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Windows Backup Options

Windows Backup OptionsHi,
 
  In Windows 7 backup program, there seem to be two options.
 (1) Create a system image
 (2) Files in libraries and personal folders for all users, selected folders and system image
 
  If I installed a new computer with all the software needed, joined the domain, configured everything and then backup everything that I have on the hard drive ( so that , in case the computer gets infected with virus or hard drive failure, I can restore), which option should I choose?

   The other thing I noticed is that if I choose option (1), the backup size is a lot smaller than "used space on the hard drive). In on computer, the Used space on the hard drive  is 43.9GB, but the size of Windows Image Backup is 21.3GB.
   When I choose option (2), it gets bigger than option (1) backup size, but still less than the Used space on the hard drive.

 I like to understand the difference so that I make the right choice for my purpose.
 I don't want to spend hours in setting up the computer all over again in case of HD failure or virus infection.
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sglee
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sglee
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5 Solutions
 
DeleteCommented:
You want to do a System Restore.

Follow the steps on this link: http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/products/features/system-restore

The "Create a system image" option will create an exact copy of your hard drive to include all installed applications and files.  http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows7/what-is-a-system-image

If you want to setup backups through the menu you have pictured follow the steps in this link: http://winsupersite.com/windows-7/windows-7-feature-focus-backup-and-restore
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David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
you want to use the system image this will restore everything
the other one is only the libraries and your personal folders This allows you to install the operating system fresh and then restore your settings and files
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nobusCommented:
the backup usually uses a compression, to save a bit space for this big sized backups
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McKnifeCommented:
Yep, system image allows for bare metal restore. The image however is not compressed as opposed to file-level backups. It is in .vhd format.
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sgleeAuthor Commented:
C Drive - Used and Free SpaceEntire Hard Drive BackupSystem Image Only
Let me explain my question again.

As seen above, the original C drive used space is 38.1GB.
Entire Backup size is 35.8GB
System Image only backup size is 24.4GB

Obviously the system image only backup has significantly has less data than entire backup. I thought they should be the same because system image backup should represent the  snap shot of current contents of C drive.

If I restore "System Image" to the new hard drive, what would I be missing compared to restoring from Entire Backup?
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McKnifeCommented:
A system image backup will exclude the page file and hiberfile - or not?
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nobusCommented:
as McKnife says; many imaging soft ware do not take these 2, which can account for several GB
and you'll loose nothing
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sgleeAuthor Commented:
You may be correct. Here are the sizes of those files you mentioned.
Pagefile.sys: 4GB
hiberfil.sys: 3GB

Total 7GB.

Still 38GB - 24GB = 14GB - 7 GB System files = 7GB
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McKnifeCommented:
Please open the vhd and look at the contents.
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Scott ThompsonCommented:
Yes, the system image will remove any *.tmp files.  It will also not store your hiberfil.sys and pagefile.sys, and in some cases, swapfile.sys.  These files can be quite big.  Normally your pagefile.sys will be 1.5 times as big as your memory, so if you have 8GB of memory, your pagefile.sys may be a 12GB file.  Any Temporary Internet Files will not be transferred either.  Perhaps this will help in the confusion. :)
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sgleeAuthor Commented:
So am I hearing that System Image backup is GOOD ENOUGH for a complete restore later on?
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McKnifeCommented:
Umm... I already told you what it is meant for, didn't I?
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