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Windows 7: Image your system with free Macrium

26 Aug 2011   #251
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JDH1 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JDH1 View Post

I keep looking for decision points, "choice filters" if you will, between the Macrium, Paragon, and EaseUS products. Often this sort of thing is easy and there is a clear front-runner. In this case though, the tradeoffs seem to be subtle.....
Why don't you download all the free ones and compare them yourself?
The answer is obvious. Profiting from the experience of others before potentially trashing the HDD on a brand new laptop running Win7 64 bit, one which did NOT come with an actual MS OS disk, makes sense to me. To "compare" them means doing backups and most importantly, restores, the latter evidently being a dangerous thing with some other programs. Many, many Acronis TIH and Ghost users have reported having exactly this happen is recent years.
You can always use a small test partition for your testing then it doesn't matter if you trash it.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
26 Aug 2011   #252
maxseven

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit 6.1 Build 7601 (SP1)
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Why don't you download all the free ones and compare them yourself?
Good advice for sure but at the same time completely nontrivial to do, especially the "testing" phase! I.e. you never REALLY know how good your backup/imaging system is until you have a failure and have to recover from one, under stressduress!



Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JDH1 View Post
I have no need for differential or incremental back-ups, and as discussed, shrinking is a "desire" but not necessarily a true "need". Still, I will read more about Paragon.

Given the popularity of the Sandy Bridge platform, if any of these programs have trouble with it, finding out which one(s) seems more than prudent.
Same here, my backup needs are simple (make a complete partition image, recover a complete partition image, both with Windows completely offline) but along with that you really want/need the partition shrinking/expanding capability as you can't always predict what you're gonna have to recover your backup to after a failure. Then it's really nice to have partition sizing functionality built-in.

I just built a Sandy Bridge PC, and along with that an Intel SSD (along with a BD-ROM drive and a USB 3.0 stick for backing-up files) and have been using Acronis True Image 2010 to make backups, understanding that ATI2010 knows about alignment (and I built it w/no 100Mb partition either). Works great; with a USB 3.0 external drive I can do a backup in 6 minutes flat. BUT I HAVEN'T HAD TO DO A RECOVERY YET and only know that ATI "sees" all my components in Rescue mode.

I did have occasion recently to recover another W7 pc (not Sandy Bridge) with ATI and all worked great, so I have some confidence it will work w/my SB rig.

So why am I here? I only recently started using ATI2010 again because I'd heard it stablilized, after a couple years of shaky releases where I'd find my backups were somehow "corrupt" just sitting on the shelf. So I'm still suspicious of it and am poised to "jump ship" at the first failure of Acronis. I'd been using free Macrium and then I learned it wouldn't work w/my USB3.0 pc. Thinking now that I might try EaseUS and use both it and ATI for a while. Can't be too safe with backups.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Aug 2011   #253
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

This reminds me - for the students in my classes at the computer club I mad a little procedure on how to test an imaging program (in this case Macrium, but it applies to any program). It uses a little test partition. At first it looks like a lot of steps, but it is really very simple and straight forward.

Imaging test

1. Shrink 2GBs from C and define a logical drive (partition) - let's call it Y
Warning: Make first sure that you do not have 4 primary partitions on that disk. Should you have 4 primary partitions, you cannot create an additional partition without running into Dynamic partitions. Then you have to choose another drive for the test.
2. Move some files (any files) into Y - I always also move the sample picture folder in (you'll see why)
3. Define a test folder on your external backup disk - call it Imagetest
4. Make an image of Y to Imagetest - requires that you make a new definition
5. Delete a couple of pictures from the sample picture folder on Y (I always use the 2 animals)
6. Reboot and tap (ESC, F2 or whatever it is on your system) to get into the BIOS boot sequence
7. Set your boot sequence to CD/DVD reader
8. Put in the Macrium recovery CD and let it run, then hit Enter
9. Now you are in the recovery wizard, set it to Imagetest where it says "Locate Image" and to Y where it says "Choose partition to overwrite with the image data".
Note: the partition letters may not be the same as on your system. Macrium uses its own lettering. Best is to go by the size of the partitions and open it with the little + in the front.
10. Watch out when it asks whether to replace the Master Boot Record - say no.
11. When you have to specify whether the partition is “active”, “primary” or “logical” – take “logical”.
12. When you get the little window saying "Your computer will now reboot", you have to hit "Cancel" (on the bottom) to get it to reboot. That's a little strange way to end the session, but that's the way it is.
13. Check whether the 2 animals in the sample picture folder are back. That shows you that the recovery worked.

