Kemical I get the feeling that the user is talking about cloning a hard drive and not just making a backup of all files and data though I see your link does it all so my post is in addition to yours.
If I am right your easiest would be to download and install Macrium Reflect and there is a free version you can use and then you can clone the entire drive to an external hard drive. Be sure to make a rescue disk so you can recover the clone to a hard drive if you need to. How-To: Clone Windows Hard Drive with Macrium Reflect
Can you please explain what kind of hard drive you using. Here's a link that describes the difference between a clone and a image.
I prefer the image. A clone just sets in a drawer waiting to be installed. You can put several images on a external drive and also other data.
Don't worry Macrium Reflect will find your image on a external drive
Yes but occasionally restoring back an image file to a new hard drive can and often is problematic and those issues, never occur when you use a clone.
The image file is better to have especially since it most likely has more up to date files on it which may or may not come into play. That is one of the reasons it is a good idea to have both image files and more recent file and data backup as well.
Hi @RichM Now it'd my turn. Can you back back up that statement or is it another of your wild theories that you like to throw around, with out having anyway of proving what you just posted. If you verify the image, there shouldn't be a problem restoring the image to your working drive or a new drive. I have been using Macrium Reflect for 12 years. I have never had it fail on the working drive or a brand new cold drive
@kemical: Great post here! Very comprehensive and a good guide for beginners who never have backed up anything in their life! I've taught quite a few College classes, IT corporate presentations, Adult School classes, as well as several presentations for my local Computer Club, and much of the content I have also covers these items. (I have PowerPoints if anyone's interested..) I would like to add that the BackBlaze article mentions a lot of things that can go wrong such as catastrophic hardware failure, and focused a lot on hard drive failure. But, as we all know here on the Forum, Virus/Malware, is another major cause of computer failure which they sort of lumped in with the mention of "natural disaster". As a long time Virus/Malware software tester and deployer I would have to change that classification to "intentional natural disaster" or perhaps "unintentional natural disaster". There is nothing "Natural" about a Virus/Malware attack!! That's the only thing I wanted to add to the very good content of the article. Have been responsible for backing up 75,000 computers on a single network in the IT corporate environment, it's worth mentioning to our forum readers, that's yet another compelling reason to implement some sort of Backup Plan or Disaster Recovery Plan if you haven't already done so. Lastly, I would estimate that computer failure I see on a daily basis from Client computers is 4:1 maybe 5:1 with damage to Windows done by virus/malware compared to catastrophic hardware failure (Hard Drive, Motherboard, GPU, PSU, etc.) The takeaway from this last item is that your computer is a lot more likely to be scrambled by a nasty virus/malware than by a catastrophic hardware failure such as a hard drive failure or similar, and that really should be mentioned as the #1 reason to have a good Backup Plan in place since so many more people get hit by these failures than any other.
Hope this contributes something to the thread, <<<BIGBEARJEDI>>> happy Friday!
System would not format external drive until i unchecked "quick format",looks like it may take an hour or two.My plan is to have as much of my C drive as possible available as a back up in case of hard drive problem.I am using WD one TB external drive.I had previously downloaded Macrium Reflect but not yet used it.
I guess that is entirely up to you. This is harsh, but I don't have much respect for quitters. How to partition and format your hard drive in Windows
If you don't like this link, there are a lot more links like this on the web!
Other members may have more replies latter.
I am far from a techie, so after starting Macrium and downloading 500MB from Microsoft and not being able to follow what was going on,i gave up.Rather bail early than make a blunder and lose the lot.
As I said before. Giving up is your chose. There are several members here that would be glad to help you. You don't need to be a techie to learn how to create a back up image of your OS. I'm a 12 year survivor of colon cancer. Give up is not in my vocabulary.
If you want help, please post back here again latter.
It's my bed time. It's way past my bed time.
It is now more important than ever to have a backup, now the Ransomware crims are upping their anti.
I wouldn't give up. You made an excellent choice in WD and you don't have to spend anymore money.
The WD drive is not a paperweight. I am sure the guys here will help you every step of the way.
I use Macrium Reflect (free) and not had any issues whatsoever. Just a matter of learning how to correctly format and partition a drive, and how to use Macrium Reflect correctly. We all had to learn at one stage.
I sounds to me that what you need is a simple system image file that will restore you C:\ partition in case of malware or corruption of some sort. This can be done in less then half an hour and you will always be able to restore your drive back to the way it was.
You can save the backup file on any drive other the the one you are backing up.
I use EaseUS TODO backup, it's free and it is very easy to use.
Looks like you have a lot of very good suggestions here. Don't worry about giving up, the stuff we are asking you to do can be very intimidating. After teaching students all levels of computer technology classes for 22 years, I understand that. Bear in mind the stuff we are asking you to do is not covered in ANY beginning computer courses at any Colleges or Universities anywhere in the country (USA). Image Backup and Clone Backups are generally considered advanced topics in any undergrad curriculum I've ever seen as well as in the Vocational Ed. environment (ROP) as well. I've taught classes on how to do this, and generally there are only 1 or 2 students out of 10 or more per class who can actually comprehend everything we are doing and talk about, and actually perform it on their own computers either in class (laptop) or at home.
Some of the guys here sometimes forget that, as they are talented problem solvers but are not all formally trained teachers. In that regard, you might consider taking a look at this excellent video tutorial on how to make an Image Backup file from your C: bootdrive:
A few of us, Mike and Holdum333, have reviewed this video for accuracy and it's very well done! It specifically shows you how to make an Image Backup to your USB external hard drive using the MACRIUM REFLECT backup software(Free!) in a step-by-step method. And it's only 9m36s long. Several of us as holdum mentioned have done extensive testing with the Macrium software, and is highly regarded here. You can certainly try the other Backup programs mentioned here, as we have some experience with those mentioned. However, due to the recent testing we W10 Insider Testers have done across a variety of makes/models of computer desktops and laptops, the Macrium product has produced a very loyal following here on the forum. It is also being used by Techs like me who make their living repairing and installing computers. There are videos, Powerpoint presentations, and many articles on how to use the other products including the ISO-Linux program PartED (an extremely good one); however, many of those are directed for experienced power computer users. This is not so good for beginners in my opinion. Especially beginners who have never made an Image Backup or Clone Backup in their lives!
When i first bought this drive,I used back up in windows which gave me a copy (or clone) of what was on C drive which was what i wanted,but months later i backed up C again and the copy was just a list of files.
Thank you all,i might take a short break then come back to this.