Win7 Disk Upgrade w/System Image Restore

Discussion in 'Microsoft Windows 7' started by Stan S., May 19, 2010.

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  1. Stan S.

    Stan S. Scribbler - Standard Member

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    My kid's back from school and it's time after a year, to upgrade her X200T.

    With only a 160G Seagate Momentus 7200 drive, she's had to put the vast majority of her files on a secondary external USB drive. (Anyone remember when Fortune 500's didn't have that much storage?) Anyway, while USB attached drives are fast, they are not as fast as a docked HD in the base unit - so I found on eBay for under $20 w/shipping- a slimline HD caddy for the soon-to-be old drive but for another $80 can put in another 500G disk instead which is the cost of a branded 500G external drive. HD are cheap, and a 500G Hitatchi, Seagate or Fujitsu (7200 rpm) can be had for $100 or less. This is the largest size drive right now that fits, the 750G drives are too thick for the X200 series which only accepts standard 2.5" drives (mostly I think because of the tray construction with it's rubber side caps which fill the drive bay's gap).

    So, first after making sure that there were no updates, from either Lenovo and MS, that the system was totally updated, including the BIOS, I burned a Win 7 Repair Disk. The Repair Disk is a bootable CD or DVD, which gives you some tools to revive or recover your system. It can restore System Restore Points and it can Restore System Images.

    System Images are what we are interested in, they are full snapshots of your computer's disk with all the partitions and boot mbr information. You can do nothing with them, but a System Image Restore. You can not pick files, so they are not acceptable for regular backups. A good backup scheme might be to make a weekly System Image and nightly personal file backups. If your disk crashes, you pop in a new one, restore the image and then the backups.

    Windows Allows you to store these System Images on attached USB hard drives, network drives, on multiple dvds, and of course internal hard drives. The images are pretty much the same size as your existing HD. I backed up to a USB HD. The 149G partition created a 145G image file. It took several hours to create.

    IF you try to do the restore from your existing OS disk, it wants to restore OVER the existing data, there is no choice of HD or partitions. I believe that it will also always choose to format the drive it's restoring to unless you override this option.

    After replacing the old HD with the new one, and having the Win7 Repair Disk in the DVD drive, with the USB drive attached, I booted up the tablet, touching the Thinkvantage button. The bios detected that the HD was not bootable (it's not even formatted) and it booted the DVD. After the system booted (a couple minutes), all the proper selections were already filled in, the defaults were to format and restore the saved system image from the USB drive onto the new internal "C:" drive. I had to make no selections at all, the system already did all of that.

    Win 7 Repair disk is designed to properly recreate disk partitions. This means it's a way to replace a damaged HD drive or in this case install a bigger new one. There shouldn't be any boot partition issues like those when you use other methods such a the old copy /s/t/x type of disk recreations.

    One thing that will need to be done once the restore finishes, is to Expand the "C" partition to the entire drive (or create more partitions) with the Drive Management tools. Win7 has a simple Shrink and Expand partition tool. You can not however, move partitions like you can (could) with tools like Partition Magic.

    Luckily, the 200mb untouchable Win7 partition is the first partition on the HD, and should remain the first when restored. The old 150G "C" partition should be the second and it should be possible to expand it with the built-in tool.

    While it took several hours for the backup, the restore took an hour.

    Once restored, the Repair Disk, rebooted the system to the new C drive. Signing on, brought us to a "Reboot" please screeen, which we deferred and then went to the Storage Management app, and quickly expanded the C partition to the remaining portion of the drive.

    Tools needed: Win7 Repair Disk (you create it), 1 sm phillips head screwdriver, a replacement HD and the USB connected HD that will hold the existing Win7 disk's image. If you don't have a CD/DVD drive in the laptop, then the external or base station unit will do. (I have a docking station with the CD/DVD.)
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