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  • Macrium Reflect – Free Edition (V7.1)

    Posted on WildBill Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums Tools Macrium Reflect – Free Edition (V7.1)

    Topic Resolution: Resolved

    This topic contains 28 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by

     Paul T 1 year, 3 months ago.

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    • #165443 Reply

      WildBill
      AskWoody Plus

      When Woody moved us to MS-DEFCON 3, he eventually linked to his latest post in Computerworld. Among his ProTips, #3 was: “Make a full system image backup before you install the January patches”. Scary, but very good advice concerning the craziness in January. Among the free products he mentioned to do the backup was Macrium Reflect. Since I’m still on Windows 8.1, I decided to go with Macrium.

      This process showed me I’m not the techie I thought I was. Downloading & installing Macrium 7.1, not a problem. Preparing to do the backup, a minor problem that seemed major at 1st. My first step, according to Macrium, was to create bootable rescue media. I have an external Toshiba Canvio USB flash drive with 1TB total storage. Other than software that came on it, I used it for occasional File History backups. I figured I still had more than enough left for everything. So, I clicked on “Create bootable Rescue media”.

      Surprise! I got an Error Code 6; “No Free Space Available”. DANG, What the Heck? I learned that my 1TB was all in one partition. I needed free space in a different partition to create my rescue media. Macrium also says that if my PC boots in UEFI mode (which it does; my ASUS X55A came with that & Win 8, which has been “updated” to Win 8.1), “then your [sic] must format your rescue media using the FAT32 file system.” I had to shrink my existing partition to create free space for a new FAT32 partition.

      “Hello Disk Manager, my new friend” (sung to “The Sound of Silence”, Simon & Garfunkel). Win 8.1 is smart enough to find “Create and format hard disk partitions” when I type “disk partition” on the Start screen. Disk Manager wasn’t that hard at all, especially when ‘Action>All Tasks’ gave me options to ‘Expand Volume’, ‘Shrink Volume’ & ‘Delete Volume”. I shrunk the partition to provide more than enough free space. “Create bootable Rescue media” -Done.

      Next, clicked on “Add a boot menu option to start the Reflect recovery environment”. Easier to do than the rescue media. At the end, I was instructed to boot from the recovery environment (to be sure it works, of course). Closed everything & shut down. Turned on my trusty ASUS again & saw “Choose an operating system”. My choices were Windows 8.1 & Macrium Reflect System Recovery. Huzzah! Clicked on the Macrium choice &… black screen. Not the infamous Blue Screen of Death… just a black screen with a white cursor.

      After swirling the cursor around the black screen, doing Ctrl+Alt+Delete a few times (spoiler: nothing happened), & pressing the power button twice (same spoiler), I used my last resort… removing the laptop’s battery, waiting, & re-inserting it. Once inserted (can’t remember if I pressed the power button or now), the Macrium Recovery screen appeared! Hope that issue with the black screen doesn’t reoccur. Shut down, rebooted in Windows. “Add a boot menu option to start the Reflect recovery environment”-Done.

      Thanks to Cybertooth, who talked me through the Main Event, the actual “Image this disk”. Since he has Version 5.1, some things were new in Version 7.1, but the process of creating the image was the same. Hope this helps others; remember, we’re all a n00b at Something!

      Windows 8.1, 64-bit, now in Group B!
      Wild Bill Rides Again...

      3 users thanked author for this post.
    • #165447 Reply

      WildBill
      AskWoody Plus

      Also, I thought I’d add Cybertooth’s original post to here, so you can see his advice first-hand:

      @wildbill: I use Macrium Reflect. The version is 5.1; I remember long ago making a conscious decision not to update it because newer versions dropped some feature that I considered important, although now I can’t remember what that was…

      Anyway, what you (probably) want to do is to select all the partitions on your system drive: go to the Disk Image tab and select the “Create a Backup” tab there. Make sure that all the partitions on the physical disk that contains your OS are checked off. (I always include the “factory image” D: drive for good measure.)

      If you have more than one physical disk on the PC, you will see more than one row of disk partitions. They will be identified as “MBR Disk 1,” “MBR Disk 2,” etc. followed by the disk’s model number and size so that you can verify you’re looking at the disk you want.

      Now see below the row of partitions for the desired disk, where you have a choice to “clone this disk” or “image this disk.” Click on “image this disk.” A new smaller window will pop up, showing you the disk you’ve selected to image (the “source”) and asking where you want the image to be stored (the “destination”). Find the location where you want the image to go and give it the name you want (I just go with Macrium’s recommendation for the name).

