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Windows 7: 4TB Drive Backup and Restore Compatibility?

20 Jul 2014   #1
charkzilla20

Windows 7 Professional
 
 
4TB Drive Backup and Restore Compatibility?

Hi everyone.
I was just about to go out and get myself a nice big 4TB WD MyBook External Hard drive to use for my PC backups and data backups, until I read somewhere that Windows 7 Backup and Restore has issues with large drives. Something to do with 4k sectors or something...
Is there a way I can get the 4tb drive to work with it reliably and easily?
Or the other thing I was thinking was getting something smaller that Backup and Restore can manage (maybe 2tb? what's the limit for the thing?), and another drive for my drag-and-drop files.
Or could the 4tb one work with it partitioned into 2 smaller ones that Backup and Restore can work with and use the other for other files? or will that not work because of the sector thing?

Or if the stock Windows Backup and Restore sucks, and I should use something else, what should I use? What should I do? I want the process to be as smooth and reliable as possible.

Thanks for all of your help peoples


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
20 Jul 2014   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Not sure about the 4 GB issue with Backup and Restore, but most here would tell you to use another program. It works, but isn't polished, flexible, and easily understood.

You'll have to initialize the drive as a GPT disk if you want to utilize all 4 GB. I don't see any reason to chop it up into multiple partitions for most purposes.

You could look at Macrium Reflect or Aomei Backupper to make images of Windows. Both free. I think Paragon may have a free imaging program too? Macrium is probably the favorite here.

You might want to consider something other than imaging to back up your personal files. There's a bunch of free applications that do a pretty good job of that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jul 2014   #3
charkzilla20

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
Not sure about the 4 GB issue with Backup and Restore, but most here would tell you to use another program. It works, but isn't polished, flexible, and easily understood.

You'll have to initialize the drive as a GPT disk if you want to utilize all 4 GB. I don't see any reason to chop it up into multiple partitions for most purposes.

You could look at Macrium Reflect or Aomei Backupper to make images of Windows. Both free. I think Paragon may have a free imaging program too? Macrium is probably the favorite here.

You might want to consider something other than imaging to back up your personal files. There's a bunch of free applications that do a pretty good job of that.
Thanks for the info
I guess I would be willing to try other software for my backups. I'm just worried about the possibility of if I encounter a problem where the PC can't boot, and I want to restore it to a previous date. It looks like windows only works with it's own Restore software in the system restore menu area before a boot in the system repair thing (sorry I don't remember what it's called) (i've had to do it once before), and if the backup is done by other software, then I'll be SOL. I might be completely wrong though. Is this the case?

I guess I'll look around for some popular backup software.
I liked using Time Machine back when I had a Mac, so something similar to it would be great.
But for things like photos, music, and videos, I've gotten used to and prefer a simple drag and drop copy, so I won't have to include them in any system file backup process (otherwise it would take days!)
Thanks again
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

20 Jul 2014   #4
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by charkzilla20 View Post
I'm just worried about the possibility of if I encounter a problem where the PC can't boot, and I want to restore it to a previous date. It looks like windows only works with it's own Restore software in the system restore menu area (i've had to do it once before), and if the backup is done by other software, then I'll be SOL. I might be completely wrong though. Is this the case?

I guess I'll look around for some popular backup software.
I liked using Time Machine back when I had a Mac, so something similar to it would be great.
But for things like photos, music, and videos, I've gotten used to and prefer a simple drag and drop copy, so I won't have to include them in any system file backup process (otherwise it would take days!)
With Macrium, you make a bootable rescue disk within it. Either Linux-based or Windows-based. The latter is preferred as it is more reliable. You boot from that disc, not from your hard drive. Then navigate in the interface to a previously made image file and restore it to your chosen destination.

For data files (not Windows), I use a backup program (FreeFileSync) and drag and drop. I run the backup programs 2 or 3 times a day and do a drag and drop every 2 or 3 months. The program is handy as it runs with a single click and typically takes less than 60 seconds to back up about 90,000 files. My drag and drop is really a last-resort backup that I have to use maybe once or twice a year.

