• Welcome to Overclockers Forums! Join us to reply in threads, receive reduced ads, and to customize your site experience!

Imaging Drives

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
I have been searching for a decent (and free) tool to use for drive imaging. Ive found a few and know what some of the recommendations may be, but I have settled in to try Easus Todo (IIRC). The software says it will do what I want (network backups as well as incrimental backups) so Im on my journey with it. So far so good. Ive backed up over the network successfully and havent tried the incrimental feature yet, but have had good luck with Easus and think it might be a good choice.

The reason for this thread however is a little to the left of all that information though. I read a post from a member here about their drive imaging practices and liked what I had read, but have come across some stumbling blocks. Basically what I read was that this person used a dual boot configuration and could boot to one version of the OS while re-imaging the other OS partition. Im having a bit of trouble with doing this. Here's where I get hung up: Ive moved all my user files from the SSD that my OS is on (to save space as it is a small SSD). This puts the main OS on C: drive while all the user files (user profiles, Documents, music, video and so forth) are on D: drive. Can I set the secondary OS to use the same User files on D: ? Also, it may just take some tinkering with the Easus settings, but Im having a bit of trouble getting the user files to be bundled into the backup. Im confident that with time and tinkering I can solve the second issue, but any pointers with drive imaging are appreciated.

And lastly, just how would I boot into one version of the OS and have the re-imaging process run at the same time (on the non active OS)? Did I misread -- is that possible? Thanks in advance :)
 
OP
knoober

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Thanks. Ive seen macrium mentioned before and definately considered it an option , but I liked the other products Easus has given me so I went that direction. So far it hasnt let me down :) The issue is more that I just am not certain of how to run dualboot correctly in a situation like this. Ive set up a dual boot with Linux and Windows before and had a shared storage drive, but Ive never tried to use two versions of windows before (same OS BTW) and share the user folders between them. I guess I could always just try it out (and will get there eventually) but I thought Id drop in here and see if there were any wise words to be heard
 

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
What user on here was talking about all that?
I can't imagine using my computer in any other way.

Although each operating system needs its own partition for its own Windows folder you can move your Windows User Shell folders [Desktop, Start Menu, etc.] anywhere you want.
One of the oldest, most reliable, most user friendly drive imaging software is this, but it is not free:
http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/image-for-windows.htm

It really helps if one of your multi boot OS is Windows XP because it is not dependent on BCD so imaging from Windows XP is easiest.
You need to move your Windows User Shell Folders while you are inside the OS so it knows their location has now been changed.

If you ask specific questions, I can (try to) help you accomplish your goal.
 
OP
knoober

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
What user on here was talking about all that?
Just so we are definately on the same page --- it was you :) While Ive been using imaging for a while (to be honest I will usually just reinstall rather than image because I havent gotten too many things the way I want yet, but now I want to image) Ive never considered to use imaging in such a way and really consider it to be very usefull. Thank you for the tip

Although each operating system needs its own partition for its own Windows folder you can move your Windows User Shell folders [Desktop, Start Menu, etc.] anywhere you want.
One of the oldest, most reliable, most user friendly drive imaging software is this, but it is not free:
http://www.terabyteunlimited.com/image-for-windows.htm

It really helps if one of your multi boot OS is Windows XP because it is not dependent on BCD so imaging from Windows XP is easiest.
You need to move your Windows User Shell Folders while you are inside the OS so it knows their location has now been changed.

If you ask specific questions, I can (try to) help you accomplish your goal.

This answers m biggest question about the user shell folders. I didnt know if it would work to simply change the location of those folders inside the fresh OS to folders that already exist. I also work painfully slow, so I am days away from checking to see if such a thing would work. Thank you for saving me the time.

I plan to run dual boot Windows7 Pro with Windows7 Pro. I will call them Win1 and Win2 for clarity. Win1 already exists on an SSD and has been in use for some time. The user shell folders for Win1 are on a mechanical drive D:\ . I have created Win2 on a seperate partition on the mechanical drive. I am currently setting Win2 to be my "master image" and when it is done will replace Win1 with this "master image" and continue to revert back to it when needed. I plan to back up the user shell folders incrementally as needed.

