But then again, yes it is, sort of.
In fact, there’s a version that’s free for anyone on any version of Windows — or indeed, almost any operating system.
But then again, yes it is, sort of.
In fact, there’s a version that’s free for anyone on any version of Windows — or indeed, almost any operating system.
I’m sure you’re aware by now that I’m a huge fan of backing up.
Microsoft Windows includes several tools that, used together, can provide a backup strategy to protect you from most things that can go wrong.
Let’s review what it means to use those tools together properly and get you backed up. We’ll also review the impact of Microsoft’s decision to phase out one of those tools.
This is why I go digital at every opportunity.
For years, I’ve had a collection of 8mm and Super-8 movies stored in my basement. As technology has progressed and the projector deteriorated, I realized that the only way I would ever see them would be to get them converted to a digital format.
That involved shipping them across the country. If that makes you nervous, it absolutely should. It did me.
Backing up is kind of like eating healthier: everyone knows we should, and few of us actually do. Much like the heart attack victim who no longer binges on french fries, when it comes to backing up, the most religious are those who’ve been bitten hard by a failure in their past.
Asking what backup program to use is very much like asking, “What’s the best exercise program?”
The best program for exercise — or backup — is whichever one you’ll actually do. In order to choose what’s going to work best for you, there are several questions to ask.
That’s a quote from an email I received from someone who, honestly, I expected better of. He’s a prominent figure in my industry, and someone who has a large team of people supporting him.
To have a simple computer crash cause “huge” data loss … well, as I said, this doesn’t need to happen. Ever. Not to him, and not to you or me.
Sadly, he’s not the only one running the risk.
I’m going to take a small departure from my usual PC-centric discussions, and talk for a moment about using your smartphone.
Specifically, since I’m such a fan of Dropbox, I want to show you how to install and use Dropbox as an automatic way of backing up the photographs you take using your smartphone.
I’ll use my old Android-based Samsung Galaxy Note for these examples, but the concept applies to just about any smartphone running either IOS or Android.
The short answer is: probably not.
But that answer doesn’t relate to the error message you’re seeing.
Simple: back up first.
And by that, I mean take a complete system image backup of your entire computer before you begin the update or reinstallation process.
I’ll explain what that is and how it protects you from disaster.
I do harp on backing up a lot, I know. But it’s on purpose.
As I’ve said elsewhere, nothing protects you and your data like a complete, recent backup.
Why? Because so much can go wrong. And sadly, some of the folks trying to protect themselves from Spectre and Meltdown are probably wishing they’d backed up before doing so.
What are your criteria for deciding whether or not to take Microsoft updates?
I have Win10 and Office 2003. Regularly, when I get an update from Microsoft it trashes my Excel 2003. If I try to paste into a spreadsheet or format a cell the program crashes. I have to reinstall from my last Macrium full back-up (which includes the o/s) and then my last data backup (which does not include the o/s). I’m fed up with doing that, so I’m intending to turn off Microsoft updates. I can’t use the PC without Excel. I could go back to Win8, which is stable but nasty. I’m certainly not going to buy a new version of Office which will look nothing like Office 2003. REALISTICALLY, as opposed to THEORETICALLY, what are the dangers from turning off the Win10 updates?
Honestly, it doesn’t surprise me that Windows 10 might not be compatible with 14-year-old software. I know you like it, I get that, but Office 2003 + Windows 10 is a match made … well, somewhere other than heaven.
I’ll address the pragmatic reality of avoiding updates, and I’ll also review what I see as your alternatives with respect to Windows 10 and Office 2003.
One of the scenarios that causes problems for many people is secure boot — how to boot from anything other than the computer’s currently installed operating system. Booting from an optical or USB drive can be complicated due to UEFI and secure boot.
I recently went through the process of backing up and restoring an image backup to my Dell Latitude laptop computer, which runs Windows 10 with UEFI and secure boot enabled.
