Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Speculating about Windows 8 and how it might handle partitions is still a guess. Whatever it may do, backup software is still the best way to manage your restore partition.
Given that few people have Windows on a CD or disc anymore, what will happen when Windows 8 comes out? More to the point is that Windows 7 for me and many others resides on a partition of my main drive. The question is – will Windows 8 reset my computer and delete the partition making the computer a Windows 8 only machine? Even if the partition remains, then how can the partition be upgraded to Windows 8 or will I have to reinstall Windows 7 and then Windows 8 via upgrade every time I want to reset my computer? I understand that Windows 8 has the ability to reset to factory specs however, does that mean reset to the point I installed Windows 7 or will this be as if Windows 7 was never on and be as if the upgrade is really a complete version and not an upgrade? Thanks for your time and consideration.
In this excerpt from Answercast #38, I look at potential difficulties in installing Windows 8 on a system. What if you want to go back?
I want to start by saying I honestly believe that a lot of thinking (or the questions and the worrying that I see about Windows 8) is premature. Windows 8 has not been released.
It won't be released until October.
I really don't think, for most people, that it needs to be an issue this soon;
And certainly, even perhaps, not for awhile after it actually has been released.
However, to your questions. (Of course, since Windows 8 has not been released, this is speculation... but it's a highly educated guess, is what I'll call it.)
So, when you install Windows 8, will it affect your recovery partition?
The chances are that the recovery partition was probably placed there by your computer manufacturer, since Windows 7 was pre-installed on your machine.
Chances are Windows 8 will simply install Windows 8 into the primary partition and not much else.
Now, if that's the case, then if you were to use the recovery partition, you would be recovering your machine back to its Windows 7 initial state.
The way around that is actually fairly straightforward. After you setup Windows 8, make a backup image.
In fact, I think a backup image is a good thing, especially (as you say) since so many people don't have installation CDs to reset their operating system to its initial state. The best thing to do to recover from that is to simply make a system image as soon as you can after the operating system is installed.
Save that system image.
Because that is what you would restore your machine to should you ever need to restore it to its initial state.
You don't have the installation discs to be able to reinstall the operating system – but you have something better. You have an image of the operating system:
As it was installed;
Immediately after it was installed;
At its initial state.
That works for Windows 8, for Windows 7, for Windows XP, I really don't care what version of operating system you're running.
If you install the operating system, or if you get a machine that doesn't (for whatever reason) come with installation media, then by all means:
I recommend Macrium Reflect. The free version will deal with this perfectly.
Image the hard drive.
Save that image somewhere safe.
So that if you ever need it, you have an opportunity to restore the machine back to its initial state that you saved a snapshot of.
By using this initial image, that you create yourself, you actually take all the guesswork out of what Windows 8 might or might not do to your system.
You control what a system image contains;
You control when it is taken;
And you control what it means, then, to restore to that system image at any
point in the future.
Next from Answercast 38 – Are mini-tower machines more prone to overheating?
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