Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

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  1. Posts : 71,567
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    Not bad.
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 5
    Win 7 ultimate 64, Win 7 32 bit professional

    Create an Image Backup - revisited

    I believe we can all agree that the Windows 7 restore/backup is much improved from XP, but I do not see anyway to create a bootable backup without some extra steps. I have a system that is using just a basic disc (500GB) with a c:\ and d:\ partition. I want a second hard drive with the same thing that I leave disconnected and only connect in event of failure. The idea is to just update this backup drive when needed since most important data is saved to another backed up network hard drive. The only way to do this that I have seen is to first create a backup image and then take the extra step of restoring it to another HDD after booting from the system recovery disc. Am I missing something here? There are a bunch of tools that allow you to do this full hard drive clone, but I was hoping I could do this in one step from the Win 7 OS alone since it does not require an extra tool to purchase/install.

    System Info: i5, Intel DH55HC MB, Win 7 Professional 32/64 bit, 2GB RAM
    HDDs: 2 x 500GB
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  3. Posts : 71,567
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter

    Hello Jdac, and welcome to Seven Forums.

    Normally you would just leave the system image as is in the WindowsImageBackup folder until you wanted to do a system image recovery to restore it to a HDD at boot or in Windows 7.

    If you like, you could also manually extract files from the system image backup.

    System Image - Extract Files Using Disk Management

    Hope this helps,
    Last edited by Brink; 23 Aug 2011 at 16:11.
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 5
    Win 7 ultimate 64, Win 7 32 bit professional

    Shawn, thanks for the information on manually extracting files from the system backup, that is definitely useful for a more advanced user, but I am trying to figure out the easiest way to get a novice person back online, quickly and efficiently.

    I probably should have given you a little more background. Since the OS drive will not change on this system and critical files will be stored on a network drive, the idea is to allow a very novice user to get back online in the event the OS drive crashes. I would provide a drive tray for the OS drive and drive tray for the backup drive. By the user unplugging the OS (damaged drive) in event of a failure and connecting the backup drive, they can get back up and running immediately.

    For example, Casper has a tool that allows you to perfectly clone a drive. After the drive is cloned using their tool, you can simply disconnect the OS drive, replace with the cloned drive and you boot straight into the OS. This is a nice way to upgrade a laptop drive or desktop HDD to a larger capacity one. I was hoping their was a way to do this in Win 7 and allow a novice user to periodically update that backup. It seems like there is no way around having to take the extra step to restore to a new HDD. I definitely believe the reason for this is licensing. They are worried someone would just use these backups to clone multiple systems.

    In the Windows 7 backup/restore logic, to protect against an OS failure, you would really need three HDDs. The first drive is the OS HDD, the second is a place to store the system image(s) and the third is an extra HDD that you will need to restore to in event of a failure. So, when the OS HDD fails, you would boot to the created system recovery disc, point to the second hard drive and restore to the third hard drive. Then you would reboot and you would be back up and running. I was hoping to alleviate the need for the 3rd HDD by periodically making a full backup drive that is identical to the first HDD. This is like a RAID1, but the drive would only be placed online when the first HDD fails. Hopefully this makes sense to you and thanks again for your comments.

      My Computer

  5. Posts : 71,567
    64-bit Windows 10 Pro
    Thread Starter


    There might be some specialized software or hardware available that may be able to allow you to keep a live updated clone of the OS HDD to a second HDD, and automatically switch over to the second HDD should the default OS HDD fail, but I personally don't know of one. Hopefully someone may though.

    There's really no way to avoid having 3 HDDs for this using the built in system image feature in Windows 7. One in the computer currently, another for the system image, and the third to replace the one in the computer in the event the computer HDD fails. Luckily HDDs are pretty cheap these days.

    Normally the user could use the method in the tutorial on the first page of this thread to create a system image of the HDD on the computer to say an external HDD. They could also continue to create new system images to the same external HDD to have a newer system image available.

    If something should happen to the HDD on the computer, then they would only need to replace the computer's HDD and do a system image recovery using their retail Windows 7 installation disc or created System Repair Disc to restore one of (usually the lastest created) the system images on the external HDD to the new HDD on the computer.
      My Computer

  6. Posts : 5
    Win 7 ultimate 64, Win 7 32 bit professional

    Shawn, I had a feeling this was the case. As you mentioned maybe someone else knows of additional software or a way to achieve this in Win 7.

