windows backup or something free?

CU

Platinum Member
Aug 14, 2000
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The backup article on Anandtech got me thinking about doing full system backups. I already use crashplan to backup documents and pictures offsite. But I have an external USB drive that I could do system backups to. That way I could do a full restore if my HD dies one day. The Win7 system backup does incremental backups, which is fine. But, how does it determine when to do a new full backup and start over, or does it just do incremental backups until it fills up your backup storage? Are their any free system level backups that are better than windows backup for Windows 7.
 

rsutoratosu

Platinum Member
Feb 18, 2011
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there are a lot but not free, when you make your windows backup, click the make system image, it'll image the whole drive assuming you have enough room.

or do a full image manually and let windows 7 back up for you
 

HOSED

Senior member
Dec 30, 2013
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Personally I use Paragon 2014 Backup and recovery. The free version is full featured and devoid of any annoying ads. It has saved me major hassles a few times. It also can be run within or outside of Windows to create images and runs via USB drive outside of Windows for restores.
 

MontyAC

Diamond Member
Feb 28, 2004
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Try Macrium Reflect. It's a really good free disk image/backup program.
 

CU

Platinum Member
Aug 14, 2000
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Personally I use Paragon 2014 Backup and recovery. The free version is full featured and devoid of any annoying ads. It has saved me major hassles a few times. It also can be run within or outside of Windows to create images and runs via USB drive outside of Windows for restores.

If it is full featured what does the paid version get you? I have not found the differences listed on their site yet.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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Personally, I use Acronis True Image and make full backups of my system drive every night. Yes, they are big... 135GB or thereabouts... but I prefer full over incremental. I have also had occasion to use one of the images... when my SSD died last year. Once I installed a replacement drive, I mounted the Acronis image and was back in business in about 20 minutes.

If you have a WD drive in your system you can get a limited function copy of Acronis TI'13 as a free download from WD, as does Seagate (I think, although they don't call it Acronis.) Even the cut-down free version does everything you'll need it to, I have it installed on my machines that have WD drives, the paid version for the ones that don't.

As far as getting it for free, Newegg has the 1 PC version on sale today for something like $20... so it's not a wallet breaker by any means, and the full-on version has other tools as well.
 
Nov 20, 2009
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Curious, if you are backing up a primary disk couldn't you also consider just cloning the disk? That way you could just swap it out when needed (emergency) and be up and running in seconds?
 

CU

Platinum Member
Aug 14, 2000
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Yes, it is one 750G C: partition, which is about 2/3rd's full. I could clone, but the restore speed is not really that much of an issue. I don't really care if it takes hours to restore once in blue moon. I do care if it takes hours to clone or image every day. That is why I want incremental of differential.

I found out last night that Win7 does a full back if 50% of the files have changed, or it has been 365 days since the last one. Otherwise it does incremental. So I may just go with that. You can't change those values in the gui, but you can in the registry.

I also thought about setting up a scheduled task to run every month to move the backup folder to backup_old and then create and empty backup folder. That would trigger Win7 backup to do a full backup every month because the folder would be empty and would take care of deleting old backups automatically. Never did find out if Win7 backup will auto delete backups passed a certain age.
 
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Batmeat

Senior member
Feb 1, 2011
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I don't mean to thread hijack, but can any of the above backup systems make a bootable self restoring image? I know Ghost could back in the day, but not sure now.
 

Chiefcrowe

Diamond Member
Sep 15, 2008
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I know that Macrium makes an image and you can use a bootable cd or USB to restore it.

IMO If they put too many features in the free version, no one would buy it and they have to make money somehow.
 

Charlie98

Diamond Member
Nov 6, 2011
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I don't mean to thread hijack, but can any of the above backup systems make a bootable self restoring image? I know Ghost could back in the day, but not sure now.

Acronis has that capability... not sure if it's in the free version or not, I'd have to go look.