• Macrium Reflect Pro v5.2: How to test a system image safely?

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    #491704

    Greetings, Loungers.

    I’m running Windows 7 Pro 64-bit on a Dell Precision M4700 laptop. It’s my one and only computer.

    Although I’ve been computing (in my way) since Win 95, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not very savvy about what goes on under the hood. I’ll be asking remedial questions, and hope you’ll bear with me.

    Having installed Macrium Reflect Professional v 5.2.6427, I’ve gotten as far as making a rescue disc. It boots fine, and is able to access my external backup drive.

    I haven’t yet backed up my system. I know that after the backup, I’ll want to test the image for usability. But a rasping, metallic inner voice tells me that if something goes wrong, I could screw myself six ways from Sunday.

    So I appeal to you for help! How can I test the viability of a system image without potentially jeopardizing the integrity of my existing data? For what it’s worth:

    Everything is on my [C:] drive.
    The total hard drive capacity is 297.3 GB
    Used space: 114.4 GB
    Free space: 182.9 GB

    Would appreciate any guidance you could give me, and thanks.

    Brooks

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    • #1419905

      Brooks,

      Here’s what I do.
      1. Always select the Advanced Options and turn on the Verify Image Option.
      2. Instead of restoring the image, as many recommend, I just use the mount option and explore around the image and copy a file or two. If this works it’s about 99% sure the entire image is good. IMHO.

      I’ve never had an Image, using Macrium Pro or Free, fail me. As a matter of fact I had to restore my system drive 4 times back to Win 8.0 before I got Win 8.1 installed “my way w/o a MS Account”. HTH :cheers:

      FYI: I always keep 3-4 generations of images so if one fails I still have backups and I keep one in my fireproof safe and Important data is kept at a friends house.

      May the Forces of good computing be with you!

      RG

      PowerShell & VBA Rule!
      Computer Specs

      • #1420083

        Brooks,

        Here’s what I do.
        1. Always select the Advanced Options and turn on the Verify Image Option.
        2. Instead of restoring the image, as many recommend, I just use the mount option and explore around the image and copy a file or two. If this works it’s about 99% sure the entire image is good. IMHO.

        I’ve never had an Image, using Macrium Pro or Free, fail me. As a matter of fact I had to restore my system drive 4 times back to Win 8.0 before I got Win 8.1 installed “my way w/o a MS Account”. HTH :cheers:

        FYI: I always keep 3-4 generations of images so if one fails I still have backups and I keep one in my fireproof safe and Important data is kept at a friends house.

        It’s a very good idea to test the image by mounting then exploring it. At the very least, you will know that all of your data is in good shape.

        As an added benefit, mounting the image allows you to recover individual items from it, which is the most common reason I presume most people do restores.

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #1420044

      Hello RetiredGeek, and thanks kindly for your input.

      Tick the “Verify Image” option…..got it.

      May I ask what you mean by “mount,” since I couldn’t find that term in the help files? Are you simply browsing the saved image from the “Restore file and folder” tab of the Reflect main window?

      Or do you actually mount the image in…..I dunno……some sort of virtual sandbox?

      If it’s not already obvious, I barely know what I’m talking about! Just curious what you mean by “mount.”

      Appreciate your help, and thanks.

      Brooks

    • #1420046

      The terminology might vary a little, but the process of mounting means to open the image, assigning it a drive letter in the process that can be browsed with Windows explorer just as if it were a real drive.

    • #1420053

      Excellent. Thank you, F.U.N.

      B.

    • #1420061

      Image based backups are an excellent start, especially if you haven’t done them before, but they are NOT the only forms of backup you should be doing.
      You will also need hard copied backups of all your important data to DVD or external drive.

      *Ensure that you know your BIOS’s boot settings first and foremost.
      *Create a proper boot disk. Create a proper boot disk. Create a proper boot disk. Create a proper boot disk.
      *Ensure that your boot disk is fully capable of booting and recognizing an external drive or other internal drives. (which you have done)
      Both Linux and Windows PE Macrium boot disks should be created, some systems don’t fully work well with only the Linux. Test test test.
      *That little voice in your head is NEVER going to go away until you’ve created and restored a few images, especially after a serious crash.
      *Keep your images SIMPLE until you are WELL familiar with how the app works.

      So get in there and get it done. READ all the factsheets and tutorials you can get your hands on.
      Some folks don’t read any tutorial and expect everything to go flawlessly, this is simply wrong.

      • #1420073

        Pale, panting, sweaty…..lord knows I strive to keep up, CLiNT. Technology can be rough on an old man’s nervous system, is all I’ll say.

        I get Brownie points for regularly burning my data to CDs. Maybe this year I’ll “up” my game by burning to DVD. (I had, for a time, used an external USB hard drive for my backups, but last year the drive croaked, taking with it three years of archived data. I’ll never really trust an external drive again.)

        I made an inaugural foray into my BIOS just this week, and managed to change the boot order so that my Macrium Reflect CD would boot. Was pround of myself. What else about the BIOS do I need to know? Are there chunks of inscrutable code I should be scribbling down and storing in a safe place?

        My laptop runs Windows 7. I made a Windows 7 boot disc when I first got the computer, and also have a Macrium PE boot disc. Do I need a Linux boot disc as well?

        Believe me when I tell you that keeping this imaging process SIMPLE has become the all-consuming objective of my geriatric life. Preparing myself for this SIMPLE image — still a dream on the horizon — has knotted my brain into a thousand macrame plant hangers.

        I’m reading Macrium Reflect tutorials like there was no tomorrow. Most of all, I’m indebted to the guys who hang out on the Macrium forum. With infinite patience and kindness, they’ve bent over backwards to help me.

        Thanks for your tips, sir. Most appreciated!

    • #1420090

      BrooksNYC:
      I use Macrium (paid version), and here is how I “mount” an image file.
      Go to the “Restore Tab.”
      Next, click on “Open an image or backup file in Windows Explorer.”
      Follow the dialogue: pick an image file, and “mount it.”
      Look in Windows Explorer, and you’ll see your selection “mounted” with a drive letter you pick.
      Now, you can open one of those files if you want to copy/recover something.
      Or, as RG suggested, do the above just to prove to yourself that your image is good.

      I’m probably older than you, and a non-techie, so the words above might not be techie-talk; but they work.

      Best,
      Dick

    • #1420143

      Thanks very much, gentlemen.

      My #1 reason for wanting to get up to speed on system imaging is so that I can restore the entire O/S in the event of system files gone crazy, difficult virus infections, etc. Of course, if I can recover the occasional lost document, that’s lagniappe.

      Dick-Y, there’s nothing I appreciate more than instructions written for laymen. Thanks you for your clear and easy “mounting” tutorial…..just what I needed!

      Brooks

    • #1420186

      Brooks:
      I’ve received so much help from all the experts here – all of them so willing to share their knowledge – that I am really glad to be of help to a fellow layman.
      Best,
      Dick

    • #1420548

      Verifying an image by mounting it within the OS and checking the files are all fine and dandy. But there is
      no better way to verify the integrity of the entire process by restoring an image from the boot disk.

      • #1420552

        Verifying an image by mounting it within the OS and checking the files are all fine and dandy. But there is
        no better way to verify the integrity of the entire process by restoring an image from the boot disk.

        I thing the odds of a bad image if it can be mounted and browsed are better than 99%. The odds are geater of a media failure some times afterwards which would affect your process as well as ours. I like RG feel very comfortable with that. That is based on going through the complete process one time so the user is sure he/she understands it but I feel no need to do it for future backups.

        If its not good enough for you, so be it. We all make our own decisions.

        Jerry

      • #1423314

        Sure, backup and restore procedures CYA in case of file corruption, but, if you have file corruption, you probably have a disk that’s about to go South. If you’re backing that disk up onto itself, what happens if your disk dies? How are you going to get your backups off it? And what are you going to restore to?

        OK, you can install a new disk, then your OS, then your patches, then your apps and data. They’re all on CDs or DVDs? How long is that going to take? How long has it been since you made them?

        What I would do on my desktop is replace the ostensibly bad boot drive with my most recent drive clone and be back in business in minutes. On my laptop, I would use my USB to disk adapter and change my BIOS to boot from the external drive. In either case, I’d find out if I had a disk problem, and the original disk is unchanged in case it isn’t. Drive imaging (cloning), using software like Acronis and Macrium Reflect, beats file imaging (backups) any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

        So back to the original question in this thread: how can I test the viability of a system image without potentially jeopardizing the integrity of my existing data? Use the read after write verification feature of your software, create/cycle at least two clone drives, and cast your fate to the winds (hey… that would make a good song title…).

        Really! :^_^:

    • #1420550

      Clint:
      Of course I agree with your comment. However, I was merely trying to help the OP understand what RG had said he does from time to time, by putting my comment in laymen’s terms.
      Dick

    • #1420650

      I like RG feel very comfortable with that

      That’s all fine and dandy too J, except the OP has never restored an image before, [he’s is NOT comfortable with it yet].
      You can mount until the cows come home but the only way to get comfortable and become more experienced with the process in it’s entirety is to actually do it.

      • #1424193

        as a brand new member i would like to add a few words to the macrium backup thread. i have used macrium free for ages and restored many many times. all were successful restores. i get a little smarter as time goes on and now i keep my operating system (win7) and programs on C drive, an image of C from macrium on a 50gig partition of my main drive, all my “stuff” on a second internal drive, copies of macrium images on this second drive also. also have an external drive that is only hooked up when i want it (rarely). in case of power surges i am then safe to restore. restoring is easy and about 6-7 minutes for a 20g compressed image. i use the winpe disc and that is by far better than the linux one…much faster. i do a lot and make an image weekly after a clean up and virus check. i keep three images as backups. Macrium is a great program that does what it says. just my two cents worth. happy to see some intelligent posts here. hello to all.

        Clas

    • #1420656

      Clint:
      I think you are missing the point here. In this whole discussion of imaging raised by the OP – look at reply #3. He asks, in his struggle to learn about this area, what “mount” means. That’s what I responded to in #9.
      Dick

    • #1420659

      I saw that, thanks…
      I just didn’t want the OP to get the wrong idea, being totally new to imaging, that he doesn’t have to physically test
      his image backup and restore setup by not restoring an image.