Since we have clarified that I can set the user folders for Win2 to be the same as Win1, that part is solved. Now the question is this. When I boot to Win2, is the method for placing my master image onto the Win1 partition going to require any special acrobatics? Meaning is this common enough that many/all imaging utilities will know what I want and be able to accomplish this, or is there a special skill/knowledge set required? I understand that my questions arent super specific and may depend on the program used, Im really just trying to figure out what Im up against before I get there. Thanks again
 

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
As long as I understand what you are asking, I can definitely help you, although I've never done the same OS twice.

I have noticed that I cannot image Windows 7/8/10 between them. But I can image anything I want from Windows XP. I always suspected it's because they all use BCD, and never looked into this further because I would simply just reboot into Windows XP and do all my imaging of other OS from there. You may need to image from USB/CD if you cannot have Windows XP as one of your OS in your multi boot.

Or... this may work using different imaging software and figuring out what makes me not be able to image Windows 7/8/10 between them.

EDIT: I will now reboot into my Windows Vista which is on my mechanical drive and try imaging Windows 8 which is on my SSD from there. Hang on.
 
OP
knoober

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Thanks and take your time. Some things I just tend to move incredibly slow on and this little project feels like it will drag out. Not for the difficulty of the task, but because of a short attention span on my part. I look forward to your reply
 

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
As long as you ask specific questions - you will get a specific answer, guaranteed.
I left it running while I grab dinner. It appeared o be working and it is an exact replica of your situation.
 

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
The test was successful, I attribute any problems with other setups I had with certain programs running in the background and a configuration that is different from what you are trying to do.

So yes you can do Win1 on SSD and Win2 on Mechanical.
Choose which User Shell folders you want to move and keep them on a different partition than where Win1 and Win2 are. Image files would be stored on a different partition from Win1 & Win2 of course. So You want to setup Win1 and then you will need to use USB/CD to make the first image.

So image your Win1 and then use that image to restore it where Win2 would be.
Now use EasyBCD to setup the dual boot.
https://neosmart.net/EasyBCD/
[Scroll Down and use any Name & Email to Download]

Set things up for use as dual boot using EasyBCD, ask if you can't.

EasyBCD.png


Do not set Bootloader timeout to 0, set it to at least 2 seconds, otherwise you won't be able to change OS at bootup by repeatedly pressing keyboard arrows to pause at the bootup OS screen selection so you can make a choice if needed at bootup.


Simply CHECKING default Operating System - saves default OS. There is no need to click on Save Settings to change default OS. Download Page: http://neosmart.net/download.php?id=1 [Scroll Down and use any Name & Email to Download]

Tools > Options >
CHECK: Expert mode
CHECK: Remember the BCD Backup directory upon exit
UNCHECK: Everything else

Display Options TAB:
Default TAB at start up: Edit Boot Menu
CHECK: Everything else
 
OP
knoober

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Ive been working on this off and on with a few other similar skill-level projects and have gotten ahead enough to come back and report for posterity :)

I am still getting my "master image" set to just the correct way. Windows updates killed the first iteration by downloading all at once. After that I had a broken install. Back to the drawing board and making sure that Windows doesnt do that again! But, as I said, I have nearly reached the end of making this "master image" and thought I would share some insights I gained along the way, just in case this post happens to pop up in a search or something.

The Good:
-We know that I can move my master image from mechanical drive to SSD thanks to c627627

-AHCI drivers are still working with the "master image" on the mechanical drive. There was no need to re-enable or anything. It was just something I wondered about and checked.... ahci does not get broken

-you DO have to reinstall all your programs and move all of the user shell directories again. However these things CAN share the same location as the programs/directores/files from another install with no issues. This was already established, but it was still nice to see it working/in action.

The Bads:

-for some reason I couldnt add the new install to homegroup. The machine complained of a clock sync problem but there was none. The fix was to dissolve the old homegroup from the origional install and then create a new one from the "master image" -- that's the way it should be anyway right?

