Windows Image Backup, also known as complete PC Backup, was first introduced with Windows Vista but, sadly, was only included in a few versions of that OS. With Windows 7, the ability to create a full system image backup of your Windows 7 installation is available in every edition of the OS.
I would always recommend that when you have Windows 7 installed and working as you want it you should use this feature to create a backup copy. This means that when/if you need to reinstall Windows you can quickly and simply restore from the backup and be back up and running in minutes.
However this system is not without its problems. These are caused by the boot files and the new BCD Boot loader. Depending on which way the wind is blowing and whether or not there’s an R in the month, Windows might store these on your Windows 7 disk or partition, it may create a System Volume where it stores them or it may put them on another disk or partition that you’re using for something else.
When you then come to create a backup, you could find that either you get the message below…
There is not enough disk space to create the volume shadow copy on storage location. Make sure that for all volume to be backup up, the minimum disk space required for shadow copy creation is available. This applies to both the backup storage destination and volume included in the backup. Minimum requirement for Volumes less than 500 megabytes, the minimum is 50 megabyte of free space. For volumes more than 500 megabytes, the minimum is 320 megabytes of free space. Recommended at least 1 gigabytes free of disk space on each volumes if volumes size is more than 1 gigabytes (0×80780119)
…or that Windows 7 also insists on backing up a partition that you have files and data on. This means that not only will your backup file be far larger than you want, but that when you come to restore it, any and all new files on this drive will be wiped and the original ones put back.
Fortunately the fixes for both of these problems are the same and quick and simple to rectify.
By default the System Volume partition containing Windows 7 boot files will sit at 100Mb just before your Windows partition. 100Mb really isn’t enough though and in order for Windows Image Backup to work it needs at least 40Mb of free space here. Sometimes this can drop to the low 30’s causing the error message seen above.
To fix both problems you can move this system partition to a new location and increase its size. To do this follow these instructions…
- Right-click on Computer in your Start Menu and select Manage from the options that appear.
- In the Computer Management Window click Disk Management in the left hand pane.
- Right click on the partition containing your Windows 7 installation and select Shrink Volume from the context menu that appears.
- Shrink the volume by 400Mb, so type 400 into the box (this doesn’t need to be precise and if the dialog window amends this figure slightly don’t worry) so that you will have roughly 400Mb free after your Windows partition. Click OK to complete this shrink, it should only take a few seconds.
- Right click in the new empty space after your Windows 7 partition and create a new simple volume using the maximum amount of available space. You should call this something like Boot or BCD and format it as NTFS. Give it a drive letter, for instance F:.
- In the start menu type cmd in the search box there and right click on it when it appears in the search results to run it as an administrator.
- In the Command window that appears…
- Type bcdboot/exe C:Windows /s F: and press Enter, where C: is the drive on which you have Windows 7 installed and F: is the new system volume partition that you have created.
- Type DISKPART and press Enter.
- Type select volume F and press Enter.
- Type active and press Enter.
- Back in Computer Management > Disk Management remove the drive letter for this new partition.
- When you reboot your machine Windows will have moved all the boot and system settings to this new partition.
Doing this means you will then be able to use Windows Image Backup properly with no problems and there will be plenty of space for this new partition and the data contained on it.
The fact that Windows 7 only makes this system partition, if it creates it at all, 100Mb is short-sighted. I can only hope that future versions of Windows handle the System Volume in a more sensible manner.
by Mike Halsey : Everything-Microsoft.com