Windows 7 Backup and Restore issue - sees two system drives!

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by Darren Hodgson, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. Darren Hodgson

    Darren Hodgson Ancient Guru

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    I've been trying unsuccessfully to backup my system partition with Windows 7 on to my external hard drive (E:) using the Windows 7 Backup and Restore utility.

    Basically I run out of space because Windows 7 is flagging not only my C: partition as a system drive but also my E: drive for some reason. The E: drive only has data on it, mostly backups and drivers, etc, some 200 GBs worth.

    The Disk Management admin tool shows only the C: drive as the system drive and that it is active and the boot drive. There are no hidden boot files on the E: drive so I can't understand why Backup and Restore sees it as a system drive. System drives cannot be deselected as the box is greyed out.

    The only thing I can think that might be the cause of this is that I was dual-booting Vista on my C: drive and 7 RC on my E: drive prior to upgrading Vista to 7 and deleting all the RC files on the E: drive (which took some doing as the folders were locked). Normally I'd have formatted the E: drive but I have games also installed there and I didn't want to have to reinstall everything again, hence the reason I did an upgrade rather than a fresh install.

    Does anyone know how to fix this annoying issue?
     
  2. Darren Hodgson

    Darren Hodgson Ancient Guru

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    By the way, typing BCDEdit from the command prompt shows my C: partition is the boot drive, there is no mention anywhere of the E: partition.

    Is there any way to tweak the Backup and Restore settings from the registry itself to, say, deselect E: as a system drive?
     
  3. Cybermancer

    Cybermancer Don Quixote

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    Maybe this could help:

    Registry Keys for Backup and Restore
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb891959(VS.85).aspx
     
  4. Darren Hodgson

    Darren Hodgson Ancient Guru

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    Thanks, Cybermancer, but unfortunately that doesn't fix the problem.

    I believe there's a registry entry or something in the boot block that's left over from my previous dual-booting setup that is making Windows 7 think I still have two operating systems installed. If I can find out where these flags are then I can reset it for the E: partition.
     

  5. Cybermancer

    Cybermancer Don Quixote

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  6. Darren Hodgson

    Darren Hodgson Ancient Guru

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    If I do the following:

    1. Open Maintenance > Backup and Restore
    2. Click on "Create a system image" then click through to "Which drives do you want to include in the backup?" tab, both the C: and E: drives are greyed out but selected with an option to select D: (which isn't greyed out)

    Basically Windows 7 sees both the C: and E: drive as being system drives and therefore attempts to backup both when I only want to do C:. My C: partition backups to around 30 GB but C: plus E: required 400 GB which I don't have space for on my external HDD ( H: ).

    I cannot understand really why E: is flagged as a system drive when there's only data on there plus some game installs. There's absolutely nothing on that drive from my old Windows 7 RC install as I deleted all the folders and I've checked the drive with the hidden files/folders and system files revealed. It's very infuriating because I cannot backup my C: drive at all.

    I've a feeling I might have to email Microsoft about this as uninstalling the Windows 7 RC from my dual-booting system with Vista as the main operating system was itself an absolute pain. Took me ages to delete all the files as the Windows folders, etc., were locked/protected from deletion. I eventually used FileASSASSIN to get rid of them then once that was done I proceeded to do an in-place upgrade from Vista to 7. I did this AFTER I'd remove Windows 7 RC from the boot loader too using VistaBootPro v3.3 so those folder/files shouldn't have even been locked!!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2009
  7. Cybermancer

    Cybermancer Don Quixote

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  8. GabrielSans

    GabrielSans Banned

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    I had the same problem as you. I disabled the UAC completely and no more problems.

    Check the backup schedule in the Security Center too. You might be surprised!
     
  9. Darren Hodgson

    Darren Hodgson Ancient Guru

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    Thanks GabrielSans but that didn't help me either... the E: drive is still being stubbornly included as part of the system image and I still cannot uncheck it.

    I've contacted Microsoft by email about this problem as I think they're going to be the only ones who know how to get around this issue as they're the ones with intimate knownledge of how the Windows 7 Backup and Restore utility works.

    A registry hack to disable E: would do me nicely but despite finding the WindowsBackup registry entry I'm unable to do so.
     
