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  • What’s the best way to do a full image backup in Win7?

    Home Forums AskWoody blog What’s the best way to do a full image backup in Win7?

    This topic contains 63 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Fritz 10 months ago.

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    • #23058 Reply

      woody
      Da Boss

      A recurring question. Any new advice? From sainty: Hello Woody! Any chance of a quick guide to Windows 7 System Image Back-Up and Restore? Especially
      [See the full post at: What’s the best way to do a full image backup in Win7?]

    • #23059 Reply

      Microfix
      AskWoody Lounger

      We haven’t had any problems creating a Windows 7 HP or Pro image to external HDD/SSD devices using the in-built facility.

      On a couple of occasions they have saved our bacon due to dodgy patches/ corrupt uefi partition.(SSD’s with System Restore inactive)

      Macrium Reflect seems to be the choice of many with good feedback but, still to try and having the time to try is somewhat difficult.

      It’s a very good question as we’re now in the same dilema for the near future.

      | 2xPC W8.1 Pro x64 | | 1xPC Linux Hybrid x64 | | 1xPC Windows W7 Pro x64 | | 1xPC Windows XP Pro x86 |
        No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created IT - AE
    • #23060 Reply

      Mike

      If you’re running Windows 7 on any new PC, 4K sectors are the default. If your installed Win7 system isn’t aligned as 4k, then you need to use a 3rd party alignment utility – Dell has one for Dell machines called “Dell Paragon Alignment Tool Utility”. If your hard drive doesn’t support 4k, then it probably wasn’t manufactured in the last decade – get a new PC.

      Do not backup to flash drives – there are plenty that have issues with 4K. Use an external USB hard disk.

    • #23061 Reply

      William

      Veeam Endpoint. Free. Rock solid.

      I use it on my own systems (with CrashPlan for offsite data) and at clients for their many non-standard workstations (alongside full Veeam of course).

      Two years: No problems, and several successful bare metal restores. .

      Previously used Backup Exec, EaseUs, Macrium, Acronis, and several others.

      Such a relief to have a backup regime I can rely on!

    • #23062 Reply

      arfurdent

      I have found Acronis to be very reliable. There are also free versions available

    • #23063 Reply

      JNP

      Paragon Backup and Recovery™ 2014 Free. Used PBR for years, never any problems.

    • #23064 Reply

      Brian

      The only good option is Veeam Endpoint Backup.

      It’s completely free(no adware with the installer), solid, easy UI, and the only image level backup solution you should be using nowadays.

    • #23065 Reply

      rtc

      Second Paragon Backup and Recovery™ 2014 Free.

      Used Acronis on WinXP but they didn’t keep up
      with new mobos,drivers,processors and op sys at that time and their forum support was hit-and-miss.

      As the earlier reviewer said,Paragon works,has
      been found to be reliable, and is free…hard to
      beat.

      As with all imagers,read up on it first,proceed carefully until you learn it…haste will make waste.

      Verify your new image afterwards and before you re-image,too.

    • #23066 Reply

      Clive

      I regularly use Clonezille to backup images to WD and Freecom external USB3 drives without any issues.

      It does not have a GUI interface and has to be booted from a CD/DVD drive, although I’m sure it would be possible to boot from a USB stick.

      Either individual partitions or full drives can be imaged and restored, there is a beginners mode but more advanced controls are available to the more adventurous, and the latest version has the option to encrypt.

      If you have a UEFI BIOS be sure to download the UEFI supporting version, but this is clearly shown on the website.

      It may seem crude in comparison to Macrium Reflect, (which I did try), and other graphical solutions but I prefer Clonezilla.

    • #23067 Reply

      clairvaux

      Macrium Reflect here. Never had any problems. I have paid for it, but a free version exists.

      The user interface has a few nagging drawbacks, it’s not as smooth and obvious one would want. My favorite WTF moment is the File menu, which has only one command : Exit. Since I mentioned it to the support team one generation ago and they acknowledged my remarks, I suspect them to have kept this particular quirk just for laughs.

