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Using Win7 built in "Create System Image" feature? Does it work well?

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  • User profile image
    dentaku

    Have any of you ever used the "create system image" feature in Win7 then restored your computer from a system image backup successfully?

    I bought a ClickFree C6 2TB drive yesterday because it has built in imaging software that then supposedly does incremental backups every time you plug it in and run the software again PLUS it lets you access the files in that image individually.

    After hours of making the initial image it failed at around 68% saying it couldn't continue and the OS told me "FullImagingService.exe has stopped working".
    I was just reading comments about this drive from a while ago (so they would have been using older versions of the software) and almost nothing good could be said about it.

    QUESTIONS...
    -  SO, I'm wondering if I should just return this drive and get a much cheaper 2TB Seagate, use the built in Win7 image backup and lose the handy incremental backup feature of the ClickFree software which I'm assuming is why the Clickfree C6 is a bit more expensive than regular 2TB USB 3.0 external drive with no backup software?

    - If I use the Win7 backup is there a way access the files in that image?

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    , dentaku wrote

    - If I use the Win7 backup is there a way access the files in that image?

    No. The image is restore in it's entirety only. So you backup an image, and individual directories too that you may need to get individual files from.

    You might want to look at Acronis TrueImage if you want more flexibility. I've had great success with it.

  • User profile image
    davewill

    #1 If you suspect the hardware might be bad in addition to your let down on its software then your best to start the return process now.  Otherwise you own it.

    #2 The windows 7 backup image is a VHD.  So you should be able to mount the file using the disk management tools to get access to individual files in it.

    As I understand it the Windows 7 backup does incremental system images as well, although I need to test that and would like someone else to chime in on that.

  • User profile image
    dentaku

    , davewill wrote

    #1 If you suspect the hardware might be bad in addition to your let down on its software then your best to start the return process now.  Otherwise you own it.

    #2 The windows 7 backup image is a VHD.  So you should be able to mount the file using the disk management tools to get access to individual files in it.

    As I understand it the Windows 7 backup does incremental system images as well, although I need to test that and would like someone else to chime in on that.

    I hope someone else confirms this too.
    Hmmm. I wonder if Gov Maharaj reads random Coffee House posts? Smiley

    later... after reading some more

    These posts show that you can simply mount it because it's a VHD
    http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/24771-system-image-extract-files-using-disk-management.html
    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itprogeneral/thread/cb10df76-bd18-4bc0-a0dc-d9b010a0a236

    Other sites gave majorly complicated instructions about changing permissions and stuff though. I still don't know which is correct.

  • User profile image
    blowdart

    , davewill wrote

    As I understand it the Windows 7 backup does incremental system images as well, although I need to test that and would like someone else to chime in on that.

    Well I know it's quicker than then very first backup. Not a scientific answer though Smiley A stack exchange answer indicates it only backs up blocks that have changed.

  • User profile image
    elmer

    , dentaku wrote

    - If I use the Win7 backup is there a way access the files in that image?

    Accessing files from the image is not something I've ever attempted, because "normal" config is to have an incremental file backup and a separate image backup.

    I recently managed to trash my system drive (hardware failure) and was forced to resort to the nightly image to restore - worked perfectly.

    The thing I wish most for in the Win7 backup, is the ability to auto-trim the file backup, when the drive fills, but otherwise, it's effective enough.

  • User profile image
    dentaku

    , elmer wrote

    *snip*

    Accessing files from the image is not something I've ever attempted, because "normal" config is to have an incremental file backup and a separate image backup.

    I recently managed to trash my system drive (hardware failure) and was forced to resort to the nightly image to restore - worked perfectly.

    The thing I wish most for in the Win7 backup, is the ability to auto-trim the file backup, when the drive fills, but otherwise, it's effective enough.

    If I decide to use the built in backup will it start running extra services in the background all the time or can I start up the backup process ONLY when I want to make a backup?

    I hate automated/scheduled things that run in that background all the time that don't give you obvious ways to shut them off.

  • User profile image
    elmer

    , dentaku wrote

    I hate automated/scheduled things that run in that background all the time that don't give you obvious ways to shut them off.

    Like previous Windows backups, it uses the system scheduler (which is always running anyway) to automatically start the backup process.

    However, you can choose not to schedule your backup configuration, in which can you need to start it manually, whenever you want to run the backup.

    Even when I've had the machine turned off and it's then launched into the backup while I'm next using it, the overhead is minimal, and I barely notice it's backing up.

  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    1) image backup is manually done, especially to none-pro win7. I am pretty sure of it.

    2) image backup on DVDs are obviously not incremental.

    3) image backup does not track delta until you start backup process.

    4) use non-image backup if you are looking to restore a file instead of the entire partition. It is called file backup if I remember correctly.

    5) on certain editions, you can enable shadowcopy service, this will be ran at background.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    Oh yeah, forgot to mention, it is my top reason to get win7, aside from the nice taskbar.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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  • User profile image
    dentaku

    I'm gonna go look of there's a good tutorial (a video would be nice) that shows all the backup features of Win7.
    Until my experience with the ClickFree C6 I've never really considered using the built in tools because in the past they where pretty much useless.

  • User profile image
    dentaku

    I just plugged the Clickfree C6 2TB into another Win7 64bit machine and this one only got to 13% and stopped.
    I used the feature in the software that removes all backup files from the drive and resets it back to defaults and I'm currently making a full backup using the built-in Win7 feature just to test it out.