You can get FreeFileSync at sourceforge.net. Other similar programs are Karen's Replicator, Syncback, FolderClone, and Allway Sync. They work pretty much the same way and differ mostly in the interface. You can usually set them up to delete files on the destination if they are deleted from the source, or to retain files on the destination even though they have been deleted from the source. I use the former, which FreeFileSync calls "mirroring".
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jul 2014   #5
charkzilla20

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by charkzilla20 View Post
I'm just worried about the possibility of if I encounter a problem where the PC can't boot, and I want to restore it to a previous date. It looks like windows only works with it's own Restore software in the system restore menu area (i've had to do it once before), and if the backup is done by other software, then I'll be SOL. I might be completely wrong though. Is this the case?

I guess I'll look around for some popular backup software.
I liked using Time Machine back when I had a Mac, so something similar to it would be great.
But for things like photos, music, and videos, I've gotten used to and prefer a simple drag and drop copy, so I won't have to include them in any system file backup process (otherwise it would take days!)
With Macrium, you make a bootable rescue disk within it. Either Linux-based or Windows-based. The latter is preferred as it is more reliable. You boot from that disc, not from your hard drive. Then navigate in the interface to a previously made image file and restore it to your chosen destination.

For data files (not Windows), I use a backup program (FreeFileSync) and drag and drop. I run the backup programs 2 or 3 times a day and do a drag and drop every 2 or 3 months. The program is handy as it runs with a single click and typically takes less than 60 seconds to back up about 90,000 files. My drag and drop is really a last-resort backup that I have to use maybe once or twice a year.

You can get FreeFileSync at sourceforge.net. Other similar programs are Karen's Replicator, Syncback, FolderClone, and Allway Sync. They work pretty much the same way and differ mostly in the interface. You can usually set them up to delete files on the destination if they are deleted from the source, or to retain files on the destination even though they have been deleted from the source. I use the former, which FreeFileSync calls "mirroring".
Wow. That sounds pretty great. I'll definitely be looking into those. Would those be compatible with a GPT 4TB drive?
Thanks

(I'm off to sleep...2am 0_0)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jul 2014   #6
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by charkzilla20 View Post

Wow. That sounds pretty great. I'll definitely be looking into those. Would those be compatible with a GPT 4TB drive?
I haven't read anything specifically about those programs and 4 TB drives. Macrium and FreeFileSync both have forums where I'm sure you can find out. Maybe someone here has used them with a 4 TB drive?

There's a good Macrium tutorial on this site.

I have a 3 TB GPT internal drive that I use as a backup destination. My source drives are C, an 80 GB SSD, and D, my primary 1 TB data drive. I don't have any issues at all with those programs and using the 3 TB drive as a backup destination. It's a single partition.

External drives can have their own set of issues regardless of size, so you ought to research 4 TB GPT externals as a destination as best you can.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jul 2014   #7
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

I don't know if Macrium Reflect Free (here is a good tutorial on how to use Macrium Reflect) and FreeFileSync are compatible with 4TB drives although I'm pretty sure they are (both programs are free, btw). I'll know for certain in the not too distant future when I get my first 4TB drive, unless someone chimes in first (that's an invitation, btw).

My desktop computer has the OS and programs installed on separate drive and the data on two other drives. My notebooks have the OS and programs on their own partition and the data on another partition. I use Macrium Reflect to image my OS and program drive/partitions since images can be used to restore the drive/partition to the state it was in when the image was made. I save the images to a data drive/partition so, when the drive/partition gets backed up, the images get backed up at the same time.

Imaging is too slow and inefficient for data backups. A folder/file syncing program, such as FreeFileSync, is much faster and efficient. I have FreeFileSync set to Mirror. When running a backup, it compares the source drive with the destination drive, then copies missing and changed files from the source drive to destination drive and deletes files on the destination drive that are no longer on the source drive. This results in the destination drive being a functional copy of the source drive, One handy feature is FFS can be set to send files it deletes to a versioning folder; I have mine on a separate drive in my computer but it could be anywhere.

Syncing is so fast, I backup my data at least once a day on my desktop computer. I image my OS and program drive once a week and just before making changes to the OS or a program.