    • #1420889

      I agree with CL1NT, here. The only way to be 100% certain of a drive image is to actually restore it.

      Print out the step-by-step instructions (since they won’t be available during the restore), boot your recovery disk and restore your image.

      It is much less stressful to do it now, when you don’t actually need it, than after a failure, when you truly need it, and all this prep work you’ve been doing is sometime in the past, and a bit fuzzy in your memory.

      There is greater comfort in saying to oneself, “I’ve done this before,” than is saying to oneself, “I think I can do this.” You are best serving yourself by getting to , “I’ve done this before.”

      I image regularly and frequently, have been for years, and I still run a trial restore from time to time, just for that certainty.

      Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
      We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

    • #1422044

      Hi all – as a noob to the forum, first let me thank you for the great info.
      I’m about to try imaging for the first time, and the issue of mounting popped something into my head. What about multiple external hard drives… would having a couple of data drives plugged into USB ports during a backup cause problems if they are NOT plugged in during the restore process, or vice versa? Or is this a moot point?

      • #1422129

        I’m about to try imaging for the first time, and the issue of mounting popped something into my head. What about multiple external hard drives… would having a couple of data drives plugged into USB ports during a backup cause problems if they are NOT plugged in during the restore process, or vice versa? Or is this a moot point?

        It will be a simpler process to locate source and destination if you are using a program that offers those options if you don’t have extraneous drives attached at the time, especially if there is more than one drive or partition of the same size. It’s not so important with imaging but I do a fair amount of cloning as well and there it is critical so it’s just a good procedure to follow in general.

    • #1422046

      There should not be any problem with multiple external drives plugged in while creating your images.

      Restorations of images, especially a test, should always be done via the bootable restore disk you made.

      First think about creating an image, then you can worry about “mounting” it and viewing it’s contents.

    • #1422071

      I know this is implied in the above, but for the sake of precision . . .
      First think about creating an image; then test recovering with that image; and then you can worry about “mounting” it and viewing its contents.

      Dick

      • #1422080

        I know this is implied in the above, but for the sake of precision . . .
        First think about creating an image; then test recovering with that image; and then you can worry about “mounting” it and viewing its contents.

        Dick[/QUote]
        I would actually change the order you have chosen. If you can view the image contents and mount the image, then you will have a achieved a “lesser of evils” goal – at the very least you will be able to recover your data, if things go bad. If you try to restore the image and that fails, then you risk losing everything. Personally, I would never restore an image to the same disk, just for testing purposes, because of this.

        Dick, my reply is not directed at you. I am just sharing my opinion over a practice that is recommended by other Loungers and I quoted you, since yours is the most immediately available reply to quote on this subject :).

        • #1422120

          If you try to restore the image and that fails, then you risk losing everything. Personally, I would never restore an image to the same disk, just for testing purposes, because of this.

          I keep multiple copies of my data, my emails, my financial records in multiple places. Critical files are also copied to DVD’s. I also have backup installation copies of the software I install and use. I can reconstruct my system from a simple set of drive images, or a more complex and time consuming complete reinstallation of OS and all else. I don’t have all my eggs in one basket, by any means.

          So I don’t have any hesitation to do a restoration of a drive image to the same drive from which I just created it. If that fails, most likely the image is bad or the drive is bad, which is something I’d rather know sooner than later. For me, there is no greater certainty that an image is indeed viable, just as there is no greater security than in having multiple copies of critical files in multiple places.

          Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
          We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

          • #1422123

            I keep multiple copies of my data, my emails, my financial records in multiple places. Critical files are also copied to DVD’s. I also have backup installation copies of the software I install and use. I can reconstruct my system from a simple set of drive images, or a more complex and time consuming complete reinstallation of OS and all else. I don’t have all my eggs in one basket, by any means.

            So I don’t have any hesitation to do a restoration of a drive image to the same drive from which I just created it. If that fails, most likely the image is bad or the drive is bad, which is something I’d rather know sooner than later. For me, there is no greater certainty that an image is indeed viable, just as there is no greater security than in having multiple copies of critical files in multiple places.

            Bruce, don’t get this wrong, but it’s not you that I am really worried about. I don’t have issues restoring my images either, because if things go south, I can always recover from that. I also keep at least 3 images of my work computers, in two different external drives and my works files are backed up online through Cubby. Plus all my dev work is now maintained at Microsoft’s source control system, online.
            What worries me are the regular, less experienced users, who, if they do that and the restore goes bad, will find themselves probably unable to recover from it. We should have them in mind when we advise a test restore. Also if images are corrupted, most likely they won’t mount properly, so mounting and browsing is a rather safe bet, test wise, as is verifying – this one definitely detects corruption.

            In this respect, I am finding myself more inclined to value Windows based backups or backups done in apps that can convert their formats to .vhd or the new .vhdx formats (I know True Image allows it). Why? Because in Windows 7 and 8, you can not only mount such files, but you can actually configure Windows 7 and 8 to boot from them. This means you can test the boot process without destroying nothing in your system and this is quite a big advantage, especially for less experienced users. With Windows 8, in newer machines, you surely will even be able to load such an image in Hyper-V, which means that most likely you will be able to run a virtual version of your system even in newer hardware, if your older hardware fails, for any reason.

            Anyway, I should probably rephrase the wording in my previous post. It’s not that I would never restore an image for test purposes (though I actually don’t do it), but I should have said I cannot advise it if the users do not feel that they could recover from a recovery test failure.

    • #1422124

      Verifying an image by mounting it within the OS and checking the files are all fine and dandy. But there is
      no better way to verify the integrity of the entire process by restoring an image from the boot disk.

      There must be an echo in here

      • #1422128

        Verifying an image by mounting it within the OS and checking the files are all fine and dandy. But there is
        no better way to verify the integrity of the entire process by restoring an image from the boot disk.

        I don’t disagree. I would even say it’s the only way to verify the integrity of the entire process, if there was not the possibility of booting from a virtual disk, with Windows based imaging. All I am saying is that less experienced users should probably refrain from going that far, as the test can render their systems useless, unless they feel they can easily recover from that. For those who feel they can’t, verifying the image’s integrity, mounting the image and browsing it, is decent enough testing, IMO.

    • #1422127

      So I don’t have any hesitation to do a restoration of a drive image to the same drive from which I just created it. If that fails, most likely the image is bad or the drive is bad, which is something I’d rather know sooner than later.

      Mounting the image and checking a few files should catch these errors. But we all do what we are comfortable with.

      Jerry

    • #1422130

      In the vast majority of instances simply “mounting” an image will show you NOTHING in terms of potential issues.

      • #1422131

        In the vast majority of instances simply “mounting” an image will show you NOTHING in terms of potential issues.

        Don’t forget the verifying part. I have all my images verified, after creation.

        I haven’t found a corrupt image, yet, though, so I don’t have the personal experience to state that there are images that cannot be restored and yet can be mounted, due to corruption.

    • #1422135

      Yes, using the application’s software to verify an image is all well too, and it should be done.

      But there is no replacement for testing the process in it’s entirety.
      *Even for an advanced user who switches programs and wants to try a new imaging app for the first time.

    • #1422138

      Let me add a word as a non-geek home user . . . in my case, many moons ago, someone here recommended testing an image to see if you could restore it using the boot disk. Now, at the time, I was using Acronis; and I know there are many happy users of Acronis; but in my case, with my Dell 4600, I couldn’t restore the image. Somewhere in this blog I’ve detailed how long and hard Acronis tech. support worked to try to resolve my issue. They never could. I switched to Macrium paid; and it worked right out of the box for me.

      I’m not trying to plug Macrium versus Acronis. I am trying to say that if I hadn’t tried to restore the image I never would have known I had a problem – until it was too late to do anything about it.

      YMMV.

      Dick

    • #1422139

      OK, I’ll meet you half way then…

      Verify, mount, then test the integrity of the process in it’s entirety by restoring the image with a bootable restore disk
      created specifically by your chosen imaging application.

      If all the above is successful then you have yourself, at least partly anyway, an image based backup regimen.

      • #1422147

        OK, I’ll meet you half way then…

        Verify, mount, then test the integrity of the process in it’s entirety by restoring the image with a bootable restore disk
        created specifically by your chosen imaging application.

        If all the above is successful then you have yourself, at least partly anyway, an image based backup regimen.

        I don’t disagree with you, I repeat. If a user feels confident enough, this is the way to go and I agree with you and Dick that there is no other way to find out if the whole restore process will work.

        However, actually completing the full restore, doesn’t mean you get a bootable computer – that has happened to me. What if this happens to a non experienced user? How will they recover then? Imagine this happens with the very first image they create. What then?

        So I agree with all of you regarding the verifiability of the whole process. What I personally can advise, though, is that a full restore, as a test, should only be performed by users that feel they will be able to recover from a situation where the restore fails and renders the system unbootable. For those, the “lesser of evils” – to have a safe copy of their data – can be achieved simply by verifying all images made and mounting and browsing them.

        I am just being cautious about other people’s systems, that’s all.

      • #1422203

        OK, I’ll meet you half way then…

        Verify, mount, then test the integrity of the process in it’s entirety by restoring the image with a bootable restore disk
        created specifically by your chosen imaging application.

        If all the above is successful then you have yourself, at least partly anyway, an image based backup regimen.

        This seems the most sensible, if one is going to restore over the current system the image was made from it would be best to mount it first just to verify the contents are commensurate with what the image is supposed to contain.

        • #1426719

          I am late reading this but be aware mounting an image with the drive it was imaged on connected may cause Windows to chagne the disk ID so that 2 disks do not have the same ID. I am admittedly a bit confused on the consequences of this . BTW does this board have a spell checker?

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
          • #1426722

            I am late reading this but be aware mounting an image with the drive it was imaged on connected may cause Windows to chagne the disk ID so that 2 disks do not have the same ID. I am admittedly a bit confused on the consequences of this . BTW does this board have a spell checker?

