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Backup software

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paradigm
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Backup software

#237008

Postby paradigm » July 16th, 2019, 2:59 pm

Any software recommendations for a Windows backup solution?

I have always used Acronis True Image in the past but now always receive 'validation' errors when the image is being verified.
I am looking at Aomei Backupper Standard as an alternative but need to check that both the source machine name and the date can be included in the backup folder/file name.
There is also Macrium Reflect as further possibility.

Any opinions on a good choice?

Infrasonic
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Re: Backup software

#237011

Postby Infrasonic » July 16th, 2019, 3:07 pm

I use Macrium Reflect (free edition currently although I am seriously considering moving to the paid for option with more bells and whistles).
Weekly differentials, monthly full on a schedule. No issues so far.

Edit. + File History and various cloud backups.

Itsallaguess
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Re: Backup software

#237014

Postby Itsallaguess » July 16th, 2019, 3:10 pm

Another very happy Macrium Reflect user here.

It just works - which is about the single best thing I can imagine saying with regards to something so important....

The free version might well do all you need - https://www.macrium.com/reflectfree (select the blue 'Home Use' button, about 4 inches down on the left of this link..)

Cheers,

Itsallaguess

mc2fool
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Re: Backup software

#237026

Postby mc2fool » July 16th, 2019, 4:10 pm

paradigm wrote:Any software recommendations for a Windows backup solution?

I have always used Acronis True Image in the past but now always receive 'validation' errors when the image is being verified.
I am looking at Aomei Backupper Standard as an alternative but need to check that both the source machine name and the date can be included in the backup folder/file name.
There is also Macrium Reflect as further possibility.

Any opinions on a good choice?

I tried a bunch of free ones a couple of years ago, including Aomei Backupper Standard (4.0.6), and had problems or issues with most of them, including Aomei, although I didn't keep notes and don't remember what or why.

The two I had no problems with were Macrium Reflect Free and Paragon Hard Disk Manager 16 Basic. The latter contains Paragon Backup & Recovery Free and a bunch of other utilities (partition manager, disk wiper, drive copy) that are "locked" unless you pay. I see now they're on V17 and have split out the free Backup & Recovery, https://www.paragon-software.com/free/br-free/, but I've no experience with 17, just 16.

Having whittled it down to those two I decided to try out both -- and in fact I am still doing so :D, as I don't have any compelling reason to stop one. Both run automatic weekly full backups with Macrium also doing daily differentials and Paragon daily incrementals, and they do so on both my W10Pro desktop and W10Home laptop, backing up to a NAS drive.

The acid test has come twice, both times on the laptop, the first time when the original HDD went belly up and the second time when the PNY SSD I bought to replace the HDD went belly up after just 11 months (PC World gave me a refund). Both times I restored the most recent Macrium full + differential and the systems just booted up fine without any issues or losses. The first time I chose to restore the Macrium backup (rather than the Paragon one) on the flip of a coin, and the second time I did so 'cos of the good experience of the first time.

So, 'cos of my positive restore experiences -- and 'cos of the subjective "feels" of the two -- if/when I do decide to only continue with one of them it'll be Macrium, and so that's the one I'd recommend to you.

The one advantage that Paragon does have is that the free edition will do incrementals, whereas Macrium Free doesn't, offering only differentials. In my case that's no big deal, but it may be for you, depending on your style of usage.

A pain with Paragon is that activation requires you to create an account with them and the free edition is limited to one computer, so if, like me, you want to use it on two computers you have to create two accounts, using different email addresses, to activate both. Seems a pointless restriction given how easy it is to get another email address. Also, the activation is tied to the system GUID which, on my laptop only (for some reason...) changes with every windows "features" update so, while the automatic backups keep on running, I have to reactivate the user interface each time, which is a bit of a pain.

kiloran
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Re: Backup software

#237028

Postby kiloran » July 16th, 2019, 4:12 pm

paradigm wrote:Any software recommendations for a Windows backup solution?

I have always used Acronis True Image in the past but now always receive 'validation' errors when the image is being verified.
I am looking at Aomei Backupper Standard as an alternative but need to check that both the source machine name and the date can be included in the backup folder/file name.
There is also Macrium Reflect as further possibility.

Any opinions on a good choice?

I used to use Acronis True Image, but found I often had problems with the back-up file being corrupted in some way. Something you definitely don't want with a precious back-up.

Then used a paid-for copy of Macrium Reflect and currently using a free copy of Macrium Reflect. I've used this a lot over the past 8-10 years, for monthly back-ups, and cloning a HDD to SSD. It's simple to use, has all the features I need, and has never given any hint of failure.

It's a no-brainer.

--kiloran

Infrasonic
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Re: Backup software

#237044

Postby Infrasonic » July 16th, 2019, 5:05 pm

Just to add that I also run bootable W10 clones as a multi boot option so that in the event of a 'C' boot disk failure (happened once so far) I can carry on as was immediately, and then worry about a backup reinstall later on (if needed). So Macrium for the clones, and EasyBCD 2.4 (free) for sorting out the dual/multiboot issues.
https://neosmart.net/EasyBCD/
(You can bypass the register page by hitting download underneath and still get the free edition...)

