Backing up and Restoring Entire Drive


Mar 14, 2020
I have an HP Envy laptop running 64 bit Windows 10 home. The laptop 2TB hard drive is not sounding very good and I want to replace it with a 2TB SSD before it fails. I have my user data backed up but I'd like to make an image of the drive that I can restore to the new SSD. I have iDrive so I created boot media and tried to do a full machine backup to the cloud, but Comcast's upload speed is so slow that it would take weeks to complete. I tried doing a full machine backup to a local 2TB USB drive but that is going to take days. It is about 800GB
I am wondering if there is a way to back up Apps and data so that if the drive dies before I complete the full machine backup, then I can do a fresh install of Windows 10 and restore Apps and data as well as my user data.
Last edited:


Sep 7, 2001
I mean, you've already covered it. Network, internet, or local backup to another drive. If USB is too slow, you'll need to find a spare SATA drive to plug into an SATA port on the motherboard. Is 800GB the total used space for the machine, or just your user data? If the entire drive, then you can wade through your user profile data areas/folders and copy/backup those. e.g. desktop, documents, downloads, pictures, videos, music, browser user profile folder, etc. Or backup the entire user profile folder. Forget backing up the apps just obtain/install those over again and restore the user data per app.


No Lifer
Aug 25, 2001
Hate to say it, but it just might be slow to backup, because hdd, and possibly failing or starting to fail.
Jul 27, 2020
Well, for your own sake, shut down the laptop and buy the 2TB SSD (WD Blue or Crucial MX500) plus USB 3.0 enclosure immediately and use Macrium to clone the drive. The more you use the laptop now, the greater the chance that the HDD will fail before you can back it up.

I made this mistake with my laptop and due to bad luck with Samsung 860 EVO, when the HDD refused to boot and I put in the SSD with the cloned partitions from a few months ago into the laptop, it booted fine but then suddenly, Windows started acting weird. I went into This PC and noticed that the free space of Drive C was increasing rapidly. Something was deleting my Windows partition data bit by bit. The data partition was unaffected. I rebooted the laptop in panic and it showed the "Cannot find OS" error. Had to switch to my backup laptop and I'm never trusting a Samsung SSD for my main laptop ever again.


Golden Member
May 23, 2001
Macrium reflect can backup an entire HD in under an hour. If you use USB 3.0 your speed should be limited only by your hard drives.

I use 2 external hard drives in rotation to back up my data.
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Junior Member
Jan 16, 2023
I suggest creating a priority list and doing the backup according to it.

Backup the important files first and do it slowly. A fast backup may strain your HDD, and it may fail.
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Jan 18, 2023
maybe a controversial opinion but these days there is almost never any point in making an image of the drive to restore on a new drive. Just do a fresh install. You said your user data is backed up, make sure to include the installers of all the apps and software you use. Where possible, keep your system customizations and installations scripted and just save the script.

also worth mentioning this is basically the use case for services like Backblaze.

personally for windows devices I just write a small shell script to run under DSL2 using rsync to backup selected user locations (mostly the home dir) to some other storage volume. The nice thing about this is that the same rsync commands used in DSL2 will also work on Mac and Linux systems with some small filepath tweaks