      Now click on the “Next” button. The window will change to show you what you are about to do. After verifying the backup source and destination, you can click on “Advanced Options” in the lower left corner to see your compression and other options, and to add a description of what you’re doing. (I write something like “full uncompressed backup done February 6, 2018” as it minimizes the chances for confusion later on if I need to restore a backup.) When you’re done, click OK and then click “Finish” in the smaller window.

      Now you will get a further set of options, this time to save the instructions for making the image to an XML file that you can reuse later. Your choice. Make sure that “run this backup now” is checked and then click OK. The backup process will begin.

      Let me know if you need more information, but this really should be enough to get you going.

      As I said before, I’m using an older version of Reflect so what you see on your screen may not match exactly what I see, but the concepts should be basically the same.

      Good luck.

      Windows 8.1, 64-bit, now in Group B!
      Wild Bill Rides Again...

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    • #165931 Reply

      anonymous

      @ WildBill

      Fyi,(mostly in reference to Win 7)

      Macrium Reflect Free’s bootable System Rescue media is very similar to the bootable Windows System Repair disc (= CD) or media created from the internal hard-drive’s Windows Recovery partition by using the built-in Windows Backup Tool. The Windows Recovery partition gives the options for System Refresh or Reset, Troubleshoot, Advanced options, Startup repair, Restore from system image, System Restore, Command Prompt, etc, eg during startup. The Recovery partition for Win 10 is about 400MB in size = the System Repair media can be a CD.(= 700MB)
      https://www.howtogeek.com/131907/how-to-create-and-use-a-recovery-drive-or-system-repair-disc-in-windows-8/
      https://www.pcworld.com/article/3140449/windows/everything-you-need-to-know-about-windows-10-recovery-drives.html

      So, Windows users normally create the bootable Windows or Macrium Reflect System Rescue/Repair media on CD’s, which is needed to be booted, in order to restore the stored system image to a borked Windows computer system.

      There is also the non-similar or different OEM Recovery partition (= about 12GB in size) included by the OEMs in the internal hard-drives of new OEM Win 8.x/10 computers. This partition is actually a Factory system image, ie it is different from the Windows Recovery partition. Buyers are to immediately create an OEM System Recovery USB flash-drive (= 16GB) by using the built-in OEM Recovery Backup Tool.
      Previously (= pre-2012), for new OEM Win 7 computers, the OEMs provided the buyers with free OEM System Recovery DVD’s = the OEMs saved costs by providing only OEM Recovery partitions on the internal hard-drives.
      https://www.disk-partition.com/windows-10/recovery-partition-after-upgrading-to-windows-10-4348.html

      Win 7 has a built-in System image creation tool but it can only store the system images on an external HDD or a set of (4 to 5) DVDs, ie not on USB flash-drives. Macrium Reflect Free can also store system images on USB flash-drives.

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    • #165962 Reply

      WildBill
      AskWoody Plus

      Thanks for the links, anon, especially for the How-To Geek on Windows 8. I remember from Woody’s Windows 8 All-In-One for Dummies that Win 8 had done away with Win 7’s Backup tool. Backups on 8/8.1 are through File History, but they’re limited. File History only backups files in Libraries, as well as the Desktop, Contacts, Favorites, & OneDrive files when they’re offline. Great to know how to do these things, especially to create a recovery drive on a separate USB stick/drive. Since I don’t want to wipe a 1 TB drive just to create a recovery drive, I’ll stick with Macrium for now.

      Windows 8.1, 64-bit, now in Group B!
      Wild Bill Rides Again...

    • #173331 Reply

      Lori
      AskWoody Plus

      I’m wondering if my current ways of making “full system images” aren’t adequate? I make them 2-3x/year, (and for the pre-January WU). I don’t use Macrium Reflect, but was considering it.

      On my W7 64-bit Home Ed. desktop, I use a WD My Book external drive (2 TB). I don’t use the drive’s included software (“WD Smartware”) for the image itself, just for occasional file backup. I make the image thru Windows Backup and restore: “Create a system image”. The drive does show Windows Image Backup’s stored on it. I made a 2nd set of system repair discs recently.

      I don’t have a USB flash drive image, though, which it sounds like Macrium does. Would Macrium also create a “repair disc”, but on a flash drive? Is Macrium better than what I do now, or would it just give me a second backup option? Should I do disk cleanup and defragmentation on my external drives?

