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Windows 7: backup solutions, and infection concerns regarding a restore?

17 Oct 2013   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium (x64), SP1
 
 
backup solutions, and infection concerns regarding a restore?

On average I seem to do a hard reset (reinstall) about every 8-12 months. I just had one recently, and I've been doing so without a backup solution. I already use Dropbox, but only use it for pictures. I would like to make the process of reinstalling easier by backing up and batch-restoring apps, but is this possible? --wouldn't mind backing up Windows Updates and Service Pack either, though I'm not sure if that's a good idea.

I do have concerns regarding backup solutions, one of them being possible file infection. Hypothetically, if I backed up files after receiving a malware/virus infection, wouldn't traces of the infection(s) tether itself to the backed up data and restore itself onto the new system?? I do not fully understand how an infection travels, but it does not seem to affect my music/video/picture files. However when it comes to system or app files, I'm quite weary about those due to the many different file extensions there are (dll/exe/etc).

Any advice on these subjects would be appreciated

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

17 Oct 2013   #2

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

To put it simple.
Any thing what ever (pictures, date, programs,operating system) anything that you backuped when the system is infected the backup will contain the infection.
Their are so many infections; millions of them. Some infect different things.
Yes you can have a infected picture or music; it all depends on how the infection was created and designed to do. Anything that was plugged into the computer that has a storage ability where a infection can hide can also be infected.
Infection can also get into Restore Points and many do. There are volumes wrote on infections that would take a life time to read. Anything you intend to backup should be clean of all infection what ever name they go by BEFORE you do the backup.

I hope this answers your question.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Oct 2013   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium (x64), SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
To put it simple.
Any thing what ever (pictures, date, programs,operating system) anything that you backuped when the system is infected the backup will contain the infection.
Their are so many infections; millions of them. Some infect different things.
Yes you can have a infected picture or music; it all depends on how the infection was created and designed to do. Anything that was plugged into the computer that has a storage ability where a infection can hide can also be infected.
Infection can also get into Restore Points and many do. There are volumes wrote on infections that would take a life time to read. Anything you intend to backup should be clean of all infection what ever name they go by BEFORE you do the backup.
Hmm.. I'm a bit troubled by what you said there, but you must be talking about an obvious infection that causes the system to become crippled to the point of being unusable, like scareware or something to that effect.

I've experienced scareware on an older machine, but it has been years since anything like that has happened to me. None the antivirus I've used since then (ESET/Norton/Avast) have been able to pick up on anything, not even Malwarebytes. I believe I could consider my machine safe, even the backed up stuff in my Dropbox, but sometimes I am still left wondering why my system will act strangely at times; the problem is never obvious, and it can be hard to decide if the "strangeness" is related to infection, or not.

How on earth does a picture get infected? A typical jpeg is only made up of a bunch of pixels and metadata? There are trillions of pictures online, and people are downloading them at a rapid rate. Does this mean nearly every system in the world is doomed for infection? If that is the case, I never realized how hopeless it is to keep a clean machine.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
I hope this answers your question.
kinda.. I'm still looking for an answer to this:

Quote:
I would like to make the process of reinstalling easier by backing up and batch-restoring apps, but is this possible? --wouldn't mind backing up Windows Updates and Service Pack either, though I'm not sure if that's a good idea.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


18 Oct 2013   #4

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

This is the question I was trying to answer. I must of not done a very good job. From you post #1

Quote:
I do have concerns regarding backup solutions, one of them being possible file infection. Hypothetically, if I backed up files after receiving a malware/virus infection, wouldn't traces of the infection(s) tether itself to the backed up data and restore itself onto the new system??
Anything and Everything that is infected and then a backup is made. The backup will also be infected.

I don't know how to wright or code a virus but the bad guys do know how. Yes pictures can and have been infected including Desktop pictures.
You monitor displays in pixels and that is what you see.
The operating system and/or programs you use to display that picture sees code and that is what gets infected.

You can use Windows 7 inbuilt back up ability or you can use a 3rd party program. This is how it's done in Windows 7.
By Brink.

Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup

No every computer in the world is not doomed. That is why we use security programs and the method used while on line to help protect our computers.

Just make sure what ever you want to backup has been scanned with your security programs before backing up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
18 Oct 2013   #5

Win 7 Pro x64 SP1, Win 7 Ult x86 SP1
 
 

I'll try a different approach to try and help you.

IMHO, you should not need "to do a hard reset (reinstall) about every 8-12 months" or ever again if you get a pristine clean install and create a system backup image and keep it offline.

Worst case, 12 months later you could restore that image and start from there...

If you do it right, you can then create another image that will include all Windows updates (after installing them) up to that point - save it in case you ever need it again.

IMHO it's best to store User data on a different partition(s) than the "C" drive.
I use the "C" drive for the OS and all installed programs.
I store all User data on other (not C) partitions, I use Windows 7 Libraries for this.
With this approach I can backup/restore my "C" drive, or my Data partitions independently.

If my "C" (OS drive) screws up for any reason, I can restore that without affecting any of my User data.
If I find my User data is "infected" I could restore that without needing to re-install or restore the OS.

I'm running Win 7 systems that were originally installed apx. 4 years ago without any problems.
My TEST box is a triple boot with a XP 32 Bit OS that I have no idea when I originally installed it.
I only keep it to help people I know that still have XP - sometimes I need to test things there...

If you keep clean backups offline, they won't get infected if you get infected now...

I create System Backup Images at least monthly, before Patch Tuesday updates.
For my test systems that I am playing with I often create many more backups, so I can quickly back out whatever/whenever...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2013   #6

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

I would recommend keep your backup on a separate drive. In case the drive Windows 7 (C) is on goes bad your backup will be available on the separate drive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2013   #7

Windows 7 Home Premium (x64), SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
Yes pictures can and have been infected including Desktop pictures.
You monitor displays in pixels and that is what you see.
The operating system and/or programs you use to display that picture sees code and that is what gets infected.
Are you trying to say that pictures can be infected, but the system can't be infected by the pictures??

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
You can use Windows 7 inbuilt back up ability or you can use a 3rd party program. This is how it's done in Windows 7.
By Brink.

Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
Are there any recommended 3rd party programs available? I was hoping to shoot a system backup to the cloud. I've tried Windows 7 backup in the past, but it just wasn't my ideal way of doing things. I hate feeling tethered to hardware that could go bad any second, including portable hard drives. I'm particularly interested in backing up applications (and possibly their settings?) so that I don't have to install them individually each time a factory restore is done.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
No every computer in the world is not doomed. That is why we use security programs and the method used while on line to help protect our computers.
method?

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
Just make sure what ever you want to backup has been scanned with your security programs before backing up.
Okay

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidW7ncus View Post
IMHO, you should not need "to do a hard reset (reinstall) about every 8-12 months" or ever again if you get a pristine clean install and create a system backup image and keep it offline.

Worst case, 12 months later you could restore that image and start from there...

If you do it right, you can then create another image that will include all Windows updates (after installing them) up to that point - save it in case you ever need it again.
I see what you are saying. My only concerns regarding that, would be how different things might look a month or so after the backup. Files change rapidly on my machine, nothing ever really stays the same.. especially settings overall. Now that I think about it, I'm a little concerned about how a restore would affect the files in my synced Dropbox folder and Google Chrome?

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by DavidW7ncus View Post
IMHO it's best to store User data on a different partition(s) than the "C" drive.
I use the "C" drive for the OS and all installed programs.
I store all User data on other (not C) partitions, I use Windows 7 Libraries for this.
With this approach I can backup/restore my "C" drive, or my Data partitions independently.

If my "C" (OS drive) screws up for any reason, I can restore that without affecting any of my User data.
If I find my User data is "infected" I could restore that without needing to re-install or restore the OS.

I'm running Win 7 systems that were originally installed apx. 4 years ago without any problems.
My TEST box is a triple boot with a XP 32 Bit OS that I have no idea when I originally installed it.
I only keep it to help people I know that still have XP - sometimes I need to test things there...

If you keep clean backups offline, they won't get infected if you get infected now...

I create System Backup Images at least monthly, before Patch Tuesday updates.
For my test systems that I am playing with I often create many more backups, so I can quickly back out whatever/whenever...
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
I would recommend keep your backup on a separate drive. In case the drive Windows 7 (C) is on goes bad your backup will be available on the separate drive.
What about backing up to the cloud? Also, you mentioned a difference between the OS data and User data, these can be backed up separately? I've pretty much taken care of the user side of things with Dropbox, but would love to backup apps and possibly the Windows Updates (or OS).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2013   #8

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

I don't use Clouds because I have control of things when I keep them in house. Some do both in house and Cloud backups.
There are many ways to do the backup. You will have to just try things and see which ones you like the best.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Oct 2013   #9

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Double View Post
...
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
I would recommend keep your backup on a separate drive. In case the drive Windows 7 (C) is on goes bad your backup will be available on the separate drive.
what about cloud storage?
Depends on what you mean by cloud storage. If you are referring to free storage sites, no! Free cloud storage is notoriously ephemeral; they have keen known to disappear with little or no warning, taking your data with them. If you are referring to paid storage sites or paid backup plans, such as Carbonite or Crashplan, those are much better.

You should never depend on just one backup. Backups are no more secure than the media they are stored on. HDDs can fail or be stolen. Cloud backups can get lost. By having more than one backup, you reduce the chances of losing any of your data. Also keep in mind that cloud backups are slow to send and recover. If you have very much data backed up, it could take several days to several weeks (or even months) to make the initial backup; the same applies to downloading backed up data.

I keep two identical backups at home, one on each of two HDDs, and a third backup on a HDD stored in my safe deposit box at my credit union (which gets swapped out with a fresh backup no less than once a month). I also use Carbonite to keep a data only backup online. Since the backup in the safe deposit box can be up to one month behind and downloading all my data from Carbonite could take weeks to months, in the event I lose both of my local backups, I can recover most of my data quickly using the HDD in the safe deposit box and get the rest from Carbonite, which won't take as long since there will be less to download.

I have two backup HDDs at home so, if one should fail, I would still have the other one. I have a 3.5" hot swap bay built into my computer I use for making the backups. If the internal data drive should ever die, all I have to do is disconnect it and plug in one of the backup drives and use it until I can replace the failed drive. I would still have the other HDD backing up the one in use.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
25 Oct 2013   #10

Windows 7 Home Premium (x64), SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Double View Post
...
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Layback Bear View Post
I would recommend keep your backup on a separate drive. In case the drive Windows 7 (C) is on goes bad your backup will be available on the separate drive.
what about cloud storage?
Depends on what you mean by cloud storage. If you are referring to free storage sites, no! Free cloud storage is notoriously ephemeral; they have keen known to disappear with little or no warning, taking your data with them. If you are referring to paid storage sites or paid backup plans, such as Carbonite or Crashplan, those are much better.

You should never depend on just one backup. Backups are no more secure than the media they are stored on. HDDs can fail or be stolen. Cloud backups can get lost. By having more than one backup, you reduce the chances of losing any of your data. Also keep in mind that cloud backups are slow to send and recover. If you have very much data backed up, it could take several days to several weeks (or even months) to make the initial backup; the same applies to downloading backed up data.

I keep two identical backups at home, one on each of two HDDs, and a third backup on a HDD stored in my safe deposit box at my credit union (which gets swapped out with a fresh backup no less than once a month). I also use Carbonite to keep a data only backup online. Since the backup in the safe deposit box can be up to one month behind and downloading all my data from Carbonite could take weeks to months, in the event I lose both of my local backups, I can recover most of my data quickly using the HDD in the safe deposit box and get the rest from Carbonite, which won't take as long since there will be less to download.

I have two backup HDDs at home so, if one should fail, I would still have the other one. I have a 3.5" hot swap bay built into my computer I use for making the backups. If the internal data drive should ever die, all I have to do is disconnect it and plug in one of the backup drives and use it until I can replace the failed drive. I would still have the other HDD backing up the one in use.
You are very smart with how you do things! I tried Carbonite but couldn't swallow the pricetag. Having multiple backups is a bit paranoid in my eyes, but I guess you can never be too safe! I try to take advantage of the cloud any chance I can, and try not to carry a whole lot on my system except apps. It makes moving to a different system much easier.

I use Dropbox and Google for storage; Youtube to store videos (in private), Google Drive to store documents, Google Music to store music, and Dropbox to store pictures
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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