      However, there are plenty of IT-type users on their forum, and all are adamant that it’s rock-solid. Also, it’s easy to get very knowledgeable help from those users on the forum (but you have to own a paid-for version : you need to register with your product key to ask questions).

    • #23068 Reply

      S

      For physical machines Drive Snapshot by Tom Ehlert is pretty great. No install necessary, just copy both 32+64 bit EXE files (750 KB (!) total) to an usb stick with sufficient size and use this batchfile (“backup-here.cmd”):

      ———
      @echo off
      cd /d %~dp0
      setlocal
      at > nul
      if not %errorlevel% equ 0 (
      echo Error: Need administrative privileges.
      pause
      goto :eof
      )
      if defined ProgramFiles(x86) (
      set SNAPSHOT=snapshot64.exe
      ) else (
      set SNAPSHOT=snapshot.exe
      )
      start “” .%SNAPSHOT% HDWIN:* .$computername-$disk.sna -L0 -W -R -o -G
      endlocal
      ———

      Will backup all partitions of the Windows disk you booted to run this to the directory where that batch file is. Will empty trash before backup (-R). Restore using any Windows install disk. For Windows 7 boot media on later machines with only USB 3.0/3.1 (i.e. no OHCI/EHCI) you will need that a little tweaked to include the drivers. Or probably just use a server 2012R2 disk or something.

    • #23069 Reply

      tonydi

      Another vote for Macrium Reflect. I use the free version and it’s been bulletproof. Always enable Auto Verify, which is buried in the Advanced Options, because you never want to discover that the one time you need a critical backup image, it’s corrupted. Don’t ask how I know.

    • #23070 Reply

      NetDef

      I also use Clonezilla for small clients, and as long as your image is going to be restored onto the same type of HDD or SDD it works great.

      The only weakness is sector alignment – as in if it exists in Clonezilla I’ve never been able to get it to work. If you restore an image that was snapped at one size (older HDD) to a newer drive (SSD or 4K native, or 512e) then you’ll have issues.

    • #23071 Reply

      wdburt1

      I image two Win7 desktop computers to a portable hard drive once each month using Macrium Reflect. I use the paid version on one machine and the free version on the other.

      I have been using Reflect for about a year and a half and the process has been trouble-free. I love this software. The interface is a bit clunky but everything works as advertised.

      By “clunky” I refer mainly to the fact that the fastest way I have found to get going is to open up the list of backup plans and right-click “Run Now” on the one I want. It’s not like this is a big burden, once I figured it out.

      Reflect is very flexible and straightforward in allowing the user to design backup plans. I tweak my backup plan every so often, so that control over design makes a huge difference.

      In addition to the monthly backup, I image one of the two computers daily to an external hard drive, when I leave the computer on. I also image a second external hard drive to a third one, again when I leave the computer on. The ability to choose whether a missed backup will run at next startup, is one of those neat features.

      I addition to the above, everything is backed up to Backblaze.

      This strategy–desktop external hard drives for immediate access, portable hard drives to be taken offsite, and online backup–is the one often recommended by writers on the subject.

      I used Acronis but abandoned it after experiencing repeated trouble with a bug that prevented computer shutdown. Online research and participation in the Acronis user forum brought to light that this bug had existed through several recent versions of Acronis, and nothing had been done about it, while those of its people who replied to user complaints tended to BS their way around it. I haven’t looked back.

    • #23072 Reply

      Mike in Texas

      I use Acronis True Image backup to create 2 complete disk copies which are stored offline to older 1TB drives at least once a month.

      I’ve restored twice in past years without any issues.

      It does cost though.

      I also do system restore creates prior to backup and before any MS patches.

    • #23073 Reply

      Brian

      sainty,

      You are confused about sectors and clusters. The default cluster size for a NTFS partition is 4K. The sector size is determined by the drive firmware. You can’t “format” a sector size.

