Windows 7 disk image process hanging after ~24 hours... what to do?
June 28, 2020 1:40 PM   Subscribe

Should I interrupt this backup to reboot? My laptop is slowly getting worse, I'm going to take it for service tomorrow, and I switched backup strategies to make a Windows 7 disk image, deleting my old backup in the process. Currently my disk image backup (Windows backup), begun yesterday afternoon, has stopped progressing since this morning; the progress bar has stopped at ~95% full/done! I'm not sure whether another attempt would work well.

These are both 2 TB drives, so it's not that surprising it's taken a while, but there's been no real progress since this morning / ~5 hours ago. This backup started yesterday afternoon and I'm hoping to take the computer in for service tomorrow.

There's currently slightly more space (tens of GB) free on the backup drive than on the C drive. Currently the "Create a System Image" dialog says "Windows is saving the backup... [progress bar] ... Creating shadow copy on backup drive My Passport (E:)"

Should I interrupt the process and re-start the computer? Is there any hope that this backup will complete if I just leave it alone for another night? The free space on the backup drive (E) indicates that it's now got about as much on there as was on the computer (drive C only)...but maybe slightly less.

I really really don't want to have to reinstall windows. I have software that has to be installed from disks that are currently hundreds of miles away.

Unfortunately, this is my first time using the Windows native backup/disk image software (I used another system previously). Argh. I think I have some kind of hardware / video chip problem that's making my machine sloooowly fail. If I rebooted, it might get Internet service back, and the ability to mount USB devices... yeah, it's not a great situation. Any advice on what to do about this backup?

Thanks in advance.
posted by amtho to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
The system image backup does seem to stall out for me for a while (maybe an hour or so?) after reaching ~90% for me when I run it IME, and it usually takes several hours (I'd guess around 6-8?) for me to do a backup start-to-finish of my SSD system drive (which has around 350 GB in use atm). I would probably let it run for another few hours before giving up, if you're backing up a TB or more and if you're set on using the built-in system image backup. Restarting the computer won't pick the backup off where it left off, but will start a new image if you try again.

You might have better luck with a third-party disk imaging solution like Acronis True Image (I haven't used it but it tends to come recommended for this sort of thing); on the whole I've been kinda meh on the built-in tools for backup on Windows. The fact that they're built-in is the main thing they have going for them.
posted by Aleyn at 2:45 PM on June 28

Oh, another thing you can do is launch Resource Monitor and see if there's any disk or CPU activity for the backup process (which I think is "sdclt.exe", but I only have Windows 10 to test with). If it's stalled out, you probably won't see any disk or CPU activity.
posted by Aleyn at 2:52 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]

Thanks Aleyn! I'll wait a little longer.

I looked at Acronis -- it's priced $50 per year, ugh. If anyone can recommend
non - subscription - based, non - cloud - based disk image/ backup software, I'm open to it.
posted by amtho at 4:22 PM on June 28

Macrium Reflect is another imaging tool I've heard recommended (but again, haven't used) and it looks like they have a free version if your needs are modest.
posted by Aleyn at 11:02 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]

Clonezilla is free, and it was quick, easy, and simple to use iirc.
posted by hypercomplexsimplicity at 8:57 AM on June 29

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