            I have been mounting images of disks in the same computer where the images were created for years and never had any issues. What is your concern?

            I am not aware of a spell checker being available, tbh.

    • #1422145

      Clint:
      Who are you meeting half way?
      Dick

    • #1422172

      Yea, but what if they do not verify the Image by restoration, then go along for a couple months and suddenly they have a catastrophe. They try to restore and it does not work. Would it not have been better to know immediately.

      Yes, if the restore does not work, a complete reinstall may be needed, but is it better to continue along for a time period blythely thinking you are protected when you are not. It’s a catch 22, but in my mind it’s better to know immediately if it’s not going to work.

      We have often stated that the data should be backed up separately from the OS. An image is a tool to back up the system (OS and apps) but should not generally be used as the only data back up.

      • #1422177

        Yea, but what if they do not verify the Image by restoration, then go along for a couple months and suddenly they have a catastrophe. They try to restore and it does not work. Would it not have been better to know immediately.
        [/quote]
        My answer is no, if that means that right then, they need to resort to help from someone, for being unable to recover from their test.
        What is better, wait for a situation that may happen, but then may not, or risk it losing your system right now?

        I admit that the answer may vary. For me, as long as the data, which is really what can’t be recovered in any other way, is safe, running the risk of not being able to restore your system right now is worse than running that risk in the future.

        I find it funny that you’d rather create a “catastrophe” now than possibly, in the future. Loss wise, I fail to see the difference. What really matters to me is that the data which, I repeat, is really what matters, since everything else can be recovered with more or less effort.
        Please take notice that the situation is different if a user has someone who can help restore the system, in case of failure. I am defending this for users who would be stuck in case of a test restore failure.

        Yes, if the restore does not work, a complete reinstall may be needed, but is it better to continue along for a time period blythely thinking you are protected when you are not. It’s a catch 22, but in my mind it’s better to know immediately if it’s not going to work.

        Their data is protected, which is really what matters. Everything else can be recovered.

        We have often stated that the data should be backed up separately from the OS. An image is a tool to back up the system (OS and apps) but should not generally be used as the only data back up.

        Optimally, yes, but I don’t see that as a justification to risk rendering someone’s system unbootable for testing purposes, when the users doing the test wouldn’t be able to recover on their own.

        In professional systems, where the data is even more relevant, the recommended procedure is to test in similar hardware, not the actual system under test (or in virtualized systems). I don’t see a single reason for this to be different with someone who wouldn’t be able to recover from a testing disaster.

        This is not only what I think, but this what I have always done with my systems. The first time I tried to restore an image it was following a motherboard failure. It worked. If it didn’t, all my data was safe and I would have been able to install the OS, apps and recover the data.

        I totally admit this is a personal choice. I will never place myself in a position where I recommend something and my advice “renders” the system unbootable and the user is then unable to access the system for whatever amount of time. I am careful with my systems, but especially careful with others’s systems.

    • #1422175

      However, actually completing the full restore, doesn’t mean you get a bootable computer – I had it happen with a specific image. What if this happens to a non experienced user? How will they recover then? Imagine this happens with the very first image they create? What then?

      Why bother to implement imaging in the first place if you are too afraid to even test it?

      Answer: Format and clean install, or it’s OEM equivalent.
      You take your chances with just about anything, and sometimes you are going to loose.

      It’s all fine and dandy to stumble across the idea of drive imaging and think it’s going to save your bacon, but it isn’t necessarily so.
      It will be useful here to make mention of things that advanced users don’t need to be told:

      *Need to have all of your OS recovery disks, be they genuine, OEM types, or other bootable media, readily available and tested well beforhand, …not lost or damaged.
      *Need to have all of your usable programs and drivers with updated versions safely tucked away and backed up independently.
      *Need to have any “out of the ordinary” personal OS settings written down in a notepad or word docu and easily accessible so that they may be re-implemented quickly.
      *Need to test any image that you have made until you are comfortable and confident of the outcome, this includes all boot disks.
      *Need to have every scrap of personally generated data safely backed up independently of anything else.
      This includes email and all of it’s settings, photos, document, or anything else you would consider as a loss if you actually did loose them.

      One needs to plan these things. If one is too lazy to do so then negative reinforcement will also work nicely, and will ultimately be inevitable.

      35431-z
      Organize your apps and drivers, and have them backed up independently.

      • #1422178

        Why bother to implement imaging in the first place if you are too afraid to even test it?

        Answer: Format and clean install, or it’s OEM equivalent.
        You take your chances with just about anything, and sometimes you are going to loose.
        [/quote]
        I accept that you choose to be so cavalier with someone else’s systems. I can’t be.

        I will never be able to say “tough” on something that is elective and ends preventing users to use their systems. It’s just my choice and I think I have explained exhaustively why. I will also point that my position covers only those users who feel they won’t be able to recover from a disaster on their own. The others should test their systems in the way you recommend.

        One needs to plan these things. If one is too lazy to do so then negative reinforcement will also work nicely, and will ultimately be inevitable.

        This is not about lazyness. It’s about systems availability for users who otherwise have no way to recover on their own. It’s about deciding what is acceptable for any given user. For me, the minimum acceptable standard, for such users, is to make sure their data is never at risk. I accept that you set a higher standard, have nothing against it.

        In the case of my systems, I agree, it may be seen as laziness. Setting up a system for me usually takes me two days to add all the usual stuff (OS, Office), plus SQL Server, Visual Studio, MySQL, toolkits and help systems with several GB and then restore a great number of customer databases, websites etc. I will do it only if I have to. I call it a wise use of the available resources, not lazyness, though :). That’s why I also upgrade Windows instead of clean installing it.

        Delaying the restore is the same gamble that restoring to test, if you are able to recover either way, the only difference being the choice of the most adequate time to do it – in a test restore you choose the time, in a restore by need, the time chooses you. If the end result is the same, the choice of time depends on your preferences.

        Again, I will repeat, this doesn’t mean that I disagree on what should be the recommended procedure. Let’s not forget that. Also, in a professional environment, regular restoration is a must, but it should not mean compromising system availability, which can be achieved either through virtualization or hardware redundancy – and you test with those.

    • #1422189

      I suppose you have one point here, and that is, it’s better to have an image in place than not having anything at all.
      (so much for the bar)

      The emphasis here should be on what many of us take for granted, and that is the proper planning and implementation
      of potential system failures;

      *The need to have all of your OS recovery disks, be they genuine, OEM types, or other bootable media, readily available and tested well beforhand, …not lost or damaged.
      *The need to have all of your usable programs and drivers with updated versions safely tucked away and backed up independently.
      *The need to have any “out of the ordinary” personal OS settings written down in a notepad or word docu and easily accessible so that they may be re-implemented quickly.
      *The need to test any image that you have made until you are comfortable and confident of the outcome, this includes all boot disks.
      *The need to have every scrap of personally generated data safely backed up independently of anything else.
      This includes email and all of it’s settings, photos, document, or anything else you would consider as a loss if you actually did loose them.

      • #1422191

        I suppose you have one point here, and that is, it’s better to have an image in place than not having anything at all.
        (so much for the bar)

        The emphasis here should be on what many of us take for granted, and that is the proper planning and implementation
        of potential system failures;

        I agree with you, once again :). I would actually say that, if possible, users should have more than one verified image and, if possible, too, backup their relevant data in yet a different way. I think backup storage should be diversified enough to include off-site storage, be that the cloud or a physical disk kept elsewhere.

    • #1422192

      …Then one would not need to worry about a failed restoration of an image, because everything will not have been lost, and the means
      to recover would be a lessor worry, albeit a more time consuming one.
      And the lessons learned through trying will ultimately be the best teacher.

      I guess it’s the prepper mentality brought over to computing.
      Not that I hoard weapons and food in a compound somewhere. LOL

      • #1422193

        …Then one would not need to worry about a failed restoration of an image, because everything will not have been lost, and the means
        to recover would be a lessor worry, albeit a more time consuming one.
        And the lessons learned through trying will ultimately be the best teacher.
        [/quote]

        The means to recover are, indeed, a slightly less worry, if you have some assurances – images verified, “mountable”, browsable. As I said before, I confess I am thinking about changing slightly my recommendations to favor imaging systems that, one way or the other, may provide you with a .vhd that you can then boot from, using Windows 7 or 8. This means a totally verifiable way, from image creation to system boot, in a totally non destructive manner – basically riskless. I will definitely test it with my systems, just need to get another external drive.

        I guess it’s the prepper mentality brought over to computing.
        Not that I hoard weapons and food in a compound somewhere. LOL

        I cannot comment on that. It seems that phenomenon is much more prevalent in the US than on this side of the pond πŸ˜€

    • #1422197

      I think you’ll find that nothing is without risk.

    • #1422207

      The experience of Dick-Y in post #32 is my barometer.

      One does not know for certain that recovery from a disaster is possible without performing a recovery. I much prefer that such a recovery be attempted on my terms and timeframe.

      I also agree with CLiNT’s advice that one should have all their ducks in a row. Have everything necessary at the ready, have data copied/backed up through other media to avoid loss, and restore the image to the drive from which it was created. Even non-tech home users need to know what is involved and necessary in a reformat/reinstall before the need arises.

      Not many non-tech home users have an identical standby machine to use as a test bench. Mounting an image indicates that an image can be mounted. It does not confirm that the same image can be restored to a hard drive after booting from the image apps recovery media. Neither does booting a vhd image. There have been failures.

      And I’m not being cavalier, I’m advising in favor of gaining valuable experience.

      Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
      We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

      • #1422210

        The experience of Dick-Y in post #32 is my barameter.

        One does not know for certain that recovery from a disaster is possible without performing a recovery. I much prefer that such a recovery be attempted on my terms and timeframe.

        I also agree with CLiNT’s advice that one should have all their ducks in a row. Have everything necessary at the ready, have data copied/backed up through other media to avoid loss, and restore the image to the drive from which it was created. Even non-tech home users need to know what is involved and necessary in a reformat/reinstall before the need arises.

