system image recovery

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Help and Support' started by billzant, May 23, 2014.

  1. billzant

    billzant Active Member

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    Dear Forum,

    I have long been aware of drive imaging. I once used Acronis, had a "starter disc" and drive images, but the restore was erratic so I gave up. I am wondering if someone will help me through setting up imaging or point me somewhere..

    I have 3 partitions:-

    C contains windows and whatever gets automatically installed on C - user settings (60Gb free of 100)
    D has all my data except (108Gb free out of 529Gb)
    E has backup data. (33Gb free of 69Gb)

    Now if I have to reinstall windows, I install windows (inc format C), install the drivers, copy backups for data on D and E, install backup software and start customising. It takes many hours to get the system up and running, and I am customising and tweaking for days. The need to recreate my system does not occur very often, I tend to get a new laptop every 3 years. I keep my system backups on external hard drives (USB).

    If I could take an image of C and be able to restore it WITH CONFIDENCE I would be very happy. I was happy when Acronis worked but I need reliability. Because of the lack of reliability I kept two types of backup - data and image, and in the end because of the lack of reliability when I used it I just stuck with data and the long install.

    Restoring drive images is not really something I can practice I need it to work when it is needed - every 3 years.

    I have just come across these words "system image recovery", does this take a snapshot of C and enable me to restore it? If not are there suggestions for reliable drive imaging and restore processes?

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ
     
  2. Pauli

    Pauli Extraordinary Member
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    I'm sorry if I'm the sour old man, but I've tried various restoration methods / reinstallation methods, including Windows' own Image Backup, and none of them seems to work - at least not flawless. The methods are still worked upon.

    In my opinion, the best way is still the old way: have all data secured on another disk or partition, and then do the labor needed to install Windows anew. Keep your systems and ways simple and straight forward, thus you can remember them.

    No real sunshine here, hopefully someone can bring it?
     
  3. BurrWalnut

    BurrWalnut Extraordinary Member

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    Bill

    I’ve successfully used Windows 7 and 8 image creation/recovery and have had no issues whatsoever. Whether the restore will work the same way in three years’ time, only Microsoft knows.

    Here is how it’s done in Windows 7:

    1. To make a drive image or a full backup, go to Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Backup and Restore > Create a system image > Choose hard disk or optical drive, select which drives to image/backup then Start backup.

    2. To recover the disk image, boot from the Windows 7 DVD (or a previously made repair CD), choose ‘Press any key to boot from CD/DVD’ and Windows will start to load the files. Select your language, time, currency and keyboard then click ‘Repair’ in the bottom left corner, now choose System Image Recovery and follow the prompts.

    NOTE. The image can be restored to a drive or partition other than the original installation, but it cannot be smaller than the original. Depending upon your computer configuration, it will take about 10-20 minutes.
     
  4. Joe S

    Joe S Excellent Member

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    I've used Acronis for a long time and restored a few times without problems. Acronis recommends not defraging or copying the image files. I also do not scan those drives with the images with AV products.
    Joe
     
  5. billzant

    billzant Active Member

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    Dear Forum,

    Thanks for the replies.

    Pauli, I think we are in line but I am going to try and give it a go.

    Joe, I knew there would be people who have used Acronis well otherwise they wouldn't be in business. It didn't for me. I am quite willing to accept I am the problem but it means I am not going to try.

    Burrwalnut, I have saved your instructions and give it a go with the next laptop even though I expect to rely on the "Pauli" method.

    Thanks very much for all your help.

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ
     
  6. badrobot

    badrobot Senior Member

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    The native windows system imaging tool works well. I've also tried some 3rd party tool like Acronis and Macrium Reflect but I find Windows imaging tool faster and simpler.
    To make it even faster and more efficient, all my data are on separate drive. This way, creating image backups are faster. It only creates image backup of the system. My data are intact on separate drive all the time with backup on NAS. When something goes wrong, I just pull out my data drive and do system image recovery immediately without having to worry about backing up newer files.
    I understand it is not applicable on laptops as it only has one physical drive but there is workaround to installing 2 hard drives if extra budget is available.

