Author Topic: Windows backup  (Read 8801 times)

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Online rdl

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Windows backup
« on: September 24, 2016, 06:35:22 pm »
I've been messing around with the Windows 7 built in backup utility all morning.
I got five words for you AJ...
Windows backup is junk.
Okay, four words.

I installed Windows 7 to a 250 GB drive. The entire Windows folder is 11 GB, and of course there are the usual hidden folder and partition that don't amount to a hill of beans. Next, I made a backup to DVD. Since I only installed three drivers and no 3rd party software, the entire backup fits on a single DVD with space left over. I tested it and was able to restore just fine... to the original disk. Now, let's just imagine that my drive fails. No problem got a backup :)

A new 120 GB SSD is installed.
The Windows "Repair Disk" says no suitable disk found.
Huh? What's wrong with it? Is my new drive bad?

I try the Windows install disk and it loads Windows on the new disk no problem. I can't restore the original system image to it though. Which is sort of the whole point of a backup, right? Why?

The new 120 GB disk is too small.
For a backup that fits on a single DVD.
I got four words for you Microsoft.


 
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Offline XOIIO

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2016, 06:42:22 pm »
Yeah, it was nice in theory but I just started making manual copies of important things and using acronis or gparted when moving things to a new drive, if I didn't bother just doing a reinstall.

Keep in mind that 120gb ssd will have 100gb or so of actual usable space.

I'm guessing that windows backup is made more for backups, and not transitions to new drives, so it probably can't handle adjusting partitions like other utilities, like acronis or gparted can, it probably made a full backup image, which is why the drive is too small, it's trying to restore the old partition structure.

Offline evb149

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2016, 12:13:50 am »
They call it an "operating system" but I think it has long passed the point where one can call it one.
Useless backup capabilities, check.
Useless built in utilities in general, check.
Useless file-system capabilities, even with 3rd party utilities (e.g. the mess the built in "OS" tools make with NTFS), check.
Generally junk applications, check.
Need anti-spyware / anti-malware just to protect you from the built in OS activities, check.
Bends over backwards to limit and constrain user instead of benefit, check.

There is just no point.  Maybe if they pulled an Apple, reinvented their "os" from the ground up on top of a UNIX core with sane filesystem support and then let you run whatever POSIX/UNIX applications seamlessly in addition to whatever they want to develop on top, maybe they could add some value, somehow.  But honestly I'd rather use free email clients to outlook, free servers to SQL Server / IIS, free office programs to Excel / Word, *anything* but IE, so.... I'm not sure what's left.
I might have liked the ability to run DX10 or MediaCenter but the crippled those to the point where it isn't worth it and the free media programs have been better for almost a decade anyway.  No real advantage to DX9/DX10 over OpenGL these days.

Now I wouldn't even downgrade to Windows 10 even when it was free and I had several paid-for old licenses I could have done that with but would rather have them in the junk heap than suffer their newest "upgrade".

.

 

Offline TerraHertz

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2016, 12:40:05 am »
I'm constantly amazed at how people can hate on Windows with a religious fervour. Use it, don't use it but why rant about it publicly. What is it you are trying to achieve? I prefer Thunderbird as a email program so I use it. I don't consider Win10 a downgrade and someone ranting on the internet isn't going to sway me to their thinking.

Because Windows _deserves_ it. And what you denigrate as 'religious fervour', from a more proactive viewpoint is righteous indignation.
Windows has grown so bad, so obviously crafted to limit people and serve a corporate/statist/DRM-enforcing/spying mindset, that it's now a political issue. It's time for a change, and leverage is going to have to be applied to achieve it. Public discussion serves the useful purpose of unifying individuals' private feelings of unease, into a public perception of unity of purpose. From which comes, eventually, action.

That's why.
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Offline evb149

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2016, 12:50:08 am »
Nothing religious about it.
See the other recent (and not) threads about the usefulness and trustworthiness of product reviews out there.
There's lots of "good reviews" about lots of junk products because of some reasons of bias as the other recent thread suggests, and it says that the most useful reviews are from people who have paid money for the product, used it, and found it to work or not independently based on their own experiences.
I've paid for windows, many versions.
I've used it and developed for it for many years.
I've fought through its bugs and limitations for days, hours, weeks, years of my life.
I've gone to their developer conferences and got the t-shirt (literally).
I've "drank their kool aid" (figuratively) and been excitedly hopeful about the benefits of what they CLAIMED to be innovating to deliver.
And I've watched it all go to dung heap as they've incompetently taken something that had some potential say in the ~Win2000 days and never failed to fail since then technically, in terms of quality, completeness, user-friendliness, support, and company ethics.
Now I think it is literally dangerous to use just like we name and shame unsafe soldering irons, unsafe DMMs, it is just a honest product review about MS Operating systems in the year 2016.  Your privacy and your data integrity is just NOT SAFE with Microsoft products.  Sad, but true.
And whenever they realize that they just dump people and their products without any hope for all the investment their developers and users have put into using/supporting their products, e.g. most recently Windows Phone, previously IE, their own "embrace extend extinguish" versions of things like WWW browsers, FLASH, JAVA, JAVASCRIPT (IE, SILVERLIGHT, managed DirectX, long list...).
That is why Apple et.al. ate their lunch and is the multi-billion dollar company while Microsoft fires thousands of workers and dumps product lines they only just a while ago paid millions to acquire because nobody wants their "Android Killer" phone OS or Tablets or ....

I couldn't care less if someone uses it or not, but my two cents is "not" and I'll say nothing but "I told you so" to someone that does it anyway and loses all their data, gets hacked or whatever because of it.


I'm constantly amazed at how people can hate on Windows with a religious fervour. Use it, don't use it but why rant about it publicly. What is it you are trying to achieve? I prefer Thunderbird as a email program so I use it. I don't consider Win10 a downgrade and someone ranting on the internet isn't going to sway me to their thinking.
 

Online rdl

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2016, 09:48:14 am »
It gets better.



Since I couldn't use the backup made from the 250 GB drive, I settled for the one I had originally made from the 120 GB drive. That worked without any serious problems. Until I immediately tried to make another backup, but to a USB HDD this time. The result was the error message you see above.

"There is not enough disk space to create the volume shadow copy on the storage location."

Hmm...
The USB drive is 300 GB, freshly formatted with NTFS and completely empty other than that. The C drive, with the Windows install on it which I'm trying to backup, has less than 19 GB used out of a total of 111 GB.

Not enough disk space.

A fix was found, as usual, by googling the error code. I don't really think the problem should have happened in the the first place, but yeah... Microsoft.
 

Offline setq

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2016, 10:23:20 am »
Ugh been there. Windows backup is a turd. I'm using "beyond compare" to compare my documents root (in Google drive) to an encrypted USB stick. That way I'm covered three ways.
 

Offline dannyf

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2016, 11:10:36 am »
Microsoft has definitely gone down hill over the years. However, their powerpoint skills have definitely improved over the same period of time.

I wonder why, :)

It is dying, in my view.
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Offline nanofrog

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2016, 11:30:31 am »
When I recently swapped to a SSD I used EaseUS Todo Backup free version. http://www.easeus.com/download.htm
Aren't there limitations with the free version's ability to clone?  :-//

For disclosure, I use a paid version of Acronis True Image (free version of this won't clone though, not even off of the boot disk).
 

Offline setq

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2016, 11:59:42 am »
Microsoft has definitely gone down hill over the years. However, their powerpoint skills have definitely improved over the same period of time.

I wonder why, :)

It is dying, in my view.

Definitely. This is one reason their development division is porting all their tools to other platforms.
 

Offline Jeff_Birt

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2016, 01:09:01 pm »
Why is it a discussion involving Windows always devolves into MS bashing? Why do Linux fan boys have to act like obnoxious vegans who have to constant chide other people with their non-sense? This could have been a useful discussion about backup strategies for Windows and backup strategies for home PCs in general.

