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Imaging, Backup, Ghosting

Last response: in Windows 7
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August 29, 2011 6:28:40 AM

Hi, I'd like to create a backup image of a clean install of Windows + certain applications.

My plan is this: Format my SSD that I am currently using. Install fresh windows 7, do all the updates, install a few choice applications, and then get an image of it to use for recovery. I have a few questions on this topic as well:

1. This is probably obvious, but I want to make sure; I can store the image wherever I like, correct? If I am using an SSD for my boot drive, I can image that, and store the image on a regular hard drive, right?

2. How big will the image be? Is it going to be as big as the entire drive that I back up? I cannot imagine how it would go any differently, but I am hoping for some unrealized magic.

3. Do I need to buy the Ghost software? If not, does it make imaging a whole lot easier to make it worth the price tag?

4. How arduous and time consuming is the actual recovery process?

Thank you.

p.s. Something I just thought of. I don't know how I would do the actual backup without an OS to interface with so maybe I could make the image contain everything except the basic install of windows to cut down on space and time. Is this feasible?
a b $ Windows 7
August 29, 2011 6:41:17 AM


You can back up to any hard disk you choose. The Partition you choose to back up to can be resized to suit - usually if you're backing up to a larger disk, the Partitions are altered accordingly. It won't matter if the original is on an SSD and the image goes to a PATA or SATA disk.

You can get free software which is quite good my my answers are based on Acronis True Image 2011, which I use myself and for my customers.

I can't be much help with question 4 - haven't had to do that yet but when I went from an 80Gb disk with XP on 50Gb and Linux on the rest up to a 1Tb with XP on one Partition of 200Gb, it was immediate and the new disk just took over. The image itself took a little over half an hour to make.


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a b $ Windows 7
August 29, 2011 6:45:42 AM
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1. Yes, but you need a recovery boot cd to boot the computer when you do a restore (I think you probably know)
2. Smaller than your current usage. My system is 45GB of 111GB, also an ssd (vertex 2) and the image made using window 7 is only 38GB. Games and program are compressed, but movie and photowhich is already compressed will not benefit as much
3.Use window 7 backup
4. With ssd and a HDD on usb 3.0, I haven't timed it but it is fast (definitely less than 45 minute, probably within 20).

Edit: I am going to time a backup now and see what I got.

Edit: sorry, I read it wrong. You want recovery process time not backup process time. Well I will post backup process time anyway.
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August 29, 2011 6:50:37 AM

Saga Lout said:

You can back up to any hard disk you choose. The Partition you choose to back up to can be resized to suit - usually if you're backing up to a larger disk, the Partitions are altered accordingly. It won't matter if the original is on an SSD and the image goes to a PATA or SATA disk.

You can get free software which is quite good my my answers are based on Acronis True Image 2011, which I use myself and for my customers.

I can't be much help with question 4 - haven't had to do that yet but when I went from an 80Gb disk with XP on 50Gb and Linux on the rest up to a 1Tb with XP on one Partition of 200Gb, it was immediate and the new disk just took over. The image itself took a little over half an hour to make.



Thank you for your helpful reply. You answered many questions.

Acronis does not seem to be free. I am downloading the trial to try it out, anyway.

Do you know of a way to do a backup of everything after the basic Windows install? So I could automatically initiate all of the Windows updates I would want, immediately after finishing the basic Windows 7 install.

Thanks again.
August 29, 2011 6:53:26 AM

Pyree said:
1. Yes, but you need a recovery boot cd to boot the computer when you do a restore (I think you probably know)
2. Smaller than your current usage. My system is 45GB of 111GB, also an ssd (vertex 2) and the image made using window 7 is only 38GB. Games and program are compressed, but movie and photowhich is already compressed will not benefit as much
3.Use window 7 backup
4. With ssd and a HDD on usb 3.0, I haven't timed it but it is fast (definitely less than 45 minute, probably within 20).

Edit: I am going to time a backup now and see what I got.


Must I use a physical CD/DVD? Couldn't I use a thumb drive?
a b $ Windows 7
August 29, 2011 6:59:29 AM

mmm... yes, I forgot not everyone have a dvd drive now. I couldn't find that option to make boot from usb.

Also, I edited my previous post. I miss read your post. So no I am not going to recovery my system just to time it because it is running just fine. However, I will put a backup time. Sorry.

4:18pm-4:32pm so 14 minutes to backup.
a b $ Windows 7
August 29, 2011 7:07:46 AM

I am pretty sure acronis creates usb boot device. My xp HTPC uses acronic for WD and recovery from sata HDD (old mobo doesn't support esata so I unplug my backup drive from dock and plug it in the case). From my memory, it is also fast, definitely within an hour (possibly within 30 minutes), between 2 HDD. But then again, the image is only 9GB I think. Also, you cannot use acronis for wd on your ssd.
August 30, 2011 6:45:39 PM

Best answer selected by timothy2180.
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