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 window 7 - system image

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fay47
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PostSubject: window 7 - system image   1/9/2011, 19:44

I just created a system image using the tool inside windows 7.
There were several sub-folders created.
Inside the Backup subfolder - there are a number of files.
There are 3 .vhd files and 11 .xml files.
I am thinking that the .vhd files are the images.
I thought I would look at the .xml files and see if they gave information about the images. but it will not let me open the files. If I just double click on one of the .xml files - it tells me - navigation to the web page was cancelled.
If I right click and choose edit - it tries to open with notepad and tells me access is denied.
Just trying to figure out what I have.

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PostSubject: Re: window 7 - system image   1/11/2011, 11:31

VHD is a Virtual Hard Disk file format, meaning it can contain what is found on a physical Hard Disk Drive, such as disk partitions and file system, which in turn can contain for example files and folders

Extensible Markup Language (XML) is a set of rules for encoding documents in machine-readable form. XML was designed to transport and store data, with focus on what data is. You can view XML files in your browser. See –

http://www.w3schools.com/xml/xml_view.asp

Articles about VHD files: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/virtualserver/bb676673

http://tweaks.com/articles/39389/how-to-mount-a-vhd-file-in-windows-7/

Article about XML files: http://www.w3schools.com/XML/xml_whatis.asp

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PostSubject: Re: window 7 - system image   1/11/2011, 15:59

Repa,

Thanks for the links.
I looked at a couple of the VHD files by the method described in one of the links. One of them I could not tell anything about - but one of them did appear to be my C drive. Very interesting. I do believe that each of the .VHD files is one of the partitions that got included in the system image.

I still don't know much about the system image stuff, but I have one created in case I need it. But I made need to create one and put in a safer place. I suppose it could be put on a jump file if I had one large enough. THe one I created is on an external drive but it stays here in the computer room.

I hope I don't need it anytime soon, but since I had a couple of hard drive crashes on the other computer I hope I can be prepared. I had my data backed up but it was a real pain having to re-install and re-configure everything.

If I understand it correctly - with the system image - it will put things back the way they were when I created the image and I would not have to re-install things. Is that true.

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Fay
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PostSubject: Re: window 7 - system image   1/11/2011, 18:56

As far as I know, Fay. I had to restore my C drive back in the spring when I was having major problems booting the system due to a corrupt registry after several power surges seemed to have messed it up, and I used a backup image that Maxtor software that came with my external hard drivee created. When I did the drive image backups, it backed up both the C and D drive, and when I did the restore, it restored both the C and D drive image backups into one new partition that it created, and not the existing C and D partitions, making the system totally unusable. I had to repartition my hard drive and do a clean install of Windows. Fortunately, all the routine backups I did of critical data folders and files on my C and D partitions were fine, and it didn't take me very long to get my system back to where it was before the registry got trashed. Other than this incident, I've never had to restore or reinstall Windows.

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PostSubject: Re: window 7 - system image   1/11/2011, 19:30

The only time I have had it done was the 2 times I had to have a new hard drive put it - I took it to the shop, they installed the drive and reinstalled windows - I then later had to reinstall all the other stuff - I did not want to pay them to do that. I didn't have the windows XP cd - but I had the sticker on my computer that showed by key - so they used another copy to install it and used my key.

Due to finances - I was hoping that if it happen to this compute I might be able to do it myself - but I'll probably end up taking it to the shop anyway - (I hope I don't have the need to do that). But if I do need to restore, it would be nice to be able to take them the system image on the external drive and hope that if they can use it so I wouldn't not have to re-install everything. In the case of a new drive - I should not have to worry about existing partitions on the drive.

I keep separate backups of my data - using the backup software on my pocket drive, but it did not have any imaging software - just backup software. I also have an IOMEAGA hard drive that I copy some of my most important stuff to as a separate backup.

I really don't know much about this system image stuff at all. Just hope that if I have the need, I can get it to work someway.

Thanks,
Fay

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PostSubject: Re: window 7 - system image   1/11/2011, 20:42

Your system should have either come with an EOM Windows 7 CD and driver CDs for your hardware devices, or restore CDs. If you didn't get one set of these, then you should get messages periodically popping up telling you to create the restore CDs yourself, at least that's if your manufacturer provided that option for you. If you do that, you will be able to easily restore your system to it's original state yourself (or whatever the current state is now if you didn't do it when you first saw the message), as it's just a matter of inserting the restore CDs one at a time in the order they were created and following the directions. If you have a Windows CD and the hardware driver CDs, you can follow the step-by-step directions in Tut# 13 even though it was written for WinXP - the order of the operations to perform is basically the same.

