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  • Backing up my computer

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Questions: Win10 Backing up my computer

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      • #2342981
        Rush2112
        AskWoody Plus

        I already have an internal D: drive to backup my computer. Can I use an additional(s) External Hard drives to also aide as a backup to my internal Hard Drive?

        Secondly, How do I create a bootable Flash Drive in case my Hard drive doesn’t boot up?

      • #2342991
        RetiredGeek
        AskWoody MVP

        Rush,

        Your backup software should have an option to create the bootable flash drive for you. I recommend Macrium Reflect Free which I know has this option.

        As to backing up to a drive that is in your computer, NOT a good idea IMHO. You should backup to a device that is not normally connected to your computer so any thing that affects your computer does not affect your backup, e.g. Power Surge, Fire (implies you keep it in a fire safe container), Ransomeware infection. Any of these, and I’m sure there are others, hazards can/will render your attached backup useless.

        My routine makes use of an external USB 3.0 drive dock in which I can rotate several bare HDD’s or SSD’s. This gives me several generations of Images (belt and suspenders) which allow for the chance that the drive holding my last Image is corrupted. It also makes it easy to rotate one of the drives to an offsite location in case the house burns down, etc.

        HTH 😎

        May the Forces of good computing be with you!

        RG

        PowerShell & VBA Rule!
        Computer Specs

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2342995
        geekdom
        AskWoody Plus

        Getting Started

        You will need several hardware devices prior to starting backups:

        • At least two, probably three external hard drives for data files and folders and system images, These should be 1TB or greater storage capacity.

        • Several flash drives for bootable recovery disks. When your system won’t boot, these will boot. Flash drives are fragile. Test early and often to see if they will boot. If a flash drive won’t boot, create another bootable flash drive. The key word here is bootable.

        • If you have a CD/DVD drive, several CD/DVD disks for bootable recovery disks. CD disks are more robust than flash drives, but if you build them, test them periodically to see that they will boot.

        The reason you want several external hard drives is to rotate them. If a backup goes bad, you have extra backups with a system image and your user files:

        Day 1 External hard drive 1
        Day 2 External hard drive 2
        Day 3 External hard drive 3
        Day 4 External hard drive 1
        Day 5 External hard drive 2

        Using Windows 10 Backup Option

        On Hiatus {with backup and coffee}
        offline▸ Win10Pro 2004.19041.572 x64 i3-3220 RAM8GB HDD Firefox83.0b3 WindowsDefender TRV=1909 WuMgr
        offline▸ Win10Pro 20H2.19042.685 x86 Atom N270 RAM2GB HDD WindowsDefender WuMgr GuineaPigVariant
        online▸ Win10Pro 20H2.19042.804 x64 i5-9400 RAM16GB HDD Firefox86.0 WindowsDefender TRV=20H2 WuMgr
        • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by geekdom.
        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2343223
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        I backup automatically to an internal disk, then connect an external disk and copy the backup to the external.
        FastCopy does a nice job of the copy and it can save the settings as a job for ease of use.

        You should check the external disk for errors every now and then. See this thread for details: https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/from-the-lounge-simple-and-cheap-data-backup-and-storage/

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2344691
        Rush2112
        AskWoody Plus

        I tried to back up my computer to an external Hard Drive. My computer didn’t have the option to add a drive and I am lost in trying to figure out how to set it up. The instructions that were stated in the forum don’t quite show you how to add a drive to backup your computer. So I am lost as to what to do next. I have Windows 10 version 2004.

        Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

      • #2344696
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        I tried to back up my computer to an external Hard Drive

        Use a USB HDD like this.
        If you have a spare internal drive you can get a USB caddy that will accept any internal drive.

        Once the disk is connected it will show up as an additional drive, maybe E:
        Point your backup software to it, maybe make a new directory and away you go.

        If you can’t see the disk after it is connected, fire up Disk Manager to see if it has been recognised.

        cheers, Paul

      • #2344697
        RetiredGeek
        AskWoody MVP

        Rush,

        What external drive do you have? It should have a USB cable that you can plug into your computer. Windows will automatically detect the drive and assign a drive letter to it.

        Post back if you need more help. 😎

        May the Forces of good computing be with you!

        RG

        PowerShell & VBA Rule!
        Computer Specs

      • #2344698
        Rush2112
        AskWoody Plus

        I have a USB 3.0 HDD and my computer recognized it. I went to the backup section and selected to stop using my current drive before using another drive. But was given no option to add a drive. However after a moment, it went to the control panel and I had to turn it on the drive. So I did that, I thought it wasn’t doing anything. So I went to the web to research the forum in backing up a computer in Windows 10. When I came back it had said I needed to download the file history. How do I do that? Or is it too late? Please help, I don’t know what to do next.

