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Windows 7: W7 System Imaging

28 Dec 2009   #1
Chipper

Windows7 (Home Premium)
 
 
W7 System Imaging

How does W7 System Image compare, say, to Acronis?

What exactly is imaging, as opposed to simply saving something. I've read and re-read about this, and I still don't get it.

I have Acronis and had been constantly updating it's 'imagery'. This was for Vista, when I had it. When I installed W7, other forums told me the Vista Acronis imaging was basically worthless, now, that I did a clean W7 install.

But someone told me to do a certain scan of the empty xtrnl hdd where Acronis resided, to see if I might still be able to recover lost Thunderbird emails. They said I may be able to recover them as long as that xtrnl hdd was still empty.

I got a bunch of file hits from this scan, even ones dealing with email, but haven't been able to open or access them.

I know I may have strayed from my original post, but I had to get this out, because when I bought-into Acronis, I was told that I would be able to recover all emails. I'm aware, too, I screwed-up (on ill advice) by reformatting that xtrnl hdd with Acronis on it, too quickly.

Is imaging really worth the effort?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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28 Dec 2009   #2
richc46

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 10, Home Clean Install
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Chipper View Post
How does W7 System Image compare, say, to Acronis?

What exactly is imaging, as opposed to simply saving something. I've read and re-read about this, and I still don't get it.

I have Acronis and had been constantly updating it's 'imagery'. This was for Vista, when I had it. When I installed W7, other forums told me the Vista Acronis imaging was basically worthless, now, that I did a clean W7 install.

But someone told me to do a certain scan of the empty xtrnl hdd where Acronis resided, to see if I might still be able to recover lost Thunderbird emails. They said I may be able to recover them as long as that xtrnl hdd was still empty.

I got a bunch of file hits from this scan, even ones dealing with email, but haven't been able to open or access them.

I know I may have strayed from my original post, but I had to get this out, because when I bought-into Acronis, I was told that I would be able to recover all emails. I'm aware, too, I screwed-up (on ill advice) by reformatting that xtrnl hdd with Acronis on it, too quickly.

Is imaging really worth the effort?
If you have anything important to you on your computer you should image. Lets say you install the Win7 OS, you put your programs on the HD, you have some important mail that you are saving, you may, also, have some pics that can never be replaced. All of a sudden you hear tick tick tick, but before you know what happend your hard drive is toast. If you had an image, all you have to do is buy a new hard drive and put that image on the new drive. You have lost nothing. You saved your pics, mail programs and OS.

Without the image, you lost everything.

Is it worth is yes. Should you have bought Acronis, maybe? There are a lot of free appl that do the same thing, I use Paragon, and I love it.

My advice, learn how to use Acronis, make a copy of your hard drive and store it on an external hard drive. Once a week, once a month or whatever makes you happy, update the image and put it in a safe place. Your hard drive fails, or your computer falls off the desk or is stolen, you lost nothing. Hope I have explained how important an image is.
Richard
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Dec 2009   #3
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Chipper:

In my opinion, you should NOT rely on imaging precisely because you can't rely on it. It usually works, damn near always works, etc--that isn't good enough for data backup.

It is still worthwhile--because it usually works. Just don't count on it.

My advice: use it to back up your Windows 7 installation. If you have to reinstall Windows, imaging will save you the trouble of reinstalling all of your programs--assuming it works.

Because imaging is not completely reliable, use other measures to back up your email, videos, mp3 files, and any other personal data you have.

There are free imaging alternatives to Acronis. Windows 7 has imaging built in, but some on this forum have found issues with it.

One that is well-regarded and very easy to use is Macrium Reflect Free Edition.

You can get it here:

Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download

The only issue with it is that you MUST use a rescue CD disk to restore an image. You can create the rescue disk in a few minutes after installing the program. If you need to restore, you put the rescue disk in your CD drive and boot from it to gain access to your previously created image file.

If you try Macrium, make an image file and a rescue disk. Then boot from the rescue disk to confirm to your own satisfaction that you can actually access the image file. Don't actually do the restoration. It's just good policy to confirm that the rescue disk is usable. Make a new image file periodically--maybe every month or two when your system is working well.

Store the operating system image on some other drive--either internal or external.

Usually, system restore will bail you out. Image files are usually for more serious situations when system restore won't help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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28 Dec 2009   #4
IggyAZ

Windows 7 Ultimate (64 bit)
 
 

I agree with ignatzatsonic.
Backup your HD with an image as often as you feel it is needed. This decision depends on how much data you add each day that is critical if lost.

On top of imaging I also copy all my data every few days to my backup drive.
This includes, word, excel, pictures, Outlook.pst files.