    • #23074 Reply

      Karlston

      Another vote for Macrium Reflect.

      I have a license for the full version. Their free version only leaves out incremental backups (full & differential remain) and restoring to different hardware.

      As clairvaux mentioned, their support forum gets timely and professional help from Macrium staff and a band of experienced users. IMO online support is a good indication for how good (or bad) a product is.

    • #23075 Reply

      BB1

      I’ve been using Paragon Backup and Recovery™ 2014 Free for a couple of years. I’ve done restores and reinstalled a new disk on Win7. I like the fact that it has a hidden backup partition, Capsule.

    • #23076 Reply

      The Real Allan

      It’s only for business, not for me.

    • #23077 Reply

      Brian

      No. You’re thinking of Backup and Replication. Had you looked it up, you would have seen it’s targeted for home (and yes, business too) use.

    • #23078 Reply

      Virginia Woolf

      I use Aomei. It’s free, straightforward, and easy to use. It also is one of the very few free backup programs that doesn’t require you to supply a valid email address or to register with the site in order to download it. I haven’t yet needed to use my backups, so I can’t speak to that end of the process.

    • #23079 Reply

      ch100
      AskWoody MVP

      Fantastic and very light imaging tool. Reminds me of Steve Gibson’s tools, although this one is not his.
      Not free though. Evaluation available.
      http://www.drivesnapshot.de/en/

    • #23080 Reply

      Marty

      I use both the built-in Win7 tool and Acronis (free). The Win7 tool worked very well after my wife’s hard disk crashed and had to be replaced. The only glitch was that MSE did not function properly after the image restoration, so I had to uninstall and reinstall it.

      A couple of notes:

      1. If you are restoring an image with the Win7 built-in tool, the capacity of the target disk must be at least as great as the one it is replacing. You can’t replace a 2 Tb disk with a 1 Tb disk and then restore an image to the smaller one, even if there is plenty of room to do so.

      2. Win7 often conflates “image” and “backup”. After you create an image successfully, you may see a message saying that you don’t have any backups! And the easiest way to reach the built-in imaging program is to type “backup” in the Start orb’s search box. You’ll then see a “Backup and Restore” option, and only after clicking on that does the “image” option appear.

      3. The free versions of Acronis that I know of require a hard drive from the manufacturer who provides the customized Acronis software. If you have a drive made by Western Digital, then the WD/Acronis software should work. Likewise for Seagate. I think a portable drive is sufficient in both cases.

    • #23081 Reply

      Bob Miller

      Another vote for Macrium Reflect, and yes – use auto verify – it’s worth the extra time.
      I use it for three Win7 machines – one home premium and two Pro, as well as a Win10 Pro laptop that is used for business travel.
      I use a 64 gig USB3 thumb drive for the Win10 machine to store the restore program and the three most recent images. I partition my hard drives and use Macrium to back up just the OS partition. I use a one TB external drive to store data backups at home and another 64 gig thumb drive to store backup data on the road.
      It takes four minutes to create an image on the Win 10 machine. It does, however, boot from a 512 gig NVME SSD drive, which admittedly helps with the speed.
      I never timed an image restore, but best guess is 20 – 30 minutes. I have done this while on the road several times. Has always been successful. The last time, I started the restore, went out to dinner, and the machine was ready to reboot with the restored image when I returned to my hotel . . .

    • #23082 Reply

      jelson

      System Imaging can be confusing. For end-users who are new to all this, I recommend Macrium Reflect 6 Free:

      1. It’s FREE (Pro version well worth buying, but not required.)
      2. Most importantly, it’s easy for imaging-novices to use.
      3. They’ve made it very simple to create the Recovery Media (CD and/or USB pen drive)
      4. It’s very stable and reliable.
      5. Lots of help available on the Macrium forums.