These are the options you have, along with the backup image of your hard drive that you created. Did it tell you how to create an emergency boot CD so you could get to where you stored your backup image on your external hard drive is stored if you are unable to reboot your computer?

You might also find this article helpful, just in case:

http://www.ehow.com/how_5735259_create-windows-system-recovery-disc.html

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PostSubject: Re: window 7 - system image   1/11/2011, 23:20

Repa,

There were no disks that came with the computer. I did create the repair disk and a set of recovery disks. I hope to never have to use either.

From what I just read I think the repair disk can be used to boot the computer and choose from a menu what type of repair to make. Even if I do have to use this at some point - I hope to have an system image that I can use instead of the recovery disks. I have never checked it to see if I can really boot from it - guess I should try it some time.

I just printed off some instructions "Restore you computer from a system image backup" . One thing I don't know is if it will work if you have just installed a brand new blank drive. Again, maybe I'll never need to even worry about it.

So much to learn!!!. I am learning a little at a time. Thanks for all your help.

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PostSubject: Re: window 7 - system image   2/8/2011, 18:46

ok, I kind of got sidetracked from this but back to it now.
NOTE: this is just for in case I need to know at some time. I do not have a problem now, but since I had 2 hard drive crashes on the old computer - I figure there is a good chance I will have a problem at some time on this one.

There were no disks that came with the computer, but I did make
a Repair Disk
& a set of Recovery Disks.

I have also created a system image on an external usb hard drive. using the built in win 7 tool. I plan on creating a new system image occasionally so hopefully if/when I do have a problem I will have a pretty current image.

Using the Repair Disk, I can boot up to a screen that gives me repair options. I did not go any further since I don't want to take a chance on messing something up.

I have read instructions for restoring from a system image, but have some questions. The instructions I found do not seem to address how to restore to a completely blank new hard drive. And I have run across a number of post that seem to indicate people had time trying to restore to a new drive, and aldo seems some had trouble tyring to restore for and external usb drve.

Using a system image created with the win7 tool, should I be able to restore to a completely new drive in case of a hard drive crash and should I be able to restore form an image on and external usb hard drive. What would the procedure be? Can I simply take out the old drive, insert the new one, the boot from the repair disk and follow the instructions. Will it take care of formatting, partitioning etc. And if I understand it, then win7 and all my software will get restored and I will not have to reinstall - is that correct?

In summary - my maina concerns are
trying to restore to a different hard drive
tyring to restore from an image on an external usb hard drive.
And again, this is no emergency - just trying to be prepared for a crash

I got bit twice on the old computer. I did have most of my data backed up - but reinstalling everything was a pain. And I took it to a shop to have the new hard drive installed, formatted etc, and win xp and drivers installed. I may still have to take this one to a shop - but I want to know if I'll be able to use the system image to restore myself or give to someone else to do it.


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PostSubject: Re: window 7 - system image   2/9/2011, 23:08

Instructions for creating and using the repair disk to restore your system image to your current hard drive in the event of a system crash:

http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/5409/create-a-system-repair-disc-in-windows-7/

Instructions for using the repair disk to restore your system image to a new hard drive, and problems encountered:

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en/w7itprogeneral/thread/947e2c06-211a-4518-bbd7-7b9e3aee099c

It looks like this isn’t exactly straight-forward. I get the impression that the new hard drive may need to be exactly the same size as the old one in order to restore the Windows 7 image to a new hard drive. It also looks like trying to restore an image backup from an external hard drive instead of from a CD or another hard drive on your system might also be a problem using the built in Windows 7 recovery tools. You can read about some of the problems people encountered here.

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PostSubject: Re: window 7 - system image   2/9/2011, 23:12

Repa,

I haven't read you rlinks yet, I will later, really tired right now.

But before I posted I did goggle search and read a number of posts with people having roulbe with issues of using the built it system image tool and trying to restore to a new hard drive and tyring to resoter form an external drive. Did not really find any answers.

As I said, I'll come back later and check out the links you posted and see if they gave any more answers than i have been able to find.

Thanks,
Fay
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PostSubject: Re: window 7 - system image   2/10/2011, 16:47

Repa,

I went back and read the links you provided.
I have created a repair disk.

I agree - the restoring from a system image does not sound exaclty straight forward. After reading your links and others, I am still confused by my 2 main questions.
Can you restore from an image created on an external drive?
Cna you restore to a new hard drive?.

The infomation in the stuff I have read really is not straight forward and does not always seem to be consistent. It seems there should be an answer to those questions, but I am having a hard time finding it. I am considering posting to the windows 7 forum at bleeping computer - but not sure ti will do any good.
Either way, I may just have to wait till I need it to find out if it works Sad

Thanks for trying to help.
Fay


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PostSubject: Re: window 7 - system image   2/10/2011, 19:12

You can restore from an external hard drive if the utility you are using on the boot disk is set up to do so. Maxtor has a utility called Safetydrill. You can create a boot cd from it that will find and restore an image to your hard drive from an external drive, but the catch is that your hard drive cannot be partitioned in order for it to work, and then I'm not sure how reliable it is. Does Windows 7 recovery do that? I don't know.

