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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    What is the difference between "Windows 7 installation media" and "Windows 7 recovery media"?
    Why, when purchasing a new Windows 7 laptop, would anyone settle for less than complete control (ie, Win-7 installation media) over the OS they've purchased?!

    Background:
    Increasingly over the years, especially with Win-7, it seems nearly impossible to receive proper MS Windows installation media.
    Vendors recommend creating some sort of "backup" or "recovery" CD, or paying extra for "Win 7 recovery media".

    To me, these alternatives are entirely unacceptable.

    Example scenarios:
    1) re-staging my pc -- I rarely want to re-stage as originally shipped, with limited-time bloatware installed. I want to wipe a hard drive, and install clean.
    2) recovering from hard drive failures -- not exactly unheard of. pre-installed original "recovery" image is then of course lost. "Recovery media" is almost certainly useless for a brand new hard drive

    The only reasonable alternative to Win 7 installation media, is a download-direct-from-MS option which can be activated with the original Win 7 registration code that came with the laptop. But I see no evidence of such an option.

    In that case, I want installation media. What gives?
    Any advice?

    Thanks!
    Gg
    GG

  2. #2
    5 Star Lounger
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    I agree that I want the original media. However, I do not want it for reinstallation. I now create my own "recovery" media. Once I have a machine setup how I want it, I image the drive using something like Macrium Reflect. I know have a way to restore the machine to newly installed condition with my programs and settings already included. This "reinstallation" can be done in about 45 minutes as apposed to 4 - 5 hours using the original media. This is the base image for any system I setup and gets stored until the system is retired.

    The original media definitely has its place for troubleshooting and repairing corrupted system files, etc.

  3. #3
    Gold Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by G G View Post
    To me, these alternatives are entirely unacceptable.
    The only reasonable alternative to Win 7 installation media, is a download-direct-from-MS option which can be activated with the original Win 7 registration code that came with the laptop. But I see no evidence of such an option.
    In that case, I want installation media. What gives?
    Any advice?
    GG,
    Hello....Just want to put a "fine point" on what mercyh has said. As i have been through this on my own PC many times. PC's that come with a system pre- installed have as you have pointed out with all manner of "bloatware" with it. If you then purchase a recovery disk set from the manufacture ....you get the OS with all the same again. The Recovery option ( sometimes a partition on your OS, D: on my PC ) has the same system (with all bloatware) so there really is no choice at all. The best option is to purchase ( or obtain a free program) to "Image " your system after you have deleted all the irrelevant "junk" and installed all your own programs ..... Then do the "image" and use that as your "base" you can then delete the "recovery partition " and give back the remaining space to C: .I use Acronis 2010 v7046 and sure it has a few bugs ... but over all it works and has many great options that come with the program.http://www.acronis.com/ check it out .... but get some kind of "imaging software " ...you will be glad that you did down the road. Regards Fred
    PlainFred

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  4. #4
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    I have to agree with Fred. An image is far superior to the original install, even when the original install was a real MS Win 7 disk and not a manufacturers branded disk. Once you have customized the OS to your desire, and installed all the apps you need, then cleaned everything up and defragged, etc., the image will be of the final system. I also recommend a new image every so often, I do about once per month because my system is constantly in flux, and ever changing as I try new things. I want my image to take me back as close as I can get to where I was when I did something stupid and hosed my OS.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  5. #5
    Gold Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ted Myers View Post
    I do about once per month because my system is constantly in flux, and ever changing as I try new things. I want my image to take me back as close as I can get to where I was when I did something stupid and hosed my OS.
    Yes i agree with Ted, In my personal "paradigm", i do a backup after running "Try and Decide" ( Acronis feature ) to check out the new "program". Then if i decide that it's a "keeper" ... I discard all changes ... do a backup .... then and only then do the install for real. Been "burned" (trying new software) too many times to do otherwise. Regards Fred
    PlainFred

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  6. #6
    5 Star Lounger
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    My personal machines get imaged every night. I see no reason to run any other file backup with the cost of drive space where it is. The machines I talk about in the post above are machines that I set up for customers. As part of my service I install all programs they are currently using and move all data over to the new machine. I then image and they get the dvd's (I keep a hard drive based copy of their image).

  7. #7
    4 Star Lounger
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    Couldn't agree more with the above responses. Up until 8 months ago, I used Acronis products religiously but more recently switched to Macrium Reflect. That is no reflection on Acronis for it served me well - I just like the "fit" of Reflect. Either product (I am sure there are a few more acceptable ones) will fill the bill.

