Advise on system image and a boot disk.

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  1. Posts : 78
    Win10 Pro
       #1

    Advise on system image and a boot disk.


    Win 10 Pro OS. 19042.870

    It’s been some time since being on and requiring advise of others on these forums.

    A brief pre-amble, I lost my wife, the kids their mother two years ago, went to bed as we had for the past 25 years, I awoke next morning to find her dead next to me, no pre warnings, no illness, a massive heart attack during the night--my/our world fell apart, things aren’t better, just more manageable which I suppose does make things better.

    This may read stupid but that day I turned the PC off, removed both SSDs and eventually put all of it in storage, I couldn’t face using the PC, used a stand by laptop.

    It was our PC, a DIY build together, we did and had everything on it but was complimented by 2 external backups.

    About 10 days ago, I can’t explain really why, I resurrected the PC.

    Knowing it had been in storage for quite a while and may have got a little damp inside the case I took the side off and left it on a window sill for a few days in direct sunlight, to dry out/climatise, then a can of air and it now sits under my desk complete with the latest version of Win 10, ( 20H2 ) and in use again.

    The only hardware set back, PC required a new CPU fan so installed a Noctua 89 Redux 1600, nice, quite and a quick fix.

    My questions and I apologies if answered previously is about system image and a boot disk.

    But first, is a boot USB/disk and a recovery USB/disk the same thing?

    My OS drive, ( C ), while 240gb in capacity has only used 68gb and not likely to use much more.

    I have always been aware when cloning to clone to an equal or larger size GB HD/SSD but does the same rule apply when making a system image?

    I think what I’m asking, I have a spare 350gb external HD, I could install a system image on that but it seems such a waste of GB and a HD, could I purchase an 80 or 120gb SSD and use that to create a system image on to or must it be the same in gb capacity as the existing OS SSD?

    Having been lucky enough never having to do so, am I understanding correctly, in the event of PC failure to boot I would first use a boot disk/USB then if or ever required use a system image and transfer that image to the PCs existing HD/SSD?

    Does a system image make a copy of/contain the Win 10 OS but you can’t boot from it hence the reason for a separate boot/recovery USB/disk?

    My next question is what size USB stick should I use to make a Win 10 boot disk?

    Thanks for reading, advice would be appreciated
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  2. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,080
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #2

    But first, is a boot USB/disk and a recovery USB/disk the same thing?
    No. Bootable disks can be of many types and different functions, from disk imaging to live boot disks to partition managers to Windows installation disks.

    Hopefully this will address questions about a recovery drive and what it can do, along with the linked tutorials after the main text.
    Create Recovery Drive in Windows 10

    My next question is what size USB stick should I use to make a Win 10 boot disk?
    Create Bootable USB Flash Drive to Install Windows 10
    says
    A blank USB with at least 4 GB (32-bit or 64-bit) or 8 GB (both 32-bit and 64-bit) of space if you want to create media. We recommend using a blank USB, because any content on it will be deleted.

    Disk imaging:
    Again and again and again here, the routine use of disk imaging is recommended. That typically starts with a disk image of all partitions comprising your O/S, saved to external storage.
    E.g. Macrium Reflect (free); also Aomei Backupper and more.

    This is a more flexible method than cloning, allowing you to have multiple dates to which to restore the imaged partitions, and hence recover your O/S to a previously good state (similarly any imaged disk or partition).
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  3. SIW2's Avatar
    Posts : 1,672
    trying to install win10
       #3

    Does a system image make a copy of/contain the Win 10 OS but you can’t boot from it hence the reason for a separate boot/recovery USB/disk?
    Imaging programs create the image as file, which can be stored like any other file.
    Typically bootable media contains the program that can restore the image.
    If the bootable media has enough space, it is usually possible to store the image on there as well.
    There are numerous programs available for the purpose.

    Difficult to say what size image would result from 68gb used space. Depends on the level of compression/compaction the imaging program uses, how much of the data is compressible,what format it uses, what is excluded, and so on. Rough guess it will be about 60% of 68gb.
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  4. Posts : 78
    Win10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       #4

    SIW2 said:
    Imaging programs create the image as file, which can be stored like any other file.
    Typically bootable media contains the program that can restore the image.
    If the bootable media has enough space, it is usually possible to store the image on there as well.
    There are numerous programs available for the purpose.

    Difficult to say what size image would result from 68gb used space. Depends on the level of compression/compaction the imaging program uses, how much of the data is compressible, what format it uses, what is excluded, and so on. Rough guess it will be about 60% of 68gb.
    Hello,

    I understood very little of what you wrote.
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  5. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,080
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #5

    Thank you for your reply.

    Have you read the documents I provided you links to and linked documents listed after the main text?

    I have taken the time to answer a couple of the questions you asked. No response.

    Try using Google. Here are some questions you could copy and paste:

    What is a boot disk?
    What can you do with a Windows 10 installation disk?
    What is a Windows 10 Recovery disk
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  6. Posts : 78
    Win10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       #6

    dalchina said:
    Thank you for your reply.
    Have you read the documents I provided you links to and linked documents listed after the main text?
    I have taken the time to answer a couple of the questions you asked. No response.
    Hello Dalchina

    I can only hope to reassure that on reading your reply and some initial reading of the links you provided, I sent you a message of thanks, I have no idea what has happened to that post.

    Be that as it may, thank you.

