Best way to backup and restore a Boot Camp partition?

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by skallal, Feb 5, 2014.

  1. skallal macrumors member

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    Aug 24, 2012
    #1
    One thing I really like about OS X is the ability to use Time Machine and to backup and restore a partition. But now I've started working with Boot Camp and would like to do something similar. I've already tried Macrium Reflect, but could not get it to boot after restoring a test partition.

    I now have an installation of Windows 8.1 Pro on Boot Camp, that is working well for me and I'd like to take a snapshot of it, and be able to restore it as a test. It looks so far like Winclone might be my best answer. But I prefer a Windows only solution if possible. I suspect that since Boot Camp uses OS X to facilitate booting into Windows, a pure Windows solution wouldn't be the best one.

    I want to start using my new Boot Camp partition with Parallels Desktop. That way I can have a Windows only environment and a Windows environment under OS X, with the same Windows installation. Parallels Desktop purports to support this scenario. But just in case something goes wrong, it would be crucial to restore my Boot Camp partition back to it's previous state.

    I spent a lot of time getting my Boot Camp partition working the way I want. I simply want to get back to the previous state if the Boot Camp VM fails.

    Any recommendations for a good Boot Camp backup and restore utility?
     
  2. InfoTime macrumors 6502

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    #2
    I was going to recommend WinClone when I saw your thread title. I still think that might be your best bet.

    I like Macrium Reflect. Have used it for years, but not on a Mac. Their paid version has an option called Redeploy that might help with the booting problem. You boot from a USB drive or CD and run their PE version of Windows and their tools. I think it might be able to fix that issue. You might want to try the Macrium forums to see if there's a fix for the issue you had.
     
  3. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #3
    Another vote for Winclone.

    In the Snow Leopard days it was great, then it had problems with Lion and the original creator abandoned it. Now it is back on track and works well.

    I have also used Copycat and Paragon with success while Winclone wasn't working, but much less convenient.
     
  4. skallal thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 24, 2012
    #4
    Thanks for the replies!

    Yes it does look like Winclone is the easiest and most direct solution. However there is one feature I find it is sorely lacking, that is incremental backups. Is there a workaround for that?

    Perhaps I could archive each image separately on my 3 TB drive. If there was a way to mount each image, then I could do a comparison between them.

    Otherwise Winclone looks like the way to go.
     
  5. Quackers macrumors 6502a

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  6. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #6
    There are lots of ways (including incremental) of backing up the data on your Bootcamp partition, but I am assuming you want a way of backing up the whole Bootcamp partition including the OS, such that it can be restored. You could use a combination of course. So that you backed up the data daily and the whole partition monthly for example.
     
  7. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    #7
    Doesn't Windows have its own image-create and incremental-backup functions?

    But I use WinClone since it always has worked flawlessly for me.

    You might be able to use both together for full restore capability.
     
  8. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #8
    Although I have never tried it, the last I read (~2yrs ago) was that the Microsoft built-in backup and restore tools would not restore a bootable volume to a Mac Bootcamp partition. That may have changed, or just be wrong....be interesting to see if anyone chips in.

    It might work to use the Microsoft tools for data and Winclone for the whole partition. The Microsoft tool is incremental of course.
     
  9. hfg macrumors 68040

    hfg

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    #9
    That is what I was thinking ... use WinClone to restore a recent bootable image, then use the Windows restore to bring it up-to-date. You could create new WinClone images after major updates.

    Not as clean and easy as Time Machine ....
     
  10. skallal thread starter macrumors member

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    Aug 24, 2012
    #10
    I have spent the past several days evaluating Winclone and the built in Microsoft solution and have arrived at some conclusions. In the process, I had to learn about the PMBR or Pseudo MBR Apple uses in Boot Camp.

    First of all, I thought I was able to utilize an entirely Microsoft solution. Windows 8.1 includes "System Image Backup", which can be found under "File History" in the Control Panel. It creates a large VHDX file on an external drive. Each time a new backup is created, this large VHDX file is overwritten. For a while I thought it was working just fine, but it was NOT.

