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Windows 7: Backup stalled at 96% on dying hard drive -s this usable?

18 Jun 2015   #1
barbsdesk

Windows 7 Home 64bit
 
 
Backup stalled at 96% on dying hard drive -s this usable?

Is the 96% backup going to be usable when my new computer arrives? (I ordered new computer yesterday)
Or does it have to finish - complete to 100% ?

Received noticed hard drive failure might be imminent on my Dell desktop with Windows 7 2 days ago.
(687 GB Hard Drive only half full) with 6 gb RAM) apprx 3 yrs old

Backed up important work files to small external hard drive immediately.

Bought a new 1TB external Seagate hard drive to back up the C drive.

Went to bed last night after 11 hours backing up successfully with it at 55%
This morning it was "frozen" at 96% (the sleep function was OFF)
Now acting erractically (mouse comes and goes, black screen comes and goes, it has beeped)...

I can't seem to get it to proceed from this point. It says "backup in progress" but unlike yesterday, it will not allow me to see the "details" so I can't tell if its still running.

Thanks for any help. I'm on a deadline and would like to connect the external hard drive to another machine.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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18 Jun 2015   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Tell us more about this "new computer".

Will it have a brand new Windows installation? Or will it arrive with nothing at all on the hard drive--no operating system?

You say you are stalled at a 96% backup. Using what application? Are you supposedly "backing up" all partitions on all drives in the existing computer? Or not quite? Or maybe you're not sure?

Do you have any type of Windows installation media?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2015   #3
barbsdesk

Windows 7 Home 64bit
 
 

Ordered a new Dell desktop Windows 7 64 bit should arrive Monday.

Using Windows 7 backup and restore to a 1TB seagate external drive. Drive C only

It's still running now at 97%...the green line is zipping across the page currently on "copying files to E:

Computer is still erratically responsive (e.g. I can click open and closed the "view details" button once in a while though sometimes this also stalls.

I would love to quit this waiting, but being at 97% I hate to stop unless I knew with absolute certainty another method would work.

Any help or advice really appreciated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

19 Jun 2015   #4
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

I would let it run as long as there is any signs at all of progress, and apparently there is. USB backup to an external can be excruciatingly slow.

However:

The new PC will have Windows installed with a new Windows license.

Can I assume that all you really care about on the old PC is your personal data--work stuff, mp3s, videos, pictures, maybe email, browser bookmarks?

If that's true, there are better ways to simply back up that stuff--but since you chose Windows Backup and Restore, I'd try to let that complete--till the new PC arrives if necessary.

Give us your best 4 or 5 sentences on your motivation for backing up--what do you hope you are backing up and why? Most people keep their personal files on C, but some don't. Me, for example.

Does the existing PC have only a single internal hard drive and only a single partition (C) on that hard drive?

How disastrous would it be if that failing hard drive dropped dead as you read this and that backup in progress was a failure also. In other words, what ISN'T already backed up?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2015   #5
barbsdesk

Windows 7 Home 64bit
 
 

You make very good points.


Yes - existing PC has only a single internal hard drive and only a single partition (C)

I'm a writer/artist, and my original works and works in progress are always backed up on a separate external drive or kept online.

I am also the family historian - and while most "important" images are backed up and/or elsewhere, I have tons of others I'd hate to lose. I have thousands of images on my desktop Picasa 3, would send them to Google Plus right now if it would let me - I was going to try it anyway as soon as the system finished backing up (or I gave up on waiting)

Guess I'm afraid of something falling through the cracks if I don't copy everything.

So other than continue to wait, is there anything else you would do at this point?

I was able to go over to My Computer and check progress on the E drive where the seagate drive is.
It shows its' copied 614gb from the c drive thus far. (Still at 97%)
Will I be able to access that info if download doesn't complete?

I appreciate your insight and your kindness.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2015   #6
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

see comments in bold

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by barbsdesk View Post


Yes - existing PC has only a single internal hard drive and only a single partition (C)


I am also the family historian - and while most "important" images are backed up and/or elsewhere, I have tons of others I'd hate to lose.

I take that to mean that you have no current backup at all for this other stuff that you'd "hate to lose" and that you have exactly one version of tons of some important files.

Guess I'm afraid of something falling through the cracks if I don't copy everything.

By your own admission, some stuff has already fallen through the cracks--that is, some stuff is not backed up. It's no more than hope that your current on-going attempt at backing up ALL files will succeed. If I understand your situation correctly.

So other than continue to wait, is there anything else you would do at this point?

Not as long as I saw some however slow progress on the current backup attempt. Subject to revision.

I'd guess there is only a small chance that "cancelling" the ongoing backup would corrupt some files you are now trying to back up or otherwise make them inaccessible in some way.

