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Author Topic: Windows 7 Imaging - Helpful info from my experience with it to share  (Read 4295 times)

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DaveLembke

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Creating a Windows 7 Image is easy, however restoring from it can lead to all sorts of interesting problems!

I created a Windows 7 Image of my Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit of a 500GB Hard Drive that contained less than 14.1GB of data contained on 3 x DVD-R Discs.

After creating this image, I went to test the image by restoring the image to a spare 250GB hard drive that I had laying around. I simply with computer off, plugged the 250GB drive into the SATA power and com cables and attempted to boot the computer off of DVD 1 of the 3 DVD set of the image. DVD 1 of the set as I found out is NON-Bootable! ( Coming from using Ghost for years, I at first thought that maybe it was a bad image burn, but google search specified otherwise )

You have to use the Windows 7 Emergency Repair Disc to boot the system, and then follow instructions as linked at this website to restore from image.  http://www.petri.co.il/restore-windows-7-from-backup-image.htm

Quote
* What they dont tell you are these facts:

--> The drive to take the image restore has to be equal to or greater storage capacity than the original hard drive. ( even if only 13GB of the 500GB hard drive contains data, it will fail trying to restore to a 250GB hard drive the 13GB of contents from a 500GB hard drive! , because it wants to create a C: partition that is of same size of that of the original hard drive )

--> If you plan on using this image on drives smaller than the original hard drive its best to use the built in Windows 7 Partition Shrink feature to make the C: drive for the images partition dimensions as small as possible! ( I had to use this feature to shrink the 500GB drives C: partition to around 250GB, and then create a whole new DVD image set. In order to squeeze this system image to a 250GB hard drive. * I could only shrink this hard drives C: partition using the built in Shrink feature to Windows 7 down by a maximum of 50% of that of the entire drives capacity. I wanted to shrink it further, but it would not allow it with the built in Windows 7 Shrink utility! )

--> If you restore this image in my case a image created then for the 250GB hard drive and restore it with no problems to a larger hard drive, the partition for C: on the hard drive stays at the size of that of the original hard drive. ( So in my case I also had a spare 300GB Maxtor drive and installed that in place of the 250GB and restored the image to the 300GB hard drive. While it was successful, when looking at Disk Management afterfinding the C: drive size not to be 300GB but 250GB, I found 50GB of unallocated space. So If you had a system with a 250GB hard drive fail and you replace the drive with a 2TB drive, you will find yourself looking at a C: partition of 250GB and the rest of it would be unallocated wasted space! )

--> When restoring from DVD set most would think that you place DVD or Disc #1 into the drive when going through the motion of restoring from image backup. If you do this and do not read what the prompt says you will get frustrated when the Image Restore Utility can not find the Image... The box where you can normally select the image to restore from will be blank. If you finally read the prompt in the GUI as I finally did you will find out that its requesting THE LAST Disc in my case the DVD #3 of the 3 DVD image set to be placed into the drive first. Placing the last DVD from the set into the drive you then can select the Image from the list in the utility under the GUI that was created from the Windows 7 Emergency Recovery Disc. After this image is selected, it will then request the Disc #1 of the set and then the remaining Disc's as it restores the image to the drive

--> One FINAL SURPRISE for those like myself, who have spare hard drives and like to test utilities like the Windows 7 Image utility to know how they work and to make sure the images are known to be good vs waiting for when the system dies to then realize you have a useless broken image!.... Windows 7 Image Utility when restoring the hard drive contents to another hard drive will overwrite the UNIQUE ID of the other drive with that of the SAME UNIQUE ID of the original hard drive that the image was created from. This is not a problem for anyone planning on using this replacement drive as a replacement drive, but after the drive is wiped clean and used once again as an external hard drive with the same system that it was used in testing the image on, this drive will cause the Windows 7 Disk Manager to unmount this drive. And when you go into Windows 7 Disk Management you will see the error message associated with why it can not be mounted and used as an external hard drive... The message of " OFFLINE ( The disk is offline because it has a signature collision with another disk that is online ) ". This is because the Windows 7 Image utility overwrote the UNIQUE ID of the replacement hard drive with that of the original hard drive that the image was created from. And on Windows 7, drives that are mounted have to have Unique ID's.

I can see this being a problem for someone who uses this utility to upgrade to a larger hard drive and use the old prior still healthy hard drive as either a slave for extra storage or making it into an external hard drive for use on the same system it came out of!