      Personally, I tried numerous imaging programs over the years. Currently I use Drive Snapshot (reliable in the extreme; fully portable) and Image for Windows (extremely reliable but geared more to power-users.)

      I use Drive Snaphsot as my primary image program (make images before any significant change such as installed programs, drivers or Windows Updates).

      Then for insurance, I periodically make an image with IFW – just in case.

      Most important thing is to regularly image your system… and to regularly backup your data files (that’s another subject). So, it’s critical that whatever program you choose is easy for you to use.

    • #23083 Reply

      Hugo

      +1 for Paragon Backup (free). I use it in several machines for 2 years now. Several restores during that time.

      ¿More power/quality? – EaseUS Todo Backup (not free). In my opinion this is just the best, and manages recoveries better than Acronis.

      Acronis True Image is also very good. I’ve never had trouble recovering. What I do not like is that, after recovering, the previous backups become a mess.

      On my work computer to be safe I use both EaseUS and Acronis. In other machines I use Paragon.

    • #23084 Reply

      Hugo

      BTW I just received this:
      EaseUS – Weekend 50% off with code “WEEK-QEWB” (ends Nov 14th)

    • #23085 Reply

      Noel Carboni

      I’ve been doing system image backups to (and even restoring a few from) external WD USB MyBook drives for a long while.

      For OSs newer than XP, to be able to make system image backups to such drives one needs to reformat them with the Western Digital Quick Formatter utility.

      This seems to sum it up:
      http://support.wdc.com/knowledgebase/answer.aspx?ID=6618

      Lots of folks tout 3rd party software, but Microsoft has their system image backups integrated with the WinRE environment, bootable recovery discs, etc. For me they’ve always worked great. I have restored to bare metal on several occasions (once even to different hardware than the original system was saved from).

      All my systems do a nightly System Image backup to external drives, by the way. The Volume Snapshot Subsystem integration ensures that ends up being an incremental backup. That gives me more than a month’s worth of backups I could choose to restore.

      Such backups are even possible with Win 8 and 10. The wbadmin command line provides access to all the needed features.

      Example: On my Win 8.1 system, I have this command line scheduled:

      wbadmin start backup -allCritical -vssFull -quiet -backupTarget:G:

      -Noel

    • #23086 Reply

      jwoods

      Terabyte Unlimited’s Image for Windows.

      Have used it for years and it has never failed.

    • #23087 Reply

      Jack

      I have used Macrium Reflect for years. I have tried others, but always come back to Macrium. My main computer has 3 SSDs, using Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Linux. Macrium will image NTFS plus Ext4 file systems, all at the same time, with no trouble at all. I also have 3 hard drives used for data storage. I image all drives on a daily basis. This has saved my butt many a time. My second choice would be AOMEI Backupper.

    • #23088 Reply

      Jack

      Adding to the previous comment: All 3 operating systems are UEFI boot, which means the boot partitions use the FAT32 file system. I can image all 3 SSDs, that have the 3 different file systems, and restore anything I need. Macrium does the job.

    • #23089 Reply

      bravokilo

      Soon after installing the Vista beta, I set up this solution:
      I windowsupdated and installed my own programs, then made a system image to an old hard drive on a USB dock. After the image is completed, I used truecrypt, now veracrypt, to encrypt c:.
      Throughout the month, I keep a log of system changes, i.e. flash update, program settings, etc.
      Once a month, (now every second Tuesday of the month), I restore that image (check the ‘format’ box), apply the logged changes, run windowsupdate, make a system image, encrypt c:.
      It’s been almost 10 years now. Never had a problem with updates, rogue programs, bad settings, or anything else.

    • #23090 Reply

      Nd60

      looks interesting….

      got a link?

    • #23094 Reply

      Fritz

      I use Redo Backup and Recovery for two Win7 systems, one with a HDD, the other with SSD.

      http://redobackup.org

      + Very user-friendly
      + Runs from a CD-ROM or a USB stick (I used Rufus https://rufus.akeo.ie/ to burn the bootable ISO).
      + Freeware
      – No incremental backup

    • #23098 Reply

      clairvaux

      Re : backing up data files, as opposed to imaging.

