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Complete Backup/Restore Solution

Home Forums General Windows discussion Complete Backup/Restore Solution

This topic contains 11 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  mattb 8 years, 3 months ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 1 through 12 (of 12 total)
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  • #7691

    MikeyChris
    Participant

    Hi,
    I am trying to figure out the best strategy for backing up my new system. I have a Lenovo ThinkCentre M70e Tower running Win 7 Pro 64 bit. I have an external USB 2TB hard drive I bought primarily for backups. The computer did NOT come with a Windows installation DVD, just a hidden restore partition on the hard drive. The folks I bought it from kindly made me a set of recovery DVD’s from that Restore Partition.

    So if the hard drive fails, my only course is to restore the computer/new HD from the DVDs. Of course, any programs and data I have added will not be included. I am looking for a Backup/Restore program that will back up everything (including Windows, INI files, Registry, Programs, Data, etc.) so that at worst case, I will have to restore in two steps -one, to restore from the original recovery DVDs to get back to factory as-delivered state, and two, to restore everything else.

    I have found that most backup programs are meant for DATA, not the O/S and programs. Even Windows own Backup program skips vital files during the backup. Now Win 7 Backup/Restore does allow you to make a system image, I do not know how to actually restore from this image, nor if it actually includes all the files on the disk. Also, the computer refuses to boot from the REPAIR DISK made on this machine! When I reboot, it just blows by the CD/DVD (even though that drive is set as the primary boot device in BIOS) and goes to the HD.

    Do I need to get a program that writes an ISO file? If so, how do I actually restore that to a new hard drive? If there is no program on the new hard drive (since it is unformatted) how can I restore the ISO?

    Any help is appreciated.

    #7874

    mattb
    Participant

    Windows 7 backup can create and restore system images from an external hard drive, but in order to do that you are going to need a bootable rescue DVD or some kind of bootable media.

    I think we need to figure why your laptop won’t boot from DVD. Have you tried looking for a boot menu option, some computers will flash a message up briefly telling you which key to press in order to select your boot device. Press that and a sub menu will appear allowing you to override the BIOS setting and boot from any device.

    #7875

    MikeyChris
    Participant

    @mattb wrote:

    Windows 7 backup can create and restore system images from an external hard drive, but in order to do that you are going to need a bootable rescue DVD or some kind of bootable media.

    I have the bootable recovery DVD (actually a set of 3 DVDs that will return the computer to its “as-delivered” state).
    @mattb wrote:

    I think we need to figure why your laptop won’t boot from DVD.

    Actually it’s a desktop (tower) and I found out what the boot issues was. It turns out that if my external USB HD is plugged in (to a USB connection) the computer won’t boot to CD/DVD. I have NO idea why, but when I took the system into the dealer for repair, they had no problem, it booted directly to the recovery DVD. So when I got home, I hooked everything up EXCEPT the external USB drive, and it booted to the recovery DVD (that came with the computer). When I plugged in the USB drive, it would no longer boot to CD/DVD. No idea why this is becuase the USB drive is not even enabled as a boot source in BIOS. I have all three of the Boot sequence settings in BIOS set to CD/DVD drive as primary and HD as secondary, and under HD’s, I disabled the USB drive. in any case, that is not still an issue. I can boot from the recovery DVDs to get the machine back to “as-delivered” condition if I have to replace the HD.

    @mattb wrote:

    Have you tried looking for a boot menu option, some computers will flash a message up briefly telling you which key to press in order to select your boot device. Press that and a sub menu will appear allowing you to override the BIOS setting and boot from any device.

    Yes, I have been through the BIOS at least 10 times looking for some reason for this behavior. I also searched on-line, an found one isolated case that the hidden restore partion on the hard drive can cause weird boot problems like this. I don’t know if that is my case or not, but since I can boot to the recovery DVD set, my next question is “Is there a backup program available that will allow me to back up my entire drive (including the O/S and programs) so I can restore everything once I have used the recovery DVDs to get to the as-delivered state? Since I don’t have a windows DVD (one of my pet peeves about current day computers – back in the day you got the O/S disk with the computer) I can’t do a clean install of Windows, but can I generate an ISO file somehow and burn that to a DVD? How would I recover using that?

