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How to backup the whole computer

This is a discussion on How to backup the whole computer within the General Computer Security forums, part of the Tech Support Forum category. How do you create a full backup of the whole computer with all installed components files and everything? I backed


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Old 04-03-2020, 08:42 AM   #1
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How do you create a full backup of the whole computer with all installed components files and everything?
I backed up my files, just copied them to a separate hard drive, so I am safe now from a computer crash, but just to save time in case it happens, I also want to create a full backup of hard drive which will also have all the installed components. Windows 10 has such functionality? If so how? Or you recommend another software ? (I prefer to do it in windows, without a separate software if possible)
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Old 04-03-2020, 09:24 AM   #2
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Old 04-04-2020, 08:09 AM   #3
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Support.Microsoft.com > Choose a backup solution in Windows 10

Macrium Reflect 7 Free Edition (Home Use)
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Old 04-04-2020, 09:02 AM   #4
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While I love Macrium Reflect, I do not think it is the best tool "for the uninitiated" simply because it gives too many options and can be overwhelming.

My personal preference for someone just starting to do full system image backups is EaseUS To Do Backup. It has the simplest user interface I've found and is generally perfect for your average home user. EaseUS To Do Backup Free is just fine for home users.
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Old 04-04-2020, 09:45 AM   #5
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Yep, EaseUS is indeed another good one. Used to use it myself way back before switching to Macrium Reflect.
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Old 04-07-2020, 04:09 PM   #6
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I use identical SDD......both Samsungs.........and have the side open on my case. If I somehow mess up C: (always doing something with computer!!) I simply unplug it and hook up my other SDD. Then CLONE (Macrium Reflect is free) the good SDD onto the one I messed up. CLONE MEANS EVERYTHING is copied byte for byte. ALWAYS keep Microsoft programs up to date, and use Glary Utilities to keep all other software up to date, too.
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Old 04-07-2020, 05:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
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While I love Macrium Reflect, I do not think it is the best tool "for the uninitiated" simply because it gives too many options and can be overwhelming....
I think the free version isn't that difficult for a new user.

As I recall, the default choices backup the entire C drive Windows partition. So, it's pretty much just a matter of clicking through the panels and accepting the defaults...except for the final storage location for the backup file. You do have to tell it where to put it. It also tells you how big the backup file will be so that let's you choose a location with enough storage. There isn't much difference between medium and high compression as far as file size goes.

I try to have an HDD with at least a USB3.0 connection and a full backup takes less than 10minutes for either the Win10pro-x64 or a Win7pro-x64 systems on which I use MacriumReflect Free.
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Old 04-07-2020, 05:39 PM   #8
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Quote:
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I try to have an HDD with at least a USB3.0 connection and a full backup takes less than 10minutes for either the Win10pro-x64 or a Win7pro-x64 systems on which I use MacriumReflect Free.
Then the system you're backing up has next to nothing on it.

A full system image backup, using an external USB 3.0 backup HDD, of approximately 600 GB will take hours, regardless of the utility being used.
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Old 04-07-2020, 06:23 PM   #9
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For britechguy: I HOPE YOU DON'T HAVE EVERYTHING SAVED ON ONE DRIVE!! Most of us DO NOT USE My Documents! Why? Because all hard drives are electrical and as such failures occur.........I can't count the number of hard drives I have replaced for folks, and they lose everything!! In my case: I use an external hard drive (1Tb) as My Documents. Thus the only things on my SSD are Windows 10; programs I prefer (have backup software for all); and utilities. My SSD are 240Gb and currently I am using 25% of it. I prefer 120Gb SSD but they are impossible to find anymore. When I clone using Macrium I do delete all partitions on the drive I am cloning TO! Avg time per clone is <4min!!!
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Old 04-07-2020, 06:42 PM   #10
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I have been using computers since the early 1980s, and the frequency of hard disc drive failure has become much, much less than it once was.

Most of us use a single drive, whether HDD or SSD, for our systems. The whole reason we take system image backups, at least if you're smart, is so you are prepared if you were to be so unfortunate to have a drive failure.

I've had two on all the computers I've owned over the course of that period of time, and it was the first one that made me realize how essential backing up is. Since I take routine full system image backups, to two separate backup drives, alternating the drives every month, I really don't worry about the drive on my system failing. If it does, then I slap in a new one and restore from my backup and am back in business in very short order.
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Old 04-07-2020, 08:42 PM   #11
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Quote:
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Then the system you're backing up has next to nothing on it.

A full system image backup, using an external USB 3.0 backup HDD, of approximately 600 GB will take hours, regardless of the utility being used.
I read his query too fast, and assume he meant the operating system elements.

Yeah, 600GB takes awhile whether software or hardware. Depends a lot on how you have your drives connected, sharing USB hubs, etc. In that case if I had multiple drives I'd probably setup a hardware drive duplicator like Wavlink's or another manufacturer. Those are insert the source drive and the backup drive and press the button and go do something else for a bit while it clones the source drive. I'd have a means of easily removing and reconnecting the HDDs in the system...something like an n-drive capable HDD hot-swap rack that uses the SATA connectors, not USB. That's assuming I want to keep the backup drives physically and electrically separate from the system when not being used (my preferred backup protocol). Otherwise, I'd just have backup HDDs mounted in the system and setup backup scripts to auto-backup in the background.
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Old 04-07-2020, 08:48 PM   #12
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Otherwise, I'd just have backup HDDs mounted in the system and setup backup scripts to auto-backup in the background.
Not in this day and age of ransomware. I make a point of having a backup drive attached only when a backup is being taken or a restore being made.

If it's connected (or an internal drive that's permanently online) is being used when ransomware hits then your backups are toast, too.
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Old 04-07-2020, 08:57 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Not in this day and age of ransomware. I make a point of having a backup drive attached only when a backup is being taken or a restore being made.

If it's connected (or an internal drive that's permanently online) is being used when ransomware hits then your backups are toast, too.
As I said, that's also my preferred method. In addition, I prefer them locked-up and offsite as well. On critical data there are 2 backups. One offsite and one onsite. All stored in fire-resistant safes.
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Old 04-09-2020, 08:22 AM   #14
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My backup program of choice is Acronis True Image 2020. There are two advantages of using Acronis. One is that is incorporates an additional line of defense against ransomware built into the software. Secondly, it will do incremental image backups. In other words, a full image backup is created initially and then incremental backups to that image. So a complete full image is not required each time. I do daily image backups to a second internal drive and additionally once a month I due an image backup to an external drive. This one is also an incremental and only takes a couple of minutes to complete. The nice thing about doing image backups with Acronis is that everything is backed up quickly and the backup is easily mounted so any single file can be restored. I don't worry about possibly of not including a needed file in a backup plan.
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Old 04-09-2020, 08:35 AM   #15
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Acronis is a great program, but to my knowledge there is not a free version, and when you're trying to nurse people into the world of actually taking backups that often matters.

Also, a number of the free versions can do incremental and/or differential backups. I don't use them because while they're much faster to create, they're much slower to restore. The opposite is true of full system image backups, they're far slower to create, and far faster to restore from.

Since I use File History under Windows 10 for my personal data files, doing a once a month full system image backup, coupled with File History, is more than sufficient. I'm really anal retentive and have two separate external backup drives, one for taking backups on even months and the other for taking them on odd months. I don't even entirely trust that my backup media won't die on me, but the probability of two separate backup drives dying at the same time is so close to zero as to not be worth considering.
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Old 04-17-2020, 08:56 AM   #16
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I store the majority of data on my Synology NAS, which gets backed each each night using the iDrive utility. I also do a "forever incrementals" backup each week of my 500GB solid state drive to a WD external hard drive using Macrium Reflect (not the free version), which typically takes between 5-15 minutes plus an automatic backup of any important C Drive data runs at shutdown using SynbackPro. This method has got me out of several difficult situations, including one today when the Windows key had stopped working on my daughter's new laptop.
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