  8. #8
    New Lounger
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    Thanks to all. Drive imaging does have its place. Anyone interested in exploring the possibilities should start here: http://www.techsuppo...ing-program.htm

    That said, an image doesn't necessarily have all the installation files ... as I understand. Eventually tweaking the OS installation on a re-staged system partition could lead to a total block if the original installation media is not available: "Please insert your original Winows ABC installation disk..." Or similar message.

    So my original question stands - Why is it even seen as an option for vendors, let alone the overwhelming default, to not provide OS system media for a new PC?

    Of course, Microsoft could allow free download of the current fully-patched installation of Win-7, which could only be activated with a valid license key, which comes with the PC, but I don't see MS doing this.

    Why not?! That's the only way to eliminate the "media" issue.
    GG

  9. #9
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by G G View Post
    That said, an image doesn't necessarily have all the installation files ... as I understand. Eventually tweaking the OS installation on a re-staged system partition could lead to a total block if the original installation media is not available: "Please insert your original Winows ABC installation disk..." Or similar message.
    I have not seen this message on Win 7. I have reinstalled my OS a couple of times, and tested various images by reinstalling them and never been asked for the original installation disk. I suspect the Repair Disk you should make with whatever imaging app you use would be an acceptable substitute for the original installation disk as this repair disk would have all the files necessary to boot you PC in order to run an image repair or system repair. I do know that either the original installation disk or a System Repair disk are necessary to get the installation files necessary to boot your PC, but either/or will work.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  10. #10
    Gold Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by G G View Post
    That said, an image doesn't necessarily have all the installation files ... as I understand. Eventually tweaking the OS installation on a re-staged system partition could lead to a total block if the original installation media is not available: "Please insert your original Winows ABC installation disk..." Or similar message.
    So my original question stands - Why is it even seen as an option for vendors, let alone the overwhelming default, to not provide OS system media for a new PC?
    GG,
    Hello... An "image" as created by a program such as "Acronis true image home" has everything that that is on the partition or disk ..... And has all "files and folders", and can be re-installed without any messages to "install the original disk". ( although some backup to "CD's so you recover from them)
    In answer to your next question, An "original installation" disk as purchased independently .... has no PC manufacture "bloatware" (like when you buy a PC with the "OS" pre-installed) The "recovery disk" that you purchase afterward (for a pre-installed "OS" system) has all the original manufacturer "Bloatware" that came with your PC as originally delivered.So i would venture a guess as to The "why".....$$$$$ ! Regards Fred
    PlainFred

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  11. #11
    New Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred J Usack View Post
    GG,
    Hello... An "image" as created by a program such as "Acronis true image home" has everything that that is on the partition or disk ..... And has all "files and folders", and can be re-installed without any messages to "install the original disk". ...
    Just to be clear - my concern is not the process of restoring a partition from the backup image. My concern is, eg, 3 months later when I want to tweak the Win-7 installation (add/remove system options). Whenever I do this for WinXP, at least, I need an original installation disc about 50% of the time.

    Looking further into the future, towards Win-7 SP2 or SP3, I'll want to create a slipstreamed Win-7 SP3 installation disc to avoid downloading/installing years worth of MS patches. Again, perhaps this is not nec if I've kept my backup image up to date.

    However, I'm not comfortable putting all my OS eggs in one critical basket.

    I tried "Macrium Reflect" for creating a backup image. No problem creating the image. Creating the Rescue CD for Win XP is a bit ropey, however -- requires "PE Builder" which, at least on my old system, is great for creating CD & DVD Coffee Coasters, none of which are useful for booting to WinXP from CD in order to run Macrium Reflect to restore a partition from an image. Overall, this seems like a neat theoretical approach. But if my laptop hard drive fails, and my rescue CD + Macrium Reflect doesn't work, then I'm basically out of luck.

    Which brings me back to wanting what I've paid for - a Win-7 Installation CD.
    GG

  12. #12
    5 Star Lounger
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    I tried "Macrium Reflect" for creating a backup image. No problem creating the image. Creating the Rescue CD for Win XP is a bit ropey, however -- requires "PE Builder" which, at least on my old system, is great for creating CD & DVD Coffee Coasters, none of which are useful for booting to WinXP from CD in order to run Macrium Reflect to restore a partition from an image. Overall, this seems like a neat theoretical approach. But if my laptop hard drive fails, and my rescue CD + Macrium Reflect doesn't work, then I'm basically out of luck
    This is Off Topic (OT) of your original question but I have made various Macrium reflect boot USB sticks using the tutorial on their forums. They have all created painlessly and worked without a problem. I use their Linux boot system, not the PE builder version of the boot CD and have had 0 problems with it.

