? How to - Create Image backup on Ext Drive, pls

  AroundAgain 19:33 10 Sep 2011


I have, very recently, bought myself an External Drive, for backup. I'm able to copy files/docs across but I haven't a clue as to how to create an image backup of OS and installed programs etc.

Having just read the post re (Teamviewer) scams, I realise I'm now in a position to have this backup, and how vital it is!

So, please, in 'simple' language, could you explain.

I'm using Win XP but have Vista on my laptop - would like to do both machines.

Thanks very much

  Nontek 19:37 10 Sep 2011

The best way by far, is to use Acronis True Image. Worth every penny, though there are free alternatives I believe.

  Nontek 19:38 10 Sep 2011
  john bunyan 20:32 10 Sep 2011

Not sure if your main HD is partitioned. I agree with Nontek re ATI, but I would partition your external HD into one for system stuff - Acronis makes Images, and you would name the two PC's images differently. For the other partition, I would consider getting a free file synching programme ont your PC's such Freefilesynch or SyncToy where you can regularly update .You can set them to just update changed files and keep mirror copies of your own generated data("My Documents"etc) I find this can be run far more quickly and regularly than ATI which takes quite a time to make an image and verfy it,

  robin_x 20:34 10 Sep 2011

I use Macrium Reflect Free mostly. Easy and fast (1GB/min to USB2 HDD. Max compression)

I have 50GBs worth of image and while it doesn't do incremental images, I don't mind. I make an image every 1-5 days.

Can still work while it is running.

EASEUS Todo Backup and Paragon Backup and Recovery Free are quite good. I used to use EASEUS all the time but went off it. Ran it last week to get an elternate image. It took nearly 4 hrs instead of 50 mins!

Paragon does incrementals but I still found them slow.

Each app allows you to make a boot disk which you must do.

All allow mounting of images.

  AroundAgain 22:40 10 Sep 2011

Oh, thanks to all you guys. You have given me lots to think about and I really appreciate the info.

Thanks for suggesting partitioning - that'll be a new experience too!!!

Naively, I had assumed it would be like a-b-c so, here goes the learning curve! ;)

I'll work out what I'm going to do and will post back if/when I have any further questions.

I'll 'tick' the box once I have 'thought' ...

Thanks again Cheers

  stlucia2 07:54 11 Sep 2011

I'm not clear about the terminology myself, but I'm not sure the OP has got everything he wanted -- he mentioned an "image" of his OS, which implies to me something different from a "backup". I make regular backups to an external drive using Acronis, but if I lose any of my programs, or my operating system, (as opposed to data) I believe they can't be simply restored from the backup; they have to be reinstalled from the original installation disks.

I see that Acronis has an option to "clone" a disk too. I've never used it, but isn't that the only way to "restore" programs and operating system?

  100andthirty 08:11 11 Sep 2011

Cloning a disk is especially useful if you have a disc with a restore partition. I have used this feature on several occasions when I've run out of space and needed a bigger drive. this also gives me a complete back up which I know will work on the computer, so can be used if, say it goes for repair. I can be safe in the knowledge that my latest disc is safe at home!

  Nontek 08:33 11 Sep 2011

stlucia2 You have not got the idea either - Making a full backup using Acronis is specifically intended to allow one to Restore the full backup, so that your complete System/settings/programs/personal data etc etc is returned to the hard drive exactly as it all was when the Full Backup was created.

Cloning is for copying EVERYTHING on a hard-drive to another, usually larger capacity hard-drive, as is the case when one simply wants to upgrade the PC by fitting a larger hard-drive.

  stlucia2 12:00 11 Sep 2011

"Making a full backup using Acronis is specifically intended to allow one to Restore the full backup, so that your complete System/settings/programs/personal data etc etc is returned to the hard drive exactly as it all was when the Full Backup was created. ..."

So, if I make an Acronis "Backup" of my C:\ drive onto an external drive, then uninstall several programs from my C:\ drive (or if they stop working for some reason), will they work again if I simply "Restore" them from my Acronis backup? I thought that simply restoring them from a backup won't allow them to run because registry settings, or something like that, will have been lost.

But would I be right in thinking that an Acronis "Clone disk" can be restored onto a formatted C:\ drive, and everything, including Windows, will work as it did before the drive was formatted?

  robin_x 12:45 11 Sep 2011

I don't know if Acronis makes "Full" or "Complete" backups but these are sloppy terms.

At best you make "Image Backups" or just "Images".

An image is everything on the selected partitions compressed into one very big file (10s of GBs). The file can then be saved anywhere, but usually on an ext drive.

You can 'Mount' the file to pick at individual files and folders within it, but usually the whole lot is restored. ie if you made one last week, you will return your computer to as it was last week.

It is not usual to try to recover uninstalled programs by mounting and copying them back. You won't find all the files and registry entries. Just restore the complete Image.

Clones do not get restored. A clone exists on another physical drive, and is not 'one big file'. It is all your files, exactly as you see them on your main drive.

A cloned drive is used by unplugging your main drive and swapping them over.

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