Creating backup image of windows system partition from bootable usb?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Peter4667, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. Peter4667

    Peter4667 Registered Member

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    What is the best backup software that can be run from bootable usb, and can create and restore backup images of windows system partition? Specifically, Windows 7.
     
  2. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Peter, I thought they would all be OK. Have you had an issue?
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  3. Peter4667

    Peter4667 Registered Member

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    Not really, but recently i had to reinstall Windows 7 and i wasted half a day installing software and updates. So, i thought i better find some solution for quick reinstall. So far i found CloneZilla, Macrium Reflect and Acronis True Image can create backup images from bootalbe usb. Will have to test them.
    By the way, creating backup images from encrypted partitions will not work, correct? I have to create the image before encrypting it? Because i encrypt my system partition with TrueCrypt.
     
  4. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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  5. Peter4667

    Peter4667 Registered Member

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    Look interesting.

    By the way, if encrypted partition is mounted will the clone programs recognize it as any other partition?
     
  6. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I haven't used True/Vera Crypt with encrypted partitions. When imaging a BitLocker encrypted partition offline (from a UFD) the partition must be unlocked otherwise every sector will be imaged resulting in a large image. The web pages I posted describe how to image correctly.
     
  7. Jonathan B

    Jonathan B Registered Member

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    Peter,
    I've used VeraCrypt to encrypt my Windows 8.1 laptop's SSD and use the installed version of Macrium Reflect Free to create image backups of the whole SSD. This is easy, runs at a good speed and is done as a live backup from the installed program in the running copy of Windows. If done this way then when you come to restore an image, using the bootable version of Macrium (which is easily created within the installed Macrium software) then you'll find the encryption is no longer active and initially the drive won't boot into Windows, failing with a "Windows needs to be repaired" screen being displayed. I fix this using the free Aomei Partition Assistant's Rebuild MBR tool.

    Once the PC boots normally again you simply repeat the drive encryption. I find this to be a good compromise. Backups are easy and done at the full speed of the drive on which they are stored while on the rare occasion that an image needs to be restored you just need to allow the time to encrypt the drive again. With an SSD in my experience this doesn't take long.
    JB
     
  8. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    I wouldn't encrypt a system drive period. I've watched over the years and I've never seen any one say they did this and it saved them, but I've seen a lot of people locked out of their systems and asking for help. Find another way,
     
  9. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I'm with you.

    BitLocker doesn't encrypt the System partition. It encrypts the Boot partition. If you do a partition restore to an unlocked partition, the partition does not need to be re-encrypted.
     
  10. zapjb

    zapjb Registered Member

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    Same here.
     
  11. Jonathan B

    Jonathan B Registered Member

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    With regard to those who don't approve of encrypting a system partition and potentially being locked out if the password is forgotten.
    If it's backed up the way I do mine as described above, this problem can't arise. If the backup is restored it's no longer encrypted, you don't need the password to boot the PC until the encryption is re-instated. The obvious next question you'll ask is how can the backup be secure then?

    My company and our ISO 9000 accreditation auditors insists on mobile devices, which includes laptops, being fully encrypted with regular backups made which must also be secure. So they are made to hardware encrypted external drives which include PIN protection keypads. An intruder or thief will not be able to either boot a laptop without the encryption password or access the backup image files on the drive on which they are stored unless they know the PIN with which to unlock the backup drive. This may not suit everyone but works well for us and is easy for the PC or laptop users to comply with.
     
  12. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Jonathan,

    Just confirming we are using the same terminology. Microsoft define the System partition as the Active partition containing the booting files. Is this what you mean by "System partition"? The Windows partition is not the System partition in a UEFI system and usually isn't in a MBR system.
     
  13. Jonathan B

    Jonathan B Registered Member

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    Brian,
    To take my laptop's 240GB SSD as an example I have the following partitions:
    System Reserved 350MB Primary NTFS, Local Disk 133GB Primary NTFS (Windows, all installed software and user files) and the remaining 90.4GB is unallocated. The Local Disk partition was shrunk to 133GB to minimise the time required for the encryption process.
    In VeraCrypt I selected System, Encrypt System Partition/Drive, confirming the Windows system partiton as the one selected.
    I then went on to confirm it's a single boot drive and accepted the default SHA-256 bit AES encryption defaults.
    It took approximately 20 minutes to encrypt.

    As I'm sure you would always recommend I then went on to confirm the backup and restore to a blank formatted drive process worked ok.
    Backups are stored on multiple drives for extra security (Verbatim Store'n'Go plus some we assemble ourselves using Tooq PIN protected caddies). We chose Veracrypt because it was reliable and free and didn't force users running Home versions of Windows to upgrade to Pro versions just to get BitLocker.
     
  14. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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