    IMO EVERY windows owner needs one copy of the original windows install media, however, creating a system recovery disk from inside Windows 7 backup goes quite a ways these days........

  13. #13
    Gold Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by G G View Post
    Just to be clear - my concern is not the process of restoring a partition from the backup image. My concern is, eg, 3 months later when I want to tweak the Win-7 installation (add/remove system options). Whenever I do this for WinXP, at least, I need an original installation disc about 50% of the time.

    Looking further into the future, towards Win-7 SP2 or SP3, I'll want to create a slipstreamed Win-7 SP3 installation disc to avoid downloading/installing years worth of MS patches. Again, perhaps this is not nec if I've kept my backup image up to date.

    However, I'm not comfortable putting all my OS eggs in one critical basket.

    Which brings me back to wanting what I've paid for - a Win-7 Installation CD.
    GG,
    Hello, ..You have raised four points, and will try to address them .... I guess that I'm not understanding what your concerns are... I'll try
    1. If you have made a "backup Image" of you original OS, 3 months or 3 years ago ....you do not need the original installation disk. If you want, you can restore any file or folder\program using Acronis True Image Home ( from you original image ) I haven't a clue as to why you would need the original disk ?

    2.The same goes for Windows "7" ...On my OS, i have an image of the just installed (no updates or patches) system, then an image of the same system with all my programs, Then another with everything ... patches , programs , updates , (and re-image several times a week ),etc.... I no longer need or want the original disk !

    3. You don't put all your "eggs in one basket" .... put images everywhere... removable media , USB drives , external HD's , internal HD's, choices are up to you as to where.

    4. If you buy a PC with pre-installed OS....... "IMAGE IT"..... It will be the same as if you had bought the "Recovery CD" Regards Fred

    PS: One other point... I have done recoveries from a original recovery disk that i purchased from HP .... (all factory bloatware ) it take hours to reload the system (starts, stops ,restarts etc.) from that CD. With Acronis i can restore the exact same system ( Vista Home Premium ) in less than 15 minutes. Now i can "recover" my OS (Windows 7 ) or "Image with Validation" in less than 10 minutes.
    PlainFred

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  14. #14
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Once again I have to agree with Fred. The original installation disk will have just the Win 7 app, nothing else. The image will have the original Win 7 app and EVERYTHING you have added or customized since. All you need is an image S/W to create the image. I do not reimage quite as often as Fred, but I do reimage at least once per month. I never have to go back to the original Win 7 disk to reinstall my OS, I will just go to the latest Image to do this. The System Repair Disk will help you with the intermediate step of attempting to repair an OS before doing the reimage load. For my money, unless I have neglected to reimage in a timely basis, I will always go back to my latest image. That way in about 45 minutes or so I will be back to the point my image was created, with very little loss in productivity.

    By the way when you "buy" Win 7, you are just buying the license that allows you to use Win 7. If Win 7 is preloaded on a PC you buy (you own the PC, not the S/W) you have the right to use that app as long as you follow all the rules spelled out in the EULA. Most S/W you "Buy" is spelled out very similarly by the manufacturer of that S/W as well. Windows is not the only S/W in this category.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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  15. #15
    New Lounger
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    Thanks to all for your expertise. I'll steer well clear of s/w licensing terms and distinguishing between buy and buy

    I just want to be able to recover from a hard-drive crash. Preinstalled Env and Recovery disks and partition images sound promising for modern equipment. Unfortunately I appear to have something less. I've tried several times over the 7 year life of my current laptop for various reasons, including this week, to boot from a home-made CD/DVD or USB stick, and it has never once worked. My trusty pc simply reports "No bootable partition" or something similar, or simply skips right over a bootable USB and carries on as normal with the hard drive, regardless of BIOS boot order.

    But I'm sure it'll work on my next Win-7 pc, with the full OS backed up on the system partition which I simply have to image

    (Of course, that won't let me perform a clean install from the get-go, as I typically do, to eliminate bloatware that I don't want but which hardware vendors insist on installing.)
    GG

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