Question About Restoring From An Image

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Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by blues on 12/7/2011, 01:28

Hey guys...thanks to you all I've been trying to learn more about creating images for my XP Pro SP3 setup but I have a couple of questions.

Currently I've downloaded and installed "Drive Snapshot" and "Macrium Reflect Free".

(I've only created one set of images thus far on DS...haven't yet used Macrium.)

Here's what I wanted to ask...Can the backed up image (from an external hard drive) be installed while one is within Windows? (I only have a C: drive, no other partitions on the HD.)

The reason I ask is that like ssj, I want to avoid having to make a rescue disk and would rather just do a quick reinstall of Windows from my OEM software and then restore the image.

I had read on one or another forum that with Macrium you couldn't restore the image from within Windows. Is this the case?

DS website says that you can "unmount" a Windows drive during the recovery operation and then proceed with the restoration.
(But I don't know if you can unmount C: if it's your only drive or if DS will automatically continue the process in such an instance.)

Thanks in advance for any assistance and please forgive my ignorance as regards this topic.
Imaging is new to me and I haven't totally wrapped my head around it at this juncture.


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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by ssj100 on 12/7/2011, 09:49

Not sure about Macrium Reflect, but you can restore an image from within Windows with Drive SnapShot - I've done this many times with no issues. Very simple to do too.

EDIT: I think I understand your confusion, therefore I will modify my answer. Yes, you can restore an image while running a Windows session, but the actual image has to be on a separate drive - I store my images on a separate external hard-drive. While running a Windows session, I can restore this image (which is on the external hard-drive) using Drive SnapShot - it's very simple and just requires a reboot and a bit of waiting time. Drive SnapShot automates all this to some extent - just follow the instructions.

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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by blues on 12/7/2011, 10:13

Good to hear and my everlasting thanks.

So then if I understand you correctly, this caution on the DS website doesn't apply to restoring an image of C: from an external hard drive:

"Unfortunately, there is another obstacle - if this drive is currently in use by another program.

It's not possible to restore a system drive while it's in use, you have to restore it from DOS. This is similar to tools like FORMAT or CHKDSK /F.

Other drives can be restored from windows, as long as they aren't currently in use.

If you see the dialog above, some other program is currently accessing it; please click Show Processes and Handles, to list these programs. (above, it's the explorer and the command line window).

For Windows NT you have to manually stop these programs, or change to a different drive.

For Windows2000 and XP, you have the option to unmount the drive; all opened handles to this drive are invalid then.

Click Unmount Drive and Continue to continue in this case."


So in the instance we are talking about, the "drive in use by Windows" would be that of the external hard drive (thus permitting the operation to continue)?

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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by ssj100 on 12/7/2011, 10:57

I think what they're talking about is in the case of a separate eg. internal drive (that contains your image) that is currently being accessed by your primary drive (eg. C:\). Another example would be if some external media that your image is stored on is being accessed by your primary drive. What I mean by "accessed" is for eg. some process on your primary drive is using some file on the external media. This is akin to trying to "safely remove" an external USB device when you haven't closed down all the files/folders that are open from the device.

However, you shouldn't have any problems from the above with an external hard-drive that is used purely for data storage.

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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by blues on 12/7/2011, 18:58

Okay...I'm feeling a little more comfortable about this...thanks.

Let me ask you this from a procedural point of view then as it will go a long way to helping me with the nuts and bolts of the process:

First, you have your backup images stored on the external USB hard drive.

If necessary, you have used your OEM Windows XP recovery CD's to get Windows loaded back up on your machine.

If you have just reloaded Windows do you now have to reinstall and run the Drive Snapshot executable from Windows (C:) or can you just run the (saved) Drive Snapshot executable from the external USB hard drive and direct DS to the saved files with which to overwrite C:?


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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by ssj100 on 13/7/2011, 00:13

blues wrote:If you have just reloaded Windows do you now have to reinstall and run the Drive Snapshot executable from Windows (C:) or can you just run the (saved) Drive Snapshot executable from the external USB hard drive and direct DS to the saved files with which to overwrite C:?
I just run the Drive SnapShot executable from Windows and instruct it to restore the image file from the external hard-drive (therefore over-writing C:\). This process shouldn't take much longer than 15-30 minutes and only requires a reboot which Drive SnapShot will automate.

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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by blues on 13/7/2011, 00:20

Thanks again. I really appreciate the info and your patience. Cool

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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by blues on 30/8/2011, 18:12

Yesterday I finally tested the ability to restore an image with Drive Snapshot.

It worked great but I do have a question for anyone familiar with the program.

The restored image (about 28 gigs) took about 25 minutes to create and store on an external USB hard drive.

When I went to restore the image yesterday it took about 4 1/2 hours to complete the process.

Everything was restored successfully but can anyone tell me if there is a simple way to make the process of restoration quicker?
(I didn't change any default settings in requesting the restoration. Simply requested that the image on G: write to my C: drive.)

I run Win XP Pro SP3.

Thanks in advance and for letting us know about this product.

