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Windows 7: How to do a routine backup onto a Flash Drive

30 Mar 2014   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
How to do a routine backup onto a Flash Drive

One backup I normally do on a 16GB flash drive now fails every time and it indicates that there is not enough space to do it. Microsoft indicate that as long as the flash drive is more than 1GB, it should work!
I have formatted the Flash drive. The procedure I use is - Control Panel - Backup & Restore - highlight the Flash drive - Allow windows to choose - "Backup Now". About an hour later it tells me it has failed!
I suspect that it is trying to "create a system image" backup - which I have not asked for (I do that when using by external hard drive backup)
Please advise me

My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Mar 2014   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

What are you trying to back up?

Windows itself?

Your entire C partition?

Pictures of your cat?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Mar 2014   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Good Afternoon ignat...
My original post sort of answers your rather cheeky question - I let windows choose - so whatever it chooses that is what I am trying to backup. Obviously I am not expecting to backup a system image but since the only apparent options I am given is "System Image" or "Backup Now"; I choose the latter - which many times in the past has worked ok.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

31 Mar 2014   #4

Windows 7

I still remember, Windows Backup&Restore doesn't support backup to external hd, so does flash drive.
So you can with the help of third-party professional backup software which supports backup to external hd. My tool is aomei backupper and it support doing a routine backup onto a Flash Drive. please visit their website.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Mar 2014   #5
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

If you let Windows choose, you really don't know what you are backing up. I really don't understand the purpose of that action.

As suggested, I would make a full image. Then at least you have a reliable backup file when disaster strikes - and it will strike. For that, however, a small stick like this may not suffice.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Apr 2014   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Good Morning "papuman",
Thank you for trying to help with the information you provided. However, although your statement about Windows not allowing external backups to HDD was true with "XP"; there is normally no problem on "7", "8" & "8.1".
Good Morning "whs",
Thank you for your comments.
I agree that using "Let Windows choose" results in you not knowing what is being backed up. However there is a purpose in allowing that to happen, otherwise the clever people at Microsoft would not have programmed the option in.
One good reason is that many users of a computer are not knowledgeable enough (me included) to decide exactly which files and folders to backup.
My query concerned a backup on a Flash Drive but I cover all bases when I do a round of backups. First - create a restore point (on internal HDD). Then (normally) a backup onto a 16GB Flash Drive. Then a backup onto DVDs (used to take 2, now takes 7). Finally I create a system image on an external HDD drive (about 150GB)
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Apr 2014   #7

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64 +Linux_VMs +Chromium_VM

A DVD holds over 4.5 GB.
If your backup now takes 7 DVDs it is way more than 16 GB of data.

I don't use Windows Backup, but maybe someone knows if you can mount one of these backup files to see what is in it.
Maybe there is some temp data that you could delete, or other data that takes a lot of space that you really don't need backed up.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Apr 2014   #8

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Good morning David (very early up for you?)
Thanks for your comments. Yes - about 30GB. However; I have done windows backups onto my flash drive several times in the past; so, as you say, it seems data has massively increased of late or one of the microsoft updates has changed the backup system so that it now backs up more items than it used to
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Apr 2014   #9

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64 +Linux_VMs +Chromium_VM

Yea, it's early

Can you run a backup (not image) and save the backup file to your external HD?
If so, and it creates a VHD backup file it looks like you could mount it to see what's in it.

In Disk Management you can attach a VHD.
Here is where I read about this:
How to mount a VHD file in Windows 7
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Apr 2014   #10

Multi-Boot W7_Pro_x64 W8.1_Pro_x64 W10_Pro_x64 +Linux_VMs +Chromium_VM

Here's an MS article about backup and restore.
Backup and Restore - Microsoft Windows

It does explain what's included in the backup if you let Windows choose
How does Windows choose which files to back up?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 How to do a routine backup onto a Flash Drive

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