 4TB HDDs in the computer I kept my data on (I've since replaced the HDDs with four 4TB SSDs). It takes about 10-12 minutes to image the boot drive. I make an image only when I make a change to the System, such as updating the OS or programs, installing a new program, changing settings, etc. (I make the image prior to the change so I can go back if something goes horribly wrong). I have Macrium Reflect set to delete any images that are older than eight weeks.

I use FreeFileSync to update my data backups once a week and any time I add or change data that I can't afford to lose. If I used imaging or cloning, each update would take hours instead just minutes. I would also lose any previously deleted files and earlier versions of files. Considering I have three data drives I'm backing up (I haven't put any data on the fourth drive...yet), it would take me all day instead of less than an hour or (rarely) two to backup the computer, even if each drive and only a few KB of new, changed, or deleted data (keep in mind I use my computer to record OTA TV shows so I have quite a few large video files to backup as well as my images).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2017   #1956
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
The new out of the box SSD will not be initialized and formatted. Before you can clone it, you will have to initialize and format it. During formatting, you can choose either MBR or GPT. Since your HDD is MBR, that's what you need to format the SSD to.

Why are you insisting on using the rescue media to clone the HDD to the SSD? Do you just like doing things the hard way? I can't think of reason to use the rescue media for anything other than restoring an image to a drive that is too messed up to boot or to a drive that is replacing one that has died.

You still haven't told us why you want to combine your OS and data partitions. If you have both your data and OS on the same drive/partition, you will be wasting a lot of time and storage space when you image the drive, reducing the number of previous images that you can keep. There are only two ways to backup System (OS and programs) files; imaging and cloning. Cloning takes longer and you can have only one clone on a drive or partition, severely limiting the number of backups you can have. Imaging is a little faster and you can store multiple images on a drive or partition.

For data, however, other than for replicating a drive (such as moving data from a smaller drive to a larger one; for that cloning is ideal), cloning and imaging is too time consuming and wastes too much space since you are repeatedly backing up data that you have already backed up before. It is much faster to use a folder/file syncing programs such as SyncToy or FreeFileSync (I personally prefer the latter although SyncToy has a good reputation) set to Mirror mode (not the same as RAID 1). Once you make the initial backup (that will take time since it is basically a copy of the data drive/partition), every time you update your backup, a folder/file syncing program will examine both your data drive/partition and the backup drive, then copy, paste and delete files as necessary (without touching the original drive/partition) to make the backup essentially an exact copy of the drive/partition being backed up. Since only folders and files that have been added, changed, or deleted since the previous backups, the process is much faster and involves far less writing to the backup drive. FreeFileSync also has an optional provision that will allow you to send deleted files to a versioning folder or drive. That way, you can retrieve earlier versions of files or ones you accidentally deleted (we have all done it at one time or another).
I agree totally with LF on FreeFileSync. I have 300,000+ data files and it scans and backs up the changes in just a few minutes when run daily.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Feb 2017   #1957
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Bellzemos View Post
But yes, I'd like to merge both partitions because my OS partition is too small ...
A disk management screenshot may help with further advice.
Disk Management - Post a Screen Capture Image
There may be a good reason to increase the size of your OS partition and (free) Partition Wizard is your best tool - MiniTool is the installed version and there is also a bootable CD version.
You have been advised that storing large amounts of data on your OS partition generally doesn't make any sense.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Image your system with free Macrium




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