When you have done these steps, you did the whole cycle and have learned

1. That your recovery disc works
2. How to recover
3. That you are not the dummy you thought you were

Now you can delete the little 2GB partition and add the space back to the originating partition.

If you are not familiar with the creation and deletion of partitions, watch this tutorial: https://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/72427-data-partition.html
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

26 Aug 2011   #254
JDH1

Windows 7 Home x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JDH1 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post

Why don't you download all the free ones and compare them yourself?
The answer is obvious. Profiting from the experience of others before potentially trashing the HDD on a brand new laptop running Win7 64 bit, one which did NOT come with an actual MS OS disk, makes sense to me. To "compare" them means doing backups and most importantly, restores, the latter evidently being a dangerous thing with some other programs. Many, many Acronis TIH and Ghost users have reported having exactly this happen is recent years.
You can always use a small test partition for your testing then it doesn't matter if you trash it.
I need a rock solid backup solution for the same reasons any prudent computer user does. However in addition I have a new laptop running Win 7 64 bit, I wish to change its partition structure, and I want a backup to be sure of a way out should a major problem happen with this. It is the only Win 7 machine I own at the moment, so no thanks, I certainly do not want to repartition it so I can test to see if the backup plan I intend using really works. Not only does that make zero sense, WHS and others have been so helpful here, I believe I am learning enough to make this decision. BTW, let's please not get into failure probabilities next. I have been bitten so many times by PC oddities that I no longer really believe in the science of statistics <g>. I'm sure many others feel the same way and buy the old adage, if a thing can go wrong, it will!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Aug 2011   #255
kado897

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JDH1 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JDH1 View Post

The answer is obvious. Profiting from the experience of others before potentially trashing the HDD on a brand new laptop running Win7 64 bit, one which did NOT come with an actual MS OS disk, makes sense to me. To "compare" them means doing backups and most importantly, restores, the latter evidently being a dangerous thing with some other programs. Many, many Acronis TIH and Ghost users have reported having exactly this happen is recent years.
You can always use a small test partition for your testing then it doesn't matter if you trash it.
I need a rock solid backup solution for the same reasons any prudent computer user does. However in addition I have a new laptop running Win 7 64 bit, I wish to change its partition structure, and I want a backup to be sure of a way out should a major problem happen with this. It is the only Win 7 machine I own at the moment, so no thanks, I certainly do not want to repartition it so I can test to see if the backup plan I intend using really works. Not only does that make zero sense, WHS and others have been so helpful here, I believe I am learning enough to make this decision. BTW, let's please not get into failure probabilities next. I have been bitten so many times by PC oddities that I no longer really believe in the science of statistics <g>. I'm sure many others feel the same way and buy the old adage, if a thing can go wrong, it will!
Not ideal perhaps but you could create the test partition on your backup drive. I personally use a partition on a separate USB HDD for testing as my laptop came with all 4 partitions defined.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Aug 2011   #256
JDH1

Windows 7 Home x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by maxseven View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Why don't you download all the free ones and compare them yourself?
Good advice for sure but at the same time completely nontrivial to do, especially the "testing" phase! I.e. you never REALLY know how good your backup/imaging system is until you have a failure and have to recover from one, under stressduress!



Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JDH1 View Post
I have no need for differential or incremental back-ups, and as discussed, shrinking is a "desire" but not necessarily a true "need". Still, I will read more about Paragon.

Given the popularity of the Sandy Bridge platform, if any of these programs have trouble with it, finding out which one(s) seems more than prudent.
Same here, my backup needs are simple (make a complete partition image, recover a complete partition image, both with Windows completely offline) but along with that you really want/need the partition shrinking/expanding capability as you can't always predict what you're gonna have to recover your backup to after a failure. Then it's really nice to have partition sizing functionality built-in.

I just built a Sandy Bridge PC, and along with that an Intel SSD (along with a BD-ROM drive and a USB 3.0 stick for backing-up files) and have been using Acronis True Image 2010 to make backups, understanding that ATI2010 knows about alignment (and I built it w/no 100Mb partition either). Works great; with a USB 3.0 external drive I can do a backup in 6 minutes flat. BUT I HAVEN'T HAD TO DO A RECOVERY YET and only know that ATI "sees" all my components in Rescue mode.

I did have occasion recently to recover another W7 pc (not Sandy Bridge) with ATI and all worked great, so I have some confidence it will work w/my SB rig.

So why am I here? I only recently started using ATI2010 again because I'd heard it stablilized, after a couple years of shaky releases where I'd find my backups were somehow "corrupt" just sitting on the shelf. So I'm still suspicious of it and am poised to "jump ship" at the first failure of Acronis. I'd been using free Macrium and then I learned it wouldn't work w/my USB3.0 pc. Thinking now that I might try EaseUS and use both it and ATI for a while. Can't be too safe with backups.
Well said, every word. And moreover, your current PC is more or less a clone of what I am planning to build (Win 7 64 bit, 8GB RAM, BD drive, an Intel SSD, etc.) so we are in at least similar boats.

I have repeatedly read that the sweet-spot for Acronis T.I. Home is the 2010 version. But they now sell ver 2011, and unless it has been fixed, it's a true problem child. At least with ATIH 2011 build 6868 under 64 bit Win7, it seems to cause many a parade of BSODs just trying to get the thing installed, let alone trying to do a backup or a restore. So this lead me to here. From WHS I've become very interested in Macrium, enough to rely on an external eSATA HDD and forgo USB 3.0 if Macrium can't handle that. However Paragon BU & R keeps being mentioned in this thread. Do you think it a worthy candidate?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Aug 2011   #257
JDH1

Windows 7 Home x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
This reminds me - for the students in my classes at the computer club I mad a little procedure on how to test an imaging program (in this case Macrium, but it applies to any program). It uses a little test partition. At first it looks like a lot of steps, but it is really very simple and straight forward.

Imaging test

1. Shrink 2GBs from C and define a logical drive (partition) - let's call it Y
Warning: Make first sure that you do not have 4 primary partitions on that disk. Should you have 4 primary partitions, you cannot create an additional partition without running into Dynamic partitions. Then you have to choose another drive for the test.
2. Move some files (any files) into Y - I always also move the sample picture folder in (you'll see why)
3. Define a test folder on your external backup disk - call it Imagetest
4. Make an image of Y to Imagetest - requires that you make a new definition
5. Delete a couple of pictures from the sample picture folder on Y (I always use the 2 animals)
6. Reboot and tap (ESC, F2 or whatever it is on your system) to get into the BIOS boot sequence
7. Set your boot sequence to CD/DVD reader
8. Put in the Macrium recovery CD and let it run, then hit Enter
9. Now you are in the recovery wizard, set it to Imagetest where it says "Locate Image" and to Y where it says "Choose partition to overwrite with the image data".
Note: the partition letters may not be the same as on your system. Macrium uses its own lettering. Best is to go by the size of the partitions and open it with the little + in the front.
10. Watch out when it asks whether to replace the Master Boot Record - say no.
11. When you have to specify whether the partition is “active”, “primary” or “logical” – take “logical”.
12. When you get the little window saying "Your computer will now reboot", you have to hit "Cancel" (on the bottom) to get it to reboot. That's a little strange way to end the session, but that's the way it is.
13. Check whether the 2 animals in the sample picture folder are back. That shows you that the recovery worked.

