Windows 7 (Pro) 32-bit - Native Imaging

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by luciddream, Dec 1, 2013.

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  1. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    Is it as simple and effective as I've heard it is? I've heard there's no longer any reason to use a 3'rd party solution, it's that good. Can anyone either confirm these claims, or refute them?

    I'd love to hear feedback from people that've been there/done that.

    As far as that goes, even on XP I think it does a decent job with merely that "Use the last known good configuration" message that pops up... without even having System Restore on. Pretty much every time I've ever used that it worked. But granted that wasn't situations involving malware, but just misconfiguration/conflicts from bad software/installs.
     
  2. taotoo

    taotoo Registered Member

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    It works fine and has one or two plus points (one being that the 'main' image is always the most recent - less likely to have a corrupt chain of incrementals). I've found it to be very reliable, but of course some people won't have. Third party offerings often have more features. Up to you. If you prefer something else, it's handy to have as a secondary backup.
     
  3. gbhall

    gbhall Registered Member

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    If I remember properly after trying it once, I found it is a bit all-or-nothing. It images all partitions you may have - fine for many people, but not for those who like to separate OS and data.
     
  4. stapp

    stapp Global Moderator

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    I use Windows images as a secondary backup on Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

    Nothing wrong with keeping a Windows image for when all else is lost :)
     
  5. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    IMO, relying on XP's "last known good configuration" is not nearly enough. I seen it fail more than once. Way too risky! There are free solutions that would make this risk zero.

    Win 7's image making is ok. It's slow but I've not had a failure with it (only restored with it once or twice though.) Keep in mind that if you are using hard drive based backups on Win 7, it always writes the same file name for the image. If you want to keep a baseline for long term storage, you have to move it or rename it. Or the next one will overwrite it.

    You don't mention if you are using hard drive based or optical but hard drive based images are dramatically faster. I just don't want to spend the time swapping discs anymore (plus hard drives are reusable and can store more than one image.)

    I just prefer using other means for both XP and 7. My current faves are free Clonezilla and paid Image for Linux. Neither require installation and run completely outside of Windows. They are both very fast. Between 31 and 36 minutes for 75 GB into USB 2.0 portable hard drives. I have restored images from them many times and never had a failure.
     
  6. guest

    guest Guest

    It is not.

    Backup.jpg

    It's Windows 8's imaging but 7's is basically the same. Although it's true that you can't create an image of your data-only partition, the system partitions have to be included. But I'm not going to use imaging programs to backup my personal files. That has to be done manually, and stored in more than one place. After that, I'll have to open some of those files and take a look at how many files have been copied to check if there's any corruption. Paranoid indeed, but as a person who had lost nearly all of his data in the past, it's too hard to not being paranoid.
     
  7. taotoo

    taotoo Registered Member

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    If images are scheduled, then it will keep each incremental as a shadow copy - so you can have multiple images without renaming anything. I'm not sure if this applies to ad-hoc images or not, and it may require that system restore/previous versions be turned on.
     
  8. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    luciddream,

    It's fine but it is the poorest of all the imaging apps. I'd suggest learning to use something else.
     
  9. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    I am by no means endorsing this approach, just mentioning that it works much better than I would think it would to my experience. I've seen it work most of the time. I use Macrium Reflect currently on XP. v4.2 is great but when 5.0 came along, quite frankly, I'd sooner just trust XP's "last known".
     
  10. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    Thank you for chiming in... I was hoping that you in particular would. Give me a few recommendations based on their own respective merits, not a competition, as to not turn this into an A vs. B thing please...
     
  11. The Shadow

    The Shadow Registered Member

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    Win7's native image-backup lacks two features which are very important to me:

    1. No compression of the image-file.
    2. No validation of the image-file.

    Not to speak for Brian, but if you are looking for freeware I would highly recommend AOMEI Backupper as it's reliable, user-friendly and has all of the features I consider important. If you're willing to buy commercial software, Shadow Protect is very fast and very reliable, but has an objectionable user-validation policy. Acronis True Image is as fast, or even faster, than SP, but when I used it (a couple of years ago) I experienced serious restore problems! My preference is in my sig. ;)

    TS
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
  12. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    luciddream,

    I've never seen a failed restore. Well, maybe one but the target HD failed an hour later so I don't really regard it as a software failure. In my experience all imaging software is reliable even the ones with bad reputations.

    Play with the trials. See which one "looks" like it will suit your needs. Most have the required features, but not the Windows imaging app.
     
  13. guest

    guest Guest

    It does what it was meant to do though: creating images of the system and restore them when needed.
     
  14. HAN

    HAN Registered Member

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    I didn't have a Win 7 box handy so I tested the built-in version for Win 8. If the images are started/created manually, they will overwrite the previous one if that earlier one is not renamed (I renamed the folder that the image creates (with the computer's name.)) System Restore is on for this machine.
    Must say it ran very fast (made to a portable USB 3.0 drive.)

    Except when the drive has a critical error and needs to be replaced. :eek: I am glad to see you're using something that works for you besides just Windows XP's built-in methods.

    I can't offer any opinion on Macrium. I prefer using programs that don't install and image outside of Windows...
     
  15. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Sure does. But it's let down by what it doesn't do.
     
  16. guest

    guest Guest

    Then it depends of each individual's requirement. I personally don't need image verification or image compression. All I want to do is to create backups of my system. You, me, the OP, and everybody else can of course determine whether an imaging app (or any apps) is adequate enough for our needs or not. But let's not forget the main purpose of those programs.
     
  17. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Which is to produce a successful restore. And that might not happen if there is a hardware problem, in particular flaky RAM. We've seen several threads where a user attempted a restore without a prior validation and the restore failed leaving an unbootable system. Bad RAM was the cause. I'm a great believer in a validation prior to a restore. If validation fails, don't try the restore.

    Take the risk if you like as it is a rare event.
     
  18. guest

    guest Guest

    True, that's a valid requirement of you, which I respect. But you can disagree with me when we were discussing about UPS, so I can disagree with you about this one, can't I? :)

    Nah, that's not my style. I still have my Windows disc, a bootable USB drive Windows installation media, and copies of the ISO in case if my images are failed. :D
     
  19. luciddream

    luciddream Registered Member

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    Geez... why would Windows leave out such an obvious, useful component that's a stable in all other products of it's type?

    Oh yeah, this IS MS we're talking about...

    I greatly appreciate all the input. I'm still just as confused, but confused due to knowledge I don't like to see instead of that which I lack. If the native one had verification it's a no brainer. But because it doesn't, it remains an issue to me.
     
  20. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Certainly. Life would be dull if too many of us had the same opinion.

    Here is a summary of what I don't like about Windows imaging.

    It doesn't image FAT/FAT32/Linux 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 partition will be missing.

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

    It can create incremental images. The extra image is added automatically to the base image and you only find out about it when you try to restore as you see a series of dates.

    There is no option for resizing the restored partition.

    You can't restore into a smaller partition (eg if you want to transfer your OS to a SSD).

    The images can't be Validated/Verified.

    You can't move the backup image to another folder as the restore process won't find it.

    It can't image partitions larger than 2 TB.
     
  21. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    In UEFI systems with Windows 8.1, it backs up by default the EFI System partition, which is FAT 32. Also the OS and WinRE partitions, of course.
     
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2013
  22. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    Robin, that's something I haven't been able to test yet. I'm sure you are correct but I've only tested non UEFI systems.
     
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