How often should I create a system image? Backup files?

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  1. f14tomcat's Avatar
    Posts : 39,923
    Triple boot - Win 10 Pro, Win 10 Pro Insider (2) - (and a sprinkling of VMs)
       #11

    ShyRage said: View Post
    Right now I'm obviously just learning about everything and was experimenting with Windows 10 backup. I have my external 5T.B. harddrive connected and asked for it to backup daily up until 30 days, then there I understand it will start over writing. WHen the backup takes place however, I cannot find the backups in the external drive. WHat folder name would it be in or am I missing something?
    Win 10 Backup and Restore is deprecated (being phased out). Difficult to use. More difficult to maintain multiple copies. Go with Macrium and save yourself a lot of heartache and time experimenting with Win 10 Backup.

    I use the ancient grey haired Synctoy from MS daily. There may be a bug somewhere in it, but don't know what it would be. It just does the job, and fast. Puts File History to shame.
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  2. storageman's Avatar
    Posts : 575
    Windows 10 Pro 1809 17763.379
       #12

    f14tomcat said: View Post
    Win 10 Backup and Restore is deprecated (being phased out). Difficult to use. More difficult to maintain multiple copies. Go with Macrium and save yourself a lot of heartache and time experimenting with Win 10 Backup.

    I use the ancient grey haired Synctoy from MS daily. There may be a bug somewhere in it, but don't know what it would be. It just does the job, and fast. Puts File History to shame.
    +99 ^^^ There maybe a bug or two in there, but after many years have not found one (Except for my misunderstandings).
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  3.    #13

    storageman said: View Post
    +99 ^^^ There maybe a bug or two in there, but after many years have not found one (Except for my misunderstandings).
    Could answer the question I had before pertaining to the file backups?
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  4. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 10,533
    10 Home x64 (1809) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #14

    ShyRage said: View Post
    Right now I'm obviously just learning about everything and was experimenting with Windows 10 backup. ... WHen the backup takes place however, I cannot find the backups in the external drive. WHat folder name would it be in or am I missing something?

    The 'Backup & Restore (Windows 7)' has two independent functions. The first is to back up files and folders, the second is to create a system image. You can schedule the files backup function or run it manually. It is possible to include a system image in the files back up, but however you set up and run Backup and Restore, the backups are always saved to the same locations.

    Files Backup:


    A file named MediaID.bin is saved to the root of the backup drive.
    A folder with same name as your PC is created to hold the backup set(s).
    The files are saved as a series of .zip files in <PC-Name>\Backup Set yyyy-mm-dd hhmmss\Backup Files yyyy-mm-dd hhmmss

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Because the files are spread across multiple .zip files it is near-impossible to find and restore individual file(s) manually by browsing the .zip files. You must use Backup & Restore which will use the associated backup Catalog to find/restore the file(s).


    System image:

    The system image files are stored in the folder WindowsImageBackup. They will be in a sub-folder with the same name as the PC that was imaged.
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  5.    #15

    What exactly is the system image and what is it used for? Will it restore a broken PC back to it's the state the image file was made? Can it be restored onto a new hard drive in the event of a drive failure? I've yet to have to use one but don't know what it's supposed to do.

    Also, I have a video server with a large RAID, can I store the image file on the server then move it to a flash drive if ever needed?
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  6.    #16

    Soapm said: View Post
    What exactly is the system image and what is it used for? Will it restore a broken PC back to it's the state the image file was made? Can it be restored onto a new hard drive in the event of a drive failure? I've yet to have to use one but don't know what it's supposed to do.

    Also, I have a video server with a large RAID, can I store the image file on the server then move it to a flash drive if ever needed?
    Considering Macrium Reflect which I use :

    What exactly is the system image and what is it used for? It's a file containing a compressed version of the partitions or files / folders you selected to back up.

    Will it restore a broken PC back to it's the state the image file was made? Yes, provided all the partitions you need to boot Windows including the hidden partitions are selected to backup. This is very easy to do in Reflect and you can restore a working bootable PC to a SSD in a few minutes.

