Advice Request How to backup for newbies...

Please provide comments and solutions that are helpful to the author of this topic.

lovehungryman

Level 2
Thread author
Verified
Jun 23, 2015
63
Hello MT users and staff! Happy 2023!

First of, I have not been the type of person that uses backups as a way of keeping my PC safe (I know, I should). Until now, I have mostly clean-installed windows about every 6 months to have a fresh start, (files and more stuff I move to another external drive when/if need to). We have a desktop pc for all family members ( 3 of us as regular users) each with own login profiles, settings, files, games, etc. but it is becoming cumbersome to set the PC up and running time and time again. That is why I need advice as I have seen/read on internet that start backing up and do full system images backups might be a good option but since I am not used to, I don't know how to start.

Note: I have used control settings restore option sometimes before.
-Windows own options are good enough or better look for other software?
-Full back ups, restore points or system images?
-How often?
-Do it on an external/internal drive?
-Drive has to be attached to computer at all times, if so, what about if ransomware or other infection occur, does the backup drive also get infected?
Since there are lots of programs around, I would prefer something easier and free to use for time being (I don't mind paying but I'd like to test beforehand).
Any more advice about how to go about I'll appreciate it.

Thanks!
 
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silversurfer

Level 85
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Honorary Member
Top Poster
Content Creator
Malware Hunter
Well-known
Aug 17, 2014
10,275
First of all, Happy New Year!

Most important: A full system backup software what is known to be reliable like Macrium Reflect or AOMEI Backupper. Just make sure to store all on external drive.
For your other data like personal documents, videos or music files. I can recommend: FreeFileSync or you easier choose something like Microsoft OneDrive.
 

pxxb1

Level 9
Verified
Well-known
Jan 17, 2018
446
Hello MT users and staff! Happy 2023!

First of, I have not been the type of person that uses backups as a way of keeping my PC safe (I know, I should). Until now, I have mostly clean-installed windows about every 6 months to have a fresh start, (files and more stuff I move to another external drive when/if need to). We have a desktop pc for all family members ( 3 of us as regular users) each with own login profiles, settings, files, games, etc. but it is becoming cumbersome to set the PC up and running time and time again. That is why I need advice as I have seen/read on internet that start backing up and do full system images backups might be a good option but since I am not used to, I don't know how to start.

Note: I have used control settings restore option sometimes before.
-Windows own options are good enough or better look for other software?
-Full back ups, restore points or system images?
-How often?
-Do it on an external/internal drive?
-Drive has to be attached to computer at all times, if so, what about if ransomware or other infection occur, does the backup drive also get infected?
Since there are lots of programs around, I would prefer something easier and free to use for time being (I don't mind paying but I'd like to test beforehand).
Any more advice about how to go about I'll appreciate it.

Thanks!

A good practice is to backup whenever there is a change to the Pc that you want to save, and if it is something one does not want to loose, do it external, also. The external media should not be connected to the Pc all the time out of security reasons.

Keep notes of the changes/backups so you know what`s been backed up. Then you know what you are going back to, and what you are missing out.

Windows own backup functions, system image and restore points, are not reliable enough so disregard them.

Many will tell you that Aomei and EaseUS free versions are good but, many have the opposite experience so that tells you that they probably is not reliable enough. Which i can witness about.

Paragon, Lazesoft, Qiling, O&O and Ashampoo backup have free good backup programs. Hasleo is an upcomer that is getting popular and reliable.

One of the most reliable free backup programs there is, Macrium Reflect, is going to be discontinued in 2024-01, so if you want one of the best, buy its Home version.

Doing system images saves one from a lot of problems and makes Windows easier to live with since it can be a problem, to often. But less now with W11 to my experience.



A tip; after you have done a fresh install with all the settings, no programs just a finished install before the personal programs, do a external backup. That image is your, "to go to" image when you think about doing a fresh install. Such an image saves you a ton of work. The one i have i go back to now and then just to update it with Windows updates, then i go back to where i came from.

Oh, if you have an Ms account, maybe also One Drive, that makes it easier to use Windows since all your settings and such are saved with the use of it. So no more cumbersome work.
 

Stopspying

Level 19
Verified
Top Poster
Well-known
Jan 21, 2018
814
I've been a long time user of Macrium Reflect and really like it but its worth pointing out that their free version will be retired as of Jan 1 2024


Elsewhere on MT there is a current thread about Hasleo backup suitethat may be worth a read. I've not used it though -


AOMEI Backupper has been offered regularly for free over the last few years,This is often linked to on MT. It is a reliable product IMO.

As for the MS OS options, System Restore might bale you out, but I have seen restore points disappear after OS updates, so I don't rely on it.
 

Stopspying

Level 19
Verified
Top Poster
Well-known
Jan 21, 2018
814
Of this list Pro versions of AOMEI Backupper, EaseUS ToDo Backup, O&O DiskImage and GoodSync appear from time to time on some of the better known 'giveaway' sites quite frequently
 

Ivy_Diaz

New Member
Jul 5, 2022
4
Of this list Pro versions of AOMEI Backupper, EaseUS ToDo Backup, O&O DiskImage and GoodSync appear from time to time on some of the better known 'giveaway' sites quite frequently
You are right, and also Resilio Sync, Gs Richcopy 360, and Acronis are great and work out of the box too.
And as I said before, it depends on what he wants to backup !
 
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lovehungryman

Level 2
Thread author
Verified
Jun 23, 2015
63
Good points which I have placed into consideration. I might decide over and try some out. Just one more thing, if I backup (full, incremental, image, etc.), what happens to the one before? I mean, does override itself onto the other or it deletes it? I guess it keeps copies until drive runs out space. How often should I delete old backups especially regular backups (full backups and system images I guess can be kept longer). I hope not to sound too illiterate though :(. Once I get used to I'll realize that it was easier and smoother than I previously thought.
I'll keep you posted of progress. Thanks again! :)
 

pxxb1

Level 9
Verified
Well-known
Jan 17, 2018
446
Good points which I have placed into consideration. I might decide over and try some out. Just one more thing, if I backup (full, incremental, image, etc.), what happens to the one before? I mean, does override itself onto the other or it deletes it? I guess it keeps copies until drive runs out space. How often should I delete old backups especially regular backups (full backups and system images I guess can be kept longer). I hope not to sound too illiterate though :(. Once I get used to I'll realize that it was easier and smoother than I previously thought.
I'll keep you posted of progress. Thanks again! :)

The first full does not change at all, it is the stable data for every backup thereafter. The changes you have done since the first, are saved on each specific inc(remental) or diff(erential) you do. Over and over. For inc:s, for each specificly, for diff:s, cumulative for each.

The handling of space and the deleting is different for each back up program so i can not say something about that but the usual is that it erases the 1 full, totally, then the 2, etc. Automatic consolidation exists also, so a whole chain becomes 1 image with all in one, so to speak. Old backups can be deleted when you know they are not valid, important anymore, so basicly it is up to you.

Personally i save backup chains internally for 3-4 months then i move a chain or just the full to external storage and save a couple of more months. The external storing has saved me sometimes when i have been able to go back to a specific image to solve a problem that has lingered on in the internal but where not present on a really old one. But that is not so important if you have the before mentioned "to go to" backup to build from in a case like that, which often is easier then rearrange an old backup of the system. Dependent on how much you have to reinstall of course.

This practise is for the system, Os, and all important data.
A good policy to have, basic thinking, is; how would it be if i lost this. The answer to that tells you how important it is to back it up, and at how many places.
 
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