Win 7 Home Premium - After HD image, can I format my HD?
Thread poster: MikeTrans
MikeTrans
Germany
Local time: 16:10
Member (2005)
Italian to German
+ ...
Dec 14, 2010

Hi,

I've finally bought a fast notebook with Windows 7 Home Premium, but although I've tryed very hard, there is no original Windows DVD included, only a recovery partition on my HD.

Windows 7 has a menu to create a HD image (on another HD or network) and then a boot disk. I surely want to make usage of this once Iv'e installed all important programs and network/e-mail/security setups.
But prior of all this I would like to know for sure:

After the creation of the HD Image and the creation of the boot disk, if I make a complete formatting of the notebook HD, will I be able to get this Image on the HD again and will Win 7 boot successfully after that?
A complete formating of the HD in the future may remove all troubles due to long term slowing down of the system, viruses etc.

Note:
When using the recovery partition, only a "copy over" is executed, so this is not a "clean" solution (besides it will not take into account all new setups and programs installed!).

Thanks for any expert responding!

Greets,
Mike

[Edited at 2010-12-14 21:58 GMT]


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 16:10
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Yes Dec 14, 2010

MikeTrans wrote:

After the creation of the HD Image and the creation of the boot disk, if I make a complete formatting of the notebook HD, will I be able to get this Image on the HD again and will Win 7 boot successfully after that?

Well, that's the idea. As always when computers are involved, there could be any number of problems, but that's what it's supposed to do.
I don't know much about the particulars of the built-in Win7 backup, as I just use driveimagexml to create a backup image and a bootable cd for the same purpose... these prepackaged made-for-dumb-consumers solutions always tend to do something preposterous by default that I never expected, so I just stick with low-level made-for-techies solutions.


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Romeo Mlinar  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:10
Member (2009)
English to Serbian
+ ...
Windows Backup Dec 14, 2010

Mike, are you referring to the Windows Backup and Restore Centre? If yes, I must say I had high hopes for it. Unfortunately, I had problems with it because it refused to create the system images after a while.

I finally gave up and installed Acronis True Image. Backup is not something to play with.

As for your question about formatting and backup: I think you can restore only current OS installation; so after formatting a HDD, reinstalling Windows 7 - an old backup ( = from the previous installation) will not work. I'm not 100% sure, since I've read it on a forum.


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 16:10
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No Dec 14, 2010

Mlinar wrote:


As for your question about formatting and backup: I think you can restore only current OS installation; so after formatting a HDD, reinstalling Windows 7 - an old backup ( = from the previous installation) will not work. I'm not 100% sure, since I've read it on a forum.

That doesn't really make sense.
These are system images, i.e. clones of the entire disk (partition). In order to restore one of these guys to the disk, the current OS install needs to be nuked entirely. Therefore, it doesn't matter what OS the disk has, or if it has any. It might as well be a blank HDD or a linux install for a completely unrelated computer, it will get erased anyway.
You're probably thinking of file backups, not system backups (HD images).


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Egidijus Slepetys  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:10
German to Lithuanian
My suggestion - don't do that Dec 15, 2010

Congratulations on your new PC! Don't format its HD and especially the recovery partition (with it you can restore your computer to the factory-state)!
I assume, a "disk image" would NOT work on another computer! (because of the different hardware configuration. It should work only on the same computer)

[Redaguota 2010-12-15 00:49 GMT]


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MikeTrans
Germany
Local time: 16:10
Member (2005)
Italian to German
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TOPIC STARTER
Getting a complete HD Image back to your system with Windows 7 Dec 15, 2010

Hi,
Thank you all for your feedbacks.

FarkasAndras wrote:

.. these prepackaged made-for-dumb-consumers solutions always tend to do something preposterous by default that I never expected, so I just stick with low-level made-for-techies solutions.


Milnar wrote:
Backup is not something to play with.


Yes, really, I don't want to use such tools to play with, I would be a fool...
I was always very suspicious when it comes to use the in-build Windows system tools:
There are always some in-build limitations and usually these are not documented in the help.
The help files and docs/tutorials I was able to gather on the WEB do always end where it really gets important: They all explain how to use the menus (even a noob can do this!), but they all not speak about using the tool in action, maybe after 2 years when you try to get back the HD Image on your disk. In fact, I've read about cases (admittingly: special cases) where this simply has failed.
Well, of course there's always Acronis True Image or Norton Ghost, but the main question is the same here: How will they work when you want to get the image back on a EMPTY HD (let's say, I've bought a new HD for my computer to replace the old one), and more importantly: when will these tools NOT work? It's hard to gather indepth and reliable infos about that. Oh, of course the Microsoft point of view always has been: it all works perfectly, schöne, heile Welt...:)

Egidijus wrote:
I assume, a "disk image" would NOT work on another computer!


Well, that makes much sense, otherwise I could spread Windows 7 all around the world, which by the way would be illegal.
But I should assume it will work on MY computer, that is: the computer where the HD Image was created on. But Is this really the case? Again, what if I have to replace my HD with a new, empty one?

Milnar wrote:
I had problems with it because it refused to create the system images after a while.


Milnar, which version of Windows 7 were you using? I've read that such problems came along with Windows 7 RC, a first release.

Greets,
Mike

[Edited at 2010-12-15 10:13 GMT]


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 16:10
English to Hungarian
+ ...
No guarantees Dec 15, 2010

There is no 100% guarantee that it will work. It should, but s**t happens. The primary reason it might fail is that the backup could get written to disk with errors, it could get corrupted on the disk you store it on, or it could get damaged when it is restored to the computer's HDD. All unlikely, but all possible.

If you want to be as secure as humanly possible, make a disk image (and associated boot CD/DVD) with the built-in Windows backup, and make another disk image and boot disk with driveimagexml (free, but you need a windows install disc in order to make the boot disk) or Acronis (paid). Store the two backups on different HDDs and you're as safe as anyone has ever been.
Try booting the computer with the boot media as soon as it's made to make sure it works. Don't accidentally restore your backup, though:)


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MikeTrans
Germany
Local time: 16:10
Member (2005)
Italian to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Ok, it works... Dec 16, 2010

Hi,

I've made the dance with the Windows 7 in-build Image Backup together with a recovery CD. And it works 1:1 - I've tryed it out. Together with the data saving features, I think this is a big progress in the Win system.

The recovery options from the image include a prompt menu in which you can use the "diskpart" command to re-configure and format drives and partitions, however nobody should "play" whit this, as one should be a certified administrator or have the necessary knowledge.

Greets,
Mike


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Romeo Mlinar  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 15:10
Member (2009)
English to Serbian
+ ...
Switched to Acronis on Win7 64 Dec 17, 2010

MikeTrans wrote:

Milnar, which version of Windows 7 were you using? I've read that such problems came along with Windows 7 RC, a first release.


On my laptop I use Win7 Ultimate 64 bit. I thought that Backup in this OS will work fine, but I'm not happy with it.

That is why I bought Acronis True Image (50$). It integrates nicely into Win7 (replaces OS backup system) and has many more options (like mounting, incremental backup, free space wiping).


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