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  1.    17 Dec 2016 #1
    Join Date : Sep 2015
    Posts : 67
    Win 10

    Painless Windows 10 Backup Solution?


    Doing a search on Win 10 backup and I get tons of different programs suggested, paid and free. Then each has this option and that option, which makes my head hurt.

    All I want to do is to recover my COMPLETE computer system in the event of something going wonky.

    Issues (or non-issue?) that I must address.
    drive.
    1. My system boots to a SSD drive. This is my C: and D: drives.

    I also have 2 regular hard drives for E and F.

    But when I booted up using the Recovery Disk to try and fix a problem I had earlier, and I ran CMD, my drive letters were all different. My boot C: became F:, for example.

    So my concern is that if I get a backup app and make an image of my C: (and also D, E, F), and then at some future date I need to insert my RESTORE disk for that app and have it restore my C, D, E, F images, will it work in spite of how these drive letters appear to be different when booted into Windows and booted in by CD?

    And what would be the recommended backup app for Windows 10?

    TIA
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  2.    17 Dec 2016 #2
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 9,409
    Windows 10 Pro

    Yes and Macrium Reflect Free (in that order):
    Macrium Reflect Free
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  3.    17 Dec 2016 #3
    Join Date : Aug 2016
    S/E England
    Posts : 4,520
    10 Home x64 (1709) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)

    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
    Yes...
    That could be expanded upon a little....
    Restore doesn't use the drive letters, it uses disk number and partition number to put everything in it's right place.
      My ComputersSystem Spec
  4.    17 Dec 2016 #4
    Join Date : Aug 2014
    Auckland
    Posts : 74
    Windows 10 Pro X64

    I use Acronis True Image. It's simple and easy to use.
    As far as I know there is no free version, but Seagate Disk Wizard, which I think is free, uses a subset of True Image as its backup/restore feature.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  5.    18 Dec 2016 #5
    Join Date : Sep 2015
    Posts : 67
    Win 10
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by Bree View Post
    That could be expanded upon a little....
    Restore doesn't use the drive letters, it uses disk number and partition number to put everything in it's right place.
    Great! That's a relief. Thanks.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  6.    18 Dec 2016 #6
    Join Date : Sep 2015
    Posts : 67
    Win 10
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
    Yes and Macrium Reflect Free (in that order):
    Macrium Reflect Free
    Is part of this reply messing?
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  7.    18 Dec 2016 #7
    Join Date : Sep 2015
    Posts : 67
    Win 10
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by Hairy Scot View Post
    I use Acronis True Image. It's simple and easy to use.
    As far as I know there is no free version, but Seagate Disk Wizard, which I think is free, uses a subset of True Image as its backup/restore feature.
    Have you ever had a situation where you needed to restore your drives and used Acronis to save the day?

    I purchased Acronis for years in previous Windows versions but fortunately never had an emergency. I always was concerned it would not work right when I really needed it.

    I have not upgraded since going to Win 10.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  8.    18 Dec 2016 #8
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 9,409
    Windows 10 Pro

    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
    Yes and Macrium Reflect Free (in that order):
    Macrium Reflect Free

    Quote Originally Posted by riqrat View Post
    Is part of this reply messing?
    Nothing is missing, you asked two questions, I provided two answers:

    Quote Originally Posted by riqrat View Post
    will it work in spite of how these drive letters appear to be different when booted into Windows and booted in by CD?
    Answer: Yes. It will work. When you restore a partition with an OS in it and boot into that OS, it gets C: drive. The OS then assigns drive letters to the remaining partitions and drives it finds - which you can change in disk management if you want to.

    Quote Originally Posted by riqrat View Post
    And what would be the recommended backup app for Windows 10?
    Answer: Macrium Reflect Free (or upgrade to paid version if you want to)
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  9.    18 Dec 2016 #9
    Join Date : Sep 2015
    Posts : 67
    Win 10
    Thread Starter

    Quote Originally Posted by NavyLCDR View Post
    Nothing is missing, you asked two questions, I provided two answers:



    Answer: Yes. It will work. When you restore a partition with an OS in it and boot into that OS, it gets C: drive. The OS then assigns drive letters to the remaining partitions and drives it finds - which you can change in disk management if you want to.



    Answer: Macrium Reflect Free (or upgrade to paid version if you want to)
    Thanks for elaborating. Now I get it!

    Is this the common way to restore, to first install the OS (ie Win 10) and then set the drive letters, install the backup software, restore the data?

    What if I want the system to be restored back to EXACTLY the way it was? What would be the solution for doing this that INCLUDES reinstalling the OS and the exact settings (registry, everything)?