This way I actually have two backup. I also keep about 5 to 6 image backups especially if I'm installing new software. I actually have my original image of Win7 after I updated Win7 and all the drivers.

I know too many prople that actually cry when they lose all their data because of virus or HD failure. If your data is not that important to you then don't worry about it.

My 2 cents
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Dec 2009   #5
coppertrail

Windows XP Pro, Windows 7
 
 

On another note, I always create images using a boot CD (Acronis in my case), I'm not comfortable creating them while the OS is running. I've been doing this for years and haven't had errors with creation/restores.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Dec 2009   #6
noobvious

Win 7 Ultimate 64-bit SP1 (desktop)
 
 

I do backups with Acronis,on an external HDD, but I have never done an image.....seems like this is something I should look into.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Dec 2009   #7
Wishmaster

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Perhaps Im misunderstanding the OP. If I am, apologies.

Acronis (at least 2010) itself works just fine under 7, as well as many other imaging programs suggested here. Whichever you prefer/most comfortable using.


if you're wanting to recover emails:

Provided you still have the image of Vista you should be able to recover emails.
If you indeed deleted it, then for future reference:


While the Image of the OS itself is not good, (it will restore Vista)
it IS good to recover certain files. Just do NOT restore the entire image, or you'll end back with Vista.

When you open Acronis just choose <<Recover Files and Folders>>.

from here, guide it to the location of the Image, (secure zone, partition where ever you were saving images and the old one resides)

you should now be looking at a complete folder structure to browse of that Vista installation.

Just find your emails and restore those files (you'll likely need to know the exact location Thunderbird stores them)
Make sure only the folder/files you want are checked and nothing else.

Once you find them you should be able to restore ONLY those files.

this should also work for Pictures, Videos, Music

Once you have all the old data you needed, and are happy, you can then delete the old image and prep the secure zone(or partition) for Win7 images as you normally would
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Dec 2009   #8
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

The OP has deleted/formatted the partition that his Acronis install was on - if I understand correctly - he has lost the app. itself. Presumably he no longer has the installer, the key, etc.

Also, presumably, it was an older version.

There are some excellent free alternatives that work great on 7:

PARAGON:

Paragon Backup & Recovery 10 Free Edition

How to Create an Image with Paragon B&R 10

How to Restore Data with Paragon B&R 10


MACRIUM:

Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download

How to create a disk image with Macrium Reflect

How to create the Macrium Linux rescue CD

How to recover your PC using the Linux rescue CD
My System SpecsSystem Spec
28 Dec 2009   #9
gregrocker

 

I prefer doing clean installs; each one is like doing a puzzle for me.

However, there is a time when having the ability to reimage my HD in 15 minutes, instead of spend 3 hours or 3 days reinstalling, is a great relief - such as maybe a day after I've installed.

So I keep a Win7 backup image in a primary partition on all of my computers, backed up to a folder in an external drive. The Win7 DVD only has to be booted to reimage my HDD's.

Following SIW2's advice on how to get a failsafe image backup, I created a second backup on each machine using another program. Right now it is the very cool Paragon HD manager 2009 backup capsule hidden at the end of the HD which can be activated by tapping the F1 key at bootup.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Dec 2009   #10
Chipper

Windows7 (Home Premium)
 
 

I want to thank everyone for your input. I must say, I messed up and tried to put two topics in one.
First off: I've been doing a complete C:\ image every week for over a year when I had Vista (imaging the entire drive took longer, but those incrmntl/diffrntl alternatives were just too confusing. Acronis itself is a bit confusing - the biggest complaint - is how can you be sure anything is actually being imaged, without actually viewing it? (from time to time)
I also save entire C:\ as well (although not as frequently as imaging).

There's only a handful of things I care to save, anyway. Emails are one (music and photos are the others).

The second deal is: After I did a clean W7 install, folks on another forum, said that the Acronis (Vista) imaging I had been doing all along, will do me no good with W7. With that in mind, I immediately reformatted extrnl hdd K: with Acronis as the only program on it. It's empty now.
When I went to another xtrnl hdd to retrieve [saved] Thunderbird from Program Files (Vista again). I quickly found out that I couldn't retrieve any emails.

So then someone on the other forum said there is a way to do a scan on an empty re-formatted drive and possibly pick up those emails. So I did this scan, and sure enough, many files [including some emails] were pulled up. I saved the results somewhere, but today, I can't seem to locate them. When I couldn't open them up and/or reinstall them in T-Bird, I may have given up and deleted the scan.
I'd like to try it again, but I don't remember what the scan program was, and as luck would have it, the other forum is presently down, so I can't do a search on it now.

BTW - Thanks also for the 'free' image links. I may give those a try. Acronis is v.11, and it's been updated since I put it back on W7.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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