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I have a laptop with two hard drives; one SSD (64gb) and one HDD (750gb). My SSD contains important files and OS (Windows) files.

I would like to store an image of my SSD on my HDD for backup purposes and I understand I may achieve this by using CloneZilla.

However, I do not want to have to go through this manual backup process on a regular basis - I would like to automate it.

I understand that this cannot be done from Windows because it's not possible to create an image of my Windows disk whilst running it.

So is it possible / is there software out there that offers this functionality? The way I see it I could be prompted (say, once per week) on boot up to create a back up which would be done before booting the OS.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You can do a automatic backup from within windows with any tool that supports volume shadow copy. Pretty much every decent commercial windows backup tool supports it.

Honestly, with windows 7, the built in backup tool (which does incrementals) seems reliable enough to trust. Otherwise, go with any decent backup tool and do online backups on a schedule - they'll work.

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Thanks - I hadn't even considered using the windows tools - but in terms of restoration if my SSD fails and is backed up to the HDD is it possible to restore with out Windows 7? – Andy Smith Apr 26 '12 at 9:22
you'd either need a system repair disk - you can make one in the backup menu, if you didn't have a windows 7 install disk - this is one tutorial on how to do it. – Journeyman Geek Apr 26 '12 at 9:26

Big fat disclaimer: I'm employed developing this product.

Macrium Reflect can do regular backups on a schedule you define. We schedule backup events using the Windows Task Manager, and underneath we use Volume Shadow Copy as Journeyman Geek recommends. I've linked you to our free edition. We support cloning hard disks directly, as well as backup to files.

I understand that this cannot be done from Windows because it's not possible to create an image of my Windows disk whilst running it.

Since you may be wondering how VSS works/is possible, it acts as a copy-on-write service. That is, a snapshot of a point in time is taken which initially holds nothing. Subsequent writes to the main volume are intercepted and the original file is copied to the snapshot. When the backup software queries the VSS device, it receives either the on disk copy if no write has occurred, or the snapshot copy if it has.

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This can be done with Symantec System Recovery. You can schedule a full disk image and store it on any available media or even send it by FTP. It can even be restored to different hardware or converted into a Virtual Machine. The stored image can even be browsed and single/multiple files exported/recoverd. Symantec System Recovery site has a trial available. Has worked very well for me.

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