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Backup & Restore Options. Bootable External USB Drive? Need Some Help.

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Posted 16 August 2016 - 12:07 AM

Recently, I updated Windows 7 to 10, and 10 did a number on my hard drive, an HDD. I had to bury it. So I've reinstalled Windows 7 Home Premium on an SSD, but won't suffer through another catastrophic failure. I need help with the proper way to restore the new SSD I've installed for Windows in such an event.


My first question is, can I save multiple .ISO files to a single external HDD and have it bootable? Or if you make the drive bootable, can there be only one .ISO file on the drive? In my experience, Windows 10 simply wouldn't start, couldn't fix itself, the advanced features were useless, and I couldn't reach or really operate from the command line. The drive was finished. 


So in other words, I had no way to recover to a previous build. What I'd like to have is a daily a backup made to an external hard drive (incremental I suppose) so that if Windows 10 decided to bug on me again, I could choose a state in which it was working and restore it without issue.


What's the best way for a novice to handle this? 


My SSD is just 240GB. Should I clone it? Should I setup automatic backups to an external drive and then take those and put them on a bootable DVD or USB Flash Drive, that is if the external drive cannot be bootable with multiple backups. 


As you can see I'm turned around here. Would really appreciate some guidance as you know time is money.


I've also been looking at different software such as Acronis, EaseUs, Paragon, Aomei. It's a big mess. They all seem to have various issues & nothing is decisive among users.

Edited by hamluis, 16 August 2016 - 11:46 AM.
Moved from External Hardware to Backup/Imaging - Hamluis.

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#2 Havachat


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Posted 16 August 2016 - 05:21 AM

I use Acronis and Create a Boot Disc also if ever needed.

Never had an issue in years where it was needed , but a do weekly Images of my C:\ to D:\ Backup Folder { 2nd Partition } Or you could use an External Drive.


I dont run Incremental Backups as all my personal Data is saved Externally - Manually.


Have tried recently Macrium Reflect Free  on brother in laws Laptop , and set for One full Backup Monthly , and Incrementals Daily.

Quite easy to set the Schedules up , and had no issues with it.

Also comes with Boot PE to create a Boot Disc.


If Acronis ever gives me any issues ? Hasnt Yet in 7 yrs but  i may sway towards Macrium Reflect in the event it happens.

If you run an External Drive for Backups ensure its plugged in for when the Schedule Runs.

#3 smax013


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Posted 16 August 2016 - 10:05 AM

There are a number of ways to achieve your end goal.

The most common way is what Havachat mentioned...use a backup/imaging program that also comes with or allows you to create a bootable optical disc with the backup/imaging program on it. With this method, you image/backup your drive to an external drive, typically using an incremental/differential* image/backup. Then if something happens, you install the new blank drive that you just bought, boot from the bootable backup/image program optical disc with the external drive attached, and the restore from the image/backup.

* This link explains differences between incremental and differential backups if you are not already aware: http://support.novabackup.com/customer/portal/articles/743635

Another ways is to clone your drive to a second drive. I tend to do this for my boot drives (I also tend to keep my data on either a separate drive or an NAS [network attached storage] device). I will buy a second drive of the exact same brand, model, and size as the boot drive and install it in an external enclosure (in my case, I typically use an eSATA enclosure or eSATA dock). I then clone the boot drive to the clone drive at "critical" times (obviously after first setting the new computer up with all programs, but then only right before I do major updates to Windows or install major new programs). Then I know that I have a nearly identical setup on the clone drive (it might not have all Windows updates or program updates) if something happens to the boot drive. If that happens, I can either nuke the boot drive and restore from the clone drive, boot from the clone drive (you can boot from an external eSATA drive on any Windows computer, which is why I use eSATA external drives [plus they are fast]...not all Windows computers can boot from USB drives), install the clone drive in the computer, or if the boot drive died, then install the new drive and clone/restore back from the clone drive to the new boot drive. With this method I can be back up and running in minutes if I either boot from the external clone drive or install the clone drive as the new boot drive (and then clone the clone drive [now boot drive] to the new drive when it arrives).

FWIW, I use Acronis True Image for my cloning purposes, but it will also do images and provide a bootable optical disc that it either ships with (if you buy a disc version) or you can create (if you buy the downloadable version).

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