-sorting through all the various junk Ive collected but dont want to move over to the new install. For instance I want to bring MSI Afterburner over but various diskcheck utilities will be discarded because I have found ones that I like better.

It seems to me that there were other stumbles along the way and I will come back and edit this post if/when I remember what they are. Thanks for the help guys!
 
OP
knoober

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Ive hit a snag. When I finally got the master OS set up and imaged I was pleased. Then I tried to restore from the image and found it to be unviable (*incomplete image* is the error - even though the image verification shows a complete image). I decided instead to clone the OS that I had reworked onto my SSD.

On the first boot I had to boot from the install disk and use the startup repair like in this post. Kind of handy that it is using the same utility and went through the same process. The difference being that the OP in that post seemed to move his to a different machine. I did not. After following these step I could boot, but noticed that I was still botting to the installation contained on the mechanical drive.

This is when I tried Easy BCD. There were 2 entries available and bother were named "Windows 7 (recovered). I renamed one to simple "Windows 7" and left everything as it was. Reboot > still booted to the mechanical drive.

Reboot > Easy BCD > set "Windows 7" to the SSD drive letter in BCD = still on the mechanical drive

Installation Disc > Repair > Diskpart > Remove letter *all volumes but SSD* > Assign Letter C *SSD* = Windows loads in an odd way. I am told that my desktop is being prepared, but that none of my changes will be saved after exit. I have to start explorer manually fromt he task manager to even see anything but a plain teal colored desktop.

I have also turned off the mechanical drive in the BIOS and tried to repair the install contained on the SSD, but that was no good either.

In the meantime I have can use the installation on the mechanical drive, but I would still like to move back onto my SSD. Thanks in advance
 

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
You need to manually delete all then manually select the locations of the two OS in the EasyBCD boot menu as a starting point in resolving this problem.


EasyBCD12.png
 
Last edited:
OP
knoober

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
You need to manually delete all then manually select the locations of the two OS in the EasyBCD boot menu as a starting point in resolving this problem.

I have deleted the entried as re-added. I am still booting to the mechanical drive. My educated guess is that because I used the included cloning utility that Windows will only recognize the OS on the mechanical drive location (the only drive with letter C:\)
 
Last edited:

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
All right, that was just a starting point. The drive letters are not the same in every OS. I go out of my way to reduce confusion and so I have only one Windows version on C drive and I know how to install other versions of Windows to other drive letters, so for example when I reboot into Windows XP, it actually shows up as installed on D drive and when I reboot into Vista, it actually shows up as installed on V drive, etc. So the drive letters are uniform on every OS on my rig because of that.

I can definitely help you but I'm going to have to ask you a series of questions, and forgive me if you already posted answers above.

1. What was the imaging program used?
2. What was the startup media?
3. Where did you store the image?
4. Did you boot from USB/CD and restored the image to another drive/partition?
 
OP
knoober

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
I can definitely help you but I'm going to have to ask you a series of questions, and forgive me if you already posted answers above.

1. What was the imaging program used?
Easus Todo Backup
2. What was the startup media?
Windows 7 Professional DVD
3. Where did you store the image?
Not sure if this is a full enough answer... Backup location is on NAS
4. Did you boot from USB/CD and restored the image to another drive/partition?

No. I tried to restore from the fully funtioning "master image" to the SSD partition.
 

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
Hm... Drive image software usually has their own startup media, Windows OS DVD is used for installing/repairing Windows, unless Easus Todo Backup does things differently from every other imaging program I ever tested?

The location question clarified is this: Which physical drive and which partition on that drive is the original OS on?
Which physical drive and which partition on that drive are the drive image files on?


Finally, where are the hidden BCD files, (which control Windows Vista/7/8/10 bootup process)?
They are sometimes on their own hidden partition, sometimes on the initial Windows drive partition.
If you image over them, this would cause a bootup problem and necessitate a repair.


