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Windows 7 Backup Questions

Posted on 2010-08-27
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Last Modified: 2012-05-10
Hi folks, I've been using Windows 7 Backup for a while, and generally speaking I like it.

Recently I realized the space used by the WindowsBackupImage folder was around 200 GB, so I deleted all but the monthly backups, which freed up 170 GB. Unfortunately the space used by Windows Backup remained the same. Is there any way to shrink this image?

Also, how can one get access to view the contents of the WindowsBackupImage folder? It's so annoying to get "access denied" to anything when my account is already in the Administrator group. IMO, if Microsoft wants to keep dangerous, ignorant users away from system files then the default group for their accounts should be Power Users, or something with restricted access.

Many thanks in advance for any responses,

Chris
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Question by:chriswight
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Expert Comment

by:Nol888
ID: 33546290
The WindowsBackupImage folder contains a single image of your boot drive, and it is impossible with Windows Backup to selectively choose which folders should be included in the image. The only way to free up that space would be to not take a system image.

When you get "Access denied," you should also receive a prompt that allows you to edit the permissions to allow you access, if you so choose. Otherwise you can do it manually via Properties->Permissions.
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by:chriswight
ID: 33546339
OK, thanks. But I was wondering if there's a way to shrink the image to reclaim the unused space? I know that with Microsoft's ESE database files, for example, it is not possible. An empty database with a bunch of white space just has to be blown away and recreated, which, if you think about it, is kind of lame.
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by:Nol888
ID: 33546381
I'm not sure how the Windows Backup takes the image internally, but I'm relatively certain that it creates a new image every time, as selectively modifying the image would be too unreliable.
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Expert Comment

by:jcimarron
ID: 33546562
chriswight--Did you reboot after deleting the various backup files?

To get access to the Backup files, right click on one|Properties|Security tab.  See what permissions are allowed for each category of user. Click Advanced.  Pick your user category and click Change Permissions.  Make appropriate changes.  Apply.  (This suggestion assumes you did not get a message when you first tried to open the file that sounded pretty ominous, but had a Continue button.  Click Continue.)
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Author Comment

by:chriswight
ID: 33547180
J, alright I rebooted, and, well, the WindowsImageBackup folder is now 30 GB (which seems to accurately represent the size of the backup sets I kept). So, thanks for that!

However, in Backup & Restore, Manage Space, Space usage summary, the Data file backup is 13 GB, and the System Image is 77 GB. If I view the Properties of my data drive, where the backup is created, it shows 150 GB used, even though the total size of folders on that drive is around 60 GB.

Hmm. Is Windows Backup using this space, as the Space usage summary seems to suggest? If so, where is it? Is it possible to free up this space? Thanks.
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by:jcimarron
ID: 33547552
chriswight--Open Start|Computer.  Click on the drive involved.  Do you show 150 GB used? Open (click on ) that drive.  What do you see?  Navigate to the Backup files. Can you access all the contents to equal 150GB?  If so, can you delete that content if you do not want it?
If not, you have some hidden folders and/or files taking the space.
From Windows Explorer, click Organize|Folders and Search Options||View tab|check "Show hidden files, folders and drives)|Apply.  Reboot.  Start|Computer.  Can you now access those files?
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Author Comment

by:chriswight
ID: 33547804
Hi J, yeah that was kind of my point, that there are obviously some hidden system files I'm not seeing. I've always had "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" enabled, and everything unhidden, since I upgraded to W7 months ago. I'll tinker around with it a bit more. In the meantime if you have any other suggestions it'd be greatly appreciated!
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Expert Comment

by:che6ausc
ID: 33549818
You can view the virtual drive in the WindowsImageBackup by using Gizmo central: http://www.kodyaz.com/tools/how-to-mount-vhd-file-virtual-disk-without-virtual-pc-vpc.aspx.

This will open a windows explorer window and show you exactly the drive that was backed up.  The virtual drive backups are in folders by the date they were backed up.
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by:che6ausc
ID: 33549825
Here is a screenshot of one of my backups attached
Capture.jpg
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by:jcimarron
ID: 33550061
chriswight--Go back to "From Windows Explorer, click Organize|Folders and Search Options||View tab|" but this time UNcheck "Hide protected operating system files".  Apply
Can find the files taking up the space?
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Accepted Solution

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chriswight earned 0 total points
ID: 33551095
jcimarron - I very much appreciate the continued support, but like I said, all files are already unhidden. (I've been supporting Windows systems since the days of DOS, so I know the basics).

che6ausc - I read the article you sent. This looked more like what I was looking for. I downloaded and installed Gizmo, and mounted a VHD image. The size of the mounted drive was around 30 GB. However, I only have two VHD files on my computer, the one I mounted, and another one that's 50 MB.

So my question still stands. Looking at Properties of my data drive, the total used space is 153 GB. The combined total size of all folders on the data drive, including the backup images is 91 GB. So where's the missing 62 GB? It might be coincidence, but in "Manage Windows Backup disk space" space usage summary, "Other Files" are taking up 62 GB.

What are these "Other files"? Is it possible to reduce the space used by them?

This might be more of a Microsoft design question. I also opened a thread on Technet forums:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/w7itprogeneral/thread/6899ab3d-389c-4820-bc5e-c6e840411c77
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Author Comment

by:chriswight
ID: 33703178
Please see the thread at the above link for answers to this question.
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