Possible to take system image backup of an encrypted hard drive (while Windows is running) ?

I would like to take an image backup (sort of bare metal  which is built into Win2008 R2 & Win 2012)

For a laptop / PC with encrypted HDD (we use McAfee to encrypt), can we  "Create a Windows System Image"& still restore it?

 if it's booted from a CD, we can't take a backup of an encrypted HDD but what if it's in a fully booted up state?

if the backup can't be used to do a good restore, what's the alternative?  

if we can take a backup of an encrypted HDD (when Win is fully booted up), doesn't this defeat the purpose of encrypting the HDD?
Or encryption is only meant to protect the data in the HDD when Win is locked or prior to PreBoot Authentication?
Who is Participating?

[Product update] Infrastructure Analysis Tool is now available with Business Accounts.Learn More

I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

R@f@r P@NC3RVirtualization SpecialistCommented:

Do you have a physical or virtual server?

What backup utility do you currently use? Veeam Backup, Acronis, VDP, vRanger?

Regarding the encryption of the disk, do you mean the volume units? or the disk in general ?.

during the backup process you can always do it at the image or volume level.

I remain attentive to your comments.

sunhuxAuthor Commented:
Its physical PCs.  I just want to use Windows built-in 'Create a System Image backup'.

In Win2008 R2 or later, theres bare metal backip too
R@f@r P@NC3RVirtualization SpecialistCommented:

ok in mind, you can make the image of the encrypted disk to observe the results.

If the backup fails, you can decrypt the disk to perform the backup.

I remain attentive to your comments.

Determine the Perfect Price for Your IT Services

Do you wonder if your IT business is truly profitable or if you should raise your prices? Learn how to calculate your overhead burden with our free interactive tool and use it to determine the right price for your IT services. Download your free eBook now!

You should ask McAfee support and consult the manual about your backup options. Just writing "we use McAfee to encrypt" is not enough for me to help you out since I don't know the version nor do I know the McAfee encryption products.

But of course, I know general advice:
Encrypted drives can be backed up and restored offline by any software that knows sector level copying. Many imaging Softwares do, the freeware clonezilla for example has this option in its advanced settings.
Imaging an encrypted drive at runtime is always possible, no matter what encryption. Restoring it however can be problematic and that is why you need to  try it for yourself and/or ask McAfee. Bitlocker can be restored without any problems but will need to be re-encrypted if you use windows own imaging backup, for example. Using different imaging solutions might even allow to restore it without needing to re-encrypt (in our case: drive snapshot is the imaging solution and the method is "overwrite c: at runtime", which is an option exclusively available to drive snapshot).

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
sunhuxAuthor Commented:
The Windows "Create a System Image" backup completed without error;
question is whether it can be restored (which I don't have the luxury to
test restoring the backup) : so likely the backup is useable?
Like I wrote: "Restoring it however can be problematic and that is why you need to  try it for yourself and/or ask McAfee"
Just test it on a virtual machine.
R@f@r P@NC3RVirtualization SpecialistCommented:

Exactly, you can create a test vm and perform the restoration tests.

I remain attentive to your comments.

It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.