      The nice thing with Macrium Reflect is it does both. In fact, there are two ways to do backup data files :

      1. Use the backup files & folders function, which is different from the imaging function (but still produces one single backup file).

      2. Use the imaging function, mount the image file from which you want to restore some data files, and copy/paste whatever folders you like to your working drive. Then unmount.

      For instance, for extra security, you could have one schedule for imaging both system and data disks or volumes (if you keep them separated), and another schedule for files & folders backup of your data.

      Macrium seems to be evolving away from a catch-all solution and towards a business model geared to enterprise. Direct sales to business customers are being phased out, and progressively channelled through resellers. This probably won’t keep prices down.

      The cheapest version selling on their site is now up to 63 € including 20 % VAT.

      As for the free version, Macrium seems to have removed the link entirely from its site. It is still available, but the page is only accessible through search. Here it is :

      http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx

      The free version has still very good value (so to speak). To me, the most significant features missing are incremental backup (but differential backups are offered), AES encryption of backup files and restore to dissimilar hardware (“Macrium Redeploy”).

      But you do get scheduling and verification of backups, two features which may be missing in free versions of other similar products.

    • #23103 Reply

      clairvaux

      I looked up Veeam, which I was not aware of. I would agree that the whole company is very much enterprise-minded, even if they do have a free product (quite surprisingly, in my opinion).

      How you get support for this free software if you’re a home user (or even a small business user) is quite open to discussion. I wouldn’t bet on getting help on the most popular forums, such as Bleeping Computer or Seven Forums.

      Veem does mention a mail support option (with absolutely no obligation on their behalf) and a community forum, but you have to register in order to access the forum (and even to download the free software), and here what the registration screen says :

      “Please register with your corporate email. Public email usage is allowed, but has certain restrictions : trial downloads and access to support and licensing portal require a business email usage.”

      The full-blown software does seem impressive. They have phone support in several languages for a full list of regions all over the world. Also, Veeam technology is apparently geared towards virtual environments.

      So, definitely not in the same league as Paragon, Acronis, AOMEI or even Macrium. It seems to me that Veeam Endpoint Backup Free is a complimentary add-on they have devised for their paying, enterprise customers, more than a tool meant for home or small business users, or even a promotional product to push the paying software (which has a free trial anyway) :

      “Veeam Endpoint Backup Free will solve the IT Pro’s challenges to protect their endpoints at no cost.”

      Links for the free software, for those willing to explore :

      https://www.veeam.com/blog/announcing-veeam-endpoint-backup-free.html

      https://www.veeam.com/endpoint-backup-free.html

      https://www.veeam.com/veeam_endpoint_free_1_5_datasheet_en_ds.pdf

      https://www.veeam.com/veeam_endpoint_free_1_5_whats_new_en_wn.pdf

      https://www.veeam.com/endpoint-backup-free-faq.html

      https://www.veeam.com/veeam_endpoint_free_1_5_user_guide_en_pg.pdf

    • #23108 Reply

      clairvaux
    • #23113 Reply

      Todd

      Ironically, Steve Gibson himself recommends and uses Drive Snapshot. I’ve used it for over 7 years and have successfully restored hundreds of times. Rock solid!! In particular, Drive Snapshot can restore the operating system’s drive upon reboot – the image backup just needs to be on a local drive or USB/Firewire drive; does not work for network drives. Highest possible recommendation. I work as an IT consultant and we use Drive Snapshot for many of our client servers.

    • #23115 Reply

      Marty

      I had to reformat a WD MyBook some years ago before the built-in Win7 imaging program would work with it. But in recent years, WD portable drives have worked with Win7 image right out of the box.

