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Restore point or backup?

By GoneBaja · 8 replies
Sep 2, 2012
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  1. Not sure if there is a difference, but it's probably important.

    How do I know if the thing I have on hand is a fully capable Restore point, vs what I imagine is a less capable, Backup.

    I need a Restore Point, I think I have one on an External Drive...but I need to be sure that I am not going to have unexpected results....

    So pointers on what it should look like and how to make sure I am putting the computer back to where it was when I made it, would be most appreciated.

  2. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,173   +3,263

    I think you are confusing the terms.
    • A "Restore Point" is an integrated feature of Windows that allows you to create restoration points at any time. These points do not make a complete backup of the operating system.
    • A "Backup" is usually a complete backup of the operating system. Depending on how you backup, you can also choose to include other drives in with the operating system backup.
    What you described above as a restore point, sounds more like a backup created on an external drive. Personally I've never used Windows Backup feature. I've always used a third party application for my Backup needs in creating a complete system image of my OS partition.

    Even though I don't use Windows Backup, I do use Windows to create Restore Points for some small glitch that may develop along the way. If the restore point works and there is no need in a complete system recovery, I am more than happy not using the backup image. I've been using Windows 7 for over three years and needed a restore point maybe twice during this time. To the best of my memory, I've yet to need a backup image other than switching hard drives around.
  3. GoneBaja

    GoneBaja TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 82

    Yes, I do find it confusing and don't fully understand the differences.

    I do want to go back in time essentially, as I repartioned the HD with some unforeseen results...so I would like to, probably use a Restore point...but the Restore point disappeared during the HD repartion.

    So my question is, will if this is correct, Restoring from the Backup I have on the External, wind back the clock to where the whole thing was at when that backup was done.... too bad I didn't do an Image, but I'm still getting clear on the differences...which is why I am so concerned about being clear....or is this too complicated for Windows 7 to do on it's own and I am asking for more trouble.... given that the HD has been partitioned differently since the Backup was done....new sizes on the two partions

    thanks for jumping in.

  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,173   +3,263

    The restore points are just save points that can be restore system functionality. Restore points will not alter user files only system settings. Windows will only keep the most recent restore points to keep a check on disk usage. You set the amount of space you want alloted for system restore points and Windows will delete the oldest point when disk usage has reached its max allotment.

    I've never used Windows Backup so I can't tell you if its a full system backup or if it is only a partial backup. To be honest I think Windows Backup can be configured to be either a partial or full system backup. I just can't tell you as I've always used a third party Backup utility.

    Until 3 years ago I was more familiar with Recovery Partitions (HP, Emachine, Dell) than I was with system image backup applications. It wasn't till I purchased a Seagate hard drive that came with Seagate DiscWizard (powered by Acronis for use with seagate hard drives) that I started creating my own images. I've been creating images with Seagate DiscWizard ever since.

    There are several third party utilities to choose from that are free for home use as well as Windows Backup.
  5. GoneBaja

    GoneBaja TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 82

    Do you think Windows will have a problem if I restore what I think is a full backup, onto a HD that now has different partitoning?
  6. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,173   +3,263

    If you are restoring the image to a different partition then there is no need in altering the partition you are currently using. Go ahead and restore the image to another partition and see if Windows will operate from the restored partition.
  7. GoneBaja

    GoneBaja TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 82

    That's not the configuration of the backup though, the back up was of two partitions too, I have already resized the two partitions to allow more room on the C: for Program files as it was running out of space. The backup is of the old sized partitions...that is what I am worried about whether it is a problem or not, to restore...to different sized partitions.
  8. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    A backup would normally restore to different sized partitions, and would not be much use if it did not, since such a backup would often be for the purpose of replacing a failed HDD. I assume you used the Win 7 backup?
    The exception might be a 'drive image' where in some of the more primitive cases an exact disk image can be restored, but even so, nobody with any sense would take that particular option, as drive image software can also restore to any larger partition in any I have ever used.

    For your future reference, software is available, often free, for resizing partitions without disturbing the existing data, but of course, a full backup before-hand is a very wise precaution.

    One further point, a system restore to a time when partitions were different sizes is not an issue, since a system restore to the best of my knowledge, just replaces files and because it replaces some or all of the registry files, it in effect uninstalls anything you have installed since the restore point was made.
  9. GoneBaja

    GoneBaja TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 82

    Thank you for the more thorough explanation of these various similar but different backup processes.
    I wanted to be absolutely sure of the difference after a glitch with Windows Disk partioner...it didn't work very well.
    The most important thing I discovered in backup land is that the App that Windows supplies is not very reliable for this either and it's best to use something third party...

    Again thanks for taking the time to explain/reasure.

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