I only use my notebooks (actually, just one of them; the other is a spare) when traveling so I only back them up after updating them before a trip and after I get back from the trip.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jul 2014   #8
charkzilla20

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Lady Fitzgerald View Post
I don't know if Macrium Reflect Free (here is a good tutorial on how to use Macrium Reflect) and FreeFileSync are compatible with 4TB drives although I'm pretty sure they are (both programs are free, btw). I'll know for certain in the not too distant future when I get my first 4TB drive, unless someone chimes in first (that's an invitation, btw).

My desktop computer has the OS and programs installed on separate drive and the data on two other drives. My notebooks have the OS and programs on their own partition and the data on another partition. I use Macrium Reflect to image my OS and program drive/partitions since images can be used to restore the drive/partition to the state it was in when the image was made. I save the images to a data drive/partition so, when the drive/partition gets backed up, the images get backed up at the same time.

Imaging is too slow and inefficient for data backups. A folder/file syncing program, such as FreeFileSync, is much faster and efficient. I have FreeFileSync set to Mirror. When running a backup, it compares the source drive with the destination drive, then copies missing and changed files from the source drive to destination drive and deletes files on the destination drive that are no longer on the source drive. This results in the destination drive being a functional copy of the source drive, One handy feature is FFS can be set to send files it deletes to a versioning folder; I have mine on a separate drive in my computer but it could be anywhere.

Syncing is so fast, I backup my data at least once a day on my desktop computer. I image my OS and program drive once a week and just before making changes to the OS or a program.

I only use my notebooks (actually, just one of them; the other is a spare) when traveling so I only back them up after updating them before a trip and after I get back from the trip.
With a little looking around, It seems like Macrium and FreeFileSync will work with a 4TB drive as long as they are GTP formatted... I think.
I found This on their support site.
If I'm not missing anything, does that mean that I could get a 4TB drive, format it as a single partition ntfs GTP, and use Macrium to image both my C and 2 data drives, and be able to boot from the 4tb drive to restore other drives with macrium? All the drives in my PC are MBR NTFS.
I thought I should also mention, my mobo is an Asus z87-pro which apparently has uefi, and can use gtp drives. I haven't decided yet between external or internal. Leaning towards external just because it's more familiar.
Thanks again.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by ignatzatsonic View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by charkzilla20 View Post

Wow. That sounds pretty great. I'll definitely be looking into those. Would those be compatible with a GPT 4TB drive?
I haven't read anything specifically about those programs and 4 TB drives. Macrium and FreeFileSync both have forums where I'm sure you can find out. Maybe someone here has used them with a 4 TB drive?

There's a good Macrium tutorial on this site.

I have a 3 TB GPT internal drive that I use as a backup destination. My source drives are C, an 80 GB SSD, and D, my primary 1 TB data drive. I don't have any issues at all with those programs and using the 3 TB drive as a backup destination. It's a single partition.

External drives can have their own set of issues regardless of size, so you ought to research 4 TB GPT externals as a destination as best you can.
From what I've read, if your GTP 3TB drive works with Macrium, then it should be the same for a GTP 4TB. The limit of MBR seems to be 2TB, and GTP works above that. My only concern now is that I've heard that it takes some configuration and a UEFI motherboard to be able to boot from a GTP backup drive when restoring.
I might be also completely wrong with how I think Macrium works. Is it booting from the drive with the drive images on it, or something else?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jul 2014   #9
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Yeah, you've got it wrong.

You DON'T boot from the drive containing the images. You boot from the rescue CD disk you make with Macrium. It's an ordinary CD burn like you've probably done many times. I think you can use a USB stick as the rescue media if your PC can boot from USB. I've never tried it and just use CDs.

Your image files would be stored on your data drive, just like any other data file. The image files would presumably be backed up, just like any other data file.

If you have a "System Reserved" partition, you must make a Macrium image of it as well as C. It contains your boot files and Windows won't boot without it. You could make a single image file containing both System Reserved and C or you could make separate image files of each. I don't have a System Reserved, so I just image C.

To recover from a bad situation, you'd boot from the rescue disk, which lands you in an interface. You navigate in that interface to locate the previously made image file. You then issue commands in the interface to restore that image file to your desired destination.

