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Windows 7: Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

22 Jun 2010   #340

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64

You can easily shrink the C partition and create another from the unallocated space released.

You can save a backup image on that new partition if you wish.

Then you can restore form the new partition as you did before.

[It is better to have one on a separate HD as well - just in case your internal HD fails. ]

My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2010   #341

Windows 7 Home Premium x64

Hello SIW2,

Shawn mentioned shrinking the C: partition as well, using the free Paragon program, but I'm not comfortable doing that, as the slightest error encountered could prove to be catastrophic for my OS stability. I have no desire to play around with that.

I will have to purchase an external hard drive (Western Digital or Seagate model) and use it to create system backups for my OS as well as my wife's (who is still happy with WinXP Pro SP3).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Jun 2010   #342

64-bit Windows 10 Pro


The external drive will be a good choice. You might consider splitting it two partitions to have one for your computer and one for your wife's. This way the backups will both be separated and easier to use to restore with.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Jul 2010   #343

Windows 7 Enterprise (x64)

Greatings Brink, Iggy-PC, Siw2, Night Hawk, and all the other guru i fell to mention

i read the tutorial and all 35pages of feedback, lots of brain work goes in making a tutorial like this one . Iggy-PC seem to have a good system in place to assure multiple gost images, i 'll have to go back over that and take a second look at it
my OS is Windows 7 Enterprise (x64)

i have 1 hypothetical question to help my understanding

if i fallow the totorial as is without zipping images or renaming image ;
Let say i have been doing a complete back up of my operating system , programs and settings every weeks for the past 6 months and that i come to the conclusion that my system has started to become unstable a month ago ; Could i do a roll back in time .... say? Could i go back 6 weeks in time and restore the system to what it was 6 weeks ago (6 backup ago) or would i be restoring to the latest gost image from last week??

My System SpecsSystem Spec

12 Jul 2010   #344

Windows 7 x64 / Same

Does this backup just the data that actually exists or does it also capture the actual size of the drive?

For example, if the data on the disk is 10GB total but the capacity of the disk is 40GB. Which size would the image be?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Jul 2010   #345

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello Windows7User512,

The backup image (clone) will only be up to as large as the amount of space used on the hard disk. Free space will not be included in the backup. For your example, it would be up to 10GB in size.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jul 2010   #346

windows xp
system backup

Hello Brink, you are very very knowledgeable......
We have just got a new pc with Windows 7 Premium so will be going from XP to this, will I in turn be giving myself a headache through the transition and wishing I'd stuck with XP..... There is so much to take in with the 'system backup' , is it not like previous os when you're prompted to insert discs and make your own reboot discs for the very first time on a new pc.

Wish you lived in the UK, the amount of info you know is great. I do have a 'Microsoft Windows 7 In Depth' book, it's as thick as the bible, think I'm gonna be needing it AND your advice.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Jul 2010   #347

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello Harvey,

I actually find the system image backup used in Vista and Windows 7 to be quite good if you save it on a separate hard drive than the one Windows is installed on, and do not move or rename the backup folder.

If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. :)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Aug 2010   #348

MS Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64-bit


I realize that modifying the tutorial to cover the case where:
a) there are several partitions,
b) the user desires to backup all or selected partitions, realizing that the system partition will be automatically selected
would be a change to the tutorial.

I noticed that in your example, only one partition is shown, thus the screen to select additional partitions is not shown.

What do you think?

Also I feel that the handling of repeated backups does not work as in the tutorial.

And yes, the backups made, etc does agree with a MS write-up, but my experience is "it just ain't so".

I also believe that MS changed the actions from earlier releases to the way the backup works now.

What I've found is that MS overwrites, yep, overwrites the existing system image with the one generated by the system image backup. What is incremental is the backup of data files/folders.

Since I did not desire to have my copy overwritten, I found two different solutions:
1) which I don't recommend is create a new partition on the external and backup there,
2) rename the folder containing the system image (vhd file).

Here are a couple of snapshots to illustrate that approach.

Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup-twobackupswitholdonerenamed.png
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup-locationofsystemimagevhd.png

My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Aug 2010   #349

64-bit Windows 10 Pro

Hello Karl,

I agree. I added to the warning box at the top of the tutorial about system partitions being automatically selected and cannot be unselected.

Normally, if you have enough room on the hard drive to store multiple system images, you should be able to select which dated system image you wanted to use at step 5 in the tutorial below.

System Image Recovery

You could rename the backup folder, but I find that this may sometimes render the backup unfindable by Windows leaving you not able to do the system image recovery with it. It seems to be real sensitive about this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

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