    • #23116 Reply

      ch100
      AskWoody MVP

      What do readers here think about File History as is in Windows 10 for data backup and an imaging product for the system partition, if a separate system partition is used or for the single partition mostly for having a reference point in time for the system and not so much for the data. The data would be backed up by File History in this scenario.

    • #23117 Reply

      jelson

      +1

    • #23118 Reply

      Anonymous

      Do not use Redo Backup!
      – Redo backup is no longer developed, it is a discontinued project
      – you can use it to back-up only, restoring from backup has a very low chance
      – it only allows full drive backups (you can’t even select partitions), and it only allows full drive restore, (you can’t restore select single files/partitions)

      For those who really want to avoid Raid 1 and Clonezilla I recommend Paragon Software. Because successfully restoring a file is just as important as backing it up.

    • #23119 Reply

      clairvaux

      Of course, you do realise that RAID 1 is not a backup method. It only protects against disk failure.

      Any software problem that might prompt you to restore from a backup (virus, ransomware, bad Windows update, botched install, accidental delete, file corruption or whatever) will be instantly replicated to the twin disk, defeating the purpose of regular imaging to a separate, offline disk.

      A1so, some people warn against RAID 1 even for the limited purpose of continuity in the case of hardware failure, because it adds an extra blob of complexity at a system level, which might create problems of its own.

      It is also said that real RAID takes dedicated, expensive add-in cards, as opposed to the consumer-grade RAID offered in enthusiasts’ motherboards.

      I don’t have any personal experience of the two latter points, but the first one is obvious.

    • #23120 Reply

      Rick

      Clonezilla for me. I use it on my home system, and have never had issue. It’s been very reliable. But yes, you do need to consider partition size when you restore if you changing drives. Although the point is moot if, like me, the purpose is to keep a backup in case MS manages to screw your system up, and with the new update scheme… its anyone’s guess when that will come in handy.

    • #23121 Reply

      Brian

      It’s really as simple as Googling “Veeam Endpoint Backup” :). It is the first result you see.

    • #23122 Reply

      Ascaris

      My vote is for Macrium Reflect as well. I’ve been a customer of Acronis for years, with their True Image series, but the last version I bought was so buggy and so obnoxious (it displays ads on a paid product– where have I seen that before?) that I’ve made the switch.

      Macrium has a free version that lacks a few features (backup encryption, incremental backups), but it works quite well, and the differential backups are a reasonable substitute for incrementals. Acronis True Image is a lot cheaper than the paid version of Macrium Reflect if you get it on sale, which I’ve often been able to do, but there is no free version of True Image other than a time-limited trial version.

      Macrium is dependable and fast, and the free version is sufficient for what I do. I’d like to have the backup encryption, but since the PCs I am backing up are themselves encrypted, I can arrange it so that the backups retain the encryption of the originals. (Be aware that if you use Bitlocker, the backup will be unencrypted if the drive you’re backing up is mounted and unlocked when the backup is being performed. Other backup programs like VeraCrypt may also have this limitation.)

    • #23123 Reply

      clairvaux

      I did not want to mention my disastrous experience with Acronis since it’s several years old, and apparently there are quite a number of users satisfied with the product now.

      But since you mention bugginess, some time ago (I can’t tell you what version that was), Acronis went through a phase where it was a nightmare and a joke. Its own forum was full of furious customers, all the more so since their software was almost impossible to uninstall.

      This followed a period where Acronis was held in high regard. Nevertheless, I was so disgusted at the time that I never looked back — it’s possible that they have cleaned up their act now. I bought Paragon, practically did not use it because I was disappointed by the limited possibilities for adding comments to each backup, and settled for Macrium, which had a similar defect regarding comments, but never mind. You can’t keep experimenting and switching from one software to another…

      An added plus, for me, is that Macrium has both an extensive online manual, and a pdf version you can download. I like my software to be self-sufficient.

