Whole disk backup in Windows 7 64-bit

I created a rescue disk, and I want to make a backup that could be restored to a new drive and booted. Before upgrading to Win7, my company used Acronis.

If I choose to save a system image, will I end up with two copies of everything in /windows and /program\ files and so forth? Should I remove these from the backup tree? Or is it smart enough to skip the duplicates?

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  1. Do you mean will you have two copies after a restore?
    If I want to backup my boot drive, I generally use Acronis to clone the drive onto a spare drive and put that one away somewhere.
  2. I'm misunderstanding something here. The rescue disk normally only contains the software needed to boot and restore a backup, not the backup itself.

    The way you stated it, it sounds like you have a current backup on the rescue disk and now want to put a new backup onto it but are worried about having two copies instead of it over writing parts of the previous backup.

    I've used a few versions of Acronis, and I don't recall ever being able to put the backup on the rescue disk itself.

    I think you need to clarify the situation.
  3. OK. I made a rescue CD. Put the CD in a drawer. Forget about it.

    I'm using the built-in backup to back up my drive to a USB drive. I want enough info on the backup that I could take a new, empty drive, slap it in the machine, boot from the CD I made in the last paragraph, restore the backup, and boot the machine. I should have everything back.

    Now, with other backup tools I would just image the whole disk. but this offers a "system image" option plus a checklist of directories. The question is: if I choose the "system image" option plus the whole drive (excluding my CD library), will the image be spuriously large because it will contain two copies of some things, one because they are in the "system image" and one because I chose to backup the whole disk which includes /windows and /program\ files and so forth.

    Hope I got it clear this time. Many words. My fingers are sore.
  4. Sorry about the extra typing. The part I was missing is the windows backup. Unfortunately I've never used the windows backup (since XP anyhow) so I can't give you a definitive answer and won't be of any use to you.

    I would hope the backup software would be smart enough to dedupe files, but murphy's law may kick in and throw you a surprise.

    Hopefully someone else can provide you an answer.
  5. You want to clone the new disk from what I'm understanding? Or are you trying to clone via a back up?
  6. Best answer
    Windows server 2008, Vista and 7 use the same Windows backup software. If you choose the bare-metal backup, you can restore the backup later on to different hardware with just a win-7 installation dvd. It will work out driver differences etc for you.

    Coincidentally, we actually ran this test this morning - we backed up a virtual 7 machine and made a complete successful restore to a laptop.

    The only real caveat is disk space - if your source is a 1TB drive, you need at least 1TB on the destination - and this is the kicker - even if you only have a 100GB active partition, it works on the physical drive space, not any partition sizes on it.

  7. forgot to add - Google wbadmin to find all sorts of command-line options to bypass the extremely limited GUI.
  8. Thanks to all, but I'm not going to use the built-in backup after all. It gives me a message that it's out of backup space while the drive still has 200 GB free. I've searched for resolutions to that, and none of them fit my case.

    kyarvs - if it's based on partition size, that might explain my error.
  9. Best answer selected by WyomingKnott.
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