        Not many non-tech home users have an identical standby machine to use as a test bench. Mounting an image indicates that an image can be mounted. It does not confirm that the same image can be restored to a hard drive after booting from the image apps recovery media. Neither does booting a vhd image. There have been failures.

        And I’m not being cavalier, I’m advising in favor of gaining valuable experience.

        Well, if you go through that path, you can say that you can never be certain of anything until you actually do it. Even if you restored an image before, you have no guarantee that it will restore successfully again. You can expect it to, but you really don’t know until you do it. It can have worked 99 times and fail at the 100th. It’s like the marathon runner that has run thousands of miles in training and even that is not guarantee that he will get to the end on race day. That’s just how things are.

        What you always look for is a “reasonable” expectation of success. What this means to each of us will vary. I am pretty comfortable with what I do and it provides me with enough expectation of success while maintaining my systems. My goal is simple and I have stated it: my strategy is meant to allow me to recover all my data. When I present the strategy to others, as I am doing here, there is no ambiguity – this is what such a strategy will guarantee, as a minimum. It can allow more than that and so far, between multiple laptops and desktops, I must have performed around a dozen bare metal recoveries, and I never failed to recover a computer using imaging, when I tried. To the best of my recollection, probably twice I have had to resort to different images, as the ones i tried first failed to restore – and this happened during the same restore attempt, two of the images failed to return the computer to a bootable state – but that’s why I keep multiple images in multiple disks. In the situation where I had to restore an older image, I then used the most recent image to recover my data and I succeeded at it.

        I am sure you will understand why I am quite happy with this strategy, that has worked for me, time and again. I am a firm believer in recommending for others what I recommend for myself. I also have the utmost care for other people’s systems and, again, repeating myself, I would rather not suggest something that may render a user without a working system. While I understand everyone else’s different strategies, this is a personal choice, this is where I draw the line in the sand and that line I shall not cross.

        Please take notice that I totally agree that the full cycle should be tested, for anyone that wants the best recovery assurance one can possibly have, and I encourage users to do it, if they feel confident they can overcome a catastrophic scenario or if they have someone that can help with that. I definitely do not recommend it to someone who won’t be able to recover from such a situation.

        • #1422260

          I encourage users to do it, if they feel confident they can overcome a catastrophic scenario or if they have someone that can help with that. I definitely do not recommend it to someone who won’t be able to recover from such a situation.

          I encourage users to do it, so that they can feel confident they can overcome a catastrophic scenario because they have Windows Secrets Forums that can help with that.

          My purpose in being here and contributing to these Forums is to share with other users the lessons and procedures I have learned over the years in dealing with various difficulties (many of which, admittedly, I have brought upon myself because of the things I do intentionally).

          I don’t want to discourage users from gaining valuable experience and confidence. There is a difference between “I think I can” and “I know I can”. And again, I point to the experience of Dick-Y and his own failed recovery as outlined in post #32. And all this goes hand-in-hand with:

          *Need to have all of your OS recovery disks, be they genuine, OEM types, or other bootable media, readily available and tested well beforhand, …not lost or damaged.
          *Need to have all of your usable programs and drivers with updated versions safely tucked away and backed up independently.
          *Need to have any “out of the ordinary” personal OS settings written down in a notepad or word docu and easily accessible so that they may be re-implemented quickly.
          *Need to test any image that you have made until you are comfortable and confident of the outcome, this includes all boot disks.
          *Need to have every scrap of personally generated data safely backed up independently of anything else.
          This includes email and all of it’s settings, photos, document, or anything else you would consider as a loss if you actually did loose them.

          One needs to plan these things. If one is too lazy to do so then negative reinforcement will also work nicely, and will ultimately be inevitable.

          Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
          We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

    • #1422275

      Again, I don’t disagree. I don’t know what happened with Dick in his specific situation, not sure whether his system was bootable or not as a result of his attempts and whether he knew that could happen. I am glad Dick has learned from the Lounge (just a few days ago I told him he is now one of the Lounge advanced users), but users aren’t all like him.

      I just feel that this full force recommendations – test your images, restore them, etc., without being clear on the caveats can be dangerous and I won’t make them. As I said, I want for others what I want for myself and I don’t test my images through restores. There is a risk in a restore as there is a risk in testing them the way I do. It’s for the users to choose which they prefer. I’d rather have a user know exactly what the risks are and that’s why I have been so vocal about it here.

    • #1422281

      I have often said in various threads that the first time someone restores an Image, it is a nail biting experience. If a person does not feel comfortable doing this on their own, work with a professional this first time to see how things should work and gain the experience.

      I have also said the Image SHOULD NOT be the only way an individual backs up their all important data. Firstly, their data should be backed up much more often than their Images are created. For example we read all the time that someone needs to restore an Image, but their most recent is several months or more old. I would certainly hope their data backups are more recent than that. Secondly, their data should be backed up on/in different media/partitions/places than their Images.

      DO NOT DEPEND ON AN IMAGE TO BACK UP YOUR DATA!

      With all this said, I will continue to recommend testing your Images. If you believe opening the Image to graze through the folders is sufficient, then so be it. Restoring the Image not only tests the Image as valid, it tests the restoration method and media. All Imaging apps I am aware of require a Boot/Rescue disk that allows a non-bootable PC to boot to the Imaging app to allow this restoration. Just booting to this disk does not prove it will work when the time comes for restoration.

      It’s obvious that some of us recommend restoring an Image and some of us do not. This is one of those topics that seems to have good ideas from both sides. Each person has to decide for themselves what is the best method for them. As I said, if you want to restore your Image to validate it, but are afraid to do so, work with a professional to get past this. If all fails the professional can help restore your system using a re-installation.

      The bottom line here is to create Images and keep an up to date Image so that if something bad happens you are ready.

      • #1422290

        DO NOT DEPEND ON AN IMAGE TO BACK UP YOUR DATA!

        This is arguable, because it depends on what users do and the frequency their data changes and what they are prepared to lose. A weekly image can cover many situations. There are members here who take an incremental image every day. That will get them coverered just as a daily data backup.

        I agree with a multilayer backup strategy, but I don’t believe in being so prescriptive as your statement implies. I’d rather explain the pros and cons of each alternative and let users choose for themselves what best suits them. We choose what best suits us, why not let users do that as well?

    • #1422282

      Thanks for the compliments here and elsewhere, RUI. Here’s “the rest of the story”:
      When I first tried to restore my Acronis image I had a bootable system both before and after the attempt.
      I was trying to follow the good advice (in my opinion) that I had gleaned from this board of trying to do the restore from a good, working system ahead of time; rather than taking an image, and going merrily along until something bad happened, and then finding out I was up the creek with an Acronis paddle that didn’t work. Again, that’s not meant as a knock on Acronis, because, just because it didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean that there aren’t many happy users of Acronis here (Medico for one) and elsewhere.

      Dick

      • #1422292

        Thanks for the compliments here and elsewhere, RUI. Here’s “the rest of the story”:
        When I first tried to restore my Acronis image I had a bootable system both before and after the attempt.
        I was trying to follow the good advice (in my opinion) that I had gleaned from this board of trying to do the restore from a good, working system ahead of time; rather than taking an image, and going merrily along until something bad happened, and then finding out I was up the creek with an Acronis paddle that didn’t work. Again, that’s not meant as a knock on Acronis, because, just because it didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean that there aren’t many happy users of Acronis here (Medico for one) and elsewhere.

        Dick

        Thanks for sharing that as well, Dick. Your experience with Acronis is just as valuable as ours. It didn’t work, you picked an app that did. What really matters is that you found a backup strategy that works for you and you are applying it. Win for you, win for the Lounge, as that is what the Lounge is here for.

    • #1422289

      Ya, the ONLY thing I would change if I were recommending is that the inexperienced restore to a different drive than swap them; only problem with that is it requires just a modicum of physical technical expertise, which also may be lacking so nothing is perfect or COMPLETELY safe. Which again is why mounting first is a good idea, to know at least the data is recoverable in case of [problem].

      • #1422781

        O.P. here.

        Holy mackerel. No sooner do I wander away than my thread goes Big Time. Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts.

        Since my last visit here, I’ve managed two complete Macrium system images, which I’ve been able to verify, mount, paw through, and copy from. Small ‘taters to you giants, but a triumph for Yours Truly.

        I still backup my personal data (including all third-party setup files) to DVD on a weekly basis, and backup new or changed personal data to thumb drives every day. Not an elegant backup solution, but unless the building burns down, my personal data is probably okay.

        For reasons discussed on this thread, I’m reluctant to test an image restore on my one and only computer. When the laptop was new, it took me ten(!) days to make a brand-new OEM installation feel like home, and the thought of having to reinstall and tweak Windows 7 gives me hives. (Plus, I’ve never reinstalled Windows without professional help, and that’s an expense I can’t afford right now.)

        All that being said, it makes sense that the only way to be 100% sure about the integrity of my Macrium images is to try restoring them.

        F.U.N.’s post got my attention, and I’d like to pick your collective brains on this:

        …the ONLY thing I would change if I were recommending is that the inexperienced restore to a different drive than swap them; only problem with that is it requires just a modicum of physical technical expertise, which also may be lacking….

        “Physical technical expertise” is definitely lacking. However, the laptop’s hard drive seems to snap in and snap out pretty easily. Could I buy an extra hard drive, swap it for my primary drive, and try restoring to the new drive? Would that be safe, or could a corrupted image screw up some part of the machine that’s not the hard drive?

        IF safe (and assuming I can purchase an identical hard drive from the laptop’s manufacturer) how would I prepare the new drive for a system restore test? Would I need to install anything on the drive before attempting the restore?

        Thanks so much for all the help.

        Brooks

        • #1422796

          O.P. here.

          Holy mackerel. No sooner do I wander away than my thread goes Big Time. Thank you all for taking the time to share your thoughts.
          [/quote]

          We were quite noisy, sorry about that :).

          Since my last visit here, I’ve managed two complete Macrium system images, which I’ve been able to verify, mount, paw through, and copy from. Small ‘taters to you giants, but a triumph for Yours Truly.

