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What should I Backup?

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#1 bobyboy


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Posted 16 January 2018 - 07:28 AM

I have had my computer for 12 months now and have just realised that I need to back up thing should my system crash.

What should I back up to get me up and running again and how do I do it, in easy steps if possible, I am a bit raw when it comes to computers!

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#2 Allan


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Posted 16 January 2018 - 07:32 AM

Here's something I put together a few years ago for another forum:


Disk Imaging software takes a "snapshot" of your drive as it exists at the time you create the image. You can then restore the entire image or any file(s) or folder(s) you choose. It is a virtually foolproof way of backing up your system and providing a safe haven in the event of a catastrophe that requires you to blow away your system partition and restore it to a previous state. It also allows you to "test" various software and be confident that you have a the ability to return to the prior state any time you choose.
I use Acronis True Image. It is the best of breed, but it isn't free. The best free alternative is Macrium Reflect. 
1) I create an image of my system partition once a week to a second hard drive and keep the 2 or 3 most recent images. I also image my other partitions about once a month. I always enable "verify image" in the options. It takes a little longer, but insures a valid image (the last thing you want is to try to restore an image only to find it is corrupt - it happens).
2) I also create an image before performing any drive level function (ie, changing the size of a partition) or making any significant change to the OS (installing a service pack, upgrading IE, even when installing a "questionable" Windows update, etc) -- also sometimes before installing new software.
3) Images may be created on any medium (cd, dvd, external drive, etc). For obvious reasons they should not be stored on the same drive you are imaging. The best option is a second internal hd if you have one and, if you're really ambitious, to an external drive as well (one week to the internal & one week to the external or just duplicates on the external - that's actually the procedure I follow).
4) Images may be created "in the background" within the OS. If you need to restore the system partition, that will need to be done before the OS loads. You can start the process within the application in the OS and it will then tell you it needs to reboot to finish the process. Alternatively, you can boot to a "recovery disk" which you create from within the software (or to the application disk itself if you have one). Non-system partitions or drives can be restored without a reboot.

#3 mikey11


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Posted 16 January 2018 - 08:04 AM

you can use the windows backup program to backup to an external drive......or you can drag and drop files/folders as you like

#4 Kilroy


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Posted 16 January 2018 - 11:50 AM

You have two options, full system as proposed by Allan, this will have you back to where you were when you made the back up.  This will require the most drive space as it includes your Windows install, programs, and your data.


User data is what I do.  I use SyncBack Free and back up the following.  This list assumes you are using the Microsoft Office products.  This list contains important user data, provided it is stored in the default locations.


User's SyncBack settings (C:\Users\USERID\AppData\Local\2BrightSparks\SyncBackFree)

User's OneNote Links (C:\Users\USERID\AppData\Local\Microsoft\OneNote)

User's Office Customizations (C:\Users\USERID\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office)

Outlook Signatures (C:\Users\USERID\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures)

Sticky Notes (C:\Users\USERID\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Sticky Notes) Will not exist if user does not use Sticky Notes

Custom Dictionary (C:\Users\USERID\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\UProof\CUSTOM.DIC)

User's Desktop (C:\Users\USERID\Desktop)

User's Documents (C:\Users\USERID\Documents)

User's Downloads (C:\Users\USERID\Downloads)

User's Favorites (C:\Users\USERID\Favorites)

User's Links (C:\Users\USERID\Links)

User's Music (C:\Users\USERID\Music)

User's Pictures (C:\Users\USERID\Pictures)

User's Videos (C:\Users\USERID\Videos)

Edited by Kilroy, 16 January 2018 - 11:50 AM.

#5 Bagaudin


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Posted 25 January 2018 - 04:30 PM

I use Acronis True Image. It is the best of breed, but it isn't free. The best free alternative is Macrium Reflect. 


Thanks Allan for such a delicious feedback :) I am community manager for Acronis and I would love to provide 50% discount for any home product to anyone - just comment below :)

#6 Rocky Bennett

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Posted 25 January 2018 - 06:18 PM

Always back up your personal files. Back up your pictures, your documents, videos and music. Back up all of your personal data.


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