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  • Image Backup / Portable Hard Drive

    Home Forums AskWoody support PC hardware Questions – Maintenance and backups Image Backup / Portable Hard Drive

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      • #2300188 Reply
        ECWS
        AskWoody Plus

        Thanks to the suggestions here, I have purchased a Western Digital 2TB My Passport Portable Hard Drive (NTFS).  I obtained it to take an image of a computer I am planning to reluctantly upgrade from Windows 7 PRO to Windows 10 PRO.

        Next I have to get software such as Macrium Reflect.

        Questions:

        Anyone have experience or suggestions on which software works better since I have never done this before?

        Do I download and install the software on the Portable Hard Drive?

        Do I have to partition the hard drive?  (Not even sure how I would do that or why).

        Drive is only showing 1.81 TB available since I have “Install Discovery for Windows.exe” 1089 KB and “Install Discovery for Mac.dmg” 848 KB.  Not sure if I need these or if I could always download in the future if I did.  Should I remove them?

      • #2300202 Reply
        PKCano
        Da Boss

        Two of the recommended free backup software are Macrium Reflect and EaseUS Todo. Both are good.
        You need to install the backup s/w on your PC, then create bootable Rescue Media, either CD or USB. You need to be sure you can boot from the Rescue Media.

        To backup, you run the software on your PC and point it to save the image on your external HDD. You should backup your computer’s entire drive (all partitions).
        I usually create a folder on the backup drive with the date of the backup, and have the backup save to that folder.

        To restore an image, you have to boot from the Rescue Disk and point it to the backup on the external HDD you want to restore. You cannot restore from within the running PC.

        • #2300204 Reply
          ECWS
          AskWoody Plus

          Thanks.  Will Macrium have instructions on how to create the Rescue Media?

          • #2300212 Reply
            PKCano
            Da Boss

            I am sure there is a manual on their site. And there is plenty of documentation on AskWoody if you use the Search box in the right woodgrain panel. A good place to start is the Tools Forum or the Windows Forums.

            Or you can ask here

            1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2300416 Reply
          ECWS
          AskWoody Plus

          Thanks.  What are your thoughts on this question:

          Drive is only showing 1.81 TB available since I have “Install Discovery for Windows.exe” 1089 KB and “Install Discovery for Mac.dmg” 848 KB.  Not sure if I need these or if I could always download in the future if I did.  Should I remove them?

          • #2300463 Reply
            PKCano
            Da Boss

            I always create a CD or bootable USB.
            You can leave those two programs on your drive. They take up very little space.

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2300615 Reply
              ECWS
              AskWoody Plus

              Thanks PK for following up.

      • #2300229 Reply
        Bundaburra
        AskWoody Plus

        “To restore an image, you have to boot from the Rescue Disk …..”

        You can also boot straight into the Macrium Rescue Environment, provided you have previously set it up (and provided your system is bootable).   Go to Other Tasks > Create Rescue Media, select “Windows Boot Menu” and follow the prompts.  It will create a kind of dual-boot situation, where you can either boot into Windows as normal (the default, in x seconds) or you can select the Recovery Environment.  Once this is set up, the value of x can be set in msconfig > boot > timeout.

        If for some reason this does not work, then you can fall back to booting from the Rescue Disk.

        Windows 10 Pro 64 bit 2004

        • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by Bundaburra.
      • #2300243 Reply
        RetiredGeek
        AskWoody MVP

        ECWS,

        You can use Macrium Reflect Free, the best IMHO.

        I’d recommend you install MR and on first run it will prompt you to make backup media. Just let it do it’s thing and point it to your portable drive.

        When It’s done exit MR, reboot your machine and press what ever key you need to bring up the Windows Boot menu. Then select the portable HD and see if it boots. If it boots correctly, directly into MR you can close MR and it will automatically boot back into Windows.

        Once Windows is loaded bring up File Explorer and create a directory/folder on the portable drive called MRImages or just Images. You’ll then direct all of your images to this directory. I’d suggest keeping at least three generations of images which is easy to setup in MR. Reference the MR support pages for details.

        If you have any questions please post back.

        HTH

        May the Forces of good computing be with you!

        RG

        PowerShell & VBA Rule!
        Computer Specs

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2300245 Reply
          ECWS
          AskWoody Plus

          Thanks for the detailed explanation.  Will I still need to create bootable Rescue Media on a USB drive or or will the Portable Hard Drive already have it following your instructions?

          • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 6 days ago by ECWS.
          • #2300247 Reply
            bbearren
            AskWoody MVP

            Will I still need to create bootable Rescue Media on a USB drive or or will the Portable Hard Drive already have it following your instructions?

            Yes, create the rescue media as well, belt and suspenders sort of thing.

