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Windows 7: Bootable backup/cloning solution

26 Aug 2014   #1
resucami

Windows 7 Ultimate
 
 
Bootable backup/cloning solution

Hello forum,

I am more of a Mac person but in general not completely bad with Windows, too (I own also two Windows PC's). So please forgive me if I don't speak the right Windows language ...

I am trying to help a friend to create a bootable backup solution for her Windows 7 computer - she uses already Mozy for some files but would like - after her power supply died recently without any recognizable reason - also to have a bootable clone of her internal hard drive onto an external USB hard drive.

After researching a little I think that probably "EaseUS Todo Backup Free" or "Macrium Reflect Free" should be able to do this job. I installed EaseUS Todo Backup Free now on my own Windows 7 PC and configured it firsty to do an hourly, incremental "Disk Backup". This seems to work fine. However, I cannot boot from this backup.

I then created a "Disk/Partition Clone" which also seems to work - however, this kind of backup cannot be put on a schedule with EaseUS (and I also don't know whether I really can boot from this drive).

Ok, the question is: How can I create a scheduled bootable backup (clone) with either EaseUS or Reflect, or is this basically not possible? What else can you suggest to me?

Thanks a lot! - resucami


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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27 Aug 2014   #2
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

With Reflect, you need to have the paid version to make a scheduled image. However, I do not recommend that. One has to have the backup drive connected to the computer all the time to be able to do scheduled backups and that would leave the backup drive vulnerable to corruption from malware, etc. It is far safer to backup to a drive that is connected to the computer only during the backup.

For continuous, automatic data backups online, I recommend Carbonite or CrashPlan instead of Mozy. Carbonite still has unlimited backup for a flat fee (something Mozy no longer has) and Carbonite recently discontinued their policy of throttling upload speeds when the amount of data backed up exceeded 200GB. Unlike CrashPlan, which retains older versions of files indefinitely, Carbonite will retain older versions of files only 30 days but Carbonite's upload speeds are far greater than CrashPlan's (and 30 days should be long enough for recovering files that are accidentally deleted, etc.). Carbonite is also easier to set up than CrashPlan.

For backing up to an external drive, I strongly suggest separating the System files (OS and programs) and data to separate partitions (or even drives), then using an imaging program to backup the System partitions only. System only images take far less time to make and take up less room on a backup drive, allowing more images to be stored. An image can then be used to restore the OS partitions if ever needed. For imaging, I highly recommend Macrium Reflect Free (here is a good tutorial on how to use Macrium Reflect).

For backing up data, I prefer to use a folder/file syncing program, such as SyncToy or FreeFileSync (I personally prefer the latter). A folder/file syncing program works by comparing a source drive or partition or folder with a destination drive, partition, or folder and then copying over any new or changed files and deleting any that have been deleted. This leaves a backup drive that is essentially an exact copy of the source and is usable as is (unlike images). While FreeFileSync can be set to do scheduled backups, I do not recommend it (except in certain, very specialized circumstances) since it would require leaving the backup drive connected at all times.

Macrium Reflect can also be used to clone an entire drive, which will give you a bootable copy of the original drive, but I normally recommend cloning only for when moving the contents of a drive to a new drive that is replacing the original drive. Cloning an entire drive is not an efficient way to backup a drive because of the huge amount of time it takes and the dramatically increased wear and tear on the backup drive.
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 Bootable backup/cloning solution




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