          Well done :).

          I still backup my personal data (including all third-party setup files) to DVD on a weekly basis, and backup new or changed personal data to thumb drives every day. Not an elegant backup solution, but unless the building burns down, my personal data is probably okay.

          That’s a good thing to do, and you should keep doing it.

          For reasons discussed on this thread, I’m reluctant to test an image restore on my one and only computer. When the laptop was new, it took me ten(!) days to make a brand-new OEM installation feel like home, and thought of having to reinstall and tweak Windows 7 gives me hives. (Plus, I’ve never reinstalled Windows without professional help, and that’s an expense I can’t afford right now.)

          That’s totally understandable and it goes with my own opinion about it.

          All that being said, it makes sense that the only way to be 100% sure about the integrity of my Macrium images is to try restoring them.

          F.U.N.’s post got my attention, and I’d like to pick your collective brains on this:

          “Physical technical expertise” is definitely lacking. However, the laptop’s hard drive seems to snap in and snap out pretty easily. Could I buy an extra hard drive, swap it for my primary drive, and try restoring to the new drive? Would that be safe, or could a corrupted image screw up some part of the machine that’s not the hard drive?

          IF safe (and assuming I can purchase an identical hard drive from the laptop’s manufacturer) how would I prepare the new drive for a system restore test? Would I need to install anything on the drive before attempting the restore?

          Thanks so much for all the help.

          Brooks

          You should be able to swap disks without any issues and the risk is very small. Usually laptop disks require a that you attach them to some frame, but that’s it. You should also be careful with the cable connections, while inserting and removing the SATA connector from the disk. Other than that, with a boot disk or flash drive (not sure if Macrium creates one, probably it does), you should be able to boot with Macrium and restore the image from your existing disk -provided that you buy a SATA / USB connector or, even better, an external enclosure for your new disk, where you could place that disk and rotate it into your imaging routine.

          Well, I gotta say this, this whole procedure is elective, of course.

          • #1422865

            Thanks, ruirib!

            You should also be careful with the cable connections, while inserting and removing the SATA connector from the disk.

            I’ve never tried removing a laptop hard drive, and didn’t realize cables and connectors were involved. With luck, the bits that need connecting or disconnecting will be obvious and not require the skill of a neurosurgeon. (Was hoping a hard drive swap would be as straightforward as swapping a battery. Ha!)

            Other than that, with a boot disk or flash drive….

            Boot disc.

            …..you should be able to boot with Macrium and restore the image from your existing disk – provided that you buy a SATA / USB connector…..

            The “existing disk” to which my images are saved is a Western Digital external drive that plugs into the laptop’s USB port. Where does the SATA connector come into play?

            …or, even better, an external enclosure for your new disk, where you could place that disk and rotate it into your imaging routine.

            If I get an extra hard drive, its sole function will be to provide a test environment for image restoration. As mentioned above, my image backups will be stored on an external USB drive.

            Would the drive housed in the external enclosure be fully functional as a test environment? ‘Cuz it would be dandy if I didn’t have to do an actual hard drive SWAP. Am wondering if I could I plug the Western Digital USB drive (containing my Macrium images) into one port, and the “enclosure-contained” new hard drive into another? Could I run a test restore with that Rube Goldberg setup?

            I’ve no idea what I’m talking about.

            Anyway! Am grateful for your input.

            • #1422874

              The “existing disk” to which my images are saved is a Western Digital external drive that plugs into the laptop’s USB port. Where does the SATA connector come into play?

              It doesn’t, of course. You recover from the USB drive, of course. I was thinking ahead and mixed things up, sorry.

            • #1422892

              I have found this thread to be one of the most interesting for me because I am in much the same position as the OP. Thank you one and all for your contributions. I have downloaded Macrium (free version) and shall now have a go. Just one question. Is there any merit in making two images using two different sources e.g. Macrium and Windows 7 in the hope that if one fails the other may work?

            • #1422905

              I have found this thread to be one of the most interesting for me because I am in much the same position as the OP. Thank you one and all for your contributions. I have downloaded Macrium (free version) and shall now have a go. Just one question. Is there any merit in making two images using two different sources e.g. Macrium and Windows 7 in the hope that if one fails the other may work?

              If your Macrium image is verified and working, using the Windows imaging facility may be seen as unneeded. However, if you want to play safe, there is no harm in doing both, it will just take up more disk space, but you will have two images to resort to, in case of problems.

              Windows imaging has a few quirks. You will need to change the folder name before doing a new image, unless you don’t care about the previous image being overwritten. Once completed, Windows images have an advantage that I like – they are stored as .vhd files, which can be easily mounted both in Windows 7 and Windows 8 and you can even configure Windows to both from then, which can make it easier to test, since you don’t need to overwrite anything to test the whole process of restoring the image. Actually with Windows 7 Pro or Windows 8 Pro, you can simply use the VHD with a Virtual Machine and test the image that way. If you can run a VM from a .vhd file (or .vhdx in case of Windows 8), you know you can trust that image file.

            • #1422898

              I was thinking ahead and mixed things up, sorry.

              No apologies, please! I’m very grateful for your help.

              I haven’t bothered looking into Windows 7’s imaging abilities, so will be interested in the responses to wayward’s question. Best of luck, wayward!

        • #1426636

          ”Physical technical expertise” is definitely lacking.Brooks

          Boy, do I sympathise with that! πŸ˜†
          The things that I USED to be able to do, but can’t anymore.

          Neuropathy in my hands makes handling all those teeny-tiny itsy-bitsy screws nigh on impossible.

          Now I just wish there was a way to PERMANENTLY disable the touch-pad on this Lappy-top.
          Maybe when the warranty expires, I’ll have someone with good manual dexterity just disconnect
          the little ribbon cable going to it.

          Thanks Brooks for starting this thread. πŸ˜€

          • #1426638

            Now I just wish there was a way to PERMANENTLY disable the touch-pad on this Lappy-top.
            Maybe when the warranty expires, I’ll have someone with good manual dexterity just disconnect
            the little ribbon cable going to it.

            Disable it from device manager and it won’t bother you again. No hardware messed with, but it won’t work if it is disabled… and easy to enable back when you want to.

            • #1426641

              Thanks Rui,
              Tried that – didn’t work.
              When I re-booted, Windoze installed a standard PS2 mouse driver for it with disable grayed out.

              If it annoys me too much, I’ll start a new forum thread on it.
              Didn’t mean to thread-drift, just wanted to let Brooks know he wasn’t alone in being “Technical physical expertise” challenged. :;):

    • #1422296

      Thanks RUI.

      Dick

    • #1422345

      OK, fair enough, I will amend my statement and add “For the average user DO NOT DEPEND ON AN IMAGE TO BACK UP YOUR DATA!”. The average user might make an Image every few months, if even that. Those users that do incremental Images daily are not those users I would consider the “average user”. These are, IMO, advanced users from a backup standpoint. They are using Images for their daily routine. Most of us I consider “average users” might make a weekly or monthly Image and use alternative methods to back up data on a daily basis. Heck, most “average users” probably have never heard of Imaging. I just hope these users are backing up their data some how. Nuff’ on this subject, moving on!

    • #1422707

      For those ‘young’ enough, the word (or program script) ‘Mount’ is old and is reused, sort of, kind of, today. (It is not meant to ‘mount a horse’ kind of thing.)
      In old days, fast-access storage was extremely expensive. A hard drive was the size of a room bigger than bed room. The huge disc is spinned by horse power motor. So the more abundant and cheap storage is magnetic tape on reel. Racks and racks of them in a ‘Tape Room’.
      How did many computer terminal users access specific tapes? And the tape+computer room was far away? Sometimes you just had to walk there and mounted the reel yourself, if nobody was on duty.
      When a user wanted to access specific data, he typed text something like ‘mount tape xxx’ on his monochrome CRT terminal. In the ‘Computer Room’ on duty person saw on his screen the same text. He found the tape and *mounted* the requested reel onto the tape machine. Mounting action: Put the reel on tape machine. Pulled tape out, snaked tape through the read head assembly, and then wound the tape tight. Now typed on his terminal, “Tape xxx ready”.
      You may want to watch old movies, 60s to late 70s, to have a visual of this ‘mounting’ in action.
      Today, the same terminology is used for accessing ‘hardware-like’ data format. The ‘mounting,’ today, is done by a little man inside the computer. An image file, such as ISO, a real DVD disc, a hard drive, or an image file of a DVD, will be accessed by the same script ‘mount’. Yes, today, we ‘mount’ the disc, and we ‘mount’ the disc image as well.
      The mounting is no longer physical but virtual. Unix, Linux still use the same script.

    • #1422866

      Would the drive housed in the external enclosure be fully functional as a test environment? ‘Cuz it would be dandy if I didn’t have to do an actual hard drive SWAP. Am wondering if I could I plug the Western Digital USB drive (containing my Macrium images) into one port, and the “enclosure-contained” new hard drive into another? Could I run a test restore with that Rube Goldberg setup?

      Yes & No.

      You could not accomplish this with Disk Images.

      However, if you’re Laptop supports booting from USB devices you could CLONE (using Macrium) you drive and then try booting from the external hard drive. Of course, it isn’t quite that easy as you would have to setup the partition on the external drive as a bootable partition/ Active partition. This can be done with several free tools. If you are interested in attempting this post back and I or somebody here will be glad to post detailed instructions. HTH :cheers:

      May the Forces of good computing be with you!

      RG

      PowerShell & VBA Rule!
      Computer Specs

    • #1422871

      Hello, RG! Thanks for chiming in.

      If you are interested in attempting this post back and I or somebody here will be glad to post detailed instructions.

      I appreciate your kind offer, and may take you up on it someday. Today, it’s more than I want to wrassle with. Today’s theme is “pea-brained solutions.”

      Which would be….what? Physically swapping drives, so that the new drive sits inside the laptop?

      Thanks!

