Safe Mirror of Vista for Restore after Win7


Active Member
Hi all. I'm fed up with trying to get Vista to run standalone on another disk, but I must proceed with testing of Win 7 *upgrade* procedure -- specifically to test compatibility with existing drivers and apps.

What I want to do at this point is create a reliable image of the existing Vista system partition (to be saved on another disk). Then I'll do the Windows 7 RC upgrade testing on the original Vista partition (C). After testing is complete, I want to fully restore the original Vista image back to the C: drive, with MBR and other booting issues all properly taken care of. For the moment I have removed the Linux partition that normally shares that drive for simplicity's sake, but there is another data partition on the same drive that I'd prefer not to have to image/save (due to its size).

Can anyone recommend a SAFE procedure for proceeding?

Ok, so since you want to make an image of your Vista partition, and then restore it later to the same partition, after first replacing the original Vista with Win 7 on it, then it would be a good idea to read this link. There is a lot of useful information, and it describes some of the problems associated with creating and restoring a backup image of a Vista partition. If you want, why don't you go ahead, and post a screenshot of your Disk Management window, so that way we can see which partition on your system is Vista, and which is marked as "system" and "active". If its not Vista's partition (i.e. C), then there shouldn't be any trouble at all with the backup copy when you restore it, because the BCD will not exist on that partition (and that is where the problem lies). But if on the other hand, your C: partition is "system", then you will definitely want to read that page from Multibooters.


I'll pull together the partition info, but I've already spent a LOT of time with the discussion at that link, and it does not give me confidence that I'd derive the proper procedure from the voluminous discussions there.

Linux is so much more straightforward, as was Unix before it ...
Linux is so much more straightforward, as was Unix before it ...
Yes, but Microsoft unfortunately does things much stupider than free OSes', such as Linux and Unix, developers, so that is why there is so much more hassle involved with Vista... :tongueout:
And then again, in the case of Microsoft, they're just out to make more money, so they pretty much design their stuff to break on its own anyway, so their users have to pay to fix it. :frowning:
That is why I just recently started using PC-BSD, which I find is very cool, as it is sort of Linux and XP combined in one, and I think it can run the software of both. :wink: Don't haft to do everything by the command-line either...
Attached is the partition info. Disk 2 Drive C: is the main Vista partition. JKT all contain data. L contains an image (copied with Acronis demo so that all the free space wasn't imaged, otherwise it wouldn't have fit) of the C: Vista partition. Even with much screwing around with the Repair disk, the info on the link you mentioned, various BCD manipulations, and so on, I've never gotten L to boot standalone, and when it does boot it is intertwined with the original C drive in ways that make it unsafe for Win7 testing.

What I want to do now is make a copy of C on L (again, leaving out most of the free space) in such a way that after I've tested the upgrade procedure from Vista to Win7 on C, I can then fully restore the Vista image on L back to C.



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There shouldn't be any issue with making a partition image of Vista and then restoring it back to its original disk. The cloning issue is only when you make a copy of Vista or W7 to a new HDD and then try to run it from there. The BCD id for the disk will differ from the actual id of the new location.
When you restore the image back into the same slot, everything is still correct and the system should run without any knowledge that it's been elsewhere temporarily.
Any partition-imaging backup utility should do the job without a problem as long as it's Vista compatible.
Case studies seem to suggest that there are various ways this can go wrong. People get locked out, can't run enough of a system to run the restore program, discover that Windows 7 has mashed their original MBR, and so on.

Can anyone on this list suggest an exact sequence to follow, proven from actual experience? Thanks again.
Imaging programs like Paragon Drive Copy allow you to make a bootable CD which you can use to restore the image. You don't need to have an OS running.
I've used it to change this to this, where absolutely everything moved to a new location (old sata to new sata, old ide to old sata) and that included both Vista and W7 being cloned to new disks. It just required an auto boot repair of each system.
The most problem I had was actually with Ubuntu, which I couldn't get to boot, so I reinstalled it. If I had more Linux expertise I expect I could have got the clone of that to work too.
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How about Norton Ghost 14 - presumably restoring back to C: drive (and hopefully not touching the other two partitions on the disk) via the Ghost boot CD? Will I have any problems with the MBR written by Windows 7 when I try to restore Vista?
Nope if you do a partition based restore rather than disk restore. If it does though its as easy to fix as booting from the Windows 7 dvd and performing startup repair, though that shouldn't be needed either as Vista and W7 use the same bootloader.
Thanks. I guess the only issue now is to make sure that Ghost only restores the single
C partition on restore, and doesn't wipe any other partitions on that disk...