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Explain Different types of Windows Backup.

Posted on 2011-09-06
Last Modified: 2016-10-27
Please only respond if you have experience with Windows 7 Backup types, and not google links.

I am creating Backups for Windows 7 systems, and am only interested in "System Image" that can be restored.  When I try to schedule backups, I get a screen that gives me an option to backup
1. User Libraries
2. Drives

and then at the bottom has an option of selecting System Image only.
I am interested in Ghost/Acronis like Image backup/restore only, so I am leaning towards the system Image option.

My question is, What am I missing by selecting "System Image" Only, and excluding user libraries or C: drive etc.... Does System Image Include everything as similar to creating a ghost Image, or Acronis Image? if so, why does it give options to backup libraries/data on the same screen?
Question by:aacrz
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

ID: 36490456
system image takes an image of the entire OS drive (usually C)
you can choose to add additional disks too.

excluding user libraries means youll lose all your settings/documents etc.
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 36490486
Ghost and clonezilla are your best bet, they will image everything.

It's hard to create a true system image backup within the OS because so many files are locked from read access.

Both of the above products will backup everything bare metal from a seperate OS (Dos or Linux) and make a  image file on an external hard disk.


Author Comment

ID: 36490497
That is the confusing part for me.

In Acronis/Ghost, if you create an Image, It is an Image of that Hard drive, so it includes everything that is on that drive, and when you restore it, it is like you have not lost anything.

Are you saying that when creating a system Image, If I uncheck the libraries, then it creates a system image but excludes data? That does not make any sense! What If I uncheck the drive C: What is it creating an Image of? Windows?
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LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 36490804
What version
LVL 27

Expert Comment

ID: 36491042
windows backup creates an image in the same way as newer versions of the other image tools like acronis/ghost.

By default the image includes everything but you can choose to exclude some things. This simply means the image misses these files out.
In general windows backup copies the entire C drive so just let itr do the full image and you're sorted.
you can even boot from the windows DVD and restore the backup to a new PC if the old one fails.

Be aware some versions of windows 7 dont have backup included.

Author Comment

ID: 36491153
What version of what? coredatarecovery?

Author Comment

ID: 36491485
Thank you totallytonto for your detailed response. I hate to be a pest, but I would rather have this clarified then not.  
On the backup window, If system image is the only thing checked,
the libraries and drives are not selected.
It will still create the Image? or not?
LVL 12

Expert Comment

ID: 36491545
Sorry, Let me explain.

If you're using a bare metal backup such as ghost you usually choose disk to image, this is a snapshot of the entire computer at the point in time you are archiving it off.

If you restore this, you will have EVERYTHING, all files, hidden files, junk in the cache directories every single file on the drive is backed up into an archive and this can be restored to another drive and you will be back up and running.

The latest  version of ghost I have used is a few years ago, so I don't know if the interface has changed.

I now use clonezilla for doing the same basic process for backing up everything and restoring it all to a bigger hard disk.
Ghost will allow you to restore to a smaller disk than you had in the unit originally, clonezilla requires the disk to be the same exact size or bigger.

Ghost you make a bootable CD-rom  Boot the cd-rom with the external drive already on and plugged into the unit (So it's available in dos)
and once you boot the disk ghost comes up, you click drive then click to file, choose the destination file (usually drive D) and start the backup.

Author Comment

ID: 36492001
Ghost/Acronis were examples of what I want to achieve in Windows 7. Sorry for the confusion.
LVL 27

Accepted Solution

Steve earned 500 total points
ID: 36494927
the built in backup is designed primarily for regular backups so the 'set up backup' wizard has the best features.

when you select a one off backup by using the options on the left, you dont have quite as many options. this is intended to encourage people to use regular automatic backups.....and is a pain.

Anyway, the system backup takes a full image of the entire OS drive. you can also specify additonal drives to include/exclude.

If all your data is on one disk, the default system image will take a full copy.
If you have multiple disks you may want to specify additional items for the backup.

If you also create a 'system repair disc' it will create a botable CD customised to your computer that lets you restore from a system image even if the HDD has been wiped.

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