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  • Best App for System Image Backup?

    Posted on WSstarvinmarvin Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Windows 10 version 1809 – September 2018 Update Best App for System Image Backup?

    This topic contains 20 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  mn– 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    • #1907033 Reply

      WSstarvinmarvin
      AskWoody Lounger

      Macrium Reflect Free and Windows 7 (Backup and Restore) are both viable options for creating a System Image type backup. Each program has its own set of features. The problem is that I’ve mostly been doing File History backups for a while, and I can’t remember which program has which features.

      For example, which of those two programs will let me use a network drive to create and/or restore a System Image? The network drive is a large capacity internal HDD on another PC which is shared on our home network LAN.

      Another example: My C: drive is only using around 50GB of space, so I have 410GB free of 464GB total space on the C: partition. Can I use either program to create and restore a 50GB size System Image without needing to use Windows Disk Management to shrink my C: drive before creating the backup? Or, do both programs require me to shrink the partition in order to get that smaller backup size?

      I should know this stuff, but haven’t done it in a quite a while so could use some advice here. Thanks!

      C-drive-free-space

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    • #1907120 Reply

      Try Acronis True Image.  I know there’s a free version w/ bells & whistles that’s associated with Western Digital somehow (and now SanDisk?).  Acronis let’s you back-up to your Network drive -I’ve always had hassle free success w/ Acronis.  The trial version on the Acronis website is not the way to go (you can make an Image, but not install it -last I checked, maybe that’s changed).  Perhaps you have a WD or SanDisk drive (even if you don’t, I think you can still use the WD/Acronis version).  Good luck.

      • #1907137 Reply

        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Try Acronis True Image.  I know there’s a free version w/ bells & whistles that’s associated with Western Digital somehow (and now SanDisk?).  Acronis let’s you back-up to your Network drive -I’ve always had hassle free success w/ Acronis.  The trial version on the Acronis website is not the way to go (you can make an Image, but not install it -last I checked, maybe that’s changed).  Perhaps you have a WD or SanDisk drive (even if you don’t, I think you can still use the WD/Acronis version).  Good luck.

        +1
        I use Acronis for years. bi-weekly full back, daily incremental backup.

      • #1907143 Reply

        Kirsty
        Da Boss

        I know there’s a free version w/ bells & whistles that’s associated with Western Digital somehow (and now SanDisk?).

        The WD version of Acronis True Image is here and the supported products are listed here.

        I was only able to get an external Sandisk drive recognised, not an internal drive, but had no problem with WD drives. The second link above also has access for Data Lifeguard Diagnostic for Windows, which I’ve discovered is a very handy utility.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1907127 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      See this post for suggestions.

      Back-up problem

      cheers, Paul

    • #1907181 Reply

      agoldhammer
      AskWoody Plus

      I have three PCs at home and use NovaBackup on all three as there is a discount for a three PC license pack.  In addition to carrying out the configured backups on schedule, it includes a disk image utility that creates an OS system image to a separate drive on a weekly basis.  You only have to create a bootable USB thumb drive to reconstruct your system OS in case disaster strikes.

    • #1924643 Reply

      Bundaburra
      AskWoody Plus

      I would just make the point that a system image backup is useless unless the product is capable of also running a full restore.  This would need to be tested before a disaster happens.

      I have used Macrium Reflect (free version) for years, and more than once I have needed to do a full restore, always with no problem.  I like this product because it offers two levels of restore:

      (1)  Where the system is bootable, but has gone wrong.  In this case you can boot into a special restore environment, where your backups will be detected and can be restored.  This environment has to be created first (the program tells you how), and becomes effectively an alternative non-default OS at boot time.

      (2)  if the system is no longer bootable, you  can boot from a special Restore disk (or whatever), which will run the same Restore environment.  You have to create this disk first;  again, the program tells you how.

      There is also the ability to recover individual files or folders from a backup.  You just assign an unused drive letter to the backup, and then this new drive shows up in File Manager (or similar) and may be copied from.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1924670 Reply

        GoneToPlaid
        AskWoody Plus

        I too agree that Macrium Reflect (free or paid versions) is the most stable and dependable. I am not trying to plug Macrium. I am simply stating that it is what it is.

    • #1924929 Reply

      ScotchJohn
      AskWoody Plus

      As a former user of Acronis, I say, go with Macrium, pay them the money, they’re worth it!

