• How do I test Paragon backups?

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    #2503119

    Now that I have gotten familiar with backing up  my computer. Both my Win 10 desktop and my Win 11 laptop. I would like to know how to go about testing the backups. I have created the recovery USB’s for both my desktop and laptop. I would like to know if I need to have both the recovery USB and backup drive connected at the same time when I go into my boot menu? My laptop has only a couple of USB ports and one of which I use to plug in my wireless mouse with. The remaining USB port I can plug in an external HDD to do my backups with. I just bought a 4 port USB hub. Do I need to have that, or may I return it?

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    • #2503123

      On the laptop, you can use the touchpad instead of the mouse, so you only have to have two USB ports free to do a restore. But on the desktop, you will need three ports: mouse, Recovery USB drive and external USB backup drive.

      For the backup, you only need to attach the external USB drive that is going to hold the backup image.

      For a restore, you need to have both the Recovery USB drive and the external USB drive attached to the computer. You will need to boot from the Recovery USB drive and access the backup image on the external USB backup drive. If you need a mouse, you need another attachment.

      You cannot restore your entire computer from the same drive you boot from.

    • #2503124

      To test your backup, use your backup software to access/mount the image on the external backup drive.
      Restore a file from the image to the computer in a different location than where it came from. For example, restore a file from the Documents folder in the image to the Desktop of the computer.

    • #2503126

      If you *have* to use the USB mouse then you need 3 USB ports… and the bootable recovery USB stick will probably need a direct connection. As a result, you’ll need to attach the USB hub to the second direct port then attach mouse and backup drive to the hub. You’ll just have to test this for yourself because there’s no hard and fast rules unfortunately.

      The backup drive will need to be left disconnected until booting from the recovery USB stick begins (so the boot process doesn’t attempt to boot the backup drive)… then the backup drive quickly attached so it can be enumerated. I don’t have any experience with Paragon Backup… but if it has a ‘re-scan’ option then quickly attaching the backup drive becomes less of an issue. (I use Macrium Reflect and can’t see a re-scan option so sometimes had to restart if I hadn’t attached the backup drive quick enough.)

      As for testing, apart from verifying your backup IMO the only real way to test an image backup (i.e. full disk) is to carry out a restore.

      (Note: It’s more than likely that you can configure the backup drive itself to be bootable and host the recovery WinPE environment on a primary partition then use a second partition for loading/saving backups. That’s what I ended up doing. It just makes things so much easier… and it saves a USB port.)

      Hope this helps…

      • #2503190

        As for testing, apart from verifying your backup IMO the only real way to test an image backup (i.e. full disk) is to carry out a restore.

        I concur.  If you don’t trust your image enough to restore it, then you don’t have a “reliable backup solution”.  If you never fully test it, you have no way of knowing if it will actually work when you need it most.

        Restoring a file (a few MB) to a different location does not test/stress your imaging software as much as restoring a drive image (many GB).  My Users partition image is a single 36GB compressed file.  My imaging software de-compresses that file and restores that image to the Users partition.

        Restoring drive images is something I do routinely.  I’ve been using the same drive imaging solution for ~20 years, and it has never failed me.

        Create a fresh drive image before making system changes/Windows updates, in case you need to start over!
        We all have our own reasons for doing the things that we do. We don't all have to do the same things.

        • #2503207

          If you never fully test it, you have no way of knowing if it will actually work when you need it most.

          Totally agree.  I also keep in practice doing full restores.  Knowing they work, and routinely  doing them gives me peace of mind.  I’m a Macrium user.

    • #2503160

      If your backup is small enough and your Recovery USB has enough free space, you can simply copy it onto the Recovery USB thus needing only one free USB port to do a restore.

      The “average” size of my weekly backups is ~35GB so a “single backup” will easily fit onto my 64GB Recovery USB which has 58GB of unused space.

      I’ve had to use this method once or twice to do a restore for my Dell laptop which only has 2 USB ports.

      Of course my Desktop has multiple unused USB ports available so restoring a backup for it has never been a problem.

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