Question How reliable are File History and the free version of Macrium?

modeonoff

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Hi, how is Windows' built-in File History and the free version of Macrium? Are they reliable?

Considering to use Macrium to clone my internal SSD where Windows 10 is installed and do an extra backup using Windows 10's File History before upgrading to Windows 11.

I have failed restoration experience using Norton Ghost, Acronis and Windows' Backup and Restore. Too bad I did not find out until I needed them to restore. What can we do to make sure that the backup/cloning works before it is too late?
 

USAFRet

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Clone vs Image.

Clone is for changing the drive right now.
Image is for backing up, for potential future use.


I use Macrium imaging exclusively for my backup routine.
Forget "File History".

Changed a little since I wrote this, but the basics...


And yes, I have had to use that after a failed drive.
 
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USAFRet

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My main drive is a Samsung 2TB SSD. For imaging, do you recommend a 2TB drive or 5TB drive?
An Image, in Macrium, only consumes the actual space that is consumed on the drive.
Actually, even a little bit less, due to compression and leaving off stuff that does not matter.

For instance, if you have a 2TB C drive, and only 400GB actually used on it.
A Macrium Image may only take up 300GB or so.
The rest of the drive space is yours to use as you wish.

In my system, the images are held in a folder tree on my NAS.
I have 6x 1TB SSDs.
Holding 3x full drive images each, for all 6 drives, only takes up about 4.5TB total.

But with drive prices as they are, it is hard to recommend a 2TB HDD vs getting a 5TB.
Not that much price difference.
 

modeonoff

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Actually, I am drawn between 2TB SSD vs 5TB HD.

For cloning, if I recall correctly, at least on the Mac there is no reason to get a backup drive larger capacity than the internal drive because the software made the backup drive the same as the internal drive. For example, if the internal drive is 2TB, getting a 3TB one would waste 1TB as after cloning, the external drive would have a capacity of 2TB and we are not supposed to add other files to it manually.
 

USAFRet

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Actually, I am drawn between 2TB SSD vs 5TB HD.

For cloning, if I recall correctly, at least on the Mac there is no reason to get a backup drive larger capacity than the internal drive because the software made the backup drive the same as the internal drive. For example, if the internal drive is 2TB, getting a 3TB one would waste 1TB as after cloning, the external drive would have a capacity of 2TB and we are not supposed to add other files to it manually.
In Windows, that is also somewhat correct.
You can prevent that during the clone operation, and have the entire 3TB space available.

But again....Clone vs Image.
Imaging is for backups, Cloning is for changing the actual drive right now.

An Image in Macrium resuts in a single file.
xxxxx.mrimage. The entire rest of the drive is usable as you wish.

For cloning in Macrium, you can manipulate the size of the target partitions, so as to have the Clone be the whole drive.

2TB Source drive going to a 3TB Target drive...
By default there would be a 1TB partition unused.
But in Macrium, you can change that before you click the go button.


For my use, where my backup Images are stored is an 8TB volume in my NAS.
This holds multiple backup images of 6 different systems, 12 different physical drives.
An Image of my current 1TB C drive is a single file of ~160GB.


Get your head around the difference between Clone and Image.
 

modeonoff

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The reason I consider cloning is just in case the internal SSD fails (I think I bought it 5-6 years ago), I just swap it.

In addition to that, I plan to have 1-2 more backup drives to do the backup using other methods.
 

USAFRet

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The reason I consider cloning is just in case the internal SSD fails (I think I bought it 5-6 years ago), I just swap it.

In addition to that, I plan to have 1-2 more backup drives to do the backup using other methods.
A Clone is only as good as the day it was made.
An Image, you can update daily (or whatever).
Full, plus Incremental or Differential.

You can use a Clone for this, but that is not really optimal.
 

modeonoff

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In Macrium Relfect Free version 8, under Disk 1, it has:

1 - Recovery (None) Primary NTFS 492.2MB, 499.0MB
2 - NO NAME (Nome) Primary - FAT32 (LBA) 26.6MB, 100.0MB
3 - (None) Primary - Unformatted 16.0 MB, 16.0MB
4 - (C) Primary -NTFS 864.63GB, 1.82TB
5 - (None) Primary - NTFS 442.6MB, 528.0MB

Am I supposed to just put a check mark under the drive icon on the left and have all the partitions checked. Then, hit 'Clone this disk' or only select 4 - (C) Primary and clone?
 

