Create a snapshot of Windows 7 machine

We're running on both Windows 2003 and 2008 server and have multiple Windows 7 machines.  Within the Windows world, is there a way to create a snapshot of a particular Windows machine?  We basically would like to clone the machine in case the hard drive goes down or there are unseen issues with a particular machine.  We are not virtualized by any means, but I'm assuming that there is software within Windows or a 3rd party that should be able to accomplish this...I'm assuming.

Help!
uppercut7141Asked:
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andreasSystem AdminCommented:
There are lots of software out there that can do this task.

e.g. Arconis Trueimage as a commercial software or

clonzilla as a linux based free software.

Be aware that cloning windows machines need extra steps if you use it other than desaster recovery (e.g. setup a 2nd machine, as the machine IDs are also cloned) but you might use sysprep to rectify this.
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pjamCommented:
Take a look at Clonezilla, which comes in two types.  One for a single clone and SE for massive deployment.
Sorry Andreas slow typer.
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10023Web site maintenance and designCommented:
My vote is for acronis...not free ... but worth it
I used it a lot to clone network machines.  You have to keep track of versions of images and passwords...unless they have changed
Also there is a free trial...so you can check out the speed of the restore which would be helpful over the network

http://www.acronis.com/en-us/?adpos=1t1&device=c&network=g&matchtype=e&creative=51626372657&gclid=CjwKEAiA2JqkBRDshIOY_9eMghkSJABvNd1Qwu28ZXPyhm3tu4W-bHm_hGNLCMxOTN3rQj_kSsCUYRoC7VTw_wcB
Remember to back up your system image which is easy to do with Windows 7...i always forget to do that with a new machines....nowadays we don't get standalone disk for restoring OS's
Just in case you need the lowdown:
http://windows.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/restore-computer-from-system-image-backup#1TC=windows-7
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Thomas Zucker-ScharffSolution GuideCommented:
Paragon Disk Suite is excellent for this.
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rindiCommented:
You can use the built in backup utility of Windows for that. It creates an image based backup of the complete HD. If you prefer something that is easier to use, then go for the paragon backup utilities, far better than acronis that already was mentioned, and less pricey. For the servers I'd prefer StorageCraft's ShadowProtect, it's the best product on the market, but also more expensive than the Paragon Software, which I'd use if ShadowProtect is too expensive.
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Mike TLeading EngineerCommented:
Hi,

It depends what you want to do. If it's just "in case the HDD dies and we want to copy some files off it" then there's nothing wrong Windows Backup or as an alternative Disk2VHD which will create a VHD of each physical disk. You can then mount the VHD and access it on any other machine simply by using Disk Manager.

If you want a "clone" that is a different answer and what people have answered above with various products. To be clear a clone is an exact byte-for-byte copy of an existing machine. You can chose single disks or whole machine. Acronis, Paragon, Ghost (scary that anyone still uses it) and Microsoft all have solutions.

Acronis: $$
Paragon: $
Microsoft: no extra cost

The last option is to create a copy using MDT (free download) using the capture feature. You create a job that creates a bootable disk (USB or CD) that performs a capture. This capture uses a command line tool to create a file-based copy into a WIM (Windows image) file. You can save it to external drive. You can then restore this WIM to the whole machine or again mount it see read/copy anything from it.

Commercially products do similar things but use proprietary image formats and have a fancy GUI.
Technically there is no difference: an image is an image, is an image.

The choice is yours: cost vs easy of use vs actual requirement.

Mike
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David AndersTechnician Commented:
I have transited from Ghost to TrueImage to Macrium Reflect.
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