But to the subject topic... I have used Windows Home Server for several years. It came with a very nice feature that would automatically back up the clients to the server and I backed up the server with iDrive. I only needed to recover one laptop and doing so was quick and easy. Since WHS is no longer in production and my server machine recently died I have been searching for alternative back up strategies. I don't really need a separate server now as my main PC can serve the limited file sharing purpose I need.

I installed iDrive on my main PC and it has been a struggle to keep it working properly. (I was able to recover all my files from iDrive when the server crashed though). I even wasted more than an hour of my life with their tech support remoter into my PC. Since I have had an iDrive account before 11/23/2011 I cannot use their new software but they won't tell me why. The new SW may indeed be better. One thing missing currently with using iDrive only is taking incremental images of the whole machine.

I think the built in backup utilities in Win10 are worse than Win 7. It seems like a disjointed bunch of half efforts, very disappointing. What would be ideal is one utility which would keep a file change history of select directories and a complete incremental image, letting you save a copy locally and in the cloud.
 

Offline XOIIO

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2016, 01:11:24 pm »
Yeah, those freaking vegans, god I can't stand them. We evolved eating meat, that's why our species is so successful, stop trying to make yourselves better than everyone else and trying to force people to malnourish themselves. God.

did that work to change the argument? :p

Offline madires

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2016, 02:00:57 pm »
You can get nice backup/image tools like Acronis or Macrium Reflect. The latter offers a free version for private use.
 

Online rdl

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2016, 06:45:23 pm »
The only reason I've been doing this is to make reinstalling Windows 7 a little less hassle. I don't really need an actual "backup". The standard install doesn't take long, maybe 10 minutes or so, but getting it set up the way I like can more than double that.

The additional time needed has little to do with installing other software. It's mostly because the idiotic default settings and Microsoft's idea of what "features" should be included in a basic install. Nearly all the 3rd party software I use does not need to be "installed" and is on separate drives that already have a backup plan.

Anyway, my idea was to get Windows 7 working the way I prefer first, with only the most basic of drivers installed, and make a backup at that point. Being able to restore from that backup, instead of reinstalling from scratch, would save a lot of time and hassle in the future since there would be little else to do except install the latest video driver.

I'd also rather not have to use DVD or HDD. A flash drive would be much more convenient, but for Windows 7 Microsoft apparently didn't think so. There is of course, a workaround for that, but I haven't had a chance to try it.
 

Online rdl

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2016, 09:45:38 pm »
But to the subject topic... I have used Windows Home Server for several years.

I have one also. I use it mainly as a local file server now. It's on an HP Microserver and has been very reliable. I think the last time I actually logged on to it for administrative purposes was over 3 years ago. For all I know it may have upgraded itself to Windows 10 by now.

The "Connector" stuff I got tired of quickly, but if I remember right it did do differential backups. The bad side was that it wanted something like 5 or 6 special services to be running on the client machine all of which spewed out log files constantly. The "Health Monitoring" was very bad, reporting unknown errors and generating alerts when there was actually no problem.

I think I eventually got it to work with only two services running, and did a registry edit to redirect the remaining log files to a non existent location. But in the end just stopped using the client "Connector" for being more trouble than it was worth.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2016, 09:50:14 pm by rdl »
 

Offline edy

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2016, 09:45:44 pm »
I know it's not a "real" backup, but for just copying over my work files I use mirroring with "robocopy" on a regular basis, or I will use FreeFileSync (http://www.freefilesync.org/) to just mirror over all my important files to an external HDD.

If something happens to my main drive, I'd probably just fresh-install the OS and all applications and then copy my documents back over. Yes it is definitely more work than doing a proper bit-copy using a backup utililty that just copies the drive exactly as-is to another volume partition.... In which case I would use one of those other drive tools like a disk cloning app (like Easeus, or AOMEI Backupper, or Acronis, Macrium Reflect, etc).