  10. spike21

    spike21 Member Guru

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  11. Darren Hodgson

    Darren Hodgson Ancient Guru

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  12. Darren Hodgson

    Darren Hodgson Ancient Guru

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    This is the nearest thing I've been able to find on the net to my problem:

    http://www.sevenforums.com/performa...kup-restore-multiple-system-image-drives.html

    Notice the picture in the first post... for me the system drives are shown as C: and E:.

    However the solution to that problem was easy because the boot files where on the incorrect drive but that's not the case for me. Everything Windows needs to boot is on C:, there is nothing but data files and a few game installs on E:. I even moved the second page file off E: and increased the size of the one on C: instead.

    E: is a separate 500 GB drive by the way, with C: and D: being partitions on the other drive.
     
  13. Darren Hodgson

    Darren Hodgson Ancient Guru

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    From reading this: http://blogs.technet.com/filecab/archive/2009/10/31/learn-more-about-system-image-backup.aspx I think I might have a good idea what the problem is.

    When I had Windows 7 RC installed alongside Vista I had enabled the Windows Recovery Environment. Both the C: and E: drives had hidden system folders for these but I deleted the folder on E: over the weekend when I discovered it as the full version of Windows 7 now replaces Vista on C: and Windows 7 RC has been removed from E:.

    Perhaps installing the Windows Recovery Environment again so it's added to the boot option will stop Windows 7 thinking that the E: drive is a system drive. I think it is still seeing the Windows Recovery Environment on E: even though it has now gone completely.
     
  14. spike21

    spike21 Member Guru

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    I had the same problem,but if you read the link it will fix your problem.And you can make a copy of "C" drive only...
     
  15. Darren Hodgson

    Darren Hodgson Ancient Guru

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    I must be stupid, spike21, but I can't see the solution to my problem anywhere in that link. Sorry. I know I'm going to feel especially stupid when you point it out but could you be more specific please.

    Thanks.
     

  16. Darren Hodgson

    Darren Hodgson Ancient Guru

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    P.S. I'm wanting to do ONLY a system image of my C: drive not manually select the C: drive to backup everything.
     
  17. spike21

    spike21 Member Guru

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    The way this should be done is your "c" drive needs to be around 25gigs(to keep your image small),and as far as I know you need to back up the whole "c" drive so all your installed programs work after you reinstall it...And also you don't need a restore disk,because if you hold f-8 on win 7 start you can point it to the image back-up(system repair and in there you will be able to restore your newly saved image).
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
  18. Darren Hodgson

    Darren Hodgson Ancient Guru

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    My C: drive is 100 GB in size but backups with Acronis True Image 2009 under Vista were around 25-30 GB in size.

    I did actually manage to backup my C: drive using the Backup and Restore application when I first installed Windows 7, and I created a system recovery disc, but ever since I tried to schedule a weekly backup the procedure fails because the program is trying to back up two system drives, C: and E:.

    Microsoft replied to my email yesterday so I'm hoping we can bounce a few ideas back and forth as to the cause of this two system drives thing. I've have a strong feeling that the root cause stems back to when I had Windows 7 RC installed on the E: drive because it can't be coincidence that the Backup and Restore application is trying to backup that up as well as part of the system image rather than, say, D:?
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
  19. spike21

    spike21 Member Guru

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    The easiest way I found was to keep your "c" drive small(25gigs),drivers and a few necessary programs.Then back-up the whole drive.Restore takes maybe 20min tops compared to 90min from scratch. I have used Acronis programs for years but this back-up option in win7 is long overdue,like from windows ME...I don't due weekly re-images,I just get it loaded with all the drivers,and make an image before I hook-up to the inter net,That way I know I never carry over any kind of virus or Trojan,its always a pure image..
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2009
  20. Darren Hodgson

    Darren Hodgson Ancient Guru

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    Well if Microsoft cannot sort this out then I'm going to upgrade to Acronis True Image Home 2010 and use that instead. Acronis True Image Home 2009 appears to work with Windows 7 as far as backing up goes but apparently some incompatibilities mean that it won't necessarily restore properly. It's why I've decided not to use it now.

    I want to do a proper system image, completely with bootloader/MBR data, rather than a simple backup of every file/folder on my C: drive. A system image will backup everything needed to do a full operating system restore whereas a normal backup of files and folders won't necessarily do that as it may not, for example, backup hidden system files.
     

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