Jump to content











Photo

Image your System and Forget about Formatting – Period!


  • Please log in to reply
35 replies to this topic

#1 Jamal H. Naji

Jamal H. Naji

    Frequent Member

  • Tutorial Writer
  • 178 posts
  •  
    United States

Posted 15 November 2010 - 01:28 AM

*
POPULAR

90% of Windows 7 users never used this powerful and reliable feature that is included in all Windows 7 versions, 10% only of those 90% know it’s there, but they haven’t thought of trying it, due to the lack of experience, or they do have other solutions from different vendors, the rest of those 90% they have no idea of what I am talking about.

Windows 7 users fall in 2 parts, either they have their Windows 7 pre-installed on their PCs, or they have their own Legal or illegal copy of Windows 7, they use it to install on their computers.

The first part (the ones that do have Windows 7 factory pre-installed on their PCs when they purchased it), have by default often the privilege of system recovery of their OS, as pre-installed by the factory, so they can go back to the state where they first time bought their PCs and used it, and that process takes no less than 1 hour to finish that recovery, and they have to spend no less than 4 other hours to remove the default junk-ware that comes pre-installed on their PCs, and updating the OS and installing their own software they use normally, and adjusting the behavior and the look of their OS the way they like.

My neighbor needs 2 days to finish his Vista PC, where he needs to install over 150 critical security updates from Microsoft and 2 service packs, before he starts installing other software he uses like Office + updates+ acrobat reader + PDF writer, Java, real player, etc.., and in the end he has to make sure his Windows looks and behaves the way he likes, this is a very frustrating and annoying process, and a huge waste of time an energy, not to mention how much it takes from the internet bandwidth he has to finish all those updates. Many times he had to re-do the recovery again because while he was doing it first time it didn’t went Ok with him, and he didn’t like the way his PC behaves, and he crashed his system while doing that, so he had to re-do all this again, he is lucky to work with his PC for another month before something bad happens to his system, get infected with a nasty virus or any bad stuff from the net, or gets repeated crashes in his system from installing and uninstalling software or games, so he repeats all that again and again and again, he told me he had re-recover his PC at least 20 times last year alone, I believe him, because I know people do more.

People who do fall in the second part (the ones they do have their own legal or illegal copy of Windows), they do suffer more; because they have to go with that nasty exhausting process of re-activating their Windows after every format they do to their systems. People in the United States are luckier than other people around the world, they can do it in the states with less than 10 minutes over the phone, but for example in the middle east, they have to spend some money to do an international call to the activation center at Microsoft, and often it doesn’t work from first time with them, they have to adjust the Regional and Language options to the default US language and location, before they succeed with the activation! That’s if the phone line didn’t drop or disconnect during that process.

To both categories, I say why is all that suffer? Why don’t you simply after you recover or reformat your PCs and install everything you need, and you are ready to use your PC, why don’t you simply make a system Image, so when anything bad happens to it, you just go back to that image, and recover your PC in 10 minutes or so.

What you will learn in this tutorial?
• How to make a system image and how to recover your system from that image.
• How to make a bootable system repair CD, an essential tool to use when your system crashes and you are not able to boot it up, you can use this CD to recover your PC from the system image you made in 1 above.
• How to make a system repair USB, so in case you do not have a CD-Burner, and you cannot make or use the system repair disk, you will be able when using the USB to recover your system.
• Also we will learn how to recover a specific file or a group of files from that image.
==============================================================

The Tutorial

A- How to make a system image:
• Before we start this, I should note that it is ideal that you should image your system when it’s in perfect condition, so you can always go back to that perfect state in case of disaster recovery.

1- Click on start button, browse to All Programs, browse to Maintenance, expand it, you will see the Backup and Restore option, and the Create a System Repair Disk option, click on the Backup and Restore:

Posted Image

2- From the next screen click on Create a System Image:

Posted Image

3- The Wizard will start in the next couple of seconds to look for a place to save this image:

Posted Image

4- Then will stop on this screen where you will have several choices like where to save the system image that you will make, either on another partition on your hard drive, or on an external USB hard drive that you can attach to your PC, or burn that image to several DVD media, or save it on another PC on your network, the choice here is yours, When you finish deciding where you want to save that image,(Personally I prefer to save it on an external USB HDD) then hit the next button :

Posted Image

5- Next screen you will see the option of what you want to back up besides the system itself, in this tutorial we will leave it to the default and hit next button:

Posted Image

6- Next you will see a confirmation window that shows you the backup location and the partition that will me imaged, click on start backup button, the imaging process will take some time depending on the size of the data on your C drive where the Windows is installed:

Posted Image

7- And when done you will have the option to make a bootable System Repair Disk to offline recover your PC with, so in case your system is damaged and you can’t boot your PC and logon to your Windows, as I said earlier. Now if you do have a CD-Burner, then insert a blank CD and hit yes button to do so, but if you do not have a CD-Burner, we will talk about this issue later, and explain the solution to solve this matter in details:

Posted Image

8- The image you have created will be by default in a folder named Windows Image Backup, and now we successfully created a system image:

Posted Image

B- How to Recover your system in case of disaster:

• This falls into 2 categories, the 1st one if you are able to logon to your Windows, and the 2nd one in case your system fails to boot and logon to Windows, we will cover them respectively:
1- If you after a while of using your PC and let’s say got infected with a virus or your system is crashing often, and you want to recover it to the previous state when you made that perfect state system image as we did above, and you are still able to logon to your Windows and you can see the desktop, then click on start button, browse to All Programs, browse to Maintenance, expand it, and click on the Backup and Restore option:

Posted Image

2- From the next screen click on Recover system settings or your computer:

Posted Image

3- Next screen click on Advanced recovery methods:

Posted Image

4- Next screen click on Use a system image you created earlier to recover your computer:

Posted Image

5- Next screen you will be asked if you want to backup your files that you have on C drive (documents, pictures, music, video, favorites, etc.), if you do then click on backup now:

Posted Image

6- Next the system will prepare to backup your files before it makes the recovery:

Posted Image

7- And you will be provided the option of where to save those files:

Posted Image

8- After you finish the backup of your files and saving them you will have to click on restart button, so to start the recovery :

Posted Image

9- The system will restart and the recovery wizard begins with this window, click next:

Posted Image

10- The wizard will search all drives for the image you made, and will choose it by default, click on next:

Posted Image

11- Click on next also from the following screen:

Posted Image

12- Click on finish to start the recovery process:

Posted Image

13- Click on yes on the last warning and confirmation window:

Posted Image

14- The re-image will start, and will take maybe some 10 minutes or so for a 25 GB of data in size, means it is not a lengthy process:

Posted Image

15- When done the computer will restart automatically in 60 seconds:

Posted Image

16- Now your computer will logon to its previous healthy state, and you will see this window asking you if you want to restore your files you saved them in previous steps 5, 6. And 7 above, click on Restore my files if you have done so, otherwise you can skip this, by pressing on cancel button:

Posted Image

17- You would see this window where you can browse to the location of your saved files that you want to restore:

Posted Image

C- How to use the System Recovery Disk, and why we need it:

• We learned in step A-7 above how to make a system recovery disk , and we also learned that we need a System recovery Disk to use it to offline recover your PC from the image you made previously, in case your system is so damaged and you are not able to boot it up and logon to your Windows, therefore you are not able to launch the recovery wizard from within Windows, here is how to use this recovery Disk:
1- When you boot your PC with this recovery disk, by default the wizard will assume that you are not able to start your PC, and will try to fix this issue before going into the recovery process, follow steps below:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

2- In some cases the wizard fails to automatically fix the Windows start-up:

Posted Image

3- Click on finish to proceed to more recovery options:

Posted Image

4- From the next screen choose System Image Recovery, which is what we want to do:

Posted Image

5- Now you will see similar procedures like you saw in steps B-10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 above, where you learned how to recover your system from an image.

Posted Image

D- How to make a System Recovery USB thumb drive, and why do we need it?

• Many Windows 7 PCs don’t have a CD-Burner, like for example the netbooks, so they need an alternative solution. By doing a system recovery USB thumb drive we solve this problem.
- Study case # 1
- (You already have a System Recovery Disk, and you want to record on USB thumb drive)
1st-method
a- You need a Windows 7 based PC to work with this method, and you need to turn off the UAC (user account control) completely, and reboot your PC before you start with this tutorial, also you need to execute all steps in elevated privileges (Run as administrator).
b- You need to have the System Recovery Disk handy (the one you have made previously in step A-7 above), insert it into the CD-Rom drive, and make sure you know its drive letter.
c- You need a 512 MB or better USB 2.0 or better clean, empty, & healthy thumb drive, attach it to your PC and make sure you know its drive letter.
d- Press WIN key + R the Run command will start, type diskpart and press OK:

Posted Image

e- the cmd will popup and diskpart will start:

Posted Image

f- Type list disk and press Enter key (watch for spaces between letters when you type in all the following steps):

Posted Image

g- Type select disk 1 and press Enter key (disk 1 is my thumb drive, yours maybe different, so watch out for this):

Posted Image

h- Type clean and press Enter key:

Posted Image

i- Type create partition primary and press Enter key:

Posted Image

j- Type select partition 1 and press the Enter key:

Posted Image

k- Type active and press Enter key:

Posted Image

l- Type format fs=ntfs quick and press Enter key:

Posted Image

m- Type assign and press Enter key:

Posted Image

n- Type exit and press Enter key, and close the cmd window:

Posted Image

o- Now copy all the contents of the System Recovery CD to the USB thumb drive:

Posted Image

p- And you are done, you can boot your PC now with the USB you just made and use it for recovery and repair, the files inside the USB thumb drive now should look like this:

Posted Image

2nd-method

a- You need a Windows 7 based PC to work with this method, and you need to turn off the UAC (user account control) completely, and reboot your PC before you start with this tutorial, also you need to execute all steps in elevated privileges (Run as administrator).
b- You need to have the System Recovery Disk handy (the one you have made previously in step A-7 above), insert it into the CD-Rom drive, and make sure you know its drive letter.
c- You need a 512 MB or better USB 2.0 or better clean, empty, & healthy thumb drive, attach it to your PC and make sure you know its drive letter.
d- You need to download the RMPrepUSB tool (the portable version) from HERE, and extract the zipped file to a folder onto your desktop:

Posted Image

e- Open the folder you just downloaded and execute (RMPREPUSB.exe), follow the steps in picture below, and (watch out in the 6th step that you are browsing to the CD-Rom where the system repair disk files are):

Posted Image

f- Press OK on this:

Posted Image

g- And press another OK here:

Posted Image

h- And wait for this to complete:

Posted Image

i- Files will be copied from the CD to the USB thumb drive automatically, do not interrupt:

Posted Image

j- When done you should see this, press OK:

Posted Image

k- Now press the Eject Drive button and then on the confirmation window click on OK, then finally click on Exit to close the program:

Posted Image

• Now you are done, and you can use this USB thumb drive as a System Repair USB for Windows 7, and do recovery stuff with it.

-Study case # 2 –

* You do not have a CD-Burner in your PC, and you need to have a System Repair USB instead for your Windows 7 to do recoveries and backups. Here is what you need and how to do it:
a- You need a Windows 7 based PC to work with this method, and you need to turn off the UAC (user account control) completely, and reboot your PC before you start with this tutorial, also you need to execute all steps in elevated privileges (Run as administrator).
b- You need a 512 MB or better USB 2.0 or better clean, empty, & healthy thumb drive, attach it to your PC and make sure you know its drive letter.
c- You need to show the hidden files in your PC, some users do not know how, so I am going to show them how to do this:
- Go to the C drive in your PC

Posted Image

- Follow steps below to show all system hidden files:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

d- Now all hidden system files are shown, I want you to open that Recovery folder in C drive:

Posted Image

e- Also open that folder with lots of numbers and letters you see there:

Posted Image

f- Now you will see 2 files inside that folder, I want you to right click on them and choose COPY, go one step backwards to the root of that folder and PASTE them there, and close all opened folders after done:

Posted Image

Posted Image

g- Now I want you to do exactly the steps you see in D-/study case # 1 / 1st method ( steps from a to n included), BUT DO NOT CLOSE THE cmd Window, we will need it now, this is what you should see after your last step:

Posted Image

h- Now type mkdir n:\boot n:\sources (where n is my thumb drive, so change this letter to the one you actually have) [watch very carefully the spaces between letters when you type on all the following steps] and press the Enter key:

Posted Image

i- Type cd c:\recovery and press Enter key:

Posted Image

j- Type xcopy /H boot.sdi n:\boot and press Enter key (note that n is my thumb drive, change it to yours):

Posted Image

k- Type xcopy /H Winre.wim n:\sources\boot.wim and press Enter key (note that n is my thumb drive, change it to yours):

Posted Image

l- Now just type F and do nothing, do not press any other key, just wait for a few seconds until you are able to type again:

Posted Image

m- Type xcopy /H c:\windows\boot\dvd\pcat\bcd n:\boot (where n is my thumb drive, so change it to yours), and press Enter key:

Posted Image

n- Now type xcopy /H c:\windows\boot\dvd\pcat\en-us\bootfix.bin n:\boot (where n is my thumb drive, so change it to yours), and press Enter key:

Posted Image

o- Type xcopy /H c:\windows\boot\pcat\bootmgr n:\ (where n is my thumb drive, so change it to yours), and press Enter key:

Posted Image

p- Type attrib -r -s -h /s n:\* (where n is my thumb drive, so change it to yours), and press Enter key:

Posted Image

q- Now last thing to do is type exit to close the command window:

Posted Image

r- Now we are done and the USB thumb drive is now ready and bootable, and you can test it if you want, the files inside the thumb drive now should look like this:

Posted Image

E- How to add & remove files from a system image in Windows 7?

• Windows 7 provides a failsafe solution of recovering your entire hard drive, and restoring back all your lost files in case of a catastrophic event happens to your system like total hard failure, while system protection only will allow you to keep a restore point and backup to an existing known good state, we find that system image provides a total perfect and complete solution to recover every bit of your hard drive.
• As you learned earlier how to make a system image and how to recover your PC using that image, and also you’ve learned how to make and use a System Recovery Disk, and how to make and use System Recovery USB, now you will learn how to add or remove files to that system image you made.
• The System Recovery Image is actually a VHD file, means it’s a virtual hard drive, that can be explored as a real hard drive, and as a result you can add or remove files to it, let’s see how:
A- This is the backup folder that contains the system image:

Posted Image

B- If you explore that folder you would see the VHD file I am telling you about:

Posted Image

C- To be able to open that virtual hard drive and add or remove files to it, 1st thing you do is right click on My Computer, and choose Manage:

Posted Image

D- Computer Management will open, from the left side choose Disk Management, and from the Action in the menu bar choose Attach VHD:

Posted Image

E- Browse to the VHD file where your system image folder is:

Posted Image

F- A new hard drive will show in the disk management:

Posted Image

G- And the AutoPlay popup will show exactly as when you attach an external USB hard drive:

Posted Image

H- And if you explore My Computer you will see the newly attached hard drive there:

Posted Image

I- And you can explore that hard drive and start to add or remove files to it:

Posted Image

J- When you are done, you need to turn off that hard drive 1st , from disk management right click on the grey color area of the hard drive, and choose Offline:

Posted Image

K- Next you need to Detach it, so right click again on the same spot you will see the Detach VHD option there, click on it:

Posted Image

L- A confirmation window will popup, with the option to delete that image if you want, but in our case we will leave it unmarked, and just hit that OK button to detach the system image VHD.

Posted Image
=========================================================
My Other Topics & Tutorials HERE
===========================================
Guests of Boot-land can download a PDF version of this tutorial from HERE
===============================================================

Attached Files


  • Nuno Brito, Master of Disaster, Fedrico Garcia and 9 others like this

#2 Rootman

Rootman

    Frequent Member

  • Advanced user
  • 243 posts
  • Location:USA

Posted 15 November 2010 - 02:06 PM

Wow Jamal! Quite a tutorial. Very well made. Very wel thought out.

What baffles me is MS's insistence in making things like this so difficult. I use Ghost weekly on my system, I boot to a PE disk and Ghost it to a spare drive. I can use Ghost Explorer to restore at the file level or reboot back to PE and use Ghost to restore the whole drive. While I know this option is not available to many users it is SOOO much easier than the stuff MS makes you jump through to get your system back.
  • Jamal H. Naji likes this

#3 Wonko the Sane

Wonko the Sane

    The Finder

  • Advanced user
  • 13752 posts
  • Location:The Outside of the Asylum (gate is closed)
  •  
    Italy

Posted 15 November 2010 - 03:22 PM

What baffles me is MS's insistence in making things like this so difficult. I use Ghost weekly on my system, I boot to a PE disk and Ghost it to a spare drive. I can use Ghost Explorer to restore at the file level or reboot back to PE and use Ghost to restore the whole drive. While I know this option is not available to many users it is SOOO much easier than the stuff MS makes you jump through to get your system back.

Well, but not only Ghost exists, there are several Freeware alternatives that can do the job.

To remain within boot-land, Clonedisk:
http://www.boot-land...?...ic=8480&hl=
http://erwan.l.free....edisk/body.html

can already do most of what you would do with Ghost.