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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by Guest on 31/8/2011, 00:11

I don't know if this pertains to your problems but might be of interest anyway


I use Acronis migrate easy to clone my desktop sata drive to an external desktop sata drive using the rear external esata connector and a sata to esata cable but I power the external drive with an adapter

Esata connector is not usually for large drives that require power just for laptop type drives (as I understand it)

eSATA reaches transfer rates of at least triple those of USB 2.0 and FireWire 400

If you do not have an esata port on your pc you can buy a a peripheral component interconnect (PCI) card which can be installed in an available PCI slot that will provide an eSATA interface.

I believe that esatap connectors do not require the power adapter.

Sorry if I'm off track Smile

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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by ssj100 on 31/8/2011, 00:14

blues wrote:When I went to restore the image yesterday it took about 4 1/2 hours to complete the process.
I'm not sure why it would take so long. On my system (nearly 5 year old hardware), a 25Gb image would take about 15-20 minutes to create and about 20-30 minutes to restore.

How big is your computer hard-drive?

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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by blues on 31/8/2011, 00:31

ssj100 wrote:
blues wrote:When I went to restore the image yesterday it took about 4 1/2 hours to complete the process.
I'm not sure why it would take so long. On my system (nearly 5 year old hardware), a 25Gb image would take about 15-20 minutes to create and about 20-30 minutes to restore.

How big is your computer hard-drive?

250 Gig HD. So it's only about 10% full.

I have no reference since I've never restored an image before. The only thing I might surmise (and perhaps incorrectly) is that the process was slowed down by the issues which caused me to install the image in the first place. But that's just a wild ass guess.

It was a major lack of performance and responsiveness that caused me to go down this road (following an ill advised "upgrade" installation of an on demand AV currently still in beta).

Regardless of whether I get this sorted (speedwise) I'm fully content with the end result.

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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by ssj100 on 31/8/2011, 14:07

blues wrote:250 Gig HD. So it's only about 10% full.
Quite strange - I have a 320 Gig HD and usually it's about 20% full. I've done successful restores about three times in the last couple of years (not malware related) and it definitely took under an hour each time (probably around 30 minutes or even less).

So unless your hardware is worse off than mine, I couldn't explain why it took over 4 hours to restore your image. Just to compare, my hardware is as follows (from memory - not at my usual computer right now sorry):
Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 (it was an "above average" CPU five years ago)
2Gb RAM
320 Gig HD, nothing special, just a standard HD.

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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by blues on 31/8/2011, 18:16

My setup:

Intel Duo T2300 @ 1.66 GHz
2 Gb RAM
250 Gb HD

System is 3 to 4 years old.


Here's a reply I just received from support at Drive Snapshot:

"Usually the restore doesn't take such a long time. It's limited by the
speed at which snapshot can read the image. I assume that your
motherboards USB-Controller works in USB 1.1 mode rather than in USB
2.0 mode at this stage. Maybe you can change the BIOS setting or you
can update the USB driver to get the full USB 2.0 speed."


Naturally, I know nothing about changing BIOS settings so I'd probably be reluctant to start messing around with things that might come back to bite me later on. (For how often I intend to install an "image" I'd hate to screw up something vital.)

Since the image was created quickly to begin with it certainly seems like my USB has been running optimally up until now.

Any thoughts appreciated.

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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by blues on 5/10/2011, 19:41

Bringing this one back up for another hypothetical question.

If one only has a single partition (C:) which contains everything from the operating system to the various apps, is there a way to use an image to restore:

1. Just the operating system

2. Just the operating system and certain selected files or apps

3. Just certain files or apps

Just curious for eventualities which may present themselves down the road.

Thanks in advance.

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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by ssj100 on 5/10/2011, 23:29

Not sure if I understand your question very well, considering what has already been discussed...

Anyway, I only have a single partition on my computer and I have restored just the operating system fine - this would just involve the usual restore process of a "Baseline" image.

Created images can also be explored like a normal folder. This means any file that is inside a Drive SnapShot image can theoretically be restored individually by exploring the image and copying the required file on to the actual drive/partition.

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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by blues on 6/10/2011, 00:33

Thanks...as I've only done one "restore" thus far, and it was the entire contents of the hard drive (not the unused sectors), I wasn't sure if one could pick and choose what to restore.

Would it be a simple thing for you to briefly explain what is involved in just restoring the OS versus the contents of the entire drive?

(I suppose what I'm thinking about is the eventuality where you might have to restore to a different computer which might have different software for modem, wireless and other peripherals so those portions of the image may no longer be relevant on the new system...but wanting to retain the OS (XP Pro SP3 for example) and maybe later on some additional files or folders.)

Appreciate the info.

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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by ssj100 on 6/10/2011, 12:09

My mistake - I knew I was missing something from what you were asking.

As far as I know, there isn't a way to just restore the OS. For me, I always keep a "Baseline" image which contains Windows and its bare essentials (including relevant drivers).

I think for (completely) new hardware, it's probably best to start from scratch.

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Re: Question About Restoring From An Image

Post by blues on 7/10/2011, 01:30

Thanks, I appreciate the reply and the info.

I feared that might be the case...glad I asked.

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