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  1. #1
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    Backing up my computer using Windows 7 seems to take an age; yesterday I started it at 9am, and still had to leave it running overnight to get it done.

    My ‘My Documents’ folder is less than 60GB, ‘My Pictures’ less than 10GB, and ‘My Music’ about 32GB. Outlook folders add roughly another 5GB. I have a new gaming PC and a new external hard drive, so I don’t think the hardware is to blame.

    Two other aspects of Windows 7 backup I don’t like are 1) it does not overwrite the previous backup, but saves each one, and 2) it saves everything is such a way that you cannot look at individual files and folders on the backed up copy.

    A lot of my files are downloaded material (pdfs etc) that will not change from one backup to the next, but which I need to have easily hand. A rather small proportion are files I have generated or revised myself (articles etc – I am a writer) which will change between backups.

    What I would like is a backup system that 1) over-writes previous backups, 2) skips files which already exist on the backup disc and have not been revised, 3) backs up files which have been revised since the last backup and overwrites the previous version on the backup disc, 4) (ideally) replicates the filing system I have created on my main machine and lets me view it on the backup drive, and 5) doesn’t take all night about it.

    I don’t think I can get all this out of Windows 7 – or have I missed something? Alternatively, can anyone recommend a programme that delivers all this at reasonable cost?

  2. #2
    Super Moderator CLiNT's Avatar
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    My ‘My Documents’ folder is less than 60GB, ‘My Pictures’ less than 10GB, and ‘My Music’ about 32GB. Outlook folders add roughly another 5GB. I have a new gaming PC and a new external hard drive, so I don’t think the hardware is to blame.
    Consider moving the bulk of your personal data off the primary drive and you will not have so much data to have to image in the first place.

    A separate internal drive or partition would be the ideal for this sort of thing.
    The "My Documents" folder can easily be moved to another partition/drive, from within it's properties dialog box.
    An email client's store folder can be directed to another location.
    Music and picures can be stored on another internal drive or partition and short cut'd to your desktop.

    Windows 7 Backup and Restore is a simple form of backup and image. It will not alow for incremental backups.
    For this you will need a third party program like Acronis True image, as one popular example: [SEE TED MYERS THREAD]


    It should not take more than 20 min to backup a properly organized primary drive.
    DRIVE IMAGING
    Invest a little time and energy in a well thought out BACKUP regimen and you will have minimal down time, and headache.

    Build your own system; get everything you want and nothing you don't.
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  3. #3
    2 Star Lounger
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    and going with internal or external drive (usb) you can use the system image feature of Win 7 that works real nice.
    Click Start down in Search box enter sdclt and press Enter. You can go to dvd but takes quite a few, if there is an external or internal it will choose there. Just go back and redo every once in awhile

  4. #4
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    System images are best made only periodically or just before and then just after major changes (provided everything goes ok during the changes) and then day to day data backups are best handled by sycronization/incremental backup programs like Goodsync, Syncback, SyncToy, etc. The second part is set it and forget it, usually only takes seconds to a few minutes a day, and only requires you to check the backup logs every few days to make sure its being backed up automatically.

    People who make system image backups as the only form of backup have a lot of time and processor to spare.

  5. #5
    5 Star Lounger
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    Some of your issues with backup remind me of why I use a file/directory synchronization program instead of a backup utility. Only the new/changed files get copied over, and I can see and access individual files on my backup media. In addition, I don't have to worry about accessing my files 10 years down the line (hey, I have some music, video and photos I will definitely want to access then) when MS has changed the backup program to use a completely different format and it will no longer open the old backups (this had to bite me twice before I gave up on backup programs).

  6. #6
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clint Rossmere View Post
    Consider moving the bulk of your personal data off the primary drive and you will not have so much data to have to image in the first place.

    A separate internal drive or partition would be the ideal for this sort of thing.
    The "My Documents" folder can easily be moved to another partition/drive, from within it's properties dialog box.
    An email client's store folder can be directed to another location.
    Music and picures can be stored on another internal drive or partition and short cut'd to your desktop.

    Windows 7 Backup and Restore is a simple form of backup and image. It will not alow for incremental backups.
    For this you will need a third party program like Acronis True image, as one popular example: [SEE TED MYERS THREAD]


    It should not take more than 20 min to backup a properly organized primary drive.

    Clint gives excellent advice here. Move your data to another partition. This allows your image to cover just the OS and apps you have installed. Much smaller and quicker. To image my "C" drive (OS and apps) takes about 15 minutes including a validation. To restore takes about half that time. As Clint mentioned I do use Acronis for this task. I re-image whenever a major change takes place, or once per month. I find this keeps my images up to date.

