[SOLVED] Best way to back up/clone windows 7 w/ all programs to another hard drive?

King_justin

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Hello,
What would be the best way to clone/back up a Windows 7 PC to a fresh hard drive that would also keep all the programs on the computer?

Basically... I want to clone my hard drive then take out the new hard drive I just cloned and keep it stored. I have a lot of CAD programs and stuff that can only run on windows 7 and I want to make sure I have another hard drive that I can put in my machine and it pick up where it was last cloned incase of a hard drive failure to the original.


Does a backup keep all the programs on the PC?
Would cloning a drive and keeping the original in tack mess up the Windows 7 Product ID and stuff like that? Because, technically, there would be two hard drives with the same Windows 7 product key.

Thanks everyone!
 
When you say plug up a drive for routine backups, are you meaning a hard drive or a USB?
it would need to be a drive near to or matching the size of the data being backed up.
that would be the data on your main OS+applications drive.
If one where to fail, how would you go about reimaging a drive use the last back up?
if your main drive failed;
you'd have the image of it backed up to restore to another drive of your choice.
this drive, to be restored to, would become the main system drive just as the drive that was originally backed up.

if your backup drive failed;
you'd just create another new image of your data to use.

same situation as if you were "cloning" back & forth and one of those drives failed or it's data became corrupted over time.

but in this type of imaging instance, you can create a bootable DVD/Blu-Ray/USB/etc to run the software and create a new system disk without needing to install and access any OS first.
and is Acronis True Image free?
don't know what it would currently cost or if they have free "trial versions" available.
but there are many versions of different software that will provide the same options for this type of task.
you can search online and browse through them and see what price differences or free offers there may be.
 
you really don't even need to go through the extra steps unless the plan is to upgrade to a better drive and just keep the existing as backup.

for just an up-to-date backup routine plug in a drive to be used for"backups",
run a backup software like Acronis True Image and make a complete image of your current drive,
from there on you can make incremental backups as needed to keep this disk image up-to-date.

if the main disk ever fails you will have this image that can be restored to any drive as needed.
 

King_justin

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you really don't even need to go through the extra steps unless the plan is to upgrade to a better drive and just keep the existing as backup.

for just an up-to-date backup routine plug in a drive to be used for"backups",
run a backup software like Acronis True Image and make a complete image of your current drive,
from there on you can make incremental backups as needed to keep this disk image up-to-date.

if the main disk ever fails you will have this image that can be restored to any drive as needed.
When you say plug up a drive for routine backups, are you meaning a hard drive or a USB?

If one where to fail, how would you go about reimaging a drive use the last back up?

and is Acronis True Image free?

thank you
 
When you say plug up a drive for routine backups, are you meaning a hard drive or a USB?
it would need to be a drive near to or matching the size of the data being backed up.
that would be the data on your main OS+applications drive.
If one where to fail, how would you go about reimaging a drive use the last back up?
if your main drive failed;
you'd have the image of it backed up to restore to another drive of your choice.
this drive, to be restored to, would become the main system drive just as the drive that was originally backed up.

if your backup drive failed;
you'd just create another new image of your data to use.

same situation as if you were "cloning" back & forth and one of those drives failed or it's data became corrupted over time.

but in this type of imaging instance, you can create a bootable DVD/Blu-Ray/USB/etc to run the software and create a new system disk without needing to install and access any OS first.
and is Acronis True Image free?
don't know what it would currently cost or if they have free "trial versions" available.
but there are many versions of different software that will provide the same options for this type of task.
you can search online and browse through them and see what price differences or free offers there may be.
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Mar 16, 2013
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Hello,
What would be the best way to clone/back up a Windows 7 PC to a fresh hard drive that would also keep all the programs on the computer?

Basically... I want to clone my hard drive then take out the new hard drive I just cloned and keep it stored. I have a lot of CAD programs and stuff that can only run on windows 7 and I want to make sure I have another hard drive that I can put in my machine and it pick up where it was last cloned incase of a hard drive failure to the original.


Does a backup keep all the programs on the PC?
Would cloning a drive and keeping the original in tack mess up the Windows 7 Product ID and stuff like that? Because, technically, there would be two hard drives with the same Windows 7 product key.