    I suspect the System Image Backup might work okay outside of the Boot Camp environment, on real Windows hardware. But Boot Camp uses a Hybrid MBR. Go to http://www.rodsbooks.com/ and read up on it. Rod Smith has created both the rEFInd and GPT fdisk utilties. The latter includes a command line utility named gdisk, which can run under OS X and Windows, as well as Linux. I discovered the Microsoft included System Image Backup had apparently caused a GPT MBR mismatch. That is the GPT partition Boot Camp resides on and the emulated MBR partition, reported different sizes and start/end positions on the drive.

    Things worked for awhile with restored the System Image Backup. But ultimately I lost my HFS+ partition with OS X and lost nearly 2 weeks of changes, because I had NOT run Time Machine for the same 2 weeks. I had to use the gdisk utility, mentioned above, to diagnose the issue. In fact, I had to completely wipe my hard drive and restore the 2 week old Time Backup to get going again. And Winclone restored my Boot Camp partition. Fortunately, my Winclone backup was current.

    I had already purchased Winclone 4.3.1 about a week ago. But I had problems with it. Winclone support allowed me to download a Winclone 4.4 beta that corrected issues with Windows 8.1. Version 4.3.1 restored the Boot Camp partition, but was not bootable. Version 4.4 includes an option for legacy booting. This solution worked, except it disabled two third party drivers: Power Assistant and Trackpad++, by Vladimir Plenskiy, which had to be re-installed after the Winclone restore.

    Once I realized the Winclone 4.4 beta restore was solid, the driver re-installations seemed more trivial. Winclone 4.4 beta maintained the PMBR integrity the Microsoft restore did not. Again the gdisk utility verified this.

    The main caveat with Winclone, is that the current version 4.3.1 does NOT work in my case. Apparently it works with a true EFI booting of Windows, but my mid 2012 MBP 15", apparently does not support EFI booting of Windows. I am not sure if version 4.3.1 works with Window 8 or 7, but it didn't for me with 8.1.

    Winclone is the only working solution I have found to restore a Boot Camp partition without a GPT MBR mismatch. But in my case, this requires the version 4.4 beta, which is due to be released shortly.

    Bottom line: Winclone is the ONLY solution I personally can recommend.
     
  11. jenzjen macrumors 68000

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    Aug 20, 2010
    #11
    New Winclone user here, I have 4.3.1 on a nMP running 8.1 that I installed simply through boot camp assistant. Is that an EFI install?

    The issue you saw, is this why my winclone image shows a "?"
     
  12. skallal, Feb 14, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2014

    skallal thread starter macrumors member

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    #12
    jenzjen: I really don't which Macs support EFI Boot Camp. I've heard some of the newest MBAs do. My mid 2012 MBP 15 is a MacBookPro 9,1 if I recall correctly. And it does NOT support EFI booting on Boot Camp.

    Not sure what you mean by Winclone image showing a "?".

    My last post was WAY too long. Hope it is not too confusing. So let me quickly say how I knew something was wrong.

    You can download gdisk, a part of GPT fdisk by Rod Smith for OS X, Windows, or Linux at http://www.rodsbooks.com/gdisk/. Run gdisk from a Mac Terminal session as:

    sudo gdisk /dev/disk0

    or from a Windows elevated Command Prompt as Admin as:

    gdisk 0:

    The above examples assume Boot Camp in on the first physical drive.

    Then enter the "v" command to verify the GPT partitions. If you get any errors, then there could be a problem. I got a GPT/MBR mismatch error. I got rid of this error by restoring my Boot Camp image from a Winclone backup.

    I believe the above GPT/MBR mismatch error was caused by restoring from a built in System Image Backup in Windows 8.1 Control Panel.

    About Winclone on your nMP: If you can restore a Winclone image back to you Boot Camp partition and you can boot, then you don't need the version 4.4 beta from support. However, if you can NOT boot from a Winclone restore, you might need version 4.4 after all. I certainly did. Also my Winclone restore fixed the GTP/MBR mismatch reported by gdisk.

    Also the Winclone version 4.4 beta is to fix Windows 8.1 booting issues. And it is only available from Winclone support. Russell on their forums sent me a private download link.

    Hope this helps.
     
  13. hkoster1 macrumors regular

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    #13
    Ah, does that explain the presence of that mysterious tiny 133.2 MB "Microsoft Reserved" partition on my external HD with GPT? Could that be for storing the PMBR?

