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Windows 7: backing up files

04 Nov 2010   #11
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by lartomar2002 View Post
i can not afford a backup software that cost at this time. any other recommendations?
What do you mean, Macrium is for free: Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download

My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Nov 2010   #12

windows 7 home premium

sorry i scanned the page so quickly i did not see the free edition, all i saw was the 39.99. will the free edition allow me to make the "full new images" you spoke of earlier? also will i have to make a whole new image every time i do a backup? also, am i required to burn this to a disc or can i just store on the ext. hd?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Nov 2010   #13
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

1. The free edition makes only full images - which is good.
2. You have to burn the recovery disk first. Take the Linux option. That is the "Starter Kit" for the day you need to recover. Without it, there is no way to pull an image in. So burn this recovery CD first.
3. The images themselves should be stored on an external HDD. CDs or DVDs are no good media for it - too messy and too much data.
4. Every time you take an image, it will be a new one. Keep as many as you have space. One never knows. I weed mine out from time to time and keep only one per month for the older ones. One per week for the more recent ones and one per day for last week.
5. Make sure you watch my tutorial that I linked earlier. That will explain everything. For a quick instruction I have also made this tut: Image your system with free Macrium - Vista Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec

05 Nov 2010   #14

windows 7 home premium

thank you, you have been a great help.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Nov 2010   #15
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

No problem. Any time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Nov 2010   #16

Windows 7 Ultimate x64

Excellent advice from whs. You really need two more drives, one internal for the machine and an external.

Partitioning is a very poor strategy, full backups all the time is very inefficient. Part of the problem here is the way in which Microsoft and some applications store your data, almost all of them mix it up on drive C unless specifically told not to, this is really really bad. Part of your backup strategy should include how you manage your data in the first place, i.e. where is it? the best place for it is off the system drive on a separate physical hard drive.

By far the best advice here is the recommendation for an external hard drive, backing up files to the same physical drive is only backing them up to protect from you or an application messing up the originals anyway, if your hard drive goes or your machine catches fire etc etc the data is gone, there is no recovery. At the very least you need to backup to an external USB drive, CD or DVD that you can store physically away from the machine. What happens if the criminal types steal your s**t, where is your backup then?

How you back up data will depend on the source, system drives are perfect targets for imaging, programs such as Acronis TrueImage, Macrium Reflect, Symantec Ghost are very powerful tools and well worth their price, all three can be had for less than $40 each. You get one OS or hard drive failure and the hours saved by restoring an image are well worth what you paid. If my system dies it rarely takes more than 15 minutes before I am running again, no more installing the OS, followed by all the drivers, followed by all the patches, followed by all the applications, followed by all the patches, followed by the task of reconfiguring your desktop to how you like it, tracking down all the favourites now blown out of the internet browser, followed by the realisation if you use MS Outlook or Express that all your E-Mail is gone too, then you explain to the wife that you lost all the family photos and the videos ....

Once you know where the data is such as documents, pictures, Video etc you can do these easily with Microsoft backup to a variety of media, of course if all your stuff is on one drive then the imaging tool is all you need.

BUT - do yourself a favour - TEST IT, Make sure it works, start from scratch, install the OS, install the imaging tool, image the drive and see if you can restore it before you go too far. If the only time you find out it doesn't work is when you are in the s**t then it is pointless. Repeat this process until you are confident that the restore is going to work.

You say that you can't afford backup software but you can't afford not to, you spend $100's on a PC and software and then baulk at $40 for protecting your s**t, bit of a no brainer really.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Nov 2010   #17
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

That reminds me that I once made a little write-up on how to test the imaging cycle without compromising your system. I think it is useful for a newcomer to imaging and you might learn a few other things too.

Macrium test

1. Shrink 2GBs from C and define a simple volume (partition) - let's call it Y
2. Move some files (any files) into Y - I always also move the sample picture folder in (you'll see why)
3. Define a test folder on your external backup disk - call it Mtest
4. Make an image of Y to Mtest - requires that you make a new definition
5. Delete a couple of pictures from the sample picture folder on Y (I always use the 2 animals)
6. Reboot and tap (ESC, F2 or whatever it is on your system) to get into the BIOS boot sequence
7. Set your boot sequence to CD/DVD reader
8. Throw in the Macrium recovery CD and let it run, then hit Enter
9. Now you are in the recovery wizard, set it to Mtest where it says "Locate Image" and to Y where it says "Choose partition to overwrite with the image data".

Note: the partition letters may not be the same as on your system. Macrium uses its own lettering. Best is to go by the size of the partitions and open it with the little + in the front.
10. Watch out when it asks whether to replace the Master Boot Record - in this case say "do not replace" because this is only a data partition. If that were your system partition, you would replace the MBR provided you do not have a separate boot partition.
11. When you get the little window saying "Your computer will now reboot", you have to hit "Cancel" (on the bottom" to get it to reboot. That's a little strange way to end the session, but that's the way it is.
12. Check whether the 2 animals in the sample picture folder are back. That shows you that the recovery worked.

When you have done these steps, you did the whole cycle and have learned

1. That your recovery disk works
2. How to recover
3. That things work

Now you can delete the little 2GB partition and add it back to it's originating partition.

If you are not familiar with the creation and deletion of partitions, watch this tutorial:
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Nov 2010   #18

windows 7 home premium

thanks to both of you:)
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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