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  1. #1
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    Is the Windows 7 image backup (clone) bootable?

    I've been using Acronis True Image Home 2011 to make full image backups of my hard drive onto another hard drive. If the drive fails or becomes infected, I can swap drives and boot from the image - and the system will be current as of the date the image was made. I've tested it and it works.

    In this week's (Issue 287) Windows Secrets main article we're told we can use Windows 7's own backup to make an image or 'ghost'. After 25 years of witnessing Microsoft's efforts to keep people from cloning Windows, I have this gut feeling that anything they provide would not let me boot a totally independent copy of their OS.

    Has anyone used the image/clone feature in in Windows 7 backup and successfully booted on another drive with it?

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    I just re-read the Windows Secrets article, and it did NOT say that Windows 7 backup can clone a drive, or that you could boot from the image that it creates.

    Sounds like you are confusing the terminology between making a clone of a hard drive, versus making a system image. What you describe is using Acronis to clone a drive. That allows you to swap the drives, and boot from the new drive.

    If you use Acronis to make an image file on an external drive, you can not boot from that drive. The image file is just data - you have to use Acronis to restore that image file first. Only then would you be able to boot from that drive.
    Rick Groszkiewicz
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  4. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by joro View Post
    In this week's (Issue 287) Windows Secrets main article we're told we can use Windows 7's own backup to make an image or 'ghost'. After 25 years of witnessing Microsoft's efforts to keep people from cloning Windows, I have this gut feeling that anything they provide would not let me boot a totally independent copy of their OS.

    Has anyone used the image/clone feature in in Windows 7 backup and successfully booted on another drive with it?
    joro,
    Hello... First let me say that comparing Acronis to Windows Backup are two different "animals" With Acronis you can "Clone" or "Image" your OS . Using Acronis "PlusPack" (a TI Add on) you can restore the Image to another HD, or a new PC. I have done this with and without "Plus Pack" ( I use Acronis true image home 2010 v 7046 ) Acronis also uses "compression" when imaging as Windows appears not to (or too little to notice) Also Acronis lets you easily look at what you have done ...No "hoop jumping" If you restore the "Windows Image" to another Hard Drive 50\50 it will give you a "This copy of Windows is not Legitimate" or some such Blah, Blah message. At that point you would have to contact MS to sort it all out.... Bottom line stay with Acronis (if it works for you) and forget Windows ... not worth the effort. Regards Fred
    PlainFred

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    Thanks, Fred. That's exactly the information I was looking for.

    It seems my gut feeling about Microsoft's OS cloning difficulties was valid.

    I have Plus Pack, but haven't used it yet. So far, keeping a bootable backup of this machine's hard drive is all I've been doing. And it saved my bacon a year or so ago when some nasty malware trashed my drive.

    I'm really surprised that more people don't regularly make bootable clones - most of my computing friends don't know what I'm talking about - at least until they lose their drive and have to install their OS all over again.

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    You actually don't need a bootable clone, with Acronis. Creating images is much more effective in terms of disk usage, as you can get several images from different moments in time. Create a bootable TI CD and boot from it and you can restore any image you want.
    Cloning a disk means that you can only keep one clone. You will use all the disk, regardless of the actual space taken by your files. I actually never use clones and image my disks once per week. Usually I keep at least 4 images of each pc, since I use 2 different backup disks and keep the latest 2 images on each disk.

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    joro (2011-05-10)

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    joro,
    ruirib is correct....Imaging is the way to go with a clone you tie up an entire "Hard Drive" I have over a hundred "Images" saved in many places ...I can go back in time years ..If need be. Images are compressed ..So a (with Acronis ) a 25 GB "OS" can be Imaged down to about 9GB ...Depending on your compression choice. so you can save many . You just have to be sure that you have a working "Boot-able Recovery Disk" (and test it) , and you can forget "Cloning" Regards Fred

    PS: A good reason to "clone" is... the HD that you have your "Images" and personal data stored on.
    Last edited by Just Plain Fred; 2011-05-10 at 18:34.
    PlainFred

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  10. #7
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    Thanks ruirib - and Fred again.

    A few years ago, when I first used Acronis Migrate Easy to make bootable clones (before True Image came out), I started cloning my drive onto a spare drive. Back in those days, the target drive had to be the same size as the origin drive. Now I can clone to a smaller drive, as long as it's large enough to hold the image.

    Since I have three spare drives that work fine for this, I regularly do a clone and rotate, keeping three progressively current versions on hand.

    The only problem with cloning is that it makes the machine unavailable for a couple of hours. So far, I've done this at times that have not caused any inconvenience.

    Now that you've informed me about making images, I'd like to know if this can be done in the background while the machine is available for other duties, or does making an image also revert to a DOS-like state during the process? Also, since a boot CD is used, can the image be stored on a USB thumb drive?

    It's great to have this forum to get practical advice when needed. Your help is sincerely appreciated.

