Today I have been trying to get the backups of our Windows machines in the office onto our shiny NAS device. Windows 7 provides a backup and image facility; the idea is that you image the machine to backup a snapshot of it (setup, applications, data etc.) from time to time, and you backup your data very regularly.
For something like a laptop getting a proper image is very important as often they don’t come with recovery media to rebuild them if a hard disk fails. Remember, hard disks are physical things – they DO fail from time to time!
To be honest with you I struggled. A Windows image creates a boot DVD which, if your hard disk has failed, you can start your machine from, and then use that to restore the image saved on another disk during the Windows 7 image process. A NAS drive maps itself as a network drive which it can be tricky for a basic windows image boot to see, so, bit of a shame, but we’ll just have to keep using our images saved onto USB hard drive.
I just thought I’d give them a check and I was horrified to find that BOTH our Windows 7 machines, when booted from their recovery disks, started fine, but then couldn’t see their image backups. i.e. the machine images were worthless. (All out DATA is backed up elsewhere using different software, but the time to simply get a machine up and running with all your apps and personal settings ‘just so’ from scratch can be measured in days if not weeks).
I tried and I tried and I tried to get a standards windows 7 image to be found… all to no avail. Now, both these machines happen to be Dell machines, and they have partly hijacked the imaging process by inserting bits of their own software (to make things easier… for them). But it strikes me that many people might be out there carefully doing backups/images of their machines, and come the failure of a hard disk they will be worthless as the Windows 7 imaging process, out of a limited sample of two machines, simply doesn’t work.
So, I’d highly advise you if you are doing regular images/backups, to get them out and fire them up and see if you can get to a stage where it looks like it is going to work… after all this IS your insurance policy.
PS. If you don’t backup your data then disaster lurks around the corner for you…