      • #2344704
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        What backup software are you using?

        cheers, Paul

      • #2344705
        Rush2112
        AskWoody Plus

        I am using the basic Windows software that came with my computer. Why, are there alternatives?

      • #2344727
        PFC
        AskWoody Plus

        My computer didn’t have the option to add a drive and I am lost in trying to figure out how to set it up.

        After you get to Settings\Update and Security\Backup

        click on “more Options” , (it may take a while to respond before Backup Options shows up and a further delay before screen fills up), scroll to bottom,

        click on “Stop Using Drive” (for your current D: backup)

        from there you should be able to select your new external HDD for backup

        note: it’s the first time I experience those delays mentioned, possibly another effect of recent updates?

         

         

      • #2344729
        Zig
        AskWoody Plus

        Rush,

        There are MANY alternatives, most better than that provided natively in Windows 10. I use EaseUS Todo Backup, many recommend Macrium Reflect, some use Aomei Backupper. I don’t feel Acronis is dependable for automated backups.

        Most are available as free versions, though more options & automation are available with paid versions.

        See also:

        https://www.askwoody.com/forums/topic/my-windows-10-backup-software-choice-and-why/

        https://www.askwoody.com/forums/forum/askwoody-support/pc-hardware/questions-maintenance-and-backups/

        Zig

      • #2344732
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        I don’t feel Acronis is dependable for automated backups.

        I use Acronis automatic backup (full, incremental, differential) for years. No problems.

        Attachments:
      • #2344854
        Rush2112
        AskWoody Plus

        I figured out that I will use a different backup program such as EaseUS Todo. Will it give me instructions somewhere to create at least 3 USB rescue flash drives? Or a rescue CD? I can make more than one of each, that isn’t a problem. I’d just like to know what steps should I take first. Oh and by the way, when I tried to do a backup to my external HDD Seagate Portable Drive. It said size of backup is 0 bytes. Do I need to have that corrected before using another backup program?

      • #2344881
        Rush2112
        AskWoody Plus

        I reached out to the builder of my computer and I got my computer backup done he suggested this website using windows software as outlined here:

        https://www.windowscentral.com/how-backup-windows-10-automatically

        I was able to create 3 Repair discs using windows software. Now do I need to create bootable recovery USB drives also? Other than that, my issue has been mostly resolved. Thank you all for your invaluable help.

      • #2344987
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        You don’t really need 3 rescue disks, one is sufficient as long as you have tested that you can boot from it, find the backup and restore a file or two.

        cheers, Paul

      • #2345015
        Rush2112
        AskWoody Plus

        I wasn’t sure, I thought that I’d rather be safe than sorry. Next question: Do I put one of the rescue disks that I already created into the CD/DVD drive and load it into the computer then reboot my computer to test it? I am learning, but I just don’t quite know how to use the rescue disk now that I have them.

      • #2345046
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP
        1. Insert the CD.
        2. Click the Windows flag and hover over Shutdown.
        3. Hold down the Shift key and click Restart.
        4. From the “Choose an option” screen select “Use a device”.
        5. Select the CD.

        cheers, Paul

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2345135
        Rush2112
        AskWoody Plus

        I assume that is to test the disc. If my computer doesn’t boot up, do I load the disc into the drive and simply boot up the computer with the repair disc and have the latest backup drive handy to restore my computer?

        Lastly when testing the disc, will I be given the option to exit without altering anything?

      • #2345259
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        If you don’t restore anything nothing will be altered.

        Bite the bullet and test, then let us know if it works.

        cheers, Paul

      • #2345355
        Rush2112
        AskWoody Plus

        I have unfortunately ran across another problem. Apparently I got two defective portable HDD’s. I got the first one that I opened on Saturday to perform a backup on it. I have an older HDD from the same company with just select files and folders on it, but no backup on it. I am looking for recommendations on which brand or type of HDD that I can use. I am sending the others back. They have apparently cheap din connectors on them. Ironically I found that the first one that I bought about a year ago worked fine and had no issues connecting it to my computer. Now I got two duds, go figure!!! I’d prefer USB connection between the HDD and my computer, not a din connector.

        Help me.

