Do I Really Need a System Image Backup? - Comments Page 1

Category: Backup



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Comment Page: 1 |  2 

Posted by:

Howie Watkins
16 Apr 2018

Helpful as always Bob, Thanks. Here's my solution, arrived at serendipitously...

I switched to a Mac a few years ago, having been a PC user since the days when they ALL had IBM on the front. It wasn't an easy step to take, but it's worked. However, there are just some things that Windows does better, and some legacy Apps I just can't live without.

So, I took to running Virtual PCs on the Mac (I use Parallels, a truly wonderful piece of software, or magic, if Clarke, A.C. is to be trusted). When I create a VM (I've got Win10, Win7, WinXP and Win2000 just for laughs) I keep a nice shiny clean version in a disk image file. Whenever I need to, and sometimes just for fun, I just replace the active VM with a clean version.

Posted by:

nick
16 Apr 2018

Everybody should backup and reformat their operating system. This will keep the drive clean from virus and most likely operate faster. I use driveimagexl for backup to external drive. mintools to zero out the bootable drive snappy driver to get the latest driver.

Posted by:

Larry Venable
16 Apr 2018

First, thank you for your incredible contribution to the sanity of us low-life bottom feeding computer neophytes.
Secondly, this may be the least efficient way to handle things, but I rotate 3 1T drives,using a hardware cloner on a monthly basis to create an image. I then use a flash drive to back up data only each week. A drive failed last year, but there on the shelf were two complete images - one less than a month old and one less than 2 months old.
Thanks, again.

Posted by:

Renaud Olgiati
16 Apr 2018

Here is the system I used for a group of 20 PCs that are in self-service in the library of an educational establishment (Alliance Française) to make it easy to clone the system, repair the damage after HW failure or if the little dears manage to bugger-up the system:
- Once the first computer has been configured; boot-up a Clonezilla Live-CD (or Live-USB).
- Save a Clonezilla image of the hard disk on an external USB-hard-drive.
- Use Clonezilla to painlessly install from that image a clone of the system on the remaining 19 PCs, and in the future to restore a system in case of problems like HD failure.

Posted by:

sqlguy
16 Apr 2018

Just like Larry Venable, I always have two clones (Macrium Free to a $39 InaTeck dock) available - one in house and one offsite in a safety deposit box. Also perform daily backups and once a week full backup automatically to external hard drive (Acronis).

Your backup articles are undoubtedly the most important you publish.

Keep up the great work!

Posted by:

bSteve
16 Apr 2018

I have been cloning my hard drive as a backup for many years. I will do about every 3 months, knowing that some new information may not be saved in the event of a catastrophe. However, I find it better not to use the Windows program. While the Windows clone program may be successful, for some reason, you cannot open that cloned copy and view individual files. You can do this with other free cloning programs such as Easus or Aomei. Using these, I can replace indididual fils, shoul I choose to do so, without cloning the entire drive.

Posted by:

Doug
16 Apr 2018

I have been doing this for several years now. I usually make a new system image when Windows comes out with major update. Besides checking for malware etc, I also do a defrag and try to remove as many duplicates files as possible.

Posted by:

Denise
16 Apr 2018

I made two hidden drives on one of my hard drives. One has a drive image of my original installation (after also installing my software and doing some customization). The other contains a periodic system image such as what you describe. It is known clean and ready to use. I also use Macrium Reflect, and it backs up daily to another drive (not hidden). It deletes the old backups to make room for the new ones. This gives me the ability to go back as far as I like up to about 2 months. I do not keep my data files on the C drive. The system images are not cluttered with personal files. Those are backed up separately. I also have the backups and system images on external hard drives. Once you get used to doing things like this, it is no burden.

Posted by:

Herb Klug
16 Apr 2018

Bob - You frequently encourage your readers to Backup! Backup! Backup! because eventually a hard drive will fail. Perhaps you could address any complexities associated with replacing a traditional spinning disk hard drive with a newer solid state drive. Is it just as simple of making an image of the HDD with Macrium Reflect, and then installing that image on a SSD? That would be too easy....

Posted by:

misterfish
16 Apr 2018

Hi Bob

Yes, you're right as usual, I must make regular copies of my system files or clone the boot disc. My excuse is I also have a laptop, which I can use with my backup data drive. Now if there were a quick and easy way to clone the desktop to the laptop, I could be up running after a system failure within minutes...

Freefilesynch is great for incremental copies of all data and personal files - very quick - to an external drive.

Posted by:

RichF
16 Apr 2018

Is a system image backup the same as cloning the hard drive?

Posted by:

MmeMoxie
16 Apr 2018

Good article, Bob! I just had a HD die and I needed to install an Operating System on my brand new HD. So I used my OEM Windows 7 Pro disk that came with my PC, to get things started.


