Windows7 - how to image Toshiba laptop?

I am trying to image the system partition on a Toshiba laptop (Satellite C655) using Acronis TI 2010.

It appears that 2 partitions are involved in the bootup; the first physical partition is 1.46GB, has neither a volume label nor a drive letter (per disk management).  The partition's status is Active, Recovery Partition.

The second physical partiton has Windows7 on it, status: Boot, Page File, Crash Dump, Primary Partition.

There is another partition, also no volume label or drive letter, 9GB, status: primary partition.  I suspect this partition has the factory image.

I am rather confused on how to manage imaging here: once I know I can restore the system partition images that I create, then I no longer need the factory image partition.

I am unclear on the role of the first partition and whether boot management is different in Windows 7 than in Vista.  It seems I need to image the first 2 partitions in order to insure recovery.. but not clear on how recovery will be affected if MBR is corrupted or altered after I make the image (e.g. resizing of some partitions).  Am unclear on why the first partition is used / needed: is there a way to eliminate it so that the system partition does not need it if I make it the active partition?

Would sure appreciate if someone could help me understand the critical issues here.

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woolnoirConnect With a Mentor Commented:
A parition being active means that the boot loaded will use it to boot the system , traditionally in recovery situations this allows the recovery environment to try and boot the main OS (in a boot partition) and then if it can fine, if it cant it will boot itself i.e RECOVER.

you 'should' in theory being able to mark the windows 7 partition as active and boot from it, but this depends 100% on how the machine has been setup.

you could test this by using diskpark to set the second partition as active ( ) if it boots you know the answer for sure. If it doesnt you will need to set the active partition back to partition 1.

it looks very much like your 3 partitions are as follows

1) The recovery system, utilities (the bit that actually does the work)
2) The OS installation (wndows 7 in this case)
3) as you suggest a Image of the 'factory default' setup.

Using acronis you have 2 options, either JUST image the windows 7 partition, which will allow restoration if you screw up the OS -or- take an image of the other partitions as well, meaning if the drive dies you can restore all 3 and still have the factory default as a option.

The only partition involved in the boot process SHOULD be the OS installation as its the boot.
If you image the first 2... that wont really allow you to go to factory defaults as the 3rd contains ( or seems to) the image that the recovery partition uses to do the actual restore. The first partition potentially is a linux distribution that is called during the process (or a windows 7 recovery environment).

There should be no reason why you can whipe the 1st and 3rd partitions, leaving only the OS... but this will mean you cannot return to factory defaults. THink of the 1st as being a preinstalled acronis... it does much the same job, only in reverse.

What i would personally do is do a factory reimage (using recovery), then whpe the 1st and 3rd partitions, use something to resize the OS partition to full size of the disk (or make another as a D drive for data). Then you can use acronis to image the whole lot...

This may cause warrenty issues though if you take to a toshiba authorised centre... they will be expecting the recovery partition and image to be there.
SAbboushi-- Acronis TI 2010 offers "Clone Disk" (as opposed to Backup) under Tools and Utilities.  Do you have the User Guide for  Acronis TI 2010?  Under Cloning it goes into partitioning.
See Chapter 20.
SAbboushiAuthor Commented:
woolnoir - thanks for your posts.  I was not able to find anything on the link you provided re the 3 partitions?

>> The only partition involved in the boot process SHOULD be the OS installation as its the boot.
The first partition is the active partition, so doesn't that mean that there is code which is executed BEFORE the boot process continues on the system partition?

And if something happens to the first partition, do you still think I would be able to boot?  i.e. doesn't it appear that the first partition is necessary in the boot sequence?

And thanks - I have the factory image on DVD, just in case.

jcimarron - thanks for your post.  I feel like I clearly understand cloning and partitioning; it is the role of the first partition and HOW to eliminate it and still get the what-is-now-the-2nd partition to boot that is my concern.

In my non-W7 experience, if there is a physical partition ahead of the system partition, then the physical partition order is relevant to a system partition's ability to boot successfully (e.g. if I were to delete the first partition, the system partition now becomes the first partition which would cause a mess without also wiping out the partition pointers that windows maintains).

Hoping someone can help me understand better to allay my concerns!
to be clear, you are right. Currently Partition 1 is booted, which boots your main OS (chains it). You would like (i presume) to test if partition 2 can boot nativly (avoiding the need for partitions 1 and 3) The above link shows the process.
SAbboushiAuthor Commented:
thanks - a little nervous to try booting after making partition 2 active for the reason I cited earlier unless I know I can recover the partition if it does boot, but makes a mess of the partition.  Guess I will just have to give it a shot after imaging the partition again...

unless anyone else has some ideas?
worst case , if it doesn't boot when you make it active boot into the Windows 7 DVD Repair Console>Recovery Tools to open a Command Line, then type:

SELECT DISK # (for Windows 7 disk)
select partition # (for Windows 7 partition)

SAbboushiAuthor Commented:
I would image the boot and recovery partitions just in case and keep them handy.

Then use something like
Free System rescue CD with Gparted partitioning and other tools
GParted Live is a small bootable GNU/Linux distribution for x86 based computers.
It enables you to use all the features of the latest versions of the GParted application.

I hope this helps !
DId you find the courage to try this yet ? :)
SAbboushiAuthor Commented:
Nope - it is my wife's new laptop.  I'm going to wait until the laptop starts misbehaving and I need to restore.  Probably won't be for months!

Thanks again for your help
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