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Advice on system drive backup - win 7


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#1 kenstel

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 08:18 PM

Hi all

My system is as follows

C:\ Win 7

D:\ Files, docs, app profiles - browser, email  etc

E:\ Applications

 

(I know some app files are stored on C:\)

 

D & E are partitions of the same physical drive

 

I use Easeus TO DO Backup to backup D and E. But nothing as yet for C:\. The problem as I see it for the system drive is that to restore a backup, Easeus has to be running, but if the OS is kaput, easeus can't run. Same if I want to refresh the OS.

 

What I'm looking for is a suitable method of backing up my System drive for use when the system is unbootable/replaced or for example when I want to refresh the system, so I don't haveto spend hours reinstalling the OS and then the apps. Ideally, after refreshing the OS, the apps from E:\ will work without reinstallation, and of course my files will still be there.

 

I have plenty of room on D/E and also a NAS where my D/E backups are stored, a few DVDs and a 4GB flash drive and I think maybe an 8GB (when I find it)

 

I think to those with experience, the above might sound silly to ask, but the last time I had to refresh my OS I couldn't use the windowsbackupimages that I'd made (can't remember why) and it turned into a complete reinstall which is labour intensive. I'm simply looking to ensure my system is fully recoverable in an easy way, and to sort it all out now whilst there is no problem and no pressure.

 

 



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#2 JohnC_21

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Posted 08 March 2018 - 08:31 PM

Easeus lets you create bootable media which allows you to boot to the Easeus UI so the image can be recovered from the external storage media. The media is also used when a drive fails and a new drive is installed.

 

https://www.easeus.com/todo-backup-guide/winpe-bootable-disk.html


Edited by JohnC_21, 08 March 2018 - 08:32 PM.


#3 kenstel

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 07:45 AM

Thanks for your reply.

Is there any alternatives? Quite honestly, I'm not impressed with easeus. It's failed to back up several times for no reason, and I've had to reinstall at least twice to get it working. Now that they have closed the forum, help is only available by email and because of the time zones, it takes at least one day to get a reply to an email. To be honest, the 'help' I've been given hasn't been worth the wait. Easeus does not represent a long-term solution for me, but I'd like to consider different options anyway.

Edited by kenstel, 09 March 2018 - 07:45 AM.


#4 JohnC_21

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 07:57 AM

For free there is 

 

Macrium Free

 

Aomei Backupper Standard.  Only Aomei has file/folder backup though file/folder backup is not as easy as Easeus. 

 

I believe Macrium also has a pre-boot option where you can select Macrium before Windows boots. This being used in Windows refuses to boots, allowing you to recover the image. I believe it would be preferable to create the bootable media which both Macrium and Aomei allow you to do.


Edited by JohnC_21, 09 March 2018 - 07:59 AM.


#5 zzz00m

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 05:59 PM

I use Macrium Relfect Free regularly.  It comes with a wizard that lets you create boot recovery media on optical disk or USB flash memory stick, that uses Windows PE.  So if you system ever becomes unbootable, or you want to restore or replace the boot drive, you can boot from Windows PE recovery drive and recover the latest Macrium image file from your external storage.  Works great!

 

https://www.macrium.com/reflectfree



#6 kenstel

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 06:05 PM

Thanks again John.
I tried Aomie before I decided on easeus, I don't think I found it easy to use, but that was me than one year ago.

I have the paid for version of easeus, which makes the several crashes, lack of worthwhile support, the backups that fail for no valid reason even harder to tolerate.

Still, I've had a look at Macrium, and the reports are they of its good. However, the Home version costs nearly £50, which is a little uncomfortable, whilst the Free version does not do incremental backups, nor backup "Files and Folders" according to their website. I assume it only backs up whole disks, and I'm not sure that's what I want. I'll have to look into that a bit more.

Anyway, I don't mind sticking with Easeus for a while, and using a separate app just for the system drive. In fact I don't mind using 2 apps as a long term solution, though a single one would be simpler.

I'm ok with file/folder backup and software, I just don't have any experience or knowledge of backing up system drives, so I'm a bit lost about how to do it and what is available.

#7 zzz00m

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Posted 09 March 2018 - 06:19 PM

Thanks again John.
I tried Aomie before I decided on easeus, I don't think I found it easy to use, but that was me than one year ago.

I have the paid for version of easeus, which makes the several crashes, lack of worthwhile support, the backups that fail for no valid reason even harder to tolerate.

Still, I've had a look at Macrium, and the reports are they of its good. However, the Home version costs nearly £50, which is a little uncomfortable, whilst the Free version does not do incremental backups, nor backup "Files and Folders" according to their website. I assume it only backs up whole disks, and I'm not sure that's what I want. I'll have to look into that a bit more.

Anyway, I don't mind sticking with Easeus for a while, and using a separate app just for the system drive. In fact I don't mind using 2 apps as a long term solution, though a single one would be simpler.

I'm ok with file/folder backup and software, I just don't have any experience or knowledge of backing up system drives, so I'm a bit lost about how to do it and what is available.