But that's a chance I would not yet take.

Your better move would have been to do a garden variety mouse copy of ALL I SAY ALL of your data folders ONLY to your external backup drive---conspicuously ignoring Windows Backup and Restore, which is a complication and a somewhat cryptic and inflexible application. Particularly for data files backup as opposed to Windows backup.

It's inflexible enough that I wouldn't dare assume that if you simply cancelled this ongoing backup in midstream that your data files would necessarily be readily available.

Not to mention that for all you know, the remaining 3% that is not yet done are precisely those files you are most worried about.

It would be up to you to locate where those data files reside. In a typical default installation, they'd be under C:\users somewhere, but you may have your own sense of organization and have them stashed elsewhere.

I'm not sure where your email and bookmarks might be--possibly under C:\users? I don't know as I don't use the default locations on my own PC.

I don't know what configuration choices you made within Windows Backup and Restore before telling it to do its thing, but my guess is that you are backing up your data AND your Windows installation, when you only needed to do the former (with the mouse) since your new PC will have a fresh Windows installation.


I was able to go over to My Computer and check progress on the E drive where the seagate drive is.
It shows its' copied 614gb from the c drive thus far. (Still at 97%)
Will I be able to access that info if download doesn't complete?

I don't know.

I would delay for now, watch progress, and re-evaluate at the last possible moment, which I assume is sometime after the arrival of the new machine.

At that point, maybe you take your chances and cancel out and then see if you can do the standard mouse copy.

That's what I'd do personally. Easy for me to say since it's not my stuff at stake.

Therefore, I would NOT say you are foolish if you do cancel. After all, I guess you think this drive is failing already, so a reasonable person might say that letting that drive work non-stop for the next 3 or 4 days in an attempt to complete the last 3% might itself push it over the edge into outright failure.

And I imagine it's possible that a failing drive would by itself make any backup attempt slow or doomed to failure.

I could understand it if you cancelled. I'm just saying that I personally would not at this point. You don't have a good clear-cut choice.


In the meantime, you can ponder what possessed you to not back up all significant files rather than just some of them.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2015   #7
barbsdesk

Windows 7 Home 64bit
 
 

Just to be clear I DID backup top priority stuff with the mouse and drop . . but going forward I am going to do a backup on everything - routinely, every night.
Lesson learned. (Mind telling me what you do to accomplish this?)

And I am going to wait it out. At least until the new machine arrives- because why not?

Thanks again - you are so kind.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2015   #8
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by barbsdesk View Post
but going forward I am going to do a backup on everything - routinely, every night.
Lesson learned. (Mind telling me what you do to accomplish this?)
There's a bunch of apps that are good for data backup. Most free, some for pay.

They make ordinary copies just as if you had used the mouse. No complications, no imaging, nothing to stand between you and getting at the backed up files. They can typically be set up to run with a single mouse click or two.

I'd advise you to have more than one backup---at least of "important" files. Perhaps a second backup to a USB thumb drive or to a second internal hard drive (very fast) or even to the dreaded cloud. Maybe run one of them every day and the other every week?

They all work about the same way, but would differ in the interface and how easy it would be for a greenhorn to understand.

Generally, you can include or exclude files by their extension and you can include or exclude certain folders. For instance: back up all jpegs in folder X and all of its subfolders, excluding subfolder 29, which I want to omit completely.

You set it up one time to your specifications and run it. The first time might take hours if you have a lot of files. For the second and later runs, it might complete in seconds or a minute or two because the second and later backups would only need to catch new files or files that were modified since the original backup. The earlier and unchanged files were already backed up on the first run.

Most such apps will have a control that allows you to choose whether or not to delete a file from the backup if it is deleted from source folder. If you delete a pic of your car from your "source" folder, do you want to let it remain in the backup folder? Or not? I usually choose to delete from the backup if I delete from the source. This is called "mirroring". The backup is intended to replicate the source exactly. This is a personal choice. Keeping the deleted file in the backup gives you a way to get it back if you decide you shouldn't have deleted the old car pic.

I use "FreeFileSync".

Other such apps are Synchback, Synchromagic, Karen's Replicator, Second Copy, Allway Sync, FolderClone and FBackup. I'm forgetting a couple.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2015   #9
barbsdesk

Windows 7 Home 64bit
 
 

Thanks. I will do this. And I'll repost and let you know if/when my backup completes.
Thanks again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
19 Jun 2015   #10
RolandJS

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

ignatzatsonic, you've got one of the finest, thorough, backup/restore routines I've ever read about! Thanks for such good tips! I will reReading some of this later and perhaps inculcating same into my normal backup/restore routine, which can always use some improvement, and your stuff does indeed offer improvement.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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