    I have used some of the free tools out there, like the Macrium Reflect, EaseUS and the Seagate Tool, but these also require the same extra step of restoring to the HDD before running (at least in their free tool). I agree that HDDs are very affordable these days, but I might just decide to use the money for purchasing Casper 7.0 since they have some added features and the important cloning feature I need:

    (Casper hard disk copying software provides complete PC backup protection | Future Systems Solutions

    So, the idea is once the updated backup is created, the user would disconnect the harddrive tray on the backup drive. I would simply use a SATA 5.25" removable HDD tray that can be turned off with a key. If the OS drive fails then they would simply disable the failed drive and turn on the backup drive. They would be running in seconds.

    If I figure out some new information on this topic, then I will certainly post it.

    Thanks, John
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 5
    Win 7 ultimate 64, Win 7 32 bit professional

    I wanted to post some of my progress on this subject of backup/restore. I revisited the Seagate Tool (powered by Acronis). I also revisited the Windows Backup/Restore process, here are the notes on each.

    Seagate Tool – Acronis

    - This tool allowed me to make make an exact clone of the OS drive to another HDD. So, unlike the built in Windows tool it allowed me in one step to make a backup of the MBR, System Reserved, C:\ and second partition on the Drive 0 to Drive 1. I removed Drive 0 and booted from the copy and all was as it should be.

    - I also made a copy of the OS to a bootable DVD+R DL disc. It only took one disc with about 1-2GB to spare. The restore was a little tricky because I needed to separately restore the MBR, System Reserved and c:\ drive and the software needed to reboot in between. There was no option to select all of these check boxes, even though the wording said select the drive, if you want to restore the whole drive. However, once I went through the separate restores, everything booted up. The only other small nuance was it labeled the System Reserved area with an e:\ drive letter, which I removed and rebooted and all was back to normal. This was a little clumsy, but doable.

    - Note: The Seagate Tool needs to be loaded onto the OS and you must have at least one Seagate drive connected for it to work (I still need to test this, but this is what I have been told online)

    Windows 7 – Backup/Restore

    - I still have not been able to make a clone/backup to a new disc that is bootable. As I see it I can only make a “system image” which holds the information to make a bootable disc, but it requires an extra restore step to make the disc bootable, by restoring the image to another HDD (see comments in previous threads for this).

    - A few months ago I had gone through this process of making the bootable system restore disc and creating the “system image” on a DVD. Back then I tried several times with no success making this process work. I would boot from the restore disc and then place the system image in the DVD drive, but the system would not recognize a place to restore the image to even though there was a HDD connected. Yesterday I tried this process again and it worked. I am not sure why at this point, but it could be that the windows updates corrected this issue. During this test I even spanned the OS across two DVD5s and the restore worked. The process was a little slow, but it was relatively straightforward. Boot from the "created" recovery disc, then place the system image discs in when instructed.

    - In summary, the limitation here is that the Win 7 tool cannot clone a disc in one step. A positive is that the backup/restore process works on all HDDs and the software is part of Windows 7 Professional.

      My Computer

  8. Posts : 15,915
    7 X64

    The new Seagate/acronis offering doesn't recognise I have a seagate drive.

    In fact I have only seagate drives.

    Strange - the previous version was ok.

    I am having great success with the new freebie from Easeus.
      My Computers

  9. Posts : 5
    Win 7 ultimate 64, Win 7 32 bit professional

    Here is a link to the Seagate Tool I downloaded:
    DiscWizard | Seagate

    It shows as version 11.0 (build 8326)

    I also found that there is a link to the tool for Western Digital HDDs:
    WD Support

    Personally, I did not like the EaseUS tool as much. I thought the Seagate Tool was a little more user friendly and intuitive.

      My Computer

  10. Posts : 15,915
    7 X64

    That is the old one.

    New one is here.

    I don't know why they haven't updated the link. The newer Seagate DiscWizard is similar to the WD version.

    The old one cannot be used with any images created by newer versions .

    Unfortunately - the new one doesn't have a pe plugin.
      My Computers

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