Having a good backup and recovery plan is a must for every systems admin, but every day users can greatly benifit from a little preventive maintenence. I for instance, only use Windows for games; every time a hard drive fails or ‘Windows recovery’ wipes out my MBR I have to start from scratch. So this last week after getting a Direct X, ATI, Windows 7 ‘Blue Screen of Death’ for the third time in three monthes I made the wise decision to replace the disk and install Windows 7 from scratch.
The Windows 7 installation itself goes pretty smooth, but the patches, drivers, direct X and game setup triples the time to reinstall. The easiest thing to do is make a image of fresh install with your favorite default apps and settings. Overall I like Windows 7, but it’s still a ways off from Linux and OSX in terms of price, stability and tools, but the ISO backup is a great built-in feature.
For my setup I’m using a LG 12x burner and 22.5 GB BD-RE(rewritable) disk. I like BlueRay BD-RE, they burn up to like 44 GB disks. Even at $10.00(for the 22.5 GB) a disk, that’s a cheap easy successor to Tape drives. BD-RE’s supposedly last much long than DVD-RW, but obviously not as long as tape drives.
Goals of this Post:
– Use Windows 7 recovery console to create an image of a fresh install
– Recover to New Hard Disk
– Expand Logical Volume to fit new Hard Drive
Begin by opening the Windows 7 control panel and selecting the ‘Backup and Recovery’ link.
On the next screen select ‘Create a System Image’ link from the sidebar. This will open up a Wizard to create the image. Select your BlueRay Burner.
You will be prompted to insert a disk. Caution: don’t use a BD-R. Windows opens a session to add the label and format the disk BEFORE adding the rest of the compressed files for the image. Resulting in a biscuit. Lesson: pony up for a BD-RE disk the first time you go to the store!
Pretty stupid, but Microsoft is very busy with their most recent disappointment, ‘Windows 7 phone’ so don’t expect this to change in the next service pack.
After the image is complete, check the disk to make sure the image was completed.
Select ‘Repair your computer’.
Next, select the radio option for restoring from an ISO image.
You will be prompted insert the backup medium. Insert your BD-RE backup ISO. If you have RAID or special drivers for your hard disk you can install them first.
It will take a while for the system to restore the image. Go make a sandwhich and come back.
Don’t worry… go do some chores or spend time with friends & family members you’ve been neglecting.
It’s almost done. Remember to get exercise. This a great oppurtunity to walk or do some sit-ups while it finishes restoring a paltry 20 gigs of data on a 100GB partition. It’s slow, but at least it’s easy.
We’re just about done. We’re going to reboot into our restored drive and expand the partition to fit the new disk. My original partition I backed up was 100GB. Windows ‘restore’ does not automatically expand to fill the New Hard drive(which is 300GB).
After reboot right click on the ‘My Computer’ desktop icon and select manage. This will open a management console window. Select disk management. The restored partition will be part of the same disk as the unallocated remainder.
Right click on the unallocated portion. Select ‘Extend Volume’ .
click ‘add’ to select the remainder of your new disk’s expanded partition. Technically speaking they are probably different partitions but merged as a logical volume.
All in all, I found restoring Windows 7 to be easy. It takes a while, but with much less manual intervention then a normal install. The next time a virus or failing hard drive knocks me out; I will be able to sit back and read a good book rather than fishing for drivers and doing a million reboots worth of updates. Good luck and thank you for reading.