Is Built-In Imager Good?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by Brandonn2010, Oct 11, 2011.

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  1. Brandonn2010

    Brandonn2010 Registered Member

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    I noticed everyone seems to use Acronis or Macrium, but is Windows 7's built-in system image backup good enough? That's what I've been using to make my images.
     
  2. napoleon1815

    napoleon1815 Registered Member

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    For basic imaging, it works fine...we actually are using it more and more at work for server imaging. If you don't need additional features (incrementals, additional compression methods, etc.) and are fine with a full image occassionally, go for it. I assume you've had no issues with it?
     
  3. Cudni

    Cudni Global Moderator

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    It works perfectly well.
     
  4. PrevxHelp

    PrevxHelp Former Prevx Moderator

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    I like it even more now that I discovered it can back up over a network :)
     
  5. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I agree.

    Just some observations...

    It doesn't image FAT/FAT32 partitions. Since most (?all) Dell computers have a OEM Diagnostic partition (FAT16) this won't be included in the image and if you have to restore the image to a new HD (due to HD failure), the Dell Diagnostic app will be missing.

    The images aren't compressed and are roughly double the size of images created by other imaging software.

    There is no option for creating differential or incremental images.

    There is no option for scheduling image creation. Images must be created manually.

    There is no option for resizing the restored partition.

    The images can't be Validated/Verified.
     
  6. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    there is differential imaging.
    i prefer incrementals myself.

    but yes, Windows 7 imager is rock solid and very good for basic need.
    it never failed me in about 200 ímaging/restore.
     
  7. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I'll have to check it again. I missed that.
     
  8. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    I think differentials only work on file backups.

    There are other problems with the Windows 7 program:

    It takes a long time to create an image, considering that it does not compress.
    It overwrites previous images even if there is enough free disk space to create a new one.
     
  9. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    i rename the folders of the newly created backup.
    it fixes that problem.

    it's just a matter of renaming the folder to the default name before restore.
     
  10. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    it works on system images.
    i know, i've done it.

    i don't remember the exact details on how to to differentials in W7 since i've switched to IFW a few months ago.
    i posted some stuff about it here a few months ago if you don't mind searching for it.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  11. Brandonn2010

    Brandonn2010 Registered Member

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    I don't mind doing full backups so it's good for me.
     
  12. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    moontan,

    Help me out. I've created an image, added a few files to Win7, rebooted and tried to create a diff image but I can't find a way to do it. It just creates another full image.
     
  13. Brandonn2010

    Brandonn2010 Registered Member

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    One more question. I have an external HDD and that's what I keep my image on. If I partitioned it into two; one for a fresh install, the other for an install with all my programs, etc. Would Windows let me choose which partition to save the image to, or would it only see the one physical drive?
     
  14. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Brandonn2010,

    Are you asking about storing images on a external HD? One image taken after you install Windows and another image taken after you have installed your apps? Make sure you rename the first image after it has been created so it is not over-written by the next image.

    Images are files so they can be stored anywhere files can be stored. I put all my images in the same partition. There is no reason to have them in separate partitions.
     
  15. Brandonn2010

    Brandonn2010 Registered Member

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    Yes

    But when I go to create an image it says it may overwrite other images. That's why I thought about having separate partitions. What should I do instead?
     
  16. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    i know i've done incrementals with Win 7.
    i haven't done it for 6 months so at my age, useless information is discarded forever. not enough room on the 'hard disk'. ;)
    some times i can't even remember what i had for supper the night before, so you can imagine that technobabbles stuff. lol

    i know i've posted about how to do it here at Wilders but i can't find the post.
    i'll try to look some more.

    i tried googling it but mostly useless junk came up.

    i'll try looking some more and see what i can find.
    -----------------------------------------------
    edit:
    here's the original post:
    https://www.wilderssecurity.com/showpost.php?p=1854504&postcount=32

    i tried to do it again a few minutes ago and it failed.
    i'll give it another try...
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2011
  17. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    I know the feeling.
     
  18. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    allright,

    the first incremental i tried tonight was done on a secondary internal drive.
    it failed. maybe the disk is running low on disk space but i doubt it.

    maybe 'it' just likes USB drives, as below. ;)

    it was succesful using a USB hard drive.
    you just have to save to the same drive you saved the original, you then get a warning that the original will be overwritten.
    no mention at all of 'incrementals' which makes it a 'hidden' feature.

    only when you try to restore will you be able to choose the incremental's date and time during the process.
     
  19. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    moontan,

    That is great info. I never would have worked it out. I created 3 images to a second IDE HD and as you mentioned there is a choice to restore each of the images when you boot from the Win7 DVD.

    It's weird as the time stamps on the image don't indicate there are multiple images. It looks like a single image.

    I still think it is a pretty poor imaging app, but certainly better than not using an imaging app at all.

    Edit....I've no idea if these are differential or incremental images.
     
  20. Brandonn2010

    Brandonn2010 Registered Member

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    Um, so how do I keep a fresh install image and my other image on the same drive without the fresh image being overwritten?
     
  21. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    The first image will be in a folder called WindowsImageBackup. Rename this folder to WindowsImageBackup1. When you create the next image it will be in a folder called WindowsImageBackup. Rename this folder to WindowsImageBackup2.

    Easy!
     
  22. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    incremental.

    if you have parts 1,2,3,4 and let's say part 2 is missing for some reason, then part 3 and 4 are useless.

    which leads me to this: there's no easy way to delete incrementals, they're 'glued' to the 'base snapshot'.
    which is why i think W7 imaging is best suited for full backups.
     
  23. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    How did you determine they are incremental? How can part 2 be deleted to prove your statement?
     
  24. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    from the few info i've seen about that feature, i've always seen it refered to as incremental and not differential.
    so i always assumed it was incremental.
    i think i may have done some folder size comparison in the past to determine if it was incremental or differential.
    can't really remember, it's all foggy. ;)

    there's no easy way to tell what is what in that Windows imaging folder.
    less alone delete stuff in there.
    it's all long cryptic filenames.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2011
  25. napoleon1815

    napoleon1815 Registered Member

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    Like all things MS, they give you a basic product that third-party companies come in and make better. I think there are plenty of free third-party imaging tools that are better than the built-in Windows 7 one...
     
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