    Cheers
     
  7. Joe S

    Joe S Excellent Member

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    I partition my HD too. When I make a system image I always boot from the rescue CD. That way Windows and AV software isn't running or updating in the middle of the image. I also make images on at least 2 drives and have a few months worth images.
    Joe
     
  8. billzant

    billzant Active Member

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    Dear Badrobot,

    Thanks for this.

    I am not sure I completely get you.

    I described above how my computer is partitioned. I try to avoid putting anything on C, what is there is Windows and what I am forced to have. Is that what you mean? I ignore windows' libraries and I always save working files on D, downloads on D etc. But some stuff seems to end up in users, and software updates happen on C - registry etc.

    NAS? Sorry, what is that? I have my drive backups on separate external hard drives, the backups on E are not drive backups - outlook files etc.. Do external hard drives fit in with what you say, Badrobot?

    .Joe I agree. I keep 2 or 3 backups of my drives. If I had the confidence in system imaging I would keep multiple copies as well.

    Hope you are keeping well,

    All the Best,

    BillZ
     
  9. badrobot

    badrobot Senior Member

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    I just simply meant I don't put both my OS and data on the same hard drive. All my of my 3 PCs have separate hard drives (SSD+HDD) for OS and data. It's a data safe setup anytime problems arise. Unlike if you have 1 hard drive for both OS and data, eventhough they are in separate partitions you won't be able to access your data if your OS won't boot.

    NAS is an acronym for network attached storage. It's like a personal hard drive on the cloud (both inside and outside of home network). And my NAS config is RAID 1 (2 hard drives mirroring each other).
     
  10. billzant

    billzant Active Member

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    I think I get it. You run the OS from one hard drive and data is on another. Your data hard drive has "some kind of OS" so that you can immediately access your data. Sounds a good system.

    In my case I am only concerned with not losing data, and with the partition I don't lose data if windows crashes. If the hard drive gets damaged that is a different matter.

    Thanks for explaining what NAS is. I don't have a network and don't have a need. I do transfer files between computers occasionally, and that is done through USB flash or Bittorrentsync.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  11. Pauli

    Pauli Extraordinary Member
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    @badrobot: Yes, it's wise to have your data saved on as many locations as possible. Latent discs = CDs and DVDs are surely not a bad option - once burned, they won't suffer from a power shortage, they'll be the same. To print on paper isn't that bad either, we do have documents from thousands of years back.
     
  12. whs

    whs Extraordinary Member

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    Since appr 5 years I use free Macrium and I never had a problem after at least 100 restores. If you need more details after following the linked tutorial, let us know.
     
  13. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    Late to the party but I'll put in my 2 cents worth.

    I have used both EaseUS ToDo backup, and Paragon Backup and recovery recently and they both worked fine.
    Both put my system right back where it was when I made the image with no hitches.

    Both of these programs are free.

    I keep my backups on a separate hard drive then the one that Windows is on.
    And like you I don't keep any data on my C:\ partition, or for that matter on the same hard drive that Windows is on.

    I also back up all of my data to an external hard drive, I've never had a hard drive failure but it can happen.

    Of the 2 backup programs EaseUS is the simplest to use.
    It's basically, select System Backup, where do you want to save it, click to continue. and recovery is just a simple.
    It did seem slower then Paragon.

    Both will create and run from a bootable DVD so you can restore a dead Windows installation.

    I have used Acronis in the past, but I did have it fail to restore my computer when I needed it.
    Just a fluke probably but, that's why I now have 2 backups made with 2 programs.

    I update them alternately every couple of months.

    Better safe then sorry.

    Mike
     
    helpifIcan likes this.
  14. Fixer1234

    Fixer1234 Senior Member

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    Question for you guys who put your data on a separate drive from the OS--where do you draw the line in categorizing files as "your data"? I'm thinking of directories like appdata. That's the default location for personal data like your email and address book. It also holds "personal-related" data like settings you've selected for software. Do you go as far as changing the default locations for that stuff in the software setup or redefining the whole user directory tree to reside on another drive? Or, do you leave all that in place and just not store your files in the user directory?
     
