Multiple backups using Windows 7 Backup

Have an issues that's driving me crazy. I managed to do a drive image that also included my storage drive on an internal 1TB SATA drive. This, however, was the only one I was able to do. When I tried to run backup a second time, it would start, but then completely hang with only the occasional HD light blink. I stopped the backup, but it never said the back up stopped. I then tried to shut down and it got as far as saying it was shutting down, but never actually did. I had to power down. I tried a second time and the results were the same. Not even an entry in log files.

I figured I'd reformat the drive and see it that helped. It did help and I was able, once again, to do a first backup. Trying a second backup end with the same results and only a reformat of the backup drive would get it working again.

I'm only backup up 217G on a 1TB drive, so space isn't an issue. It can't be an issue with a file or folder as the first backup goes well.

Any help would be greatly appreciate.


Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft MVP
I don't use the Windows backup - I prefer Acronis True Image but it sounds to me that the first backup having completed, the second one will just be updating the existing backup - that is it will just back up the things which have changed since the first one. If little has changed then it will not do very much (if anything).

only a reformat of the backup drive would get it working again.
This statement would seem to confirm my thoughts - having reformatted the backup drive no backup exists and it would run a full one again.

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Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Pat makes a good point about how you are backing up. What steps are you taking and what type of backup are you expecting and do you have it set for an automatic backup?

I normally just do image backups. If I want to keep one, I will rename that folder so the new backup will not overwrite it.

Having to reformat the drive seems a little strange, since you should just be able to remove the first backup. I would have to wonder is something is being done to the drive to change if configuration. But you are just backing up a primary drive with the OS and perhaps System partition, plus a data partition on the same drive?


Extraordinary Member
With Windows backup/imaging and on the high seas you never know what is going to happen. That's why most of us use other imaging programs like Acronis that Pat mentioned or free Macrium that I am using. Plus there is a few others. Anything is better than Windows7 imaging.

But the theory that it probably created only one file and then worked with differentials is probably right.

I'm just trying to do a second image, nothing fancy. I'm pretty sure something is going wrong as I've let it run for over 24 hrs and it never completed. The status bar never moved after about 1/5 complete). That and I was unable to completely stop the process (I clicked to cancel and it said it was, but never stopped) and I was also unable to successfully shutdown (I left it for 4 hrs and it still hadn't).

I would assume that you can do as many images as will fit on the destination? That each image would get a different time/date stamp?

I guess it is time to look into a better backup solution, but I'd sure like to know what the deal is with Windows' backup.



Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft MVP
A backup strategy - what software is used, how frequently, what media (external or internal, optical or hdd), format (discreet backups or incremental) - has got to reflect how critical is the need for backup. I personally feel that maintaining security and integrity of both system and user data is too important to use anything but the best tool for the job and IMHO that is Acronis True Image.

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