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Desktop Backup and Restore


HOrnbrod
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Question for the computer geeks:

 

I've had a couple of hard drive failures in the past, and now have a Western Digital external drive on which I periodically back up my main hard drive. It creates a directory on the external called WindowsImageBackup. I've never had to restore a hard drive, and I hope I never do. But if it happens and I replace the bad hard drive with a new one, click on restore and point it to this external backup file, does Windows restore all my files and directory structure exactly as it was on the date the backup file WindowsImageBackup was created? Like a mirror image? Just want to know what to expect if I ever have to do it........

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I'm not going to answer your question directly, however.......

 

I have 3 hard drives in a drawer, combined, they have well over 10K images from my gun building years. I used an external to backup, the external crashed too, it will not communicate with any other computer, cannot be recognized. 

I could send them off see if any of the files at all can be recovered, but at what expense? 

I'll never own another HP devise. 

 

As I stated elsewhere, we have multiple computers, everything is shared among them, all my files are stored on the cloud. Some people don't like doing that but..........

Computers/devises are disposable to me now. 

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I believe what Windows is doing is creating a ghost image of your hard drive and saving that to the external drive.  Or it's creating a proprietary image it can use in a restore process.  Either way, it will be a point-in-time backup file which contains everything on the source source drive as of the backup time.

 

Jeep Driver is point on, though.  Consider the cloud as a viable option.  Nothing he said was wrong or off base at all.  Devices today are quite disposable, and the need for data sharing between them is increasing.  On the cloud your data is backed up by mission critical redundant systems run by experts.

 

Backing up to redundant drives is what we had to do a decade or more ago because a cloud wasn't available.  

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1 minute ago, kryptronic said:

I believe what Windows is doing is creating a ghost image of your hard drive and saving that to the external drive.  Or it's creating a proprietary image it can use in a restore process.  Either way, it will be a point-in-time backup file which contains everything on the source source drive as of the backup time.

 

Jeep Driver is point on, though.  Consider the cloud as a viable option.  Nothing he said was wrong or off base at all.  Devices today are quite disposable, and the need for data sharing between them is increasing.  On the cloud your data is backed up by mission critical redundant systems run by experts.

 

Backing up to redundant drives is what we had to do a decade or more ago because a cloud wasn't available.  

I was trying to be nice. 

I was telling a little story to get him to think. 

 

He can get his own personal cloud, I looked into those back when photosucket pulled their stunt. $200 IIRC for a decent one. 

 

My mother is Don's age, she's stuck n the mud too when it comes to tech. 

 

No, I don't know anyone who uses an external for backup anymore. 

 

And with cloud based backup/storage........I have access to everything, desktop, tablet, phone.......no matter where I am.

 

 

 

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Thanks for the cloud backup info, and my apologies to Jeep Driver. He also said "Some people don't like doing that but.........." (using the cloud for storage) - I'm one of those people. I'm concerned about security. i.e. account passwords, things like that. How do you get around that?

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Just now, HOrnbrod said:

Thanks for the cloud backup info, and my apologies to Jeep Driver. He also said "Some people don't like doing that but.........." (using the cloud for storage) - I'm one of those people. I'm concerned about security. i.e. account passwords, things like that. How do you get around that?

Look into personal cloud devises.

 

Acts as a personal server, backup, you can access it anywhere on anything. 

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9 minutes ago, HOrnbrod said:

. i.e. account passwords, things like that. How do you get around that?

Consider using a password management program. The one I use is KeePass but there are a number of solid (possibly better) options out there. Basically, it generates a "vault" of different, highly secure, passwords for every different site you use. To unlock it, you use a single password (that should be in your head and used for nothing else) and a "key" file that also has to be present to open the password "vault". It's not internet connected at all (except to check for updates, which I personally have disabled. I update it manually) and everything is stored as a file on your computer that can be backed up as necessary.

 

For example, my CC password is a 20-character long string of nonsense that's shared with absolutely nothing else connected to me and I have absolutely no idea what it is. 

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21 minutes ago, Jeep Driver said:

 

I was telling a little story to get him to think. 

 

He can get his own personal cloud, I looked into those back when photosucket pulled their stunt. $200 IIRC for a decent one. 

 

 

A "personal cloud" is nothing but an external backup with two redundant hard drives.

 

Don, the answer to your question is that if your device is creating an image, rather than just a backup, yes it should restore everything, exactly where and how it was before the hard drive crashed.

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Thanks all. I really don't want to send backup data over the internet, especially using my Mom and Pop phone company DSL internet connection. That's the only game in town here unless I go with a satellite outfit like Hughsnet or similar. But I pay all my bills online so I guess using a personal cloud for storage/backup isn't anymore risky than that. And yeah - I have a lot to learn. Even though I'm as protected as I can be from lightning strikes wiping out everything, a tornado could roll through here anytime (as they often do) and wipe out everything. Then I'd be sorry as hell I didn't have all my data stored somewhere in a cloud...  AAARRRGGG

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32 minutes ago, Eagle said:

 

A "personal cloud" is nothing but an external backup with two redundant hard drives.

 

Don, the answer to your question is that if your device is creating an image, rather than just a backup, yes it should restore everything, exactly where and how it was before the hard drive crashed.

No, that's not what a cloud is.

 

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40 minutes ago, Eagle said:

Don, the answer to your question is that if your device is creating an image, rather than just a backup, yes it should restore everything, exactly where and how it was before the hard drive crashed.

 

The actual files Windows backup creates have .xml and .vhd extensions. The folder they are stored is named WindowsImageBackup.  :confused:

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I use my phone as a camera. 

 

Pic is saved to phone

Saved to cloud.

Saved to desktop.

Saved to Picasa (cloud)

Saved to imgur (cloud)

 

I have 5 sources that the pic is saved to, automatically. 

 

Docs can be saved to cloud or thumb drive. 

Other than some PDFs and whatnot, there really isn't anything that I need to save externally that isn't already in the cloud to begin with. 

All bills, bank statements, accounts, mortgage and soforth are accessed on their end, not mine. 

 

 

If I had a doc or work related file that I wanted to be kept private, separate, saved externally..........thumb drive. 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, HOrnbrod said:

The actual files Windows backup creates have .xml and .vhd extensions. The folder they are stored is named WindowsImageBackup.  :confused:

 

What kryptronic said; sounds like it is creating a ghost image of your hard drive and saving it to the external drive, naming it WindowImageBackup. This virtual drive will contain the exact file system of the drive that is being backed up, so all disk partitions, folders, and files will be restored exactly as they are now (at time of backup).

 

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Windows 7. I have the original CD and could reinstall on a new HD. Going back to my original question:  I know Windows backup creates a mirror image, but has anyone actually restored a backup copy derived from the Windows backup command to a new HD using the Windows restore command? If so, is the result an exact copy of the original?

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That's what it *should* be. I haven't had a Windows machine for going on seven years now, but when I did I had a separate partition on my own hard drive that I was backing up to. Because I had no mind to leave things alone I found myself reinstalling off that backup pretty frequently. It was a fixed date sorta thing, so it had copies of my files I think once per week or something like that, so I could either get at things individually or else completely reinstall everything as it was on day X in the past. 

 

I'm also with you on not really wanting to back up to the "cloud". It's not so much a security thing for me as it is not really wanting to be constantly streaming that much bandwidth, or the event you need to restore you're relying on your internet connection. I'm not always in a place where there is an Internet connection. Sometimes I might rely on the cell network for Internet. So I back up on an external drive.

Although ironically (and this sorta proves Jeep Driver's point) my iMac is still 100% the same hardware (less an extra couple ram chips) that I bought seven years ago to replace that Lenovo laptop. It's outlasted the Iomega external drive I bought around the same time, now I've got a Seagate. I just use the Time Machine utility, which backs up files individually or allows me to completely restore off the drive. I've never had to do a full restore off it, but I have gone back for the odd file. I have had a couple issues with the iMac's hard drive, although they were due to corruption of the os from a severe kernel panic that I traced to a bad aftermarket ram chip. But I was able to repair the file system and reinstall the os without losing my data off the HD in both cases... apple's disc utility is pretty sweet. I actually used it a few weeks ago to restore two weeks of work on my brother's master's thesis that he hadn't gotten around to backing up. But I digress. 

Back up to your original point, like I said that's what's supposed to happen. The files the backup utility creates are there to recreate your computer as it was on whatever day the backup was made, and it should be an exact replica. But I'll continue using "should" because my confidence in Microsoft's software doing everything it's supposed to isn't always super high. 

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1 hour ago, HOrnbrod said:

but has anyone actually restored a backup copy derived from the Windows backup command to a new HD using the Windows restore command? If so, is the result an exact copy of the original?

 

Yes and yes. Using the backup and restore panel, you can restore one or multiple files, or you can restore the entire hard drive, including the operating system. The result will be an exact copy.

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4 minutes ago, Jargon said:

 

Yes and yes. Using the backup and restore panel, you can restore one or multiple files, or you can restore the entire hard drive, including the operating system. The result will be an exact copy.

 

Exactly what I was looking for. I learned a lot on this thread - thanks for all the contributions.   :beerchug:

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12 hours ago, HOrnbrod said:

Thanks for the cloud backup info, and my apologies to Jeep Driver. He also said "Some people don't like doing that but.........." (using the cloud for storage) - I'm one of those people. I'm concerned about security. i.e. account passwords, things like that. How do you get around that?

 

"Cloud" is basically a generic term referencing the Internet.  When we use a term like "Cloud Storage" we are talking about storing something in an Internet-accessible location.  Any type of data, any location that's Internet-accessible.  Think photos on an image hosting service, your personal documents on Google Drive, your desktop computer backup being sent to a service like Carbonite, your phone data and it's contacts being sent to Samsung/Apple, etc.  It's not like you're sending your stuff into the atmosphere for anybody to grab.

 

Concerning security, would be easier for an individual to steal your data from your personal computer, or from a service provider?  The service provider would have your data backed up in multiple locations, in multiple formats protected multiple firewalls managed by teams of people who live and breath data protection.  The security for your home network is probably managed by a box provided to you by your cable company, and hopefully has the right security options set.  The cloud is secure, and any part of it that has a problem ends up on the six o'clock news.

 

Concerning backing up your desktop computer, look into Carbonite.  I have used them for years.  I think there's a yearly subscription of $60 or $70.  You install Carbonite software on your desktop, and when it first runs it does a full backup to their cloud servers.  Then it intermittently sends just changes.  Bandwidth consumption after the first huge backup is next to nothing as it only sends changes up.  If you ever lose a file, you can grab it.  If you change a file and want a copy of it before the change, you can grab it.  If your computer blows up and you need to load all your files on a new one, you can do that.  Or, you can restore a corrupted drive.  Whatever.  You turn it on and forget about it until you need it, if you ever need it.

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18 hours ago, HOrnbrod said:

Windows 7. I have the original CD and could reinstall on a new HD. Going back to my original question:  I know Windows backup creates a mirror image, but has anyone actually restored a backup copy derived from the Windows backup command to a new HD using the Windows restore command? If so, is the result an exact copy of the original?

 

Unless Windows Backup for Win 7 and newer has changed from earlier versions of Windows, I don't think Backup makes a mirror image of the drive.

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On 3/1/2018 at 4:54 PM, Jeep Driver said:

I have 3 hard drives in a drawer, combined, they have well over 10K images from my gun building years. I used an external to backup, the external crashed too, it will not communicate with any other computer, cannot be recognized. 

I could send them off see if any of the files at all can be recovered, but at what expense? 

I'll never own another HP devise. 

 

 

If you are interested in recovering some or all of these files, all you need is an external hard drive enclosure (i got mine from bestbuy), and I use the free software Recuva to pull the data. A bit time consuming but not difficult. No guarantee it will get all the files, but I've used it to recover extended family photos and videos to good result.

 

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