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Windows 7: Backup Windows folder with NTFS permissions

01 Apr 2014   #1

Win7 x64
Backup Windows folder with NTFS permissions

What tool(s) can I use perform the above? I'm about to finish a fresh install of Win7, and I want to backup my Windows folder and %username%/ntuser.* files with their ntfs permissions, so if (heh - when) my system gets borked in a few months I can get back to a clean state without spending hours staring at windows installing and updating - assuming I have the same hardware of course.

And no, I don't trust System Restore as far as I can throw it, and I don't want a drive image either. All I want are archives of my Windows folder and user registry that I can burn to bluray, and use something like SystemRescueCD to restore from later. I would use FSArchiver from that, but by the looks of it, it only backs up and restores whole file systems, and I need more granularity than that.

I'm also going to take an image of my boot partition, obviously, but that part's easy.

Unfortunately, backups and rescue discs in general are such a popular topic that google returns pages of useless results for all the queries I've tried, and I haven't seen an answer on the forum search either Also, just to be clear: backing up my actual data is a separate issue, and not a problem.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Apr 2014   #2

Windows 7 Pro x64 (1), Win7 Pro X64 (2)

I strongly recommend Macrium Reflect for "system image" backups. I have the non-free STANDARD version because it also provides automatic "space management" (i.e. "automatic pruning" of older generations beyond the maxium number you want to retain, when new backup jobs are run to create new generations). But the FREE version works just as well for "system image" backups, except that you'll have to manually maintain the number of retained generations yourself.

The price for the STANDARD version is modest, and the additional functions it provides are worth it in my estimation. I also want to reward the superb software vendor for their superb product and superb product support. But it's up to you.

I run my "system image" backups weekly, to backup up both "system reserved" and C-partition (where Windows lives). Obviously an "image" backup is an exact copy of the original partitions, so all NTFS permissions would also be part of what gets backed up. Note the multi-generational capability of Macrium Reflect is a HUGE advantage over standard MS system image backups (which can only create one backup per target drive and with many further restrictions making its usability a real pain in the neck).

I retain 4 additional older weekly "image" backups, along with the most current one. I've actually never had to go back to restore anything older than the most current image to restore Windows integrity or get me back operating again from some major disaster, but having older generations to fall back on makes me feel more secure.

For "data" backups, I run NovaBACKUP from NovaStor. This is for my monthly FULL backups along with my daily INCREMENTAL backups, for "data" as described by selected folders/files on C as well as other data on all my other partitions across multiple hard drives.

Again, this product backs up NTFS permissions (if you specify it, and that's the default) and on restore can either restore those same NTFS permissions or not (again, that's the default but you can change it).

I retain 4 complete monthly sets (i.e. FULL+INCREMENTAL), so that means I can recovery ANY FOLDER/FILE from ANY DAY OVER THE PAST 4 MONTHS (even if multiple versions exist going backwards from the most current one available, I can easily pick and choose whichever one I wish to restore using NovaBACKUP's wonderful "time-based restore" functionality, no matter which backup dataset the particular folder/file I'm looking for is physically stored on).

All backups are stored on an external 2TB USB 3.0 drive. Jobs are automatically scheduled to run overnight when I'm asleep.

Again, "images" with Macrium Reflect Standard run weekly. NovaBACKUP used for "data" backups run FULL on the 1st of each month, and INCREMENTAL every night (to backup anything I worked on the previous day, since the last FULL or INCREMENTAL backup was run the night before).
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Apr 2014   #3

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Service Pack 1

The only way to properly backup a Windows system is to image the partitions to another drive. You can use Macrium. There is a free version (Link in my sig) which only allows full images. There is also Aomei Backupper which is also free but has incremental and differential backups and a scheduler.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

02 Apr 2014   #4

Windows 7

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
The only way to properly backup a Windows system is to image the partitions to another drive. You can use Macrium. There is a free version (Link in my sig) which only allows full images. There is also Aomei Backupper which is also free but has incremental and differential backups and a scheduler.
+1 Aomei Backupper:AOMEI Backupper How-to Guides: Backup, Restore and Clone
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Apr 2014   #5
Mark Phelps

Win7 Pro 32-bit, Win8 Pro 32-bit

All I want are archives of my Windows folder and user registry
That's insufficient if what you want to do is go back to an earlier state with all your apps and settings reset to that date.

Information is installed into lots of different folders, not just Windows, when an app gets installed. You would have to track down every folder used by each app and save off all the specific components of each. This is a LOT of work and fraught with errors.

It's easier, and safer, to just do an image backup. That way, you get ALL the folders.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Backup Windows folder with NTFS permissions

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