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Thanks. . . So I am just using the resident Windows 7 native backup. It seems that the general consensus is. . .Yes, I can use the computer freely. . .go on the internet. . .use programs etc? No restrictions? Correct???

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Would you want to? I would think that you would be catching applications and data in different states(opening/closing, reading/writing etc). If the machine were idle with no applications open, then your backup wouldn't be saving incomplete or odd states of the data. –  Chris Feb 10 '10 at 16:03

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Out of my own experience:

I haven't had any problems, but it does slow down your system since your hard drive will be busy for some time

I also used Windows 7 Backup to restore my system and the backup was fine, so I'd say no problem

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If your backup application use Shadow Copy you can use other applications while backing up (but off course it's not sure that the files created/edited while backing up are backed up)

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If you are using Ghost to backup your whole computer, you can use it while it's being backed up without any problems. I've been doing this for a while and I have no major issue since...

I'm not sure about other applications but definitely, with Ghost, you can!

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Norton Ghost? I'm using complete-pc backup that comes with Windows-7. –  leeand00 Feb 10 '10 at 14:40
    
I can't tell. Did you give it a try? –  r0ca Feb 10 '10 at 14:46
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Lol, that's why he's asking it, so he doesn't have to! –  Ivo Flipse Feb 10 '10 at 14:47

The answer is yes you can. Most backup products can do this using VSS. VSS (Volume Shadow Copy) creates a snapshot and is integrated with applications. The backup application then takes the image from the snapshot.

You can also use hybrid product's like Cofio's AIMstor that gives you the capability to take snapshot style backups as well as real time captured data. So backs things up live as data changes. From either backups you can do Bare Metal Restores.

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