      On my W8.1, home, 64-bit laptop:  I thought I was making full system images on a Seagate Backup Plus 1 TB external drive (not using the drive’s software either); but after reading this article, I’m not sure. I go to backup and restore, and click on “create a system image” in the bottom left corner. It says it makes an image of the EFI partition, (C:) System and System. (I see “images” stored on the drive.)

      Are these not “full” images, capable of restoring my pc? I don’t get a “repair disc” option. All I have for that is a recovery item on a flash drive, made when the pc was first purchased. Would Macrium give me a more complete system image, and would it also act as “repair disc” on a flash drive?

      If I use Macrium Reflect, free version, do I need to know how to set up partitions to use it? I don’t think I’ll do more WU until I know if my images are adequate. 🙂 Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

      • #173381 Reply

        anonymous

        @ Lori

        For your Win 7 Home desktop, since you are storing the System Images on an external USB Hard-drive, you can just rely on the built-in Windows Recovery and Backup Tool, ie no need to use Macrium Reflect Free.
        ___ To restore the Win 7 Home System Image after a system failure, you need to boot the Win 7 System Repair CD = you need to also create this CD beforehand by using the built-in Windows CD/DVD burner or download the Imgburn program.

        For your Win 8.1 Home laptop, you can still use the above built-in but hidden Win 7-era Recovery and Backup Tool to store the System Image on an external USB hard-drive, as per …
        http://ccm.net/faq/29239-windows-8-1-how-to-create-a-system-image

        The built-in Tool to create a Win 8.1/10 Recovery USB Flash-drive is just something extra. The users are given the option to create a plain USB Recovery drive or one with the Factory System Image included. The disadvantage of a USB Factory System Image recovery is that there will be a lot of updates that need to be installed, ie since the date of purchase. So, better to use the built-in but hidden Win 7-era Recovery and Backup Tool, ie can create a recent System Image.

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        • #173416 Reply

          Ascaris
          AskWoody_MVP

          I tried to use the Windows 7 system backup tool when I ran Windows 7, but it could not handle my >2 GB GPT volume.  If you have a large volume as such, the Windows 7 tool (which I do not believe was ever updated) won’t work with it.  I haven’t tried it since moving to 8.1, as the aftermarket tools offer many more features anyway (like the ability to back up and restore Linux partitions, differential or incremental backups, encryption, etc).  Still, it is already there, it’s effective, and it’s free, so if it does what you want, why not use it?

          I just tried out the Win7 backup tool in a VM to re-familiarize myself with it.  It asked first where to save the backup, then what to backup… giving a choice of “let Windows decide” and “Let me choose.”  I always, always want to choose for myself, in any given situation… this would be no exception.  If the choices it gives you for what to back up includes all of the drives you expected to see, then you should be good.

          Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.16 & Kubuntu 18.04).

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          • #173425 Reply

            anonymous

            @ Ascaris

            https://www.howtogeek.com/245610/how-to-check-if-a-disk-uses-gpt-or-mbr-and-how-to-convert-between-the-two/

            Normally, or by default, Win 7 is installed in Legacy BIOS mode using ms-dos/MBR disks, not GPT disks. GPT disks are normally used by UEFI default systems, eg Win 8.x/10 64bit.
            ___ So, to create and store Win 7 System Images on an external USB hard-drive, the drive/disk has to be in ms-dos/MBR mode. ms-dos/MBR disks are limited to 2TB in size and 4 Primary partitions.

            To convert a GPT disk to ms-dos/MBR disk or vice versa, you may need to use a bootable DVD/USB Disk Partitioning Tool/program, eg GParted, Aomei, etc.

            Win 7 64bit can also be installed in UEFI mode using GPT disks.

            • #173441 Reply

              Ascaris
              AskWoody_MVP

              Quite right, Anon, but it doesn’t change that the backup program in Windows 7 (x64) was not able to image my >2 TB GPT disk!  It’s one of the reasons I chose to use something other than the included backup program, which IMO really should have been compatible with all the disks that Windows 7 itself was able to use.  The backup program is deprecated in 8.1, so has it been updated to use GPT?  That’s a good question, but not one I can answer.  I started using Linux (which I also want to back up) before I migrated to 8.1 on the Windows side, so I was already looking for backup programs that could handle non-Windows partitions.