    I'm going to return this this drive and get a 2TB Seagate drive instead because it's $50 cheaper.
    The Clickfree software is a great looking concept but it just doesn't work for way too many people (includign me).

  • User profile image
    elmer

    , magicalclick wrote

    1) image backup is manually done, especially to none-pro win7. I am pretty sure of it.

    'Include a system image' is an option of the automatic backup on Win7-pro - but I can't vouch for other editions. It automatically creates a new image with every backup.

  • User profile image
    dentaku

    , elmer wrote

    *snip*

    'Include a system image' is an option of the automatic backup on Win7-pro - but I can't vouch for other editions. It automatically creates a new image with every backup.

    I didn't see it in Home Premium.
    Creating an image and the automated backup seem to be 2 completely different things.

    I also tried mounting the .VHD from Disk Manager and it just says
    "Virtual Disk Manager - The file or directory is corrupted or unreadable"

    Hmm, I wonder if I make a copy of the .VHD on the C:\ drive instead of keeping it on the External drive it will let me mount it?

    Not being able to extract individual files from the backup image is kind of annoying.

  • User profile image
    elmer

    , dentaku wrote

    I didn't see it in Home Premium.
    Creating an image and the automated backup seem to be 2 completely different things.

    I can only vouch for the Pro edition, where it's a checkbox at the bottom of the  "What do you want to back up?" dialog.

    Note: It only creates an image of your system disk, to provide a bare-metal system restore, and all other disks are restored from the file backup.

    The file backup allows you to browse/restore individual files, and select from however many backup sets you have saved. e.g. you might have multiple versions of a file available for restore, selectable by date. I've used this a number of times to step back through versions of code I'd written, to find that thing I changed a few weeks ago, that is now broken.

  • User profile image
    magicalclick

    @dentaku:

    there are two types of backup in Win7.

    1) Windows Backup (Sorry, I use Pro as well. I know there are limitations to Home versions. I don't remember the exact limitations. Should be like, no schedule and no network backup.)

    this one you can recover single file, and you can choose which folder to backup, and it can be scheduled. There is a checkbox for "Include System Image", but, honestly I dare not to try it. I suspect it only backup Windows Folder. I mean, if I didn't select "Program Files" in this Windows Backup, I don't think the System Image will recover my Office Program. You can recover older version by right-click on your file, in the property window (I expect that, I haven't done that).

    2) Create a System Image (in the left panel).

    This one is the pure backup. It backups everything. Whatever you have in your drive, Windows, Registry, Drivers, Office, Application Settings, Things in you Recycle Bin, Porn, Password, Virus, Spyware, Pirate Software, and everything. You cannot choose what to backup (unlike the one above). But, this is a perfect restore. I use this to recover my PC back to the purest cleanest state. If done right, no worry on hidden virus, except the one in Firmware.

    Misc)

    XP - System Restore, it only restore registry and etc. Virus is not removed. Files removed by virus will not be recovered.

    ShadowCopy Service - I suppose this is a Server feature. You can recover older file by right-click on the file and select older versions. Similar to "Windows Backup", but, I believe this is done every file modification instead of scheduled.

    ================

    The one you want to do is, 1) Windows Backup. But, if you really want to preserve your PC, a true clone, use 2) Create a System Image. I do not believe you can recover a reformatted or a brand new HDD using option1. If you want to boot from DVD with empty HDD and recover, option2 is the way to go.

    Leaving WM on 5/2018 if no apps, no dedicated billboards where I drive, no Store name.
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  • User profile image
    elmer

    , magicalclick wrote

    @dentaku:

    There is a checkbox for "Include System Image", but, honestly I dare not to try it. I suspect it only backup Windows Folder. I mean, if I didn't select "Program Files" in this Windows Backup, I don't think the System Image will recover my Office Program. You can recover older version by right-click on your file, in the property window (I expect that, I haven't done that).

    Wrong.

    Checking that option asks it to create an image of the system drive, so that you can do a bare-metal restore (using the Windows install DVD restore option) and then, if needs be, restore other drives from the file backup.

    I personally know this works, because I recently restored my own system when my system disk failed - I booted the Windows DVD, selected restore options, asked it to restore from a recent image, it found the image from my nightly backups on an external drive, and restored the system drive. And since the other drives were ok, I was back and running inside an hour.

  • User profile image
    dentaku

    Create a System Image lets me make an image (makes a WindowsImageBackup folder with a bunch of .xml files and 2 .VHD files). That works as you'd expect.

    Regular Windows Backup doesn't allow me to choose an external drive to store an image file (The selected backup location does not support creation of images.) for some reason so that's not useful in any way. Why would I want to store my backups ON the computer I'm backing up even if it's to another internal drive?
    I want my backup drive to be off most of the time and not attached to the computer.

    I'm going to try and restore my test computer with nothing important on it from a disk image just to see how well it works.
    I do incremental backups of my files by hand to a smaller external drive anyway. I just copy over anything I know is not backed up. I really can't rely an anything automated or that runs in the background. The chances of it using up CPU and running at the wrong time and messing with my audio latency are just too high.
    Can you tell I HATE automated/scheduled stuff Smiley

    I'd dtill like a simple way of mounting those .VHD files so I can access the contents.

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