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  1. #1
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    Start 2016 right with a clean Windows PC




    TOP STORY

    Start 2016 right with a clean Windows PC


    By Fred Langa

    The old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure was never so true as when applied to computing. It's time for our annual PC checkup. Taking an hour or so now to run through the following steps could save you many hours or even days of troubleshooting down the road.

    The full text of this column is posted at windowssecrets.com/top-story/start-2016-right-with-a-clean-windows-pc (paid content, opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

  2. #2
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    Trying to reply to thread on the Backup article - but I keep ending up here!

    So -
    Please DON'T recommend File History - it is a seriously flawed facility!

    The backup files that are created are held in an unprotected folder on the designated partition (on a different drive to your OS/data partition)
    Those files can be managed using File Explorer - renamed, deleted, or even changed accessed using the associated (or just appropriate) apps for their file-type.

    The backup process will stop, and need manually restarting if the destination partition is not available for a time.
    (As in while you have the external drive detached so you can use your USB interface to take a proper backup). - there is not a warning on the taskbar that it has stopped - or even one indicating it is running.

    The filenames in the backup store are the partition letter, full folder and filename of the source file
    PLUS the "File History" store folder and a 26 character date-timestamp, which appears to be good..
    And the file is held in a folder structure that allows for multiple users, from multiple partitions in PC's to be held in that partition
    Even- better!!

    BUT
    As the fullname of the backup file includes the partition it is on, the base folder "File History" and your ID, and your PC's name (see the 'DOS' command SET) and the subfolder indication "\Data\" –
    That's at least another 30, or if you used a normal person's name, for user and your PC setup, maybe 80 additional characters to add to the folder name of the source files full name.

    BUT
    The "File History" facility doesn't use the filename API that handles 32K long names, it uses the one with the 255 character full-name limit, so files that have a backup name in excess of 255 characters will not be saved -
    Note that is the source name + 26 for the timestamp + 30~>80 for the user etc. which means that -
    EVEN when the facility is working, don't expect any files with full-names over 195 characters, to be saved
    (well if you are considering those in your documents folder - that would probably be 45 for the 'Documents' folder path, + 26 for the timestamp +80 for the backup folder means:
    'File History' WON'T save files from the documents folder if the sub-folder and filenames names over 100 characters
    - Great for pages from the web etc.

    Ah! – and it WILL save copies of your OUTLOOK .pst files on a regular basis – while Outlook is running,
    So if you do set it to hourly backups – that will be 1 copy of your outlook folders every hour - @ 2GB and an 8 hour day = 16GB more of your storage gone each day.

    STILL you (or any user with access to the PC with the storage partition accessible) can always just use File Explorer and delete most of the redundant copies!

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  4. #3
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    All good stuff, but surely the best way to achieve a "clean windows PC" is to reinstall the OS? Unless you don't trust your audience to have a sufficiently good backup policy, Windows 10 (and 8 before it) have a refresh option, without affecting files, which may be a straight forward compromise.
    For Windows 10 see here -> http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/w...-in-windows-10
    And for 8 here -> http://windows.microsoft.com/en-gb/w...fresh-reset-pc

  5. #4
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    Fred Langa - Backup questions:

    1. The 10/15/15 column on backups uses the following terms: user-data files, important files, selected user files, working files, personal files, user files, and sensitive files. Is there any significant difference among these file types? If yes, please clarify.

    2. My Windows 10 Home setup has two hard drives, both of which are used daily. One is the C: drive and the other is a USB drive, E:. Whenever I backup I want both C: and E: to be backed up. In your backup articles it is not clear (at least to me ) just which drives can or will be backed up with the various Windows 10 alternatives which are discussed. In the past I used a backup program called Rebit Pro which backed up every file, no matter which drive it was on, that was changed as soon as that file was closed. It worked very well, but they are no longer in business. As per your suggestion I tried Macrium. It seems to be working very well plus it is easy to specify just which drives, not file types, should be backed up to the USB F: or G: drives.

    Any clarification of the above would be greatly appreciated.

    Whitey

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    Quote Originally Posted by Whitey View Post
    Whenever I backup I want both C: and E: to be backed up. In your backup articles it is not clear (at least to me ) just which drives can or will be backed up with the various Windows 10 alternatives which are discussed. In the past I used a backup program called Rebit Pro which backed up every file, no matter which drive it was on, that was changed as soon as that file was closed.
    I'm not an expert on backups (I'm a computer engineer:-) but I suggest it may help if you distinguish between whole disk backups and individual file backups. Macrium is good at doing the former - and Windows 10 also provides a similar function ("system image" with a "repair disk" to give you access to the system image should the C disk drive actually become non-bootable.) These type of images are not usually done very often; with Windows 10 you an actually reinstall the OS ("refresh") without losing data which is a new, and welcome, feature of 10.

    Daily (or more frequent) data backups (previously performed by your Rebit Pro) are also catered for in Windows 10 with File History. Subject to negative comments in another post in this thread, I recommend you give this a try. You can select folders from multiple drives (your C and E). Just make sure the backup location has plenty of space and check that the files are backed up as expected. The thing I like about File History is that you can browse to the files just as you browse to any other file.
    Last edited by musicrab; 2016-01-18 at 17:42.

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