You can make a Linux recovery disk or a WinPE recovery disk. The latter is much preferred. Both are made within Macrium itself. You CAN'T restore an image file if this recovery disk does not boot. So you must test it after making it.

The Linux based disc would land you in a text-based interface, somewhat slow and cryptic.

The WinPE based disc lands you in the very same Macrium interface you would see if you opened Macrium from your hard drive. Full graphics, navigated by mouse and keyboard. Quick and easily understood.

Here's an example with my PC.

I have 3 internal drives, each with a single partition.

C, an SSD containing Windows and all applications.

D, an HDD containing all of my data

E, a 3 TB GPT disc containing backups of both C and D.

So: I make image files of C and store them on D. Those image files get backed up to E, just like any other bit of data.

My FreeFileSync data backups copy 100% of what is on D to E, in ordinary form--no images, no compression, just like a drag and drop. Run daily or more often; typically takes 50 or 60 seconds.

If I have a bad Windows crash and need to restore an image of C, I boot from my burned WinPE recovery disk made with Macrium. I navigate to D, find my original image file, and restore it to C. I could just as easily navigate to the backed up image file on E and restore it to C.

Macrium image files have an mrimg extension. Each single file is a compressed representation of the partitions contained in the image. An image file could contain 1 or more partitions. All of mine contain just 1 partition. I make an image file every month and keep the 2 most recent files. Each file is roughly 40% of the size of the occupied space of the partitions it represents--my C drive has about 35 GB occupied and the last image I made of it was about 14 GB in size.

Macrium lets you drill into an image file (without restoring it) with an Explorer type interface and recover individual files if needed, but I never use that function.

You can also use Macrium to "clone" your operating system to another drive--as you might if you bought a new hard drive and wanted to move Windows to it. This is NOT a backup, but is instead a real-time operation. You could also use the imaging capability (rather than cloning) to move Windows to a new hard drive.

See attached pic of my Windows Disk Management.


Attached Thumbnails
4TB Drive Backup and Restore Compatibility?-untitled-1.jpg  
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Jul 2014   #10
jimbo45

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers
 
 

Hi there

These days I'd go for a COMMERCIAL backup product like Acronis (cost around 45 - 55 USD). Then if you need to backup the whole 4TB at once the backup program can make an image that spans several media -- If the backup image size was say 2TB then you could back this up to 4 X 500GB external drives or a 2TB space on a network drive. You can also specify the size of each "chunk" if you want to split the backup image into say 50 GB pieces for example. The system will prompt for new media when required.

The free programs usually don't have this capability built in. A better way IMO would be to backup the 4TB in sections -- say Music, Video, Documents, Photos etc or use some sort of Alphabetical system -- directories A-F, G-R, S-Z for example.

You also need to distinguish between BACKUP and ARCHIVE. Things like music don't probably change that often so back it up ONCE and then simply take what's known as INCREMENTAL backups -- you only backup what's changed. The commercial backup programs all have these facilities built in.

This topic is not so easy to answer in a few posts - but with larger and larger HDD's available it needs to be addressed sooner or later.

I can say in my case paying 45 USD for a decent backup program has definitely been one of the best 45 USD that I've ever spent --imagine re-ripping several thousand CD's again / retrieving lost music from torrents !! (sh!!) / iTunes etc to say nothing of scans of income tax / other business documents.

Keeping your OS on a separate partition / HDD too is also sensible - then it will take you only a few minutes to backup / restore an OS if you need to get rid of a virus / uninstall stuff that doesn't work properly or undo some change you made to the OS.

While there obviously can't be sections for everything I would suggest the whole subject of Backup / Archiving perhaps should be treated in a different section -- and the difference between a backup and an archive clearly explained as with these large HDD's becoming cheaply available this topic assumes more importance than ever.

To recover an OS image from your backup using Acronis (or similar) - the best way is simply to create a bootable USB version of the program -- Acronis has this as an option on the menu ==>create bootable media==>ISO/DVD/USB. Simply boot from the media you've made, ensure the HDD containing the backup image is available and online and just follow the screen instructions to restore.

(When backing up the OS - you need to backup the "System partition" if it exists as well -- on restore this needs to be restored too).

Cheers
jimbo
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