3rd party software for creating a backup image of my system?

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  1. Posts : 16
    windows 10

    3rd party software for creating a backup image of my system?

    Hello everyone.

    I have a new PC running Windows 10 Home. Two hard disks: one for the OS and one for the data. I had created an image of C on my second hard disk, using the incorporated Windows 7 image backup service.

    To my experience, the Windows 7 image backup, incorporated in Windows 10, is problematic. Often, Windows cannot locate the image, even though it's right there for everyone to see. I had (and have) exactly the same problem with my laptop.

    I have contacted Windows Support and they weren't able to help me out, in a tiresome troubleshooting process of having to update once again, etc etc.

    I remember 20 years back, Norton Ghost would arrange everything nice and easy, in the blink of an eye. Why MS can't get it right, after all this time, is beyond me. In the year 2021 it should be a question of drag and drop.

    Either way, I'm going to re-install Windows 10 and this time get an image of my clean system using some 3rd party software.

    I would appreciate advice for any good freeware for creating an image.

      My Computer

  2. Posts : 42,922
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)

    To my experience, the Windows 7 image backup, incorporated in Windows 10, is problematic. Often, Windows cannot locate the image, even though it's right there for everyone to see. I had (and have) exactly the same problem with my laptop.
    Correct. Even MS says go 3rd party.

    You will find endless recommendations here for Macrium Reflect (free or licensed) here. The free version offers disk/partition imaging and some useful repair features on its bootable disk.

    In addition, consider
    a. Planning to keep as much personal data off C: as possible so it's unaffected if you need to restore an image.
    b. Another form of data backup for either pure data partitions (which you could also image of course)
    c. Data backup for any fast-changing critical data that is not backed up frequently enough by periodic imaging.
    Various programs and methods for data synching are mentioned in threads about backups.

    Other options include Aomei, Easeus, O&O...

    As a minimum at least image all partitions forming your O/S- typically 4 for UEFI.

    Note that the free version of MR does NOT give you write access to their support forum; there is a huge help file on line and with the program, and plenty of videos etc. Updates every few weeks with a prompt.
      My Computers

  3. Posts : 2,487
    Windows 10 Home, 64-bit

    Backup and Restore with Macrium Reflect

    Here's the site tutorial for Macrium.

    It's long, quite detailed and possibly intimidating.

    The fact is, you can create a full image of your boot drive with perhaps 8 mouse clicks, accepting all Macrium defaults.

    Do that first.

    Then second, create the "recovery media" from Macrium menus, using an ordinary USB flash drive of at least 1 GB size.

    Then third, confirm that the recovery media will actually boot your PC.

    If you can get that far, you have a 99 percent chance of being able to recover from a disaster via an image restoration.

    You'd likely need further assistance on the image restoration details, but you can get that here on this forum if you have at least completed the above 3 steps.
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 50
    Win 10

    Casper from fssdev.com will create a bootable USB clone that may be used if your internal drive goes south. You may then use that USB drive (which will have Casper installed on it, of course, 'cause it's a clone, right?) to clone back to the new replacement drive.

    Casper will update the clone on a schedule (or manually) and such a "SmartClone" process only records the changes so the process takes only a few minutes.

    I'll stress that the USB clone is an exact, bootable copy of your internal HD requiring no add'l bootable flash drive.
      My Computers

  5. Posts : 4,560

    It is interesting the new version of Casper now creates images in vhdx format. That is useful.
      My Computer

  6. Posts : 23,172
    Win 10 Home ♦♦♦19045.4291 (x64) [22H2]


    I too remember Norton Ghost 2003. Best backup software ever written. Short and sweet, and just worked.

    Today, as others have mentioned, the closest thing to Norton Ghost would be Macrium Reflect. It CAN do much more than Norton Ghost could, BUT... it doesn't "force" you to use anything you don't want to.
    It's very light on resources as well.

    Macrium Software | Macrium Reflect Free
      My Computer

  7. Posts : 68
    Windows 10 Professional 21H1

    I use Acronis True Image 2021 to make an image of my laptop and my wife's PC each to its own big (4TB) external USB drive. I have it scheduled to run every Wednesday night at 10PM. You can also do an on-demand backup at any time which I do often before I install something that has the potential to mess up the machine(s).

    I've hosed up my wife's PC a number of times, but it doesn't bother me overly because I just have to run Acronis from a bootable USB drive which you can make as many copies as you'd care to. I have my BIOS set to boot off a bootable USB drive first, so when it sees the Acronis recovery USB it boots off of it. Then I choose which image on my big external USB for the restore (usually the last consecutive one) and it takes over from there and completely restores the PC or laptop drive(s). I've done this on numerous occasions with no problems. Also, if you want to perform a file restore of an inadvertently deleted file or files or file folder that you just can't live without, it does that too if you want. It's fairly intuitive and I recommend it.

    I costs about $62 for a 3 machine license from Amazon , but it is well worth it.
      My Computer

  8. Posts : 15,480

    Macrium Reflect Free.

    No contest. Why waste money on Acronis!
      My Computer

  9. Posts : 42,922
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)

    Macrium's clean and effective- GUI needs updating to make it more user friendly especially for less determined newcomers and occasional users. There Aomei wins.
      My Computers

  10. Posts : 11,247
    Windows / Linux : Arch Linux

    Hi folks.

    In addition to Imaging the OS - If you have data on another Disk / Disks then depending on the amount of data things like Macrium Free aren't actually the best tool for that type of backup. Macrium Free is great - certainly for Windows OS - which is why it's paramount to keep the OS (and apps say like Office etc) on its own HDD/SSD/partition but not for 1000'000s of data files that rarely change. E.g say you have a library of 3,000 CD's all ripped to tracks etc etc.

    If you have several TB of data that doesn't change much e.g photos, multi-media (music / video files etc ) then obviously you don't want or need to back up the whole volume regularly so another solution is really needed. I think we need here to differentiate between System Backup and data archiving. For DATA archiving you really only need to backup those files that have changed - and again you might want to keep a few different versions -. A totally different problem.

    If you have a NAS - especially if it's Linux based you can run things like rsync on it to backup data from Windows systems - this is fine if you are OK with command line (there is a GUI GRSYNC too but then your NAS will need a proper desktop GUI on it), but there seems to be very limited software to do this sensibly at a Consumer / Home level. There's loads of expensive Enterprise stuff (Cloud servers are of course backed up regularly !!!) but the whole issue of data archiving at a consumer level really hasn't been tackled yet.

    If anybody has some decent ideas I'd love to hear them -- must be preferably GUI and Windows based , captures changed files, optionally keeps 2 or 3 versions (of the selected data files -- not the entire backup of course) , has a decent cataloguing system so data can be selected for recovery via simple drop down menu etc. Data backup to external HDD's or NAS.

    There's probably "No such animal" yet - now there's an idea for any budding I.T pros out there.

    Cloud backup is fine for some people but that's not a solution for everybody either.

    For those of you having NAS systems - remember those should be backed up as well from time to time -- they can and do fail (although rarely if the hardware is sensible).

      My Computer


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