            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

            1 user thanked author for this post.
            • #2300331 Reply
              ECWS
              AskWoody Plus

              Thanks. If I create the bootable media on a USB drive, how big does it have to be? Drive is 250MB.  Should I have one of those for each computer?  Is that how the recovery partition is accessed?

              • #2300339 Reply
                PKCano
                Da Boss

                250MB is not big enough for a Rescue USB drive. Did you mean GB?

              • #2300343 Reply
                ECWS
                AskWoody Plus

                My error – 250 GB SSD

          • #2300286 Reply
            RetiredGeek
            AskWoody MVP

            Yes, it will have the rescue bootable files. But like unbeaten says belt and suspenders!

            May the Forces of good computing be with you!

            RG

            PowerShell & VBA Rule!
            Computer Specs

            1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2300274 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Will I still need to create bootable Rescue Media on a USB drive

        Better create the bootable rescue media on a USB stick not the USB HDD.

        • #2300288 Reply
          RetiredGeek
          AskWoody MVP

          Alex, it works fine from a hard drive.

          May the Forces of good computing be with you!

          RG

          PowerShell & VBA Rule!
          Computer Specs

      • #2300364 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        Alex, it works fine from a hard drive.

        It does but in my opinion turning a data HDD into a bootable drive is not wise.
        A dedicated USB stick is preferable.

        • #2300373 Reply
          ECWS
          AskWoody Plus

          What is the minimum size for the USB or is a DVD better?

      • #2300449 Reply
        Alex5723
        AskWoody Plus

        What is the minimum size for the USB or is a DVD better?

        I would go with USB stick. 4GB is more then enough.
        If I am not mistaken the rescue files are about 500-600 MB is size.

      • #2300632 Reply
        Paul T
        AskWoody MVP

        in my opinion turning a data HDD into a bootable drive is not wise. A dedicated USB stick is preferable

        Having your portable disk bootable is really handy and does not prevent it being used for other things.

        I used to set up bootable disks for the installers to image new PCs.
        Boot PC to ext disk.
        Run command to image PC.
        Return in 10 minutes and reboot. All done.

        cheers, Paul

      • #2300762 Reply
        wavy
        AskWoody Plus

        And it can be VERY handy to have ones backup disk bootable to the imaging s/w used 😉

        🍻

        Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.
        • #2300826 Reply
          ECWS
          AskWoody Plus

          Would it make sense to have a bootable image as (I think) was suggested by Retired Geek and have a separate USB drive that I can boot from?  I guess this means I could boot from the USB drive in case I could not boot my computer.  Or – I could restore the image and then boot from there?

          • #2300881 Reply
            Paul T
            AskWoody MVP

            It doesn’t matter which device is bootable, as long as you have one that runs the backup software so you can restore.

            3rd party backup software has an option to create a bootable device, but it usually deletes existing data on the device first, so a separate USB stick makes it easy to update the image if required.

            cheers, Paul

            • #2301086 Reply
              ECWS
              AskWoody Plus

              Thanks.  Does this mean if I try to set up the 2TB Portable Hard Drive as bootable, it will wipe out the contents of the drive – even if I have images from other computers on it?

              • #2301114 Reply
                Paul T
                AskWoody MVP

                Maybe! Depends on the image creation utility.

                Put some files on a USB stick and create the backup recovery on that stick. Does it retain the files?

                cheers, Paul

      • #2300900 Reply
        kstephens43
        AskWoody Plus

        I use Macrium Reflect, and I had to restore the image to my desktop about a month ago, just a few weeks after I installed Macrium Reflect.  All went well.

        That said, let me tell you my earlier disaster with Macrium Reflect.  About a year ago, I installed Macrium Reflect and THOUGHT that I had installed everything and set it up correctly.  However, when the computer would not boot, I tried to install my backup image.  It turned out that I had not made a proper backup, and all that work was for nought.  Through the good graces of Ask Woody users, I was able to get back in the business anyway.

        Do I recommend Macrium Reflect?  Yes.  However, its interface with a first-time user can be complicated.  Within the program, there is a feature that allows you to check the integrity of the backup.  It is important that you check that first backup, and also that you look at the contents of the backup USB drive periodically.  That will let you know that the backups it schedules ARE being properly handled.

        THE IMPORTANT THING IS THAT YOU HAVE A BACKUP USING SOME SOFTWARE.

        Macrium Free is a good way to do that.  After using it, you can decide whether the advanced features in the paid version are what you need.

         

        • #2301087 Reply
          ECWS
          AskWoody Plus

          Thanks for the warning.  Is the media you are using for backup (thinking that it is a Portable Hard Drive?) bootable or are you booting from a separate small (say 4GB) USB drive (instead of the PHD)?

      • #2301161 Reply
        kstephens43
        AskWoody Plus

        I am using a Seagate USB hard drive for the backups.  Macrium Reflect has a way, when you install it, to make a bootable USB stick.  I believe they said it should be at least 4 GB.  When you make the bootable USB stick, it deletes anything already on the stick.

