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Windows 7: Image creation and restoration

06 Nov 2010   #1
Vincenzo

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 
Image creation and restoration

I'm a long time user of Norton Ghost and Acronis TruImage for imaging my installations. Now that Windows has that capability I am wondering how it stacks up.

Has anyone here used it to restore their entire system partition? Did it work ok for you?

Other concerns:
Does it allow you to have a D:\ partition on the same physical hard drive that it leaves untouched in a restoration?
Does it have the capability to restore the boot sector too?

Any other thoughts appreciated.

Thanks


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Nov 2010   #2
EzioAuditore

Winbdows 7 ultimate x64 | Ubuntu 12.04 x64 LTS
 
 

I didn't get you completely... The windows image creation tool will restore only those partitions which were selected during the creation. I haven't tried it yet.. So, cant say if it restores the MBR or not... However, there're many tools that let you backup your MBR.
5 Free Tools to Backup and Restore Master Boot Record (MBR) | Raymond.CC Blog
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06 Nov 2010   #3
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

i use Ghost14 for Vista and Macrium for /7. Tried the /7 native facility but did not like it. Too complex and I have seen a lot of people having problems with it. If you have Ghost15, I would stick with that. Else use Imaging with free Macrium
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06 Nov 2010   #4
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

I use Windows 7 imaging(W7I) and Macrium free.
I have used W7I to image & restore an existing HDD (many times) and a brand new HDD (out of the box with no prep. once).

W7I images and restores MBR (1st HDD sector), System active reserved - 100MB,c: (Boot, W7 OS). OR MBR, c: (system,active, boot). I'll call this the general OS image. Depending on whether or not you have the 100MB system reserved partition. You cannot deselect any of these. MBR isn't mentioned but it is included.

W7I gives you option to select data partitions for imaging and restoration. You cannot select a data partition alone for restoration. When restoring the general OS image to a HDD, with an unaltered partition structure, and with a data partition. I NEVER select the format disk option and my data partition has never been touched. Sometimes this option is grayed out. It should be selected when going to to a new disk. For a brand new disk it is ticked and grayed out.

Macrium gives you more flexibility in partition choice. You can choose hidden partitions (eg.factory recovery). You can select whether or not to include the MBR. But I believe you need to know more about what you are doing than with W7I.

I find imaging speeds for W7I and Macrium (on default compression) comparable. (an example for me 45GB on 457GB partition takes around 20min for each).
In restoring the same image W7I took 18min Macrium took 50min (yes 50).
For the Macrium restore I had all verification options unchecked.
I cannot explain the significant difference in time for reimaging between W7I and Macrium. Maybe Macrium zeroes the remainder of the partition.
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08 Nov 2010   #5
Vincenzo

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Thanks to all for the replies. Ezio, my question was whether or not WI would overwrite partitions that I had created since the initial installation, mjf cleared that up for me.

whs, I do have Ghost 15 and I like it for the most part. I am considering using WI on other computers that I set up.

Thanks
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Nov 2010   #6
Dave76

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Ult x64 - SP1/ Windows 8 Pro x64
 
 

If you try to move a saved Windows Imaging backup file it will not restore. There have been issues with storing the backup on external HDDs, if the external has a different drive letter then when the backup was made, it might not work.

I've seen too many issues with Windows Imaging to trust it to handle my backups.

Macruim Reflect has a good free version and is used by many members here, all good reports. I use it as well as Acronis.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Nov 2010   #7
noyb

XP MCE .... XP Pro 64 .... W7 U x64
 
 

I use Acronis and have had some trouble using it on OEM systems ..
The recovery will not Boot if the original W7 install includes the reserved Partition.

Since the OEM recovery DVD's that I've seen will not perform a repair install to fix this problem ...
Make sure you burn a W7 Repair CD .. It's fixed all the Boot problems I've had
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08 Nov 2010   #8
Vincenzo

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Thanks Dave, that's good to know.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by noyb View Post
I use Acronis and have had some trouble using it on OEM systems ..
The recovery will not Boot if the original W7 install includes the reserved Partition.

Since the OEM recovery DVD's that I've seen will not perform a repair install to fix this problem ...
Make sure you burn a W7 Repair CD .. It's fixed all the Boot problems I've had
When I restored my Win 7 installation using Ghost 15, I had the same problem, would not boot after restoration. I too, needed to run Startup Repair to fix the issue.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
08 Nov 2010   #9
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Dave76 View Post
If you try to move a saved Windows Imaging backup file it will not restore. There have been issues with storing the backup on external HDDs, if the external has a different drive letter then when the backup was made, it might not work.

I've seen too many issues with Windows Imaging to trust it to handle my backups.

Macium Reflect has a good free version and is used by many members here, all good reports. I use it as well as Acronis.
As I've stated above the inbuilt windows imaging and restoring has worked flawlessly for me. Before I fixed (made permanent) my external drive lettering (ie. Windows chose available letters) W7I has never failed. When images have been renamed in order to create multiple W7I backups then renamed back to [WindowsImageBackup] they have never failed. I have used W7I to restore to a brand new HDD with trivial simplicity.

Play it safe use Macrium AND W7I until you are comfortable. I have some Macrium images just in case. Macrium is good for selective partition work. I used it to replace the factory recovery partition on the new disk I referred to above.
I find Macrium recovery VERY slow when recovering to a large partition - but it works.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Nov 2010   #10
Vincenzo

Windows 7 Professional x64
 
 

Thanks.

It's interesting that no one has posted about issues with booting after recovery with Macrium, while both Ghost and Acronis users have reported it.
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