@jamal

Very, VERY nice work! ;)

;)
Wonko
  • Jamal H. Naji likes this

#4 Jamal H. Naji

Jamal H. Naji

    Frequent Member

  • Tutorial Writer
  • 178 posts
  •  
    United States

Posted 16 November 2010 - 12:49 AM

*
POPULAR

Thank you Rootman and Wonko,
I actually was willing to make this tutorial strictly with Microsoft, means without using anything else other than Windows features, and as an option and contribution, I added the use of RMPrepUSB tool because it's a boot-land community tool.
Thank you again for your nice words.
  • Fedrico Garcia, Estefan Wehbe, AM AM and 4 others like this

#5 Rootman

Rootman

    Frequent Member

  • Advanced user
  • 243 posts
  • Location:USA

Posted 16 November 2010 - 05:36 PM

To remain within boot-land, Clonedisk: . . . can already do most of what you would do with Ghost.


Yep, although I have found NO free app that works as fast, compresses as well or allows file level restore or works quite as well as Ghost.

It's a shame Symantec can't make it more affordable and available to the public in a usable form.

#6 al_jo

al_jo

    Gold Member

  • Members
  • 1218 posts
  • Location:Tellus

Posted 16 November 2010 - 06:07 PM

I'm using the free Macrium. It makes an image in less then 2 minutes and restores the full image from DVD in about 10 minutes!
Concerning winbuilder tools there is Dixml and Easeustodobackup!

#7 Jamal H. Naji

Jamal H. Naji

    Frequent Member

  • Tutorial Writer
  • 178 posts
  •  
    United States

Posted 16 November 2010 - 07:21 PM

*
POPULAR

Yep, although I have found NO free app that works as fast, compresses as well or allows file level restore or works quite as well as Ghost.
It's a shame Symantec can't make it more affordable and available to the public in a usable form.

Ok Rootman, since you are a Ghost fan, you might find my topics HERE, and HERE useful to you in some way.

Although the purpose of this topic is to use a feature included by default in Windows 7, that as I said, 90% of Windows 7 users never used it, while its free and very reliable, never fails to recover every bit of your hard drive every time, also the feature of dealing with the System Image as an attached hard drive so to add/remove files to it with ease, makes this a very welcome feature for any user of Windows 7. regards
  • Fedrico Garcia, Estefan Wehbe, AM AM and 4 others like this

#8 al_jo

al_jo

    Gold Member

  • Members
  • 1218 posts
  • Location:Tellus

Posted 16 November 2010 - 07:59 PM

;)

Ok Rootman, since you are a Ghost fan, you might find my topics HERE, and HERE useful to you in some way.

Although the purpose of this topic is to use a feature included by default in Windows 7, that as I said, 90% of Windows 7 users never used it, while its free and very reliable, never fails to recover every bit of your hard drive every time, also the feature of dealing with the System Image as an attached hard drive so to add/remove files to it with ease, makes this a very welcome feature for any user of Windows 7. regards


Again: There is better free ”tools” out there:
Macrium Reflect
Paragon
Dixml
& many more...

#9 steve6375

steve6375

    Platinum Member

  • Developer
  • 6629 posts
  • Location:UK
  • Interests:computers, programming (masm,vb6,C,vbs), photography,TV,films,guitars
  •  
    United Kingdom

Posted 19 November 2010 - 11:45 PM

a- You need a Windows 7 based PC to work with this method, and you need to turn off the UAC (user account control) completely, and reboot your PC before you start with this tutorial, also you need to execute all steps in elevated privileges (Run as administrator).


RMPrepUSB works with any OS XP or later and does not need UAC turning off or an admin account???

#10 fxchby

fxchby

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 17 posts

Posted 20 November 2010 - 02:50 AM

@ jamal
this a KILLER tutorial.cant be bettar.WOW is all ican say.

@ al_jo
u r big rong 4 sure. using any third party soft other than the built in win7 is the first big disadvantage. secondly if u wana use macrium u have to download+instal.and if u wana use u need to use 3 more soft to install in usb..all these r disatvantages and delay and last thing u want 2 tell a win7 user is to download 4 programs he knows nothing about just to make a system image witch is already there as a bilt in feature in win7 and is very fast and relible..also u have the big advantage of using the VHD as hard disk..and that is not available not just in macrium but all other cloning third party soft.sorry u loose here big time if u compare the win7 system image with any other cloning soft.

@ steve6375l

RMPrepUSB works with any OS XP or later and does not need UAC turning off or an admin account???


sory steve ur way wrong..ofcourse we need admin rifgts to use ur tool..u should know bettar and not rush with ur conclusion against a tutorial writer we all know he cant be wrong in his posts..he never had so far.and who said anything about xp in a win7 tutorial steve?

