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How to take an image of an hard drive partition

I have finally installed all the tools that I need on my new system. Currently I use Windows 7 Pro 64bit, and installing all those tools is hard and time consuming. Now that I have installed everything, after many days, I would like to save the current state of system, by state I mean all files and structure and os settings to one image that can be restored later.

Currently I have more than 60GB of used space on my OS partition.

I'm not sure is it important bu by processor i Intel I7

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marked as duplicate by Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007, Nifle, Linker3000, Mokubai, slhck Sep 7 '11 at 20:38

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

    
    
This is not duplicate, both of those is "How" I know how but "what is the best tool" is my question. –  TriLLi Sep 7 '11 at 16:41
    
The first one lists a few software packages for doing it (one of which has already been repeated here). The second one explains you can (also) do it with Windows 7's in-built Backup and Restore. If you just want a list of imaging software, perhaps try google? Also, asking which is "best" is off-topic for SU, as it's just soliciting opinions. –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Sep 7 '11 at 16:45
    
Every company writes that theirs software is best, every blogger or site that compares them is paid to put one software at the top. I've downloaded bunch of tools without success, they are complicated or they throw an error during process, or they can't create image over 20gb or similar stupid things. So this is the reason I have asked question, so don't try to read my mind and act as you understand me. –  TriLLi Sep 7 '11 at 16:48
    
Sorry if I got you riled up. IMO it's a dupe, and if not then it's soliciting opinion vs. asking for a solution to a technical problem. Which are generally off-topic for SU. Anyhow, good luck! –  Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Sep 7 '11 at 17:09
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3 Answers 3

The best one, without doubts is clonezilla. Features:

  1. Free (GPL) Software.

  2. Filesystem supported: (1) ext2, ext3, ext4, reiserfs, reiser4, xfs, jfs of GNU/Linux, (2) FAT, NTFS of MS Windows, (3) HFS+ of Mac OS, (4) UFS of FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD, and (5) VMFS of VMWare ESX. Therefore you can clone GNU/Linux, MS windows, Intel-based Mac OS, and FreeBSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD, no matter it's 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x86-64) OS. For these file systems, only used blocks in partition are saved and restored. For unsupported file system, sector-to-sector copy is done by dd in Clonezilla.

  3. LVM2 (LVM version 1 is not) under GNU/Linux is supported.

  4. Grub (version 1 and version 2) is supported.

  5. Unattended mode is supported. Almost all steps can be done via commands and options. You can also use a lot of boot parameters to customize your own imaging and cloning.

  6. Multicast is supported in Clonezilla SE, which is suitable for massively clone. You can also remotely use it to save or restore a bunch of computers if PXE and Wake-on-LAN are supported in your clients.

  7. The image file can be on local disk, ssh server, samba server, or NFS server.

  8. Based on Partclone (default), Partimage (optional), ntfsclone (optional), or dd to image or clone a partition. However, Clonezilla, containing some other programs, can save and restore not only partitions, but also a whole disk.

  9. By using another free software drbl-winroll, which is also developed by us, the hostname, group, and SID of cloned MS windows machine can be automatically changed.

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I have doubts, but I'll agree it's good. ;) –  Shinrai Sep 7 '11 at 16:36
    
Nice features. Cool. –  TriLLi Sep 7 '11 at 16:36
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It's powerful, but more designed for a more complex environment. IMO it's a bit overkill, both in features and required knowledge to operate, for a single system backup. If you've got the chops for it though, it's got quite the list of capabilities. –  music2myear Sep 7 '11 at 16:39
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@music2myear basically said what I was too lazy to say - for a lot of jobs it's like cracking an egg with a pneumatic jackhammer. It sure as hell WORKS though. –  Shinrai Sep 7 '11 at 16:43
    
I don't know is it important but my processor is Intel i7 –  TriLLi Sep 7 '11 at 16:45
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Because you don't need to keep files such as hiberfil.sys (your hibernation state file) or Pagefile.sys (your system paging file), each of which can take up several gigabytes of space, I recommend saving your system state through an image by slaving your system hard drive into a different machine, or using a live disk. It's not strictly necessary, but it can speed up the imaging and can result in a much smaller image file.

There are many tools that offer quality imaging and probably many other questions here on this site recommending specific ones for specific reasons.

You need to determine how your image will be stored, what sort of options you want for recovery, whether the image needs to be periodically updated, and any other points important to your specific needs.

Once you have specific needs and you can quantify, we'll be able to give you specific recommendations regarding tools that will meet those needs.

UPDATE more info:

Hiberfil is always the same size as your system RAM. In modern machines that can be 8 or 16GB easily, or 20% or more of a 60GB system image.

Pagefile is usually effectively capped around 4GB but can be larger or smaller depending on your use and system configuration, or 5% of your 60GB image size. If you have unlimited space, no worries. But if this archive is sharing space with other data, as most such images are, a little consideration necessary to get a huge benefit is certainly worthwhile.

Regarding other specific details:

Do you just want a one-time snapshot that you can go back to? This is popular and makes system re-deployment pretty easy.

If you're prone to a lot of change and going back a year or two could be as bad as going back to scratch, you'll probably want to image more frequently than that. In this case a different sort of tool may be more applicable and appropriate.

It's questions like these that will help you find, not just the best tool for imaging systems in general, but the best tool for YOU for imaging YOUR system in the way that best fits YOUR needs.

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I think that I was clear enough "all files and structure" –  TriLLi Sep 7 '11 at 16:39
    
@TriLLi - Those files will get thrown out and reconstructed by Windows ANYWAY. Any decent Windows-based tool won't keep them by default. Volume shadow copy explicitly ignores them. –  Shinrai Sep 7 '11 at 16:43
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While I think Clonzilla is a fantastic program (as previously mentioned), be aware of the limitations of Clonezilla. The items I made in bold are show stoppers for me. I would consider Acronis True Image, which does not have this limitation. I have Acronis and Symantec Ghost over the years with great success.

•The destination partition must be equal or larger than the source one.

Differential/incremental backup is not implemented yet.

•Online imaging/cloning is not implemented yet. The partition to be imaged or cloned has to be unmounted.

•Software RAID/fake RAID/firmware RAID is not supported by default. It's can be done manually only.

*Due to the image format limitation, the image can not be explored or mounted. You can NOT recovery single file from the image. However, you still have workaround to make it, read this web page.*

•Recovery Clonezilla live with multiple CDs or DVDs is not implemented yet. Now all the files have to be in one CD or DVD if you choose to create the recovery iso file.

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