Windows 10: Win 7 image restore breaks ability to see Win 10 image backups

Discus and support Win 7 image restore breaks ability to see Win 10 image backups in Windows 10 Backup and Restore to solve the problem; I have a multi-boot system, XP Pro (32 bit), XP Pro X64 (64 bit), Win 7 Pro (64 bit), Win 10 Pro (64 bit). Each OS is on a separate hard drive and... Discussion in 'Windows 10 Backup and Restore' started by rcgldr, Aug 20, 2017.

  1. rcgldr Win User

    Win 7 image restore breaks ability to see Win 10 image backups

    I have a multi-boot system, XP Pro (32 bit), XP Pro X64 (64 bit), Win 7 Pro (64 bit), Win 10 Pro (64 bit). Each OS is on a separate hard drive and partition. The C: partition is boot only (no operating system on it).

    I did a system image backup from Win 10 and also from Win 7. Once I do a Win 7 image restore using Win 7 repair (dvd), the Win 10 images backups no longer appear in the list of backups if I later run Win 10 repair or Win 7 repair.

    The workaround for this bug is to do a system image backup from Win 7 and include the Win 10 partition in the Win 7 image backup (to Win 7, the Win 10 partition is a "data" partition). The the Win 7 repair will restore the Win 10 partition unless restore to "non-system" partitions is turned off. I confirmed this works by formatting both the Win 7 and Win 10 partitions before doing a repair / restore test.

    What I don't understand is what the Win 7 restore changes to my system that prevents the Win 10 backup system images from appearing in the list of image backups. The Win 10 image folders are still present on my hard drive(s).

    rcgldr, Aug 20, 2017
  2. Time Lady Win User

    windows 10 update 1511 changed new computer to windows 7?

    Yes Windows 10 give you the Windows 7 backup ability, probably so that you can use a file backup created on Win 7 to restore said files to Win 10 but it also does create a backup & a system image of Win 10. In future updates this feature may change or be
    removed but I hope not.

    I upgraded from Win 8.1 - Win 10 & have Win 7 backup under control panel.

    You could try restarting several times to see if it kickstarts everything or see if you can uninstall the update.
    Time Lady, Aug 20, 2017
  3. rcglider Win User
    Win 10 repair disk unable to find Win 10 system image backup

    As a workaround to this issue, I have verified that by doing a system image backup from Win 7 and adding the Win 10 partition to the list of partitions (the Win 10 partition appears to be a "data" partition from Win 7 perspective) to be backed up by the
    Win 7 system image backup, I can then restore both Win 7 and Win 10 partitions. The main drawback is I have to restore the Win 7 partition in order to restore the Win 10 partition. I can choose to only restore the Win 7 partition, but not to only restore the
    Win 10 partition.

    As a side note, if I restore a Win 7 image backup made before I installed Win 10, then there's no option to restore "Windows 10" from either Win 10 or Win 7 repair. I'm wondering if or how a Win 10 repair would function if restoring to a replaced hard drive.
    If all of the partitions on a hard drive are included during a system image backup, then system image restore is supposed to be able to partition and format a hard drive as part of the repair restore. I have the impression that Win 7 repair restore can do
    this, but I'm not sure if Win 10 repair restore can do this.
    rcglider, Aug 20, 2017
  4. cereberus Win User

    Win 7 image restore breaks ability to see Win 10 image backups

    MS have announced the System Image Backup is a deprecated feature (ie going to be dropped) and advise use of 3rd party tools.

    I recommend you use Macrium Reflect Free which is this forum's favourite tool and there are excellent guides in the tutorial section. You will have no problems as above.

    One thing to remember is that you cannot store an image backup on same partition as that being backed up. Also, not a good idea to store it in a different partition on same drive in case drive fails.
    cereberus, Aug 20, 2017
  5. rcgldr Win User
    WIn 7 image backup is working for both Win 7 and Win 10, so at least I have something that works.

    Thanks for the info. I'll check it out.

    Each backup I do is to a different hard drive. In addition to the issue of drive failure if a backup to a different partition on the same drive, the random access overhead would make the backup process extremely slow and put a lot of stress on the hard drive.
    rcgldr, Aug 20, 2017
  6. Bree New Member
    I like to keep a system image on a second partition for the convenience, it's my equivalent of a 'factory reset' partition. I use it regularly for my test machine (System Two in my specs below) which has images for all editions of W10 plus a W7 image. In my experience using another partition on the same physical disk has little or no impact on speed.

    One thing I learned very early on is that the W10 recovery environment can only see and restore W10 images, and the same goes for W7. Plus saving a W7 image to a WindowsImageBackup folder that holds W10 images destroys the W10 environment's ability to see the W10 images. I segregate my images in two folders: WindowsImageBackup.W10 and WindowsImageBackup.W7. I rename the appropriate one to WindowsImageBackup when I want to save or restore an image. If you forget to do this before booting to the restore environment you do it in WinPE's Command Prompt.

    For disaster recovery I then make a system image that includes all partitions (including the system image one) to an external drive. Even my backups have backups *Smile
  7. rcgldr Win User
    I had the impression that the W10 images were still visible to both W7 and W10 repair disks until I did a W7 restore, and that it was running W7 repair that caused the W10 images to become unlisted, but maybe the loss of visiblity occurred during the W7 backup as you've posted, instead of during the W7 restore, which I thought was the problem. The W10 backups are still there, so I can test this by creating a ...W10 directory and moving the W10 backups, then renaming the directories as you've posted. I haven't seen this explained before. To avoid issues in identifying the backups, I use a different computer name for Win 7 and Win 10, such as NAME-7 and NAME-X.