I won’t cover the process step-by-step, since those would be useful only for owners of the exact same model of laptop. Instead, I’ll review what I did at a conceptual level.
Microsoft Office is certainly the biggest player in the area of office applications. It’s become the de-facto standard across the business world. It’s also something Microsoft pushes fairly hard when you install Windows, by including the “starter” edition and the “Get Office” app in Windows 10.
There are many, many alternatives. Unfortunately, whether any of them are appropriate for your circumstance is impossible for me to say.
Let’s review the list.
Almost certainly not.
If your data is kept only with that one online provider — be it email, online photo albums, online music collections, generic “cloud” storage, or more — there’s a good chance you really have no backup at all.
The key is this: the backups online services make aren’t for your protection at all; they’re for the provider’s.
In a prior article, we created an image backup of your PC using the free version of EaseUS Todo.
Image backups are one of the most important types of backups, because they backup absolutely everything. Should you need to replace a failed hard drive, for example, an image backup will restore everything and let you continue as if nothing had happened.
But what if you don’t want everything? What if you just need a single file you know is somewhere in that image backup?
Now it’s time to use that emergency disk. Let’s restore a backup image to our machine.
Full, incremental, and differential: three confusing terms when it comes to traditional backups.
In this article, I’m going to describe how each one works so we can compare them and see which is most appropriate for you.
One of the comments I quickly received on my article “Using OneDrive for Nearly Continuous Backup” was this:
If one should fall victim to hostile file encryption, instantaneous backup to OneDrive presumably would result in those being encrypted too.
In other words, if you’re using OneDrive (or Dropbox, or other similar services) to automatically back up files online whenever they change, doesn’t that mean that ransomware would cause those backups to automatically be replaced with their encrypted versions?
But before you give in to a knee-jerk reaction to avoid online backups completely, consider this: they’ll give you more options, not fewer, should ransomware ever strike. In fact, they could save you in ways other backups might not.
Backing up is incredibly important, and it’s something I harp on a lot.
It also confuses a lot of people with its esoteric terminology and concepts.
In this article, I’m going to tackle the most fundamental term of all: “backup”.
In a prior article, we created a system image backup using the free version of EaseUS Todo. That’s by far the most important first step.
Now it’s time to prepare for the day we might need to restore that image.
It’s time to create an “Emergency Disk”, as EaseUS calls it.
When Microsoft introduced Office 365 as an annual subscription rather than a one-time purchase, I had the same reaction.
Then I did the math.
It turns out it’s a pretty good deal.
Apparently, Microsoft has decided to pull the plug on image backups (known as the “Windows 7 Backup” tool in Windows 10). My current understanding is that it is at least “deprecated”, and will likely actually be removed from a future Windows 10 update. This will leave Windows 10 with no built-in image backup capability of its own.
The official word from Microsoft is that third party utilities should be used instead. This doesn’t break my heart, as I was never a fan of the tool. I had hoped, however, that they would improve, rather than remove, the facility.
EaseUS Todo is a backup program whose free edition is superior to Windows’ built-in tool. I’ll show you how to create an image backup using it. The bonus is, this is not limited to Windows 10 at all; as of this writing, the free edition works with Windows XP, Vista, and all versions of 7, 8, and 10.
You’ve deleted some files on your computer, and you’ve emptied the Recycle Bin.
Now you wish you hadn’t deleted that one important file. Whoops.
On top of that, you did all this a few days ago, so data recovery tools are unlikely to work.
If you’ve been doing your work within your OneDrive folder, however, there is hope.
In a prior article, we turned on File History. Since then, our computer has been carefully looking for files that have changed since the last time it looked, and making backup copies to our external drive of any that have changed.
Great. So how do we access those backup copies when we need them?
There are two ways. Both are fairly straightforward.
In a previous article, we created an image backup using Windows 10’s built-in image backup tool, which it refers to as the “Windows 7 Backup.” We’ve also looked at how to restore that image, in its entirety, to your hard disk.
