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Windows 7: A little confused about Windows backup utility

26 Feb 2010   #1
LobsterEar

Windows 7 Release Candidate
 
 
A little confused about Windows backup utility

Alright, so I'm about to do a clean install of Windows 7. I realize this wipes your whole HDD so I need to back up my data.

I have a 500GB external HDD which is more than enough.

My problem is this. I don't know if I should back up EVERYTHING.The backup utility gives you the option to manually select what you want to back up and then I can check all the things I want to backup.

My worry is that if I check ALL the files which includes my entire C: drive and all my "my documents", "Pictures" folders...etc...will this interfere with my newly installed Windows when I restore these files?

What I mean by this is there are certain files such as "windows games" and I assume even my current OS, that will be backed up.

Now I'm sure my new OS will have some of those same files already installed, such as games like minesweeper and such. That's just an example I'm sure there's more important stuff.

Will this cause a problem if I backup my ENTIRE HDD and restore it all onto a fresh OS?

Also, to anyone familiar with steam, will it be ok to just copy my entire steam folder and then restore it without running into problems? Will I have to redownload steam or my games? Will I lose game saves?

Thanks in advance.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Feb 2010   #2
Phase

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

I believe you can backup your entire HDD, it will appear as windows.old if I'm not mistaken once you install Windows 7 & from there you can retrieve files into new Windows - also, check this post out:

Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2010   #3
LobsterEar

Windows 7 Release Candidate
 
 

I've heard of windows.old, but isn't that just a folder on your current hard drive? I've heard it's better to do a real backup. I just want to know if it's ok to copy every single thing off my current HDD onto my external HDD without problems. When I restore it all will I have to re-download/install my programs?

Also, do I need to do the image backup that way? When I go to the backup utility it asks me if I want an image backup. Is that the same?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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26 Feb 2010   #4
LobsterEar

Windows 7 Release Candidate
 
 

Great. Now I just read that windows won't back up Program files. So HOW am I supposed to backup my steam games and game saves? All of my most important files are in my program files. This is just ridiculous.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2010   #5
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Hello LobsterEar,

The system image backup will backup everything on the selected hard drive and partitions, and restore the image exactly like the drives were when backed up.

Quote:
System image backup -
Windows Backup provides you with the ability to create a system image, which is an exact image of a drive. A system image includes Windows and your system settings, programs, and files. You can use a system image to restore the contents of your computer if your hard drive or computer ever stops working. When you restore your computer from a system image, it is a complete restoration; you can't choose individual items to restore, and all of your current programs, system settings, and files are replaced. Although this type of backup includes your personal files, we recommend that you back up your files regularly using Windows Backup so that you can restore individual files and folders as needed. When you set up scheduled file backup, you can choose whether you want to include a system image. This system image only includes the drives required for Windows to run. You can manually create a system image if you want to include additional data drives.
Hope this helps,
Shawn
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2010   #6
LobsterEar

Windows 7 Release Candidate
 
 

Ok, so since I'm backing up my HDD to restore the files on a new OS should I use image backup? I'm obviously going to back up my actual data such as games, homework etc, so should I do one or the other or both?

Also, do you know the deal with Program files like I mentioned above? Will it really not let me back them up? I've read about people backing up their steam games and saves, but these are in the program files section along with other important files which Windows apparently won't let me back up, so how do I get those files onto my new OS?

All I really want to do is have all my important data on my new OS after I do a clean install. I didn't think it would be this complicated.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Feb 2010   #7
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Personally, I have always found it easier to just manually copy the files that I wanted to not lose to a DVD or another hard drive/partition instead of using backup programs. This way I could just copy them back directly without the need of a backup program, or worrying about the backup program not being able to find the back up files it created.

Either way, you will still need to reinstall each program you want back into the new OS installation. You will not be able to backup the program and restore it into the new installation. Only with a system image recovery can you do this, but that restores the old installation as well.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2010   #8
LobsterEar

Windows 7 Release Candidate
 
 

Can I backup everything and then copy and paste important files in case they didn't get backed up and make an image backup?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2010   #9
Brink

64-bit Windows 10 Pro
 
 

Sure thing, but a system image backup when restored, will restore everything and replace the current installation.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
27 Feb 2010   #10
LobsterEar

Windows 7 Release Candidate
 
 

Alright, but I have the option not to restore using the image right? I can restore using my normal backup or the files I copied. Correct?

Sorry for all the questions. But this is serious business lol.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 A little confused about Windows backup utility




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