    As for backing up all partitions, I wrote a utility to copy folders and files, along with security, reparse, and owner info to a folder on another partition. It works on all the partitions Win 7 and probably Win 10 partitions. (The boot partiion C: needs an image backup to backup the partition and boot sectors.) It runs under XP or XP X64, which may explain why there's something in Win 7 and probably Win 10 that XP doesn't recognize. It almost works on Win 7, but some linkages, probably related to reparse stuff isn't quite working. The advantage of the utility is that I can do selective restores, or I can "backup" and "defrag" a partition by doing a backup / verify (a second utility) / format / restore partition volume id (a third utility) / restore / verify sequence.
    rcgldr, Aug 20, 2017
  8. Bree New Member

    Win 7 image restore breaks ability to see Win 10 image backups

    Yes, I do something similar for my main machine. I name it after the build number (eg 15063-540) before taking a system image. That way I can keep several easily identified images, should I wish to go back to a previous build. I revert to its proper name after making the image, or restoring one.

    Bitter experience has taught me that strict segregation of W10 and W7 images. each in their own WindowsImageBackup folder is the only reliable way to ensure all images are restorable.
  9. rcgldr Win User
    Yet another issue occurred when I restored a prior instance of a Win 7 image before I installed Win 10. This restored the C: boot partition to it's pre Win 10 state, and in this case there's no option to restore "Windows 10". I'm wondering how the Win 10 restore is supposed to work or if it would work if a backup of all partitions was done, and then a restore all partitions to a new blank hard drive was attempted. The Win 7 backup / restore seems like it would work in this situation.

    I noticed that at the end of a system image backup, there's a "shadow copy" operation done, but it's not clear where that information is stored.
    rcgldr, Aug 20, 2017
  10. Bree New Member
    Yes, any Win10 WinPE (from 1507 to 1703) can restore an image made by any other version. I have made a bootable USB with each of the Win7 (x86 and x64) and Win10 (x86/x64) recovery environments in four separate sub-folders, and a batch file to move the one I require to the root of the USB so I can boot into it. I use this to restore Win10 images to a machine currently running Win7 (and vice versa).

    It's stored in the hidden System Volume Information folder on the same drive as you stored the system image.
  11. rcgldr Win User
    I can confirm this now. I renamed WindowsImageBackup to WindowsImageBackup.W7, created a WindowsImageBackup.W10, moved the W10 backups to that folder and then renamed it to WindowsImageBackup. Win 10 restore still didn't see the W10 backups, so the issue is doing the Win 7 backup after a Win 10 backup. Doing the Win 10 backup after the Win 7 backup doesn't seem to keep Win 7 repair from being able to see Win 7 backups, so the bug only seems to affect the the Win 10 backups not appearing if the sequence is Win 10 followed by Win 7 backup. I don't see any files in WindowsImageBackup, only the folders NAME-7 or NAME-10, which should imply no common files, so it's not clear to me what the actual root cause of this problem is.

    What's different in my case is that from Win 10 repair, I see the Win 7 backups, but I'm not going to test restoring them. In addition before the bug, the Win 7 repair was showing the Win 10 backups.
    rcgldr, Aug 20, 2017
  12. Bree New Member
    You can't, restore will complain that there's an operating system mismatch if you try. You can't even restore an x86 image with an x64 restore environment (or vice versa) even if it's the right OS. For success, everything has to match.
  13. rcgldr Win User

    Win 7 image restore breaks ability to see Win 10 image backups

    It's possible that doing a Win 7 repair restore also destroys the ability for Win 10 repair to see the Win 10 backups, but I haven't tested this using dual directories.
    rcgldr, Aug 20, 2017
  14. cereberus Win User
    As I said earlier, MS are deprecating this which means it will not get actively supported and eventually dropped. Their own advice is to use 3rd party tools. TBH the third party tools are faster, more flexible, smaller images, with host of other features - check out Rapid Delta Restore in paid version for example.

    Many here have found the Windows tool to be less reliable anyway.

    The Windows tool has not really been modified since Windows 7 and MS have finally admitted what we all know, ie they have no intent of keeping it. They tried to drop it in Windows 8, relegating it to an obscure link on backup page.

    Frankly, I will not trust a tool MS obviously do not care about. Companies like Macrium do care as it is their lifeblood.
    cereberus, Aug 21, 2017
  15. Bree New Member
    What you say is true. Even I as one who uses it regularly has found it unreliable. But in my experience the unreliability is almost entirely in finding and recognising an image that can be restored, not in the actual restore itself.

    As this thread demonstrates only too clearly, you'll break it if you try to be 'too clever' and do things outside its design function of imaging a single system to a single backup drive (eg trying to keep multiple images by renaming them, mixing images from different OS on the same backup drive, moving/copying the images to another drive - the list of 'don'ts' is endless).

    It is limited in its scope, but learn to stay within the limits and the restore is reliable enough. Deprecated now, so likely to be removed eventually, but not yet (not in the Fall Creators Update at least). Before jumping ship I'd like to see what Microsoft would recommend using, so far it's just a vague 'use something else'.

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