Advice sought re: backing up two PCs onto one external H.D

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  1.    2 Weeks Ago #1

    Advice sought re: backing up two PCs onto one external H.D


    I have made Window 10 System Image backups of two laptops onto one external hard drive. This seemed to work OK insofar as the two backups label which PC they relate to. I also tried to do a File History backup on each laptop but I seem to have ended up with just one File History. When doing the second File History I seemed to run into some difficulty. For one thing, messages appeared saying I had to reconnect the external H.D which I had not disconnected. Also, I do not think the program was able to distinguish the second File History from the first although, as I said, they were from different PCs. I ended up with one File History.

    Are there problems putting such backups from different PCs onto one external H.D that I should be aware of? I also wonder if I would run into problems if I had to use one of the system image backups to restore one of the PCs i.e would the program correctly identify which image it had to use? Any inf. please.
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  2.    2 Weeks Ago #2

    Hi, when you restore an image, you have to browse for the image you wish to restore. Thus, as they say, the choice is yours.

    It would be wise to consider placing all image files for one PC into an easily recognisable folder- that's set up when you first create a base image. That folder then contains all differential images etc related to the base image.

    There is of course the risk that should something happen to that one disk, you risk losing both backup sets.

    If you are using a network, you can be a bit more clever- general idea from this out of date article:
    Can I backup more than one machine to a single external hard drive?

    I know little about F History I'm afraid. As far as I know you are limited to selecting the disk used.

    Select Drive for File History in Windows 10 | Tutorials

    There is a possible clue as to how it might be done taking the general idea from this old Win 8 thread:
    How to use to backup multiple users on the same - Microsoft Community

    (Droidalmatter's post) Thus a folder on the drive is viewed as a drive letter.
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  3.    2 Weeks Ago #3

    Thank you very much Dalchina for the information and the leads which I shall read tomorrow with interest. Regards, G.
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  4. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 10,184
    10 Home x64 (1809) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       2 Weeks Ago #4

    gordon99 said: View Post
    I have made Window 10 System Image backups of two laptops onto one external hard drive. This seemed to work OK insofar as the two backups label which PC they relate to....
    ... I also wonder if I would run into problems if I had to use one of the system image backups to restore one of the PCs i.e would the program correctly identify which image it had to use?..
    dalchina said: View Post
    Hi, when you restore an image, you have to browse for the image you wish to restore. Thus, as they say, the choice is yours.
    It would be wise to consider placing all image files for one PC into an easily recognisable folder- that's set up when you first create a base image. That folder then contains all differential images etc related to the base image..
    I have use the built-in system imaging extensively in the past. Unfortunately the 'create a system image' in 'Backup & Restore (Windows 7)' has little control (well, none actually) over where the images are stored. You can chose a drive, then Backup creates a WindowsImageBackup folder on that drive. In this folder is a folder with the same name as the PC being imaged that contains the backup set(s) for that PC.

    On booting from Advanced Start up or a Recovery drive to restore an image, all available backup sets will be listed. The only way to distinguish between them is by their PC name.

    Are there problems putting such backups from different PCs onto one external H.D that I should be aware of?
    Yes.

    The main failing of the built-in Windows system imaging is that once in a while it cannot recognise a backup set as being restorable (sometimes for no apparent reason). Under no circumstances should you attempt to save an image of a Windows 7 PC to the same HDD. This is a sure-fire way destroy the ability of the Windows 10 restore to recognise any of the Windows 10 backup sets as being restorable. Renaming the backup set folders can also lead to them not being seen by restore.

    This unreliability is why these boards often recommend using something else to make system images (Macrium Reflect Free, for example) and probably was behind Microsoft's decision to deprecate System Image Backup, telling us to use other vendors' imaging solutions.

    Microsoft said:
    System Image Backup (SIB) Solution
    We recommend that users use full-disk backup solutions from other vendors.
    Features removed or Deprecated in Windows 10 Fall Creators Update - Windows 10 Forums
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  5.    2 Weeks Ago #5

    Thanks Bree. Yes I understand Microsoft intend to phase out their backup system shortly. I assume this means it will not be included in any future Windows updates but whether it will still be left running where already installed I do not know. Nevertheless, I will have another look at Macrium Reflect though when I last invesgated it looked a little.complicated.
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  6. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 10,184
    10 Home x64 (1809) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       2 Weeks Ago #6

    gordon99 said: View Post
    Nevertheless, I will have another look at Macrium Reflect though when I last invesgated it looked a little.complicated.
    It's more complicated, mainly because the MS imaging has no user-selectable options to speak of. You have no choice but to back up all the partitions it deems necessary to run Windows. The only option offered is to add data partition(s) to the backup. You also have no control over the level of compression it uses (little or none if you image to an HDD, high compression if you image to a series of DVDs). You have no control over the name of the image file, no choice as to which (if any) previous backup sets will be retained when you make a new image. No choice over Full vs. Differential imaging (I could go on, but you get the idea).

    With more choice comes a more complex interface, but having made the switch I wouldn't willingly go back to MS imaging. The final straw that pushed me over to Macrium was when Microsoft broke system imaging in the 32-bit version of 1803.
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  7.    2 Weeks Ago #7

    I have no problems keeping Macrium Reflect backups from 3 PCs on one external drive. I have a separate folder for each PC backup and insert a text file in each folder to note what the backup contains. I back up to two drives in case one develops a fault.
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  8. Posts : 1,261
    Windows 10 Home x64 and Pro x86
       2 Weeks Ago #8

    gordon99 said: View Post
    ... whether it will still be left running where already installed I do not know …
    Gordon,

    Deprecated does not merely mean will be removed sometime.

    Deprecated also means non-security faults will not be fixed.

    So even if it runs, you cannot know if it will create the system image correctly.
    So even if it runs, you cannot know if it will restore your computer from a system image correctly.

    Denis
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  9.    2 Weeks Ago #9

    Try3 said: View Post
    Deprecated does not merely mean will be removed sometime.

    Deprecated also means non-security faults will not be fixed.

    So even if it runs, you cannot know if it will create the system image correctly.
    So even if it runs, you cannot know if it will restore your computer from a system image correctly.
    It doesn't mean any of these things. Deprecated only means it isn't being developed and might be removed. I use lots of software that is deprecated but still work fine.

    Of course you can tell if a backup is made correctly - you simply restore it to check. It really isn't a complicated procedure and really you should do this with any backup software you use so you are confident.

    Even if the Windows 7 style backup is dropped completely in a later version of Windows 10 you can still mount the backups as VHD -see here for example System Image - Extract Files Using Disk Management - Windows 7 Help Forums

    I'm not recommending using it as a backup (there are far better options) but the fact something is deprecated doesn't make it suddenly stop working.
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  10.    2 Weeks Ago #10

    Steve C said: View Post
    I have no problems keeping Macrium Reflect backups from 3 PCs on one external drive. I have a separate folder for each PC backup and insert a text file in each folder to note what the backup contains. I back up to two drives in case one develops a fault.
    I have a drive that has 110 different computers on it. It is my shop drive. Each computer has a folder with client name on it.
      My ComputersSystem Spec


 
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