So, from the beginning:
1. Know where the hidden BCD files are, on which partition.
2. Setup the initial Windows OS.
3. Must boot from drive image software bootup CD or USB and run drive image software from bootup CD or USB.
4. Save image on a completely different drive/partition.
5. Restore the saved image to a third partition.
6. Boot into the original Windows.
7. Delete and add new entries, according to where the original windows drive letter is and where the newly imaged drive letter is.
 
OP
knoober

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
Hm... Drive image software usually has their own startup media, Windows OS DVD is used for installing/repairing Windows, unless Easus Todo Backup does things differently from every other imaging program I ever tested?

I had just been using the GUI to attempt restoration from within the OS. I was prompted that this couldnt be done from within the current OS and it would be done on reboot. I had thought this was a "good enough" option, but as I did through the settings there is an option to make a bootable CD/USB . I am currently investigating if this will solve my problem, but it seems that the network is not accessible using this bootable media. I am looking for a way to add the necessary drivers
The location question clarified is this: Which physical drive and which partition on that drive is the original OS on?
Which physical drive and which partition on that drive are the drive image files on?
Original OS is mechanical drive (Disk 1 in Diskpart and partition letter is C... it is not the first partition on the drive however) The image is stored over the network on NAS, but I also have an "backup" image on D:\ of the same drive. This image is also unusable

Finally, where are the hidden BCD files, (which control Windows Vista/7/8/10 bootup process)?
They are sometimes on their own hidden partition, sometimes on the initial Windows drive partition.
If you image over them, this would cause a bootup problem and necessitate a repair.
These files will be on D:\ which is a separate partition on the same drive. I hope this is an appropriate configuration

So, from the beginning:
1. Know where the hidden BCD files are, on which partition.
2. Setup the initial Windows OS.
3. Must boot from drive image software bootup CD or USB and run drive image software from bootup CD or USB.
4. Save image on a completely different drive/partition.
5. Restore the saved image to a third partition.
6. Boot into the original Windows.
7. Delete and add new entries, according to where the original windows drive letter is and where the newly imaged drive letter is.

I am working my way through these steps. As of now I have made bootable media and need to figure out a way to add ethernet drivers. I havent had a chance to test my "backup" image that I referenced above with the bootable media either. I will report back if this makes a difference.
 

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
Everything you want to do, can be done.
However, if you want to simplify things and remove potential sources of problems:

1. Absolutely boot from USB or CD and do the initial drive image from bootable media.
2. From bootbale media, make image files of original windows OS partition and save the image files *directly to another partition*, or better yet a different physical hard drive on the system without using network, so there's no need for network drivers, and you'll avoid additional potential headaches that come with not saving image files directly to another partition or drive on the same computer - they should be on the same computer, they can always be transferred later.
3. Next restore the saved image files in the same way, using bootable media.

To reduce potential confusion, I only have one instance of a single version of Windows, so I multi boot between various versions of Windows, I've never actually had two versions of Windows 8 (or whatever)... but it should work just the same...
 
Last edited:
OP
knoober

knoober

Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2015
2 steps forward and 3 steps back....

Here is where I am now: After placing the image on the same computer and creating a bootable disk I can use the images I made. Woohoo! :)
I have deleted the entrieds from Easy BCD and re-added new ones with the appropriate drives, but am still booting to the mechanical disk - even when Easy BCD instructs to use the drive letter associated with the SSD.

I removed the letter from the mechanical drive to try forcing away from that partition and now when I boot I get : "Preparing Desktop" and the blank wallpaper . So as I said, I still think the restored image wants to use the UUID (is it UUID in windows or is that only Linux?) from the mechanical drive. 2 steps forward = success with the bootable cd and image. 3 steps back = not being able to boot to a complete system since removing the drive letter from the mech drive.
 

c627627

c(n*199780) Senior Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
So you restored the image files to SSD from bootable media.
You then selected the SSD Windows as default in EasyBCD.
If this is the case, then the only way I can help you is if we start completely from scratch.

Do you have another partition on the Mechanical Drive that is a storage partition? In other words, not a Windows partition, on mechanical drive.