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Can Windows XP be used to backup Windows 7 partition?

Tags:
  • Windows 7
  • Partition
  • Backup
  • Hard Drives
  • Windows XP
Last response: in Windows 7
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May 23, 2011 10:36:29 PM

I plan to install multiple hard drives on a system, and install Windows XP on one hard drive and Windows 7 (64 bit) on the other. Say it was 2 drives, each with 3 partitions:

drive 1
C - boot
D - Windows 7
E - backup

drive 2
F - not used
G - Windows XP
H - backup

Will I be able to use Windows XP (G partition) to backup partition D via a file and folder copy of the Windows 7 partition D (and format + restore D in case of failure) to a folder in partition H? Also will I be able to the same thing using Windows 7 to backup Windows XP?

I'm already using a simular setup but with Windows XP (64 bit) instead of Windows 7 on partition D and it's working just fine.

I use windiff to to a verify after the backup via copy.



More about : windows backup windows partition

a b $ Windows 7
May 23, 2011 11:50:01 PM

I use the built in backup feature in windows 7 to backup my dual boot machine (XP).
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May 23, 2011 11:54:16 PM

My concern is I also have other partition (applications and data). I'll want to share the data partitions between Windows XP and Windows 7, is there an issue here?

Also if I do a "system image" backup with Windows 7, can I specify which partition to backup, or does it backup all partitions?
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
May 24, 2011 12:49:51 AM

XP should be able to back up individual files that are accessible to it. But the version of NTFS in Windows 7 has some advanced features that XP doesn't recognize, such as multiple restore points. When a Windows 7 volume is mounted on an XP system, the older restore points are silently deleted, leaving only the most recent one. This can be an issue if you use Windows 7 backup (which relies on the multiple restore points feature) or if you want to be able to use System Restore to roll back Windows 7 to an earlier point in time.
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May 24, 2011 1:55:02 AM

> restore points

I don't use them. Instead I backup individual partitions to folders in partitions on other drives (including external). I'm hoping I'll be able to continue doing this with Windows 7, but I'm not sure what is forced on or off.

Would there be any point to installing a second instance of Windows 7 on the same system, on a different hard drive (assuming this is even allowed) so that each instance could be used to backup the other?

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a c 209 $ Windows 7
May 24, 2011 3:06:26 AM

I'm not sure why you think you need two copies of Windows 7 in order to back up Windows 7. The simplest way to make a backup of Windows 7 is to use it's built-in backup utility to do an "image" backup. That lets a running Windows 7 system back itself up to another drive.

Watch out for trying to keep multiple versions on the same backup drive though - that's where Windows XP's trashing of multiple restore points will bite you.
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May 24, 2011 5:33:19 AM

sminlal said:
I'm not sure why you think you need two copies of Windows 7 in order to back up Windows 7. The simplest way to make a backup of Windows 7 is to use it's built-in backup utility to do an "image" backup. That lets a running Windows 7 system back itself up to another drive.
The issue is I only want to do an "image" backup of the Windows 7 OS partition, without involving other partitiions, even if I have applications installed on another partition. This is because I do OS updates much more often than application updates, and by keeping the OS and application partitions separate, the recovery time is reduced since I only have to restore the OS partition.

sminlal said:
Watch out for trying to keep multiple versions on the same backup drive though - that's where Windows XP's trashing of multiple restore points will bite you.
I'm not using restore points. I backup an entire partition to a folder on a backup drive. If I have multiple versions, each will be a complete backup in a separate folder on a backup drive.

What I have been doing with Windows XP and what I want to do with Windows 7 is a simple file + folder copy of a partition to a folder on a backup drive. This allows me to later choose which files or folders or partitions to restore if I run into an issue. The reason for using a second instance of an OS (in my case I'm using XP 64 bit for the second instance), the primary OS partition doesn't have any "active" files, and I can do a simple drag and drop copy to do backups or restore of the primary OS partition.

If this gets to be a hassle I may end up minimizing what I use Windows 7 for (probably just a few games), and I'll stick with Windows XP as my primary OS.
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a c 209 $ Windows 7
May 24, 2011 5:50:21 AM

rcgldr said:
What I have been doing with Windows XP and what I want to do with Windows 7 is a simple file + folder copy of a partition to a folder on a backup drive. This allows me to later choose which files or folders or partitions to restore if I run into an issue. The reason for using a second instance of an OS (in my case I'm using XP 64 bit for the second instance), the primary OS partition doesn't have any "active" files, and I can do a simple drag and drop copy to do backups or restore of the primary OS partition.
Doing a file/folder backup of the OS partition, even when using a separate OS to do it, is a bit of a dubious practice. There's more to the OS partition than just the files and folders, and if you loose the drive you may find that you're unable to recover from your backup.

Windows 7 restore points are a much, much cleaner and easier way to do this, but as I mentioned they won't work properly in a machine that's dual-booted with XP. My advice would be to simply convert over to Windows 7 and stop using XP, unless you have some particular program or set of drivers that simply won't work with it.
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May 24, 2011 8:15:09 AM

sminlal said:
Doing a file/folder backup of the OS partition, even when using a separate OS to do it, is a bit of a dubious practice. There's more to the OS partition than just the files and folders, and if you loose the drive you may find that you're unable to recover from your backup.
This has always worked for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 (don't know if it works for server 2008). I routinely do a quick format + restore to defrag my os partitions. I've also changed hard drives and done a restore without any issue. The IT guys at companies I've worked with do a similar thing with Server 2003.

In these cases (XP, server 2003) the OS partitions are just files and folders (except for recycler and volume info, but I don't copy those when I do backups). NTLDR is smart enough to use FATxx or NTFS and BIOS calls to load in the OS itself, so it's not even an issue for boot up. If you change drives, the only issue is the logical drive number from the computers bios may change, in which case you can reassign the order in the systems BIOS, or you may have to edit BOOT.INI to change rdisk(...) value to get the system to boot up.

The only other issue is having to slip stream raid drivers onto an XP install cd-rom if you use a system's BIOS raid drivers for a start from scratch restore.

My main concern is some "enhancement" to NTFS in Windows 7 that doesn't exist in Windows XP. The multiple system restore points are one issue, but I plan to turn off system restore.
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