Posted Image


@ jamal.. thank u again for ur briliant work..i know this takes lots of time and efort to do a very nice job like this..congratulazion

#11 Shirin Zaban

Shirin Zaban

    Frequent Member

  • Tutorial Writer
  • 423 posts
  • Location:Tehran
  • Interests:1_Making Unattended and Customized XP<br /><br />2_Making different types of Bootable and Multiboot CD/DVD<br /><br />3_Like to learn more about grub and grub4DOS
  •  
    Iran

Posted 20 November 2010 - 07:09 AM

Hi dear jamal

Really very nice and complete tutorial
Thanks a lot for very good work and share

shirin zaban
  • Jamal H. Naji likes this

#12 mirecek1965

mirecek1965
  • Members
  • 2 posts
  •  
    Slovakia

Posted 20 November 2010 - 07:29 AM

Very nice tutorial, thank you. I am very lazy and there is too many steps to do. Need an app with checkboxes :-D
  • Jamal H. Naji likes this

#13 robjos1

robjos1
  • Members
  • 5 posts
  •  
    United States

Posted 20 November 2010 - 07:52 AM

Jamal,
I'm very please with your work, it looks like you put in some great time. That was a 2 thumbs up. I was one of the 90% that didn't know, now I'm the 10% that knows ,thanks Jamal.
  • Jamal H. Naji likes this

#14 davlak

davlak

    Frequent Member

  • Advanced user
  • 224 posts
  •  
    Italy

Posted 20 November 2010 - 08:55 AM

WOW!
very interesting and usefull tutorial.
thanks for your hard and perfect job JAMAL ! :hi:
  • Jamal H. Naji likes this

#15 alharaka

alharaka

    Newbie

  • Members
  • 11 posts
  •  
    United States

Posted 20 November 2010 - 09:29 AM

Thank you Rootman and Wonko,
I actually was willing to make this tutorial strictly with Microsoft, means without using anything else other than Windows features, and as an option and contribution, I added the use of RMPrepUSB tool because it's a boot-land community tool.
Thank you again for your nice words.


Thanks, jamal. This is some really useful stuff. I had done this myself when upgrading from Vista to 7 as a last resort at work; the ability to mount the virtual hard disk within Windows made it very useful to recover work files I had completely forgotten about. As you hint at, and I had mentioned it co-workers at that time and few new about this functionality or cared. At one point, I think I was even scheduling these backups to a large external drive for that same desktop to get a number of good backups over time.

Of particular note, and it does not seem you mention it after re-reading is perhaps the best part of VHD's: you can boot from them natively with some fun and useful diskpart commands. See here for more details. I believe the only caveat to be that it is for Windows 7 or newer (it cannot boot Windows Vista VHD's). This is awesome if your system is completely hosed and you need to get up and running.
  • Jamal H. Naji likes this

#16 RobCr

RobCr
  • Members
  • 1 posts
  •  
    Australia

Posted 20 November 2010 - 12:40 PM

I would recommend that we get an external Dock ($30), and a 3.5" Seagate drive ($45), and shove the drive into the Dock. The dock connects via USB2 or eSata.
Download the free Seagate DiscWizard(Acronis), and burn it to a bootable CD.
When creating an image, DO NOT DO IT WHILE WINDOWS IS RUNNING, instead boot into the CD.
You can image either -
- The whole drive (Sector by Sector 'Bare Metal')
- All partitions and the MBR (Whole drive, but NOT Sector by Sector)
- One Partition and the MBR
- Any one Partition
You can have any OS in those Partitions.
After you create an image, you can immediately choose the option to Verify the image.
When you need to do a Restore, you boot into the CD, and choose what you wish to Restore.
If you also have the Seagate DiscWizrd installed into Windows, you can run that program to browse past images, and copy out any Files or Folders.

"Now who could argue with that" (Blazing Saddles, in the Church)

PS Do not stuff around with your images -
- Do not Move them
- Do not rename them, nor the Folders they are in
- Do not copy the whole image file (browsing within them, is ok)
Treat them like the family jewels.

Edited by RobCr, 20 November 2010 - 12:52 PM.


