I'm running Windows 7 Ultimate x64 on machines with SATA drives. My goal is to back up my main system partition so that if the hard drive died and I had to install a new one (at least the same size) I could restore from this backup and my system would boot up and work as if nothing had ever happened.
Currently I duplicate the system partition elsewhere and then hide it (so it doesn't get accidentally modified), but this is not a portable way to back it up. It is however pretty easy, safe and straightforward. I'm not a fool, but some of the options here are confusing and it's not clear if my partition backups with this will be 100% accurate or if restoring them will cause other unwanted side-effects.
- I want the restored partition to be the same size it was originally (I can use other tools to resize it later if I want that)
- I expect the restored partition to be identical in terms of the actual data (I'm not worried about free space - it'll compress nicely if I zero it first)
- I don't require incremental backup capability
Is this possible with this software and what is the best way to do this? I think I'm doing it right but I'm not positive.
Also, if I restore one partition on a drive with a few other partitions (and with room for my restored partition to fit), will this damage the other partitions in any way?
Other bugs and issues:
Note: code references are from http://ping.windowsdream.com/ping/Releases/3.00.04/rc.ping unless otherwise noted.
PING bug: If you elect to "store details about each recorded file" (useless as that may be for a full system backup) you may encounter an infinite loop: I didn't have anything near 655,000 files on the drive and so I discontinued that "file details" process after a few hours of watching that value climb. I looked at the code for this and I think the script may be naively walking across junction points or something, causing it to get stuck looping: readdir may not be the ideal way to go about this safely.
Unclear: When and why would you use the "Blank_Local_Admin_Passwd" option? What else does selecting that option do?
Unclear: If ACLs are not handled, does this fact have ANY adverse effect on FULL Partimage backups / restores of a given partition?
Unclear: At the bottom of http://www.windowsdream.com/ping/doc-3.00/using.html the user is told to delete the bios file manually if they don't want to restore it. However, the code itself suggests to me (not having risked a full restore yet) that the user is prompted about this. Thus this note in the docs appears to be unnecessary.
Site bug: http://ping.windowsdream.com/ping.html points to an outdated HowTo file (2.01 vs 3.00). If you go to the http://ping.windowsdream.com/ping/howto-3.00.html HowTo all the links point to 2.01. (It's not clear that this has been updated at all from 2.01).
Site bug: The HowTo's refer to the SID fallacy (and newsid.exe). See http://blogs.technet.com/b/markrussinovich/archive/2009/11/03/3291024.aspx for information straight from the developer who created and later *pulled* that tool offline.
Site bug: http://ping.windowsdream.com/ping/Releases/3.00.04/ mentions Do.ISO.CD.pl but it is inaccessible (and perhaps not yet usable)