I run very little in the way of locally installed third party apps (I'm moving to portable apps as much as possible) so a clone will get me back to 99% of where I was in conjunction with File History and cloud backups/syncs (Chrome browser full sync et al).
If you are very reliant on locally installed offline third party apps then that MO might not work pragmatically for you (unless you clone regularly).
Last edited by Infrasonic on July 16th, 2019, 5:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Slarti
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Re: Backup software

#237046

Postby Slarti » July 16th, 2019, 5:08 pm

Also Macrium on 3 different machines with no problems.

Slarti

Breelander
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Re: Backup software

#237052

Postby Breelander » July 16th, 2019, 5:18 pm

Yes, Macrium Reflect Free every time.

https://www.macrium.com/reflectfree

yorkshirelad1
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Re: Backup software

#237203

Postby yorkshirelad1 » July 17th, 2019, 9:39 am

paradigm wrote:Any software recommendations for a Windows backup solution?

I have always used Acronis True Image in the past but now always receive 'validation' errors when the image is being verified.
I am looking at Aomei Backupper Standard as an alternative but need to check that both the source machine name and the date can be included in the backup folder/file name.
There is also Macrium Reflect as further possibility.

Any opinions on a good choice?


I've been using EaseUS ToDo on one machine, and am gradually moving across to Macrium Reflect on another. Both seem OK. Have occasionally had to pull individual files off a backup, but haven't done a full restore (thankfully, yet).
I do backups from the Windows pre execution environment; I'm probably too old school to trust a backup done inside Windows while Windows is running (IYSWIM) not to lock a Windows file or copy it in a dynamic state which makes reinstating tricky, but I'm assured it should work. I'd just prefer not to do a backup from within Windows while it's running.

Slarti
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Re: Backup software

#237248

Postby Slarti » July 17th, 2019, 12:48 pm

yorkshirelad1 wrote:but haven't done a full restore (thankfully, yet).
I do backups from the Windows pre execution environment; I'm probably too old school to trust a backup done inside Windows while Windows is running (IYSWIM) not to lock a Windows file or copy it in a dynamic state which makes reinstating tricky, but I'm assured it should work. I'd just prefer not to do a backup from within Windows while it's running.


I have, from a bootable USB created with Macrium as a test onto a spare drive and it worked, fine.

I always run the backup in Windows with a variety of bits of software running. Too long working with servers that couldn't be shut down for backup, I guess.

Slarti

Breelander
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Re: Backup software

#237253

Postby Breelander » July 17th, 2019, 1:08 pm

yorkshirelad1 wrote:...I'm probably too old school to trust a backup done inside Windows while Windows is running (IYSWIM) not to lock a Windows file or copy it in a dynamic state which makes reinstating tricky, but I'm assured it should work. I'd just prefer not to do a backup from within Windows while it's running.


All such 'live' backup methods (whether from Macrium or anyone else) use the Volume Shadow Copy Service (VSS). This takes a snapshot of the system and backs up from that so that none of the problems you envisage are an issue.

Wikipedia wrote:A snapshot is a read-only point-in-time copy of the volume. Snapshots allow the creation of consistent backups of a volume, ensuring that the contents do not change and are not locked while the backup is being made.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shadow_Copy

Breelander
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Re: Backup software

#237254

Postby Breelander » July 17th, 2019, 1:21 pm

yorkshirelad1 wrote:..Have occasionally had to pull individual files off a backup, but haven't done a full restore (thankfully, yet).


You should, just to reassure yourself that it works. As Slarti says, you could always swap in a spare drive and restore to that.

An alternative test is available if you have both Windows 10 Pro and Macrium. In Pro you have Hyper-V virtual machines available, in Macrium you have viBoot (even in the free version). This allows you to mount a Macrium image and run it as a Hyper-V virtual machine.

https://www.macrium.com/viboot

But if you'd prefer to test the full Macrium restore process in a VM you can do that too. Macrium Reflect can create the recovery media as an ISO file as well as on a usb. Set a Hyper-V VM to boot from the Macrium recovery ISO then you can restore a Macrium image to the VM, just as if you were doing it for real on a physical machine. If you have Home, then you can do the same thing using a VMware virtual machine.

scrumpyjack
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Re: Backup software

#237266

Postby scrumpyjack » July 17th, 2019, 2:52 pm

I use Acronis on my main PC but also Macrium on the others. I periodically do a clone disk of the C: drive on all my PCs, 2 clone drives for each PC, rotating copies so there is always one in case something goes wrong in cloning.

Both work fine, though Macrium is free

Acronis backs up everything to a Synology NAS server.