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PostSubject: Re: window 7 - system image   2/10/2011, 19:28

Repa,

I really don't know. One of the frustrating things is that I can't really plan around with it to find out what it does. Part of what I was wondering was, if you are restoring to a new harddirve is does it have to be partitioned/formatted first or will that be done as part of the restore process. I am not sure. I have read the instructions for doing the restore - but it doesn't seem to address restoring to a new disk. I see one of the buttons on one of the restore screens is to Load Divers. I don't know what that is for and I did not see any explanation.

I may go ahead and post to BleepingComputer just to see what kind of response I get.

As I said, in the end, I don't know if I'll really know until it is too late - until I need to use it.
And I suppose that would be true even if I purchased a drive image utility.

Sometimes I feel like the more I try to learn about stuff , the less I know.
I can't stand this!

I get pretty discouraged sometimes. Back in the day when I was a mainframe programmer - I didn't have to worry about all the really technical stuff - we had other people to deal with that. Oh, for the good old days. I wonder if my poor old brain is up to the challenge of all this Smile


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PostSubject: Re: window 7 - system image   2/10/2011, 22:49

Fay, I'll pursue this a bit more because I'm interested too, but it may take me several days to get back to you. I know what to do with XP, but not having windows 7 makes it more difficult for me to say what works and what doesn't and what kinds of problems you can run into with it. We're reading the same things on the Internet, and I'm not sure what's what either.

The best and most straightforward approach is to have your version of the Windows 7 cd itself - then there is no ambiguity about what to do or what works and what doesn't. I was looking at the Windows 7 cds in Sam's club a couple of days ago, and Windows 7 Home Premium Full Version was $189. I think the Pro version was up around $279. You could also create a Windows 7 Slipstream CD for free from your system. Instructions on how to do it can be found by googling it, but that process isn't exactly straightforward either and requires careful reading.

DriveImage XML is a good free alternative for creating a backup image, but creating the boot cd for restoring the image is not necessarily straightforward either. Reviews of Acronis True Image are usually pretty good. It is supposed to be easy and straigtforward to use, and will restore a backed up image from an external hard drive. It comes with a 30 day free trial and costs $49 to continue to use it after that.

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PostSubject: Re: window 7 - system image   2/10/2011, 23:23

Repa,

Seems like there should be some straight forward information that goes over some of the different scenarios - restoring to the current drive, restoring to a new drive, restoring from cd/dvd, restoring from external hard drive etc. But, I have not found it. And it is hard to know what is reliable information. Found some posts where people said you could not restore to a new dreive (with the image created from the build in tool) and some posts that seemed to indicate you should be able to.

Right now I am just tyring to get it all figured out so no big hurry - well guess there is no way of knowing when I might have a drive crash.

I use the pro version and don't want to buy it unless I really have to. ALso, was hoping to be able to use the image so that I will not have to re-install and reconfigure everything. I did create both the repair disk and a set of recovery disk - but I hope I can use a more current image instead of the recovery disks.

If I did buy an imaging program like ACRONIS, could i use it on both my win 7 maching and win xp maching - or would I have to buy a seperate one for each?. Is it needed just to create the image - if I have to install on a new drive - it would not be available to do the restore? (I started another thread about creating an image for win XP - I kept my old computer)

Some of this would be hard to check out even if you had win 7 because - can't actually try the restore. I will appreaciate any information you come up with but don't want you to spent too much time on it unless you just want to.

Again, thanks for all you help
Fay
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PostSubject: Re: window 7 - system image   2/11/2011, 00:20

Acronis True Image is for XP, Vista and Windows 7. But I have to back off my previous remarks about using it as I have just found a slew of negative reviews on the latest version of this product. Several people have said they have switched to using the Windows 7 backup and recovery exclusively. If you want to be sure you can install Windows 7 on a new hard drive, should your current hard drive fail, borrow a friend's Windows 7 Pro CD and use it to reinstall Windows 7, and input your systems Window Key when the key is called for. If you want your own CD, create a bootable slipstream cd from a borrowed Windows 7 Pro CD. I did find some pretty straight forward instructions for doing this here:

For Windows 7 SP1: http://www.intowindows.com/how-to-slipstream-windows-7-sp1-into-installation-dvd-iso/

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PostSubject: Re: window 7 - system image   2/11/2011, 23:32

Repa,

Thanks,
Fay
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