        • #2345423
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          DIN connector? You should be using USB external hard disks, manufacturer doesn’t matter as long as they have a warranty, around $40 for 1TB.

          cheers, Paul

          1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2345409
        Gordon.paddockhall
        AskWoody Plus

        Before Win10 I used to use Iomega’s Quickprotect. This copied all recently updated files to an external NAS drive once an hour and, togther with occasional full backups, enabled me to recover quite easily from a ramsomeware attack. Unfortunately the same software won’t run on Win10. Does anyone have a copy that does, or know of similar backup software?

      • #2345425
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        We recommend Aomei, Paragon, EaseUs, MiniTool, Macrium etc. All have free versions that will make an image backup. Some (Aomei) have almost all features enabled in the free version – Macrium won’t do file backups in the free version. All run on W10 and have rescue media to recover from non-boot / disk failure.

        Ransomware protection is available in the paid version of Macrium and Acronis and possibly others – I haven’t looked.
        Depending on your NAS, you may be able to do ransomware protection with snapshots.

        cheers, Paul

      • #2346261
        Rush2112
        AskWoody Plus

        Darn forum, I was going to save the instructions that Paul outlined for me to test my Windows 10 Repair Disc that I had created. And the reply has been removed somehow.

        Could someone please let me know how to test the repair disc? This time I will save the instructions to a PDF if I have to.

        Thanks

        • #2346272
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          Rename a couple of files.
          Boot from your rescue USB.
          Connect the backup disk if required.
          Browse the backup and restore the files you renamed.
          Boot normally and check if the files are the same as the renamed files.

          #2344452

          • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Paul T.
      • #2346263
        doriel
        AskWoody Lounger

        Can I use an additional(s) External Hard drives to also aide as a backup to my internal Hard Drive?

        Yes, you can. I have few external HDDs sitting in my drawer with multiple backups. For example this SATA/USB box costs 10 USD and you can use old HDDs for backing up (see screenshot).

        Secondly, How do I create a bootable Flash Drive in case my Hard drive doesn’t boot up?

        It depends on which backup SW do you use. Some SW creates entry in Boot manager, then you get “recovery option” during the OS boot. For example, I use Acronis true image for backing up. It can create bootable USB DLC stick with lots of usefull tool, including restoring from backup file.
        Good way of creating bootable flash drives is Rufus. siply run the program, select ISO with operating system and it will create bootable media.

        Another thing to point out is, that you can ususally select device to boot from during the initila boot. On Dell, for example, press F12 repeatedly when your PC starts. Then you get list of possible options.

        Please do not hesitate to ask more questions. HTH.

        Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

        HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

        Attachments:
      • #2346266
        Rush2112
        AskWoody Plus

        I used the Windows 10 backup software and subsequently in using the control panel’s software in creating  the repair disc. You’ll have to excuse me for not knowing the correct terminology. I will describe as best as I can. It’s a Windows 10 64-bit Repair disc. I had created 3 of them… Just in case. What are the steps in testing them? And for that matter how do I test each HDD after I have backed up my computer? I have done 1 such backup and that was this morning.

        • #2346278
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          Do as @Paul-T recommends. Make some non-invasive changes, then try to restore from today morning backup.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

      • #2346281
        bbearren
        AskWoody MVP

        The only true test of your backup software (I use drive imaging) is to fully restore one of your recent drive images.  If you are afraid to do that, you don’t trust your software, perhaps you’re using the wrong software to backup your computer.

        I use (as I have said a number of times) Image for Windows from TeraByte.  I’ve been using TeraByte imaging software for a couple of decades now, and have never had a failure to restore, or an issue after restoring an image.

        One of the included features of Image for Windows is a script called TBWinRE that will add Image for Windows to the Windows Recovery Environment.  This allows one to boot into the Windows Recovery Environment (rather than boot to a USB or optical drive recovery disc) and run Image for Windows from there.

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        "When you're troubleshooting, start with the simple and proceed to the complex."—M.O. Johns
        "Experience is what you get when you're looking for something else."—Sir Thomas Robert Deware

      • #2346283
        Moonshine
        AskWoody Lounger

        . . . . It’s a Windows 10 64-bit Repair disc. I had created 3 of them… Just in case. What are the steps in testing them? . . . ,

        Windows, ordinarily, will try to boot/start from the Hard Drive.
        If Windows won’t start for reasons unknown, the disks/drives you create can be used to boot from to allow you to select a keyboard layout and to hopefully access Windows or access various tools within various menus that will be shown to troubleshoot etc, etc.

        You can go into the BIOS/UEFI to change the boot order, but it is easier if you find out what the shortcut keys are used to allow onscreen Boot Menu for you to select if you have a CD/DVD in the drive bay or more common nowadays, a USB drive (Flash) inserted.

