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Win 7 advice on backup, repair, recovery, encryption

Need opinion from someone who doesn't image machines,and therefore has more familiarity in backup/recovery/repair/encryption.

RECOVERY OPTIONS:
Since new computers may have Windows installed, but come out of the box with NO media to repair that install, ..what to do??? I see the 14.65Gb partition for the recovery console, which seems MUCH more complete than any other recovery console.

SHRINKING THE BOOT DRIVE FURTHER THAN DISK MANAGER ALLOWS:
Since this new system comes with ONE volume, I also want to reduce this volume and create two other volumes. I know W7 has partition manager. However, PM will only divide the boot disk in half. The three partition I want to create are for. 1) 40GB Boot with OS and Office 2)100GB latest backup (manually backed up computer), applications 3) 100Gb personal files, encrypted using Bitlocker. Does this sound like a good plan and if so, how can I get the C: drive to shrink larger than half its current volume size?

NO MEDIA DISKS FOR A REPAIR INSTALL:
I also overheard you can create your own media disk with Windows 7. It would be a complete install disk in case my HDD farts and falls apart. Then, I would replace the HDD and start over rather than buying a new OS AND HDD. I would like to know how to create my own OS disk. Any advice?

GETTING BETTER MS:
I have to say MS finally listened that recovery and repair is really iportant to system admins. Now, I got to get use to the full range of options... At an enterprise level, I rarely use these options. Instead I just lay down a known good image and sysprep the machine.
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Commented:
Partition management - I've used MiniTool Partition Wizard on several occasdions and find it very useful. I've only used the Server Edition in the past which is compatible with Server 2000/2003/2008 as well as 200/XP/Vista/Win7. http://www.minitool.ca/index.html

Media - Most pc manfacturers include a utility to create orignal system disks. If there isn't such a utility you can use Win7's built-in Backup and Restore option in the conrtol panel to create a system image.

HTH
Distinguished Expert 2019
Commented:
i suggest to use the FREE paragon software for making backups and images  : http://www.paragon-software.com/home/db-express/      
it has also partition management  -  but i don't know if it is also free, but you can always download Bootit-BM to partition the drive : www.terabyteunlimited.com/ 

you can find repair disks here  9.75$ : http://neosmart.net/blog/2009/windows-7-system-repair-discs/
noxchoIT Product Manager
Top Expert 2009
Commented:
Get a copy of Paragon Hard Disk Manager 2011 Suite: http://www.paragon-software.com/home/hdm-personal/ a Swiss Knife in disk management software list.
It has all you want. And compared to Windows Backup & Recovery much powerful than MS tool.
Top Expert 2014
Commented:
Just an FYI.  You can't create a media disk from Windows 7 that you can use to re-install your system.  What you can do is create a System Repair Disk, which you can boot from and be used to repair some problems with your current install.  This disk can be used with any Win7 system, provided that the architecture (x86 or x64) matches.
The exception to the first statement is as p912s pointed out, if the PC manufacturer included a utility to create system disks.

Author

Commented:
Everyone: Thanks for the ideas and input. I am going to close the question with all who participated with equally valuable information. I am going to look into paragon. I am disappointed that MS will not allow  you to perform a "repair install". If the data recovery disk or partition doesn't work, then what???   This is for my home computing. At work, I just re-image.. So, I am loosing some skills in real repair..
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
>>  I am disappointed that MS will not allow  you to perform a "repair install".   <<   it does -but like with XP, you need the install cd
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
@ nobus - Are you sure?  It allows you to do an in-place upgrade, but to me that seems different than the repair install of XP.  Maybe the same results though...I don't know.

@ ChiefIT - I've never seen an OEM built machine that didn't either include the OS disk or a recovery partition.  Odd that yours didn't.

Author

Commented:
The typical repair partition is 14.65 Gb for a Win7 puter. But, this computer's repair partition is 1.46 Gb. So, It didn't work. I think the manufacture made a mistake... This means I will need a CD repair and recovery disk and create my own partition for it. Nevertheless, I want to partition and encrypt the volume of personal data....
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented:
>>  http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/3413-repair-install.html      <<----  where does that come from ?  never heard that  - afaik there are much smaller repair partitions
>>  I will need a CD repair and recovery disk   <<  this can help 9.75$  : http://neosmart.net/blog/2009/windows-7-system-repair-discs/
Top Expert 2014

Commented:
Hmm...that link does mention that you can't do a repair install at boot or from Safe Mode.  It is the in-place upgrade.  Not something I'd ever use personally, but to each their own.

One further recommendation.  I would suggest doing a Complete PC backup (i.e. system image), since you can do this in Win7 without additional software.  The recovery environment will allow you to restore to this.
Distinguished Expert 2019

Commented: