MS backup/restore reliability

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by guest, May 5, 2013.

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  1. guest

    guest Guest

    Is W7 backup and restore a reliable product? I was looking at creating a single system image to DVD, then set up incremental backups to a USB connected HD. I previously used a third party manager but had problems with it. Need a replacement and was wondering how MS measured up. Would any one recommend it?
     
  2. moontan

    moontan Registered Member

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    i've done a couple hundreds imaging and restore with it.

    it never failed on me.

    it's a little bare in options but very fast and reliable.
     
  3. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    While it's hard to argue with moontan's success using W7 Backup, I don't like (or use) it because of...

    No image-file compression!
    No image-file verification!
    No differential images (I'm not too sure about this one)? :doubt:
     
  4. er34

    er34 Guest

    The first image of a machine is full - all after that for the particual machine are differential (unless you manually delete the previous images/back-ups).
     
  5. er34

    er34 Guest


    I find it very easy to use, with only the options one actually need. I have been using it quite often on many different machines on Windows 7 and Windows 8 ever since the first public beta of Win 7 and it never failed or betrayed me - not even a single time - never. Very reliable :thumb: I've used it on USD drivers or even on DVDs.
     
  6. Cruise

    Cruise Registered Member

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    Not to argue with moontan and er34, but I used Win7 Backup-Restore for a short while and found it to be unreliable.

    A couple of weeks after making my first backup image with it (plus a few follow-on backups) I booted my system one morning and got a BSOD upon initial startup. Additional startup attempts resulted in the same BSOD, so I decided to restore my system using Win7 Backup-Restore. To my chagrin (putting it mildly), it reported an error which precluded any image restore! Perhaps if the program provided a backup-verification (as mentioned by The Shadow), I would have been made aware of a corrupted image at the time it was first created.

    Cruise
     
  7. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    I used Windows 7 backup some time ago. As I recall restores where fast but the creation of images was very slow, and the images were big (no compression). Besides, it was difficult to keep several images, because the new overwrites the previous one. All this was discussed in this forum at the time.

    It also seems that further development of this tool has been abandoned, because, according to MS, very few people use it.

    There are much better backup tools, all of them equally reliable.
     
  8. Wendi

    Wendi Registered Member

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    Having tried W7's backup utility, I completely agree with you (I believe even more reliable). Sure it works, but it lacks features I consider very important, especially those mentioned above by The Shadow.

    As to it being fast, it is no faster than other disk-imagers without compression selected (comparing apples to apples). However, I find compression to be important even with today's large hard drives. Without compression I would require backup storage twice as large as I now have. And as Cruise's experience clearly illustrates, backup validation probably would have prevented his shocking experience when trying to restore his system!

    Wendi
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2013
  9. ratchet

    ratchet Registered Member

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    I have used Paragon for years both free and paid. Like many applications I've used, if the free really works great I just eventually feel the need to purchase to support the product. I have the current version and two or three months ago I removed a driver from some application I in-installed which resulted in the bsod. Paragon failed me, however, I also had a W7's image on a different HD and it restored perfectly. I've since restored with Paragon several times too. What this should tell you is, as often recommended, you should use more than one backup! Once a week I use both programs. In short though, I do believe W7 is reliable.
     
  10. tgell

    tgell Registered Member

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    I have used it without a single problem yet. I did find out one thing though. On a EFI/GPT disk, the system image has to include the whole disk. On a MBR disk I was able to image separate partitions.
     
  11. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    tgell,

    Interesting. I assume the EFI System partition is inclined (FAT32) because the MS imaging app won't image a FAT32 partition on a MBR disk.
     
  12. xxJackxx

    xxJackxx Registered Member

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    Agreed, reasonably fast, reliable, and seriously lacking of options.
     
  13. safeguy

    safeguy Registered Member

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    As far as reliability goes, my experience has been similar to moontan. I have 1 doubt though (and I have yet to verify this) but I believe it doesn't backup the MBR.
     
  14. guest

    guest Guest

    Tnx everyone. I have a lot more to consider than before.

    So MS thinks that few people use their application, meaning over 3rd party offerings or few people do backups? I think the latter.
     
  15. taotoo

    taotoo Registered Member

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    I thought they were actually incremental. My understanding is that the 'full' backup is always the most recent backup - the new sectors get inserted into the full backup, and the old ones get moved out into vss, which gets larger with each additional backup. So no chaining together of incremental backups to restore the most recent backup, and therefore high probability that the most recent backup will restore.
     
  16. Krysis

    Krysis Registered Member

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    Hi guest,
    IMO the inbuilt Windows image program is amongst the most reliable imaging programs available (not to mention that its already on your system!) Plus, you (should) already have a bootable recovery CD (another simple and reliable tool) with which to use when restoring an image.
    Its true that it's not being developed further (Microsoft is trying to move users to its 'File History' program) – but then it does not need to be – it does what it was intended to do! Backup files\folders and image your system! A very easy to use backup and restore program.

