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Windows 7: Best operating system backup software

05 Sep 2015   #11
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Stevekir View Post

Windows Backup won't back up the following items:
  • Program files (files that define themselves as part of a program in the registry when the program is installed).
  • .............
Windows "Backup" involves 2 different processes. One is a system image and a second is a file/folder backup. The second basically backs up your data and non installed programs if you like. A system image creates a snapshot of your total system. You can restore a system image to your existing HDD/SSD or a new one.
You do not need to "Clone" and as I said before you are better off using Macrium Reflect.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Sep 2015   #12
Viper747747

Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Well if all you are wanting to do is have a backup of your entire system cloning would be the best option. I personally use Paragon Hard Disk Manager 15 Professional. I have cloned a copy of my hard drive. Should I ever need to restore my system the utility does it in about 6 minutes(only had to use it once) and the amount of time will of course vary the size of your system setup. It is a very user friendly, Nice simple interface, but yet it offers many advanced features. There are many others to choose from like Acronis, etc. It is just a matter of software choice
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Sep 2015   #13
Stevekir

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

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

And I would be able to clone it to the C: drive and change the boot order back to C: and reboot.

Does that seem right?
You're confusing me, not for the first time.

"Clone it to the C: drive and change the boot order back to C: and reboot"??????

What does "it" refer to in that sentence?

I would think you would clone FROM C to some yet unpurchased drive that will end up in your closet until needed. Not TO C.

Why would you need to change the boot order?

I'm just not following you.

My assumption was that you would:


1: Go buy a drive to clone your existing good hard drive to, let's call the new drive WD50

2: Clone your existing good drive to WD50.

3: Confirm that WD50 will in fact boot your PC AFTER the existing good drive is disconnected.

4: If it does boot your PC, disconnect it, put it in the closet and reconnect and continue to use your existing good drive.

5: If your existing good drive fails in some way, remove it completely.

6: Get WD50 out of the closet and connect it to the same cables the existing good drive was connected to. It will be C when you boot it.

7: Hope it boots as it did in your test in step 3 and if so, carry on. If not, go to Plan B.



Where am I going wrong in my assumptions?
Sorry. Bad drafting. I will follow your steps after "My assumption....". Good to know that the boot order would not need to be changed.

You mention: "...your existing good hard drive." My existing C: drive is actually an SSD, but I don't think that would affect the method.

I will talk to my Computer shop. I would prefer him to do it as I don't want to get inside the box.

Thanks again.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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05 Sep 2015   #14
Stevekir

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Viper747747 View Post
Well if all you are wanting to do is have a backup of your entire system cloning would be the best option. I personally use Paragon Hard Disk Manager 15 Professional. I have cloned a copy of my hard drive. Should I ever need to restore my system the utility does it in about 6 minutes(only had to use it once) and the amount of time will of course vary the size of your system setup. It is a very user friendly, Nice simple interface, but yet it offers many advanced features. There are many others to choose from like Acronis, etc. It is just a matter of software choice
Thanks. I will look into that.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Sep 2015   #15
Stevekir

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

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

And I would be able to clone it to the C: drive and change the boot order back to C: and reboot.

Does that seem right?
You're confusing me, not for the first time.

"Clone it to the C: drive and change the boot order back to C: and reboot"??????

What does "it" refer to in that sentence?

I would think you would clone FROM C to some yet unpurchased drive that will end up in your closet until needed. Not TO C.

Why would you need to change the boot order?

I'm just not following you.

My assumption was that you would:


1: Go buy a drive to clone your existing good hard drive to, let's call the new drive WD50

2: Clone your existing good drive to WD50.

3: Confirm that WD50 will in fact boot your PC AFTER the existing good drive is disconnected.

4: If it does boot your PC, disconnect it, put it in the closet and reconnect and continue to use your existing good drive.

5: If your existing good drive fails in some way, remove it completely.

6: Get WD50 out of the closet and connect it to the same cables the existing good drive was connected to. It will be C when you boot it.

7: Hope it boots as it did in your test in step 3 and if so, carry on. If not, go to Plan B.

Where am I going wrong in my assumptions?
Sorry. Bad drafting. I will follow your steps after "My assumption....". Good to know that the boot order would not need to be changed.

You mention: "...your existing good hard drive." My existing C: drive is actually an SSD, but I don't think that would affect the method.

I will talk to my Computer shop. I would prefer him to do it as I don't want to get inside the box.

Thanks again.
Another thought. In another recent topic "Backing up before 10 upgrade" you said:

"The closet drive would be immediately bootable, but would soon be out of date because your original drive would continue to evolve, getting more data and receiving more Windows updates and new programs." That seems to apply also to the "swap the internal HDD for a smaller one" approach we have discussed in this topic.

If, due to updates and security improvements, it would not be safe to run a Windows that is, say, a year out of date, the swapping would have to be done every year which would be quite laboursome, more so if the safety period was, say, 3 months.

I don't know anything about the internals in a Windows box but, building on your proposal, would it be possible to use a second SSD that matches the internal one, (the running one, my C: drive), and in some way clone C: to it, and boot from it after a fault. For example:

1 a) if the internal SSD was connected to the hardware by cables (I think some are rather than by pins), could those cables be T-eed off and brought outside the case (but protected against damage); or

1 b) if the computer had a second slot for an SSD, a plug could be inserted and its cables brought out of the box.

The outside cables could be connected to an enclosure holding a matching (external) SSD. A clone of the internal SSD could be made to it frequently, treating it simply as another drive. That external SSD would be put in the closet.

