Which backup and restore methods include installed Programs?

  1. Stevekir's Avatar
    Posts : 305
    Windows 10 Home 64 bit (with Creators OS)
       01 Aug 2016 #1

    Which backup and restore methods include installed Programs?

    I am preparing a comprehensive set of tasks which need to be performed to make and use various restore media, for myself and others using this computer.

    I need info on exactly which methods include the backup and restore of programs/applications which have been downloaded from the Internet or from software makers (eg., Adobe, Macrium) and previously installed on the C drive. I have found it impossible to get clear info on this, although I have studied the Macrium Manual. To make your answer easier I have made the following table:

    WBU&R = Windows Backup and Restore routine
    Mcr = Macrium
    MCT = Microsoft's Media Creatiion Tool

    Recovery Drive (WBU&R) 1
    System Image (WBU&R) 2
    System Image (Mcr) 3
    System Repair Disc (WBU&R) 4
    A clean install of Windows (MCT) 5
    Macrium Rescue Media 6

    The simplest way for you to answer is like this (for example):

    1,3,5 Yes
    2 No
    6 Don't know

    Include advice on which method to use if you would like, but this post is looking for FACTS.

    In principle, a System Image (for example), which is said to be a byte-by-byte faithful copy (like an office photocopier) of that part of the C: drive which does not contain personal files (Documents, Pictures etc.). But I simply cannot find anywhere an authoritative answer even to whether all System Images include programs/applications (Microsoft's help files are unclear) let alone the other restore media I list).

    Please note: All my personal files (Docs, Pictures atc.are backed up separately by FreeFileSync.

    Thanks for any help.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  2. Kari's Avatar
    Posts : 15,382
    Windows 10 Pro
       01 Aug 2016 #2

    OK, as you asked: 2 and 3 YES, rest NO.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

  3.    01 Aug 2016 #3

    Hi, the concept of a system image is to include those partitions which are necessary to restore Windows functionality.
    Whether programs are included in this partition set depends on how the user has chosen to keep everything related to those programs on C:. This is not necessarily the case, thus there is no one simple answer to your question.

    However, the selected partitions are image in their entirety.

    Thus Macrium can 'Back up Windows' which for a UEFI installation means not just the C: partition, but the other partitions created when Windows was installed.

    Now in my case, I choose to install programs on D:. The above option does not include D:, although it happens to be on the same physical SSD as C:, the Windows Recovery, EFI and another small partition related to using an SSD.

    Thus in my case, the 'System Image' (= Backup Windows option) does NOT include my installed programs, 'cos the program folders are not in the set included in the partitions selected by choosing to 'Back up Windows'.

    Had I installed my programs on C:, they would have been.

    Another factor here is that Windows includes the option of relocating user folders. Many programs create user folders in 'Documents' and other such folders.

    Consider the case where these folders are relocated to, say, E:

    Here again is an aspect where something related to the programs may not be included in a 'system image'.

    Example: Macrium Reflect - partitions selected on my SSD (UEFI based) when I choose 'Back up Windows' (= System Image)
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Note D: (installed program folders) is not selected.
      My ComputersSystem Spec

  4.    01 Aug 2016 #4

    I know what you mean about trying to determine exact details in many cases; plus to me there is an issue of information overload that can be daunting to sort through.

    Unfortunately I don't believe there isn't a simple answer Yes, No or some numbers.

    I have used MRF for Win7 and now Win10: I've used their system image restore only once and all my applications and everything else were ok. Never had a problem with my family or friends computers. Always keep up with their latest version including the Recovery Media.

    I've also used Win7 & Win10 built in system image backup for those who wanted to do it that way. No problems on recovery a system image backup there either. Ensure to have a system repair disc.

    On Win10 it's always in flux right now: try to keep up-to-date as new versions of Win10 continue.
    It's a good idea to Create a USB Recovery drive and include system files with it as well as Win10 ISO's

    It's good that you keep data backups; that's for sure.

    In my experience not many people are willing to do even half of what you want to do.

    For programs/applications that you are concerned about, let us know what they are.

    Experts have provided excellent information & technical details of what to do.
      My ComputersSystem Spec


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