Quote: Originally Posted by KenB
Now I'm confused..I would have thought that backing up was supposed to be simple! if Windows 7 have put a backup system on the desktop then I assume its what they want you to use.
Like millions of other home PC users and having never used backups before I'm not even sure what the purpose of the backup is..when I got my new PC I made a set of factory backup discs as per the instructions during the installation process.
If the backup I'm doing isn't that good then I need an easy system that I can use without needing a degree in computing to understand what I'm supposed to do and why!
If I continue to use the Windows 7 Action Center what settings should I be using?
Windows 7 built in backup is just not particularly polished. It needs improvement. It works if you understand it.
If you don't understand it, there isn't much point in using it as you won't know what it is doing and will be lulled into a false sense of security.
If you want to take the time to understand it, others who actually use it can point out the pitfalls and proper technique. I don't use it.
Backup has 2 principal purposes:
1: To enable you to recover to a working Windows system in the event of a hard drive failure or major system malfunction/corruption of some type. This typically means making an image of the C drive and storing that image on some other drive until disaster strikes, at which point you "restore" the image.
2: To enable you to recover your personal data files (mp3s, videos, Word documents, bookmarks, pictures, whatever you may have).
2 is typically much more important than 1.
All 1 saves you is time. You should be able to reinstall Windows even if you have not backed up.
On the other hand, data backup is the ONLY way you have to recover from lost or corrupted data. That's why data backup is so critical.
If your data has no particular importance to you, then 2 may be less critical. Most people have VERY important data on their PC.
There are several alternatives to Windows backup:
To backup Windows itself (purpose 1 above): Macrium Reflect Free Edition, Acronis, and EaseUS Todo are probably the best known. You would likely find them simpler to understand, particularly Macrium.
All methods to backup Windows itself use imaging. Imaging is not foolproof and can fail to work when you need it. So be prepared for it to fail and know what you will do in that case.
To backup personal data (purpose 2 above): you can use any of a half dozen or more "file by file" backup applications, such as Karen's Replicator, Synctoy, Second Copy, Synchromagic, etc. These can be configured to backup only what you want--certain folders, certain file types, etc, and will run at the click of a button.
You can backup personal data files with an image, but it is a more risky strategy than "file by file" backup because imaging is a complex process that may fail for unknown reasons.
The set of backup "recovery" disks you made will restore your PC to the way it was when it was shipped to you. It will NOT restore you to the way your PC is NOW and it will not restore your personal data at all.