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  1. #1
    Star Lounger
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    When I got Windows 7, I saw that Microsoft had provided a backup utility, so I decided to use it.

    It seemed to be working fine. I have an external hard disk, so I put an image of my system on the external disk. I saw that I could schedule regular backups, so against my better judgment I decided to have a regular weekly backup. (The whole point of using an external hard disk for backup is not to have it connected to your system most of the time. That means remembering to connect it for the regular backup each week.)

    For the first two weeks, I remembered to reconnect, and everything was OK. I could see that the image had been updated on the external disk. Then, of course, I forgot to connect it in time for the next backup. A little warning showed up the next day in the Win 7 "Action Center." I figured OK, I'll do the backup manually. So I started the backup (Action Center said "Backup in Progress") and I went ro have a snack, Half an hour later it was still "Backup in Progress" and also an hour and two hours later. Since the backup is supposed to be incremental, it should only take a few minutes (the previous backups took that amount of time) and I began to suspect that something was wrong. I couldn't get any information or details on backup progress, just the announcement "Backup in Progress."

    So I tried to close everything connected with backup (clicking on "X" didn't do it, so I used Task Manager), which seemed to work, except that I got the announcement "Backup Canceled" or something like that permanently on screen. So I decided to shut down the PC, but Windows wouldn't allow it, saying Windows Explorer was still running. I tried shutting it off again, and I got a screen which asked me, among other things, if I wanted to log off. I figured if that's my choice, OK and I logged off. Then I got a screen which said "Logging Off" which stayed that way for at least a half hour, and I decided that Windows wasn't serious about logging off, and I would have to let the physical world take over. I pushed the start button on my PC for a few seconds and the damned thing shut down.

    After I had used my PC for more productive purposes for a few days, I decided to try backing up again. The above scenario repeated itself almost exactly.

    Now I can't try seeing what;s wrong with MS Backup without hanging up Windows. I want to point out that my external hard disk works fine - I can read and write to it quite well. It's just that MS Backup can't.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how I can fix this? Never had these problems when I used XP..

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Hi Alex,

    First, I would remove Windows Backup from automatic scheduling for the time being. Next click the Start orb and type services in the search field, and press enter. Check to see that Windows Backup and Volume Shadow Services are set to Automatic and are started.
    Try another manual backup. If MS Backup hangs again, and you cannot reboot, try using Task Manager to shut down the explorer.exe process. Then press Alt F4 to see if the shutdown dialog box appears so you can shut Windows down.

    Once you boot back into Windows, check for a System Restore point that was created before the first manual backup that went sour. This may correct any corruption in Windows Backup or in the registry resulting from the original problem. Be aware that anything you have installed since that restore point will be lost, and will need to be reinstalled. Let us know how it goes for you.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  3. #3
    Star Lounger
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    Gerald, Hello, and thanks for the advice.
    I did remove the automatic scheduling from backup as soon as my PC hung up for the second time.

    I looked at Windows Backup and Volume Shadow Services, and both were set to manual and stopped, I haven't changed them yet, because I'd like to know what they mean, and why they were set to manual and stopped. Did missing a scheduled backup cause this? In that case, scheduling backups (at least in the way I use them) would be a bad idea.

    I'm not going to try system restore yet, because I installed a trial version off Office 2010 shortly after my last successful backup, and I really don't want to lose it until I decide definitely whether it's worthwhile buying or not,

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Alex, I believe both services by default are set to Manual and do not start unless one executes Windows Backup, or another backup program.. Manual is the mode that only kicks in when a service is called for. The problem with Manual when you are using Windows Backup on a recurring basis is that it may not start properly on every occasion. For that reason it is best to set the two services to Automatic so they will be running when needed. On my laptop, both services are set to Manual, but I never use Windows Backup, nor do I have any backup program set on an automatic schedule.

    I mostly use Macrium Reflect Free Edition to do image backups. Recently I purchased Acronis True Image 2010 because it was at a special price. I like Acronis, but I am only licensed to use it on one PC. I need at least two other copies, so I opted for Macrium Reflect Free to overcome the license limitation. I have used Macrium to restore an image backup to a laptop, and it worked very well.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  5. #5
    Star Lounger
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    Gerald, thanks again for the good advice, but I'm a bit embarrassed to say that I found the true source of the problem.

    When I said earlier that I had no problems reading/writing to my external hard disk, it was because I tried copying a couple of 1 MB files, and it went off without a hitch. But today, before attempting backup again, I decided to try and copy a 2 GB folder. The copy window said it was copying at 217 Kbps, not a very satisfactory number for a USB 2 connection. So I started jiggling the USB cables between the external disc and the PC (I use a USB extension cable to get extra length). Sure enough, the USB connector on the external disc cable was bad - it didn't make a tight connection with the USB extension cable. Luckily, I had a spare cable around, and backup worked without problems.

    Sorry if I took up your time trying to solve the wrong problem.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting back with your solution Alex. And it was not time wasted. It illustrates once again that when confronted with computer problems, it is always best to check the simplest things first, and then work our way on to the more complex. Sometimes we lose sight of that principle.

    Anyway, have a great day and enjoy your PC!
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  7. #7
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Sometimes hardware is the easiest thing to check. Very strange symptoms that suddenly appear are quite often hardware related. Glad your problem is fixed.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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