Windows 7 system backup / image software

Dear Experts,

my quite new Lenovo laptop (bought 3 months ago) with Win7 64bit is not able to restart after it was hibernated.
I am not able to start the system in any mode.
Probably I will have to reinstall this system.

Similiar situation has happened to me the second time within last three month!
What's more interesting, the prior "post-hibernation crash" happened on a different machine (but also Win 7).
As a consequence of the earlier crash I had to reinstall system and sadly I lost some data and significant amount of time.
I never had such issues when I was hibernating Win XP laptops - and I was doing it for many, many years.

I have never been making full system/partition image backups.
I was only backing up my registry using ERUNT.

What are the best in class software to backup system (but not necessarily data) partition?
I'm interested both in commercial and free solutions.
I imagine that it should take less than an hour to restore the system partition using such software.

I am awaiting your recommendations.
Links to articles comparing/reviewing diffent solutions are also appreciated.

thank you!
best regards
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Windows 7 has an image backup utility built-in (Maintenance, Backup and Restore).

Better though is Paragon's Backup and Recovery, which is easier to use and also has more features, like compression of the destination image etc. If you aren't using this in a business environment you can use the free version:

Another tool I often use is the free and OpenSource CloneZilla:

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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Windows own backup will do what you want as noted by rindi above.

We use Symantec Ghost for all our clients and make images on large external USB hard drives. Should we need an image, we just restore it.
Dr. KlahnPrincipal Software EngineerCommented:
I used to like Acronis, but after version 8 it was could no longer be trusted to actually restore when needed.  I currently use the free version of Macrium Reflect.  There is also a paid version which has more features, but I've never needed them.
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maybe you best look for a solution to the hibernating problem; a bios update can help.
i must say that i NEVER use hibernation or sleep with windows - they often fail
David AndersTechnician Commented:
Started with Ghost, it became unreliable.
Used Acronis for years, found Macrium Reflect and currently use it.
i only can say i use Acronis too, in the past; now paragon, as suggested above
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Started with Ghost, it became unreliable  <-- The newest versions of Ghost are completely reliable or we would not use it. Acronis is decent as well.
ja-rekAuthor Commented:
do all the software you mentioned support restoring hidden partitions and can create a "recovery CD"?
sure, they all do that, and more - like restoring to bigger, or smaller partitions
The "Recovery CD" of the Windows backup tool is the Windows 7 installation DVD.

Paragon has a recovery media builder with which you create the boot CD (or USB stick). It is compatible with all types of partitions I tried it out with, hidden, Windows, Linux etc.

CloneZilla is either a bootCD or USB stick. You don't install it within Windows. As above it works with any partitions I've tried it with.
I started with Ghost too, but that was when it was still a Swedish product and not owned by Symantec, I also used it after that for sometime, but as with every Symantec product, I found they managed to make it worse and worse, so now I regard it as crapware.

I have also used Acronis in the past, but changed to Paragon and CloneZilla, Paragon being better and less costly (or even free if used out of business environments), while CloneZilla is free.
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