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Windows 7: Free Image/Backup Software

27 May 2010   #11
MilesAhead

Windows 7 32 bit
 
 

Also take into consideration if you have anything other than a plain vanilla HD controller, you may need to be able to use the Windows driver on the boot CD. Many free and paid backup imaging programs give you a Linux based boot CD to boot to do the restore(say from a USB external drive the image is on) but if it doesn't recognize your HD controller you can be totally hosed or doomed to a restore that takes 10 times the normal amount of time(compatibility mode.)

I would burn the boot CD and boot it. Go into the restore program. Make sure it shows the HD on your PC. If it can't see it you may need to use WinPE so that you can include the Windows driver in the Boot CD. Macrium Reflect paid version is one that licenses a copy of the WinPE so you can modify it for your machine.

Chances are the default Boot CD will work but it's good to test it while your PC is at 100% to avoid unpleasant surprises later.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 May 2010   #12
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

testing the boot cd is a very good idea.

I have never used the other backup and restore programs mentioned.

I have used Windows Backup and Restore. I have complete computer novices use, with absolutely zero problems, Windows Backup and Restore.

Anybody can mess up any product as is evidenced by some of the questions posed on this forum.

The main thing is to backup. Personally, I backup frequently but that's because of my needs. Let us hope that you never need to restore from a backup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 May 2010   #13
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

These are excellent suggestions. I always recommend to test a complete backup/restore cycle on a little test partition. For that I have developed this little scenario which seems a lot at first glance but is really easy each step of the way. Once you have done this little excercise, you know how to deal with it and that it works - or not.

Macrium test

1. Shrink 2GBs from C and define a simple volume (partition) - let's call it Y
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 Mtest
4. Make an image of Y to Mtest - 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. Throw in the Macrium recovery CD and let it run, then hit Enter
9. Now you are in the recovery wizard, set it to Mtest 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 - in this case say "do not replace" because this is only a data partition. If that were your system partition, you would replace the MBR provided you do not have a separate boot partition.
11. 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.
12. 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 disk works
2. How to recover
3. That things work

Now you can delete the little 2GB partition and add it back to it's 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
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27 May 2010   #14
karlsnooks

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit
 
 

too many steps
too complicated
too difficult for a beginner

Just having fun with you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 May 2010   #15
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by karlsnooks View Post
too many steps
too complicated
too difficult for a beginner

Just having fun with you.
You are invited to suggest a simpler test. I think each step by itself is simple. You just need to follow the "cookbook".
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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