Thanks everyone!
What is your overall goal here?

A Clone is for actually changing to a new drive.
An Image is for a backup. The Image concept is MUCH more flexible.
 
Reactions: JohnBonhamsGhost
Hello,
What would be the best way to clone/back up a Windows 7 PC to a fresh hard drive that would also keep all the programs on the computer?

Basically... I want to clone my hard drive then take out the new hard drive I just cloned and keep it stored. I have a lot of CAD programs and stuff that can only run on windows 7 and I want to make sure I have another hard drive that I can put in my machine and it pick up where it was last cloned incase of a hard drive failure to the original.


Does a backup keep all the programs on the PC?
Would cloning a drive and keeping the original in tack mess up the Windows 7 Product ID and stuff like that? Because, technically, there would be two hard drives with the same Windows 7 product key.

Thanks everyone!
A clone is a copy of the source disk.
As you said clone to a disk and store it.
If the orig disk fails you can quickly swap in the cloned disk and be back in business......with the data at the time of the clone.

There are more than a few clone utils....use google.
It would be a good idea after you do a clone to test to make sure the clone boots and runs.
 
the biggest downside to a "cloning" solution is that you cannot update this clone without completely redoing the process over and over again each time your data is updated.

using an incremental image backup solution means that only your updated data would be altered each time you want to update your backup image.
this is much easier, much less time consuming, and you can restore any partial data you desire without having to replace the entire disk with a clone over and over again.
 
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Kabobb

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Use Win 7 Backup & Restore - it's all right there in Control Panel... System Image Backup/Recovery
Only 2 thing are needed.
  1. an external drive , like a WD 2T Passport(usb 3) or a NAS
  2. a bootable Recovery cd/usb - and Win 7 easily makes one for itself with Create a Recovery Disk function(all bootable ready and its own need ed dirvers on it plus the connect /restore utilities on the bootable disk too!)
That's it - just schedule the backup to run say once a week...
With the Recovery cd/usb in hand - Your Covered! - It Works Like a Champ!!

Actually, I'm runnin one right Now...

Win7 Backup/restore is about as good as it gets...Same thing works Win10 & 11 - that's why i'm cleanin things up and testin right now...
I have a Synology NAS that makes things easy, but ya can do the same thing with a 2T WD Pasport(USB) & a cheap usb stick...
It'll do exactly what ya need and make Life Easy...

Ya got everything ya need right there in Win7 (cept maybe a nice 2T WD Passport round $50bucks to keep the backups on external media)

*** EditAdd...
The Backup completed - and this is WhatYaGet and WhereItIs...

The Backup always goes in the WindowsImageBackup directory in the attached backup media ( and if the dir isn't there WinBackup will make one).
It will also make a directory with the same name as the machine name that's being backed up. In this case the computer name of my Win7 computer is RplWin702.
And above is the way the backup set is stored, the backup image, catalog, metadata & media id - all Nice a Neat....

Now with the recovery/repair disk(cd/usbstick) in hand, one just boots the backed up box with the repair media and runs the imagerecovery utilities to restore the backed up image - even to a new/larger/ replacement disk on the original computer.
And the real nice thing, when the original computer Created the repair disk it put all the drivers on the repair disk that it knew it would need to recover itself!
Now That's a Real Smart Solution!

All Windows since Win7 know how to restore their whole system drive image!
It works Great - and has saved ma bacon a few times.
Yep, it's All There(no additional software needed) and a Total Solution...
 
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Yep, it's All There(no additional software needed) and a Total Solution.
i don't believe there is an option for specific files or folders to be restored though, is there?
this is what always totally blew the option for me as in many instances i would only need to restore very specific data, not the entire system image.

there are many better options out there vs this built-in option.
 

Kabobb

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i don't believe there is an option for specific files or folders to be restored though, is there?
Well, Yes...