    You mentioned “Windows 7 backup can create and restore system images from an external hard drive, but in order to do that you are going to need a bootable rescue DVD or some kind of bootable media.” If I can recover to as-delivered state, can I use this Win 7 system image then?

    Thanx for all the help and ideas.

    #7876

    mattb
    Participant

    Correct, Windows 7 backup lets you backup not only files and folders but an entire system image, meaning you could create a system image on an external hard drive, swap out your existing internal hard drive for a blank one, boot from a Windows backup rescue CD, connect your external drive and then restore your computer.

    Our Windows 7 backup tutorials walk you through the process, have a look here:-

    https://www.top-windows-tutorials.com/windows-7-backup.html

    Hope that helps!

    #7877

    MikeyChris
    Participant

    @mattb wrote:

    Correct, Windows 7 backup lets you backup not only files and folders but an entire system image, meaning you could create a system image on an external hard drive, swap out your existing internal hard drive for a blank one, boot from a Windows backup rescue CD, connect your external drive and then restore your computer. Our Windows 7 backup tutorials walk you through the process, have a look here:-

    https://www.top-windows-tutorials.com/windows-7-backup.html Hope that helps!

    Matt,

    Unless I missed something, this tutorial only shows how to retore if you can boot into Windows. I am interested in exactly how to recover from a hard disk failure. So, if I have made a system repair disk (DVD), and a series of backups and system image (stored on an external USB drive that is not bootable), how would I restore the system after installing the new hard drive?

    The last time I actually had to do this was quite a while ago, and I believe I was running Win98 – so I ran FDisk, then formatted, then installed the O/S, then installed programs, etc.

    I read the tutorial on booting to an elevated command prompt and using DISKPART to view the partitions (if there are any), but I’m still confused as to how I use the system image to restore to a new hard disk.

    You also mention “boot from a Windows backup rescue CD”. Is this a CD you can make using an installed Win 7 Pro x64 system, or do I need a Win 7 DVD to do this? If I do, I am out of lick because all I have is the restore DVDs that came with the system.
    Thanx.

    #7878

    mattb
    Participant

    Hi again

    Use the “Create a System Repair Disc” option to make a boot CD any time from within Windows 7, this CD will boot and allow you to restore the system image that you saved earlier to your USB hard drive. No Windows installation is necessary at this point since all the software for recovering the images is on the boot CD.

    #7879

    MikeyChris
    Participant

    @mattb wrote:

    Use the “Create a System Repair Disc” option to make a boot CD any time from within Windows 7,

    OK, that’s what I thought, and I can’t seem to get my computer to boot from the SYSTEM REPAIR DISK. You may recall, I had an issue trying to boot to the Recovery DVDs that came with the system. I fixed that by disconnecting the external USB HD (no idea why that fixed it). But then I tried booting to the SYSTEM REPAIR DISK I made (using Windows) and the system would not boot to it. So there is something weird with this computer and the BIOS or something. I have had no response from Lenovo (the manufacturer of teh computer) on this so I guess I will try them again.

    Thanx.

    #7880

    mattb
    Participant

    Very odd indeed, as I mentioned before, try and look for a “boot menu key” this is distinct from the key you press to enter the BIOS and it will bring up a menu that lets you select the boot device.

    #7881

    MikeyChris
    Participant

    @mattb wrote:

    Very odd indeed, as I mentioned before, try and look for a “boot menu key” this is distinct from the key you press to enter the BIOS and it will bring up a menu that lets you select the boot device.

    Yes, I can bring up that menu, but unless I disconnect the USB drive, windows still boots to the HD. And even with the USB drive disconnected, it won’t boot to the repair disk (but it will boot to the recovery DVD). I just discovered another weird issue which I will put in another post. Windows DEFENDER says it is out of date, but the update button is grayed out.

    #7882

    mattb
    Participant

    I really have never seen that before, can you test your repair CD in a friends PC? Maybe the CD/DVD burner isn’t working correctly? Really strugging to explain it now… Perhaps there is a BIOS update for your laptop?

    #7883

    Sked
    Participant

    How do you test a repair CD without installing it? Sorry if that’s a stupid question, I just can’t really imagine how you do that.

    #7884

    mattb
    Participant

    Not sure what you mean Sked. You can test that the CD boots without actually making any changes to your PC.

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