        The Desktops I use daily have ASUS motherboards and I can access both the CD and Flash drive versions of the ‘Windows 10 Repair’ by pressing the F8 key when the system is started and when the first screen (ASUS logo) is shown.
        Among the choice of options is the BD/DVD/CD drive (CD is in the drive bay) and the Flash drive inserted.
        On the ASUS laptops (no DVD drive), pressing the Esc key on startup reveals the boot menu to select from (Flash drive if inserted).
        I use the down arrow keys to select either of the two, then press the Enter key to progress. If I have opted for the CD, I’m shown on screen the option to press any key to boot from the inserted CD.

        Both my CD and Flash drive can access Windows because I have no issues, but if I had, they allow me to access the tools to progress.
        These have been considered ‘tested’ and I know they work and hopefully will work in an emergency.

      • #2346287
        Moonshine
        AskWoody Lounger

        This link might be useful:

        Booting to the Boot Menu and BIOS

        https://kb.nmsu.edu/page.php?id=80139

        • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Moonshine.
      • #2346470
        Rush2112
        AskWoody Plus

        Sorry Moonshine, my computer was built. I do not know the specific manufacturer of the PC. I would have to ask the company who built it. Or simply ask them how to boot into the boot menu.

        I think I have asked this before. How do I create recovery flash drives (I have three of them that need formatting), how do I test them and how do I use them? Unless I use them from the boot menu, then the answer is obvious. Lastly, Paul laid out the steps to test my Windows 10 Repair disc’s. Now how do I use them if needed, or is that also from the boot menu as well?

         

        I thank you all for your invaluable help. Should the need arise.

      • #2346478
        Moonshine
        AskWoody Lounger

        When you press the Start button, wait for the logo to show, then press the Esc, F2, F5, F7, F8, F9, F10, F11, F12, Delete key (at different start times) to see if you get a result.
        Press a key every second.
        I have given a useful link above showing common keys used from different manufacturers. Have read of it and try some.
        I have created a short video to show you what you’d see when either a CD/DVD or Flash drive is used. It shows the CD drive being selected (CD in drive bay and Flash drive inserted).
        I could have selected the Flash Drive.

        To create a Flash Drive Recovery Drive – insert a Flash drive, then type into the Search Bar: Create a recovery drive > Enter > Follow the prompts.

        The video shows the Booting from the CD whilst in Windows.
        If the machine won’t start normally, press the on switch/button, then press the magic key when the manufactures logo shows to try get into the Boot menu to start from the disk (or Flash Drive).

        • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Moonshine.
        • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Moonshine.
        • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by Moonshine.
      • #2346656
        Rush2112
        AskWoody Plus

        I think I understand all the steps. I’ve just created 3 recovery flash drives. I have yet to test either method (Repair Disc and or recovery from a backup) to see if they work or not. If my computer doesn’t go into Windows, Do I inset the Repair disc and flash drive and power up again??? Or am I missing some vital information?

      • #2346659
        Moonshine
        AskWoody Lounger

        I have yet to test either method (Repair Disc and or recovery from a backup) to see if they work or not. If my computer doesn’t go into Windows, Do I inset the Repair disc and flash drive and power up again???

        You need to test the media to see if it works.

        Whilst in Windows and the CD media in the drive bay:
        Pauls advice:

        Press the Shift key >
        Right click the Start Button >
        Shut down or sign out >
        Restart
        Release the Shift key
        Use the options available as a test.

        After testing above

        Remove the CD – insert the USB Flash Drive

        Press the Shift key >
        Right click the Start Button >
        Shut down or sign out >
        Restart
        Release the Shift key
        Use the options available as a test.

        I have given you other options to test out media above.
        Pauls method doesn’t need you to access a Boot Menu.
        If your machine won’t start, you’ll need to access the CD/DVD/Flash Drive via the Boot Menu using the ‘Magic’ key to access the tools/troubleshooting options that are available.

        Unless you try this, you’ll not know if these methods work.
        Why are you reluctant to shut down and use the keys shown above to potentially gain access to the Boot menu.
        Some systems will never show a Boot Menu because they weren’t designed to.
        If you are having trouble with all of this, perhaps some one-to-one help is needed and not ‘distance’ learning as we are doing here.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2346660
        Microfix
        AskWoody MVP

        my question here is, what’s wrong with the W10 internal to OS imaging system?
        By this I mean, don’t you trust W10 to image and restore your system?
        it can create startup disks also image and restore so…

        • #2346963
          doriel
          AskWoody Lounger

          Restore points in Windows 10 are not reliable for me. I mean if you cuase some issue with your PC via settings or installing SW, it never repaired my issue. So thats why I do not believe in Windows restote points. Maybe backup/imaging works better, but I am not willing to waste my time.

          Dell Latitude E6530, Intel Core i5 @ 2.6 GHz, 4GB RAM, W10 1809 Enterprise

          HAL3000, AMD Athlon 200GE @ 3,4 GHz, 8GB RAM, Fedora 29

      • #2346661
        Moonshine
        AskWoody Lounger

        . . . .it can create startup disks also image and restore so…

        Re created W10 Startup Disks – leaving aside, at this moment, changing the Boot order via the UEFI/BIOS to boot direct from said Disk(s), how would a user Boot from the Startup Disk?

        Restoring an taken Image may be considered overkill if you just want to remove a problematic Update from a machine that is causing internal access problems or the Update has prevent Startup.
        Updates can be accessed/removed via say the Recovery Drive.
        If you have ever been let down by Windows own version of Imaging, then you would never trust/use them again and opt for a more flexible, more reliable method that the likes of Macrium Reflect offer.

      • #2346969
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        don’t you trust W10 to image and restore your system?

        No, I don’t. That is why I use Acronis to schedule Full, Incremental/Differential backup.

      • #2347249
        Rush2112
        AskWoody Plus

        How do I use Acronis if I spelled that right? What are the advantages over the standard Windows backup software? Do I still need 3 HDD and 3 USB flash drives? I am fact finding.

        • #2347383
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          Acronis is not free.

          Any of the free apps we suggest (Aomei, EaseUs, Paragon, Minitool) are all more flexible than Windows backup and you can store multiple backups from multiple machines on one disk.

          I don’t recommend Macrium for non-techies, it is relatively complex.

          cheers, Paul

          • This reply was modified 4 days, 19 hours ago by Paul T.
      • #2347385
        Moonshine
        AskWoody Lounger
        • This reply was modified 4 days, 19 hours ago by Moonshine.
        • This reply was modified 4 days, 19 hours ago by Moonshine.
        • This reply was modified 4 days, 19 hours ago by Moonshine.
        • This reply was modified 4 days, 19 hours ago by Moonshine.
        • This reply was modified 4 days, 19 hours ago by Moonshine.
      • #2347459
        krism
        AskWoody Plus

        Macrium reflect free. Many many times it has saved me. Just take an image before you do anything dicey. I use Rufus to create the Macrium bootable stick. Macrium also backs up and restores correctly windows/linux mixed systems.

        - ThinkPad T530-2394-3J8, i5-3380M 2.9GHz, UEFI/GPT: (Win10 20H2 Pro x64), 8GB(15GB/s), Sammy 500GB SSD. -

      • #2347905
        Rush2112
        AskWoody Plus

        I will have to weigh my options in selecting a backup program. Whether it be I stick with Windows backup software or to chose another. Mind you, I may have owned computers for several years and this current one for a year and a half or so. I still consider myself to be a novice, yet I am learning. Slowly but surely. I have learned a lot since joining this forum and reading the weekly newsletters. I still don’t know all the shortcuts around a computer.

        I just recently contacted the company who built my machine. They sold me a USB Thumb drive with Windows loaded onto it. Now I have learned how to get into BIOS and that’s hitting the del key. I just have to learn how to access the Thumb drive within BIOS. I have never gone into BIOS before. If anyone could teach me, I’d appreciate it.

        • #2347936
          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          I just have to learn how to access the Thumb drive within BIOS

          You can’t.
          BIOS mode is the hardware settings of your machine and has very little to do with whatever operating system you have installed on your hard disk.

          cheers, Paul

        • #2347938
          krism
          AskWoody Plus

          You can usually boot into BIOS by tapping some key when the first screen appears on boot. Which key will depend on your manufacturer. Interestingly, on my Lenovo T530 thnkpad, the first screen that pops up says enter to get into BIOS – however, for me, the correct key is F1. Go figure!

          As to what is in the BIOS, I would suggest NOT changing anything until you know for sure, but it is fine to look around in there. I would suggest, for you, to exit BIOS, press and hold the power button until the power shuts off. That will avoid any chance of changing any BIOS setting.

          - ThinkPad T530-2394-3J8, i5-3380M 2.9GHz, UEFI/GPT: (Win10 20H2 Pro x64), 8GB(15GB/s), Sammy 500GB SSD. -

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