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Windows 7: Win7 Laptop recovery image?

22 Jun 2010   #11
theog

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

ME/XP/Vista/Win7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dzmephisto View Post
Yes....shoulda found this and read it earlier XD
Best to have the Startup disk as well.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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22 Jun 2010   #12
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
So "imaging" would be the best way to recover my HD to a previous phase if i were to get a virus that screws everything up
There are 4 ways to recover from an virus.

1. eliminate the virus with appropriate tools. This is not always possible and even if you eliminate the virus, you often have permanent damage that the virus produced whilst it was active. But it is always worth a try as a first line of defense.

2. set the system back to a prior restore point (which is stored in the shadowstorage). That works in many cases, but not in all. Reason is that a) many viruses disable the system restore function and b) system restore itself is not 100% reliable. For all kinds of odd reasons it does not always work. Prerequisite of course is that system restore is enabled (which some people disable) and that you have sufficient shadowstorage to go back in time.

3. system restore from images is the safest way to recover the system to a reasonable point in time. It is however necessary to use a reliable imaging program. Paragon and Macrium as mentioned before have proven to be very reliable. The built-in Win7 facility is something for "specialists". It seems to work most of the time but requires careful study and a lot of expertise to be fully used. What is also recommended is that the images be stored on an external disk - preferable one that is normally disconnected. That way one can be certain that it cannot be corrupted by malware.

4. the last and least desirable option is a complete reinstall. For that one needs either the original installation disk or a recovery partition or DVD copy of that respectively. It is the least desirable because it will take several days to update the system, reinstall all programs and redo all the system and program settings.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2010   #13
gregrocker

 

If the image file is only 6 gb then it's likely it didn't complete since it copies all used space on the Win7 system partition.

I would try imaging it again. Type "Backup" in Start Search box, go to Backup center and select "Create a System Image" to save to external HD. When it completes it should offer to create a Win7 Repair CD. Accept, then boot the CD and see if it finds and cues up the image for you, run through the steps up until final step asking if you want to image, then cancel out.

Even before doing this I would make the Factory Recovery Disks so you have a path back to factory condition at any time. You should also be able to run the Recovery Partiton from boot. Read your Manual which is available at Support Downloads webpage for your computer model.
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23 Jun 2010   #14
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote:
The built-in Windows 7 facility is something for "specialists". It seems to work most of the time but requires careful study and a lot of expertise to be fully used.
WHS - This is a light hearted comment isn't it????

I actually keep windows images and Macrium images. Windows has always worked for me but I hope Macrium works if I need to call on it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2010   #15
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote:
WHS - This is a light hearted comment isn't it????
I am not exactly certain what you mean. Make a little test. Try to recover a single folder from a Win7 image and then do the same from a Macrium image. Then tell me which is easier.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2010   #16
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Whs you probably know much more than I do on Windows 7 matters and I value your input to my questions. That said here is my response (you and seasoned forum members know all this)...

I view the backup process as 2 pronged:
(1) System Images - Intended for a byte by byte recovery of a (whole) partition from what you had when you made the image. *.vhd files are made for this purpose. Under windows you do need to go through a fairly simple process to attach/mount the image as a virtual drive. (Newcomers see the Brink Tutorial). It then acts like the new old partition except with a new drive letter. I can view everthing.
BUT once I touch the image I never trust it again for a full recovery. In the past in a moment of weakness I actually executed a program from the image then deleted the image and made a new one. I don't want to tempt fate but I have recovered successfully from windows images on a number of occassions without a problem.

Windows imaging appears to have failed a number of people and so I also keep Macrium images. I just haven't needed to test a Macrium recovery yet. Potential advantage os Macrium:
(a) Mounting these images is even easier. Just double click the Macrium image file and it automatically mounts.
It allows you to select the partition to image and place the image where you want to. It does not need to live in the root of a partition to be seen by the recovery program.
(b) You can select whatever partion you like to image. I even have the factory recovery partition imaged (Whether it can be recovered is another matter). I'd only recover this if my HDD failed then I'd probably buy a full retail OS anyway.

Finally on images - I never trust a single external HDD for any form of data backup. I have 2 drives (they are so cheap!).

(2) File Backups - I use windows backup which I think uses *.zip files. I recover folders files etc from here. Plus I may manually backup certain files or folders to various media.

NOW I asked a question in the past which no one could or would give me an answer to.
When I mount a windows *.vhd file for the first time and I select "Read Only" the mounted drive comes up as unallocated. If I leave the "Read Only" unchecked, which is the default, it mounts fine. But has the image been altered in the process and has image recovery been jeodarised????????????????????????????????
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2010   #17
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

mjf, nice and useful summary. I have to say that my attempts to use Windows Imaging did not go very well. And that after I had years of experience with Norton Ghost and some with Paragon. That's why I switched to Macrium. But Karlsnooks keeps telling me that it is OK to use Windows Imaging and he is probably right if you have the patience to study it in detail as he has apparently done.
I just like the simple approaches where I can see and understand what's happening. And that is the case with Macrium. It even allowed me to make a couple of tutorials that I think has helped a few members. I have done many Macrium recoveries - for real or for test and demo. Not a single one has ever failed. That is at least reassuring but does not mean that odd things cannot happen.
I am with you on the multiple disk approach. I have dedicated four 500 and 640GB external disks for imaging plus two internal 250GB disks for the daily images (on the desktops) that I erase each week after I take my Sunday image on one of the externals. All of that for 2 desktops and one laptop (this is because I spend my life in 2 different locations depending on the season). For my wife's 2 laptops I use two 250GB externals - but she makes only weekly images because her setup is very basic.

PS: for you question I have no real answer either. My guess would be that the vhd file does not get altered - but that is only a guess because I see no reason why an alteration should happen.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2010   #18
gregrocker

 

Very wise to use two imaging programs, especially if you can't afford to lose your Win7 installation.

I'm not sure why you mount them unless you are referring to the reimaging process using the booted DVD/CD. I understand you can get to the data by mounting them, but backing up the data separately for quicker more direct access seems a better idea.

If you need to be failsafe, then two imaging apps' external stored images with separate file backup is the ticket. I also store an image in a Recovery partition on the HD if there is room.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2010   #19
windows7theme

Windows 7
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by dzmephisto View Post
I just called Bestbuy's (where i got the laptop) geek squad, and they said something about booting from the disk by pressing F12 or something at startup....? would that work?
I have never bought any Asus laptop till now but one of my laptops is an Acer and F12 works for that. But in Acer if I remember correctly it has got its own backup system called eRecovery Tool which gets loaded on pressing F12. And in Acer laptop when you select to create backup using eRecovery Tool there are several options of which one is just to backup the Windows while the second one is to recover the whole Drive including data too. The same also happens when you try to create backup disks from within Windows 7 and you get two options. Maybe you had checked the size of 19 GB when you had chosen the whole drive but you later only chose Windows backup and so the disk size was lesser. Dont see any other reason why it will show less.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Jun 2010   #20
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote:
I'm not sure why you mount them unless you are referring to the reimaging process using the booted DVD/CD. I understand you can get to the data by mounting them, but backing up the data separately for quicker more direct access seems a better idea.
I was attempting to address 2 issues one being folder access via images (as posed by Whs) and backup generally. On rereading my text I understand your question.
Of course, to recover an image I don't mount the vhd image I just go through the simple image recovery process. My point 2 under file backup is in agreement with your 2nd point.
Sometimes mounting the windows image gives me confidence that it has been created properly or to check an older image for content.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Win7 Laptop recovery image?




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