USAFRet

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In Macrium Relfect Free version 8, under Disk 1, it has:

1 - Recovery (None) Primary NTFS 492.2MB, 499.0MB
2 - NO NAME (Nome) Primary - FAT32 (LBA) 26.6MB, 100.0MB
3 - (None) Primary - Unformatted 16.0 MB, 16.0MB
4 - (C) Primary -NTFS 864.63GB, 1.82TB
5 - (None) Primary - NTFS 442.6MB, 528.0MB

Am I supposed to just put a check mark under the drive icon on the left and have all the partitions checked. Then, hit 'Clone this disk' or only select 4 - (C) Primary and clone?
Please show us a screencap of Macrium, rather than a description.
 

USAFRet

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OK...and this procedure is for an Image?
To be used as a backup?

Select ALL of those partitions.

An Image will result in a single file off on some other drive of relevant size.

A Clone is for changing the drive right now.
 
Thank you. What is the recommended interval for imaging?
You mentioned in Post7 that in your user case, you image once a week.
That generally is related to the rate of change of whatever is on the drive.

You also have to decide if you are going to use "full images" or are instead going to get into incrementals or differentials. I use full only.

Doing a lot of testing, lots of software changes, new data added, old data deleted, etc.... conceivably might make a new image daily?

Average system like mine...occasional software changes; occasional Windows updates...I make a new full image monthly and keep the most recent 2.

The frequency would also be related to whether or not you use Macrium to back up your PERSONAL data files. If you do use it for that, then most likely you'd make some sort of an image update quite often...perhaps daily if your data changes daily. Quite likely it does.

I do NOT use Macrium for personal data backup and have a relatively low rate of change of my C partition. So I use monthly full images. I make a new one BEFORE any significant Windows update, so that I can go back in time if that update is problematic.
 

USAFRet

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Thank you. What is the recommended interval for imaging?
You mentioned in Post7 that in your user case, you image once a week.
Currently, I do a Full Image for all 6 drives, weekly. 2 on Tuesday, 2 on Wednesday, 2 on Thursday.
Keep 3 each.

Previously, it was a Full followed by a nightly Incremental. Keep for 30 days.

As I get back into more CAD and 3D printing, that particular drive will probably get a nightly incremental.

Other systems have different schedules.
HTPC, a Full once a week, keep several.
Wifes PC, Full every other day.

All depends on your needs and desires.
And schedules can be changed easily.
 

modeonoff

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I make changes in about three user folders daily. Usually, I just copy/overwrite them to a thumb drive at the end of the day. In this case, for imaging, what plan is recommended?
 
I make changes in about three user folders daily. Usually, I just copy/overwrite them to a thumb drive at the end of the day. In this case, for imaging, what plan is recommended?
What's in these "user folders"??

Personal data.......such as pictures; mp3 music; income tax returns, spare ribs recipes?

Or Windows and applications stuff?

If the latter and those daily changes are significant enough that you'd need daily backups, you'd probably use Macrium incrementals or differentials.

If the former...I'd just use a garden variety "file by file" backup program. Not imaging, not cloning, not Macrium or any similar application.

I do that kind of personal file backup 2 or 3 times a day. I manage about 120,000 files. I make a new file or modify an existing file maybe 30 or 40 times a day. Takes under 2 minutes, runs on my command, in the background.

A thumb drive is a poor choice for a destination, but better than nothing.

You could use Macrium to back up personal files. It works for that. But I don't find it the simplest and most convenient method for PERSONAL files. Windows and application files? Yes.
 
Personal files.

Why thumb drive is a poor choice for such file by file backup?
They are also slow. Some of them VERY slow. Speed is not a big deal if you are backing up 5 files totaling 11 MB, but most people will be backing up thousands of files totaling many GB. Me: 120,000 files totaling just about 950 GB.

Flash drives will fall apart in your hands. Just glued together. Rank commodities.

Doesn't matter at all of course if your files have little value. Maybe so in your case?
 

modeonoff

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I don't carry that thumb drive. Just have it inserted to my PC all the time. I guess a danger could be that if there is some kind of hardware problem with my PC (e.g. lighting blowing the PC), it may get damaged as well. Perhaps I should at least remove it from the PC after use.
 

USAFRet

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I don't carry that thumb drive. Just have it inserted to my PC all the time. I guess a danger could be that if there is some kind of hardware problem with my PC (e.g. lighting blowing the PC), it may get damaged as well. Perhaps I should at least remove it from the PC after use.
Loss was only one of the reasons a flash drive is a bad idea.

But yes, a good backup includes a component that is offline, offsite, or otherwise inaccessible.
What befalls the PC could affect a flash drive that is always connected.
 

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