    • #1423510

      I do not agree that “cloning beats imaging any day of the week and twice on Sunday”. If an individual has a second HD to put in when the original HD fails, then OK cloning to the second HD (as long as you update that clone regularly) is the better alternative. If however you are cloning to an Ext. HD, then I disagree with that statement. A clone only allows a single clone to be placed in a partition on the Ext. HD and you would have to have other partitions on that Ext. HD to save anything else to it. Imaging allows multiple Images to be stored on the same partition, plus allows other info to be stored on that partition.

      For example, I have several Images for 3 different PCs, plus File History to back up my data in the SAME partition of my Ext. HD. I just created a separate folder for each PC, although even this was not necessary. Just create each Image with a different name to signify what PC it belongs to. If I had used cloning, I would have had to partition the Ext. HD into 4 separate partitions to allow backing up all 3 of these PCs and my data backup onto this Ext. HD. Plus I have saved several different Images from each PC in the same folder. Cloning would have only allowed one clone for each PC.

      I realize that in your case you are saying this would be the quickest way to test if the disk is bad, but in my experience disks do not fail that often compared to corruption problems in the OS. Most non-boot problems are not caused by the disk failing.

      • #1423511

        I do not agree that “cloning beats imaging any day of the week and twice on Sunday”. If an individual has a second HD to put in when the original HD fails, then OK cloning to the second HD (as long as you update that clone regularly) is the better alternative. If however you are cloning to an Ext. HD, then I disagree with that statement. A clone only allows a single clone to be placed in a partition on the Ext. HD and you would have to have other partitions on that Ext. HD to save anything else to it. Imaging allows multiple Images to be stored on the same partition, plus allows other info to be stored on that partition.

        I think you misinterpreted what the previous poster said. He said

        Drive imaging (cloning), using software like Acronis and Macrium Reflect, beats file imaging (backups) any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

        So, although his terminology is a bit confusing, he is comparing imaging with file based backup, not proposing cloning over the creation of distinct images.

        • #1423543

          I think you misinterpreted what the previous poster said. He said

          So, although his terminology is a bit confusing, he is comparing imaging with file based backup, not proposing cloning over the creation of distinct images.

          But the poster is also talking about physically swapping out cloned drives, not just restoring drive images.

          What I would do on my desktop is replace the ostensibly bad boot drive with my most recent drive clone and be back in business in minutes. On my laptop, I would use my USB to disk adapter and change my BIOS to boot from the external drive. In either case, I’d find out if I had a disk problem, and the original disk is unchanged in case it isn’t.

          Booting from a compressed drive image (not .vhd) is usually not possible; booting from a cloned drive is the intended purpose of cloning.

          I can restore a drive image faster (and more simply) than I can physically swap out a hard drive. While drive cloning and drive imaging are quite often used interchangeably, they are definitely not the same thing. I prefer a software-only solution over a software and hardware solution. YMMV

          Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
          We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

    • #1423550

      I believe the OP was comparing Cloning a HD versus Imaging a HD. If I am miss-interpreting that my apologies. Cloning is most effective if the user does indeed have another HD to clone the original HD to with the expressed purpose of swapping out the original HD when it fails with the cloned second drive. Cloning is also useful when installing a new HD just to upgrade the HD.

      For regular backing up multiple PCs, Imaging is, IMO, easier and more cost effective and more time effective. I could Image 15 or 20 PCs to one Ext HD, whereas I do not think this would be possible while using cloning. And as bbearren has stated, restoring an Image to a non-dead HD is faster than swapping out the HD with the cloned drive.

      Each of these backup scenarios have their place in backup schemes. But for day in and day out usage, IMO, Imaging is more practical.

    • #1423552

      Well, indeed, other than the statement I quoted, the poster seems to favor clones. I would agree with you on the value of clones – in multiple years of imaging, I have never cloned a drive, other than using my data transfer kit once, when I upgraded my laptop to a SSD. That is hundreds of images made vs. one single clone. Images are much more efficient use of drive space than clones, especially in a multiple computer backup scenario, but even when backing up a single computer. The single clone per external disk vs. multiple images per disk is clear enough, IMO.

      • #1423571

        Booting from a previously cloned drive doesn’t necessarily mean opening the case, pulling the questionable drive’s cables, then the drive, then reversing the procedure to put in the clone. If your desktop has an unused 5 1/4″ bay, put in a removeable drive tray. Slide in a previously cloned disk, change the BIOS, and poof! Creating the clones? Ditto!

        Without a spare bay, do the same as you would with a laptop: use a prefabbed external drive or an adapter cable to a bare-bones drive. Is that slower than an internal drive? Not if you have USB 3.0, which outruns SATA3/eSATA. Sure, you need a physical drive for each clone, and you need at least two clones per system. Is that an expense? Sure, but the ease of use and essentially worry-free process makes it worthwhile for me.

        And remember that cloning does not mess with what’s on the questionable drive. Restoring from a drive image presumes that the original disk is OK and tries to replace what is on it with what used to be on it. If that disk wasn’t OK, or if your replacement image has a problem, then your most recent drive contents are gone and irretrievable.

        Granted that today’s drives are statistically reliable, remember that any statistical sample has some that last a very long time and some that die before their time. So saving several images plus file history for one or more pcs on the same external drive is what I call keeping all of your eggs in the same basket.

        BTW, my experience with Macrium Reflect Free is that it will only clone onto a disk which is exactly the same size as the source disk, and it gives no message to let you know why the cloning process won’t start. Acronis doesn’t care about that, as long as there is enough space for the cloned image, which I would expect to also be true of the Macrium paid version.

        :^_^:

        • #1423622

          Sure, you need a physical drive for each clone, and you need at least two clones per system. Is that an expense? Sure, but the ease of use and essentially worry-free process makes it worthwhile for me.

          And what works and is worthwhile for you is just fine. We all have our own reasons for doing the things we do.

          My desktop has 3 1TB drives, so I would need 6 additional 1TB drives if I were to incorporate your system. I also have two laptops, one of which has two drives, so I need 6 more additional drives. 12 extra drives is not worthwhile for me. I make drive images at about once per week, and more frequently if I’m tinkering with the innards of a system. Cloning takes longer than imaging, and whenever I pooch something, I want to restore to exactly where I was before I pooched it. Cloning and shuffling 18 hard drives is quite impractical for me.

          I do have a 3TB NAS that I use as target for drive images for my desktop and two laptops, and it still has plenty of room left. But I don’t have all my eggs in one basket, either. I also spread multiple copies of important files across all my systems, and have additional DVD backup of critical data such as my financial and tax records. Many of us here advise using multiple copies of critical data in multiple places, with one group off-site if practical.

          This thread covers a recent restoration due to self-inflicted registry corruption.

          This thread concerns a hard drive failure and image restoration.

          Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
          We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

    • #1423696

      I guess the bottom line is use whatever system works for you! I suppose if I were backing up just one PC, cloning would be effective, but I am backing up 3 PCs. I also like to keep at least a gold standard Image when first set up and customized, then a regularly created new Image. Plus add in the fact that I have kept my final Win 7 Images on these PCs and you see that in my very modest system I would have at least 9 Images. This just seems to be impractical using cloning, IMO. I suppose I could acquire a second Ext. HD to contain a backup of my primary Ext. HD, but since I do know how to recover in the case of my Images not working, and since all my data is backed up to other media in addition to my Ext. HD, I do feel relatively confident in my ability to get back where I am.

      However, this is one reason why I also restore an Image directly after I create it. This helps me feel comfortable that I am confident of my ability to restore the Image when that eventuality becomes necessary.

    • #1423807

      Landshark brought up a good trick re removable drive tray in a desktop PC. Here is my experience helping a friend (free) using the same trick:
      A small business friend of mine, in travel business (3-person company), needed a reliable data system/PC. At one time the hard drive went south. Hours of work to recover was not the complaint. It was the ‘huge’ lost of business.
      Time is of the essence.
      By cloning to a removable tray drive, the owner could go to BIOS, boot from the removable, he was back in business in a few minutes.
      Owner was able to learn to go to BIOS and boot. It was ‘life and death’. An owner/employee needs to handle this. The PC is heavily used 8-12 hours a day. Every time this go-bad happens (2 times by now), I got an invitation for a nice dinner. Note: he also learned to clone to several hard drives. But that was not the important part. He could always pay to get it done. It is during ‘war time’ that counts.
      Some may opt to get several PCs running concurrently or RAID. It is level of competency of the user, convenience, sure-hand psych, cost, etc. Best to let owner decide. We provide solutions. They choose.

      • #1423808

        Some may opt to get several PCs running concurrently or RAID. It is level of competency of the user, convenience, sure-hand psych, cost, etc. Best to let owner decide. We provide solutions. They choose.

        Absolutely! One size does NOT fit all. :cheers:

        May the Forces of good computing be with you!

        RG

        PowerShell & VBA Rule!
        Computer Specs

    • #1424511

      Anyone ever initiate a [test] recovery from the OS that’s being overwritten in the recovery? Just wondering if that works in M-R (Initiated in OS, parameters set, PC reboots to M-R recovery environment and takes care of the unattended restoration).

    • #1424512

      I remember doing that a few years ago in Acronis. Haven’t tried it for a very long time. Details are not that clear now, but I don’t think it was completely unattended. I think the process involved choosing the backup image to restore from again, but from the recovery environment.

    • #1424537

      F. U. N.,
      If I understood what you asked, I’ve done that with Macrium paid, except for the unattended part.
      Dick

      • #1424546

        F. U. N.,
        If I understood what you asked, I’ve done that with Macrium paid, except for the unattended part.
        Dick

        You mean you had to give the go ahead for something once rebooted or just that you were there watching the process? It should work unattended since all the parameters are set before reboot.

    • #1424568

      Here’s what I do from a running system if I want to restore an image:
      bring up Macrium
      select restore
      it asks me to select/open the image I want
      I select “restore image”
      Macrium says: unable to lock drive . . .in use . . . ok to use Windows PE . . . automatic Boot
      I say okay to “restart now”
      The Windows PE environment is chosen for me
      Macrium says “an automatic restore is about to start”

      The system is booted automatically to the Windows PE environ, and the restore is done.

      Is that what you mean by “unattended”?

