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Windows 7: What is the best way to backup these things?

20 Nov 2017   #1
crystaldrone

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 
What is the best way to backup these things?

Hi,

So I will be reinstalling Windows this week because of a driver issue not getting resolved no matter what I try. Will be installing all the softwares, plugins, their licenses, all drivers, do all the smaller personalizations etc.

After I finish all the details, I want to backup in the way that when I use it to restore -

1. All the installed softwares & plugins (32&64 bit) get restored along with their licenses so I don't have to register them again. (Some needed a serial, some needed a key file or a license manager, while some had to be copied in the installation folders, or even into the Program Data folder to work.)
2. All the drivers, Task Scheduler & Public and User Documents get restored.

What will help me here? A backup or a system image? Moreover will a backup/system image of the entire C drive make sure that all of the above is backup up well?

Sorry for being a bit of a noob, but these bigger computer operations have always scared me a bit. Would love to have some guidance & advice here.

Thank you!

P.S - Lesson learnt - Never install a driver without creating a restore point.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
.
20 Nov 2017   #2
mrjimphelps

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

Get Macrium Reflect Free and do an image backup to an external drive. Be sure to create the Macrium emergency boot disk, and include the USB drivers on the emergency disk.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Nov 2017   #3
torchwood

W7 home premium 32bit/W7HP 64bit/w10 tp insider ring
 
 

Hi Crystal,

suggest you also run/print
Belarc - System Management For The Internet Age. Software license management, IT asset management, IT security, Cyber Security.

will get all your passwords/codes and keys.


Roy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

21 Nov 2017   #4
crystaldrone

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Hi,
Thanks for the replies. Macrium does look like a good robust choice Jim. Will look into the emergency boot disk you are talking about, since backing up drivers is really important to me.
@torchwood Do you have a feeling that Macrium won't backup keys and licenses? I tried Bel Advisor but it seems to only build a profile of my system(A really good, detailed one). Are you talking about BelManage?

Thank you again!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Nov 2017   #5
mrjimphelps

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

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by crystaldrone View Post
Macrium does look like a good robust choice Jim. Will look into the emergency boot disk you are talking about, since backing up drivers is really important to me.
The Macrium emergency boot disk doesn't back up your drivers. Its only purpose is to give you a way to boot the computer and then do a restore (or a backup). In order to be able to do that, it will need to be able to read from and write to an external USB hard drive. So when I said "include the USB drivers", what I meant was that Macrium will put USB drivers onto the emergency disk, so that when you boot with the emergency disk, the computer will be able to read from an external USB hard drive.

All of your drivers will be in the backup that you do, so you don't have to worry about not having them.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Nov 2017   #6
torchwood

W7 home premium 32bit/W7HP 64bit/w10 tp insider ring
 
 

Hi Crystal,

No im just saying that the belarc report is an easy way to retrieve the info if all else fails, and you need to clean install

Roy
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Nov 2017   #7
crystaldrone

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

@mrjimphelps I really thank you for clearing that up. Feel much more confident doing my backup. But since I also have virtual midi drivers, a virtual display driver, and the firewire driver because of which I have to re-install everything, will 'include USB drivers' include those too? I ask since there is nothing USB about them.

@torchwood Definitely! I have always landed up with rogue softwares packing all sorts of bundles in their downloads when it comes to utility softwares. Belarc advisor is gold. Thanks for this letting me know about this. Very handy when backing up.

Thanks!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Nov 2017   #8
mrjimphelps

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

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by crystaldrone View Post
@mrjimphelps I really thank you for clearing that up. Feel much more confident doing my backup. But since I also have virtual midi drivers, a virtual display driver, and the firewire driver because of which I have to re-install everything, will 'include USB drivers' include those too? I ask since there is nothing USB about them.
The only drivers that will be included on the emergency disk are those needed to connect an external USB hard drive.

Everything else that you are speaking of (virtual midi drivers, a virtual display driver, and the firewire driver because of which I have to re-install everything) will be included in the backup that you will do.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
21 Nov 2017   #9
crystaldrone

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

@mrjimphelps Got it! Cant wait to get the whole system sorted.

Guess its safe to mark this topic as solved. Glad to be here and get such invaluable advice from you guys.

Cheers!
My System SpecsSystem Spec
23 Nov 2017   #10
TechnoMage2016

Windows 7 Ultimate, SP1, x86
 
 

I guess you can mark this thread as Solved if you like, but there are still some serious HOLES in the information you've been given.

With 30+years of experience in this topic, I've developed a few simple rules for assuring your system safety and longevity.

I'll just tell you what I do with my own PC and you can take it from there. OK?

When I have to do a fresh (clean) install of an OS, programs, etc. to a HD:
Of course I install the OS, and any drivers that were not installed by the OS Install program.
Then I do my tweaks to the OS so that it runs at maximum efficiency. Then I install the basic Security programs that I always use.
I'll usually STOP there, and get out my Ghost 11.5 DOS boot disk and boot up my PC, which takes me into the Ghost Backup program. Then I will use Ghost to make a compressed Image File of my C: drive and save it to either a second internal HD or an external USB drive.

That gives me something to go back to, if during the rest of the setup, something goes sideways and I have to do a RESTORE. (that's a C: drive restore, not just a System Restore.)

During a total set up of a new HD, I might make two or even three backups, just for safety sake.
I can always delete Backup Image Files that I don't need.

So when you need to restore a backup of your C: drive, it's important to have your Backup/Restore program on some media, like a CD or Flash Drive, that can boot up your PC and run the Restore program.
Your Backup/Restore program MUST NOT be on your C: drive, when you need it most.

As a PC Tech, one thing that's heartbreaking to me is to go to a new customer's house and find out that their HD has crashed and there is no backup of anything. I can set up a new OS on a new HD but I can't do anything about all the lost data, pictures, etc.

So after the repair, I make an Image of the new C: drive and burn it to a DVD. It's the least I can do for someone who's just lost years of data files and pictures.

Happy Holidays!
TechnoMage
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 What is the best way to backup these things?




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