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Backing up Windows 8.1 w/System Image to not include my Windows 7 Drive!

Posted on 2014-12-17
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I have two problems, which I am happy to pull apart into two questions, but they are kind of related.

I am trying to back up my Windows 8.1 install, which is on one physical drive, yet not including my Windows 7 install, which is on a different physical drive.  (Macintosh hardware running Bootcamp; Bootcamp can either boot OS X or the Windows 8 Boot menu/bootloader.)

The System Image backup, which is an option buried (but possible to find!) in Windows 8.1, insists on including the other (Windows 7) drive in the image backup (but not the Mac drive, of course).  I don't know of a way to not include the Windows 7 drive, I just want the 8.1.  In the 8.1 Device Manager, I *could* select the Windows 7 drive to "uninstall" but (1) I'm not sure what uninstall means to Windows these days, and (2) Even if it will behave like a simple "disable" like other devices that I could re-enable again, I don't want to have to uninstall and reinstall every time I do an image backup.

Here's another point:  I say that the two installs are on different drives, but I just found out last night that they aren't, in a way.  It appears that the bootloader menu for 8.1 got on my 7 drive.  Somehow, after I had installed Windows 8 Pro (and then upgraded to 8.1 Pro), I put a clone of my old  Windows 7 Ultimate drive on the system.  Note that the 8 is NOT an upgrade of the 7; I went from 32 bit to x64 so I started greenfield with an 8->8.1 install.  ALSO, the 8.1 drive apparently no longer boots (!), but if I boot from the Windows 7 drive I get the Windows 8.1 bootloader menu (?!!), from which I can boot to either 7 or 8.1.  (I knew I should've write-protected that 7 drive!)

Now let me add another part to all this.  The machine is an old Mac Pro which is running Boot Camp to boot the Windows drives.  I have no problem actually booting everything (Win7, Win8.1, or OS X), but I may have set the Windows 7 drive to be primary (?not sure) at some point when I did the Win 8 & Boot Camp install.  That *might* be the reason for 7 being assigned the 8.1 bootloader menu, but you tell me.

So, my two questions are:

#1:  How do I make my System Image backup of my 8.1 system and NOT include my Win 7 drive?

(I'm really looking to use the Windows System Image Backup methodology; don't just suggest I use Clonezilla or Spotmau or Nero or Norton or something that I could have issues with trying to deal with in 10 years because something was discontinued...)


#2:  [Might separate this to its own question unless need to do this to solve #1]:
How do I separate these drives?

I couldn't believe it yesterday when my old 7 drive had the 8.1 bootloader on it!  And why won't the 8.1 boot on its own??


Thanks very much,

coder1413abunchofnumbers....
(Mike)
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Question by:coder1313514512456
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by:Rob G
Rob G earned 100 total points
ID: 40505323
The only thing that should be in both OS's is the boot loader information, which is required. The issue you likely see is the bootloader information from the Metro bootloader. This is because while you are loading a different OS, the boot loader in the windows 8+ OS requires you to post to Windows 8 before you swap to windows 7.

You can change this by doing this:
http://www.askvg.com/how-to-disable-new-metro-boot-loader-and-bring-back-windows-vista-and-7-style-boot-loader-in-windows-8/

After you change this, you should be able to run backups of the OS's individually.. However.. Keep in mind, you may still have to do a startup repair should you need to recover as the boot loader in either version will have the boot information looking for something that isn't there.. (Chicken and egg syndrome)

While you stated you didn't want to use a 3rd party application due to the "what if" the next gen OS doesn't support it..
If that is the case, no matter what you use, be it windows, or a 3rd party software, you will run into the same issue on any hardware other then what you currently have no matter what you use.

If you want a true recoverable configuration..
Buy another exact PC you have currently, leave it in a box. Put it in the closet.
Use clonezilla to clone your current OS's to that disk and leave it alone.. Otherwise you really will have the same issue.. I mean unless you have a lot of extra bank laying around, then you can use the WIM configuration editor and make a bootable image using all the drivers of the new 10 years in the future machine and use that to boot...
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by:coder1313514512456
ID: 40505715
I think I haven't been clear on something.  If I remove the 8.1 disk, and just boot 7, I get that Metro bootloader.  Then 7 complains, does a modern equivalent of he fsck or whatever it's called now.  This is *after* I've chosen the drive from the Mac boot menu.

The Mac has this screen you can bring up during boot which lists your drives and allows you to boot off of the selected drive.

What I was trying to do was just use the Mac's boot menu to boot the disk I wanted:  Windows 8.1, Windows 7, or OS X.

