1.    10 Sep 2016 #1
    Join Date : Sep 2016
    Posts : 3
    Windows 10 Pro

    System Image & System Repair Disk

    My company jettisoned our IT Department and contracted for IT services with an outside firm. Field personnel provided with laptop or desktop (or both) are now required to perform a System Image once per week and, in addition, to create a System Repair CD/DVD each week as part of the System Image process.

    At the outset this appears to be overkill. No reason was provided for the change from simple backup to System Image, which is a time-consuming process. Equally confounding is the requirement for a new System Repair CD/DVD each week.

    I'm a bit of a novice-what is the value of a System Image performed weekly and creating a new System Repair CD/DVD on a weekly basis?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2.    10 Sep 2016 #2
    Join Date : Jan 2015
    UK, Midlands
    Posts : 5,761
    Win 10 Pro (1607)

    Images allow you to restore your PC to how it was. Quite different to backing up files and folders. They allow you to recover from (e.g.)
    - ransomware
    - disk failure
    - user error
    - unbootable PC
    - uncorrectable error
    quickly and without technical help by restoring your PC to a previous working state.

    Your system configuration evolves as you know, so updates are necessary.

    However, there are more robust solutions than the built-in system image, and Macrium Reflect is strongly recommended here. It supports the generation of differential images (free edition) where only changes are saved in a smaller faster image file.

    People have reported difficulty in using Backup and Restore here from time time.

    Backing up to remote storage would be faster and more convenient than managing DVDs, but then, DVDs can't be hacked(!). (But nor can offline storage of course).

    It takes me just a few minutes to update my system image with Macrium- with SSD + USB3.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3.    11 Sep 2016 #3
    Join Date : Sep 2016
    Posts : 3
    Windows 10 Pro

    Thanks, dalchina, for your clear and concise remarks and suggestion. Macrium Reflect will be downloaded, installed and used.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4.    11 Sep 2016 #4
    Join Date : Sep 2014
    DFW Area
    Posts : 336
    Windows 8&10

    Windows 10 isn't doing repair disk the same way it used to. First, the build upgrades we seem to get may or may not be able to recover a system using a prior build, I have not tested.

    Secondly, the Recovery drive Win 10 creates holds an image of the Windows 10 current system configuration. If you have to recover a system, the recovery drive by itself should be able to restore the System to the state it was when the recovery drive was created. I do not believe this would include personal files but you can test one of your systems to see. Possibly this image when used with a file backup could replace most of your current install.

    I always like to use the System Image Backup for a complete recovery but you will probably soon work out what you need. I always advise testing a system prior to needing to rely on it to recover...
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5.    4 Weeks Ago #5
    Join Date : Sep 2016
    Posts : 3
    Windows 10 Pro

    QUESTIONS-A new System Image was performed per dalchina's suggestion (above) and saved to a 2TB Toshiba portable hard drive and a new System Repair DVD created. Can either or both be "tested" to make certain they function as intended, i.e. emergency restore of the system in the event of catastrophic failure? Expressed differently, how does a user know the System Image and System Repair actually work and, in addition, contain every file (in the case of a System Image)?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6.    4 Weeks Ago #6
    Join Date : Jan 2015
    UK, Midlands
    Posts : 5,761
    Win 10 Pro (1607)

    Mm, my recommendation is to use Macrium Reflect, rather than Windows Backup and Restore.. which is what you seem to be referring to.

    Were you referring to MR, I would simply say:
    - If the Macrium R boot disk boots, that's ok
    - It is possible to verify MR images, as they are encoded using an algorithm which allows their integrity to be checked
    Verifying image and backup files - KnowledgeBase - Macrium Reflect Knowledgebase
    Understanding Image Verification Failures - KnowledgeBase - Macrium Reflect Knowledgebase

    Since a partition's data (or disk's data is being imaged (other than standard or specifically excluded files), it automatically follows that all are included.

    I cannot comment in the same way about the less reliable less flexible Backup and Restore, as I've not used it.

    make certain they function as intended, i.e. emergency restore of the system in the event of catastrophic failure
    That's the problem sometimes with Backup and Restore- people have sometimes reported it fails to restore- or fails to create an image.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7.    4 Weeks Ago #7

    I believe that for someone in the business (in this case Field Personnel), performing a System Image once per week is good company policy. I know companies that maintain daily backup procedures.
    --- Personally I believe the company should have a standard policy of what system image backup program to use.
    --- However Is there a choice of what system image backup program is used?
    As far as a time-consuming process, once you know the typical time it takes, can it be scheduled at an appropriate time to suit your schedule? Technically I'm not in the computer business, but I've seen disastrous outcomes from the people I help as well as a few companies who have asked for my help but didn't bother to maintain system backups on a decent schedule.

    On the System Repair CD/DVD, I suspect the company is playing it safe as far as doing so weekly.
    If they try to say that it can wait until the OS version changes or the system image backup version changes, that isn't good policy because the average person is liable to say something like "well, not needed yet" if you catch my drift.

    Last but not least, when a system image backup is created does it stay only on your computer and the IT dept. has nothing to do with it unless you call them for help?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8.    4 Weeks Ago #8
    Join Date : Jan 2015
    UK, Midlands
    Posts : 5,761
    Win 10 Pro (1607)

    1. There are several well-known imaging and backup programs. I've used Easeus, Paragon (briefly), O&O Disk Image, Aomei Backupper, Macrium Reflect, and many years ago Acronis TI.

    Aomei has shown bugs in less common circumstances, and very poor error messages. Fine just for backing up a partition but I struggled with this with Win 10's multiple partitions.

    Macrium makes imaging Win 10's partitons easy, but its GUI is less friendly. (Try finding out how to start a differential image). However it's robust, flexible, very well supported, reliable, but the free version is more restricted than Aomei's.

    Some like Veeam Endpoint- simple GUI, commercial/free option.

    Acronis is bloated by comparison, but if you're a user and happy with it- that's fine.

    Time? Factors:
    Your disk - your interface speed to backup medium- compression ratio - size of disk/partition.
    To create a base image of my SSD for Win 10 via USB3- around 12-15 mins.

    Subsequent differential images are smaller and faster.

    Backup location
    You specify this. Clearly the worst possible option is to put images on the same disk being imaged. Think disk failure.
    Periodic backups should always be written to media stored offline and remotely. (Fire, theft, flood...)

    Continuously updated backups should be preferably written to a device on a separate power supply and remote.

    Obviously domestic users have to compromise. But a USB3 external disk isn't really expensive compared to hours of reinstalling and lost data, not to mention one's sanity. Click image for larger version. 

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      My System SpecsSystem Spec


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