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  1. #1
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    The value of a recent drive image

    This afternoon I was doing some finagling in my Windows 8 registry, (minor stuff, really, but here there be demons) and managed to make Windows 8 unbootable. It made three valiant tries, then put up the screen telling me to get out my installation media, repair work needed.

    But I didn't bother with that. I booted into my dual boot Windows 7, opened Image for Windows, and restored my OS image of 9/22/13 from my NAS. The actual image file restore took 6 minutes 51 seconds (I timed it). Going through the menu selecting which and where added maybe a minute to that, and the booting back and forth a couple more minutes.

    After booting back into Windows 8, I had a Windows Defender Update and a Flash Player Update, which are going on in the background as I'm typing this. Bottom line is that from an unbootable Windows 8 I'm right back where I was in under ten minutes. If I weren't dual booting, I would have booted the Image for Windows USB boot drive and accomplished the same thing in about the same amount of time.

    But what I'm getting at is that regardless of the cause of an unbootable Windows 8 (malware, file corruption, owner misfeasance or what-have-you), the cure can be quick and simple. Had it been a failed hard drive (and I've had a few) dealing with the hardware issue would have added significantly to the timeframe, but getting Windows up and running would still be quite painless.

    If yours is a standard Windows installation (whether XP, 7, or 8) the image restore would probably take more time, but not nearly as long as doing a reformat/reinstall of Windows and your programs. Everyone has heard the expression, "Pay me now, or pay me later." "Later" is always more expensive.

    I highly recommend (as do many others here) developing a drive imaging regimen and using it with regularity. It is well worth the effort.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

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  3. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to bbearren For This Useful Post:

    CLiNT (2013-09-25),IreneLinda (2013-10-30),justgeo1 (2013-10-03),lien (2013-10-21),satrow (2013-09-25)

  4. #2
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    Can't argue with under ten minutes.

    I just did a Refresh which took 45 minutes, plus 40 Windows Updates, plus reinstalling various desktop programs.

    And I wish I'd remembered to use Windows Easy Transfer to save email settings first, as a Refresh seems to lose those.

    Bruce

  5. #3
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    Six minutes is about the best I've heard of in terms of a image restore.
    I couldn't agree more about taking the time to learn how to make and restore your own images.
    Nothing beats a well thought out backup regimen.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Windows 8.1, 64 bit
    Motherboard: DX58SO2*Chipset: X58 Express/Intel ICH10*BIOS: SOX5820J.86A.0888.2012.0129.2203*Processor: Intel Core i7 CPU X 990
    GPU: Nvidia GTX 580*Memory: Corsair 12 GB, 4x3@1600*PSU: Corsair HX1000*Hard drives: REVO X2 160GB*OCZ VERT X3 120GB*5 mechanical storage drives (12 TB) total.

  6. #4
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Ain't Imaging grand. Many of us say it often (It's in our signatures). My Images are at most less than a month old. I always create new Images right after patch Tuesday. In this way if a WU screws things up, I restore to last months Image. If I screw things up (just as bbearren did) which seems to happen too often, in less than 10 minutes I am back up and running. I happen to use Acronis from the Boot Disk, but the important point here is that no matter what app you use, it will not work unless you use it!

    Plus another key bbearren mentions is the fact that he restored his "latest" Image. He also creates a new Image regularly. Imagine if your most recent Image is 6 months old, or older. How many changes have happened since that Image was created? Gads, that would be a lot of extra work!
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
    Win 8 Pro (64 Bit), IE 10 (64 Bit)


    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  7. The Following User Says Thank You to Medico For This Useful Post:

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  8. #5
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    I have a regular backup regime. I always do a full image of the boot drive every 7 days with differential images every day. This has allowed me considerable flexibility. I have installed new operating systems and then backed off very quickly. I have also recovered from some stupid but apparently unfixable bugs by recovering back until the bug disappears. Essential to this is to get your data off onto another drive so that if you recover back a few days your data losses are minimised.
    Bob
    Win 7 Pro - IE11, Win 8.1 Pro - IE11 - Office 2010, 2013 - Acronis TIH 2014

