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Windows 7: Questions about most reliable backup

11 Oct 2013   #1

win 7 64 bit
 
 
Questions about most reliable backup

Hi all,

I am new to the forums and I am not a computer guru.

I work from home, but out company IT dept only provides me with software and access; no support at all for my home system as it is just for my convenience, not work requirement.

Here is my setup:

Custom desktop, Asus MB, 3rd gen core I7, Win 7 64 bit.
2 hard drives: 64Gb SSD containing work programs only. 500GB HDD containg all work stuff PLUS my own stuff (videos, pics....).

I separately installed win 7 on each hard drive (both have the same win 7 copy and same licence). I disconnected one hard drive at a time while installing win 7 on the other to make sure MBP stays separately one copy on each drive.

Took a very long time, but finally everything worked. Now I have to back things up. I am not a computer pro. When work software is updated, it often crushes/corrupts my system. Reinstalling from the scratch takes entire day and I do not have time.

Here is what I would like/have questions:

1. When drive is corrupted, I do not have time to fix it. I would like to format it and load backed up image so that I can immediately start back online.
2. Each hard drive should stay independent, so if one fails, I can boot from the other and continue working. Each drive shoul be backed up separately, but ideally on the same external HDD.
3. Back up should have a bootable image, so that it is exact clone and can be booted independently.
4. Back up should be reliable and SIMPLE. I just want to clone each internal drive every months to have backup. I use ext USB 1TB drive that is partitioned into 2 parts (200GB to backup 64Gb drice and 800Gb to backup 500Gb drive, which is actually mostly empty and has only 80Gb used space). No need for options I do not have. No need for confusion or future considerations. Just for this to work, but every time!
5. I tried paragon, and it sometimes succeds but now it cannot restore my SSD drive. I am confused with options: backup primary drive, MBP, system reserve..., then what do I need to restore?
6. Question. Most of the time, under computer icon, I have FOUR drive letters. Two are my SSD and HDD, but the other two are SEPARATE letters and bars for 100mb system reserve volumes, one for each drive. Now that I tried to unsuccessfully restore the failed 64Gb drive, 100Mb partituions disappeared, although I can still see them if I go to disk management utility. Why is that and what is the difference? Did I damage something on the intact drive tryong to restore the failed one (the good one still boots and works, but no more separate letter for the 100mb partition).
6. If I change the drive letter under the disk management utility, does it affect the restore process?

Sorry for the long question.

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks

Sophie

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

11 Oct 2013   #2
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

I backup my system partition (and also my data partitions) with free Macrium. In 5 years I never had problems recovering my system from those images - and I corrupt my system frequently because I always experiment with the OS. You can run the imaging in the background and a total OS recovery takes about 20 minutes (in my case).

Have a look at my tutorial. Maybe it helps. Imaging with free Macrium
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Oct 2013   #3

Win7 Pro 32-bit, Win8 Pro 32-bit
 
 

Quote:
1. When drive is corrupted, I do not have time to fix it. I would like to format it and load backed up image so that I can immediately start back online.
With an image backup of a drive, this only takes a few minutes.
Quote:
2. Each hard drive should stay independent, so if one fails, I can boot from the other and continue working. Each drive shoul be backed up separately, but ideally on the same external HDD.
I backup each "drive" separately so I can restore any one that I need to. I keep these all on the same external drive.
Quote:
3. Back up should have a bootable image, so that it is exact clone and can be booted independently.
I use Macrium Reflect, so the images are not bootable. But I also have installed the MR System Recovery option that allows me to boot OUTSIDE of Windows, and have used the option to create a bootable USB. Both of these give me the ability to boot without using Windows.
Quote:
4. Back up should be reliable and SIMPLE. I just want to clone each internal drive every months to have backup. I use ext USB 1TB drive that is partitioned into 2 parts (200GB to backup 64Gb drice and 800Gb to backup 500Gb drive, which is actually mostly empty and has only 80Gb used space). No need for options I do not have. No need for confusion or future considerations. Just for this to work, but every time!
Doing an Image backup and cloning a partition are very different operations -- don't use the terms synonymously, as that is confusing. For restoration purposes, the image backups are preferred because some compression is done in the process. In my case, I get about a 50% compression rate -- reducing the space needed for backups be nearly half.
Quote:
5. I tried paragon, and it sometimes succeds but now it cannot restore my SSD drive. I am confused with options: backup primary drive, MBP, system reserve..., then what do I need to restore?
You will likely have two partitions that play into running the OS: a boot partition and an OS partition. For complete restore, you need to backup both; but unless the boot partition gets corrupted, you can get by with backing up only the OS partition.
Quote:
6. Question. Most of the time, under computer icon, I have FOUR drive letters. Two are my SSD and HDD, but the other two are SEPARATE letters and bars for 100mb system reserve volumes, one for each drive. Now that I tried to unsuccessfully restore the failed 64Gb drive, 100Mb partituions disappeared, although I can still see them if I go to disk management utility. Why is that and what is the difference? Did I damage something on the intact drive tryong to restore the failed one (the good one still boots and works, but no more separate letter for the 100mb partition).
The separate 100MB boot partition is ONLY needed in the case where folks want to do full partition encryption on their OS partition. You can use EasyBCD (from NeoSmart Technologies) to "migrate" the boot folders and files from the boot partition into your OS partition. Once you do that, you only need to backup the OS partition .
Quote:
6. If I change the drive letter under the disk management utility, does it affect the restore process?
I don't mess around with driver letters, especially for OS partitions, as that can cause serious problems. So, I can't help you on this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


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