 

File/folder backup is something you should be doing daily to protect your stuff, but it does nothing for you if you have to recover your system with a clean install, say on a new hard drive.  That still takes time to install the OS and install all of your applications again. 

 

By doing a system image backup, you are essentially "cloning" your hard drive partition(s) into a file container on the target backup drive.

 

When you restore the backup image, you are recovering an exact image of your system at the time that the image was made.

 

As far as Macrium Reflect Free, I do not use incremental backups, only "full" images.  The price of external USB backup storage is relatively fast and cheap these days, so I like to keep it simple with complete images.

 

As far as file/folder backup goes, I found another free program that meets this need well for me.  I use this: https://www.freefilesync.org/

 

So Macrium Free and FreeFileSync is my solution now.



#8 PenjaniM

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 04:27 AM

Thanks again John.
I tried Aomie before I decided on easeus, I don't think I found it easy to use, but that was me than one year ago.

I have the paid for version of easeus, which makes the several crashes, lack of worthwhile support, the backups that fail for no valid reason even harder to tolerate.

Still, I've had a look at Macrium, and the reports are they of its good. However, the Home version costs nearly £50, which is a little uncomfortable, whilst the Free version does not do incremental backups, nor backup "Files and Folders" according to their website. I assume it only backs up whole disks, and I'm not sure that's what I want. I'll have to look into that a bit more.

Anyway, I don't mind sticking with Easeus for a while, and using a separate app just for the system drive. In fact I don't mind using 2 apps as a long term solution, though a single one would be simpler.

I'm ok with file/folder backup and software, I just don't have any experience or knowledge of backing up system drives, so I'm a bit lost about how to do it and what is available.

 

Hi kenstel, 

 

Creating disk images is no doubt a great backup option, but in certain cases, a data backup is usually the better solution.

 

If you're looking for a file/folder backup app for Windows, try and look into IvyBackup ( www.ivybackup.com ), it has all the standard backup types ( full, differential and incremental ) with support for encryption. Though if you're looking for a disk imaging or cloning solution, it doesn't support that.

 

Full Disclaimer: I am affiliated with the company that builds it.



#9 kenstel

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 11:39 AM

Thanks for your comments. Zzzoom, your post last night came as I was replying to Jon, otherwise I would have commented on it.

To clarify the situation for future readers, I use Easeus todo backup on a daily basis to backup my files, and have done for more than one year. I'm not sure if I'll continue with easeus long term as I'm not fully confident of it's reliability.

I don't however have a back up process for my system drive, and that's what I need in the short term. I've had to do a complete reinstall in the past when I've had a problem, and am looking to avoid it in the future.

I'll have to look at john's suggestion with easeus, and the other apps mentioned here. If I can get one app which does everything, is reasonable price and has decent help, I'll go for it, but equally, I'm not averse to using 2 apps, one for the system, one for personal files.


Edited by kenstel, 10 March 2018 - 12:38 PM.


#10 zzz00m

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Posted 10 March 2018 - 03:08 PM

Thanks for your comments. Zzzoom, your post last night came as I was replying to Jon, otherwise I would have commented on it.

To clarify the situation for future readers, I use Easeus todo backup on a daily basis to backup my files, and have done for more than one year. I'm not sure if I'll continue with easeus long term as I'm not fully confident of it's reliability.

I don't however have a back up process for my system drive, and that's what I need in the short term. I've had to do a complete reinstall in the past when I've had a problem, and am looking to avoid it in the future.

I'll have to look at john's suggestion with easeus, and the other apps mentioned here. If I can get one app which does everything, is reasonable price and has decent help, I'll go for it, but equally, I'm not averse to using 2 apps, one for the system, one for personal files.

 

I think you are on the right track looking for a system imaging tool.  There is no substitute for that as a good disaster recovery plan.  I like that I can restore my entire C: drive in about 30 minutes.  So I don't really plan to ever re-install Windows again!  :bananas:

 

Try a few demos and see what feels right.

 

For an overall picture of my current setup, I have Macrium Reflect Free take a scheduled full daily image of my C: drive at the end of the day.  I use an external 1TB USB 3.0 drive for this.  This currently takes about 24 mins to image 150GB, and I can continue working while this is running. 

 

The file container that Macrium creates (.mrimg) can also be mounted as a drive by double clicking the file in Windows explorer.  Once mounted you can browse the folders/files in the backup image just as if they were on a connected drive. That includes drag and drop to anywhere in Windows explorer.  So you really have the file backup built in.  No restore required just to recover some data.

 

I also use the FreeFileSync for an extra copy of my 'C:\Users' folders, including documents.  You get a one click process to synchronize the latest versions of several folders to a backup location.  I can use this on demand during the day if I make a lot of changes before my daily image runs.  It only takes a few minutes and I have the peace of mind that my most recent day's work is backed up if my system ever crashes.


Edited by zzz00m, 10 March 2018 - 03:09 PM.