  11. #8
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    joro,

    You can, indeed, create an image while you keep using your computer. I can do this both in my desktop and my laptop, which are both 2 years old (so not "powerhorses" by today's standards). This possibility actually has been present since I started using Acronis, when the current version was Acronis 2008 and both my pcs were less powerful than the ones I have now.

    HTH.

  12. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ruirib View Post
    ............
    ........
    Cloning a disk means that you can only keep one clone. You will use all the disk, regardless of the actual space taken by your files. I actually never use clones and image my disks once per week.
    ........
    Acronis is an "Imaging" program which makes Clone images and/or Backup images.

    A Clone can be made to a drive that is larger than source drive. The Cloned drive can then be used to add additional Backup images. Just partition the cloned drive to hold the bootable clone in one partition and then use the rest of the drive to make Backup images, etc.

    Backup images can be added to a Cloned drive on other partitions of that drive.

    The Cloned drive is bootable and includes recent backup images.

    HTH

  13. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfspry View Post
    Acronis is an "Imaging" program which makes Clone images and/or Backup images.

    A Clone can be made to a drive that is larger than source drive. The Cloned drive can then be used to add additional Backup images. Just partition the cloned drive to hold the bootable clone in one partition and then use the rest of the drive to make Backup images, etc.

    Backup images can be added to a Cloned drive on other partitions of that drive.

    The Cloned drive is bootable and includes recent backup images.

    HTH
    Yes, of course. You have the additional trouble of managing partitions. Personally, I don't think that trouble is worthwhile.

  14. #11
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    The only place where I would see an advantage in a Clone would be if I were changing to a different HD in a desktop environment. Let's say you have been having some intermittent hardware issues, or just wanted a larger HD, then cloning is just the ticket. Connect both HD's and transfer all info from the original to the new. In all other cases Imaging is the way to go in my book. You can save multiple Images (I do not go as far as Fred. I have dozens for 2 different PC's, but generally only keep the Images for about 6 months, then toss them in favor of new Images). I reimage whenever I make a change to my PC, i.e. add an app, delete an app, updates, etc. Remember the time it takes to restore from an Image is shortest with Up To Date Images. The longer out of date the Image is, the more time spent to re-make whatever changes have taken place since the last Image.

    In a laptop environment I see no advantage at all to cloning since it is much more difficult to connect both HD's at the same time. And quite honestly, it takes me less than 10 minutes to restore from an Image. Just pop the Rescue Media in, reboot, point to the Image location, done! This same process can be used after installing a new HD in the laptop. I have done this more times than I can remember. Of course my memory is fading the older I get, but it's all good!
    Last edited by Medico; 2011-05-11 at 02:46.
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  15. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tfspry View Post

    A Clone can be made to a drive that is larger than source drive.

    HTH
    FYI: That used to be the case, but starting with Acronis True Image Home 2010, a smaller drive than the source can be used as long as it's big enough to hold the data that's being cloned. I've cloned a 250 GB drive with 80 GB on it to a 100 GB drive.

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    4 Star Lounger petesmst's Avatar
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    Confirmed: The Windows Backup System Image is a "clone" and if the disk onto which you have loaded it is placed in a different PC, it will boot up, but you will get "This copy of Windows is not Legitimate" and have to 'phone MS to motivate why they should give you a new activation code to activate your system. It's your choice: If you don't mind this hassle/risk, go for it!
    (My Setup: 3,70GHz Intel Core i7-4820K CPU; MSI Military Class iii X79A-GD45 Plus Motherboard; Win 8.1 Pro (64 bit); 16GB RAM; SAMSUNG SD840 PRO SSD (6GB/SATA III); Seagate 2TB Barracuda SATA6G HDD; GeForceGTX 760 2GB Graphics Card; Office 2013 Prof (32-bit); MS Project 2013 (32-bit); Acronis TI 2014 Premium, NIS 2014, etc). (UEFI-booted). WD My Book 3 1TB USB External Backup Drive)

  17. #14
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Moderator Note:

    Hi Radio Wales, your post, while related in that it is about imaging/cloning is actually an entirely different problem than has been addressed in this thread, and therefore belongs in a thread of its own. I have therefore moved your post, as well as the two posts that followed, which appear to respond to your post to your own thread in the Security & Backups Forum. This will eliminate confusion involving new replies (as in which replies are to which issue?).

    Your thread will be titled "Cloned Disk Not Recognized by Windows 7".

    Deadeye81
    Forum Moderator Staff

  18. #15
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    Cool So How DO I DO THIS

    I'd be happy to know how to create bootable backups that don't need to run off an External. The situation I am facing is that when my computer crashes I'd like to be able to restore my Hard Drive the way it is now without having to reinstall all my programs ect. My external HD has software that creates a restore file but I have had to restore from this before and it is not a true copy like i.e. Carbon Copy software creates for Mac computers. I always have to go reinstall all my apps after reinstalling Windows 7 Ultimate. Is there a way to do this? Am I doing something wrong. Help is greatly appreciated.

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