So in summary.... disk-clone the entire drive once you have your OS and all frequently used applications already in there, and whatever documents you have. Then for day-to-day operations, use a mirroring tool which does a comparison and only copies files over that have changed. If you make any major updates to the OS or your apps, you can do another disk-clone (time-consuming). Otherwise, mirroring/syncing of documents is quick.

If your drive dies, just put back your main "cloned" backup that has the OS and major apps (that may be a few months old), and then use your daily "mirror" backup to reconstitute your work/document files. I know this may miss some important OS updates and such, so you are better off using a normal backup utility.

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Offline Sredni

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2016, 10:20:43 pm »
I know it's not a "real" backup, but for just copying over my work files I use mirroring with "robocopy" on a regular basis, or I will use FreeFileSync (http://www.freefilesync.org/) to just mirror over all my important files to an external HDD.


I too use FFS for syncing my docs between desktop and laptop (via USB pen - I'm too paranoid to rely on online tools). It's nice and it manages conflicts allowing the user to choose what to do in case both versions of a file have been changed. Being paranoid (and a stingy cheapskate) I stopped upgrading it when I saw the word "advertisement" in their download page. My mind went right into OpenCandy mode and I literally closed the browser. With a padlock. And a concrete sarcophagus.

So, today when I searched for the above link, I learned OpenCandy is defunct. 

Do you guys know if the latest FreeFileSync installer is a clean "one ad only and nothing installed or hidden in the registry except FFS" honest installer or is it using some other opencandy copycat?
All instruments lie. Usually on the bench.
 

Online rdl

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2016, 11:20:27 pm »
I used FreeFileSync v.5.1 for years. I only switched to version 8.3 recently. I have never seen any advertising.

It can be installed in portable mode and works fine that way. In portable mode, it saves its config files and everything it needs to run in the folder you install it to and does not mess with the registry. It's one of the most useful programs I have.


edit:
Actually, there could have been some kind of ad in the install program. I don't really remember, but it definitely runs ad-free.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2016, 12:04:55 am by rdl »
 
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Online rdl

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More Fun
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2016, 01:52:01 pm »
I think I may have gotten Windows Backup to save a system image on a USB flash drive. The flash drive has to be shared because, while the backup program will not accept a local flash drive, it will save to one over the network.   :palm:

The hard part was getting permissions set right. When Windows formatted the drive the only permissions listed were "Everyone" and it was set to full control. When the drive was shared, those permissions were also "Everyone" and full control. The Backup program insisted it didn't have permission to access the drive. I tried adding my user name explicitly to the permissions list and as owner also, but Explorer kept popping up errors saying I didn't have permission to change permissions. I guess that "Full control" for "Everyone" didn't include me.

So with a properties window for the flash drive open that will not close due to errors, I switched to the backup program and it now seemed to work. Until it asked for a user name and password to access the network. The "Help" for the backup program says if the drive can be seen in "Computer" (it can) the the backup should work (it won't). How did Backup access the drive and determine it couldn't write to it without being able to access the network? Probably more poorly written error messages or confusion due to the drive being both locally and network accessible. Whatever.

The backup error message suggests entering the user name and password for the computer, so I tried that. I put in my user name, but I don't have any password set on this computer so I leave that blank. The "Next" button stays gray. Apparently it's programmed to assume there's always a password. I considered setting up a password, but that wasn't guaranteed to work, and was more hassle than I wanted. I put the cursor in the password box and hit space one time. The "Next" button enabled,  I clicked it and the backup process started.

Eventually the backup process completed. That properties window was still open though. I used Task Manager to close it because neither the OK or Cancel button would do anything. After that, I opened Explorer again and checked the properties of the flash drive. The permissions appear to be set to what I had changed them to. I still need to test whether this backup can actually be used. I'm sure that will lead to even more entertainment.
 

