Microsoft has finally added a new feature to their OS that almost works the way it should.
The new backup features in Windows 7 can do a full image backup of your system which includes: automatic compression, the ability to backup to optical media, external or internal drives, and network shares. Once you have done a full image backup the program asks if you would like to make a boot disk, the boot disk allows you to restore an image from whichever media you choose.
I have personally tested this by imaging the system to a network share, pulling the drive, re-formatting it, and then restoring from the network share using the boot disk, for once something works! The base install was 18gigs the image was about 9gigs, wow compression built in even! The boot disk, although I haven’t been able to test it yet, supports loading drivers if necessary.
Before you become to excited, it must be noted that the file by file backup does not do incramental or differential backups, only full backups of the folders you choose. This could easily chew up a lot of hard disk space if you have a lot of files you wish to backup.
On another note, the backups will still work when running Trusted Platform Module (TPM) encryption on the drive. Yes, Windows 7 will use TPM to encrypt any or all partitions on your Hard Drive, without any extra programs such as the HP security center that is included with HP’s Elitebooks. After restoring an image to a PC that was previously encrypted, you must re-encrypt the drive.
Windows 7 Backup and Encryption utilities work. However, the backup utility could do with a bit of tweaking to bring it a bit closer to third-party backup utilities such as Acronis.