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Windows 7: System Imaging as Additional Protection

24 Aug 2010   #31
severedsolo

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Ahh really? didn't know that Always good to know, I haven't had that particular issue

Thanks for the heads up jimbo


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24 Aug 2010   #32
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

If you have the little 100MB partition as active boot partition, you need to image that only once - for the case when the disk hardware itself goes south. But as long as the disk runs well, there is no need to restore this partition. You need to only restore the OS partition. Just make sure you select "Do not restore MBR" during the restoration. Like e.g. here in Macrium:


Attached Images
System Imaging as Additional Protection-2010-03-25_1807.png 
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24 Aug 2010   #33
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Why would you only image the 100mb partition once? Why not do it every time? I understand it doesn't change much...but it's tiny, has next to nothing in it, and takes up about 0.000000001% of your total backup space.
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24 Aug 2010   #34
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
Why would you only image the 100mb partition once? Why not do it every time? I understand it doesn't change much...but it's tiny, has next to nothing in it, and takes up about 0.000000001% of your total backup space.
Because it never changes at all. It is an unneccesary additional step. I appreciate the minute space requirement, but why bother. The same goes for the system recovery partition - if you want to protect that from a hardware failure, image it once - and once only.
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24 Aug 2010   #35
Wishmaster

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Good tip Jimbo45.

I think the failure to boot issue may be due to Imaging just the OS partition?


I bring this up because, I have never had a boot issue w/Acronis personally.

But, My OS is on a 40GB SSD, and I do a complete disk Image of that drive..

This method images the entire disk as is:
All Partitions incl. the hidden 100MB, Alignment, Disk Signature, .. everything.

We all may have slightly different methods, but I find just doing the entire disc rather than partition is much easier.
Although this may not always be practical for all setups.


But I have seen the exact issue Jimbo45 describes if just the OS partition is imaged.
And as mentioned, easily remedied however.
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24 Aug 2010   #36
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Because it never changes at all. It is an unneccesary additional step.
Maybe I am wrong, but don't you simply check 1 additional box when you create your backup set? So, the additional step is 2 clicks instead of one????

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
I appreciate the minute space requirement, but why bother.
Because in that rare case that you do need to restore your MBR or that partition does get whacked, you have it in your most recent backup already...rather than having to hunt down the backup which contains it. This way the screenshot shown above detailing what to do with the MBR is really no longer an issue. You can choose whichever option and all will be fine. So why??? Simplicity really.
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24 Aug 2010   #37
severedsolo

Windows 7 Ultimate X64 SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
Because it never changes at all. It is an unneccesary additional step.
For me at least, only doing it once is actually an "additional unneccesary step" I literally set up my backups once,
tell Acronis to image System Reserved along with C every Sunday at 19.00Hrs, make 3 incremental backups before deleting all backups and making a new full backup (so once a month I get a fresh backup).

For me, removing "System Reserved" from the drives to be imaged would actually be more effort, because once it's done, I just let it do its thing, and remind myself not to do anything particularly intensive on a Sunday evening.

Course we all have our own way of doing it, and whats right for me isn't right for everyone else.

Doesn't Windows built in imaging automatically image System Reserved too? its been a while since I used it, can't remember.
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25 Aug 2010   #38
jimbo45

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
Although I do use system imaging from time to time, with as fast as it is to load an operating system these days and the fact that I keep my data backed up separately, I don't find that imaging is an absolute necessity. For most people though, who don't want to go through the hassle or put in the effort, this makes sense and should be strongly considered.

Hi there PParks
While it IS true that re-installing an OS is very fast these days the problem comes in re-installing your applications such as say Photoshop CS5 etc.

You have to go through the trouble of finding all your serial numbers and also ALL THE UPDATES to the product since you initially installed it.

My DATA is always on separate drives -- so are things like Database stuff but applications usually are installed within Windows so all the entries such as .exe, .dll and registry entries are on your "C" or OS drive. You don't want the registry to get out of sync with your application.

I suggest like the consensus on this thread that it IS a good idea to Image your system regularly -- and of course back up your OTHER data too.

Cheers
jimbo
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25 Aug 2010   #39
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Yes, I do understand the benefits of imaging a machine. In fact, I use Acronis True Image Home 2010 at home myself and use a combination of Macrium and EaseUsToDo Backup for a couple of lab boxes that I use at work. But I also don't install much software and next to nothing is licensed (only Acronis and my games...everything else I use is open source or freeware)...so the setting back up part for me is relatively easy. Clearly this is a bit different than most other people and I did acknowledge that for most.....doing an image is a wise idea.

In retrospect, I guess I probably would have refrained from making that original post as I clearly was just debating the concept of necessity rather than good idea.
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25 Aug 2010   #40
Maxxwire

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by whs View Post
If you have the little 100MB partition as active boot partition, you need to image that only once - for the case when the disk hardware itself goes south. But as long as the disk runs well, there is no need to restore this partition. You need to only restore the OS partition. Just make sure you select "Do not restore MBR" during the restoration.
This is the assumption I was going on because that is how I restored my Vista computer many times, but yesterday morning when I went to use Reflect v4.2.2866 x64 on my Win 7 x64 desktop for the first time I chose "Do not Restore MBR" and the restore went flawlessly as is usual until I went to restart the computer and I got this message which I took a photograph of...



After this frightful experience which is the very first time Macrium Reflect has ever failed me I am looking to the following advise from jimbo45 to avoid having this problem again which I am quite sure was because either I did not replace the MBR or did not include it when I created the backup image in Reflect.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by jimbo45 View Post
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.

Cheers
jimbo
In the end I successfully restored the computer from the 24 GB Win 7 System Image Backup that had been made just 2 days earlier and I was very impressed with how quickly and precisely the process went.

I am a little confused though over the disparity of opinions about how to successfully restore Win 7 from a Macrium Reflect Backup Image in that I have found out what doesn't work, but I am still unclear as to exactly what process does work. With Win 7 should I back up the 100 MB active boot partition along with the OS and restore them together, or can I simply select Restore MBR for a successful Image restore with Macruim Reflect???

~Maxx~
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