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Windows 7: System Imaging as Additional Protection

20 Aug 2010   #21
dranfu

 

This is a nice, usefull discussion, and hopefully it will stay up on the net for years to come. Let me add some great Open Source (Free) Backup solutions, some geared towards users, some towards IT, some both. App names in RED are geared towards IT. Apps in BLUE are geared towards users.

CloneZilla: Clonezilla, based on DRBL, Partclone and udpcast, allows you to do bare metal backup and recovery. Two types of Clonezilla are available, Clonezilla live and Clonezilla SE (server edition). Clonezilla live is suitable for single machine backup and restore. While Clonezilla SE is for massive deployment, it can clone many (40 plus!) computers simultaneously. Clonezilla saves and restores only used blocks in the harddisk. This increases the clone efficiency. At the NCHC's Classroom C, Clonezilla SE was used to clone 41 computers simultaneously. It took only about 10 minutes to clone a 5.6 GBytes system image to all 41 computers via multicasting!

Amanda Community Edition: Amanda is the most popular open source backup and recovery software in the world. Amanda protects more than half a million servers and desktops running various versions of Linux, UNIX, BSD, Mac OS-X and Microsoft Windows operating systems worldwide.

Redo Backup & Recovery: Redo Backup and Recovery is so simple that anyone can use it. It is the easiest, most complete disaster recovery solution available. It allows bare-metal restore, which means that even if your hard drive melts or gets completely erased by a virus, you can have a completely-functional system back up and running in as little as 10 minutes.

ODIN - Open Disk Imager In A Nutshell: ODIN is a utility for easy backup of hard drive volumes or complete hard drives under Windows. A disk image can be created or restored. Only used clusters can be backuped, compression on the fly is possible. It runs under 32-Bit Windows Operating Systems. How many hours did you spend in setting up your Windows system? Setting up the operating system, installing programs, customizing to your personal needs. Do you want to be protected against hard disk failures, viruses or other malware? Just restore your system within minutes. Why spend money for a commercial solution? ODIN supports snapshots can be run from command line or with a GUI and runs on 32-Bit and 46-Bit operating systems. (note, ODIN has a great CMD interface, for scripting).

UBCD4WIN - Ultimate Boot CD For Windows: BCD4Win is a bootable recovery CD that contains software used for repairing, restoring, or diagnosing almost any computer problem. Our goal is to be the most complete and easy to use free computer diagnostic tool. Almost all software included in UBCD4Win are freeware utilities for Windows®. Some of the tools inlcuded are "free for personal use" copies so users need to respect these licenses. A few of the tools included in UBCD4Win are paid for and licensed software owned by UBCD4win. (Have to include this, as it includes a free copy of Norton Ghost 8 )


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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20 Aug 2010   #22
eldinv

DOS^
 
 

THIS NEEDS TO BE A STICKY!!! Macrium Reflect is my best friend!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Aug 2010   #23
Maxxwire

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by eldinv View Post
THIS NEEDS TO BE A STICKY!!! Macrium Reflect is my best friend!


Same here because Macrium Reflect is extremely reliable in that it has never failed me, its very simple to use, and its extremely fast at backing up the 22 GB on my C drive in 3 minutes and 35 seconds at speeds in excess of 650 Mbps!

~Maxx~
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23 Aug 2010   #24
Creer

Windows 7 Home Premium x32 SP1
 
 

I use Shadow Protect Desktop from StorageCraft. It's very reliable, rock solid and one of the fastest image backup applications on the market, see this: 10 Commercial Disk Imaging Software Features and Backup/Restore Speed Comparison | Raymond.CC Blog
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24 Aug 2010   #25
dawiba

Windows 7 64bit
 
 

Hi

First post here.

I've been browsing the forum for a wee while and I've got plenty of useful advice, particularly in regards to getting rid of McAfee and using MSE and MBAM instead.

I have a quick question as a Win7 noob about sytem images.