With my brand new HD, the installation went quite well. I had already made up 2 ISO Windows 10 Pro 64 Bit disc and used that to install Windows 10 Pro. I am so glad that I learned how to do that and made 2 copies, just in case. I had gotten Windows 10 Pro as a FREE upgrade and didn't want to have to purchase a brand new one. All I can say, it worked and my PC is recognized by Microsoft.


When, it became apparent that I did need to get a new HD, I upped the storage capacity, from 1TB to 2TB. I tend to purchase lots of Casual Games and today's games are much larger than they were back in 1996. I wanted enough room so that I don't get bogged down. Plus, the price was good only $59 for a WD 2TB internal HD. Yes, it is a 5400 rpm and I think, that is one reason why my last one, latest for 10 years. It was a 5400 rpm and the platters spin slower.

I don't have a USB Flash Drive and never have. I don't know why, just that I have never felt that I needed one. I also, remember your article about how many of the USB Flash Drives have "bad stuff" on them, already and to beware. What a crying shame too.


USB Flash Drives can really save someone's computer and are a wonderful invention. It's a real shame that someone has found a way to take a good thing and put bad stuff on it. Oh, I know that is life, but why must some people try to ruin everything, for everyone else???


I do have an WD External HD 3TB. I am having problems with it. I am still checking things out, to see what the issue is. I know that my PC recognizes the unit, but my light is not on right now. I also, may have a "dead" USB port. This is an older PC and a refurbished one at that. I may need a new external HD. This one is a Seagate and I haven't always had the best of luck with Seagates. Please, that is just my personal experience. I know that Seagate is a good brand, I just happen to prefer Western Digital.


I have never been afraid to purchase refurbished PCs or computer components or discontinued products. It has saved me plenty of money. Plus, they work just as well as brand new, most times. There are a few things that I will not buy refurbished, Hard Drives being one of them. Heavens, I purchased a $30 Brother All-in-One printer that was refurbished and that puppy worked for over 5 years! I think, it would still be working, if my grandson hadn't replaced an ink cartridge before it was empty. A lot of people don't read what you are suppose to do, when purchasing a new printer, especially those that have individual ink cartridges. Each printer and printer company is different, just like each PC or Laptop has different aspects, from company to company.


Posted by:

MmeMoxie
16 Apr 2018

Correction: I have a Seagate 3 TB External Hard Drive, right now. This crazy brain of mine. LOL

Posted by:

bobrice
16 Apr 2018

RichF: An image is one huge file. Mine is 65Gb, whereas a clone is a file by file exact copy of the drive. Many debate over which is best.

Biggest single issue with both methods of backups is the unknown: do they work?

Every once in a while [yearly?] one should boot to the backup and see if it actually works. I've known users who proudly backup for years but have never tested it to see if it truly functions.

Posted by:

Joe
16 Apr 2018

Bob--I too use malbyteware (premium edition) and I also use Advanced System Care 11, but the former program continually declares Advanced System Care (and its sub-programs) as PUPs (potentially unwanted programs. I've re-installed ASC 11 a couple of times, and it has still flagged the program as unwanted. Is this a true security threat?

Posted by:

John Silberman
16 Apr 2018

As earlier mentioned, Clonzilla is an excellent tool for backup & cloning. I plan to use Clonzilla when ReDo (support ended a couple of years ago) no longer works for me. What is nice about these is they don't care much what OS they are backing up

Posted by:

Phil
16 Apr 2018

Bob, you are my guru! Quick question. I have a clickfree image backup of my old windows XP laptop's 150 GB hard drive. I have a new windows 10 laptop with a 2 TB hard drive. Can I partition the new laptop's drive and load my old image backup; so I can boot the old or new? If so, can you tell me how to accomplish this? As always, THX.

Posted by:

bobrice
16 Apr 2018

Joe, you can go into malwarebyte > Settings > Exclusions and white list [or exclude] your other program so it's ignored during a scan.

Posted by:

Craig D
16 Apr 2018

Hi Bob, I have been a subscriber to your fantastic newsletter for many years know and accordingly implemented many of your suggestions & software apps, one in particular being Macrium Reflect. This amazing piece of software recently saved my bacon when I experienced a catastrophic computer crash when the 1709 Windows 10 update failed and I lost my login profile, rendering my pc useless. I rebuilt the machine using a Macrium image I saved three months ago. It came back perfectly, only missing emails that came in since the backup. Thanks again for your multiple words of wisdom!

Posted by:

Art F
16 Apr 2018

A question I've posed a couple of times before, but have never received an answer to, is this:

If I make regular system image backups, do I need to create a system restore disk EACH TIME? Or is a system restore disk a generic thing that needs to be created only once for Windows 10 because it is compatible with all Win10 system image backups?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Art, you only need to make one system restore disk for a given version of WIndows.

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