Offline GreggD

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #19 on: September 26, 2016, 03:42:18 pm »
I have used a number of backup/disk-clone software. Almost all will not copy to a smaller drive even if the data will fit. One that will is Miray Software HDclone. It is great and no one includes it in reviews of backup programs. I use it all the time. I was his with ransom ware a short while ago. Blue screen saying all my files were encrypted, send bitcoins. I just unplugged the drive installed the cloned drive made two days earlier. Then I installed the encrypted drive as a secondary drive, found the one pcb layout I had been working on was not encrypted. Likely because it was not a target file type. Copied it to the new drive. Then cloned the new drive to the encrypted one. Lost nothing. 
 

Offline Jeroen3

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2016, 03:47:42 pm »
Windows backup is rubbish because:
- it needs 50% free space on the source disk.
- it will only work with network or usb destination disks.
- you cannot recover/read to/from different hardware.

Instead, buy Macrium Reflect. Works perfectly, does space efficient backups. Incrementals fast.
And allows reading (with ntfs permission override!) and restoring to other media, even from a bootable disk.

10/10 would recommend.

*I do not work for macrium*
 

Offline madires

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2016, 03:48:25 pm »
Another great way to backup Windows is to run Windows in virtual machines and simply copy the VMs to your backup drive  >:D
 
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Online rrinker

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2016, 04:47:23 pm »
Why is it a discussion involving Windows always devolves into MS bashing? Why do Linux fan boys have to act like obnoxious vegans who have to constant chide other people with their non-sense? This could have been a useful discussion about backup strategies for Windows and backup strategies for home PCs in general.

But to the subject topic... I have used Windows Home Server for several years. It came with a very nice feature that would automatically back up the clients to the server and I backed up the server with iDrive. I only needed to recover one laptop and doing so was quick and easy. Since WHS is no longer in production and my server machine recently died I have been searching for alternative back up strategies. I don't really need a separate server now as my main PC can serve the limited file sharing purpose I need.

I installed iDrive on my main PC and it has been a struggle to keep it working properly. (I was able to recover all my files from iDrive when the server crashed though). I even wasted more than an hour of my life with their tech support remoter into my PC. Since I have had an iDrive account before 11/23/2011 I cannot use their new software but they won't tell me why. The new SW may indeed be better. One thing missing currently with using iDrive only is taking incremental images of the whole machine.

I think the built in backup utilities in Win10 are worse than Win 7. It seems like a disjointed bunch of half efforts, very disappointing. What would be ideal is one utility which would keep a file change history of select directories and a complete incremental image, letting you save a copy locally and in the cloud.

 Exactly. It's getting quite tiresome. To the point I've been skipping reading threads because I know what I'll see in there, and sorry to anyone with an issue where I might eb able to help but since I skipped the thread..

 I still have a running WHS, the 2011 version, and it is without a doubt one of the best things ever made. Were it not fro update installs rebooting it, the last time I actually had to shut it down was more than 8 months ago when I added another hard drive. Before that - 2 1/2 years ago when I shut it down to move to my new house. All my computers are backed up, even Windows 10. I can access the data from those backups ANYWHERE from any machine. And with the folder duplication I don't have to deal with RAID or worry about mismatched drives.
 I back mine up with Crashplan since they are one of the few that has (has?) a true unlimited option. I have 13TB in my server, although less than half is backed up - I only back up the things  can't replace, like photos and documents and things I've created.
 The backup from WHS as well as the disk duplication feature is available in Server 2012 R2 Essentials, along with the remote web workplace. I have enough hardware that is still compatible with Server 2008 as used in WHS 20122 that I can keep mine running for a long time to come, but should I have t replace it, I wouldn't hesitate to swap it with Serve Essentials rather than any of these various NAS boxes like Drobo - it seems a lot of people have a huge hard on for the Drobo but my server PLUS all the drives I put in it cost less than the empty Drobo chassis.

 

Offline setq

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2016, 05:18:52 pm »
I think it turns into Microsoft bashing because we're all fed up of the shit yet trapped in a Stockholm syndrome situation.
 

Offline boffin

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Re: Windows backup
« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2016, 05:19:29 pm »
Duplicati is what I use. Small, simple, allows local or cloud backups.
 


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