      Here are a few threads on Macrium’s forum that help one understand the sort of high-value expertise which is at hand if you use their software. This is the v.5 forum which has been archived by now, but I suppose the advice given there is still valid for v.6, and I gather similar help can be found on the active v.6 forum :

      http://support.macrium.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4821

      http://support.macrium.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=5174&SearchTerms=teracopy

      http://support.macrium.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=4685&whichpage=1&SearchTerms=teracopy

      http://support.macrium.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=12233&SearchTerms=teracopy

    • #23124 Reply

      John W

      I have been using the Windows 7 Image utility since migrating to Windows 7 (still using it on 10). Prior to that on XP, I used Power Quest’s Drive Image, which was acquired by Symantec and incorporated into the later versions of Ghost. That was a solid program.

      I recently considered moving to an imaging program that had some more bells and whistles than Windows provided. So I downloaded the user manuals for Acronis, Macrium, and Paragon.

      I have to say, I came away with the distinct impression that Macrium had made the best effort to completely document all of their program features in a user friendly way. Plus they have a utility that automatically builds a WinPE recovery environment (on thumb drive or disk) for the target PC, including any necessary drivers. Plug and play.

      This recovery disk process seems a bit messy, or hit and miss with the other imaging products.

      As someone stated earlier, you really don’t have a backup plan if the restore don’t work.

      That’s one thing I can say for the Win 7 image tool (it also works in 8.1 and 10) is that the Windows repair disk (or install media) is all you need to boot the PC in recovery mode and restore the image file from an external hard drive. I’ve used it and it just works.

      Plus the Windows images are saved to a .vhd format (virtual hard drive) that you can mount as a drive letter in Windows Disk Management > Action > Attach VHD. Very cool. You can browse your drive image and drag and drop folders or files wherever you wish 🙂

      But I am now considering the use of Macrium Reflect Free to have some scheduling options and better image archiving ability than that offered by Windows.

    • #23125 Reply

      Ascaris

      The version of True Image that was buggy enough to make me switch was True Image 2016, FWIW. It was about the sixth version I’d used over the years. In my use, it was the buggiest one so far.

      True Image 2016 did always manage to get the backup or restore done, eventually, but many times it required me to figure out workarounds or deal with things like rescue discs that won’t recognize standard Windows Samba network shares, backup sets that inexplicably take hours longer to create than they should or that are far larger than they should be given the data set, or exclusions that don’t exclude (another feature missing from Macrium Reflect Free), or mounting of backup sets that takes several minutes (while Reflect takes a few seconds to do the same)… it was always something.

    • #23126 Reply

      clairvaux

      Thanks for the info. This, for me, takes the biscuit, and makes me file Acronis in my personal Hall of Shame. If their current product is that defective, it means they have never been able to clean up their act since the old days when I extricated myself from Acronis land.

    • #23127 Reply

      LoneWolf

      I would be the second person to put Macrium Reflect Free as my top choice, and AOMEI Backupper as second. One note: AOMEI is a Chinese software company. The tools I have used by them have worked well (including their disk partition tools) but if you are the paranoid type, Macrium is for you. Macrium also has some of the best cloning abilities in the business, and a great interface that doesn’t make things “too stupid” (e.g., Acronis Home) and yet isn’t complicated either.

    • #23128 Reply

      ky41083

      Veeam Endpoint Backup is by far the best free Windows backup application I’ve used to date.

      Scheduled, volume based, deduplicated, compressed, forever incremental, live VSS, BMR backups, to local, removable, or network storage. The entire backup chain is verified on destination storage with every backup. Includes a tool to create a custom WinPE BMR ISO with all your current storage and network drivers integrated, that can be easily booted from a USB drive made with YUMI.

      Even does file level restores through the Windows GUI, without needing to mess with the BMR disc, or even reboot. All completely free. BMR disc even allows restoring to smaller partitions without drama.