      Dick

    • #1424573

      The best and safest way to minimize issues with performing an image restoration is to do so from the BOOT disk and NOT from within the OS itself.
      Your attendance should always be needed.

      • #1424583

        The best and safest way to minimize issues with performing an image restoration is to do so from the BOOT disk and NOT from within the OS itself.
        Your attendance should always be needed.

        Every app that allows you to start a restore from Windows, will reboot the machine and perform the restore in an environment that will be pretty much similar, GUI aside, to the one you get with the boot disk. No app that I know does this from Windows, so I would offer that those that allow it are as safe.

    • #1424576

      Clint:
      I was trying to address what I thought F. U. N. was asking. I’ll drop out and let you guys talk it out.
      Dick

    • #1424586

      No.
      There is always the potential for that batch script to be lost or corrupted during the boot process.

      With performing such an action in Windows, one is just adding that extra layer of complexity, especially with a corrupt system
      that is in need of a restore.

    • #1424593

      I’ve never had to restore an image because of a corrupted Windows (that I didn’t cause myself, that is). I have replaced failed hard drives which obviously required an image restore. But I dual boot, so I almost always just boot to the other Windows and restore from there.

      Of course, whenever I’ve created a new boot disc/USB, I run a restore from it to make sure that it works correctly. I’ve never attempted a restore from within the same Windows environment I’m wanting to restore. I’m with CLiNT on that one.

      Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
      We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

    • #1424594

      Yes, but it will either restore the image or the restore process won’t even start, so there is really no disk in using it. If the restore process starts, the odds of it completing it successfully are as good as a restore from a boot disk.

    • #1424606

      Yes Dick, that is exactly what I wanted to know and refer to as unattended, but you say it’s only available in the paid for version?

      I wasn’t proposing it as a preferred method though if the PE disc/USB drive is standing by as backup, I see no harm in test restoring by that method.

    • #1424702

      I’m with Clint on this. In fact I even create my Images from the Boot Disk. It just allows less complexity during this very important operation. I realize that most of the time there is not a problem from doing this from within Windows, but with my luck the one time I really need it a glitch will occur. No thanks, with my Imaging needs (I suppose I would be considered an average user in that a monthly Image is plenty for my system Imaging) the time it takes to boot to the Boot Disk to create or Restore my Image is worth the effort. The results speak for themselves for me.

      • #1424708

        t just allows less complexity during this very important operation.[/quote]
        I disagree, sorry. If it’s about complexity, there is nothing as simple as starting the app from Windows and doing it. Shutting down, maybe even haven to choose a different boot media, although not exceedingly complex, is surely more complex than simply starting the app from Windows. Actually after booting from the disk, you will have to make the same exact choices that you do when you start from the app, so I don’t see how that is more simple. I am saying this and when I restore, I usually restore booting from the boot disc.

        I also don’t see how results speak from themselves. No results speak from themselves without a reference. Where is the reference or alternative that produced different, worse, results?

        This doesn’t mean that what you are doing is wrong, not at all. You prefer to do it this way and there is no need to even provide explanations, it works for you and that’s it.
        Now, when you present it as an alternative to something else and start comparing -results speak for themselves, you said – then you need to back the comparison with data. I don’t see the data that allows you to say the results speak for themselves. For example, I always image from within Windows and never had an issue, as actually most people here do. How are your results any better than those obtained with the other, more used strategy, regarding image creation?

    • #1424711

      F. U. N.
      I don’t know if what I described is available in the free Macrium version or not. After my problem with Acronis, detailed elsewhere on this blog, I went straight to the paid version of Macrium.

      Perhaps someone using the free version can chime in and resolve your question.

      Best,
      Dick

    • #1424767

      I was referring to “complexity” in terms of the instruction set the software is giving to the OS at a potentially vulnerable time
      during boot/restart.

      Any tests performed should be done via the bootdisk.
      I’m not saying that all restores should be done via the bootdisk, but it is important to test the restore in it’s entirety
      from a standpoint of having no OS to boot from.
      I’ve been in positions previously where those instructions have gotten lost or corrupted.

      There is a right way of doing things, and then there is a half a**ed way.
      Don’t lower the bar.

    • #1424776

      There is a right way of doing things, and then there is a half a**ed way.
      Don’t lower the bar.

      That’s a little strong Clint. I personally think its all that more complex starting from the OS. There’s no call insulting a different opinion.

      Jerry

    • #1424777

      It’s a bit more than opinion, imo.
      It’s a way a doing things based on logic and reasoning, not based on what is easiest or more convenient.

      • #1424784

        It’s a bit more than opinion, imo.
        It’s a way a doing things based on logic and reasoning, not based on what is easiest or more convenient.

        It’s an opinion unless you back it up with something more than vague words about logic and reasoning and the use of foul language. The fact that you prefer to do things other way (and I don’t even really understand which differing opinions you are targeting, since I saw no one defending what you supposedly attacked), is no reason to qualify other options, made available by the software that performs the restore, as illogical or unreasonable.

        You know, the good thing about computers is that they don’t really care about what you tell them to do. Operating systems, CPUs, they are just programmed to follow instructions. For computers and CPUs, there are no complex instructions, there are just instructions to be followed.

        So, if you care to substantiate your position, I would be very interested in knowing about it, even more so because easy and convenient is really one of the reasons of the explosion of the use of computing by non specialists. If computer use was hard and complex, we would still be using character based user interfaces and computing would be the domain of a restricted few.

        Just as a curiosity, do you use Windows only from the command prompt or the powershell command interface or does easy and convenient suit you some times?

    • #1424778

      Emphasis on IMO. Still no reson to insult a differing opinion.

      Jerry

    • #1424800

      I was referring to “complexity” in terms of the instruction set the software is giving to the OS at a potentially vulnerable time
      during boot/restart.

      Any tests performed should be done via the bootdisk.
      I’m not saying that all restores should be done via the bootdisk, but it is important to test the restore in it’s entirety
      from a standpoint of having no OS to boot from.
      I’ve been in positions previously where those instructions have gotten lost or corrupted.

      There is a right way of doing things, and then there is a half a**ed way.
      Don’t lower the bar.

      • #1424803

        I was referring to “complexity” in terms of the instruction set the software is giving to the OS at a potentially vulnerable time
        during boot/restart.

        Any tests performed should be done via the bootdisk.
        I’m not saying that all restores should be done via the bootdisk, but it is important to test the restore in it’s entirety
        from a standpoint of having no OS to boot from.
        I’ve been in positions previously where those instructions have gotten lost or corrupted.

        There is a right way of doing things, and then there is a half a**ed way.
        Don’t lower the bar.

        The discussion on testing the full restore is long gone, no one was discussing that now. In this specific instance, the discussion was centered on FUN’s question about restoring from the OS and how did that usually go. No one advised that as something that should be done regularly.

        Anyway, there is no point in discussing when your position is so well substantiated. Thank you for keeping the discussion at a high bar level, if your idea of high bar is repetition of non substantiated statements.

    • #1424829

      There is a right way of doing things, and then there is a half a**ed way.
      Don’t lower the bar.

      Call me the devil’s advocate, but I really like to challenge some assumptions. On this respect, I went and had a look at the Macrium Free online help system, “my own” Acronis TI 2014 manual and the EaseUS Todo Backup manual, to check what they advise on restoring disks and partitions.

      1. Macrium Free Online Help

      The Macrium Free help system offers no caveats whatsoever on starting a restore from the UI interface from within Windows. if you choose Restore disks and partitions in the help system (http://www.macrium.com/help.aspx), the restore instructions address restores made from within Windows. There is another set of instructions regarding the restore from the system disk. Here is how that section starts:

      “If your hard disk is still operational, Macrium Reflect can restore system images without using the rescue media. See Restore files and folders

      If your system is no longer operational or you are moving the operating system to a new system, then you can rescue the system using the Windows PE rescue media and an image file. Once the Windows PE rescue environment is loaded, you can restore an image from many sources including:”

      Basically, the Macrium manual suggests using the rescue media only when the hard disk is not operational.

      2. Acronis True Image 2014 manual

      Does Acronis think differently from Macrium?

      Chapter 6 on the Acronis manual is about data recovery. Section 6.1. is about recovering disks and partitions. 6.1.1 is dedicated to recover from crashes and there, after providing advice on determining the cause of the crash, it advises the use of the the recovery media, which makes sense, since the section is about recovering from crashes, which means it would be impossible to do the recovery from Windows.
      Sub-section 6.1.2 is about recovery of partitions and disks. When explaining the recovery process (obviously for a bootable system, since unbootable systems were covered in the previous section. The recovery process recommended by Acronis starts with – 1. Start Acronis True Image 2014.

      3. EaseUS Todo Backup manual

      What about the EaseUS Todo Backup manual? The recovery instructions start on page 32, with a description of the recovery process and illustrations of the app’s screens that support such recovery. At the end of the description, before addressing dynamic drive recovery, this is what the manual states:

      “If there are some files opened or applications launched on the destination partition/disk, our product will require that you reboot and will execute the recovery task in Pre-OS mode.”

      So, the description covered by the EaseUS manual, just like with Macrium and Acronis, is about using the app to start the recovery, from within Windows.

      Imaging manufacturers recommendations summary:

      What do we have, then? The manufacturers of probably the 3 imaging apps most used by regular Lounge members, in the documentation about their own products, not only recommend and explain recovering from within Windows, but offer no caveats whatsoever on doing so.

      Now, can this be “illogical” or “not based on reason”? How is using procedures recommended by 3 popular imaging product manufacturers, illogical or not based on reason? How can discussion of such procedures constitute “lowering the bar”? Actually RTFM is a top recommendation when addressing usage of any system, so probably following the instructions from such manuals seems the logical and reasonable thing to do and many users will do just that! So, while manuals cannot be seen as the ultimate redoubts of the truth, they do express manufacturers’s recommendations. I am sure all these three manufacturers cannot possibly be advising such a bad thing, if it were that bad!?

