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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    Windows recimg limitations vs. alternatives

    Fred Langa had an article a while ago in which he recommends using the built-in recimg program to create a custom image that can be used to restore your boot drive without loosing desktop applications or data (er.g., recimg /createimage D:\RefreshImage). I thought I understood what recimg does - that is, create a backup image with all my desktop applications and data. I don't think it does this however. What I think it does is create a backup that includes desktop applications but not data associated with those applications. When you do a restore, it doesn't replace the existing data files, so they are preserved. It just doesn't copy the data files to restore them.

    This is why I think this is so.

    My C: boot drive is a 500 GB Samsung SSD with 190 GB used. The recimg custom refresh image is 58GB in size. Even with compression, that can't include all the data files. If your C: drive crashed, and you need to replace it by reimaging a new drive, you will loose all your data. (That is a bad thing: for example, I have two flight simulator programs installed with about 60GB of (scenery) data files.)

    I also have a copy of Farstone DriveClone (V10.02) and when it runs, it completely images the C: drive so that it exactly matches the original - that is, the cloned drive is 190 GB in size (it also includes the UEFI partition). All the system, program and data is present. (There is also a big difference in time to run the backup: recimg completes in about 30 minutes, while DriveClone grinds away for about 12 hours.)

    I would appreciate comments from anyone with experience with recimg who can confirm or reject my conclusions. My fear is that using recimg might not protect against all disasters - particularly those where the C: drive has a serious hardware problem and is not usable. It seems it would work nicely to do a restore when some system software is corrupted.

    Can someone enlighten me about this? (I am running Win8.1U Pro 64.)

    David

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  3. #2
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    This thread has a good bit of drive image information from various points of view. I've been using TeraByte software for well over a dozen years, have never been disappointed, and I've never tried anything else.

    Others here use different drive image software with similar satisfying results. But many of us agree that there is greater granularity and more options available with 3rd party software vs. Windows built-in imaging.

    I use Image For Windows from TeraByte. It isn't free ($38.94) but all updates within the same major release are free (it is currently on v2.88). I frequently (not every image) do a restore to test an image, and I've never had a restore fail me, either. The normal compression ratio yields an image about half the size of the installation.

    I'm sure others will chime in here; several of us are firm believers in drive imaging to cure a multitude of ills.
    Last edited by bbearren; 2014-04-25 at 12:52. Reason: spelling
    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.
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    RecImg is for system, settings and apps.

    File History is for data.

    Bruce

  5. #4
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    The real meat and potatoes when it comes to backup will be your ability to
    have all of your truly important data backed up separately from the operating system.

    You should not be 100% reliant on drive images, be they MS creations or 3rd party (although superior).
    Drive imaging is a quick solution to get you up and running again, but it should NEVER be relied upon as an all in one backup strategy.

    The bottom line is that if images and rescue disks fail, what you have put away will be all that is left.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

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  6. #5
    Super Moderator bbearren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CLiNT View Post
    The real meat and potatoes when it comes to backup will be your ability to
    have all of your truly important data backed up separately from the operating system.

    You should not be 100% reliant on drive images, be they MS creations or 3rd party (although superior).
    Drive imaging is a quick solution to get you up and running again, but it should NEVER be relied upon as an all in one backup strategy.

    The bottom line is that if images and rescue disks fail, what you have put away will be all that is left.
    Agreed. I have multiple copies in multiple places, as well as DVD's.
    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

  7. #6
    Star Lounger
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    Thanks. I suspected that recimg was not capturing the data. I think that was not made clear in Fred's original article.

    I have looked at a lot of the forum comments about image backup software. It seems everyone has a favorite (there is no consensus) and the (positive) experiences reported with the tools is anecdotal - it is hard to make a decision based on those reports. My experience with my FarStone DriveClone has not been entirely positive - it is very slow though it does get a complete image.

    My PC is used mostly for gaming (Flight and Railroad simulations). Most of my other computing is done with Macs. There, I have been spoiled by TimeMachine and SuperDuper! which makes (incremental) complete bootable backups - and has been 100% reliable over the years. Windows is just a more complicated environment.

    Anyway, thanks for the feedback.

    David

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