Backing up Windows 10 OS

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  1. Posts : 13,586

    Clive K said:
    Yes, I'm talking about imaging here. Sorry for using the term backup. I have read that the Win10 imaging utility is the same as was used in Win 7. I haven't confirmed that, and may be wrong about that. I'm not even going to test that assumption.
    But Win 7 was incremental imaging, unless you renamed the image target, in which case you another full image would be created. Which would then have to be renamed if you wanted if you wanted to make a full image subsequently.
    Without renaming you were presented with a tree of images, based on time/date of the image.
    But if moved to another drive the tree was lost, and you could only restore the full image.
    There may have been a way to get at the incrementals, but I wasn't interested in that.
    It was simpler to move to Macrium for imaging, since I had no need for incrementals, and prefer to name my images once, and move them as desired.
    Macrium Reflect Free now supports differential images.

    Note: most people say incremental when they mean differential actually.

    A differential image is a snapshot of the difference between pc since the full image backup was taken, and when differential image was made.

    An incremental image backup (afaik) is the difference since the previous incremental image. Thus if you made a full image on day 1, and incremental image on days 2 and 3, to recover pc to state on day 3, you need images on days 1,2 and 3.

    Hoeever with differential images, you only need images made on day 1 and 3. The image on day 3 contains all changes since day 1 ie is cumulative.

    Thus incremental images will be more space efficient than differential images. This facility is not offered by any of the main free packages. In fact MRF is the only one I know that offers differential backups. For domestic use, differential backups are perfectly adequate.

    MRF is far faster, more space efficient than the basic windows offering. MS have not developed it since windows 7. They tried to hide it in windows 8 to an obscure link, and have confused people in windows 10 calling it 'backup and restore (windows 7)'.

    One great feature about MRF is its new ability to install a dual boot option, so you do not even need a recovery drive unless hdd fails or is badly corrupted.

    The Rescue drive has a good feature to rebuild boot sectors if corrupted.

    There are a number of other features in the way it works eg smart sector copying that are far superior to the windows system.

    MRF is the only package I found that will reliably backup tablets which are often unusual having a 32bit eufi install. Windows version failed miserably on my tablet, and was spotty on my Sony Vaio. MRF has never let me down.

    To summarise, MRF is a Rolls Royce compared with an old Ford car.
      My Computer

  2. Posts : 2,292
    Windows 10 Pro (64 bit)

    Mooly said:
    I would say my backup speed is around 10-12Gb a minute which tallies with my 'couple of minutes' to do a full image from hitting the go button. My C drive stands at around 21-22Gb space used. That is on an SSD and creating the initial image to a separate partition on that same SSD (important images I move and store externally as previously mentioned)

    I've certainly found it 100% reliable though, as have you.
    Do you image backup to a USB hard drive or a network location? I think the slowness comes down to the USB part on my system. I always do a huge backup containing all my game installations (as I figure re-installing them at a latter date will be a painful laborious process). On my older laptop with Windows 7 it was just as long backing up to a USB hard drive as it is on my new Windows 10 machine using a completely different USB hard drive so the bottleneck presumably is the USB and the amount of small files involved. I found the first image (on both machines) I ever did (again several hundred gigabytes in each case) did take a very long time (2, 3, maybe even 4 hours) but subsequent images are much quicker (around the hour mark). As if it only re-images what it has to. Bit above my head but that's what I am finding.

    In any event I am pretty happy with it's reliability. It isn't that quick but in the event of a major OS corruption a few hours to restore the OS with all my files, installations isn't too bad. It's certainly better than starting the OS from scratch. Plus I only take an image every few weeks as I figure anything I installed since the last one isn't going to be that drastic. Important documents, pictures are always backed to a NAS drive straight away. So everything is backed up in triplicate.
      My Computer

  3. Posts : 1,871
    W10 pro x64 20H2 Build 19042.610

    I image to a partition on the single SSD drive. Mission critical backups such as week and month end get moved to a separate USB drive for safe keeping.

    I've no complaints with the speed of it all, my full images take 2 minutes to complete and the same to restore.

    I've bowed to consistent pressure on here :) and installed Macrium as a test on my older laptop. Just making the first backup now.
      My Computer

  4. Posts : 81
    Windows 10

    Microsoft says the imaging is incremental. Also block-based incremental. Whatever the internal structure, it violates the KISS principle. I do full system images with Macrium which take 1-2 minutes, depending on whether the target is SSD or spinner. That's about 17 GB being imaged.
      My Computer

  5. Posts : 1,871
    W10 pro x64 20H2 Build 19042.610

    Clive K said:
    Microsoft says the imaging is incremental. Also block-based incremental.
    Running 3 backups in succession with only very minor changes to data in between reveals that the image size of the Windows backup does increase only slightly which bears out the incremental theory. What is odd though is that the backup takes just as long to run as a full first image i.e. around two minute. The WindowsImageBackup folder shows no change to its 'date modified' although subfolders within do reflect some changes.

    I'll continue using it for a few days (treating it that it is incremental) and see what happens.


    My older laptop with Macrium successfully created a set of differentials and was able to restore them OK. The adding of the WindowsPE to the Macrium boot menu was not intuitive. Four possible cryptic options were offered and it was only after creating a bootable USB drive that one of the options made sense... it had the words '32 bit' which corresponded to the W10 installation. They were not present before creating the bootable drive.

    What do I think of it ? Well its OK, and after coming from Acronis the interface wasn't to daunting. Ultimately, and if I'm honest, I'm just really liking the super clean interface of the Windows recovery environment. The initial Macrium image also took 35 minutes to complete (this is an old laptop with old original HDD) which seemed a little slower than the Windows utility, probably because of the compression ratio used, and of course that was reflected in the backup size of 12Gb vs 25Gb or so.
      My Computer

  6. Posts : 2,826
    Windows 10 Pro X64


    The adding of the WindowsPE to the Macrium boot menu was not intuitive. Four possible cryptic options were offered and it was only after creating a bootable USB drive that one of the options made sense... it had the words '32 bit' which corresponded to the W10 installation. They were not present before creating the bootable drive.
    That's odd. I find it very intuitive and never noticed any of what you're describing.

      My Computers

  7. Posts : 1,871
    W10 pro x64 20H2 Build 19042.610

    I very nearly posted a screen of that. I went to restore the image from within Windows and actually had to look up in the user manual how to do it. There was an example of what I should be seeing, a small window with the options, but crucially options that made sense. All I saw was a choice of 'none', and then four more options of something along the lines of WindowsPE3.0, WindowsPE5.0, WindowsPE8.0 and WindowsPE10.0. No clue as to what to use. Only after making the bootable media and trying again did one of the options then re-appear with the 32 bit wording.

    The use of an XML file to keep track of the backup details is very similar to earlier versions of Acronis, although Acronis hid theirs. It was always a problem after a restore because the file was then out of step with the OS and so it (Acronis) would often start to recreate 'ghost folders' of old backups and backup tasks.
      My Computer


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