    To move your data, follow the process shown by PC World. It takes just a short time and even if you have to restore your OS, you do not have to touch the data.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


    Sony Vaio Laptop, 2.53 GHz Duo Core Intel CPU, 8 GB RAM, 320 GB HD
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  7. #7
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    I store my data to 2nd drive and when I reach milestone I plug in external usb password protected and robocopy my D to it.
    Code:
    robocopy D:\ %~dp0 /MIR /R:1 /W:1 /MT16 /XD $RECYCLE.BIN /XD bootwiz /XD "System Volume Information"
    exact mirror and I totally control it. Not in some weird file can't open

    System image does work for a system restore and can be reached from tapping F8 during bios and select Repair My Computer. I have been experimenting with it just for knowledge and to see if it works. I can recommend to my family/friends and I don't have to explain confusing programs to them. I do that so they have an out when they call for help. If you have a second drive definitely worth having. The backup folder is quite big 14.9Gb unlike acronis images

  8. #8
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    Thanks Peter Johnson. That sounds like what I need. Can you recommend a file/directory synchronization program?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Johnson2191 View Post
    Some of your issues with backup remind me of why I use a file/directory synchronization program instead of a backup utility. Only the new/changed files get copied over, and I can see and access individual files on my backup media. In addition, I don't have to worry about accessing my files 10 years down the line (hey, I have some music, video and photos I will definitely want to access then) when MS has changed the backup program to use a completely different format and it will no longer open the old backups (this had to bite me twice before I gave up on backup programs).
    Peter - this sounds like what I need. Any particular programme you can recommend?

    David

  10. #10
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    Yes, there's....um...wait a minute...it was on the tip of my brain....um....oh yes! There they are in post #4!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Tarbox View Post
    Yes, there's....um...wait a minute...it was on the tip of my brain....um....oh yes! There they are in post #4!
    Doh!

    Thanks Byron

  12. #12
    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Byron Tarbox View Post
    System images are best made only periodically or just before and then just after major changes (provided everything goes ok during the changes) and then day to day data backups are best handled by sycronization/incremental backup programs like Goodsync, Syncback, SyncToy, etc. The second part is set it and forget it, usually only takes seconds to a few minutes a day, and only requires you to check the backup logs every few days to make sure its being backed up automatically.

    People who make system image backups as the only form of backup have a lot of time and processor to spare.
    If half an hour once per month or whenever a major change takes place, then I guess I'm guilty of making too many images. Many of us use our PCs for personal use only now, probably more of us than those who make their primary living with their PCs. I do back up my data (music, pictures, personal financial data) on 3 separate PCs. This does not happen each day as there are often no changes each day. For those of us who use our systems in this manner, and for those of us that are constantly "playing with our OS" and causing failures, then a good up to date image can get us back up and running in about 10 minutes. Whenever I do create an image, I image all 3 partitions, which takes less than 1/2 hour. This includes a total cleanup before imaging to get rid of all the temporary fluff that has accumulated and a defrag prior to the image creation. I use Acronis which allows me to choose which partition to restore, even though each image includes all 3 partitions on my HD. If this is overkill then so be it. I have lost count on how often my up to date images have saved me huge amounts of time in restoring things.

    Many of us are constantly adding new pieces of S/W to try, then elliminating the S/W that does not work well. We either manually uninstall this S/W with a good uninstaller or revert to an image made prior to the installation. I guess the whole point of this rant is that I believe that people who image regularly save themselves a lot of time, especially those of us that do "Play with our systems".
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
    Have a Great Day! Ted


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    Complete PC Specs: By Speccy

  13. #13
    3 Star Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by devo View Post
    Doh!

    Thanks Byron
    Another program that has been highly recommended is the FREE Karen's Replicator

  14. #14
    5 Star Lounger
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    I am really guilty of making too many images. (every night at 11:45pm right on the set schedule). The processor seems to be quite idle at that time and I wouldn't want it to get lazy........I am usually either sleeping, working on someone's broken machine or posting here on the lounge and don't even notice it happening. The 1TB drive that the image goes too will hold about 30 images so storage is not a big problem.

    I check the logs and the files themselves about once a week (takes about 5 minutes).

  15. #15
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    My systems' median is somewhere between two and 4 terabytes of usable storage at about 45-70% utilization. I don't think imaging about 15 terabytes a month is a practical task for my little troopers though if I felt compelled in any way, I suppose I could dedicate one system to do nothing but, and then keep rotating out the drives it would require for such activity. Inbetween there is a happy middle ground for most users.

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