Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

Need organized backup system

  1. #1

    Posts : 1
    Windows 8 Pro

    Need organized backup system

    I'm an obsessive backupper, but an un-organized one. That means I have archived files in all different formats spread all over my hard drive, my old computer's hard drive, my external hard drive and my online backup. I have know idea what's the most recent, which files are corrupt (Not sure how it happened, but many of my 7zipped files are corrupt), which archives contain which files, etc. I can get the backup version of a file when I need to, but it's a big pain. Also, I'm sure I have tons of space taken up on my devices by files I don't need.

    I need a better system! I'm curious what you all do, and what you recommend. Here are some things I want to be part of my system.

    • Both a cloud backup and a local one. (I currently use BackBlaze for cloud. Prefer not to use Carbonite.)
    • I would love to clone my computer to my backup computer, if possible, so that if my main computer goes down I can easily get to work on the backup. My current main computer is a Toshiba Satellite P75-A7200 and the backup is an ASUS G37JH which I dropped (dammit) and is waiting for me to put a new hard drive in. Then I'll switch it back to my main if it isn't a big pain.) I have Windows 8 Pro for both computers.
    • I'm rarely hooked to my external hard drive since I use my computer in lots of differnt locations. So an auto backup to the external drive isn't very effective. I might rather add an extra internal hard drive? Or partition my existing hard drive? (Not currently partitioned.) Not sure I like that one considering I just had an entire hard drive fail.
    • I'd love to have one of my backups, or something, contain my applications. Reinstalling everything If I wipe my hard drive is time-consuming, and I'm never sure when my old copies of Quickbooks and Adobe software won't care if I have a license or not, or the licensing/authentication just won't work. This applies t my virtual machines for IE testing, too. they're a pain to have to reinstall. Maybe my clone could have these copies of my software and VHDs?
    • I've seen articles about about creating a USB drive with system utilities on it for rescue/repair work. Sounds like a good idea, but I don't know much about the utilities and would rather not have to learn them all in order to choose which to put on the USB stick. Is there a pre-packaged set of utilities?

    I'd prefer to use Windows' built-in tools since I already own them, so long as they work reliably. I don't understand the difference, though... system image, file history, restore point, system repair disc, recovery drive... lions, tigers and bears, oh my. Aside from Windows oftwaree, free software is always nice but I'm willing to pay for a quality, proven tool that will make my life easier. I would prefer not to use anything cloud-based other than my online backup.

    Thanks in advance for your advice and suggestions.


      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Posts : 103
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center (64 bit)

    In my PC, I have a small SSD for Windows/software and 2 regular large HDDs for data. I use the following combination of tools to back things up: -

    1. Macrium Reflect (free and paid-for options).

    I use this to make an image of my SSD to my HDD. I'm currently using 52.4 GB of data on my SSD, but Reflect compresses images, so an image takes up about 19 GB. It takes just 4 minutes to create a full image, which you can do with the free version of the program, but if you pay for the personal edition of Reflect you can also make incremental images.

    One nice feature is that you can right-click on a Reflect image and choose "Explore image", which will then mount the image with a drive letter so you can browse the folders/files. It's handy if you just need to retrieve a particular file that you've overwritten or deleted by mistake.

    Using Reflect, you make a boot disc on a regular DVD, then if your system is ever hosed you can boot from that DVD, restore your image and you'll be back to exactly where you were when the image was made. That includes being able to restore your image to a new SSD or HDD of course.

    2. Cobian Backup (free).

    I use this to make a direct copy of all of the files/folders from one HDD to the other. That gives me a backup of all of my data, along with a backup of my Reflect image. You can set it to run automatically on a schedule and it will do incremental and differential backups. You can also set it to do mirroring. You can choose which partitions/files/folders you want to backup and you can also set up exclusions, so you can say "backup everything except this folder and its contents" if you need to.

    I like it because it's fast, free and works great.

    3. SkyDrive (7 GB free for new users, plus more storage for a fee).

    While I don't have a full cloud backup solution in place, it is important to keep an off-site backup of files that you absolutely cannot afford to lose, so I use SkyDrive for that. It automatically backs up the files I place in certain folders, so I have things like photos, uni assignments etc. stored there.


    Whatever method you use, consider the following: -

    Partitioning 1 physical drive into 2 and using the second partition for backing up the first partition is a really bad idea. If the drive physically dies, your original data and backed up data will both be gone.

    Try and use a solution that allows you to backup automatically on a schedule, that way you will never forget to do it and you'll always have a recent backup of your stuff.

    For things you cannot afford to lose, keep an off-site backup. Having a local backup is great, but your house could burn down or someone could break in and steal your computer and backup drive and that's when an off-site backup would save you.

    Oh yeah, and before you begin, get organised. If you have files and multiple random backups stored all over the place, go through your drives and tidy things up.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

Need organized backup system
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