OP back here. Before I head off to the store to get an external drive and a flash drive just making sure one more time about this. I re-read through this entire post and think I now understand that I will be using Reflect Free and will be creating an image and not a clone. I will be saving this image in case I have a hard drive failure at which time I can restore from this saved image to a new hard drive. I know i probably sound like an idiot making a simple thing hard but I have never done this so I think it is finally sinking in. Thanks for the help and the patience to help novices.
So off I go. I am going to get a 1TB external drive and probably a 16GB USB flash drive which I think will be plenty for the recovery media. Thanks again.
I was at Best Buy and saw that the USB 2.0 flash drives were way cheaper than the 3.0. Since this would just be for a recovery media is 2.0 okay? Doesn't seem like speed would be the issue at that point anyways.
Also, the external hard drives (Western Digital for example) come loaded with their software that I will not be using. Should I format the drive to wipe this out or just ignore it?
Last edited by reelme; 31 Jan 2017 at 23:56. Reason: added info
reelme USB 2.0 flash drive for Rescue media is just fine. Will boot fine, and probably with less chance of error. You're booting from the BIOS, so any speed advantage in a USB 3.0 would be ignored anyway. The bundled software is almost always the manufacturers backup software they want you to use. It's basically worthless. Copy it off somewhere if you want to keep it, then delete it from the ext drive. No need to format the drive, it should already be NTFS.
One more question about the flash drive. I thought I could just use a flash drive as purchased but I saw this on the Macrium site:
Preparing a USB stick for Windows PE - KnowledgeBase - Macrium Reflect Knowledgebase
It goes through all kinds of complex steps just to be able to use the flash drive. What gives?
If you are going to let Macrium Reflect create a rescue flash drive for you then you don't have to prepare it in any way. Macrium Reflect will handle all of that.
If you are going to create your own bootable USB flash drive from an ISO file, then yes you do have to prepare it, but it is an easy process that takes about 2 minutes max to do (except for copying over the files from the mounted ISO file).
That's good to know. The part that caught my eye in that link was this: "Windows requires a Master Boot Record (MBR) however some USB sticks are shipped without one and with just a single partition" That's why I thought I needed some particular flash drive.