    I can only again seek to convince you before coming on to the Win 10 forums, I tried to help myself so indeed did ask Google those exact same questions and took a good hour or so reading, trying to gather the information I was seeking, I learnt a lot, not quite the info' I required however.

    Your first reply to me did not exactly answer my questions, none the less you took the time to reply and I thanked you for that and at least was more informative then the other reply I received.

    My forum experience tells me Dalchina if links are provided, invariably people have already Googled to try help themselves to no avail, if several links instead of answers are received in response to questions--that can be a long read and can take time to assimilate.

    I'm in no doubt someone like yourself can breeze through such material without breaking into a sweat, I and I suspect a good many others--it's a whole different ball game.

    But you didn't actually answer my questions, I think you think you did, your reply was more akin to a student asking a question and been given a load of books to read or told where the library is.

    None the less, as a matter of curtesy for your reply, ( not effort ), I did thank you.
    Jaylob4
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  7. dalchina's Avatar
    Posts : 30,080
    Win 10 Pro (1903)
       #7

    Ok, thanks for the reply. Could you perhaps ask a more specific question?

    What is a boot disk?

    - might get a reply like
    It's one you have your computer boot from independently of the internal disk. Whatever software should on it will then run.
    Exactly how you get a PC to boot from it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, BIOS/UEFI to BIOS/UEFI.

    If the answer is already written down, I prefer not to retype it...
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  8. MisterEd's Avatar
    Posts : 506
    Windows 10 Pro 64-bit v20H2
       #8

    I think what I’m asking, I have a spare 350gb external HD, I could install a system image on that but it seems such a waste of GB and a HD, could I purchase an 80 or 120gb SSD and use that to create a system image on to or must it be the same in gb capacity as the existing OS SSD?
    If I were you I would buy a 240GB SSD and clone the boot drive to it. It is not a waste as you think. Windows is constintly creating and sometimes deleting temporary files. It is good to have plenty of space for this. In fact it is probably not good to let a disk especially the boot one not get too full. I don't know what percentage that should be. I have read not to go over 60% but I am not sure about that. Certainly do not let any drive get more than 80% full because it is not good for it.

    I have always been aware when cloning to clone to an equal or larger size GB HD/SSD but does the same rule apply when making a system image?
    The imaging program usually compresses the image so it should be smaller that the source. The size of the image is a percentage of the data used not of the drive itself.

    I just compared the backup images for my two SSD drives. Here are current results.
    Advise on system image and a boot disk.-2021_04_07_14_40_051.jpg


    My next question is what size USB stick should I use to make a Win 10 boot disk?
    Most people now days use a USB flash drive to install or repair Windows 10. A 8GB one is plenty big enough. However, you should buy a 16GB one because they are more commonly found. You should buy a name brand one like Sandisk because you shouldn't trust cheap noname ones.
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  9. Posts : 78
    Win10 Pro
    Thread Starter
       #9

    dalchina said:
    Ok, thanks for the reply. Could you perhaps ask a more specific question?
    What is a boot disk?
    - might get a reply like
    It's one you have your computer boot from independently of the internal disk. Whatever software should on it will then run.
    Exactly how you get a PC to boot from it varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, BIOS/UEFI to BIOS/UEFI.
    If the answer is already written down, I prefer not to retype it...
    BIB, I understand that, I have a different approach but I understand that.

    I didn't ask what a boot disk was more the difference between---.

    One of my questions, now put another way is, I have an internal C drive with my OS and only my OS installed on it, the drive is 240gb in capacity, the space used for the Win 10 installation has only used 68gb

    When creating a system image to a spare external USB drive that has nothing on it,-- does this spare drive have to be the same total gb capacity as the existing C drive or could I use for example a 120gb HD/SSD and install the system image on to that?

    Of course you can't possibly be expected to know how a user accesses their PC bios to be able to boot from a boot disk/drive there are so many variations but again not the question I asked which was, having successfully used the boot disk and given the several options as to how I would like to proceed is it then just a question of attaching the drive that has the system image on it and getting windows to install/use it?

    A question I didn't ask but references to it in Google has confused me a little, having used a system image will I be asked to input a product key?

    ( My Win 10 OS was a free upgrade from Win 7 Ultimate, which I have my product key for but don't know where it is at the moment without a search )
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  10. ignatzatsonic's Avatar
    Posts : 2,418
    Windows 10 Home, 64-bit
       #10

    Your boot drive has 68 GB occupied.

    A traditional "system image" of that will be roughly 40 GB in size. One big file of that size.

    You can save it on any other drive that has at least 40 GB of free space. That is typically an external drive, but could be a second internal.

    You can move that file around like it was picture of your cat.

    It is not a "clone". The drive on which it is saved is not immediately bootable.

    The image file must be formally "restored" to a drive, at which point the destination drive becomes bootable.....if successful.

    You should NOT be asked for a Product Key when making or restoring the image file.

    Correct, you can't boot from an image file.

    You need the USB bootable recovery media if you cannot boot from your normal boot drive.........such as if you had a complete drive failure. If you CAN still boot from the normal boot drive, you can restore the image file without using the USB bootable recovery media. I'd guess that most restores are done when the boot drive still works, but you nevertheless want to restore an image because something is seriously wrong with Windows or a software package, and you therefore want to step back in time a few days or few weeks.
    Last edited by ignatzatsonic; 1 Week Ago at 10:45.
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