An Experience with windows backup

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Peter2150, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    This is a cautionary tale, that applies mainly if you like me backup to other internal drives. I've always ordered my desktops with at least 3 internal drives and I spred backups across them.

    Several years ago when I first got the new machines I tested Windows Backup on one of them. It worked and I tested the restore and that worked, but both very slow. So I dropped it.

    Fast forward 3 years and one of my external drives failed. At first windows saw it reported it bad, and I played with it to see if I could get anything off it. Then windows gave up and it and stopped showing it at all. Then the fun began. System was booting like an absolute dog. I took the system back to velocity micro for repair. They were stumped, and started questioning all the software running at start up. They turned it over to their chief engineer to contact me and find out what all this software was.

    I posed the question that if all that software didn't affect a 2nd system and didn't affect this one until the drive failed how did they explain that. He very honestly said it couldn't and he had a mystery on his hands. It took him half a day to solve it. Apparently windows backup when run sets an environmental variable to designate the target disk, and leaves it. So years later when the drive died and disappeared from windows, windows was lost and kept trying to find it when booting. They just deleted the variable and problem solved.

    Just be aware!!!

    Pete
     
  2. CloneRanger

    CloneRanger Registered Member

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    Good to know for those who use it, or might
     
  3. EASTER

    EASTER Registered Member

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    If not for the near archaic reputation but always dependable, Drive Snapshot's successful results (long ago), there is no doubt this user would have tried swimming in those waters (Windows backup feature). Thank goodness some of us steered clear from it altogether.

     
  4. shmu26

    shmu26 Registered Member

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    I am impressed that they nailed the problem.
    I always had problems with Windows backup and the target drive. Most of the time, my secondary drives were not valid for Windows backup. I could never figure out why?
     
  5. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    You and me both.
     
  6. XenMan

    XenMan Registered Member

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    Many years ago I used Windows backup and had a USB problem on the OS so went to restore, and because it was on an external drive it wouldn't. I handed it over to a computer store, and they couldn't do anything. It was one of those situations with the OS being a nightmare to recreate due to years of use and multimedia programs.

    With extensive research I found that Macrium Reflect was quite happy to use Windows Back up images, and it restored without issues.

    I never trusted Windows backup again.
     
  7. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    XenMan,

    Are you saying Macrium Reflect can restore an image created by Windows Imaging? Or did I misunderstand?
     
  8. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    I'd say a misunderstanding. But I'll wait for XenMan.
     
  9. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    With Win7 you couldn't move the Windows Imaging backup to another partition as the recovery environment couldn't find it. With Win10 you can move the backup folder (WindowsImageBackup) to another partition, but it must be put in the root. The recovery environment finds it automatically. If WindowsImageBackup is not in the root you can't find it.
     
  10. Umbra

    Umbra Registered Member

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    i use Windows Backup since ages, never failed a restore, sure it is slow, but reliable, even famous 3rd party backup softs failed me at least once, not WB.
    it is why when i clean install and finish set up my system, i do 2 backup , one with Macrium (for speed) and one with WB (because i know it won't fail me).
     
  11. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Umbra,

    Are you using it on MBR or UEFI systems? It works on both. Today in testing a UEFI system, Windows Imaging identified a Data partition as a System partition and the partition couldn't be deselected in the backup. I had to change the Partition Type of the Data partition in the UEFI firmware (to hide it from Windows) so I could only image the relevant OS partitions.
     
  12. Umbra

    Umbra Registered Member

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    @Peter2150 UEFI
    It may happen, just reboot until it is deselected.
     
  13. XenMan

    XenMan Registered Member

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    I did it.
     
  14. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Interesting. Current Macrium can't see a Windows Image. It only sees Macrium images.
     
  15. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Still there after a few reboots.
     
  16. Umbra

    Umbra Registered Member

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    When this bug happen, if multiple reboots fail, I reorganize my partitions, deleting the old ones and creating new ones.
     
  17. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I have 200 GB of data in that partition. It would take a long time to backup that partition and delete it and then restore it. My fix of changing the Partition Type so the partition was hidden from Windows took a few seconds.

    After the backup has completed, the Partition Type can be changed back again. Another few seconds.
     
  18. Umbra

    Umbra Registered Member

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  19. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Understood re external HD.

    I'm just in the process of restoring a Window Image (UEFI system) to a new blank HD. Error... "Imaging failed. No disk that can be used for recovering the system disk can be found". The WindowsImageBackup folder is on a second internal HD and is found in the wizard.

    I've a good idea how to fix this.
     
  20. XenMan

    XenMan Registered Member

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    Well that is bad on numerous levels. Firstly, I must be getting old, my stories are becoming redundant.

    Also I have some old Windows image files in my collection for some devices.
     
  21. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    A new blank HD is a MBR disk. It seems Windows Imaging requires a GPT disk. The MBR disk was converted to a GPT disk and the 4 Win 10 partitions were restored in the same order as the original HD. The MSR that was created by converting the disk to GPT was deleted and the old MSR was restored.
     
  22. shmu26

    shmu26 Registered Member

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    Do you have to initialize a brand new disk, or does restore work even without?
     
  23. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I was restoring to a computer without an OS so the disk couldn't be initialized conventionally. Certainly it could be initialized in another computer but that is too much work. Use Diskpart in the WinPE to "Convert to GPT."

    As I mentioned above, a brand new disk is a MBR disk.
     
  24. shmu26

    shmu26 Registered Member

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    Convert to GPT = initialize?
    Pardon my ignorance, but I never understood what initializing a disk does...
     
  25. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Initialize a MBR disk is writing Boot Code and a Disk Signature to LBA 0. Standby and I'll check what happens with GPT initialize.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
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