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Windows 7: System Imaging as Additional Protection

20 Aug 2010   #11
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

The real problem with a fresh install is that you get swamped with the updates. The other day I reinstalled a Vista from a 2007 recovery partition. It took 3 days just to get all the updates sorted out including SP1 and SP2. Then there are all the programs (about 50 in my case) and system and program settings. So I think setting back to a sensible image which takes 30 minutes is a much better deal.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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20 Aug 2010   #12
antharr

Windows 7 64x
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
The real problem with a fresh install is that you get swamped with the updates. The other day I reinstalled a Vista from a 2007 recovery partition. It took 3 days just to get all the updates sorted out including SP1 and SP2. Then there are all the programs (about 50 in my case) and system and program settings. So I think setting back to a sensible image which takes 30 minutes is a much better deal.
Agree with you 100% on this. If you perform a fresh install, perform updates, install apps, and tweak your system then create an image, what is the difference between the fresh install and the re-imaging? The only thing I can come up with is time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2010   #13
G1LLY

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Excellent Post

I use Paragon Drive Backup, I find it really easy to use & only ever need to use the bootable USB you can create.

Yeah, all I do is do a fresh install & obtain all relevant updates & drivers then make sure everything is set how I want it then just image the drive.

A restore of my system usually takes around ten minutes maybe less.

Never failed me yet

I had a look at Macruim the other day but there doesn't seem to be a bootable USB option, unless I'm not looking hard enough (only saw CD/DVD creation available) which is my main reason for using PDB, I can do a backup & restore all from the bootable USB.

Use it with my Netbook as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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20 Aug 2010   #14
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

With free Macrium you can image to a USB stick, but the recovery CD must be a CD. There is no stick option.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2010   #15
hackerman1

W7-Enterprise + WS-2008 (Converted to Workstation)
 
 

hi !

my thread: A few tips about performance etc. might be of interest.

i use a "clean" system-partition and different partitions for programs & documents / media.
this saves a LOT of time when creating or restoring backups.
fx. restoring W7 with Macrium takes 14 minutes, on a IDE-disk.
i think it would be even faster if i had a SATA-disk....
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2010   #16
dranfu

 

First off, nice article. Nice intro to imaging. Props to you.

IT techs, and the industry as a whole, have, of course, been imaging for years, and years, and years. But for the average user, it's probably something that most of them didn't realize they could do. And I would have to say, most of them shouldn't do, unless done right. Otherwise, it will just be a time consuming, painful and likely expensive mess.

Can you imagine how much work would be involved in constantly creating different images for for a 1TB HDD. It'd be insane.

Now, making an image using something like N-Lite, and then installing all your favorite apps on there, and maybe some really important static data, would be a good idea. But I would have to stick with backing up changing data on a USB. I know that even 3 or 4 years from now, I'm still going to want Wireshark installed, still going to want Ableton Live installed, still going want Visual Studio installed. But will I want the 200GBS of BS I downloaded off the internet? Probably not.

N-Lite


So, my imaging solution would be
1. Base / Clean Install Image with favorite Apps
2. I would include my music / movie / ebook collection (important static data)
3. Crap apps and data I would keep on a USB

That way, if I need to access my image, I'll always have my music, always have my favorite apps, and I'll still have a number of USB's, no doubt filled with crap, that I can pick and choose from. And I only have to update my image every few years, and only when I have a significant enough of new favorite apps, that I can't live without.

I just can't imagine constantly imaging a huge HDD. What a pain
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2010   #17
Tews

64-bit Windows 8.1 Pro
 
 

Thats what differential backups are for...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2010   #18
Wishmaster

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

I think everyone does it differently depending on preference.

My system Images consist of the just the OS Drive.
Meaning Windows itself and all installed applications/programs.

I also have mine set to make a Full back and then daily incrementals for 7 days.
After 1 week, Start create a new Full back up & Consolodate previous week.

Usually takes about 6-7 minutes to back (full) & restore.


Games go on a seperate Drive and get there own Disc Image.

I also keep all other DATA separated from the OS, on other drives and each gets their own seperate Back Up archive.

Since My Music, Pictures, Videos etc change far less compared to the OS I usually just make a full Image monthly with weekly Incrementals.
With the exception of My Documents. It has the same Priority as the OS

Unless a new game is installed, I just make a new image once a month and weekly incrementals for these as well.


I know many may think my back Up habit are a bit over the top or even too many seperate ones,

but I wouldn't want Personal DATA & Games mixed with the OS and Apps. (Especially for the Image)

It makes things much more difficult & Time consuming IMHO.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2010   #19
dranfu

 

@Wishmaster

I agree, that's what I'm saying. Clean OS Image (trimmed with N-Lite/equivalent), Favorite Apps, Important Static Data (Music, Movies, etc). My install takes a bit longer, but all I have to do is pop the CD in, boot from CD-ROM, and come back and its all there. Then move some data from USB.

And of course, I only have to do this when something goes wrong. What program do you use for imaging, anyway?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Aug 2010   #20
Wishmaster

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

My personal prefrence is Acronis, but mostly because of the extra features.

Automated incrementals, consolodation etc is quite nice.

I tend to be forgetful at times, and it doesnt let me.

Been a couple times I went to install something new, or roll back a graphic driver and 1/2 way through think ...


BAH.. should have made a back up 1st .. then realize it had already done it for me
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