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Standard User GeoffB
(experienced) Sun 03-Apr-11 20:18:18
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System Image - Catch22


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I have been backing up my Win7 system religiously every week, including creating a full image. I use the built-in backup facility from Control Panel and it always created the image on my external drive (it goes up by about 3 gig with every weekly backup -anyone know why?). But...how do I know that, in the case of a disaster, my image will install OK? Is there any way of testing the process with my backup?
One other thing..if I wipe the drive of an old laptop completely, what's to stop me using my backup image to create another cloned system? I wouldn't, as that would be illegal, I know, but I'm just curious really.

Advent laptop/Dell Inspiron 6000/Dell mini all using XP and 2GB RAM
Dell Studio 15 with Win7 64bit and 4GB RAM
Belkin N cable router (VM 20Mbs)
Voyager 2100 via BT line (8Mbs) as backup
BT Option 3 / Virgin cable 20Mbs
IE8 and OE6 (Live Mail with Win7)
Standard User camieabz
(legend) Sun 03-Apr-11 20:19:33
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Re: System Image - Catch22


[re: GeoffB] [link to this post]
 
Mot likely system restore points.

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Standard User AEP
(knowledge is power) Sun 03-Apr-11 20:35:22
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Re: System Image - Catch22


[re: GeoffB] [link to this post]
 
It is a Catch 22. The only way that you can fully rely upon your backup is to do a restore. If it's a desktop you can easily try that by sticking in another drive, but it's more difficult with a laptop. I suppose if the hard drive is big enough you can partition it.

I can tell you, having been responsible for backing up about 30 servers at one time, that you can never rely on any backup system unless you test it. Easy with file-by-file backups, as you can do test restores, but more difficult with image backups. TBH I'm not a big fan of image backups.

As to your second question, you could indeed restore the image to another laptop. It would have to be very similar to the original for there to be any chance of booting. If you do get it to boot you will find that, as it is new hardware, Windows 7 insists on reactivation. And if that copy is already in use on another computer you are going to have problems. It's the same as if you buy a retail copy of Window 7 and then try to install it on 2 PCs; it won't work.


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Anonymous
(Unregistered)Sun 03-Apr-11 20:47:11
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Re: System Image - Catch22


[re: GeoffB] [link to this post]
 
You should use incremental backup software to keep safe copies of YOUR files.
Use full Windows image backap only when you install new programs or major updated, e.g.
Wn7 SP1.
You can start up your computer from the Win 7 Repair DVD, then see if it can find your backup
images. Mine did not recognise the first DVD image, only the second !

Win 7 will detect if you install it from backup on a different computer, or even if you just change some of the hardware, and it will demand to be "activated".
If you do not some of it will stop working....
Regards,
Martin
Standard User mondeoman
(experienced) Mon 04-Apr-11 01:49:20
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Re: System Image - Catch22


[re: GeoffB] [link to this post]
 
Maybe the only sure way is to obtain a new HD & put it into your laptop, restore the backup & check if it works. My first laptop had easily swappable drives & I put together a spare HD with OS & all programs ready to go if the first drive failed. Since I relied on it for work it seemed a good idea & indeed i did need it when the laptop HD failed.
Standard User Deadbeat
(knowledge is power) Wed 06-Apr-11 03:06:50
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Re: System Image - Catch22


[re: GeoffB] [link to this post]
 
In reply to a post by GeoffB:
..... One other thing..if I wipe the drive of an old laptop completely, what's to stop me using my backup image to create another cloned system....


You may get away with it if they're both from the same OEM vendor and if the BIOS of the older machine is SLIC 2.1 compatible.

As for testing your backups, write an image to a new temporary source such as a different folder on your USB drive and verify it. Now boot from the CD and write back your current image.
If all is well, rewrite the temporary (Newest) image, boot to Windows and then delete it.
Standard User Deadbeat
(knowledge is power) Wed 06-Apr-11 03:12:43
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Re: System Image - Catch22


[re: GeoffB] [link to this post]
 
Another thought just struck me here. I use Acronis TI so hadn't even thought about Win7's internal utility. When it creates an image, does it create a full disk image including MBR etc or merely an image of it's own known partition structure? Does it allow for the "odd" disk structures/MBR's etc that OEM machines with pre installed recovery partitions generally exhibit?
Anonymous
(Unregistered)Wed 06-Apr-11 15:04:40
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Re: System Image - Catch22


[re: AEP] [link to this post]
 
Totally agree on the first point, do not rely on any backup unless you have restored from it, I learned this the hard way restoring from a Windows 7 Backup Image that failed throwing up an error message when I most needed to restore from it, never again.
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