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Windows 7 Imaging (Read 4405 times)
k4kjf
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Windows 7 Imaging
Oct 30th, 2011 at 12:40pm
 
Iíve been using Ghost 2003 forever and it has saved my butt on a number of occasions.† However with newer operating systems, SATA drives, etc., it is becoming less useful.†

Iíve just started working with the Windows 7 Image creation utility and have yet to perform a few test restores to a new drive, but if it works, that seems to be the way to go.† The price is right.† I never had a Ghost 2003 restore fail, but Ghost 14 let me down early-on. Subsequently Iíve lost confidence in the newer versions.

The only complaint Iíve seen so far about Windows 7 imaging is that it is slow in writing the image and that little or no compression is used.† Seems to me that is a plus.† One less complicating factor to cause trouble and disc storage space is cheap these days.

Am I missing something?
 
 
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Brian
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Re: Windows 7 Imaging
Reply #1 - Oct 30th, 2011 at 3:11pm
 
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k4kjf

I've run some tests on the Win7 imaging app. If you want something that's free, you have it, but it's not a patch on current imaging apps.

It doesn't image FAT/FAT32 partitions. Since most (maybe all) Dell computers have a OEM Diagnostic partition (FAT16) this won't be included in the image and if you have to restore the image to a new HD (due to HD failure), the Dell Diagnostic app will be missing. I'd expect this will cause booting issues and require a startup repair.

The images aren't compressed and are roughly double the size of images created by other imaging software.

You can create incremental images without realizing it is happening. The incremental is added to the base image but you only find out about it when you try to restore.

There is no option for scheduling image creation. Images must be created manually.

There is no option for resizing the restored partition.

The images can't be Validated/Verified.

Despite these shortcomings it does work reliably.
 
 
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k4kjf
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Re: Windows 7 Imaging
Reply #2 - Nov 1st, 2011 at 7:14pm
 
Thanks for your comment Brian. You gave me some things to think about.† Iím still at the stage of just getting familiar with Win 7 Imaging so I need to continue to experiment a bit.† I love Ghost 2003 but unfortunately donít consider it viable anymore with modern operating systems and hardware.† Ghost 14 let me down and I see lots of negative comment here regarding Ghost 15.† Where else to go? I hate to start over with† Acronis.†

Since my post above from a few days ago I did get a chance to work through the details of† moving my laptopís Win7 OS from a 230 GB drive to a larger 500 GB one using he Win 7 Imaging tools.† It went fairly well.† Iíll include a few notes here regarding that experience for others like me who might have just started considering the Win 7 approach and might be interested.†

You are certainly right about Win 7 imaging applying no compression to the image.† My source was 133 GB and the image was the same size.† I forgot to note how long it took to write the image, but I did time the restore at 1 hr, 25 min.† This is with a USB 2.0 connection to the external drive where the image resided.†

The drive I restored to was new and installed in the laptop straight out of the box.

The bootable Windows Repair Disc made immediately after the image was written to the external USB drive worked well.† I had read quite a lot of postings complaining that the Win 7 Restore function could not find the previously made image on the external drive Ė lots of problems finding the right driver so that the image could be found, etc . Happily that was not the case here.† The previously made image file was immediately located on the external drive and recommended for use.† I did follow two recommendations I had read: The WindowsImageBackup folder that Backup writes was at root level on the external drive, and the external drive was connected and powered up when the laptop was turned on for the restore operation.† (BTW, the laptop here is a Lenovo T500)

The laptop booted fine after the restore was complete and Computer>Manage>Disc Management showed a partition layout on the new drive that was identical that of the old, PLUS and additional 167 GB of unallocated space due to the larger target drive. My 121 GB Data partition was there but empty as it was not included in the image file.†

Because the restore seemed successful, I blew away the Service Recovery partition combining its 10 GB space with the original 121 GB data partition and the new 167 GB unallocated space into a new 298 GB Data partition.† Lots of breathing room now!

So, Iíd have to say the exercise was successful.† Only one experience so far, but a good start.† My most important care-about is reliability so I was glad to read your last comment.† My needs are simple, requiring only an occasional hard disc upgrade or applying a more-or-less recent image to recover from a failed or corrupted OS partition. Maybe the Win 7 tools will be sufficient for this.† Time will tell.

I hope others will post their experiences here.†

Ken
 
 
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Brian
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Re: Windows 7 Imaging
Reply #3 - Nov 1st, 2011 at 8:23pm
 
Ken.

k4kjf wrote on Nov 1st, 2011 at 7:14pm:
I see lots of negative comment here regarding Ghost 15


I use Ghost 15 on one of my computers and I can't get it to fail. I've tested image, restore, Copy Drive, Win7 with and without the SRP. I'm afraid the Win7 SRP has made using any of the imaging apps more difficult than the WinXP days.

Win7 may suit your needs. As your were keen on Ghost 2003 you might like to run some tests on Image for DOS. There is a 30 day trial. Like Ghost 2003 it can create and restore images from the boot disk (floppy, CD, USB flash drive). Unlike Ghost 2003 it is updated every few months.
 
 
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