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Windows 7: Basic backup advice please for someone with no idea at all

11 Nov 2015   #1
MadMudMob

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 
Basic backup advice please for someone with no idea at all

I use my computer at least a dozen hours a day as I am not well and over the years I have customised it to be just as I like it as well as collected numerous pics, altered the look of Windows (Personalisation), installed programs and so on.

I am absolutely fraught that one day my lovely PC will expire and I have no idea about how to go about keeping a record of it with the idea of being able to put it all back on a new computer.

So far I have tried ....
~ Backups from the computer itself on to a memory stick but fail every time as it refuses to format any of the 8G B memory sticks I have tried. The backup that I get to from the control panel starts off well but gives up at about 28% telling me there is not enough room on the stick. I followed online instructions to remove Write Protect but the value was already at 0 and now backup section in Control Panel/Backup Settings won't even recognise there is a stick (Drive I) plugged in.
~ I tried to make a System Image but not even the repair shop could manage to make one when I took my computer to them to try to get them to do it for me.
~ I have tried to explore backup programs but the cost seems a lot when I can't seem to figure out if they will do what I want.
~ I thought of an external hard drive but, again, I don't know if it will do the job I ask of it.


I don't even know if any of these would or could actually put everything on to a new PC if/when this one gives up the ghost?

Could some kind person explain to me if I am overly hopeful in wanting to be able to transfer all to a new PC and quite how to do it please?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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11 Nov 2015   #2
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Imaging with free Macrium

You need "imaging".

Consult the above tutorial for how.

Macrium is free.

Windows itself has imaging capability, but it's shaky and not the best tool.

Briefly, you would:

1: install Macrium
2; make an "image file" of one or more partitions on your current hard drive.
3: save that image file on some totally different drive--possibly an external.
4: make a bootable "restore" disc within Macrium
5: confirm that the restore disk will in fact boot your PC.
6: if your PC fails, you would then boot from the restore disk and "restore" the image file you made in step 2 to a new drive.

You'll no doubt have a million questions. Read the tutorial, make notes, and ask about what you don't understand.

It is NOT infallible. It may fail. You need to have a plan B, which is typically to reinstall everything from the ground up---which is precisely what you don't want to do but may have to if image restoration fails.

If you know what you are doing, the success rate is probably 98 or 99 percent. If you don't and can't or won't learn, the success rate is near zero.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Nov 2015   #3
MadMudMob

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 

Thankyou for replying - and so quickly.

I am off to bed now but will read that link thoroughly tomorrow and be back
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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12 Nov 2015   #4
MadMudMob

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 

Ignatzatsonic I do apologise but I am not too well today ... I will give the link a good read tomorrow and take you up on your offer of any questions if I have any.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2015   #5
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

I just re-read your original post and it brought up some questions for you to ponder:

From what you say, it appears that you are worried about getting Windows set up the way you want it on a NEW computer that you figure you will have to buy sooner or later.

That is different than returning your existing PC to it's current state if you have a major failure on the existing PC and have to fix it--such as recovering from a bad virus or a broken hard drive.

If you buy an entirely new PC in 2016, you aren't likely to have much success by simply restoring an image of your current PC to the new PC. The new PC has completely new hardware and may also have a completely different version of Windows already installed. You'd face a lot of problems and most people would tell you to give up and simply reinstall your programs and re-customize everything again--even though that's what you are trying to avoid.

Imaging is much better suited to situations that do NOT involve an entirely new PC--such as if you had a hard drive failure and wanted to replace it and restore your existing Windows and applications to the new hard drive.

There are applications that supposedly will help you move an existing Windows installation to entirely new hardware, but that is beyond the scope of imaging. One such application is Paragon Adaptive Restore. I've never used it and cannot vouch for it.

Paragon Adaptive Restore - Overview

Here's a tutorial for it:

Make Windows 7 bootable after motherboard swap

Honestly---if you are talking about what you should do if you were to buy an entirely new PC with a new Windows installation on it, my advice would be to bite the bullet and re-do everything from scratch, however painful that is.

It's up to you to start thinking about that and perhaps making a lot of notes to yourself about what modifications you have made to the existing PC and what would need to be re-done on a new PC.

Imaging still may be useful to you to restore things on your EXISTING machine if it should ever have a major failure.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2015   #6
MadMudMob

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 

Thankyou ... I have already bought a very similar replacement ... second hand about the same age as this one and with 3GB, just as this one has, with Windows 7 Home Premium as I have now but 64bit rather than 32bit.

I take on board what you say and will have a rethink if you think they will be too dissimilar.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2015   #7
ignatzatsonic

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by MadMudMob View Post
Thankyou ... I have already bought a very similar replacement ... second hand about the same age as this one and with 3GB, just as this one has, with Windows 7 Home Premium as I have now but 64bit rather than 32bit.

I take on board what you say and will have a rethink if you think they will be too dissimilar.
"very similar" isn't likely to be good enough.

Your existing PC has a Windows license. If it's a store-bought PC, it most likely has an OEM license. You are begging for trouble if you try to move that Windows installation and it's OEM license to another PC.

It's not clear to me what you are trying to accomplish by buying another old PC when the existing PC is still working well.

And the move from 32 bit to 64 bit will also add complications.

I think you just better grit your teeth and do what you don't want to do----start over from the ground up if and when the existing PC quits. If you've already bought a replacement PC with 64 bit Windows, then just reinstall and reconfigure everything.

That's a pain---so I wouldn't volunteer for it until and unless the current PC failed. Your replacement PC of the same age with the same amount of RAM isn't likely to offer any advantages.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
12 Nov 2015   #8
MadMudMob

Windows 7 Home Premium 32bit
 
 

Well, I am happy to accept your solution as you know so much more than I do and sincerely thankyou for guiding me through it.

It's just a case of long live this computer then and I will do whatever is needed when the time comes.
(The other one was a pressy from Hubby to try and ensure I would not be left computer-less, bless him)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Basic backup advice please for someone with no idea at all




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