              I only wish there were more Linux backup programs.  I’m only aware of one that is anything like the wide variety of Windows offerings… that is, online, full-featured full disk imaging programs.  Maybe someday.

              Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.16 & Kubuntu 18.04).

          • #173826 Reply

            Lori
            AskWoody Plus

            @ Ascaris, Thanks! Congrats on becoming a MVP! 🙂

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        • #173825 Reply

          Lori
          AskWoody Plus

          Thanks! I’m so relieved! When I read WildBill’s comment, “Backups on 8/8.1 are through File History, but they’re limited. File History only backups files in Libraries, as well as the Desktop, Contacts, Favorites…”, I worried my Win 8.1 system images were incomplete. I’ve never done an image restoration before.

          Also, I couldn’t follow all the discussion on partitions; so I wanted to be sure I was ok. Both external drives came pre-formatted in a single partition for NTFS. On my Win 8.1 pc, as I wouldn’t want to use the factory USB flash drive for recovery and there are no “repair discs” like in Win 7, is the media necessary to re-boot my pc stored within the system image?

          • #173920 Reply

            anonymous

            @ Lori

            Win 7 is usually installed in Legacy BIOS mode using ms-dos/MBR disks, whereas Win 8.x/10 are usually installed in UEFI mode using GPT disks and 64bit architecture.
            ___ I’m not sure that running Win 8.1 in UEFI mode with GPT disks can use the built-in Win 7-era Recovery Tool to create and restore a Win 8.1 System Image.
            ___ I’m sure that running Win 8.1 in Legacy BIOS mode with ms-dos/MBR disks can.

            If cannot(= you are running Win 8.1 in UEFI mode), then you will need to use the built-in USB Win 8.1 Recovery Tool to create the Win 8.1 System Image on a 16GB USB Flash-drive.

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          • #173919 Reply

            anonymous

            @ Lori

            For the built-in Win 7-era Recovery and Backup Tool, to recover with the Win 7/8.1 System Image, you need to boot pre-created Windows System Repair CD.

            The Windows System Repair CD is created from an image of the 200+MB Recovery partition that is found on the internal hard-drive. This Recovery partition is auto-created when Win 7/8.1 was installed. It would be a waste to create the System Repair/Recovery Environment on a 4GB USB Flash-drive.

            A correction – afaik, the built-in USB Win 8.1/10 Recovery Tool can create and store a recent System Image on a 16GB USB Flash-drive, including the System Repair/Recovery Environment. In a sense, this USB Flash-drive Recovery Tool is better than the Win 7 external USB hard-drive Tool.
            ___ Only the built-in OEM USB Win 8.1/10 Recovery Tool can create a Factory System Image, including the System Repair/Recovery Environment on a 16GB USB Flash-drive.

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      • #174254 Reply

        Ascaris
        AskWoody_MVP

        I will try to answer your concerns inline, Lori.

        I’m wondering if my current ways of making “full system images” aren’t adequate?

        The Windows backup utility is fully capable of creating very adequate system images.  Wild Bill was talking about something else with the “file history” thing, I think, but that’s not the same as the Windows backup program that can make system images.  The only similarity in Windows 8 is that the way you start the Windows backup program is by first selecting the File History applet in the Control Panel.  Otherwise, file history has nothing to do with Windows backup or system images.

        When you select the “create a system image” link, it first asks where you want to save the backup, then it asks, “Which drives do you want to include in the backup?”, right?

        As long as all of the drives you want backed up are checked, you should be in great shape.  If you only have a C: drive and everything is stored on that, then you have nothing else to select here, as the C: drive is automatically checked, along with things like the EFI system partition, if you are using EFI.

        If you have a D: hard drive that you want to back up in addition to C:, you will have to manually check that in the “Which drives do you want to include in the backup?” dialog.  That’s only if the D: drive is something that also needs to be backed up– if D: is a DVD drive or if it is your external hard drive that you use for backups, then you would not want to add that to the backup.  It shouldn’t even give you the option for those.

        I don’t have a USB flash drive image, though, which it sounds like Macrium does. Would Macrium also create a “repair disc”, but on a flash drive?

        I am not sure what you are asking.  If you are asking about the ability to save backups to a USB flash drive, I would not recommend this.  Flash drives are not intended for long-term storage; this is best left to a regular external hard drive.

        If you mean the ability to create a rescue USB flash drive… Yes, Macrium Reflect and all of the other Windows backup programs I’ve seen will allow this, but you can also create a recovery drive in Windows, or use a Windows install DVD/USB.