Is there a way to make the other OSes not even care what else is bootable?  I want to be able to boot from one and yet access all the others, if they're even physically installed that is.   It works that way now -- sort of -- but I have to go through the Mac boot menu first (fine, ok), then the Windows 8.1 Metro bootloader menu (would be ok if it didn't make separate imaging impossible).   And when I removed my 8.1 drive I discovered that Metro bootloader was on the Windows 7 drive, not the 8.1.  There's nothing on the 8.1 I don't think.  I don't think the thing will even boot, which is the worst situation.

It's bad because (1)  I just have the 7 drive around to reference old data and was about to remove it, and (2) now I see it makes the separate drive imaging impossible.

If what you're saying is true, how can I make the 8.1 drive boot without the 7 drive in the machine?
Because it won't now.

That's the thing that's really kind of preventing me from following your directions.
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by:Rob G
ID: 40505746
You would need to put the 8.1 drive in the machine and do a system repair from the installation disk. Boot off the disk, and go through the language settings, then choose to repair vs install. This should bring up another menu. It is hit or miss if it will work.. But being this was on a MAC and that uses a different partition table then windows does, it may fail and not be able to see it. Unfortunately there isn't much you can do at that point other then to reformat it and start from scratch.

The addition of the MAC just add's to the nightmare that reconfiguring will become..
So trust me on this, from the windows side, if the repair can't see the disk, just start over..
Unless a MAC person on here possibly knows a good work around to getting NTFSv2 to work natively in MAC's bios or boot sequence..
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by:serialband
serialband earned 300 total points
ID: 40505953
This sounds much more like a Windows problem than an OSX one.  There are free and commercial NFTS drivers for OSX, but that's not relevant to the problem here.

You installed 8.1 while 7 was installed and you made use of the Windows 7 disk as the boot disk without realizing it.  You should have done a separate install and used just boot camp to partition the Windows 8/8.1 drive so that you have a separate Windows bootloader on the Windows 8 partition.  You should have removed the Windows 7 disk during the install to be sure.

Instead, it sounds like you booted the installer and configured the bootloader on the Windows 7 drive to boot into both Windows Partitions.  This would have happened on a regular Windows system when you install multiple Multiple Windows disks or partitions.  Windows will place the boot loader all on one main disk that contains the MBR and point that to the one bootable partition.  The bootable partition contains the bootloader and boot.ini to select the partition and folders to boot from.  You're basically stuck with the Windows 7 disk as the bootloader unless you do a clean install of Windows 8 without the Windows 7 disk attached.

This has nothing to do with the Mac OSX partition nor the OSX boot loader.  That's a separate entity that is just an extra layer over the Windows Boot Loader.  OSX puts that in their firmware/BIOS.  Windows puts theirs on disk.  In a way, the OSX boot selector is a much cleaner selector and doesn't care what's on the Disk.  It's a bit more like a cable switch for selecting the boot disk, than the Windows Bootloader.  You use fdisk or bless to mark a disk or partition as active/bootabel bootable and the firmware will load each as a sole boot disk once you selected it.  With Windows, you need the MBR and that can only boot to the main partition that contains the "hidden" boot.ini file and bootloader.  You can then choose the disk partition to boot from.

I hope my explanation isn't too confusing.  Basically, I suspect that you'll likely have to redo your Windows 8 partition if you wish to remove the Windows 7 disk.
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by:coder1313514512456
ID: 40506347
Ok, hmmm... I'm going to leave this question open here, also because it's going to take me a  while to consider my options.

I really thought I did not have the Win 7 drive in the machine when I installed Win 8 on the new empty drive.  HOWEVER, I may have had the Win 7 drive in the machine when I upgraded from 8 to 8.1 ...could that have done it?

This kind of brings up a new problem.  Because I've been using my Windows 8.1 install for some time now, I obviously don't want to simply format the drive!  (Not without backing it up, anyway.)

How's about this:
Can I remove all my drives, get a new drive and install it in there, install Windows 8->8.1 on it (clean, nothing on it) then insert all my other disks back into my machine, boot the new 8.1, and RETRIEVE from my OLD 8.1??  (That is, move all the stuff over somehow from the old 8.1 to the new 8.1?  Is there an 8.1 equivalent to the Settings & Transfer Wizard?)

Could that work?  Or something similar?  Or is the new drive going to freak out when it sees 3 Windows disks?