Fortunately the fix for this UNIQUE ID conflict is easy. Both drives had the same Unique ID which was a Hex ID of 63C14ADE. I was able to attach this external hard drive which shared the same UNIQUE ID, to another different Windows 7 computer I had so that it would mount as an external hard drive, and run DISKPART as administrator. This then gave me the DISK PART Prompt. From here I was able to list my drives via the LIST DISK command to find the mount location of the 300GB hard drive which was Disk 2. When the other drives of this system were 500GB was DISK 0 and 90GB was DISK 1, so I was then able to change the UNIQUE ID of this external hard drive at the mount location of DISK 2 by giving the command at Disk Part Prompt of:

SELECT DISK 2 UNIQUEID DISK ID=63C14ADC    ( followed by ENTER Key )

I could have changed its Unique ID to any hex value not in use, but chose to just change the last value from E to C on this drive. I then was able to properly dismount this USB attached external 300GB SATA drive and connect it back to the original computer that it originally had conflicts with and it mounted fine so that I could perform a faster 24GB transfer / install of a large mmorpg game from my old computer to my new computer without having to redownload the game Aion from NCSoft all over again.


So in future Windows 7 builds, I am going to use the smallest hard drive available, which I have a 80GB SATA hard drive that hasn't been used in years because its too small for my normal computing needs, but it actually can serve a purpose now to build systems clean using that 80GB hard drive. After Windows 7 has been installed, Drivers installed, Activated with Microsoft, All Security Updates, and All Programs that are part of Default Build .... Create a Windows 7 Image using the built in free image utility off of that 80GB drive to a group of DVD's or to an external hard drive if its greater than 25GB.

Then Restore the image to the intended Hard Drive for installation, such as a 1TB hard drive. Then when this is complete, resize my C: partition so that instead of it remaining at 80GB of the 1TB partition with over 900GB of wasted unallocated space, C: partition now consumes all of the unallocated space.

* And I will also know, never to try to use that 80GB SATA hard drive as 2nd hard drive or external hard drive in any of the builds that it was used in creating to avoid the UNIQUE ID Signature Collision with other Disks!


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Re: Windows 7 Imaging - Helpful info from my experience with it to share
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2013, 04:28:38 PM »
Very nice report. Will bookmark it.
This what I also learned:
Quote
So in future Windows 7 builds, I am going to use the smallest hard drive available, which I have a 80GB SATA hard drive that hasn't been used i
The advantage of DVD is cost and durability.
50 pack memorex 4.7GB 16X D... $13.99   Amazon, new
80GB DESKTOP INTERNAL SATA ...$12.29   eBay, used

Well, the cost is almost the same... 8)

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Re: Windows 7 Imaging - Helpful info from my experience with it to share
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2013, 06:19:26 PM »
Well, the cost is almost the same... 8)

Buying used hard drives is like buying used underwear.
I was trying to dereference Null Pointers before it was cool.

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Re: Windows 7 Imaging - Helpful info from my experience with it to share
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2013, 11:33:15 PM »
Buying used hard drives is like buying used underwear.
Used hard drives, like used underwear, should be completely washed. And only used for backup. Or some  unexpected emergency. Keep a clean HDD and clean underwear in your brief case at all times. That's is why they call it a brief case.

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Re: Windows 7 Imaging - Helpful info from my experience with it to share
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2013, 11:45:49 PM »
Used hard drives, like used underwear, should be completely washed. And only used for backup. Or some  unexpected emergency. Keep a clean HDD and clean underwear in your brief case at all times. That's is why they call it a brief case.

Like the hands of lady Macbeth, you can never clean underwear that somebody else wore sufficiently. "Out damned spot, out I say!"
I was trying to dereference Null Pointers before it was cool.

Calum

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Re: Windows 7 Imaging - Helpful info from my experience with it to share
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2013, 03:55:10 AM »
This is why I use Macrium Reflect, as it can restore to different sized partitions with no problems unlike some programs.
I make image backups to my 2TB, duplicate them to my gf's 500GB, then I can restore them by booting from the rescue CD or by connecting the HDD to a machine with Reflect installed.  No hassle.

DaveLembke

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Re: Windows 7 Imaging - Helpful info from my experience with it to share
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2013, 04:23:40 PM »
Calum are you able to do this with the free edition or did you have to buy a license for extra features that are not included with free? http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx

Calum

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Re: Windows 7 Imaging - Helpful info from my experience with it to share
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2013, 02:20:16 AM »
Calum are you able to do this with the free edition or did you have to buy a license for extra features that are not included with free? http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx

Free edition all the way.
I don't have a requirement for any of the features included with the paid editions.

DaveLembke

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Re: Windows 7 Imaging - Helpful info from my experience with it to share
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2013, 01:05:13 PM »
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Free edition all the way.
I don't have a requirement for any of the features included with the paid editions.

COOL gonna try this out!

Calum

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Re: Windows 7 Imaging - Helpful info from my experience with it to share
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2013, 01:07:00 PM »
It's a great program, if I remember rightly patio originally recommended it to me and I've used it ever since.
Using it right now to restore an image of my gf's 32GB SSD to a 64GB SSD actually.