  9. #6
    New Lounger
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    I'm new to drive imaging and cloning. I think I understand the basic difference. I'm getting ready to migrate 12-20 workstations and laptops from XP to Win7pro64 and would like to make disk images before doing the upgrades. It also seems like it would be a good idea to make disk images instead of just backing up our six servers running variations of Winserv 2003 & 2008. It seems like Macrium Reflect Tech lic. standard is the best deal although its an annual subscription. Is there a tech license for Image for Windows? It doesn't say anything about an annual license fee & I haven't figured out the Image Deployment purchase option yet. It seems like the Acronis products are a lot more expensive than others... any guidance is welcome. Thanks, Joe

  10. #7
    2 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Medico View Post
    I always create new Images right after patch Tuesday.
    That is so wrong
    I always image immediately BEFORE I permit a Patch Tuesday, and especially before emergency patches.

    When I first moved from XP to Win-7 I did not quite master how to put a total stop to updates,
    and unfortunately I spent most of a day creating a new document whilst Microsoft was quietly doing the dirty to me.
    At the end of the day I saved the document and closed down the computer,
    but this was instantly disrupted by a surreptitiously downloaded emergency patch that took control and got installed.

    When I next booted up, my mouse and keyboard stopped working within 1 minute.
    Every time I rebooted I had barely enough time to log in before they stopped working.

    I had to use my Macrium Boot Rescue CD and waste about 6 minutes creating a new full image backup of my destroyed system,
    and then 6 more minutes restoring the previous image backup of my fully functional system.
    After booting up my fully functional system it took less than one minute to mount as drive P:\ the backup of the destroyed system,
    and then in a few seconds I located the new document that cost me one day, and copied it from P: to C:.
    Then in less than 1 minute the portable freeware BestSync produced a comparison tree that detailed absolutely every file that differed between C: and P:,
    and then I had to spend an hour scrutinising those differences and choosing which were differences that I had created,
    and then a few more minutes synchronising those changes from P: to C:.
    http://www.risefly.com/fsedwld.htm

    I was annoyed with myself that I had failed to fully lock down Microsoft Patches.
    I was infinitely more annoyed with Microsoft when I discovered that their emergency patch was NOT for my protection,
    but to protect their exorbitant revenue stream
    They had discovered that there was some exploit that protected unlicensed Windows from detection and crippling by their original "Windows Genuine Advantage",
    and had my version been non-genuine they would have allowed me only one hour from power on before an automatic shut-down,
    and would only restore normality when I contacted them for a genuine license.
    Because I had a fully licensed system they did not shut down after one hour,
    instead their patch went wrong and killed my control within one minute of power-up, every time until I restored normality.

  11. #8
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrburns47 View Post
    I'm new to drive imaging and cloning. I think I understand the basic difference. I'm getting ready to migrate 12-20 workstations and laptops from XP to Win7pro64 and would like to make disk images before doing the upgrades. It also seems like it would be a good idea to make disk images instead of just backing up our six servers running variations of Winserv 2003 & 2008. It seems like Macrium Reflect Tech lic. standard is the best deal although its an annual subscription. Is there a tech license for Image for Windows? It doesn't say anything about an annual license fee & I haven't figured out the Image Deployment purchase option yet. It seems like the Acronis products are a lot more expensive than others... any guidance is welcome. Thanks, Joe
    Technician use requires a full use license for each computer. Of course, this allows the continued use of the product by the client. There are reseller options, as well. This article has a little more information.
    Create a new drive image before making system changes, in case you need to start over!

    "Let them that don't want it have memories of not gettin' any." "Gratitude is riches and complaint is poverty and the worst I ever had was wonderful." Brother Dave Gardner "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else." Sir Thomas Robert Deware. "The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?" Captain Jack Sparrow.
    Unleash Windows

  12. #9
    New Lounger
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    alan.b - when I get a new computer, I partition the C: drive into a C: and D: drive. I then move my documents, music, videos, desktop, and downloads folders to a users folder that I create on the D: drive. That way, if I have to restore a backup drive image on C:, my user files are left intact. Also, I don't have to image my computer just to back up my user files - I synchronize them daily between two computers or HDD's.