        When I had my crash, the problem was not the hard drive, but the computer would not boot.  Without the rescue media on the stick (or on a DVD), I would have been in trouble.

        The computer in question is a Dell.  When I booted from the Macrium Reflect rescue stick, the computer kept trying to boot from the hard disk itself, but the Windows files were corrupted, and the  computer would not boot.  I discovered that I had to tell the computer to boot from USB as one of the choices on booting.  It was necessary to keep pressing the proper function key while the computer attempts to boot.  That brought up the screen that lets you list the boot sequence.  I added the USB stick option to the boot sequence.  The next time I tried booting, it went to the stick.  Then Macrium Reflect gave me a choice of installing the backup image on the computer.  That solved all my problems.

        For your computer brand, you must determine the function key that brings up the boot choices.  I Googled it for the Dell.  (Someone on Ask Woody may know what it is for your computer.)

        I thoroughly checked out the hard drive after I could successfully boot.  There was NOTHING wrong with the drive.  I still do not know how the Windows files got corrupted, but everyting is working well.

        One final thought:  One feature of the paid version of Macrium Reflect is that it would allow you to put the backup on another machine, for example, another hard drive.  If my drive had been the culprit, I don’t believe Macrium Reflect free would have let me put it on a new drive.  That said, it is important that you have a backup, and Macrium Reflect is a great way to start.

        • #2301165 Reply
          kstephens43
          AskWoody Plus

          After I sent the above message, I learned that my computer problem (not booting) occurred right after a Windows 10 update.  The backup allegedly made by Windows to revert to the previous version failed.  The Windows update was the root cause of all my problems.

          • #2301201 Reply
            ECWS
            AskWoody Plus

            Thanks for the detail and followup.  How did you make the bootable (rescue) USB stick and do you have one for each computer?  All of my computers are Dell Laptops E6540.  When I googled it, it said the function key was F12.  Would that be universal for all Dells?

            If I understand you correctly, when you have to restore an image you instruct the computer to boot to the USB stick and then restore the image from the USB hard drive.  That means you do not set up the USB hard drive to boot ever and rely on the USB stick? Or do you make the USB Hard Drive bootable as an alternative?

      • #2301269 Reply
        PaulK
        AskWoody Lounger

        I recently installed [ https://www.macrium.com/reflectfree ] and have started using it, thus far only to do Backups; haven’t practiced any Restores yet.

        I suggest that you download the PDF [ https://knowledgebase.macrium.com/display/KNOW72/Macrium+Reflect+User+Guide ] and skim through it first. Some sections are not applicable to the Free edition program; skip them.

        I bought a 2TB Western Digital ‘Red Plus’ (CMR, not SMR, so I can use it elsewhere if I want to) internal drive and use it in an adapter case. Any new drive MUST be Partitioned and initialized before use. I created two partitions: 1TB for backups of various flavors, the remainder is not initialized yet.
        I have two USB bootable flash drives, one each created for Windows 7 and 10.
        USBs
        The sizes shown here are from the folders’ Properties data, and are for my configurations. Your sizes will vary, but should be in the same ballparks. I have not analyzed to see why the two ‘sources’ folders are so different in sizes.

        I prefer to use a bootable flash drive, this means 2 USB ports: one each for the flash drive and for the external. (But if the Portable has been initialized to be bootable then one needs only 1 USB port.) Boot from the flash, and use the screens to direct what and where you do things.

        After reading the Guide, I created a boot flash and booted from it, then looked through all the screens. They are well presented. Finally set up the external drive and did a Backup.

        Attachments:
      • #2302039 Reply
        RetiredGeek
        AskWoody MVP

        ECWS,

        I’ve done it both ways (partition external HD & use USB Thumb Drive to boot) and they both work fine with Reflect. My current method is using the USB Thumb Drive since I have multiple normal HDDs that I use in a USB Dock and I can’t see loading the same thing on to multiple locations.  As far as booting you have two choices. One, you can set your BIOS to boot from USB first then you don’t have to worry just insert the bootable Thumb Drive and either reboot or turn the machine on depending. There  are two downsides to this method. One is a slightly longer boot time as the machine always has to check for bootable USB devices. Two is that depending on your hardware if you have both your USB Thumb Drive and your USB HDD plugged in it may check the wrong one first and report drive not bootable, this happens on my laptop. The other method is to know the key to press on your machine to get to the boot menu where you can select the drive to boot from, and yes F12 is the standard on Dell computer as all of mine are Dells.

        HTH 😎

        May the Forces of good computing be with you!

        RG

        PowerShell & VBA Rule!
        Computer Specs

        1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #2302135 Reply
          ECWS
          AskWoody Plus

          It does.  Thanks – appreciate the detail.

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