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Can I make mutiple copies of system image in Win 7

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January 17, 2010 12:21:34 AM

I have two drives on my Windows 7 (64 bit) computer

disk 0 Intel 160 Gb SSD partitioned into c (OS) and a 100 MB reserved partition which was put there as part of the Windows 7 install
disk 1 WD 1 TB HDD with two partitions: drive (D) 600 GB for data and drive (K) 375 GB for backups of my system.


After installing Windows 7, and updates, I successfully used the "create system image" feature to create an image of C: (and the reserved partition) to drive (K).

A few days later after installing my programs, I wanted to make a second system image of (C) but desired to keep the original image since it represented a "clean install" of Windows 7. According to the message during the creation of the second image, it said windows would create multiple images until the space began to fill up on the drive.... then older images would be automatically deleted. Since my (K) drive was only filled to 1/20th of its capacity, I assumed that both images would be saved.

But, in fact, the first image was overwritten leaving me with only the more recent one.

So, is there a way to store multiple copies of a system image? I have done a reasonable amount of searching on the subject with no solution.
January 17, 2010 2:48:50 AM

Hmm you should be able to do it. If you can't figure it out. Try creating the image then move it somewhere else or rename it, manually. Then when your create the new image it can't overwrite it.
a b $ Windows 7
January 17, 2010 5:52:44 AM

Control Panel/System Security/Backup and Restore/Manage Space/System Image/Change Settings. Can you adjust the available space there?
Related resources
a c 209 $ Windows 7
January 17, 2010 4:00:37 PM

Ijack said:
Control Panel/System Security/Backup and Restore/Manage Space/System Image/Change Settings.
Where are you seeing the "Manage Space" link? My Windows 7 Ultimate system doesn't show such a link in the "Backup and Restore" window:




EDIT: Is it because I haven't "Set up backup"? I use a script that runs WinRAR for my normal backups, and only use Windows 7 Backup for my image backups, so I haven't done the "Set Up Backup" thing....
January 17, 2010 4:09:17 PM

Stupid question, Detoff:
Did you save the image under the same filename or a different one?
a b $ Windows 7
January 17, 2010 6:25:15 PM

sminlal said:
EDIT: Is it because I haven't "Set up backup"?

Yes. You'll only see the relevant options if you've set up backup (and the ones for System Restore only if you've configured that option). Quite clever really.
January 17, 2010 7:00:44 PM

Some thoughts and replies:


"Did you save the image under the same filename or a different one?"

Actually, you never get the opportunity to name it.


Re: "manage space option"

I read the help file from Win 7 which spoke of the manage space option. According to the instructions, it says that the manage space option won't be available until you configure a backup for the first time. (as opposed to just a manual system image creation). So, I went in and configure a backup, after which I could open the "manage space" field. Unfortunately, the only options it gave me was to erase the most recent image....nothing about setting parameters which might determine how many system images the disk would hold before it started deleting previous ones.


"Try creating the image then move it somewhere else or rename it, manually. Then when your create the new image it can't overwrite it."


This seems to be the solution offered by most. Initially I had the impression that windows did not play nice if you restored it from a different location. But, perhaps that is not true.

Unlike creating a system image of a local drive, in the case of creating a system image of a network drive, the windows documentation clearly says it can only save one system image. One person on another forum quoted instructions from a windows help file (which I did not come across) that suggested that if you did want to keep older system images on a network drive.... than do what others suggested......to rename and move the system image.

Even so, it irks me that I can't figure out why windows overwrites the original when creating a system image of a local drive, when according to the windows documentation..it shouldn't do this until the disc starts getting pretty full.

Even if I go the renaming route, it seems like a kludge. I was hoping for a more eloquent solution. I am becoming convinced that I need to consider using a separate utility such as Ghost, Acronis true image or consider the free version of Macrium.

http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.asp


Thanks for all your input


January 18, 2010 3:40:48 PM

In "Manage Space" there is a "View Backups" button.
You should be able to see your original image.
Multiple images are kept in one set of files, so it's not obvious what is happening. They are incremental, so that saves a lot of space.
I've been horsing around with the Win 7 backup, as I'm particular about backups.
Some things of note:
When using the system restore CD you create, you should find timestamps for the images. Look closely at options on the menus.
Oddly, they are 2 hours off from the time in Win 7 when you create the image.
Not being able to name your backups is a weakness, so I keep a notepad
log with backup date/times and what they contain.
Tried creating the same image on 2 different disks and that worked.
The restore CD menu will allow you to select the disk you want after it scans the computer for images.
Tried copying the backup image files from one disk to another, but the restore CD menu then only showed the most recent backup whichever disk I selected. But I might have screwed something up in copying or menu navigation.
Didn't pursue it because just doing a Win 7 backup to a second disk is faster than doing a copy, since the Win 7 backup is incremental.
Actually, though I was skeptical of giving up my Ghost 2003 floppy for backups, the Win 7 imaging is better, and faster.
I initially tried Ghost 15. Not only did I need to do a repair on the restored image to get it to boot, IT MADE THE SOURCE WIN 7 SYSTEM UNBOOTABLE.
Bad, bad, bad. Tossed that program.
Ghost Explorer was nice for looking at and extracting data from images,
but I seldom used it.
I have about 15 backups by now, and have restored one or another
maybe 7 times without a hitch.
The backup file(s) size containing them all is only 18gb.
Properties on C: shows about 28GB used, so the Win 7 backup apparently
eliminates slack.
My preference is to put all programs except games to the C:, and I've given it 100GB. Don't have huge apps, but I've got plenty on there.
I use Power Desk Pro directory synching to back up my personal data.
But I just might start using the Win 7 backup for that too when I get comfortable with it.
I'm surprised I'm pretty pleased with it.

--Vic
a c 209 $ Windows 7
January 18, 2010 9:35:31 PM

I've used the Windows 7 Backup a number of times to do image backups and restores of the system drive, and every one has worked perfectly. I'm very pleased with it, although management of the backed-up data is very, very poor (at least without having done the "Setup Backup" thing).

But for my data I like a lot of control over exactly what I back up, when I do full vs. incremental backups, and how the full backups are cycled (weekly/monthly etc). It didn't look to me like Windows Backup was going to be able to meet my needs in that regard, so I've created a PowerShell script which uses WinRAR to do my backups. I know exactly what's backed up where, can easily manage all my backup retentions, and know that my backups contain recovery information which will allow them to be restored even in the face of multiple bad sectors in the backup file.

My problem with Windows Backup is that it's so opaque. That's OK for system images where you just want a "black box" that can backup and restore a whole partition, but for file backups I want a lot of control and Windows Backup doesn't seem to offer that.
!