Windows 10: Image / History on separate partitions?
Image / History on separate partitions?
I want to create two separate partitions on a portable usb drive. On one partition, I'd like to create a system image using the windows image-creating capability. On the other partition, I would like to use the windows history capability to maintain a continuously updated backup. Is this possible or do one or both of these functions require that the entire drive be dedicated to a single purpose.
Hi, superficially (never having tried it) that should be possible. What I don't know is how that affects a very useful trick of ensuring a flash drive is allocated the same letter each time it's plugged in- by changing its drive letter to e.g. R - far away from any letters that might otherwise be used.
I would also recommend you use 3rd party disk imaging rather than Windows Backup and Restore. Why?
Programs such as Macrium Reflect (free) are repeatedly found to be
- more reliable (threads reporting problems with Windows Backup and Restore seem never to be solved)
- more feature-rich
- current and supported
@dalchina is correct, Macrium Reflect is more reliable and feature-rich. It also offers (AIUI) the ability to restore individual files from a system image, offering a solution to both the OP's requirements in one go.
However, would the Macrium boot media be required on an external USB or CD in order the restore the image from the local partition? Or does it modify the Recovery partition to add Macrium functions? At least the Windows built-in system image can be restored by Microsoft's standard recovery environment, reachable at boot.
So far I've not had significant problems using system images made by Windows' built-in 'Backup and Restore'. Perhaps I've been lucky. The only times I've had a (solvable) problem was when restoring from an external image. The MS offering seems critically reliant on using the boot CD/DVD made with the same revision as the system image - fortunately I have a collection of boot CDs of varying vintage.
For the OP's question - using just Microsoft's tools to backup/restore system images on a second partition on the same HDD - Yes, you can do this (and I routinely do). So far I've had 100% success restoring my C: partition from a system image on the D: partition. I started using this as an alternative to the manufacturer's HDD recovery partition while back on W7, and most recently (now on Windows 10) restored a month-old system image from D: just this week. NB: this shouldn't be your only system image - a drive failure means you loose everything! There's no reason you can't do both, preferably using something less temperamental than 'Backup and Restore' for the external system images (Macrium, perhaps?).
Similarly the 'it's on the same HDD' problem applies to File History. As such, MS only let you set up FH to point to another physical drive or a network drive. While you can fool FH into using a partition or folder on the same physical HDD (share it and it looks like a network drive) it's far better to point to a genuinely separate drive. Mine points to a USB HDD shared on the network by plugging it into my router's USB port.
Macrium Reflect also has that option - but here's the big flaw in that.... what if you need to restore your image because the hard drive physically crashed?
That's the big flaw in the OP's plan to keep a system image on the same physical drive - no matter what tools you use to make it.
A local system image is a useful convenience, no more than that. I use it when I've been playing in the registry a bit too much You should never rely on it - an image on an external drive (along with the necessary boot media) is an essential.
PS: so is creating a Recover Drive on a USB (IMHO).
The OP is not planning on keeping the system image on the same drive that they are backing up. They are planning on creating the system image on an external USB drive. What they want to know is if they have to dedicate the entire USB external drive to the system image, or if they can partition the external drive and hold file history backups on the second partition.
I have zero experience with Windows built in system image backup because of all the limitations and failures I have read about it I won't trust my 32GB Wal Mart tablet with it that I only use for surfing the internet from my hot tub.
Macrium Reflect - almost never fails and the Macrium Reflect rescue environment can be configured to launch from a boot menu selection, from Windows Recovery Environment, from Windows PE, and/or from any external device the computer can boot from.
Ah, I misread the OP. Apologies.
An MS system image is stored in a WindowsImageBackup folder that it creates for itself and the only file it puts on the root of the drive is the (absolutely essential) MediaID.bin. You can point File History to a folder on the drive of your choice, all its backups and its database will be stored beneath that. They shouldn't interfere with each other, there's no need that I can see to use separate partitions for system images and File History. In fact, the network drive I point my FH to does have a system image on it as well (along with a lot of other data and folders for alternative backup methods) - no problems so far.
File History will complain if the external USB drive is left disconnected for any appreciable time though.
Thanks to all. Lots of good feedback. I have a much better understanding of the issues now.
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