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Windows 7: Questions about performing a manual backup by copying certain folders.

06 Aug 2014   #1
thready

Win 7 Home Premium x64
 
 
Questions about performing a manual backup by copying certain folders.

Windows backup wizard sucks because it keeps telling me I don't have enough space on my 1TB HDD to create a system image (if someone could help with that, awesome).

I have 4 drives in my PC. A 120GB SSD for Windows, a 2TB HDD for storage, a 256GB SSD because I had a coupon and some spending cash (lol), and a 1 TB HDD for backups.

I am tired of messing around with Windows Backup and Restore so I figured that I would just copy and paste the important foldersto the HDD. I want to copy everything in my user folder (the one that has My Documents, My Music, ect.) and I also want to copy game saves and a few programs that are not easy to replace.

I have a few questions. I guess I will just list them.

1) Should I just copy and paste folders to the HDD? Is there a better solution out there that is relatively noob friendly?
2) What folders do you suggest I do that for?
3) How do I backup Firefox and Chrome settings and bookmarks?
4) What types of other things should I backup that I might not think of or that you think are also important?
5) If I do this every week, how do I keep from creating duplicates or overwriting folders with identical folders? I know when I copy and paste a folder it asks me to merge stuff but it doesn't ask me to skip any folder I already copied and pasted.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Aug 2014   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

You should think in terms of two things:

Backing up Windows itself and backing up your personal files (everything else you care about other than Windows itself).

The best way to do the former is to use an imaging application, but not the Windows tool due to issues such as you are seeing. The image file would be a single very large file that must be "restored" to be useful. You could use Macrium, Aomei, Acronis, or others. Macrium is probably the favorite around here.

The best way to do the latter is to use an ordinary file-by-file copying program that just replicates the files and folders of your choice from one drive to another. There's a lot of these programs, most of them free. I use FreeFileSync. Others include Karen's Replicator, Second Copy, Synctoy, etc. They all work pretty much the same way, but differ in their interfaces. You can include or exclude any folder or file or file extension, etc.

You can configure these file by file copying apps to do either of the following:

Delete a file on the backup if it has been deleted from the original drive. This is usually called "mirroring"--the backed up stuff is an EXACT match of the original.

Don't delete a file from the backup, even though it has been deleted from the original drive. Keep both.

You could just copy and paste, but the above apps are smart enough to only copy files that are new or changed since the last backup. I do it daily. Takes FreeFileSync less than 60 seconds.

Firefox bookmarks are buried in your user folder under appdata/roaming. Look for a Mozilla folder. Back up that entire Mozilla folder.

As for what else to back up, you're the authority on what's important to you. I backup ALL personal files, plus bookmarks and email. It's up to you to determine where your personal files are located. Typically, it's under your username folder, but I don't use that folder myself. Some people backup drivers. I've never bothered with that.

I backup the image files I make. I backup the uninstalled versions of any programs I have downloaded. I consider all of that as personal data, so it must be backed up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Aug 2014   #3
thready

Win 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I think I will use that free file sync. I want to eventually move to Windows 9 and I'm betting that I'm going to have to do a fresh install. I think it's much easier just to copy and paste files rather than messing with entire system images. Thanks for the help.

update: Um...



This is the version copied from http://sourceforge.net/projects/free...nc/?source=dlp
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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06 Aug 2014   #4
skyred5

Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by thready View Post
Windows backup wizard sucks because it keeps telling me I don't have enough space on my 1TB HDD to create a system image (if someone could help with that, awesome).

I have 4 drives in my PC. A 120GB SSD for Windows, a 2TB HDD for storage, a 256GB SSD because I had a coupon and some spending cash (lol), and a 1 TB HDD for backups.

I am tired of messing around with Windows Backup and Restore so I figured that I would just copy and paste the important foldersto the HDD. I want to copy everything in my user folder (the one that has My Documents, My Music, ect.) and I also want to copy game saves and a few programs that are not easy to replace.

I have a few questions. I guess I will just list them.

1) Should I just copy and paste folders to the HDD? Is there a better solution out there that is relatively noob friendly?
2) What folders do you suggest I do that for?
3) How do I backup Firefox and Chrome settings and bookmarks?
4) What types of other things should I backup that I might not think of or that you think are also important?
5) If I do this every week, how do I keep from creating duplicates or overwriting folders with identical folders? I know when I copy and paste a folder it asks me to merge stuff but it doesn't ask me to skip any folder I already copied and pasted.
Hi there.

For your 1TB HDD, check the format of the hard disk. FAT32 doesn't allow files more than 4GB to be copied over and if that's the case you can just format it to NTFS by right clicking on the drive and choose "Format".

For your questions, it really depends on your purpose of backup. Is it to transfer over to a new computer? Or is it solely just for backing up purposes? So I'll go with these two scenarios for you to choose/decide.

1. Alot of external HDD nowadays come bundled together with their own backup software. So if your HDD requires power from the wall plug, then you can just run the program and start backing up all your precious data. If it's not, that's for Qn 2.

2. Most of the data stored on your computer is on your user profile, and the location is at C:\users\[username]. If you open it, you should see Desktop, Documents, My Music, My Pictures, My Videos, Links, etc. You can literally just back up this user profile folder of yours into your HDD.

3. Firefox and Chrome have their own individual locations for backup of the bookmarks. These two browsers also come with an online sync feature that you can backup your favourites on the cloud and get these bookmarks on any computer, so long as you log in with your account. As a chrome user myself, the favourites is tied to the gmail account. I'm not too sure about Firefox though. But if you still want to backup, you can always choose the export option on both browsers.

4. To my knowledge, everything that needs to be backup is already listed. Others can add on to the list.

5. Thats when it is easier to use a third party software to help u with the backup. Maybe you can try to format your HDD and see if Windows backup will work.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Aug 2014   #5
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

If you haven't found it yet, you can get FreeFileSync here.

Macrium Reflect Free (here is a good tutorial on how to use Macrium Reflect) is an excellent program for imaging your SSD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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