    1. Oh no, my system doesn't boot, has BSOD, has electronic pneumonia!

    2. Stick in a CD, boot into CD, run SomethingMagical and viola! Computer back to exactly how it was before EVEN if I swapped out the faulty hard drive.

    Or would this NOT be the way to go because...what if the MB had to be changed out? That would mean different drivers, etc.

    As long as I've been using computers and working on them (since 1976), I'm still grappling with the 'backup' method that is BEST for persons (like myself) that cannot afford any down time of the system due to its use in home business.

    Thanks.
      My ComputerSystem Spec
  10.    18 Dec 2016 #10
    Join Date : Jul 2015
    Posts : 9,409
    Windows 10 Pro

    The answers to your questions depends largely upon which program you are using to make backups and what type of backup is created. So, let's go with Macrium Reflect Free. You will install Macrium Reflect Free on your currently operating OS and run it. One type of backup that you can create is an image of the entire contents of the physical drives installed in your computer. Each physical drive will have 1 or more partitions - and it may have different partitions that perform different functions.

    The typical Windows 10 installation on a newer UEFI computer will have 4 partitions. The EFI System partition is where the UEFI firmware loads the boot files from which then, in turn, will load the OS from the main partition containing the operating system. Microsoft got it backwards (IMHO) and called the partition containing the OS the "boot" partition when that OS is loaded. There will also be a small Microsoft System Reserved (MSR) partition which is basically just empty space reserved for future use. The final partition will be the recovery partition which contains the recovery environment used to attempt to fix Windows if something happens to the OS.

    The standard image created by Macrium Reflect Free will contain all those partitions wrapped up into one file. Macrium Reflect Free also stores only the used space of each partition and it will compress the data, so you need a storage location to save the image file, such as a USB external hard drive, which has a capacity of at least about 80% of the total of the used space in all the partitions on the physical drive. So, you create the image backup of the physical drive and you end up with one big file that contains all the different partitions that were on that drive. When one or more of these partitions are restored after some sort of failure - everything in that partition gets restored exactly the way it was when the image was created. All the boot settings will be restored in EFI System partition if it is restored. All the user accounts, drive letter assignments, settings, etc., will be restored with the Windows partition if that is the partition that is restored.

    When you run Macrium Reflect Free you will get a choice to create a rescue disk. The rescue disk can be either a CD/DVD or a USB flash drive. In most cases, you will boot the computer from the rescue disk to do a restore. When you do the restore, you can pick which partitions you want to restore, you can restore the entire physical drive, and you can even resize the partitions if you want to move up to a larger hard drive - or move to an SSD that is smaller than the original hard drive.

    So let's say you created a separate partition to hold your data - movies, music, documents, photos, etc. Your Windows is on drive C:. Your data is on a separate partition on the same physical drive and you give it drive letter E:. You create a backup image of the entire physical drive.

    1. You get a Windows update that results in a BSOD when you try to boot Windows. Probably only the Windows OS partition was affected. You can boot from the rescue disk, call up the image you created, and restore only the Windows OS partition over the top of the old Windows partition. Your Windows will now load to the exact same state it was when the image was created - but all your other partitions will stay the same - all your movies, music, photos, etc. on the E: drive partition will be totally unaffected.

    2. Your hard drive fails. You replace the failed hard drive, boot the computer from the rescue disk, and restore the entire physical drive. You can resize the Windows partition or your data partition if you want/need to fit the new HDD if it isn't the same size. After the restore, everything will be on the new hard drive just like it was on the old hard drive when the image was created, except for maybe the sizes of the partitions.

    3. You want to upgrade your computer replacing the motherboard, processor, and an SSD instead of the HDD. You put it all together, boot from the rescue disk, restore the entire image to the new drive. Everything basically just like example 2 above. But this time when Windows 10 boots it will detect the motherboard change and it will, hopefully, load all the drivers for the new hardware. It will deactivate itself because of the motherboard change. If you have a retail product key for Windows 10, you can re-activate it with that. There is also an activation troubleshooter that you can run to pull the digital license for Windows 10 from your Microsoft account and transfer it to the new computer. Once you get Windows 10 re-activated, everything will be just exactly like it was on the old computer - except with the new hardware drivers running.

    4. You want to delete a document file, but you have the Documents folder highlighted by mistake and delete all the files in it. In this case you don't need to boot from the rescue disk. You can just run the installed Macrium Refelct Free - browse the image file you created, first select the partition the folder was in, then navigate to the deleted folder, and you can restore just that folder (or individual files) to wherever you want to copy them to on your operating system.

    The basic answer to your questions, though, is that all of your settings, user accounts, and drive letter assignments are stored within the OS partition and when you restore the OS partition you get all of them back.
      My ComputerSystem Spec

 
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