#11 disgruntled1

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Posted 11 March 2018 - 12:15 PM

If you are prepared to pay for a backup solution, you can't go far wrong with Casper (currently at v.10.1) - I'm using Windows 7, but it works for any version from Vista and later, and also with XP SP3, I believe, with some limitations.

 

You can clone bootable backups to another hard drive and then update them incrementally, you can create disk images and update those incrementally as well. I've been using it for years to create full bootable drive clones alternately to 2 detachable hard drives in USB enclosures. I've recently augmented my strategy by adding an additional drive to hold additional hard drive images. I recommend it because it is easy to use and has never let me down.



#12 kenstel

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Posted 16 March 2018 - 05:27 PM

Thanks for the further advice.
Disgruntled1, I looked at Casper and while it has a money back offer, there is no trial or free software, so I'm afraid it goes to the back of the queue, behind the free software and those with a trial period.

Zzz00m, can you clarify some things? You said Macrium free takes about 24 minutes to backup your whole files? And only 30 minutes to do a (full) restore? That seems fast going to a USB3 drive. My easeus stop 4 would take much more than that going to my NAS.

You say you can browse your image and drag and drop files? Does macrium need to be installed for that? I thought l could do that with easeus but after an reinstall found that easeus had to be installed to allow the backup file to be browsed. Once easeus is installed, the backup file can be browsed with any file manager, though easeus opens a explorer window as you drill through the folder hierarchy.

#13 zzz00m

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Posted 16 March 2018 - 05:49 PM

Zzz00m, can you clarify some things? You said Macrium free takes about 24 minutes to backup your whole files? And only 30 minutes to do a (full) restore? That seems fast going to a USB3 drive. My easeus stop 4 would take much more than that going to my NAS.

You say you can browse your image and drag and drop files? Does macrium need to be installed for that? I thought l could do that with easeus but after an reinstall found that easeus had to be installed to allow the backup file to be browsed. Once easeus is installed, the backup file can be browsed with any file manager, though easeus opens a explorer window as you drill through the folder hierarchy.

 

I use a Samsung EVO 850, 250GB SSD for my Windows drive, on a SATA II (300MB/s) controller.  I use a WD Elements 1TB USB3 external drive for my backup images.  My SSD has only about 158GB in use, and today it just created a full image in 24 minutes.  So yes, it is fast enough for my use, and technically the only bottleneck is the external USB3 drive.  My SSD drive could read faster, but the write speed of the USB3 drive is the limiting factor.  I think it is a 5400RPM, 2.5" laptop form factor drive.

 

Most imaging programs store the data in a proprietary container file.  So yes, you would need to have the backup software installed to browse the image container.

 

The only exception to that is if you use the native Windows 7 image tool.  It saves the images in a .vhd fornat, that Windows can mount, assign a drive letter, and explore.  The Windows image utility has been around since Windows 7 (and 8 and 10), and I used it for a couple of years.  But the drawbacks with that is that you cannot automate it with a schedule, or set the number of files to keep. That all must be done manually, which is why I finally switched to Macrium. 

 

But to be honest, I still make one Windows native image a month, as a precaution, just in case my proprietary backup software stops working one day, maybe due to a Win10 update.  Belt and suspenders, you know?  :bananas:



#14 disgruntled1

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Posted 17 March 2018 - 01:17 AM

QUOTE :
Disgruntled1, I looked at Casper and while it has a money back offer, there is no trial or free software, so I'm afraid it goes to the back of the queue, behind the free software and those with a trial period.

Sorry, kenstel, but you're wrong about Casper not offering a Trial version - see below

https://www.fssdev.com/products/casper/trial/

Edited by disgruntled1, 17 March 2018 - 01:19 AM.


#15 kenstel

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 10:17 AM

Hi huys, I've been away from home fopr a few weeks.

 

Disgruntled. When I looked at the site, I specifally saw something maybe a FAQ that said there was no trial version. I don't know where itwas because I can't find it now.

 

zzz00m, and others. I downloaded the trial of Macrium because it gets goiod reviews everywhere.

 

I ran into problems though. My data partition is encrypted with Veracrypt. Sadly, Macrium doesn't see the virtual partiion containing my unencrypted data, just the native windows partition (I think this contains the encrypted data, and when mounted, the unencrypted virtual partition is created). This means that Macrium can't backup that partition. Not a problem I thought, a file/folder backup running on the unencrpyted partion will do, just like Easeus does. Except that file/folder backup isn't available without upgrading to the paid version of Macrium (unlike Easesus). There is NO WAY I'm paying for software I can't try out in full, and as I've said, the cost of the full Macrium, is a bit steep. I paid for and trialled Easesus and it turned out to be crap, though in my defence, the very sloooow speed of the free Easeus pushed me into upgrading before I wanted to, but anyway. There's no way I'm paying for anything without a thorough trial.

 

I'm going to try Casper.

 

On another note, Eaesus has bit the dust again and refuses to backup my data. There's no error, it just hangs and never actually does anything. It really is teh most unreliable piece of rubbish I've ever tried. Wouldn't recommnd it to anyone.






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