  15. MikeHawthorne

    MikeHawthorne Essential Member
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    Hi

    I have 2 internal 1 Terabyte hard drives divided into 4 partitions.

    I have 3 external hard drives totaling 2.5 Terabytes (these are only turned on when I want to copy to or from them. Sometimes they aren't turned on for months. The are used only for additional backup.
    Every thing that is important is backed up at least twice, some things 3 times, like my photos.

    When I talk about data that I don't put on Drive C:\ I'm talking about Job Files, Music Files, Photographs, Program Installation files that I've downloaded and don't have disks for, backups of my Documents, favorites, etc.

    Most of my games (which often don't need to be re-installed if Windows is re-installed), and some graphic arts software that had a lot of added content, like my 3D software which had many added mods etc. that would be lost if I had to reinstall it.

    From experience I've learned what software needs to be installed if Windows is re-installed.

    I.e. Photoshop always needs to be re-installed if Windows is, but Adobe Premiere doesn't.
    So I install Photoshop on C:\ but I install Premiere on my Graphic Arts drive along with Fraps, Poser, and things like that.

    Most games can be installed or copied anyplace and they will still run after a Windows reinstall, or even an upgrade, so they all go on my Games drive.

    What I do put on C:\ is, Windows, all my installed software that would have to be re-installed if Windows is re-installed anyway, like Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign etc.

    Also my custom Windows sounds, icons etc, and desktop art, but these are also backed up elsewhere.

    I don't put anything on C:\ that I'm worried about losing, if I had to format the drive.

    Mike
     
    #15 MikeHawthorne, May 26, 2014
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
    Pauli likes this.
  16. badrobot

    badrobot Senior Member

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    @Fixer1234 , my "data" refers to all files that fall under any of the categories on Library folders (Documents, Photos, etc.). I set the default save location of these library folders pointing to a separate 1TB internal hard drive backed-up on NAS running on RAID 1 mode. I can also point the save location to NAS but I don't wanna do that. If I want my files to be shared across my 3 computers, I make a copy of files that needed to be shared across 3 PCs on QSync library (QDocs, QPhotos, etc.). Once I copy a file there, it syncs to NAS and when I turn on my other PC, the NAS syncs that file to that other PC automatically. My OS and manually installed programs are running on 256GB SSD.

    Here's a sample of a Library folder showing the default save location pointing to a separate hard drive:

    mydoc_location.

    @MikeHawthorne , I used to attach my USB 3.0 external hard drives directly to my PC but I always have to turn them off because they drag down my boot up speed. Then when I put up a NAS, it came with 2-USB 3.0 ports, 1-USB 2.0 port and 2- eSata ports. I just directly connected my external hard drives to the NAS. Transfer speeds are not bad (between 60Mbps and 90Mbps).

    cheers!
     
    #16 badrobot, May 26, 2014
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  17. Fixer1234

    Fixer1234 Senior Member

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    Badrobot, those are some scary-looking libraries you got there. Now I see what Sorgum was talking about. :D
     
  18. badrobot

    badrobot Senior Member

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    Like what?
    You might be referring to the NAS Library which is a mapped drive from my home network. The ones under "Favorites" are just shortcuts.
    My actual Libraries are straight forward. I am using the native libraries. I just changed the save location to another hard drive. Very easy to do.

    qnap02.
     
    #18 badrobot, May 26, 2014
    Last edited: May 26, 2014
  19. Fixer1234

    Fixer1234 Senior Member

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    No, just the fact that you are using "libraries". You read Sorgum's posts. Libraries are clearly an evil construct intended to undermine the fabric of modern society. Weren't you paying attention?
     
  20. badrobot

    badrobot Senior Member

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    Why would I pay attention to personal opinions? I am just a normal PC user. Hahaha.. Whatever dude. I know what you are saying. :)
     

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