 And thanks folks for your explanations, you've been very clear!
(And I need to ask better questions!)
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 40506471
Are these physical drives or partitions on 1 physical drive?
i.e. drive 0 - OSX
Drive 1 - Windows 7
Drive 2 - Windows 8.x
or
Drive 0 [OSX][system reserved][Windows 7][Windows 8.x]
you may not have a system reserved partition and the boot files exist on Windows 7 partition.
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by:coder1313514512456
ID: 40508320
Yeah they're on different drives, more or less. Brie the purposes of this question assume as you've said:
Drive "0" is OS X
Drive "1" is Win 8.1 Pro
Drive "2" is Win 7 Ultimate

And the Win 8.1 is only bootable by booting the Win 7 drive, which somehow obtained the metro bootloader. ...
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by:coder1313514512456
ID: 40508323
Autocorrect!  When I said "Brie" I meant "For"!!
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
David Johnson, CD, MVP earned 100 total points
ID: 40509467
disconnect drive 0 and drive 2 or select drive 1 as the boot drive
attempt to start the system (you will need the windows 8/8.1 dvd
do a startup repair.
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by:coder1313514512456
ID: 40510237
Any thoughts on how to do a backup of this data before I start using different people's ideas, any one of which I could make a mistake on and end up having to wipe my drive?  Clone the drive, I suppose...
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by:coder1313514512456
ID: 40528102
Sorry guys for the delay here, the holidays took me out of town.  I have successfully cloned the Win 8.1 disk, so I can now try out all your great suggestions!

Serialband: THANK YOU for that explanation, that really helps in understanding what's going on.  I'm wondering if maybe that Win 7 disk was not in there when installing 8, but was when I upgraded to 8.1.  Also:  Are you sure there's no other way?  David here seems to have a viable solution...

David: will the metro bootloader get confused if I ever put the Win7 disk back in the machine later on?


I'm going to attempt David's solution to the clone.  Not sure what's going to happen to the Win 7 if I ever put it back in the machine with the modified 8.1, however.  (Which is why I ask!)



Thanks,
Mike
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by:coder1313514512456
ID: 40528119
Oh, and David:  I don't have an 8.1 disk (8.1 was a downloaded upgrade).  Can I just use the 8.0 Pro disk?
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by:coder1313514512456
ID: 40528179
David, I'm not seeing a startup repair listed as an option when I boot that Win 8 DVD.

I get an option to refresh or reset the system.  There are also options to recover from system images.  There is an option to do an automatic repair to fix problems that prevent Windows from running, but that option does not appear to work.

Perhaps I should try to install Win 8?
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by:serialband
serialband earned 300 total points
ID: 40528217
I'm not sure of your exact situation, but I'll describe what I've done before.  You should be able to install 8.0 into a separate, renamed Windows folder, after you removed the Windows 7 disk.  That way you can put the boot loader on the Windows 8.1 disk and you should be able to edit the boot.ini to point to the 8.1 folder.  You may have to edit the registry for Win8.1 to boot correctly if your 8.1 disk showed up as the D: drive.

Mark the disk as bootable, then it will just boot from it. When the Windows7 disk is added back, you should be able to boot from it too.  It really depends on how you configured the booting in OSX and which disk or partition you marked as bootable.


P.S.
I once created a boot to a newer, larger D: drive with the bootloader on c:  Eventually, I wanted to pull out the older C: drive and make D: the new C: drive.  I basically installed a new Windows on the old D: drive to place the bootloader on it and to make it a C: drive.  I also created a renamed Windows directory so I didn't wipe the old stuff.  I then edited the boot.ini, then I loaded the old registry and made changes.  It was quite tedious to edit the registry to "fix" all those hard coded D: references.

Far too many developers hardcoded path names instead of using the default %programfiles%, %systemroot% and %windir% variables.  This, of course was back during the early XP days when programmers had finally just switched over from single user Win95/98/Me systems and learning how NTFS 5.1 worked.  There were so many features that they hadn't adopted yet and they hadn't learned how to program for a multiuser and multidisk systems.  I did reinstall a few programs, because they had so many hardcoded references scattered everywhere, that it was easier and faster.  Once I got it working, I deleted the extra Windows folder and removed the boot entry from boot.ini and everything worked.
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by:coder1313514512456
ID: 40529707
Oh man, serialband, that sounds like such a pain!  Use system vars.  Check.

Here's where I am on the install:

I noticed that the 8.1 drive has NO partition before the main Windows 8.1 partition!  Ah, yikes!

And what's worse is that in my stacks of software, I can't find my partition copy/move/editors.  I was sure I had some laying around, but the stuff I do have is just waayy too old.  And I don't see any obvious way in Windows (or OS X) to copy and move around partitions.  I thought OS X used to have this, but it looks like they just allow for some simple expansion stuff.  Some of my old OS X apps don't even run in the more current version.  I *could* just go out and get me some new partition software, any recommendations on that one?  If I attempt to just boot the 8.1 disk all by it's lonesome, it give the can't find NTLOADER or whatever message.


Mike
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by:
serialband earned 300 total points
ID: 40530855
Just try installing it onto the current Windows 8.1 Partition.  It should prompt you to overwrite the partition or install into a new directory.  That's how I did my "upgrades" way back.  I left the old disk/partition/folder bootable until most of the software updated to support the new OS later.