#17 Ahmadmansoor

Ahmadmansoor
  • Members
  • 3 posts
  •  
    Syria

Posted 20 November 2010 - 03:56 PM

Thanks Jamal ... :hi: :hi:
  • Jamal H. Naji likes this

#18 Wonko the Sane

Wonko the Sane

    The Finder

  • Advanced user
  • 13752 posts
  • Location:The Outside of the Asylum (gate is closed)
  •  
    Italy

Posted 20 November 2010 - 06:42 PM

Of particular note, and it does not seem you mention it after re-reading is perhaps the best part of VHD's: you can boot from them natively with some fun and useful diskpart commands. See here for more details. I believe the only caveat to be that it is for Windows 7 or newer (it cannot boot Windows Vista VHD's). This is awesome if your system is completely hosed and you need to get up and running.

Not really. :hi:
That way applies only to a sub-set of Windows 7 versions:
http://www.msfn.org/...pt/page__st__49

This one is/will be the reference from now on, as it allows/will allow even other OS's:
http://www.boot-land...showtopic=13075

:hi:
Wonko

#19 Magootwo

Magootwo
  • Members
  • 1 posts
  •  
    United States

Posted 20 November 2010 - 09:26 PM

Very Nice Tutorial, thank you-However
When you format with format quick, you are not acually formating the drive. Granted it's fast and gets you going in a hurry, but watch out! About 3/4 of the way to a full drive you could have a bad block or two. When you image the drive it can cause major problems. Best bet, always do a complete format. I work with a lot of Drives and os's and have seen problems with qf over and over. Recently had bran new drive so I qf it and it would work for a time and then windows would go bonkers. So I tried standard format, wouldn't finish. Long story short, I returned the drive.
  • Jamal H. Naji likes this

#20 Harry Callahan

Harry Callahan
  • Members
  • 6 posts
  •  
    United States

Posted 20 November 2010 - 11:28 PM

Great job jamal. Very thorough. I would just like to say I've used both the Windows Imaging and the Macrium Reflect Pro. I've had both fail at recovery but luckily I had additional images that worked. The main problem I have with "Windows Imaging" on my Windows 7 Pro X 64, is the speed. Macrium does about the same thing in about 1/4 the time. Macrium also has a " verify" option which is indispensible. This always should be used, and all products need this.

I used Norton Ghost many years ago when it first came out. It was a total disaster. There techs could not overcome my problems so they gave me a refund. I never had the desire to try it again.

Harry C.
  • Jamal H. Naji likes this

#21 snowdear

snowdear
  • Members
  • 9 posts
  •  
    Switzerland

Posted 21 November 2010 - 10:11 AM

Yep, although I have found NO free app that works as fast, compresses as well or allows file level restore or works quite as well as Ghost.

It's a shame Symantec can't make it more affordable and available to the public in a usable form.


I use Drivesnapshot (www.drivesnapshot.de) for imaging and restore. It is not free, but very affordable. It's one single exe-file of about 250 KB, that works like a charm on ANY Windows-based PE-solution, USB or CD. It even restores your system partition from e.g. a second HD or partition WITHOUT the need of boot-cds or usb-drives. It makes a backup of your system partition while you work on it. You can restore single files or folders by mounting the image as a drive. The mounted image is accessible with any file manager you prefer.

I think you should give it a try. For me it's a perfect piece of software. There's a trial version version that makes backups for a certain time. Restore is always possible with the trial-version.

Edited by snowdear, 21 November 2010 - 10:12 AM.


#22 mikiem

mikiem
  • Members
  • 6 posts
  •  
    United States

Posted 22 November 2010 - 02:25 PM

Great tutorial

Adding some hopefully useful info -- FWIW & in case it helps anyone...

System Restore [Shadow Copies] can add a considerable amount of size to a backup archive -- turning System Restore off before backing up can sometimes make your backup archives *much* smaller.

* * *

I use Paragon's backup apps -- they're frequently avail. free as covermount editions at various on-line magazines, in Special Editions on Giveawayoftheday.com &/or on Paragon's site, they often have free versions on their site, & sometimes you can get a full version app if you participate in their beta testing programs. The limited editions or versions do not contain their WinPE ISOs -- usually just a much slower *nix ISO instead -- but backup drive/partition images can be restored from LiveXP [or most any bootable Windows disc/USB stick version]... I've seen several comments here at boot-land & in the Paragon forums on how to make their apps portable so they run in LiveXP etc. without install. Many of their backup apps can also put their *.nix ISO on a USB stick for you, so if the slower speed isn't a problem you don't have to create a LiveXP boot disc or USB stick if you don't want/need to. I've found their ability to backup/restore just the 1st track of the boot drive invaluable from time to time, & most installed (vs. portable) versions can mount backup images so extracting individual files is as easy as copying them in Windows Explorer.

