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Discussion Starter #1
Hi

Got a fairly new system with Win 7 x64.

Hard drive is showing signs of sporadic mechanical failure at bootup. HD and system is 1.5 years old. Vendor will replace HD, that's not an issue.

Windows Backup / restore has been used to create a system image and back up files onto external HDD USB drive.

Windows Backup has been used to create a system repair disk.

Now the question(s):

Using JUST the System repair disk (which I assume is bootable) along with the USB HDD, can a fully working system be restored if a same brand / size HD (new) is swapped in place of the defective drive?

If so, any "gotcha's" dealing with the backup process or recovery process?

I do NOT want alternative software suggestions at this point.

Any and all suggestions would be welcome.

Cameron
 

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It should work provided you have all the drivers and everything is configured properly. Of course, in my experience it was a failure because my backup did not have 32 bit drivers (even though I was running Windows 64 bit and had 64 bit drivers).

My advice is try it and see if it works and you'll find out.

FWIW, I would just clone the drive using software from WD or Seagate.
 

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Providing that your external USB is not of some special kind it should be trouble free. I've done it at least three times. Moreover replacement disk doesn't even need to be exactly same. It will suffice that is reasonably similar (for example, do not try to restore to new 2+TB drive with 4K sectors if your old drive had 512B sectors).
 

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One issue I can think of is sector alignment. Win7 handles the 4096 byte sector issue properly but don't know if the backup utility does.

Another is O/S and and file damage caused by the faulty drive. Check the restored system with sfc /scannow. That checks Windows system files. It may be necessary to repair or reinstall some of the applications. In extreme cases, a fresh install of Windows might be required.
 

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I would just clone the drive using software from WD or Seagate.
I agree, provided both drives are available simultaneously. It's much easier than using backup/restore. It's still a good idea to have a backup at all times.
 

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I cloned a drive using WD software yesterday. It's dead easy and at the end you just disconnect the old drive and reboot. Much easier than a backup and restore.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thanks everyone so far. I'm using the system currently and it seems to go through an occasional looong time to boot and you can hear this odd clicking sound from the drive. I back up every few days as I know this things going to crap out soon...

Funny thing is my older WinXP SP3 system that I use for video editing and recording with it's TV tuner has a 105GB drive that's been going strong for the last 8 years, and that WinXP has NEVER had a re-install... Go figure.

The external HDD is an Iomega 2TB USB that has the "system image" and file backups and the rescue disk is optical, ie: on DVD, all using this current Win7 x64 install.

More experiences welcome.

Cameron
 

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Well, I know you didn't want alternative software, but I used Clonezilla (http://clonezilla.org/ - it's free) to clone two 250GB disks to two new 1.5 TB disks at work last week. It's a bootable CD and really easy to use. It was Windows 7 64 bit also. The only minor detail was that the resulting partitions were both 250GB, but I used the Win7 partition expander to fix that.

-Mike
 
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