        The Macrium USB flash drive won’t be a “repair” drive.  It simply lets you boot into Macrium Reflect, which gives you the ability to restore from backup if Windows can’t start. In contrast, WinRE does have the options to try to automatically fix startup problems, start Windows system restore, or to use the command line to try to repair Windows manually, in addition to the ability to restore your Windows backup.

        Is Macrium better than what I do now, or would it just give me a second backup option?

        It’s better for some people because it has features that the Windows backup program does not have, but that only makes it better if you want to use those features.  It sounds like the built-in program is doing what you want, so switching to Macrium would just end up making things more complicated. Reflect has a more complicated user interface that is not as easy to use as the built-in Windows program.

        Should I do disk cleanup and defragmentation on my external drives?

        You could have the Windows defragmenter analyze them to see if they are fragmented, but my guess would be that they probably won’t need it.  The kind of writing that a backup program does is not the kind that typically causes a lot of fragmentation.  If it concerns you, though, it won’t hurt to check.

        On my W8.1, home, 64-bit laptop: I thought I was making full system images on a Seagate Backup Plus 1 TB external drive (not using the drive’s software either); but after reading this article, I’m not sure. I go to backup and restore, and click on “create a system image” in the bottom left corner. It says it makes an image of the EFI partition, (C:) System and System. (I see “images” stored on the drive.) Are these not “full” images, capable of restoring my pc?

        If those are all the drives installed on the system, then yes, they are full images, capable of restoring the PC.

        I don’t get a “repair disc” option. All I have for that is a recovery item on a flash drive, made when the pc was first purchased.

        It sounds like another name for the same thing.

        If something happens to your PC and you need to restore from your Windows backup, you need what is called the Windows Recovery Environment (WinRE).  There are several ways to get into WinRE… the first is simply to insert a Windows install DVD or USB flash drive and boot from it.  When the boot is complete, it will show you the option to install Windows, but down in the lower left corner is a link “Repair your PC.”  That link takes you to WinRE.

        If you use the options in Windows to create a  recovery disc or drive in Windows, that will also create a bootable disc or USB drive that will start WinRE.

        Once you get into WinRE, you can use that to start restoring your backup image, and when it finishes, everything should be good again.

        Would Macrium give me a more complete system image, and would it also act as “repair disc” on a flash drive?

        No, it won’t give a more complete system image.  There are some advantages, but completeness of the image (as long as you only have Windows on the PC, and not also something else like Linux) won’t be one of them.

        If I use Macrium Reflect, free version, do I need to know how to set up partitions to use it?

        It’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of what partitions are so that you can know what to back up and such, but you won’t need to know how to set them up.  If you do have a disaster and need to recover all your data from a backup, the program will redo the partitions exactly as they were before unless you specify otherwise (and it doesn’t sound like you will be!).

        I don’t think I’ll do more WU until I know if my images are adequate. ? Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!

        It sounds to me like your images are very adequate.  Other backup programs may give you different advantages as far as creating the backups, but the backups they create will not be any more useful than the ones created by Windows backup if disaster strikes.

        Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.16 & Kubuntu 18.04).

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        • #175085 Reply

          Lori
          AskWoody Plus

          @ Ascaris,
          Thanks for such a thorough, detailed explanation. You’ve been so patient. I now see there’s more than plugging in a backup drive, following steps, and making an image. A valuable lesson to keep my current pc’s running. 🙂

          “As long as all of the drives you want backed up are checked, you should be in great shape…”

          On my Win 7 pc, I back up what’s presented: “System (System); OS (C:) System; and HP Recovery (D:) System”. No, my D: drive is not an external or DVD drive.

          I should’ve studied before asking my question, though I didn’t know so much was involved. My apologies! Yours, and others, replies have pointed me in good directions. Do you have a link to where it explains what the different drives do, which to back up, etc.?

          “I don’t have a USB flash drive image, though, which it sounds like Macrium does. Would Macrium also create a “repair disc”, but on a flash drive?”

          I was asking about both. As recommended, I’ll continue my images on external drive.

          I was also asking about a rescue drive. My Win 7 pc offered me to make “system repair discs” in addition to system image, to enable boot and restore, if pc has problems. Win 8.1 didn’t. So, my initial “recovery” flash drive would act the same as the Win 7 repair discs? This could re-install windows, assist a boot.

          Another question: The “recovery” flash drive says its file format is FAT32, but my pc’s local disk is NTFS. Is this a problem? The external drive I back up to is NTFS.

