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Moving on from XP to Win7 – Disk imaging


Batch

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I’ve been an ardent WinXP user for many years, but have succumbed to an Acer Win7 (Home Premium 64 bit) laptop offer.

This is the first of a series of questions I shall post (I shall aim to keep each posting to one topic).

I have been using Acronis True Image 8 (ATI8) for many years and swear by it.

The new lappie inevitably will be without a Win7 CD, so my first port of call will be to create a back-up image of the system partition before doing anything else (I already have bootable ATI8 CDs and pen drives). By “before doing anything else” I mean the very first thing to do will be to boot in to the BIOS, then boot from CD or pen drive and then create the image on an external HDD.

Although ATI8 is not supported on Win7, I am assuming that as ATI8 supports NTFS (v3.1 as used by XP as well as Vista / 7 / 8) there should not be any issue in what I have proposed above as the OS will not have been part of the process. Question 1 – anyone see an issue with this?

Question 2 – Once I’m up and running in Win7, is there any point in using free 3rd party imaging software (e.g. Paragon / Macrium / EaseUS) or will Win7’s imaging capabilities suffice? All I shall wish to do is full image creation (as a copyable file similar to ATI8's .TIB files) to another partition on the same HDD and/or an external HDD, plus restores from the same (typically using a bootable CD to kick off such restores).

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Batch

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Certainly this is all concentrating the mind!

In relation to lotvic's post at 8:01pm:-

My feeling (at present) is that one should image both the boot and OS partitions. Whether one should always be restoring the boot partition at the same time as the OS partition seems a moot point for now. It seems to me that one would only need to restore the boot partition if it get updated / changed at some point in its life (for example, does Windows Update ever affect anything on there?) or if it gets corrupted.

This begs the question as to what the Win7 Backup facility images (and restores) by default.

Making the OS partition active wouldn't work as it is dependent on the boot partition for booting.

However, I have come across tools / techniques that enable one to merge the boot partition with the OS partition! But at the loss of being able to use the bitlocker functionality (which is not an issue here as Win7 Home Premium does not support bitlocker anyhow).

xox101:-

I am of broadly similar mind about clean installs. Which is why I did what I did on the netbook (as I already had a WinXP OEM disk to hand it was a doddle other the off course boot.ini). Having said that my old lappie (a 7 year old Samsung running XP Pro) doesn't really seem unduly sluggish (e.g. takes about 1 min 20 secs to boot and that still has the original manufacturer's install (albeit with the bloat removed).

Also, even if I download a Win7 ISO I can't be confident that it would work with my product key, so I could end up obliterating my existing install and be stuffed. I'll persevere with the factory supplied set-up initially and if I'm really not happy with it I can try an ISO and if still no go I expect I'll end up buying an OEM DVD.

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sharpamat

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Having just upgraded my desktop to an acer running win 7 I see your questions.

As lovic as advised first made the recovary discs ( available from the start/acer/recovary option and you are not limited to only making one set ) and then remove what you dont want I found loads .

Load what programs you want on the system then run windows update Its after that you can make your own disc image ( I have used win 7 own for a lone time to an external drive ) I you the Files and folder thansfer on a weekly save as well )

Whilst you can obtain a win 7 disc from the link I doubt very much if it will activate useing the COA because the COA you have is an OEM version And if you choose to format during install you may well loose the recovary partion

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lotvic

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sharpamat "win 7 disc from the link I doubt very much if it will activate using the COA because the COA you have is an OEM version"

So for W7, yes it will, but the first time you use the oem sticker key you have to use phone activation as the key has not yet been properly registered to the motherboard (For info for casual readers of this post - no it doesn't work if you try to use it to install to a different pc/laptop MS check the keys the manufacturer has been issued with and for what model pc/laptop)

Note: It would not work with XP. With XP you had to match the install DVD exactly to the version, this altered with W7 and the product key determines the edition the DVD installs.

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Batch

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sharpamat / lotvic - your last two posts discuss another aspect which had already crossed my mind. I was aware of the issues with older OSs (XP, ME, 98....) where the product key needed to match the specific type of CD (e.g. OEM or retail, service pack, Home or Pro). But I had a vague recollection that it is not as stringent now (maybe MS has realised that with "activation" there is less need to have such product key / CD tied-ups).

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lotvic

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Just for info to clarify, AFAIK the W7 edition still need to be the same, ie: Home Premium, Pro, etc. Although the DVD contains all the editions the file named ei.cfg in the sources folder restricts the choice of Windows editions that can be installed with that particular DVD. See my link to Heidoc for further info on that. Also if you don't enter a product key the trial version of the edition specified in ei.cfg is installed by default.

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Simsy

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No... I didn't mean external drives. It was a particular model of Toshiba lappy.... when I did research on the problem I found out I wasn't alone. The issue was never resolved but the general consensus was that it was SATA related.

Regards,

Simsy

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Batch

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Win7 ISO

Well, downloading a win7 ISO from digital river site (as linked to from mydigitallife.info and heidoc.net has not been successful at all. I've tried direct downloads and using a download manager several times and they all crap out for some reason or another. I've even had it where the download purports to complete, but the file on my drive is just not big enough (by a long way), which raises the question whether these downloads can ever be relied upon (even if they do appear to be the right size) - there's no checksum (e.g. MD5) facility to verify the download.

Has anyone successfully downloaded such ISO images from digital river?

As for disk imaging.

ATI8 did not work. Although (booting from the boot cd / USB) it recognises the sata drives on both my desktop and netbook, with this new laptop it was completely unaware of the sata disk (I tried changing the BIOS setting from ACHI to IDE as well). On my desktop (booting from CD) ATI8 actually purports to disable sata mode. In any event, I am now aware that there maybe an issue with ATI8 in respect of OSs from Vista onwards in that the drive geometry used since Vista is different and ATI8 may not be able to cope with this.

I tried Macrium on my old lappie and (booting from CD) it wouldn't recognise the HDD in that, so that put me off that.

Moved on to Paragon Backkup and Recovery. That worked OK on old laptop. Except that booting from CD it assumed that the disk geometry was as per Vista+ and when I restored the small partition I was using as a test it buggered things up. Luckily I'd taken an ATI8 image beforehand and managed to recover from that (along with using Partiton Magic to adjust some bits). I see that Paragon (only when booting from CD) can be set to not assume the later drive geometry. So will need to watch out for that. Anyhow, have used it on new laptop (still from CD, before ever starting Windows) and created images to a spare old HDD.

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