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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    For a few years I've backed up my XP machine several times a week to an external drive using an older version of Acronis. Fairly reliable and I've had to recover from it a number of times. So when I installed Win7 and saw the accolades about Win7's backup module I thought "great, no need to upgrade Acronis."

    Hmm. Win7's backup may be OK for fresh installs that are small (20-30GB) but I had a drive with 200+ GB of data: downloads, torrents, photos, google index files, temp files. And that's where Win7 showed its deficiencies.

    First, Win7 insists, on initial backup, of making an image of each partition. That's fine for the boot partition, but I don't need or want an image of my data partition. For the data drive I am selective about what folders to backup which reduces the size. Also, Win7 wanted to make an image of the old XP partition, just more unwanted stuff.

    Second, Win7 is very slow. Others have complained about an initial backup taking literally days to complete. I started it and let it run overnight and it wasn't near completing so I killed it and starting looking for another solution.

    At first I tried Clonezilla. This is derived from Linux and it works from a boot CD but it is reliable and fairly fast, far faster then Win7. There are tutorials for Clonezilla. Still, Clonezilla will only do disk or partition images and I wanted finer control. So what about Acronis True Image that I had used before?

    I looked at the reviews for Acronis TI 2010 on Newegg and Amazon. Ouch, it either worked great or was a disaster. But they had a free download and 30-day trial period...what's to lose? I downloaded the free trial, used Clonezilla to make a final image of my boot drive, and installed and ran Acronis TI 2010.

    So far so good...in fact it's great. Very fast (faster than clonezilla), very easy, and some extra useful features like disk wiping. So if you get impatient with Win7's backup, download and try Acronis TI 2010. If it works it's only $25 for the full license. If it doesn't try clonezilla for free.

  2. #2
    Lounger
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    I agree, Acronis is the cream of imaging software. Acronis True Image 11 still works perfectly with Windows 7 too.

    For the budget conscious, BootIt NG is even more powerful but not as user friendly.

    See here for a general overview of imaging.
    Alan Vallis
    http://mywitsend.co.nz

  3. #3
    Lounger
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    I have used Macrim Reflect free edition in a school environment with good success and would recommend it for the budget conscious, the latest version is compatible with Windows 7. I use Acronis TI 2009 currently on my home system, its latest update is compatible with Windows 7. I am getting a bit tired of the annual upgrade by Acronis though, and will probably switch to a free product the next time compatibility becomes an issue.

  4. #4
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    The secret to the windows 7 backup utility is simple--don't accept the defaults. Just choose to customize the backup and only check the folders you want.

  5. #5
    4 Star Lounger
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    Have been a long time user of Acronis and tried 2010 and also found it to be fast but I had problems with the CD created for booting the machine in case Win7 was not able to. There have been problems like this with prior versions, but this was the first version (2010) that I personally had a problem. Other backup programs that created boot CDs worked fine on my two identical HP machines including Macrium Reflect which I ended up purchasing. Needless to say, I will not use a backup program that does not create a reliable boot disk.

  6. #6
    2 Star Lounger zigzag3143's Avatar
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    Ditto

    Acronis. I have been recommending it for some time. It is both more flexible than the built in BU and more stable. When ever i have had to restore im back and running in under 30 mins.

    Ken
    Microsoft Most Valuable Professional-- Windows Expert Consumer 2009---2015
    MCC 2013-2015

    Wanikiyi & Dyami--Team ZigZag3143

  7. #7
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    Try Cobian Backup - simple, reliable, can be run as a service & doesn't require payment.
    Gre

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    Windows 7 image of boot drive was very fast for me. 70GB in abnout 1/2 hour created an image. I am impressed.

  9. #9
    2 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eric Henson View Post
    The secret to the windows 7 backup utility is simple--don't accept the defaults. Just choose to customize the backup and only check the folders you want.
    I did that, but W7 still insisted--on the initial backup--of making images of every partition it found. If there's a way of turning that off please let us know!

  10. #10
    2 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dennis Miller View Post
    Windows 7 image of boot drive was very fast for me. 70GB in abnout 1/2 hour created an image. I am impressed.
    Fantastic...but I admit I'm a skeptic. Was the 70GB the drive size; if so how much was actually filled on the drive? Did you backup to an external drive through USB 2 or IEEE1394, or another internal drive?

  11. #11
    New Lounger
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    70GB was the data size of 250GB drive size. Another internal drive. I'm sure USB would be slower but overnight wouldn't bother me.

    One thing...I'm not testing a restore right now.

  12. #12
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Windows 7 backup/image is ok for simple imaging of the root install drive (the operating system). I don't think it was meant for anything else.
    Using the restore function from the option to create a rescue disc works nicely too.
    I've made several images of C drive in various stages of fresh set up and they all work as advertised.
    The menus are simple enough to go through...very simple with not too many "advanced" options though.

    I do believe there are configurable options in the "change settings" section of the "backup and restore" window that will remember
    your choices. I don't recall seeing any references to a compression option though.

    The part I don't care for is burning 4 or 5 dvd disc just to create an image of an os for simple back up purposes.

    Overall a decent effort on Microsoft's part to come up with it's own backup/image solution. If you have more complex needs
    it's probably best to remove/ uninstall this and go purely with a 3rd party solution.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
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  13. #13
    New Lounger
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    When I ran XP I used Retrospect 7.0. It is not the easiest thing to use though, not intuitive and seems to consist of several separate modules that were cobbled together into one program. But it is very flexible and extremely reliable. Maybe too reliable, because sometimes I wouldn't have to touch it for months at a time & then have to relearn it all over again.

    My biggest frustration with the Windows 7 backup utility is that there's no way look at the history.

  14. #14
    New Lounger
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    W7 backs up fine to a Windows Home Server.

  15. #15
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    I have the same problem. Windows 7 insists on imaging several drives. It will not let me select only the C partition where I have Win 7 installed.

    I keep C for the partition and install most of my programs on the D drive. In previous versions of Windows, this has made it quicker and easier to image on the OS.
    I think Win 7 insists on imaging D because some of the programs installed on D may have device drivers that are loaded when the programs are run. Win 7 then assumes that these always have to be part of the backup image.

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