Recently I decided to pay a subscription for Dropbox to get 2,000 gb of online space and everything that matters is in the Dropbox folder. I did this when we got fast fibre broadband and the upload speed made online storage viable

A bit haphazard and perhaps overkill but I think I'm pretty well protected and have never lost anything, plus Dropbox allows one to recover previous versions of files.

Oh and some stuff is on One Drive as well

johnhemming
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Re: Backup software

#237272

Postby johnhemming » July 17th, 2019, 3:47 pm

I use fastcopy to do an incremental clone of my disk.
https://fastcopy.jp/en/

paradigm
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Re: Backup software

#237352

Postby paradigm » July 17th, 2019, 8:49 pm

Thanks for all the great 'in depth' replies! Much appreciated.

I have tried out Macrium Reflect - did the job perfectly and the USB Rescue Media is extremely easy to create.
An excellent choice I think.

monabri
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Re: Backup software

#237375

Postby monabri » July 17th, 2019, 9:57 pm

Suppose my hard disc crashes , could I replace it, use the backup and then proceed as though nothing had happened?

At the moment, I back up files to a USB stick and some files sent to cloud storage. My worry would be the pallaver involved in re-installing Windows 10 and stuff like Excel (I have "proper" paid for licences for Microsoft Word, Excel.).

Would something such as Macrium Reflect handle the hassle of reinstalling W10 etc.

Breelander
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Re: Backup software

#237379

Postby Breelander » July 17th, 2019, 10:08 pm

monabri wrote:Suppose my hard disc crashes , could I replace it, use the backup and then proceed as though nothing had happened?
....Would something such as Macrium Reflect handle the hassle of reinstalling W10 etc.


Yes. Macrium Reflect makes an image of all the partitions required to run Windows. You hard drive dies? Just replace it with a new one, restore the image and carry on as if nothing had changed. You will have a fully working system, exactly the same as it was it was when you made the image. There is nothing to reinstall because all the original software is still there and working.

I speak from experience. The system I am using to post this reply had an HDD that was failing, I took a Macrium image of it, replaced the HDD with an SSD then restored the Macrium image to the SSD. The only thing that changed was that everything starts up much faster now. :D

torata
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Re: Backup software

#237393

Postby torata » July 17th, 2019, 11:38 pm

Breelander wrote:
monabri wrote:Suppose my hard disc crashes , could I replace it, use the backup and then proceed as though nothing had happened?
....Would something such as Macrium Reflect handle the hassle of reinstalling W10 etc.


Yes. Macrium Reflect makes an image of all the partitions required to run Windows. You hard drive dies? Just replace it with a new one, restore the image and carry on as if nothing had changed. You will have a fully working system, exactly the same as it was it was when you made the image. There is nothing to reinstall because all the original software is still there and working.

I speak from experience. The system I am using to post this reply had an HDD that was failing, I took a Macrium image of it, replaced the HDD with an SSD then restored the Macrium image to the SSD. The only thing that changed was that everything starts up much faster now. :D


Can I confirm my understanding though of this - that I can't put an image made on one PC onto a different PC as drivers etc could be different?

torata

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Re: Backup software

#237396

Postby servodude » July 18th, 2019, 12:19 am

torata wrote:Can I confirm my understanding though of this - that I can't put an image made on one PC onto a different PC as drivers etc could be different?

torata


Pretty much. It "might" work if there are drivers that are suffiently compatible with the new hardware in the image; after which it will be able to fully update itself.

But you will probably also encounter licensing issues, the rules about transferring installations to new hardware depend on how the original installation was created
- OEM installs (as pre-loaded on new machines when bought) cannot be transferred
- if you bought a retail version of windows it can
This can even be an issue if you fiddle with enough of the components on a given PC (https://support.microsoft.com/en-au/hel ... are-change)

You can always use a PC to create installation media for windows (https://www.microsoft.com/en-au/softwar ... /windows10)
- but this means you would need to move your data and reisntall your apps/programmes afterwards

Have fun
- sd

Breelander
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Re: Backup software

#237405

Postby Breelander » July 18th, 2019, 3:00 am

torata wrote:Can I confirm my understanding though of this - that I can't put an image made on one PC onto a different PC as drivers etc could be different?


Windows 10 is pretty good at sorting itself out when moved to dissimilar hardware. Drivers for most common devices are included in W10, so it can usually work without problem. As long as it can get onto the internet it can then download any further drivers it need from Microsoft's update servers. Generally, just restoring a Macrium image to another machine will work just fine.

In the past I have unplugged an HDD with W10 installed on it while in a machine with an AMD cpu, plugged it into a machine with an Intel Pentium and it booted up without an issue. WiFi worked from the start, allowing windows update to download the appropriate video drivers. It sorted itself out without me having to do anything.

If you buy Macrium then one of the paid-for features is Macrium ReDeploy. I've never needed it though, just restoring a Windows 10 image to another machine (either physical or more often a VM) just using Macrium Reflect Free seems to work perfectly well.


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