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Windows 7 Native Backup

Posted on 2014-02-23
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Last Modified: 2014-02-23
Windows Backup OptionCreate System Image
I have a question about Windows Backup Options.
I have Domain joined workstations and users saves files on the file server, there are not many files on the C drive. Nonetheless I like to backup their files on C  drive weekly incrementally and keep a good system image backup or TWO? Since I have not restored a Windows 7 from the image backup yet, I don't know how reliable the system image backup is. Do I need to keep at least a couple of separate images or one image is enough???

Is System Image essentially a snapshot of the entire HD?

Basically I like to be able to restore entire HD in case of HD failure without having to re-install OS and other applications ... etc. Since there seems to be a few options to accomplish it, I like to get expert opinions.
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Question by:sglee
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Bill Bach earned 612 total points
ID: 39880807
Yes, an image is an image of the entire drive.  This is why you ALSO need to use the second option -- and create a System Repair Disc.  This will be your boot medium for such a recovery.

The Windows tools are functional, but they may be limited to a direct "same-hardware" restoration.  This is great if the HD fails and gets replaced.  However, if the entire computer/motherboard goes and you have to replace the entire machine, then things get more dicey.  A better solution that allows for restoration to ANY hardware is recommended.  One such example is NovaBACKUP, though there are plenty of others available.  

As for number of images to keep -- I always keep two.  The current one and the previous one.  This comes in handy JUST IN CASE the machine fails in the middle of a backup, and the backup fails to complete normally -- at least you have an older image to go back to.

In our environment, we do workstation backups every 6 months, and require that users store ALL critical data on the file servers.  This eliminates the need for other local backups even weekly.  If we do a major software install, we sometimes run another round of backups immediately before it, then another backup immediately following, just to make it easier to restore in the future.  We usually keep these backups only for a few weeks, then blow away the old one once we know we are not going back to the old software.
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Assisted Solution

by:ZabagaR
ZabagaR earned 608 total points
ID: 39880818
Yes the system image backup is an entire snapshot. You could boot the Windows 7 CD/DVD and perform a complete PC restore using that backed up image file. You can also make a system repair disk (as your screenshot shows) and use that to initiate a restore if you don't have the Windows 7 CD/DVD.

You can restore single files from the snapshot.

Did you know you can mount a system backup as a virtual drive then copy files from it?
In windows 7, go to Computer Management. Pick Storage. Pick Disk Management. Right click on disk management. Choose "Attach VHD". Browse to your backed up image file. You can make it read only or read/write. Unmount when done. When you back up a system image, it is saved as a VHD file ("virtual hard disk")
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by:sglee
ID: 39880872
Backup Setup Screen 1Backup Option2Thanks for showing me "Attach VHD". That is very cool.

I think I will keep a couple of system images per PC - the original image at the time of purchase and another image after installing some major software or major change in OS.
Then all I need to do is backuping up "Data Files" (in 2nd screenshot) incrementally monthly.

Do you think that will work?
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LVL 28

Expert Comment

by:Bill Bach
ID: 39880877
Sounds perfect.
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Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 39880879
Windows Backup creates a new full backup every 15 days in between it is incremental backups

If you want to keep the older system image then copy it off to another drive.
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