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I have read MANY things about how everyone should do frequent data and system backups. Seems there are many ways to do it, but none are really what I would call easy and straight forward. I have tried some of these, but there is no good way to test if the backup has been successful. Also, sometimes the recovery process assumes the OS is up and running to the extent you can run the recovery process. Also, over time, the programs change ar the company stops supporting them and the stop working. I have had multiple instances over the years where I thought I had a backup of something and for one reason or another I could not make it work. Usually I could piece together some combination of a complete reinstall and old data files to "sort of" recover.



Is there some sort of beginners guide to establish a reasonably good backup/recovery process for windows 10 systems somewhere? Call me a Luddite, but I really don't trust the "cloud". I would set up a "local cloud" on a router attached hard disk if I knew how. I could also back up to flash drive, but I have always had trouble booting into a recovery environment from there.


I really am not asking for you to write the book for me, jus to provide a reference or url to something to read with instructions to follow to set up a reasonably robust backup/recovery/restore process for low cost.
 

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Macrium Reflect is an excellent product, as are EaseUS To Do Backup, Paragon Backup & Recovery, AOMEI Backupper, and many others.

Virtually all of them (and all in the list above) have the option to verify an image after the backup is complete using the same technique, check a checkbox asking for that. I never do, as I think I've had one backup image fail in over 30 years, and I keep backups on two different drives, alternating even and odd months, so the probability of having two bad backups on two separate drives is about as likely as getting hit by a meteorite.

The basics of a very robust backup routine are fairly simple, and the number of drives you need or use really depends on just how critical the data you're backing up is. And if that data is really, really critical, you should not be storing your most recent backup in the same place as the machine that it's the backup for, since a fire, flood, etc., would take out both (in all probability).

For truly personal computers, a single full system image backup, along with a separate user data backup, will typically be adequate. These would be taken on a monthly cycle with off-cycle backups done in circumstances where you have some mass creation of data that you wouldn't want to lose, e.g., coming back from vacation and uploading several thousand photographs. Of course, if you're someone who is generating significant volumes of data more frequently than monthly, and you'd want to tear your hair out were you to lose that data, that's what should determine how often you do a full backup.

In this age of ransomware, do not keep an external backup drive connected to your machine constantly. Attach it only when you are taking a backup or doing a restore.
 

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Thanks for the prompt response. Does the documentation for the products you named give clear directions on how to set up to have bootable flash drives that could be stored offsite and then fetched and reloaded when my machine becomes a brick? Is the program on one bootable flash drive and then the flash drives with the backups on rotate? Sorry to have so many dumb questions, but as I get older I get less sharp.
 

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Thanks for the prompt response. Does the documentation for the products you named give clear directions on how to set up to have bootable flash drives that could be stored offsite and then fetched and reloaded when my machine becomes a brick? Is the program on one bootable flash drive and then the flash drives with the backups on rotate? Sorry to have so many dumb questions, but as I get older I get less sharp.
Sure, most of the reputable backup programs have knowledge base articles or tutorials and even videos on youtube detailing usage of their major features. I wouldn't recommend using a flash drive for storing the backups. A flash drive for use as the bootable rescue media is ok, but for storage of backups, that is a BIG NO for me. Flash drives are not reliable for storage of important stuff and should only be used for temporary storage/transfer of data. An external hard drive is much better and even cheaper than a flash drive in terms of capacity per price. In summary, you need:

1. External HDD (removable/portable backup storage)
2. Flash drive (as rescue media)
3. Backup software
4. A regular backup routine
 

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I've been thinking of testing the free version of Aoemi. If anyone knows if it will create a System Image or do I have to get the paid version?
 

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I've been thinking of testing the free version of Aoemi. If anyone knows if it will create a System Image or do I have to get the paid version?
According to the page where the free version (Standard) can be downloaded it appears it can not only take a full system image but also do incremental or differential backups.

I haven't used it in ages, but I took full system images way back when with Standard.
 

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According to the page where the free version (Standard) can be downloaded it appears it can not only take a full system image but also do incremental or differential backups.

I haven't used it in ages, but I took full system images way back when with Standard.
Same here, if memory serves me right. I used EaseUs for a while, then switched to AOMEI Standard Free before going back to Easus and Macrium. Been a while since I used it, but I remember it working well for file and system backups. I even have the Linux based rescue DVD I burned then (laziness taking out old trash). It probably supports WinPE based rescue media now.
 

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Thanx guys.
 

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Thanx guys.
One of the nice features of Macrium for some users is that on Win10 systems it will automatically setup a second boot structure for you and when you boot the computer it will ask whether you want to boot into Win10 or into starting recovery process. It simplifies things if the system still boots at all.

However, this can be also annoying because you will be asked for your decision everytime you boot the computer. However, it basically just adds a single extra key-press to the boot/sign-in sequence so it's about as minimally annoying as it can be while still providing convenience.

Unknown how ransomware would affect that particular feature (likely highly dependent on the ransomware) but your recovery OS/data are still usable with separate media if that's how you set it up.
 

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IMO, a Manual backup is the only one you can really know everything is backed up. all programs are prone to errors though including windows. Cloning is pretty dependable if you check them after and IMO the most reliable. The thing with a backup is you wanna have more than 1 and have it done in more than 1 way. Adding programs into the mix makes it more difficult as well. I know you don't like the cloud. However, your privacy is already being invaded in more ways than I could count just by being on the internet. Do you have Facebook, Twitter, or use Google? just saying. Carbonite is pretty reliable in my experience it's saved a few servers for my customers. However, I also do clones and manual backups of the important stuff. The biggest takeaway is you have to check the backups are working regularly before stuff stopps working.
 

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IMO, a Manual backup is the only one you can really know everything is backed up. all programs are prone to errors though including windows. Cloning is pretty dependable if you check them after and IMO the most reliable. The thing with a backup is you wanna have more than 1 and have it done in more than 1 way. Adding programs into the mix makes it more difficult as well. I know you don't like the cloud. However, your privacy is already being invaded in more ways than I could count just by being on the internet. Do you have Facebook, Twitter, or use Google? just saying. Carbonite is pretty reliable in my experience it's saved a few servers for my customers. However, I also do clones and manual backups of the important stuff. The biggest takeaway is you have to check the backups are working regularly before stuff stopps working.
All of them have the ability to verify the backup file.
 

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All of them have the ability to verify the backup file.
And I can count on less than 5 fingers the number of times I've ever even heard of said verification failing if the software stated the backup was successful.

Backup and Recovery software, used as directed, is about as bulletproof as it comes. And it's a lot more convenient and cost effective than drive cloning.
 
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And I can count on less than 5 fingers the number of times I've ever even heard of said verification failing if the software stated the backup was successful.

Backup and Recovery software, used as directed, is about as bulletproof as it comes. And it's a lot more convenient and cost effective than drive cloning.
Same here. I come from the era of tape backup which was at one time the most reliable. Since tapes fell by the wayside, I have implemented multiple hundreds of systems with Acronis, Aomei and as you know, my favorite, Macrium. I have yet to see a failure in implementation, verification, and subsequent restore operations yet. I have seen failures in other aspects of the process as in hardware and procedure but not in the software.
 
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