    I noticed that Winclone 4.3.1 did not clone this tiny partition to a backup HD, causing booting of the clone to fail ("There is a problem....").
     
  14. eternalhack macrumors newbie

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    Nov 21, 2013
    #14
    How do you know this was the source of the boot failure?

    ----------

    I asked this question recently and unfortunately you have to backup your Mac partition and bootcamp using 2 different tools. I tried clonezilla and was able to create an image but didn't try restoring to make sure it works. I've had problems with Winclone with an EFI windows install but the developers are working through it. Carbon Copy Cloner/Time machine and winclone seem to be the defacto solution.
     
  15. hkoster1 macrumors regular

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    #15
    I've changed my setup: using the recently upgraded Winclone 4.4 to backup my
    Windows 8.1 partition to another Thunderbolt HD. The backup is also bootable.
     
  16. MrGNY macrumors newbie

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    Feb 3, 2015
    #16
    I am setting up a 5K iMac as I type this. I am using a backup of my boot camp partition that I made using windows backup. All you would need to do is install the OS and then restore.
     
  17. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #17
    Has it worked?

    So, if I am reading it right, the Windows backup will not restore the whole image (OS plus data) as a single step, (like Winclone would), but if you reinstall the Windows OS first then you can use the Windows backup to restore data (and apps, settings?).

    Is that how it is?
     
  18. freeuser macrumors regular

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    #18
  19. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #19
    Unless things have changed (which they might well have done) it won't restore a whole bootable volume in one go. Might have to install the OS, then restore from the Acronis backup.

    Remember the old chestnut: a backup is not a backup until it has been tested!
     
  20. Gjwilly macrumors 68030

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    #20
    Parallels might but Microsoft doesn't.
    When you load your Bootcamp partition into Parallels I'm pretty sure you're going to get a Windows error saying that your license is invalid.
    Windows licenses are only valid for one machine and according to the license terms, a virtual machine is separate from the physical machine running it.
    Windows 7 didn't care but Windows 8 will detect that the virtual machine is not the one that it was originally licensed on.
     
  21. nacron macrumors newbie

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    Feb 11, 2015
    #21
    Found this thread because I had an iMac 9,1 running OSX10.10 and Windows 7 and windows started reporting HDD errors. I did a disk image with the windows backup then I swapped the HDD, reinstalled 10.9 then upgraded to 10.10, ran bootcamp, installed windows 7, then booted to the windows recovery disc and ran the image recovery. After it finished it booted right to where windows was when I did the image recovery and I can still boot into 10.10.
     
  22. Mike Boreham macrumors 65816

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    #22
    Good to know thanks.
     
  23. freeuser macrumors regular

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    #23
    @nacron

    due to Apples hybrid MBR/GPT Efi, have you made a backup in Bios mode, or Efi; i think, it's been in Bios mode, because in my case, every time i tried a backup solution in Efi mode, every recover fails to boot (Winclone, Paragon and Acronis). A former installation of Win7 in Bios mode, i got a working recover with Paragon Drive Copy, but not in Efi mode. So, at least, i gave up in doing a backup, except for my data.
     
  24. maflynn Moderator

    maflynn

    Staff Member

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    #24
    For total bootcamp backups, I use WinClone - it works fabulously. I've used the backup/restore.

    For actual windows backup, i.e., files sytstem etc. I use Acronis. I've restored files not the system. This software works well and is generally pretty fast. The UI is a little odd, it doesn't use your standard windows directory tree UI but its serviceable.

    Windows 8 also has a backup system, but, i've never tried it.
     
  25. Mais78 macrumors regular

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    Dec 1, 2014
    #25
    I was thinking about the same thing, I recently installed W7 and would not want to go through the thousands of Windows Updates again, especially if I want to make the bootcamp partition bigger and have to reinstall again.
    If I understand correctly I cannot take a system image using win 7 and then use the bootcamp assistant to install that as opposed to the iso image of the installation CD, is this correct?

    If so:
    Option 1: use winclone. Can I still change the size of the bootcamp partition or Winclone will back up also that?

    Option 2: Use bootcamp assistant to delete the partion and to set up a new one, then install W7 from iso image and once installed I can use the system image created previously in win 7

    Is this correct?
     

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