Without Restoring an Image, within the control panel AND in the properties of any folder/File on the system drive there's Lottsa ways...
As I'm currently buildin a new Win11 box,, and the 1st thing that needs to be established on a new, mission critical box, is Reliable Backup & Recovery, that's why i can easily Snip the process( plus i can keep em for my own documentation). That' my job this week, too Workout this new box before puttin it to RealWork!
The new Win11 box and syssoftware is goin pretty well, its up an runnin and capable of being managed remotely.
But Win11 DOES have its idiosyncrasies....
However, one good thing bout it is: the GoodOle Win7 Backup/Restore is still There!
And is Quite a Good Total Solution...
One's only limited by their own Imagination, os so Ms says.
 

Kabobb

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I much prefer Macrium Reflect.
To each his own.

Well give us some Snips, Show us what ya Got...
With All respect to a moderator, but a pics worth a thousand words!
 

USAFRet

Titan
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I much prefer Macrium Reflect.
To each his own.

Well give us some Snips, Show us what ya Got...
Withe All respect to a moderator, but a pics worth a thousand words!
 

USAFRet

Titan
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Basically, a Full Image, followed by a rolling series of Incremental or Differential. Depending on the system.
Or, in a low usage system (HTPC), just a series of Full.

In Macrium, you can mount an Image as a drive letter, and extract a single file if desired.

And yes, I have had to recover a full drive image.
Dead SSD, 605GB on it.
Click click...all 605GB recovered exactly as it was at 4AM that morning, when it ran its nightly Incremental.
 
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Kabobb

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Macrium - checked it out - costs $$$ - requires a license
(4-Pack includes 4 single PC licenses)
Supports Windows 11 back to XP
MBR and GPT disk support
12 months Essentials Support.
(Yet another PieceaPurchasedSoftware to maintain)

Vs
Ms WinOutaTheBox included...And Works Reliably!
Oh Yea - I like PureVanillaOutaTheBox AsPossibe...
It's Total Solution (when it's not Buggie)

Later, back to the new Win11 build...
 

Kabobb

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Windows Backup/Recovery - Creating a Repair Disk - Is Buggie!!!
Each version(7,10,11) has it own buggs. Here's the qu1ck skinny......

In all versions(Win7,10,11), via ControlPanel: Backup/Restore - creating a Repair Disk, doesn't support making a USB Drive. It only knows writin to a CD/DVD (that'sOutaTheBox)...
Note: that's a Repair Disk.

So, keeping it Simple, just use a CD/DVD, it works and most Win7 boxes have a cd...
But a Usb can be made converting the CD/DVD to USB manually or with aftermarket.

Now in All Win10,11 there's another path - a Recovery Drive!(note: Recovery Drive)
Click the Taskbar Search, and type in "Recovery" only...

And Recovery Drive and Recovery options will popup!
Click Recovery Drive!- And There it is! This Will will make a bootable USD Drive that Works!.
Note the highlighted checkbox, Backup Sys Files opt[default checked]. It's not necessary if one only needs to Restore a SysImage, unchecking allows one to make a very small bootable UsbStick on a smallstick that will have the SysImageRestore on it - that Works!

*** Note: remember "Revcovery Drive"! Don't click any other than "Recovery Drive" as there are many other pathe to go by - and can be MisLeading! - KISS! works.
*** Also, MBR/Bios and GPT/uEFI is another total CanaWorms...

Another sortta buggieboo is exactly how the get the ImageRestore to work after the recovery/repair media boots up and starts the ImageRestorUtility successfully. Most (secure) attached network devices won't allow one to access them without Authentication(AnotherCanaWorms).
GeneralNetworkAssessability must be in StdWin/SMB systax: "\\ComputerName\ShareName".
Hint: when ask for Userid/Password, (sometimes) it wants Userid to be in the formof: "CompurerName\Userid" (depending? ).
Oh Yea - it ain't a DayAtTheBeach
Sometime ya cant even get there... We have 1 laptop(Win10) that just won't authenticate even after it finds/reads the network share successfully(It Happens).
When AllElse fails, in that case: Plugin a portable usb3 device(likea WDPassport) into the network device that contains the BackupSet and copy it to the Pasport - then physicly take the portable to the computer being restored and plug it in - that'll Work.(awkward But Works).

That's the skinny - there Are Bumps along the Way..
A Total Solution - Yes - but expect some Buggies, better test it Well before relyin on it ..
Titan is RightOn - one's DigitalExistance is only as good as the last (Reliable) Backup.
Good luck, It works for me.
 
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