      The truth is, we all have reasons to do what we do. Sometimes is just the habit, sometimes our own experiences make us choose one way over another. This doesn’t mean that other ways of doing it are wrong, or whatever other qualifier we use to apply to those alternative ways. It’s also a lot more relevant to the overall community here, if we opt to explain why we do what we do, or why we recommend what we recommend, instead of using qualifiers that we do not substantiate.

      P.S.: I usually don’t restore my systems unless there is a problem, which most of the times, in the past, meant an unbootable system. In the rare cases where I did a restore from a bootable system, with the notable exception of the situation that lead to my first reply to FUN on this thread, when he raised this specific issue of restoring from Windows, I used the boot disk. Why? Probably because of habit, I had restored before in situations where the system was crashed and used the boot disk, so I just used what had worked before – something we do many, many times.
      Will I do that again, if I need to restore while having a bootable system? Well, probably not, now I am very interested in testing this myself, once more, just to be able to come back here and report, hopefully, on my success :). I will do it only if I really need to, so that can take quite some time ;).

    • #1424838

      What the manufacturer says in this regard is totally irrelevant when it FIRST comes to fully TESTING the process in it’s ENTIRETY.
      The bootable media that one creates is the heart and sole of the entire process.

      No bootdisk means no OS restoration WHEN IT REALLY COUNTS.

      You can restore from within your OS until your heart is content, but if your bootdisk is unreliable & your OS is unbootable, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.

      • #1424841

        What the manufacturer says in this regard is totally irrelevant when it FIRST comes to fully TESTING the process in it’s ENTIRETY.
        The bootable media that one creates is the heart and sole of the entire process.

        No bootdisk means no OS restoration WHEN IT REALLY COUNTS.

        You can restore from within your OS until your heart is content, but if your bootdisk is unreliable & your OS is unbootable, GOOD LUCK WITH THAT.

        In my opinion, no one was discussing that, when discussing about restoring from within Windows. As said twice before, the specific discussion was initiated from a post made by F.U.N. asking whether someone had tried it. The inference that the discussion was about testing the whole process from within Windows was your own and, excuse me for saying it, I see no justification for that inference. I never replied with such a scenario in mind.

        Of course, I can understand that some users may want to restore from Windows. Many times, easiness and convenience are key factors when making choices. Of course, restoring from Windows does not ensure the full restore process, in case of a non bootable system, will work, but that discussion is long gone, in what I’m concerned, I have already expressed my views on the issue clearly and I don’t want to go back to it again.

        No bootdisk means no OS restoration WHEN IT REALLY COUNTS.

        I wouldn’t be so definitive on this. It is totally possible to have a bootable system, with issues severe enough to justify a restore. I think you and Retired Geek restored to Windows 8 when the 8.1. upgrade didn’t work the way you wanted. In such a circumstance, I am sure you thought restoring “really counted” as well, and restoring from the OS would quite likely be a valid solution.

        So, “when it really counts” is determined by the situation the user is facing. It may mean a bootable system too. Just saying … as the devil’s advocate :).

    • #1424941

      My 2Β’

      I take “When it really counts” to mean a crashed system. I’ve crashed mine enough times with my tinkerin’ to take it that way. As far as testing a recovery from within Windows, I would add the caveat of using that perhaps as a way of checking the validity and usability of a drive image. But I would first want to know for certain that my rescue boot media will work.

      If I had already tested the boot media and had confidence in it, then performing a recovery from within Windows in order to test a drive image might be OK. I just checked, and Image for Windows does not accommodate restoring Windows from within Windows. I didn’t really know, as I have never considered doing an OS restore from anywhere other than boot media.

      “It is important to remember that you cannot restore an image over the partition that contains the image file you are using to restore. In addition, Image for Windows must be able to obtain a normal lock on the target partition; PHYLock is not used when restoring. Therefore, to restore the operating system itself, you’d need to restore it using Image for DOS, Image for Linux, or Image for Windows from an alternate location.

      For me, that alternate location is my dual boot or my boot CD or my boot USB stick. Additionally, I have Image for DOS installed on a separate partition on one of my hard drives, so I can boot to that, as well. I like having plenty of options. The dual boot is most convenient, as I can continue to use my computer while the other OS is being restored to the other hard drive.

      Always create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates; you may need to start over!
      We were all once "Average Users". We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do with our systems, we don't need anyone's approval, and we don't all have to do the same things.

      • #1425062

        Can we backup a bit here (no pun unintended) to the idea of booting the image in Win7 ?

        I have a W7 Home Premium computer over due for an imaging (I use Macrium Reflect ).
        Its my girl friend’s game computer and not knowing how to backup the game state I do an image,once in a great while I admit. It would be nice to know if the image was intact enough to boot.
        Is this a feature native to W7 ? Are we talking a virtual drive? I guess that would be OK to.

        If I was really afraid of losing functionality for a period I would go with lanshark’s suggestion of removable drive. Running A and saving image to second partition of B could the image be restored to the first partition of B? If so A could be removed and stored someplace safe and B tested. A now would be fully functional with no chance of a nonworking restore. Just my 2Β’

        [/FONT][/SIZE]

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        • #1425523

          Addenum
          I was able to download the full install of the free version from softpedia.
          The macrium site does not seem to admit to there being a free version from inside the site. A google will lead to a page with a dl link for the downloader/installer but has a MD5 hash for the full installer. Which matched BTW.

          I am going to try the new PE (WAIK) recovery disk this week end….

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        • #1425528

          Can we backup a bit here (no pun unintended) to the idea of booting the image in Win7 ?

          I have a W7 Home Premium computer over due for an imaging (I use Macrium Reflect ).
          Its my girl friend’s game computer and not knowing how to backup the game state I do an image,once in a great while I admit. It would be nice to know if the image was intact enough to boot.
          Is this a feature native to W7 ? Are we talking a virtual drive? I guess that would be OK to.

          If I was really afraid of losing functionality for a period I would go with lanshark’s suggestion of removable drive. Running A and saving image to second partition of B could the image be restored to the first partition of B? If so A could be removed and stored someplace safe and B tested. A now would be fully functional with no chance of a nonworking restore. Just my 2Β’


          [/quote]
          Windows 7 can only boot from .vhd files, which are created by the native Windows 7 imaging app. Acronis TI can convert from its own format to .vhd. It seems that the option is also available with Macrium, but with paid versions: http://kb.macrium.com/KnowledgebaseArticle50005.aspx?Keywords=VHD

          • #1425570

            ruirib

            Thanks sooo much. I have been wanting to try to make a virtual drive out of my 11 year old XP install but never got around to it because …. well maybe a bit lazy, could it be?? This makes it look easy. I actually have installed it already. And no I did not need a paid version. Thanks again for the link. I will post back when/if I do this.

            🍻

            Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #1425571

      You’re welcome :).

      Please be aware that there is a difference between booting from a .vhd disk on the same hardware where the image was created, or run the .vhd in a VM. The hardware will be seen as different by the OS in each case, so the VM scenario may fail without special restore procedures.

      I tried using a .vhd with Windows Virtual PC and it worked great. It was an old XP image, from 2009, running on the same hardware. Worked great. Trying to load the image elsewhere failed.

    • #1425585

      Ohhhh now I am all confused again. What is the “difference between booting from a .vhd disk on the same hardware where the image was created, or run the .vhd in a VM.” I understand a VM (remember I am using XP) the former I find confusing.
      PS I just did a conversion!!!

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #1425615

      Booting from a .vhd doesn’t mean you are running inside a VM. Windows 7 and 8 can just treat a virtual disk (a .vhd file – can be .vhx in Windows 8) as if it was a physical disk and boot from it, but there is no VM software involved – no Virtual PC, VMWare or VirtualBox. It’s just Windows treating the .vhd file as a “real” disk.

    • #1425631

      Ya, after reviewing the process, it becomes evident why it’s only good for the system it originated on or identical system deployment; it still acts like a dual boot system.
      I’ve had good luck (not perfekt) with Paragon’s free GoVirtual as far as converting a current XP install to VM (either VirtualPC (if under 50 Gigs), V-Box, or VMWare Player compatible). That way I can run it simultaneously on any system with a compatible host. With a fed exceptions, like if one needs some non-virtual hardware support or wants to preserve a set of old games that won’t play virtually, it seems the much more versatile mode of operation, especially for deployment to systems that no longer have any driver support for XP.

      • #1425679

        OK
        NOGO 1 attempt no RTFM involved :rolleyes:
        W7 is working no problem. EasyBCD to boot vhd file no love
        But I did finally put a legit W7 install on the box. I think (jumping threads here) WAIK and Macrium boot disk next before I do some real damage.
        Oh and maybe some Tday leftovers:)

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        • #1425789

          I tried to load the vhd into VirtualBox. No luck! Stops @ apf440. loading. I made an image with Vhd2disk (from sysinternals). That stopped at the same spot In VirtualBox as well. (recovery console did run!). I did not yet try a direct boot of that. There was a note on the Macrium site that if an image was mounted or attached on the same hardware it was created from the disk ID would be changed and a direct boot would not work. I did explore the Macrium image via Macrium maybe that was the problem??

          And maybe time to move this to a different part of the Lounge???

          🍻

          Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #1425801

      Maybe start a new thread to discuss this specific issue.

    • #1426647

      If you want, Rich, you can start a thread on that specific issue.

    • #1426765

      I have been trying to boot an image and have been having problems. I recently read what I posted some place. I am sorry if I caused anyone unnecessary alarm. This weekend I will be exploring those problems further….

      PS I am getting a spell checker now, it kept underlining my imaginative spelling of unnecessary:confused:

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #1426767

      No worries, it didn’t cause any alarm. Did you mean you tried to boot from a vhd?

    • #1426786

      yup I will start another thread when I get it together, hopefully this weekend.

      🍻

      Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
      • #1429163

        I have not been able to boot a VHD w/ W7 BCD but I have got it working in a VM so that should be proof that it works.

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        • #1429196

          I have not been able to boot a VHD w/ W7 BCD but I have got it working in a VM so that should be proof that it works.

          Yes, I think it does prove it works, definitely.

    Viewing 72 reply threads
    Reply To: Macrium Reflect Pro v5.2: How to test a system image safely?

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