Making system backup images in Vista Business

After nearly eight months using Windows 7 I am beginning to forget how to do things in Vista.  At SATV, we are upgrading our new Dell workstations to Win7.  As is good practice I need to make an image backup of each workstation before the update. 

I’ve chosen to update rather than clean install since the machines are relatively new and in good health so far as Windows is concerned.  But I still need to make that image backup in case it blows up.

If you go by the Backup and Restore UI in Vista it isn’t obvious how to make a image, and it may seem that it isn’t possible.  But I live on the command line and it is possible.

WBADMIN is what you want:

wbadmin start backup –allCritical –vssFull –backuptarget: <location>

On our network, it took six hours to backup one workstation to a network share.  A caveat I have to keep in mind is that the Windows recovery process will not take an image from a share so if it does blow up, I will need to copy that image to an external hard disk and take the HD to the affected computer.

One computer is running Seven without incident;  five more to go.

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