You can also use most brands of disk image backup apps to help with virtualization &/or cloning -- you can do it without them, but I look at having a backup in case things go wrong as a big plus. Turning a working Windows install into a VM I start with a disk image backup that I restore to a .vhd in 7 -- then I can shrink the .vhd's partition since there's no need for all that free space, especially if your VM will use a dynamically expanding virtual drive. Further, this step is usually needed if you want to create a Microsoft or Windows VPC VM because disk size is hard-limited. Mounting this temporary .vhd I can also rename folders for AV apps & any hardware-based software like that from Creative Labs & ATI etc. -- by renaming they will not complicate things the 1st time the VM boots, & once the VM is working well the names can be put back to uninstall. Once the .vhd is prepared that way you can use one of Paragon's apps to create a VM from it, try the SysInternals tool, or just transfer to a new virtual hard drive to use with a new VM -- on 1st boot go into Safe Mode -> Device Mgr. & delete system dependent hardware [i.e. graphics hardware etc.] & reboot normally [in effect all some of the earlier Paragon virtualization apps did anyway]. BTW, while a simple copy (if you have storage space) is often preferred, IMHO you can sometimes be better off backing up .vhd &/or most other virtual hard drives using 7-zip or zip than image backup apps -- it's slow, but the size reduction can be substantial... **might** even try it in some circumstances to reduce the storage footprint of Windows backups to .vhd?

While drive/partition image backups &/or cloning, regardless the software used are most often the way to go, don't forget Partition Copying... in my experience the difference is in the file tables -- with partition copy they're new. If/when you have bad sectors/clusters marked on a hard drive, *if/when* the NTFS file tables know about it [i.e. you ran Windows' disk check & it marked them], copying the partition (maybe to a temporary storage partition & back) is IMHO the easiest way to get rid of that -- otherwise many disk apps like defrag won't run. You should of course only get rid of those bad sector records after you repair/replace the drive -- Seagate's DOS-type utility can often repair their drives for example. At any rate, when something like that happens if you backup/restore/clone the drive/partition, the result will have the same marked bad sectors as the original, so the option to copy partitions can be something good to know about. Some Paragon apps &/or EASEUS Partition Master can do partition copy, including to a .vhd or some other virtual hard drives [not formatted -- unallocated space]... you might want to add one of these apps to your tool kit when it's available free.

Finally, as everything else here, purely FWIW... over the years I've found it handy to hold onto old hard drives after an upgrade, keeping them installed solely to store backup archives. I also copy those archives to external hdd & occasionally to DVDs. Most of the times I've needed to restore a backup the archives on that older drive worked best as expected, but as it is an old drive I've also got the external hdd, & in case of some sort of system-wide catastrophe [fire/flood/theft etc] DVDs stored somewhere else would hopefully save the day. [If you don't have someone to give a set of backup DVDs to, perhaps get a P.O. Box & mail them to that box?] I've also found it worthwhile to have a backup image of a fresh install, & otherwise keep the 2 or 3 most recent -- very occasionally a problem won't show up for quite a while, so I have to go back further than the most recent backup.
  • Jamal H. Naji likes this

#23 powaking

powaking

    Frequent Member

  • Advanced user
  • 238 posts
  • Location:Fall River, MA
  •  
    United States

Posted 23 November 2010 - 04:32 PM

Wow nice write up. I suggest you put this up on Google Docs and make a Bit.ly shortcut to it. This way you can keep updating the tutorial while preserving the link.
  • Jamal H. Naji likes this

#24 TheZeDD

TheZeDD

    Member

  • Members
  • 32 posts
  • Interests:Peace?
  •  
    United States

Posted 23 November 2010 - 07:08 PM

Thank You Jamal!
  • Jamal H. Naji likes this

#25 rebell

rebell
  • Members
  • 7 posts
  •  
    United States

Posted 26 November 2010 - 09:20 PM

Yep, although I have found NO free app that works as fast, compresses as well or allows file level restore or works quite as well as Ghost.

It's a shame Symantec can't make it more affordable and available to the public in a usable form.



I use Paragon's free home addition of their Backup and Recovery 10.1. I don't know if it is as fast as Ghost, but then again it's free and works great. I use it all the time when upgrading hard drives for people. Another program you might want to go with the Paragon one is Partition Wizard Home Edition 5.0, which is also free for personal use. Both are extremely easy to use and I have never had a problem with either.




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users