Testing an image restore
I have acquired a Windows 7 laptop 3 months ago and I do a monthly image backup using Windows 7 built-in utility onto an external WD hard drive.
--- How do I test the restore?
--- Never having done so it's all new to me and how would I recover if the restore doesn't go well
--- So I imagine I should create a restore point
--- Then run Windows 7 restore
--- All should go well, but if it doesn't, revert back to the restore point I created
--- Does this make sense?
This thread has a lengthy discussion on the subject of restoring images, with distinct points of view:
I would suggest a good read and then come back with any doubts that may arise from it. I realize the thread is for Macrium, but the general process is explained. With the Windows app, you would need to start the restore either from a Windows recovery disk (think that is the name) or from Windows itself.
Please read the topic and come back with any doubts you may have.
I'd beg, borrow or steal a spare internal hard drive for the laptop and test the restore on that. Saves creaming your data.
This is what you should have in place as a foundation (long before even thinking of imaging);
*Need to have all of your OS recovery disks, be they genuine, OEM types, or other bootable media, readily available and tested well beforehand, ...not lost or damaged.
*Need to have all of your usable programs and drivers with updated versions safely tucked away and backed up independently and on multiple
forms of media. (CD/DVD, pen drives, external hard disk drives, NAS, Cloud, etc.)
*Need to have any "out of the ordinary" personal OS settings written down in a notepad or word docu and easily accessible so that they may be re-implemented quickly.
*Need to test any image that you have made until you are comfortable and confident of the outcome, this includes all boot disks.
*Need to have every scrap of personally generated data safely backed up independently of anything else.
This includes email and all of it's settings, photos, document, or anything else you would consider as a loss if you actually did loose them.
*At least one external HDD dedicated specifically to data backup that is NOT always connected to your system.
I have read all of the posts and am happy I did
--- Naturally even more questions come to mind
I have a WD My Passport 1 TB external hard drive
--- That’s what I use to image my Win7 computer to with Win7 built in backup utility on a monthly basis
How do I do an image restore onto a brand new hard drive?
--- Image restore looks pretty natural to me on a working computer
--- But what if a hard drive crashes and a new one is needed?
--- It appears to me the exact OS (in my case it’s Win7 Ultimate) has to be installed on the new hard drive before doing an image restore
--- Most people I know do not have the original OS discs
------ I imagine this is where a Factory Restore disc would come in very handy
--- And I suppose this is where Win7’s built in image/restore comes into play very naturally
On the recommendation to have a 2nd hard drive to test an image restore on, I imagine the same principle applies just as a new hard drive
--- But then I’m wondering, if I use the factory restore disc on this testing hard drive, will I still be able to use the Factory Restore disc in the future onto a brand new hard drive?
It might seem like foolish questions to an experienced person but I’m not experienced in doing image restores yet
If a hard drive crashes, you use the imaging app boot disc (or a Windows 7 rescue disk, if you use the Windows native app) to restore the image to the replacement drive. Boot discs have their own environment (based on Linux or Windows PE), that allows your computer to boot, find the drive where the image is saved and restore the image to the drive of your choice - be that a new one or even the very same drive you imaged.
Originally Posted by cmptrgy
That's why a boot disc is so relevant - it is the boot disc that will allow you to restore the images you have previously created. You don't need OS drives, Windows discs, nothing, except the boot disc (or a recovery disc if you use the Windows native imaging app).
Thanks Rui. That's great news
Some of the notes took down are
Create a proper boot disk
Create a Rescue Disk from your AV program, Linux, Windows PE USB recovery flash drive
--- Linux gem that is simple to use: YUMI – Multiboot USB Creator 0.0.6.0
--- It's a stand-alone executable that does not require an installation
Create an operating system rescue disk, or combine all your AV rescue utilities on to one USB or CD/DVD drive. http://www.sarducd.it/
I'm going to find the posts they were in to review their explanations
--- I have gone to their websites but if I remember correctly there were some pretty good explanations in the applicable posts
I have created the System Repair Disc for my Win7 laptop
--- Is that the one you mean when you say recovery disc?
--- Even if that's the case I'm still going to figure out how to create a boot disk
Yes, that's what I meant, sorry for the bit different terminology, I always mix them up.
Originally Posted by cmptrgy
If you are using the Windows imaging tool,I suppose it would be possible to get everything in one single physical support, although I am not sure that would be the best option.
So I would say you'd need to keep:
1. Windows System Repair disc
2. AV emergency scanners
3. Imaging app boot disc, if you use a 3rd party app
4. Windows original DVD, if you have one
Thanks again Rui. I like your recommended list
I just visited Macrium Reflects web site again and they include Linux Rescue CD & Windows PE Rescue Media (RAID support) so it looks like I should consider their program after all
They also include support for GPT but I can't tell yet what that means
--- Do you know what it means?
GPT stands for Guid Partition Table. It's basically a different way to partition drives that overcomes some difficulties and limitations of MBR (Master Boot Record) partitioning. This FAQ from Microsoft can be helpful, I think:
New computers, that also bring UEFI, will also come with GPT partitioned disks.
Thanks everyone for your inputs. Rui your comments in post 6 really clarified what I didn't understand
My brother just purchased a refurbished desktop computer with Win7 Pro and I just did all of the updates, security & maintainences and with the computer in its best basic condition I'm going to use Macrium Reflect Free; I just finished creating the System Repair disc.
--- However one more question came to mind: the computer has an OEM product id
--- So if the hard drive crashes, will I have to get the exact same size hard drive, maybe even the same manufacturer?
My Windows 7 laptop that I had mentioned in my opening post was actually an XP Pro unit from 2004 or so that the previous owner had upgraded to Win7 Ultimate. He's always had trouble from the start. And yes there are a couple of Win7driver issues he wasn't aware of but I have it running just just the same and am continuing to do the monthly backups with a better understanding of what's happening. I haven't tested the backup yet as I haven't gotten a spare drive. I'm going to be buying a modern laptop this year and I'll use this laptop as my experimental one
I'm glad I could be of help.
Originally Posted by cmptrgy
Regarding your question, the answer is no. You will be able to restore to different disks of different size. You may need to adjust partition size, afterwards, but no doubts you can do it. If Windows validation becomes an issue (which may happen or not), a call to Microsoft will solve the issue.