    Can it be restored onto a new hard drive in the event of a drive failure? Yes, no problem.

    Also, I have a video server with a large RAID, can I store the image file on the server then move it to a flash drive if ever needed? You can store the backup image file to any location of your choice and recover it from there.

    Note if you use Reflect Free to make backups of your partitions you can still recover individual files or folders which I've found handy when I've accidentally deleted a wanted file.
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  7. Bree's Avatar
    Posts : 10,533
    10 Home x64 (1809) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       #17

    Soapm said: View Post
    What exactly is the system image and what is it used for?
    I use Macrium to make my system images. A system image is a copy of all the data stored on the partitions of your hard drive that are required for Windows. You can also include any other data partitions in the image, such as a D: drive that you use just for data but that isn't a required part of the Windows system.

    Will it restore a broken PC back to it's the state the image file was made? Can it be restored onto a new hard drive in the event of a drive failure? I've yet to have to use one but don't know what it's supposed to do.
    Yes, that is its main purpose. The imaging software can also make a bootable usb with the restore media on it. In the event of a drive failure you can replace the drive, boot from the recovery usb and restore the partitions from the image. After you're done the PC is back to exactly the state it was in when you made the system image.

    Also, I have a video server with a large RAID, can I store the image file on the server then move it to a flash drive if ever needed?
    The above comments are general and apply to almost any imaging software. I'm just talking about Macrium here as I have experience of that. Yes, you can save the system image to a network share. The bootable restore media has network capabilities, so you could restore from a network share if you wished. Bear in mind that the network connection may limit the speed of the backup or restore.

    You can copy the system image to a usb drive if you wish, but an HDD may be a better choice than a flash drive. It all depends on how large the system image is. Also, the flash drive would have to be ntfs formatted, the Fat32 format normally found on flash drives has a maximum file size limit of 4GB.
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  8.    #18

    Good to know, thanks guys. I just downloaded Macrium and will give it a test tomorrow.
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  9. jimbo45's Avatar
    Posts : 6,778
    Windows / Linux : Centos, Ubuntu, OpenSuse
       #19

    Hi folks

    As for the original question:

    @Soapm

    You need to take a backup before installing any major piece of software or before any major Windows update - so if the update fails you can restore. A full system image is the best idea -- split your Windows system into separate partition or move to different HDD (SSD much better).

    Even if you don't do much updating take a backup (image) at least once a week. If you are unlucky enough to get a Virus it's far quicker and safer to restore a previous image than mess around for hours with Virus removal software.

    As for data you really only need to backup things that change or where you've added new file.-- multi-media files don't change a lot I'd imagine. The best way to manage these is to use incremental type of backup -- you start with a full data backup and then just run incrementals say every day --will only take a few minutes for the incremental.

    Run a new full backup say once a month or whatever depending on the volume of your data or the amount of changes / additions to it. Remember when restoring DATA you start with the last FULL backup and then run the incremental set.

    If you MOVE your data to a NAS type server don't forget to back that up too -- no point in having several TB of files on a NAS server if your RAID arrays can't be recovered so you lose the lot !!!!.

    If your NAS server is a Linux type OS with a GUI my preference would be to forget DATA backup on the Windows machine (Keep the OS system images of course) and then save everything on the NAS. Now on the NAS also run a program called GRSYNC to update backup data files from NAS to an external USB device and keep that safe and offline.

    GRSYNC : (zillions of options but you should get the idea)

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    Data backup / archive is a complex thing to do properly and there's no simple solution as people have different needs and volumes of data -- however if data is important it does need to be backed up. Personally on my machines the data is far more valuable than the machines themselves so I always backup constantly.

    You really can never have too much backup -- especially as the cost of large capacity disks is dropping constantly. A 256GB SSD (ideal for a Windows system with some data space) can be had now for as little as 28 EUR.

    Cheers
    jimbo
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  10.    #20

    My "NAS" is a headless Debian server with a 12tb RAID (4x4tb in a RAID 5 array), would I need that much external storage to back it up?
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