You can't move or adjust NTFS with default OSX.  There's a program called CampTune for resizing NTFS BootCamp partitions, that can do it, but it mainly does only simple partition adjustments.  I'd rather put that money into a new disk and just have more space.  Parted Magic is free and should also be able to resize NTFS partitions.

You can't boot from the Windows 8.1 disk because you put NTLOADER along with boot.ini on your windows 7 disk.  You can't just copy that around and make it bootable.

It would be a little easier if you can buy another disk, disconnect your current Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 Disk, install Windows8, upgrade that to Windows 8.1, then reconnect your other 2 disks and migrate the data to it.  If you have an external disk, you can copy the Windows 8.1 data to it and just reinstall.
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by:coder1313514512456
ID: 40531681
That might be the direction I end up going here after all. I've been using GParted, but when I try to copy the 200 MB metro boot partition from win7, it changes the GPT Protective Partition into an EFI System Partition for some reason, and although I can unset flags like Microsoft data partition flag (for the data drive), I can't set it that way on the 8.- disk.  Another curiosity is that when I copy the 200 MB metro boot partition over to the 8.1 drive, it won't let me move that primary partition to zero, it always needs a Meg to the left.  And I can't delete the mysterious Meg, it doesn't show up!   When I have booted to 8, after selecting win 8.1 the login screen shows up immediately, no load required (?!) which suggests to me a handoff to the 8.1 drive before the menu screen.

One of the reasons I haven't been quicker to respond here is because it takes a while to clone and move partitions around -- Anne for your patience.  

If I do go ahead with a fresh install if 8 (and then 8.1), what is the method to move my stuff on over from the other drive?   Will my installed software (security, etc) transfer or will I have to reinstall?

Thanks again -- I think I'm getting somewhere on this (..!)

Mike
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by:coder1313514512456
ID: 40531685
Ah, autocorrect!  "Anne" -> "Thanks"!
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by:coder1313514512456
ID: 40532862
That magical 4 MB of data at the start of the drive looks like it's a vital piece in the puzzle, but I'm becoming more convinced that I cannot do this by partition shuffling, even if I was somehow able to both get all the partition flags and whatever other data configuration is necessary right via fixing or whatnot.  (Again, using the Win 8 disk to fix the drive did not work.)  This whole thing just seems silly, I just can't believe how Microsoft felt that merging peoples drives together would be a good idea.  I want to be able to remove either of these drives (or have them both in) and boot from either one without either having to be reconfigured, or even know about the other drive.

I'm going to try some more things before giving in to the other solution, but just to repeat my question:

If I have a greenfield 8.1 install, what is the Microsoft method to transfer the files and settings from another 8.1 disk?


(In the meantime, I'll be blowing away some clones!)

Mike
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by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 40532947
There is the files and settings transfer wizard but normally one uses their microsoft account as that is where most of the settings are these days. There are a multitude of ways of installing operating software and you chose a method that caused this current situation. The safest way it so boot from the installation media and have the destination disk to be the first disk in the boot order while installing the operating system. The destination drive must be devoid of any partition
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by:coder1313514512456
ID: 40535461
No problem.  I've got my brand new 8.1 install.

Now:  How do I transfer my settings from my other 8.1 install to this one?  I can't seem to find a files/settings transfer of any kind.
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Author Comment

by:coder1313514512456
ID: 40535527
Can I just copy the 8.1 partition on the old drive to the 8.1 partition on the new drive?  I'm not sure I have enough spare drives to test this little dance before doing it.
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by:serialband
ID: 40536370
There isn't a default Migration Assistant for Windows.  You can copy user account folders to save the profiles and just change ownership of the entire folder, but you'll still have to install the software to populate the system portion of the registry.
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by:coder1313514512456
coder1313514512456 earned 0 total points
ID: 40536963
Ok guys, we have a winning solution -- thank you!

(I am surprised that Microsoft doesn't have an easy solution to transfer your installed programs over -- just copy some live files, really!)

I kind of combined what you both were saying.  I installed a clean win 8.1, then I blew away the 8.1 partition, leaving all the boot partition information intact.  I then copied the working windows partition over.


Thank you both.

Mike
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by:coder1313514512456
ID: 40537138
I couldn't edit the note above that I meant all the ideas, not just two ideas.  I had asked a related question on another forum some time ago, but the comments (which disappeared!) were not the realized solution here.  So, big thank you everyone.

One weird item:  GParted didn't even see any partitions on the fresh Win 8.1 install -- describing the entire drive as unallocated space.   (The Win 8.1 Disk Management saw several partitions.)
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Author Closing Comment

by:coder1313514512456
ID: 40543976
Everyone gave great information.  Serialband gave the workable solution, but migrating the data got a little messy.  I found that just copying the old OS partition over the new OS partition (leaving the boot partition intact) to be the cleanest method.
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