          Thanks again! I’ve had 3 critical events at boot on the Win 8.1 pc (Event 41, Kernel-power) since 2-22-2018. Still looking for the cause.

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          • #175793 Reply

            Ascaris
            AskWoody_MVP

            Lori,

            The recovery media created by Windows will allow you to do all of the WinRE things, like attempt to automatically repair system startup issues, start a restore using your Windows backup images, use System Restore, or go to the command line.  It won’t allow you to reinstall Windows.  For that, you will need a Windows DVD/USB drive.  If you don’t have one, though, don’t worry; Microsoft will allow you to download the .iso to create one if you plug in your product key.

            As for the format of the USB drive… as long as it works, you’re good.  The file system type on the disk itself doesn’t make any difference.  The program you’re using to create the rescue media will normally take care of all of that… just have it create the rescue media, then test it to make sure it works by attempting to boot with it.

            FAT32 and NTFS are formats or filesystem types.  GPT and MBR are partition system types.  When you ask about partitioning, are you talking about the filesystem types?  You don’t need to change the partitions to reformat them, if reformatting is what you want.

            As far as the varying formats, it’s mostly something that the backup programs themselves will handle.  As long as the backup gets written and the backup process completes normally, you’re in good shape; it will be restored the way it was should you ever need to recover.

            In general, with Windows you should be using NTFS-formatted storage media; they are more forgiving of disk errors than FAT32.  Otherwise, don’t worry about the difference in format type between the source and the backup, if there is any.  I make backups of my EXT4 format Linux volumes on my Windows PC all the time, saving to a drive that uses NTFS, and the backups work fine when I restore them, even though Windows doesn’t even know what an EXT4 disk is. Backup programs are pretty robust in such matters, and if not, it should certainly inform you of that so you know that something has not gone according to plan.  If the program says the backup was completed, it should be fine!

             

            Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.16 & Kubuntu 18.04).

            1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #175127 Reply

          anonymous

          @ Lori

          During initial install of Win 7, users may opt to create 2 or 3 partitions, eg the C:/ and D:/ drives. Otherwise, only a C:/ drive will be auto-created by default.

          In the former case, the C:/ drive contains the Win 7 operating system and the D:/ drive should be used for Data storage, eg movies, music, photos, files, etc.
          ___ The built-in Win 7 Recovery and Backup Tool allows you to create System Images of either the C:/ drive alone or of both the C:/ and D:/ drives together. To save on disk space, users often only create System Images of the C:/ drive or System drive.

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          • #175744 Reply

            Lori
            AskWoody Plus

            @ anonymous
            My C:/ drive has all the files I’m using. The D:/ drive contains a “HP recovery partition”, which says it has files to do a system recovery. I can’t see or access the files. “Properties” of the partition shows it has 1 file with 3 folders. Shouldn’t I contain this in each system image then?

            • #175798 Reply

              anonymous

              @ Lori
              In your case, you should only create System Images of the C:/ drive.

              You can reduce the size of the C:/ drive by moving all your data to the D:/ drive and backing-up your data elsewhere.

              The HP Recovery partition(= usually about 12GB in size) allows the Windows user to enter into the Windows RE(= to do a Refresh or Factory Reset, Repair Windows, Restore System Image, System Restore, Command Prompt, etc) or to create a Factory System Image on a USB flash-drive with the built-in HP Recovery Manager Tool.

              In comparison, a Win 8.1 Recovery partition is only about 300MB in size. It also allows the user to enter into the Windows RE and create a recent System Image on a USB flash-drive.

              https://support.hp.com/my-en/document/c03481733 (HP PCs – Creating a Recovery Image on Discs or Saving a Recovery Image to a USB Flash Drive (Windows 8))
              https://support.hp.com/sg-en/document/c03489643 (HP PCs – Performing an HP System Recovery (Windows 8))

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    • #173417 Reply

      WildBill
      AskWoody Plus

      Anon, you’re right about using the Windows Backup & Recovery Tool for Windows 7, since it’s already there & Lori’s probably using it. As for Windows 8.1, I followed your ccm.net link, but the Windows 7 File Recovery option (sub-menu?) no longer exists. To get the same result, I click “Save backup copies of your files with File History”, then at the bottom, click on “System Image Backup”.