      Dell E5570 Latitude, Intel Core i5 6440@2.60 GHz, 8.00 GB - Win 10 Pro

      • #1928133 Reply

        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        ScotchJohn
        +1 for Macrium
        Just had to spend a couple of hours to resurrect my Acronis B/U scheme 😡 for the second time. I really just want an imaging program and a recovery scheme, both work … when they work. I actually paid for Acronis and have used it much more often as a result. The ONLY 2 programs I have paid for w/o regret are Office 97 and ZTreeWin (an X tree clone). I may use Macrium on my new build but dread the paid for s/w curse 😬
        😀

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
    • #1924976 Reply

      anonymous

      Thanks to everyone for your suggestions.

      Regarding my question about using a network drive I found the following information on the Macrium website (some bold type is my emphasis):
      Free Edition
      “Free backup, disk imaging and cloning solution for commercial and personaluse.

      Protect your data, upgrade your hard disk or try new operating systems in the safe knowledge that everything is securely saved in an easily recovered backup file. Macrium Reflect supports backup to local, network and USB drives.

      Macrium Reflect 7 Free Edition is ready to download now and has a number of additional features not available in version 6. It is now licensed for both home and business use. ”

      Regarding my question as to whether a backup program can shrink the partition size for more compact backup and to restore to a smaller partition, it looks like I’ll have to just try it and see ….

    • #1925078 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      Regarding my question as to whether a backup program can shrink the partition size for more compact backup

      This is the standard behaviour of a backup program, including MR.

      MR free is missing some features – understandable.
      Amoei free is not, but it seems to be throttled – I’ve not seen any speed issue that is a problem.
      Test one or three and use whatever does the job for you.

      cheers, Paul

      • #1925180 Reply

        anonymous

        Thanks Paul T. for mentioning that.

        Probably haven’t expressed myself as clearly as I should.

        C: drive partition size: 465GB.

        Total space in use on C: drive: 50GB

        If create System Image backup of this partition, then a Restore of that backup would require a drive with at least 465GB free space. Macrium will not Restore that backup to, say, a 60GB partition.

        If shrink C: drive partition size to, say, 60GB prior to creating full System Image backup, then a Restore of that backup can be done on a much smaller partition, say, 72GB of free space.

        This might be convenient if :

        A. One needed to replace the original drive with a smaller capacity one, for example.

        B. One has limited backup space available on the secondary (backup) drive.

        The entire exercise would be more convenient if the backup program would offer the option to create a smaller System Image size but without shrinking the original 465GB partition.

        Should stress that it’s not really a big deal, only that it would be convenient!

        • #1925853 Reply

          mn–
          AskWoody Lounger

          The entire exercise would be more convenient if the backup program would offer the option to create a smaller System Image size but without shrinking the original 465GB partition.

          This feature has existed in some other products for a long time…

          I understand at least EaseUS, Aomei, Acronis and MiniTool have products for that – BUT usually not the free version. MiniTool might have it in the free tier, should look more closely at that…

          And I expect that Veeam Agent backup can be configured do that in the free tier too but might require specific settings. (Given that it has the “export as virtual disk” function, with compression you might even be able to fit a restore into smaller space than what it would be uncompressed, depending on data.)

          • #1926059 Reply

            anonymous

            Thanks, I’ll check’em out. Have used EaseUS and Minitool in the past. As I recall they worked OK, but darned if I can remember which features each app has!

      • #1925716 Reply

        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        Used space and required space are different things. Windows needs space to work and 10GB isn’t enough so MR correctly says no.

        cheers, Paul

        • #1926064 Reply

          anonymous

          Umm, are you referring to my “for example” where I wondered if 50GB size content on C: drive could be backed up on, say, a 60GB size space? Didn’t Microsoft say to keep a partition no more than about 80% full so that defragging, etc. can occur? And, isn’t 50GB about 80%  or 82% of 60GB (and 60GB about 80% or so of 72GB)? Shouldn’t that be enough spare space on the partition? And, the partition will be on an SSD anyway …. 🙂

    • #1927392 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      Macrium will not Restore that backup to, say, a 60GB partition.

      This is the line I was addressing.

      cheers, Paul

      • #1928012 Reply

        anonymous

        So, if a 20% “cushion” in partition size is not sufficient to give Windows room to work, how large a partition does Windows need to restore a System Image type backup of 50GB size?

        • #1928084 Reply

          Paul T
          AskWoody MVP

          You’d either have to ask Macrium or test yourself.

          cheers, Paul

        • #1931780 Reply

          mn–
          AskWoody Lounger

          This will depend on specifics.

          It’s not just used space on disk, it’s also disk layout… and the layout is probably what Macrium works with. If it works only with partitions and doesn’t have the capability to resize partitions during restore, it needs exactly as much addressable space as the original had. (The easiest way around this might be to restore to a compressed virtual disk file.)

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