When you have done these steps, you did the whole cycle and have learned

1. That your recovery disc works
2. How to recover
3. That you are not the dummy you thought you were

Now you can delete the little 2GB partition and add the space back to the originating partition.

If you are not familiar with the creation and deletion of partitions, watch this tutorial: https://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/72427-data-partition.html
Assuming that even step number one can fail -- and I've seen it happen -- I would not wish to try this sequence unless I had a rather unimportant PC available as a test bed. And what makes this worse is the fact that my primary concern is really only regarding Win 7 64 bit systems. And beyond that, I would love to do what you suggest with a PC using a Sandy Bridge processor (okay, so maybe this is being picky <g>). Anyway, since I can't get there from here, I hope someone with such a machine will jump in and enlighten me (us).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Aug 2011   #258
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Hi JDH,

Good idea to see what others think first, ultimately you will need to try and see which suits you.

I have used Macrium , Paragon and several others.

They all have pros and cons.

They all work well on virtually all systems.

Similarly, they will be the odd system any one of them will not function properly on.

Right now I am using Easeus, it seems to be the most complete free offering- and is working perfectly for me.

https://www.sevenforums.com/software/...g-program.html



A couple of points:

1. Macrium v5 can make winpe media for you ( you need to download WAIK for their method - you can install the trial v5 to make it for you).

It works well in my tests. Imaging, restoring, and mounting without issues.

2. Easeus can also make winpe media for you . Same thing - you need to d/l WAIK for their method.

It works perfectly in my tests - image and restore is fast - even restoring to a smaller partition - which is unusual.

It also includes Restore to dissimilar hardware.

As far as I know , it is the only free app. to offer that function.

Oddly, the mount function has been disabled in their standard pe build.

It is extremely unlikely you would want to mount in pe, nevertheless, I am in discussion with them about it.

3. Paragon does not include an inbuilt method for making winpe media. ( I expect they will as the others have started doing it- paragon are normally the first with the new ideas )

However, it is very easy to make it portable and throw it into just about any pe environment.

It is the only free app to align to nt6 rules during partition creation or resizing ( from the left that is - it won't realign the whole thing if you are just extending to the right ).

Just depends which you prefer.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Aug 2011   #259
JDH1

Windows 7 Home x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by JDH1 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post

You can always use a small test partition for your testing then it doesn't matter if you trash it.
I need a rock solid backup solution for the same reasons any prudent computer user does. However in addition I have a new laptop running Win 7 64 bit, I wish to change its partition structure, and I want a backup to be sure of a way out should a major problem happen with this. It is the only Win 7 machine I own at the moment, so no thanks, I certainly do not want to repartition it so I can test to see if the backup plan I intend using really works. Not only does that make zero sense, WHS and others have been so helpful here, I believe I am learning enough to make this decision. BTW, let's please not get into failure probabilities next. I have been bitten so many times by PC oddities that I no longer really believe in the science of statistics <g>. I'm sure many others feel the same way and buy the old adage, if a thing can go wrong, it will!
Not ideal perhaps but you could create the test partition on your backup drive. I personally use a partition on a separate USB HDD for testing as my laptop came with all 4 partitions defined.
Now that's an interesting thought. A newly created partition on an external HDD would certainly be more sacrificial than drive C: on a working PC. However, being a non-system partition, a non boot partition, no Windows, etc. makes me wonder if the test would be worth much. I'll have to think about this one..... Regardless, thanks for mentioning the idea.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Aug 2011   #260
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

If you have a big enough back up drive - use a couple of the free imaging apps.

If you need to restore one of them is bound to be fine.

You are going to have to bite the bullet at some stage, else you will be worrying about this forever.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Image your system with free Macrium




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