  13. #10
    New Lounger
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    I've posted this basic info before, but it bears repeating in this post.

    Like kgiov, I always create a logical D partition on my laptop drive, when I get a new one, to hold all my data, keeping the OS and programs on the C partition. That way, if I have to do a restoration because of an unrepairable OS glitch, I can restore only the C drive & not even touch the current data backup on the D drive.

    Like alan.b, I always do a drive image immediately BEFORE doing Patch Tuesday, in case anything goofs up with the patches, to my pocket-size external HD. I also do an automatic daily backup to my larger desktop external HD, with a new image of the C disk, which runs in the wee hours of the morning.

    After a week or so- and after the Windows Secrets letter describing any problems with Patch Tuesday patches (fortunately, none have ever surfaced on my computer)- I re-image the entire system to both external HD's, do a copy of my data to the smaller EHD, (confession- borderline OCD personality), and swap it out with last month's copy on my second pocket-size EHD, which I keep in my safe deposit box for offsite backup. When I travel, I change the daily external early-morning backups to the pocket-size EHD and take it with me. This has served me well, as I've had HD failures on trips TWICE, with previous laptops. In these cases, I get overnight shipping of a new internal HD, restore my backup to the new internal HD with my boot disk (copy also carried in my computer case) and the pocket EHD, and am up and going again in 36 hours, at the longest.

    IN ADDITION, when I work on a new file or modifying a file in my D partition, I immediately copy it to a 128 GB flash drive using Windows Explorer. This way, if I get a crash in midday that involves the D drive, and I have to restore the image from the EHD, I can search through files I think I've worked with on the flash drive, and look for ones with the current date, and copy them over. I've also accidentally deleted files, including from the recycle bin, or hopelessly messed up their format (mostly with spreadsheets), and can just copy over the file from the flash drive to quickly get my original file back.

    If I were REALLY paranoid- or more of an OCD victim- I'd unplug the flash drive after each use, and only plug it in only when making a backup, as the only recovery scenario I don't think I've covered is the power surge that fries ALL my equipment at home. I'd still have the offsite backup to restore to a new system, but I'd lose any new files or file modifications made since the last offsite backup.

    I don't do backups to the cloud for two reasons- security, and the much slower speeds over the web, were to I do a total restoration over the Web, vs. a USB 3.0 EHD.

  14. #11
    New Lounger
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    Clonezilla has saved my butt on several occasions! The UI is not for the faint-of-heart, but it gets the job done.

  15. #12
    New Lounger
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    Thanks. I just checked out your site & did a a fast run through your blog. Looks like we're on the same page except I was in USN 66-70 in DC & the Pacific and in optics. I'll check out the tech stuff on your site in the late evening sometime.

    I followed your link for the tech lic. & have sent terabyte an email explaining my needs and requesting guidance & a quote. Do you work for them or are just a satisfied user?

  16. #13
    3 Star Lounger
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    I created a system image by taking a snapshot of the entire computer with the side panel removed (Canon A590 @ max. resolution). However, this is not helping me to get my Windows setup running again. What am i doing wrong here?

  17. #14
    Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by starvinmarvin View Post
    I created a system image by taking a snapshot of the entire computer with the side panel removed (Canon A590 @ max. resolution). However, this is not helping me to get my Windows setup running again. What am i doing wrong here?
    You have to take photos with both side panels removed. We all know that.
    Bob
    Win 7 Pro - IE11, Win 8.1 Pro - IE11 - Office 2010, 2013 - Acronis TIH 2014

  18. #15
    3 Star Lounger
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    bbearren - you said: "I highly recommend (as do many others here) developing a drive imaging regimen and using it with regularity. It is well worth the effort."

    So, if it works so well how come that owl ain't smilin'?

    Regards

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