    That said, I don't think the inbuilt Windows image backup will do what you are asking – eg, you can save the first (full) image to DVD – but your next subsequent image to an external HDD will also be a full system image. Subsequent image backups to the external HDD will then be differential – as described here:
    ''The system image backup is a disk image of the system saved block by block in a VHD file. This Block-based backup is more efficient at performing the subsequent differential backups, as only the blocks that have changed need to be backed up''
    So using a DVD – External HDD combo would not really stack up.

    My understanding is that the very first image backup is a full system image – subsequent 'images' are differential – but at what point the next image becomes a full image (and Windows Backup may delete the older images) I don't know. I have seen somewhere at what point this occurs, but cannot find the link.

    Regarding the MBR: (an excerpt from Wikipedia)
    ''The native Windows7 imaging facility automatically images the 100MB partition every time. This partition is needed to boot the system since it contains the MBR (Master Boot Record)''
     
  17. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Wikipedia has unfortunately got this wrong. The MBR is outside of all partitions and is certainly not in the 100 MB System Reserved Partition.
     
  18. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    It will do exactly what you want.
    As the others said it is very reliable.

    Panagiotis
     
  19. pandlouk

    pandlouk Registered Member

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    Maybe you read this somewhere else. Wikipedia gives no such info.

    If my memory serves me right Backup and restore will restore the mbr only if a user decides to restore the entire disk.

    Panagiotis
     
  20. Krysis

    Krysis Registered Member

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    Ok – my mistake – I just checked and it looks like I filed this bit of info under the wrong link. Don't know where I got it from now!

    Edit
    The second part of my erroneous post regarding the MBR (and which should not have been posted) should have read -
    '' This partition generally contains the bootmgr file'' (NOT the MBR!)

    (Careless of me not to have checked this out before posting!)
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2013
  21. Acadia

    Acadia Registered Member

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    Microsoft has finally got itself together with Backup/Restore. I will say this: in my non-expert opinion, System Backup is more reliable than System Restore but that is only because Image Backup is so excellent. SR has actually never let me or my wife down in Win7. SR failed often enough with WinXP because of using a different technology but that all changed with Win7 (Vista?).

    If that rare occasion happens when SR fails you in Win7, then you still have that excellent Windows 7 Image Backup to save you. Good luck.

    (Also, if pandlouk says it will work, IT WILL WORK :D )

    Acadia
     
  22. JerryM

    JerryM Registered Member

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    I have restored from the W7 image backup a couple of times; once on each computer. I had no trouble, although I had the images on two different external HD.
    I learned to back more often as the ones I did were a couple of years old, and it took a long time to bring the AVs, and Windows updates up to date.

    Now I am making an image every couple of months.
    Jerry
     
  23. Rich M

    Rich M Registered Member

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    Can one of you familiar with this program please reiterate that the time to create the image file and the time to restore it is not unreasonably long in Windows 7 or 8, because it always was in the past when I tried it.
    Also can you restore directly from the image file without reinstalling Windows first as I feel certain in XP that was a requirement if memory serves me right?
     
  24. Acadia

    Acadia Registered Member

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    My experience: Once I was about to reinstall Windows because my system was completely hosed, could not boot in Windows, even Shadow Protect did not work (the one and only time that excellent program failed me). I put in the Windows DVD to reinstall and it asked me if I wanted to attempt a recovery first (I don't remember the exact wording but you get the idea). I figured that I had nothing to lose so I had it attempt a recovery. Much to my surprise (and relief) it found a recent image that I had made using Win7 and COMPLETELY recovered me, my system was restored as if nothing had happened. This was about 20gig on a 10-year old usb2 external hard drive, took about 40 minutes: among the most grateful 40 minutes of my life. ;)

    Acadia
     
  25. EASTER

    EASTER Registered Member

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    First off, great topic and discussion. Extremely informative and equally helpful for everyone.

    Since i skipped completely beyond win 7 for Windows 8 from XP, i can only share some tidbits to do with windows 8 obviously.

    My experience with restoring unfortunately is grossly limited given the extensive malware research i been involved with ever since windows 98, i deem any topic of this nature always of immense value now and in the future.

    Since February, platform 8 ran reasonably well out-of-the-box for me. Then there was 2 occasions early last month in May.

    I think Windows 8 also has built in it Windows 7 backup/recovery. Noticed it in Control Panel Appleton.

    However short a normally available image, it was time to measure the efficiency of windows so-called REFRESH feature. It went off without a hitch. Apparently it done what i had sometimes done on XP if no applicable images were available at the time. To preserve programs and other vital desktop data in XP the XP install disc would do this so long as you selected to "leave the current (found) file system" intact and not format fresh. Windows 8 auto restores in this manner far more effectively then system restore as pointed out in an earlier post above. When i first tried Windows 8 system restore, it wiped out many of my applications completely and very effectively i might add.

    Windows 8 REFRESH on the upside of matters in comparison SAVED all files and merely moved the ones installed in Program Files to it's own folder along with a List of which ones it moved.

    Only windows 8 did it automatically from the Recovery Partition that i assume also serves as the basis for a reinstall they call RESET.
     
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