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Windows 7: Backing up data to view on another PC

09 Dec 2012   #1

Win7 64bit
Backing up data to view on another PC

I have a PC with Vista and a laptop with Win 7.

I want to do a backup of each on an external drive, in case either should fail. However, my main need is to be able to access data and emails from that backup using the other working machine, until such time a repair is made and the data can be restored to the original machine.

What software (free would be nice!) will let me view all the emails & data without having to actually restore it onto another machine? I am concerned that the mix of Vista & Win7 and windows mail & windows live mail might cause a problem.

Maybe I am making this too complicated for myself and that any software (Easeus for example) would do the job.

Any advice would be much appreciated.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
09 Dec 2012   #2

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Golden wrote a great tutorial on using robocopy to back things up check it out here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
10 Dec 2012   #3

Win7 64bit

Many thanks.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

10 Dec 2012   #4

Windows 7 Home Premium 64bit

Ive always used Acronis myself to make disc images/backups of my HDs.
It works nice because you can open the image, browse its contents, and copy files elsewhere by simply dragging/dropping or copy/paste.

The downside is that you need to be familiar with the folder structures of Windows. By that I mean you need to know not only what you are looking for but where it is located. Also, Acronis must be installed on the PC thats browsing the image (likely an obvious thing)

So if you wish to restore a certain email for Windows mail live for example, you need to know where it stores them.

Alternatively, alongside a main system image, you can set a scheduled backup just for email, pictures, documents or whatever files you want a backup of on thire own.

Never used Robocopy myself so unsure how well that works in comparison.
And in all fairness, I am not sure about the new 2013 version of Acronis.
I do know 2012 was ... well .. not so good. I went back to 2010 which is very good, and still highly recommend v2010 of it to this day.

For a free solution, the ROboCopy route is probably the best bet for what you want to do.
If I am not mistaken, and someone please correct me if wrong, most of the free imaging software will only allow a backup and full restore. To be able to browse and restore select files, you need to move to paid versions if they offer that feature.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
11 Dec 2012   #5

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
viewing vista <-> win 7

Never ran Vista, but if Vista comes with Windows Backup and Restore, maybe this would suffice:

1. Create a system image using Windows backup to ext HD. There will be a folder on HD called WindowsImageBackup.

2. In that folder will be a VHD (virtual hard drive) file.

3. Connect HD to other system.

4. Under computer management, click "action", "attach virtual drive", browse to ext HD and choose the VHD file.

5. Target system should now have a new drive letter assigned to the VHD.

6. Click that drive under Computer, and browse-move-copy-search whatever.

7. When done, under computer management, click the virtual drive letter listed in center pane and detach. CAREFULL! Do not check delete data!

8. Done.

If this works, it should work in both directions. Caution, you're mixing Vista 32 and win 7 x64, so only poke around in your user data, not the system files (C:|windows, etc.).

Hope this might help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
13 Dec 2012   #6

Win7 64bit
Re: Above

Thanks to everyone for their help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Backing up data to view on another PC

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