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Windows 7: Backing up Windows 7 easy options

12 Oct 2017   #1
cottonball

Windows 7 Home Premium
 
 
Backing up Windows 7 easy options

Would appreciate some assistance with the use of Windows 7 Backup. Trying to help friends, and provide them some options. The have no desire to install Windows 10, for now, anyway.

Their use of any computer is mostly eMail and Internet (research, online banking, eBay or Amazon purchases). They do keep some tax files and pictures.

1. For an unprecedented event, would presume they need to create an image of Windows 7, and a way to boot to the image?

2. Would they need to have an account with Administrator privileges to do so?

3. If they install a new program, how could they go about including it in the original image, or, would they need to create a new image?

4. Would the Windows 7 Backup program do the job, or would Macrium be a better choice?

Open to any suggestions, the easier, the better.

Thanks for your help.


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12 Oct 2017   #2
SIW2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Vista x64 / 7 X64
 
 

Windows image works fine. The .vhd it creates can be mounted read/write and files added or deleted, it can be serviced ( adding/removing updates/drivers ). You cant install programs into it though.

Making another Windows image will be differential, so any chnages to the running OS since the previous image will be included.

3rd party imaging programs do not mount their proprietary images as writeable. Some will create differentials.

Aomei Backupper is simple to use and the free version also creates differentials. It will also create winpe media.
Best Free Backup Software for Windows 10, Windows 8.1/8, Windows 7, Vista, XP
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14 Oct 2017   #3
RolandJS

Windows 7 Professional 64-bit
 
 

You certainly can use Windows built-in backup program! I recommend using Macrium Reflect as a 2nd backup program, maybe having just one OS full image and one Data partition full image from MR6 or MR7 to reside alongside your Windows 7 images on external media.
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4 Weeks Ago   #4
mrjimphelps

Linux Mint 18.2 xfce 64-bit (VMWare host) / Windows 8.1 Pro 32-bit (VMWare guest)
 
 

If you are looking for something easy for your friends, then probably the easiest option would be one of the well-known online backup services, such as Carbonite or Mozy. After they do the initial backup, everything happens automatically in the background whenever they are online; as far as I know, they don't need to do anything in order to stay backed up.

I would stick with the well-known services, because they will be around for a long time, i.e., your data will be available for a long time.

They could use an external hard drive and backup software; but that will take work on their part. And my experience has been that a backup is not likely to happen if it takes any work to do it. The online backup services are probably the most effortless way of staying backed up.
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4 Weeks Ago   #5
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mrjimphelps View Post
If you are looking for something easy for your friends, then probably the easiest option would be one of the well-known online backup services, such as Carbonite or Mozy. After they do the initial backup, everything happens automatically in the background whenever they are online; as far as I know, they don't need to do anything in order to stay backed up.

I would stick with the well-known services, because they will be around for a long time, i.e., your data will be available for a long time.

They could use an external hard drive and backup software; but that will take work on their part. And my experience has been that a backup is not likely to happen if it takes any work to do it. The online backup services are probably the most effortless way of staying backed up.
Mozy discontinued unlimited personal plans a few years ago. It is now tier priced based on the amount of storage used and is very expensive.

CrashPlan recently discontinued it's free and paid personal plans. It's replaced them with a new, more feature rich (and more expensive) Small Business Plan that actually is a bargain for the features one gets although most individuals will be reluctant to pony up the $120/year it costs. It has unlimited storage with no file type or size restrictions and no limit on how long it will retain deleted files. It also has versions for Windows, Mac, and Linux. I'm strongly considering switching to it when my current Carbonite subscription runs out.

Carbonite and CrashPlan both have unlimited storage. Carbonite is for SSA (Squabbling States of America) based customers only. It's $60/year. It does have some file size and file type limitations and will retain deleted files for only 30 days unless you freeze your account. Carbonite has the longest track record of the last three I'm discussing here.

Backblaze is only $50/year and has fewer restrictions than Carbonite. I was leery of it when it first came out due to it's rather "unconventional" business model but it has withstood the test of time so far. It's probably the best plan for most people but I've had no experience with it myself.

All three work in the background to find and upload new and changed files, encrypting the data before it ever leaves the computer. A broadband internet connection with a high enough data cap is needed.
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4 Weeks Ago   #6
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by RolandJS View Post
You certainly can use Windows built-in backup program! I recommend using Macrium Reflect as a 2nd backup program, maybe having just one OS full image and one Data partition full image from MR6 or MR7 to reside alongside your Windows 7 images on external media.
Windows backup can be temperamental to use. It seems to be the one most people complain about. Along with many other people here, I also recommend using Macrium Reflect Free but only for system files. For data only, I recommend a folder/file syncing program, such as FreeFileSync. However, both require the user to be disciplined enough to actually keep the backups updated.

While it is never a good idea to depend on only one backup, one is still better than nothing. If, for whatever reason, a user is unlikely to maintain a proper backup scheme, a paid cloud backup service would be best for them. Cloud backup services work in the background—the user is unaware of its activity—to send new and changed data to the users cloud backup account, encrypting the data before it leaves the computers. Carbonite (which I use) and Backblaze are the two I recommend now.
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