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I'm developing an Windows 7 image for deploying onto a bunch of computers.

As I install the software, I like to take a snapshot from time to time in case one piece of software makes a mess of things.

Traditionally, I've done this by booting into a PE and taking a ghost image. But this seems like a waste of time when there is something better available - namely Volume Shadow Copy.

Problem is, I'm not sure how to use it properly. In a virtualised environment (which I can not use in this case), I would just take a snapshot whenever I wanted, and merge snapshots where necessary. In Linux, I would use LVM snapshots.

How would I do this in Windows 7?

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Differential backups of the system partition. I use Acronis or Paragon.

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I have rarely seen the volume shadow copy service used well by backup software... – RobotHumans Nov 23 '10 at 5:08
I second Acronis, which I believe is free for Western Digital hard drive owners. It's fast, too. Restored a 20GB image in about two minutes flat. – user3463 Nov 23 '10 at 5:14

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