Windows 10: Advice regarding dual system image backups via Windows 10 and Macrium? Solved

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  1. Posts : 172
    Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
       13 Jan 2017 #1

    Advice regarding dual system image backups via Windows 10 and Macrium?


    I want to make system image backups of my main hard drive, using both the built-in Windows Backup and Restore program (I have Windows 10 Professional) and Macrium Reflect Free. I want to use both, in case I would have trouble restoring from one or the other.

    I have both a Windows 10 disc (made using the Windows Media Creation Tool) and a Macrium WinPE bootable disc.

    First of all, I want to hook up a 1 TB external hard drive (technically an internal SATA drive in an external USB enclosure), and save my backups (from both Windows and Macrium) on it. When it's not in use (ie, being used to create or restore from a backup), I plan to turn the drive off using the power switch on the front of the enclosure. Is this feasible, or would it present problems?

    Secondly, must the image files (Windows and/or Macrium) stay on the same drive at all times, or is it possible to move them to another drive (or change the drive letter) and still be able to access them on the new drive or same re-lettered drive from bootable media in the event of the failure of my main hard drive?

    Thirdly, being new to all this, is there anything in particular that a first-time practitioner of system image backups such as myself needs to know?
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  2. Posts : 6,433
    10 Home x64 (1709) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       13 Jan 2017 #2

    Belt and braces eh? Well, you can never have enough backups

    I haven't used Macrium (yet) but by all accounts it is by far the more reliable of the two. I have used Backup and Restore's 'make a system image' extensively though.

    In my experience, problems with Microsoft's Backup and Restore are not usually in restoring the image, that seems to work reasonably reliably (as the system I'm using now can attest). Where it can be very temperamental is in being able to find and recognise the image you want to restore. Moving and/or renaming the image can sometimes (but not always) make it 'disappear' as far as searching for restorable images is concerned.

    The drive letter you give it In Windows should be of no concern though. When you boot to the recovery environment it assigns its own drive letters as it see fit.
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  3. Posts : 347
    Windows 10 Pro 1709 16299.309
       13 Jan 2017 #3

    To accomplish the OP's needs, he will have to partition that 1tb USB drive into 2 partitions, one will be used for the WiN backup, while the the other will be used for the Macrium backup. I'm pretty sure that you just can't run the WIN backup to a desired sub-directory ? while with Macrium you can place the images in any sub-directory.
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  4. Posts : 6,433
    10 Home x64 (1709) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       13 Jan 2017 #4

    storageman said: View Post
    I'm pretty sure that you just can't run the WIN backup to a desired sub-directory.
    No, you can't. It's hard-coded into Backup & Restore. It creates its own folder on the root of your chosen drive called WindowsImageBackup and a folder within that with the name of your PC to hold the image.

    Because it uses its own specific folder it shouldn't conflict with other backup methods, separate partitions would seem unnecessary. I certainly keep lots of other unrelated stuff on my backup drives without a problem.
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  5. Posts : 172
    Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    Thread Starter
       13 Jan 2017 #5

    Bree said: View Post
    No, you can't. It's hard-coded into Backup & Restore. It creates its own folder on the root of your chosen drive called WindowsImageBackup and a folder within that with the name of your PC to hold the image.

    Because it uses its own specific folder it shouldn't conflict with other backup methods, separate partitions would seem unnecessary. I certainly keep lots of other unrelated stuff on my backup drives without a problem.
    Can the WindowsImageBackup folder be safely moved to a different drive if need be?
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  6. Posts : 6,433
    10 Home x64 (1709) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       13 Jan 2017 #6

    hbenthow said: View Post
    Can the WindowsImageBackup folder be safely moved to a different drive if need be?
    It can, but as I said earlier, not always 'safely'. Sometimes (but not always) this will 'break' the recovery environment's ability to recognise the image you'd like to restore. I haven't yet been able to reliably determine what works and what doesn't, as I said - very temperamental. What does seem to work is copying it back to its original drive should the copy not be recognised.
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  7. Posts : 172
    Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    Thread Starter
       13 Jan 2017 #7

    Bree said: View Post
    It can, but as I said earlier, not always 'safely'. Sometimes (but not always) this will 'break' the recovery environment's ability to recognise the image you'd like to restore. I haven't yet been able to reliably determine what works and what doesn't, as I said - very temperamental. What does seem to work is copying it back to its original drive should the copy not be recognised.
    So, as long as I keep the files on the original drive (even if I remove that drive from the USB enclosure from time to time), I should be safe?

    Also, I should be able to use the same drive for both backup processes without making two partitions?
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  • Posts : 6,433
    10 Home x64 (1709) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       13 Jan 2017 #8

    hbenthow said: View Post
    So, as long as I keep the files on the original drive (even if I remove that drive from the USB enclosure from time to time), I should be safe?
    Yes, that seems to work reliably for me. Make sure you always eject the USB before powering it down and removing it.

    Note that if you want to make a second image it will replace the first. One way to keep multiple images is to rename the first WindowsImageBackup, perhaps using its date as an extension. A new WindowsImageBackup will be created for saving the next image. To restore a particular image, temporarily rename its folder back to WindowsImageBackup.

    If all this sounds like a lot of hard work - it is. Macrium is far more flexible and reliable, so I'm told by others in this forum.
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  • Posts : 172
    Microsoft Windows 10 Pro 64-bit
    Thread Starter
       13 Jan 2017 #9

    Bree said: View Post
    If all this sounds like a lot of hard work - it is. Macrium is far more flexible and reliable.
    I didn't know that. I thought that multiple Windows backups could be stored in the WindowsImageBackup folder.

    I suppose it might be best for me to keep Macrium as my main backup method, and create the Windows backups as my "just in case option". That way, I would just let Windows replace its backups each time (without bothering to rename the folder), but keep multiple Macrium backup images (only deleting them if I need to clear space or am certain that I would not want to revert to a certain backup).

    Does that sound like a good plan to you?
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  • Posts : 6,433
    10 Home x64 (1709) (10 Pro on 2nd pc)
       13 Jan 2017 #10

    hbenthow said: View Post
    I thought that multiple Windows backups could be stored in the WindowsImageBackup folder.

    I see. I suppose it might be best for me to keep Macrium as my main backup method, and create the Windows backups as my "just in case option". That way, I would just let Windows replace its backups each time (without bothering to rename the folder), but keep multiple Macrium backups (only deleting them if I need to clear space or am certain that I would not want to revert to a certain backup).

    Does that sound like a good plan to you?
    Yes, sounds good to me.

    Backup & Restore says it can keep multiple images, but it also says it may remove old images should it need the space. There's no user control over this, it just does its own thing - and for me that usually results in it only keeping the latest image. It will always keep images for different PCs in separate sub-folders, but that's not what you are talking about here.
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