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Re: Windows 7 Imaging - Helpful info from my experience with it to share
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2013, 08:01:56 PM »
So in future Windows 7 builds, I am going to use the smallest hard drive available, which I have a 80GB SATA hard drive

Why not just install on a smaller partition?

Why use a different physical drive?

This is why I use Macrium Reflect. No hassle.
I've also had success with macrium reflect. It's a fine program.

Dave, if you're going to use macrium you will still need to create a boot disk to start the image recovery.
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Re: Windows 7 Imaging - Helpful info from my experience with it to share
« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2013, 02:04:54 AM »
Dave, if you're going to use macrium you will still need to create a boot disk to start the image recovery.
then I can restore them by booting from the rescue CD or by connecting the HDD to a machine with Reflect installed.

I probably should've made that clearer but yes, you do need to make a rescue CD.  I think the paid version of Reflect has an option to integrate Reflect into the boot options, but I don't know why you would bother as normally when I restore images it's due to upgrading or failing drives, so I wouldn't trust something stored on said drive.  Booting from a rescue CD is always going to be the best way to restore an image - what I like about Reflect in this respect (ooh, rhyming) is that you have the option to create a minimal Linux based CD, a Windows PE based CD (a huge download), or as of the newest version a PE 4 (Windows 8, and much smaller download) based rescue CD.  You can also modify the image to include other programs or drivers to support hardware not natively supported, which is pretty awesome.  Also, Reflect prompts you when it starts to create a rescue CD if you haven't already, so it doesn't hide that fact until later like some programs.

DaveLembke

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Re: Windows 7 Imaging - Helpful info from my experience with it to share
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2013, 01:08:06 PM »
Requiring a boot disc to start the process is no problem. The best thing out of using Macrium instead of 7's built in imaging would be being able to not have to worry about having to resize partitions after the image is pushed to a larger drive, or having to go through the extra work to install first to a smaller drive or partition to then restore it to a larger drive and have to expand the partition. I like that Macrium seems to be more like Ghost 2003 which I used for years, but Ghost 2003 doesnt work with 7, but in which the image can be pushed to any capacity drive as long as the drive to receive the image can contain the whole contents of say a 12GB image.

A long time ago I had to restore a system for a user in the accounting department for my employer and their system was so custom installed that installing fresh and installing and configuring all applications etc would have taken 2 days. I created monthly image backups of the accounting systems ( workstations ) and the one day the CPA's system died. The 80GB IDE hard drive was toast with the clunk of death. The image of this CPA's workstation was 26GB in size, and the only spare hard drive I had was a 40GB WD drive. I was able to have them back up and running within about an hour by a 5 minute HDD swap, booting their workstation off of a custom made CD that acted like the Ghost boot floppy that loaded NDIS2 NIC driver and set a static IP 192.168.77.2 for workstation, and I was able to use the system in my office as an image server at 192.168.77.1 to push this 26GB image over the network to their workstation during the lunch period of noon to 1pm to not kill all other users bandwidth, and the image push to the workstation was flawless. No resizing required, just needed to reboot the computer after the Ghost image push and remove my custom CD and the user was back in business.

The flexability of Macrium reflect being able to push an image to any size drive that is large enough to take the image is exactly what I like to use!!!

As far as the accounting workstations, it was a blessing when we finally got the approval and funding to add a Citrix Client/Server and place the important software on the server side of a quadcore xeon vs a bunch of HP DC5000 SFF Pentium 4 workstations with maxed out RAM and stock CPU squirrel cage cooling fans that sounded like a jet was getting ready to take off when they were running intensive apps and multitasking, and this way any workstation on the domain with the Citrix client installed and user with the proper credentials could access the highly configured software from any location at the companies 7 locations as well as remotely from home.

This meant that I no longer had to image those accounting systems on a monthly basis and could use my time more efficiently taking care of other problems and projects in the never ending cycle of projects completed and more thrown my way of user and owners requests for changes.

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Re: Windows 7 Imaging - Helpful info from my experience with it to share
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2013, 05:07:15 PM »
This is why I use Macrium Reflect, as it can restore to different sized partitions with no problems unlike some programs.
I make image backups to my 2TB, duplicate them to my gf's 500GB, then I can restore them by booting from the rescue CD or by connecting the HDD to a machine with Reflect installed.  No hassle.
...
Free edition all the way.
I don't have a requirement for any of the features included with the paid editions.
Great program, have abandoned Ghost.
You can create 2 types of boot discs:  Linux or WinPE
You can create boot on various media:  CD (DVD not needed) or USB drive.
Primary backup drive is USB3.0 WD 1TB My Passport 2.5".
Secondary backup drive is USB2.0 WD 320MB My Essentials 2.5"