    • #23129 Reply

      ky41083

      To solve the backup target sector size issue that was the source of the original question… VEB doesn’t give a spit how the destination device is formatted, if it’s flash based, or what interface it connects to. Although you will need large file support, so basically NTFS, no FAT32 destinations.

      Which all reminds me, please don’t format a flash based drive with filesystem clusters smaller than 4K. You’re going to kill it… and align your partitions to 1MB boundaries. Very good habit.

    • #23130 Reply

      Bob?(Maybe?err…ok)

      Other than performance issues if your install out of alignment (7_SP1 and newer auto-align) 4k sector drives pretend to be 512b, windows can’t tell the difference and doesn’t care.

      Some external WD drives are (or pretend to be 4Kn drives so MBR partitions can get past the 2TB mark, those may not work with windows backup.

      Then again windows backup isn’t very good to start with…

    • #23131 Reply

      Bob?(Maybe?err…ok)

      Remember to buy the version of acronis that doesn’t stop working(expires) when your online storage subscription runs out. (you can buy online storage later if you want)

    • #23132 Reply

      ch100
      AskWoody MVP

      Too many mistakes in the original post.
      But the main question is interesting and brings a lot of people together sharing valuable ideas.

    • #23133 Reply

      ThymeJ

      ky41083, you don’t happen to know how to have more then one backup job in VEB-free if one wanted to back up the OS drive and a data drive with separate schedules do you? I’m testing VEB and Macrium for what one I want to use.

    • #23134 Reply

      ky41083

      Unfortunately, you can only have 1 scheduled job in VEB. It will let you do manually triggered jobs of any source, to any destination, or even manually trigger the scheduled job any time. But as far as automation goes, you get 1 scheduled job, and only 1, without getting into the whole paid enterprise targeted B&R suite.

      My first thought is, what does it matter if both volumes get backed up in the same job if it all works out of a VSS snapshot?

      And my very close second thought is, you would always want all volumes on the same system to be backed up at the same time (from the same VSS snapshot) to get a completely “crash consistent” restore, WHEN the day comes you need to break out the BMR boot media…

      Can I ask why you would want to backup multiple volumes on the same system, at different times?

    • #23135 Reply

      ThymeJ

      I have three drives:

      C=OS and documents

      D=Steam and software library (installs, utilities, and tools)

      G=recorded TV DVR storage

      If the D drive was removed from my computer only steam would have problems. If the G drive was removed, I would only need to point my DVR software to record TV to a new temporary location. The videos on G are deleted after they have been watched.

      I backup the OS (C) as an image with Win7 at the moment. The stuff on D I only backup selected files and folders. Both the image of C and the D selected files and folders are backed up at the same time only because they are in the same Win7 backup job. I only backup the G drive once and awhile with robocopy /MIR.

    • #23136 Reply

      ky41083

      From: https://helpcenter.veeam.com/endpoint/15/backup_job_folders.html

      In the file-level backup mode, you can create two types of backups:

      File-level backup that includes individual folders on your computer.
      Hybrid backup that contains individual folders and specific volumes of your computer.

      Seems like hybrid mode would replace Windows Backup (doing a volume level for C:), and selectively backup files on other volumes in file mode, all in the same job.

    • #23137 Reply

      ky41083

      Also, from: https://helpcenter.veeam.com/endpoint/15/backup_job_target.html

      If you select to store the backup on a local folder included in the backup scope, Veeam Endpoint Backup will automatically exclude this folder from the backup.

      Snip…

      Figured that might be useful for you, and if not, definitely others. This is why I love VEB, it is simply smart ?

    • #96031 Reply

      Fritz
      AskWoody Lounger

      I’ve dropped Veeam Endpoint for O&O DiskImage 10.5 Professional. The latter is far less bloaty and not Net Framework dependent. O&O is currently offering a free software license in return for your email address.

      • This reply was modified 10 months ago by  Fritz.

    Please follow the -Lounge Rules- no personal attacks, no swearing, and politics/religion are relegated to the Rants forum.

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