My computer is set to back up to an external drive once a week using Windows Backup and my understanding is that this includes a system image. I've attached a screenshot to show what I mean.

My question is, is this the same type of image as is being discussed in this thread and would this restore me to a current working system if needed?

Thanks


Attached Images
System Imaging as Additional Protection-backup-window.png 
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24 Aug 2010   #26
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

It looks like you have 110GBs worth of images and another 36GBs worth of file backups. If those files reside on the OS partition, then seperate backups would not reall be required. They are part of the images. The only problem is that the Windows7 imaging facility makes it awkward to mount them. That is why I prefer free Macrium which is a lot easier to understand and to operate.
However, if your data is in a seperate data partition (which is highly recommended), then you need to backup that data seperately - either with data backup or with an image of the data partition.

To answer your question about restoration I always recommend to make at least one trial run to make sure it works correctly. For that I create a little test partition which I image and restore. That way I do not risk to srew up the system.
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24 Aug 2010   #27
dawiba

Windows 7 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
It looks like you have 110GBs worth of images and another 36GBs worth of file backups. If those files reside on the OS partition, then seperate backups would not reall be required. They are part of the images. The only problem is that the Windows7 imaging facility makes it awkward to mount them. That is why I prefer free Macrium which is a lot easier to understand and to operate.
However, if your data is in a seperate data partition (which is highly recommended), then you need to backup that data seperately - either with data backup or with an image of the data partition.

To answer your question about restoration I always recommend to make at least one trial run to make sure it works correctly. For that I create a little test partition which I image and restore. That way I do not risk to srew up the system.
Thanks for the reply.

I've done a little bit of reading in the interim and it looks as though I do indeed have a system image and separate file backups beyond that. It seems to be set that way to allow me to restore all or some files without having to restore from a system image, which suits me fine.

Thanks again for the help, this thread has been very useful.
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24 Aug 2010   #28
jimbo45

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers
 
 

Hi all
OF COURSE you should always backup your system and data -- but be aware of a little problem which will catch the unwary out.

If you image the system (or at least the OS partition) using non MS software such as Acronis / Macrium etc. etc. there is often a hidden small SYSTEM partition.

On restore you might get a BSOD on booting up the system.

Don't panic however as booting from the OS install disk and running the REPAIR option will fix this.

The problem is caused by a change in W7 to the boot manager. Nothing to be worried about but if you DO get this symptom then it's easily fixed.

On installing W7 for the first time I would allocate THE WHOLE DISK to have a SINGLE partition so the OS install won't then t create this hidden system partition.

After I've installed the OS I would then use something like GPARTED to "shrink" the OS partition to say around 30 - 40 GB for W7 and then have my DATA on other partitions which I could then create from the free space released.

Cheers
jimbo
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24 Aug 2010   #29
severedsolo

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post

If you image the system (or at least the OS partition) using non MS software such as Acronis / Macrium etc. etc. there is often a hidden small SYSTEM partition.
Acronis can see the System Reserved Partition even if it doesn't have a drive letter. As long as you make sure you include it in the Image (when it asks you what to back up) then there shouldn't be any issues.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
24 Aug 2010   #30
jimbo45

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers
 
 

Hi there
Even when you include this in the backup the system will sometimes BSOD on bootup after restore --so that's why I added the warning and how to avoid the problem altogether.

Of course if you DON'T experience the problem then fine -- but I've taken over 500 backups of various W7 versions types over the last few months so have experienced all sorts of "hiccups".

Better to be prepared than rely on a backup and then get stuck with no internet / google on how to fix.

Where the problem manifests itself frequently is if you are MOVING the OS to a different HDD (You've replaced a disk or you've altered the boot sequence to a new "C" drive) or you have adjusted the sizes of partitions before restoring.

The system partition as far as I can see contains some fixed physical pointers so if you've changed the partition geometry then these pointers are hosed up.

System Repair from the OS install DVD will fix these.

Cheers
jimbo
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