On wanting to boot after a fault, that external SSD in the closet could be re-inserted into the enclosure. If the internal SSD would still boot (but with faults) the boot order could be changed, otherwise if the internal SSD would not boot, the computer would automatically recognise the external SSD as the boot volume. Booting would take place, Windows could be updated, I could get back to work quickly. When convenient I could clone the external SSD to the internal one in the enclosure, treating it as another drive. That external one would again be a clone in the closet but up to date.

2. Or perhaps, the box could have a second slot for an SSD (*), with a matching second SSD in it. A clone of the first SSD could be made to it frequently, treating it simply as another drive. When next booted for normal operation, the first SSD would remain top priority in the Boot order.

On wanting to boot after a fault, if the internal SSD would still boot (but with faults) the boot order could be changed, otherwise if the first SSD would not boot, the computer would automatically recognise the second SSD as the boot volume. Booting would take place, Windows could be updated, I could get back to work quickly. When convenient I could clone the second SSD to the first SSD, treating it as another drive. The boot order would then be changed (if necessary) to return priority to the first SSD. The second SSD would again be a clone but up to date and would remain in the box.

Would any of these work, or are they fanciful?

(*) In 2, if my first SSD was replaced by one double the size (512 GB) and it was partitioned it two equal parts, and my C: drive cloned to one partition ("First SSD"), the second partition could be the "Second SSD".

Possible?

Thanks
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Sep 2015   #16
GokAy

Windows 7 Ultimate x64 SP1
 
 

Sorry if you already sorted this! Those "bizarre things" look like mounted Macrium image files. You should be able to unmount them from the context menu (right click).

I am using Acronis True Image Home 2010 (Plus Pack) and it has saved me few times from unnecessary headache. I have weekly full backups going with differential daily backups in between. It takes 10-15 minutes tops to recall C (50-60 GB) from the daily backup. So I don't feel a need for a clone (which I had when I first started).

And even though Acronis can backup files/folders, I prefer to use FreeFileSync to sync my data to the backup HDD (once a week to every 15 days, depending on the amount and nature of the change).

Both Acronis and Macrium are good products.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Sep 2015   #17
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Stevekir View Post

I will talk to my Computer shop. I would prefer him to do it as I don't want to get inside the box.
Do you intend to rely on your shop for this procedure on into the future? The shop makes new clones periodically, the shop confirms they work, the shop installs the cloned drive into the case when the internal drive fails, etc, etc? And you personally don't do any of it? When you have a drive failure, you call the shop rather than look for a screwdriver?

That sounds very cumbersome. But you say "I don't want to get inside the box".

I wouldn't be overly concerned about the "becoming out of date" issue for a cloned drive. Live with it.

If the cloned drive was made in Jan 2015 and is left in the closet until you have a drive failure in Aug 2016, then install the clone in Aug 2016 and update it via Windows Updates and otherwise bring it up to date.

If you are worried about the clone becoming out of date then make new clones more often, say quarterly, so that the cloned drive is never more than 3 months stale. Test each new clone.

Eight out of ten reading this would tell you to use imaging rather than cloning, but you have rejected imaging because you want something that is immediately bootable and does not need to be restored.

I would not get more fanciful ideas in my head as per your most recent post. Why ask for complications of an already shaky procedure? That's a rhetorical question.

Pick one method, verify it, understand it, and stick with it.

Your main problem will be confidence in your plan, whether it will in fact work in an emergency situation, and the extent of your reliance on a computer shop rather than yourself. Not whether the backup is stale.

Personally, I'd spend $50 or whatever necessary to buy a second drive with which to practice cloning or imaging and restoration myself so I had some confidence in the procedure and wean myself from the shop. If you can't or won't do that, then you have to live with the consequences of relying on the shop and whatever anxiety that entails.

Above all, know what you will do if your plans fail utterly and your precious backup is dead in the water.

There's not a lot more to be said without going around in circles and being repetitive.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Sep 2015   #18
Stevekir

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

Thanks. Wise words. I will re-think.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
22 Sep 2015   #19
Stevekir

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit
 
 

My PC has been in to my local PC shop (which built my machine) for the removal of minor glitches. When I collected it I asked him what the black panel on the front was for, just below the DVD tray. It is for fitting hardware. I asked if an additional HDD could be fitted. He told me that it could, mounted permanantly inside the case. In fact up to yet another 2 could be added if needed. He agreed that the additional HDD could be bootable when the C: drive was cloned to it. He had no doubt about that.

It looks like that solves my problem - no swapping of drives inside the case but still offering the use of a conventional (spinning) HDD which was recognisewd by the OS as a bootable internal HDD. This is the basis of Ignatzatsonic's approach in post 10 above with the exception of his line 5:

"5: If your existing good drive [my 256 GB SSD which holds C:] fails in some way, remove it completely."

I asked my computer shop whether there would be any confusdion between the (not-removed) SSD C: and the cloned C: in the new HDD. He said that if the SSD failed completely the computer would recognise the C: in the new drive (and if it didn't I would just need to re-boot (pressing one of the F-keys) and change the boot order to give priority to the new drive which would then become the boot drive). If the SSD managed to boot but was corrupted, I would need to re-boot (pressing one of the F-keys) and change the boot order to give priority to the new drive which would then become the boot drive.

I have read somewhere that it is possible to have a PC with dual boot.

I will discuss it with him in a couple of weeks and get him to supply and install the additional drive and test it. (Unless someone here sees problems.) If he doesn't get it to work I will use the new drive to follow Ignatzatsonic's approach.

Thanks folks for the help.
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