      Lori, no matter how you reach it, if you click on “System Image Backup”, you have options to save the backup on a hard (removable?) disk, 1 or more DVD’s, or a network location (if your machine is networked). As for Macrium Reflect, you can store the system image on a folder on an external drive, or burn it to CD/DVD. Those discs should be the same as your repair discs. If you choose to use Macrium Reflect & an external drive, you will have to create bootable rescue media in its own partition. Instructions for doing that with Disk Manager are in my original post & they’re pretty simple.

      Bottom Line: You can continue to do things the way you’re doing them on Windows 7 & Windows 8.1. Macrium is just another option & you could use it to create images on external media or CD’s/DVD’s.

      Windows 8.1, 64-bit, now in Group B!
      Wild Bill Rides Again...

      2 users thanked author for this post.
      • #174274 Reply

        WildBill
        AskWoody Plus

        Great explanations point by point, Ascaris. There’s a reason you’re an MVP! Just one little thing…

        It’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of what partitions are so that you can know what to back up and such, but you won’t need to know how to set them up. If you do have a disaster and need to recover all your data from a backup, the program will redo the partitions exactly as they were before unless you specify otherwise (and it doesn’t sound like you will be!).

        If Lori chooses to use Macrium Reflect & her external drive is setup as only 1 partition, she will have to shrink it & create a FAT32 partition for Macrium to have bootable rescue media. Disk Manager does that very well; as I explain in my initial post. You are right that WinRE gives the ability to boot into a separate environment & recover.

        Bottom Line for Lori: If what you’re doing now on Windows 7 & Windows 8.1 is working fine & doing what you want (creating system images that you can use to restore your PC), you don’t need anything else. As Woody says about Windows Defender, “if your antivirus & anti-malware are built in, why would you buy or use another antivirus?”

        Windows 8.1, 64-bit, now in Group B!
        Wild Bill Rides Again...

        2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #173892 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      I worried my Win 8.1 system images were incomplete

      I find the easiest way to backup Windows is to use a 3rd party backup program. This allows you to perform file backups and image backups, plus create boot disks to make the restore process easier.

      There are plenty of free backup programs. these ones are listed on most features in the free version / least technical. Aomei Backupper, EaseUS ToDo, Paragon Backup, Macrium Reflect.

      cheers, Paul

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #173914 Reply

        Lori
        AskWoody Plus

        So, a 3rd party may be better for a Win 8.1 image than using the “hidden Win 7-era Recovery and Backup Tool” on an external USB hard-drive, as currently do? (I do file backups in between images using the drive’s software. For my Win 7 pc, I also have repair discs.)

        There seems to be a split opinion on this. Is the biggest advantage with 3rd parties that I could make an image on an USB flash drive vs. external drive? And, it’d give me a boot option for my Win 8.1 pc? Though, having an image on both an external and a flash drive does seem like double safety, if one would fail.

        Do I need to partition a flash drive? My current external drives came pre-formatted in a single partition for NTFS, and I’ve been creating the images for the various computer drives on that one partition. Is this wrong?

        For a non-tech person, is one backup system easier than another to restore from an image?

        Thanks, PaulT. Everyone is so generous about sharing their time and knowledge; I’ve learned so much over the last 2-3 years! Congrats on becoming a MVP! 🙂

    • #174022 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      3rd party backup apps tend to be more flexible and easier to use. With my backup program I can create a new full backup, run an existing incremental, create an image – I even get incremental image backup – all from the main screen.
      I can mount an image to get at system files I need to recover, or just restore a document from a certain date.

      The 3rd party apps I’ve used allow you to create boot media on CD, USB or as an image – good for booting virtual machines.

      Where you store your backup is up to you, but a single partition is all you need.

      Why don’t you try one of the free products and see if you like it? I liked mine so much I paid for a copy to gain some extra functionality.

      cheers, Paul

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #174096 Reply

      RetiredGeek
      AskWoody MVP

      Lori,

      As always with this type of advice YMMV! ?

      I’ve been a Macrium Reflect (MR) user for years both paid and free.
      I switched from Acronis when I encountered problems  ? with it resorting an image.  This only needs to happen once and that product is toast IMHO!

      I’ve NEVER had a problem restoring from a MR Image and believe me I’ve done it a lot as I really like to mess with my machines.

      MR allows you to do your Image backups while Windows is running or by booting from the Recovery Media to get windows completely out of the way (my currently preferred method). Although I just recently set up a machine, after recovering it from an infection, so that the computer phobic user can attach a USB drive and 2 clicks later it’s doing an Image Backup w/o having to know how to boot to a USB Key.

