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Author Topic: Win 7 Bootable VHD as a viable alternative to OS backup image?  (Read 2068 times)

nite_monkey

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Win 7 Bootable VHD as a viable alternative to OS backup image?
« on: February 15, 2012, 05:42:01 PM »
Now that I crammed the entire topic of this post into that massive title, I can get onto the post.
If you are like me, you hate having to activate windows every time you reinstall it. That is why I used driveimagexml to back up my fresh install of windows 7. Now whenever I need to reinstall windows, I just format my drive and restore the image I made, and I don't have to activate windows again.

Just today however, I ran across this website that gave a tutorial on howto install windows to a bootable vhd with no previous os.
That gave me an idea. What if I were to take my 2TB drive, and empty it of any files, and then create a vhd, install and activate windows on that vhd, and then create a copy of this vhd file. That way the next time I need to reinstall windows, all I would have to do is delete the copied vhd file, and make a new copy of the original vhd file. I then just make that copy bootable and have a fresh clean os.

My question is, would this be a viable alternative to making a driveimagexml image of my fresh activated windows?
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4wd

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Re: Win 7 Bootable VHD as a viable alternative to OS backup image?
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2012, 06:39:05 PM »
One thing that immediately leaps out at me is now you have all your eggs in one basket.

ie. Instead of maybe just suffering a filesystem aberration on a single system 4kB file that is, possibly, easily fixable, you could now suffer it on a multi-GB file where a single corruption will render the whole thing useless.

Bootable VHD, (barring VM work which doesn't affect the host system), is more suited to transient OS booting, eg. boot into a temporary repair OS to fix your main OS, IMO.

That being said, VHD is a great alternative to OS image backup because if you nuke your system OS you can fire up a VM on another machine using your backup VHD and be up and running in a few minutes.

Stoic Joker

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Re: Win 7 Bootable VHD as a viable alternative to OS backup image?
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2012, 06:53:40 PM »
With ultimate or enterprise you can add the vhd with bcdedit as a boot option

nite_monkey

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Re: Win 7 Bootable VHD as a viable alternative to OS backup image?
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2012, 08:06:36 PM »
ie. Instead of maybe just suffering a filesystem aberration on a single system 4kB file that is, possibly, easily fixable, you could now suffer it on a multi-GB file where a single corruption will render the whole thing useless.
I did not think of that.

With ultimate or enterprise you can add the vhd with bcdedit as a boot option
Thats also available with professional which is what I have. I did that when I tried out windows 8 dev preview.

edit:well what do you know. Upon further research, I just found out that I can't do any of this. You can only install ult and ent on a bootable vhd.
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« Last Edit: February 15, 2012, 08:20:13 PM by nite_monkey »