      As I have it setup the, using the capabilities built into MR it will make new FULL Image Backups until the external hard drive is almost full then it will start delete the oldest version before attempting to make the next one. Each image is also automatically verified after creation JIC an error occurred in writing the image.

      MR has so many options that it is unbelievable that is free for personal use! I do, however, use the Premium version personally as I obtained several Lifetime licenses years ago.

      As to making Image Backups to a USB Key, I would advise against this as it is not only slow but USB Keys are not designed for this type of use. I’d stick with USB HDD (not SSD as they are also not really designed as backup media). Personally, and I’m a bit A-R here, I use a Disonix USB 3.0 dock and rotate drives (regular computer hard drives) from backup to backup. This is not only cheaper than buying integrated solutions like WD MyBooks but it also adds protection against drive failure.

      Again, the opinions above are my own and YMMV!

      HTH

      May the Forces of good computing be with you!

      RG

      PowerShell & VBA Rule!
      Computer Specs

      4 users thanked author for this post.
      • #174102 Reply

        MrJimPhelps
        AskWoody_MVP

        I use a Disonix USB 3.0 dock and rotate drives (regular computer hard drives) from backup to backup. This is not only cheaper than buying integrated solutions like WD MyBooks but it also adds protection against drive failure.

        Hello, RG! Congrats on becoming an AskWoody MVP!

        For a while I did a variation on the above — I purchased a long SATA data cable and a long SATA power extension cable and extended them out of the back of my case. Then, when I wanted to do a backup, I powered the computer down, hooked up my standard internal computer hard drive, and powered the computer up. I then did the backup to the “internal” drive, powered down, and unhooked the drive.

        This process was more cumbersome than your method of using the HD dock (and that’s probably why I stopped doing it!); but I liked the idea of a direct SATA connection more than a USB connection.

        I now have a SATA power switch, which allows me to have up to four internal SATA drives and power each one on or off as desired. So one of these days I’m going to start using the SATA switch to turn my backup drive(s) on and off.

        Jim

        Group "L" (Linux Mint)
        with Windows 8.1 running in a VM
    • #174121 Reply

      RetiredGeek
      AskWoody MVP

      Jim,

      I actually purchased a 9′ USB cable for the Disonix so I don’t have to move it around. My wife’s computer is in the next room but we have a pass-thru window so I just snake the cable and don’t have to move the dock & drive avoiding accidental drops, getting old you know!

      I did find out that you have to be careful with these long cables. It worked fine on my wife’s laptop connecting directly to the USB 3 port. However, on my second desktop it would not work with the front mounted USB 3.0 ports. Attaching a powered Hub to the USB connector solved the problem,  just needed more juice.

      Now I can backup all 4 (2 DT & 2 LT) by just moving a cable and USB Key (Macrium Software) around.

      HTH ?

      May the Forces of good computing be with you!

      RG

      PowerShell & VBA Rule!
      Computer Specs

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #175142 Reply

      Ascaris
      AskWoody_MVP

      Rather than connecting the USB cable to each machine you want to back up, you could also connect it to one machine and set it up as a network share and have each computer connect to it via the network.  It sounds more complicated than it is!

      I do this when I do a backup of my main (Vista-era) laptop to one of my external USB hard drives… the laptop has only USB2 ports (which are slow), so I share the USB drive from my desktop (which has USB3) and access the USB drive from the laptop via the network (whose gigabit speed is higher than USB2, and on par with the native speed of the external HDD using USB3).

      My day to day backups are done using my “backup server,” which is really just a PC I built out of left-over components and equipped with a lot of hard drive space (internal drives).  It spends most of its time asleep, but any attempt to access it to create a backup wakes it up.

      Using that, I can back up any PC having to connect anything other than the network, which they’re generally connected to anyway.  The backups can be performed wirelessly, but it’s much faster to use wired ethernet.

      Just something to think about when you are serious about your backups.

       

      Group "L" (KDE Neon User Edition 5.16 & Kubuntu 18.04).

    • #175809 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      My C:/ drive has all the files I’m using. The D:/ drive contains a “HP recovery partition”…. Shouldn’t I contain this in each system image then?

      Images are for entire physical disks, unless you know exactly how to recover individual partitions. If your C & D are on the same physical disk you should image the disk.
      Portable hard disks are cheap, recovering lost data is not.

      cheers, Paul

      1 user thanked author for this post.

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