But what if you don’t want to restore the entire image? What if all you want is just a single file or set of files contained within the image? That’s why image backups are awesome, after all. They contain everything.
The good news is you don’t need to restore everything if you don’t want to.
Let’s restore a single file contained within a Windows 10 image backup.
Now it’s time for the rubber to meet the road.
It’s time to restore an image backup.
Backing up the files you care about on a regular basis is a common (if incomplete) approach to backing up. While I much prefer an image backup, choosing to regularly back up only the files you work on is what many would consider a minimal approach to backing up.
On the other hand, regularly backing up the files you’re working on, in addition to perhaps less-frequent image backups, represents a more robust back-up strategy.
As it turns out, Windows includes such a feature, and it’s called “File History”.
I’ve discussed Windows built-in image backup software in prior articles. Let’s build that more robust backup strategy by enabling File History.
It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of the image backup software built into Windows. To my thinking, it’s too obscure, too inflexible, and doesn’t do a good job about telling you what’s going on.
It does, however, have a couple of very strong positive attributes: it’s free and already on your machine.
And it’ll do what I consider to be the bare minimum.
Since the bare minimum is much, much better than nothing, let’s create an image backup using Windows Backup.
There are several different ways. Bluetooth might be the most inconvenient of the bunch, but I’ll touch on it, as well as the techniques I use myself.
As you might imagine, I prefer techniques that are automatic, and all in the name of backing up.
As with so many things, the answer is: it depends.
Different backup programs work in different ways, particularly when it comes to encrypted disks.
And even then, what actually happens may not reflect what probably should happen.
The answer depends on the reason you made a backup in the first place.
Let’s look at some of the reasons, and the implication of each on what’s more formally called “data retention”.
Image and clone are two very confusing backup terms.
One reason is a deep, dark, dirty little secret of the industry: we don’t all agree on what these two terms mean. Quite literally, one person’s clone is another person’s image, and vice versa.
It gets confusing, and if you’re hearing different things from different people, that’s why.
I’ll provide what I believe are the most accurate and common definitions. Hopefully, that means you’re more likely to hear people agree than disagree with what I’m saying.
This can happen for a number of reasons. In fact, it can happen to any of the Microsoft Office programs, including Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Outlook, and others.
Fortunately, Microsoft Office has an option to help deal with situations like this.
You can repair Microsoft Office.
Honestly, I’d have to see the exact error message to be sure, but there is one thing about this scenario that concerns me.
The amount of free space in a system reserved partition should have nothing to do with your ability to back up.
Good for you for even getting this far. So many people don’t bother to back up at all and end up regretting it later when the inevitable disaster happens.
There are several answers to both of your questions. Which to choose depends on what you have, your level of expertise, and how much effort you want to put into understanding and configuring your backup.
As always, there are tradeoffs.
Do you back up photos and video?
Everyone with a smartphone has a camera, and they’re using ’em right and left to snap photos and shoot videos. Add to that numerous digital cameras, from inexpensive to professional, and you’ve got a lot of digital media being created every day.
A lot of it isn’t getting backed up.
Let’s remember the goal: never have only a single copy of your photographs.
If there’s only a single copy, it’s not backed up.
Yeah, I hear those heartbreaking stories all the time, and yes, it is indeed one of the reasons that I talk so much about backing up.
Your concern about not knowing whether the backups are there or not is actually very common, as is the desire to test backups. It’s so common that I include a chapter about it in each of my books about backing up with specific tools.
Let’s review how you can get a little bit of confidence that what you have will be there when you need it.
The short answer is that you can, and it certainly provides a level of protection.
But your safety net has a hole in it.
There are definitely things you’re missing that a managed backup would catch and back up for you … things you’ll really care about should the worst happen.
Yes, but we might want to do a little more.
The problem here is that EaseUS has detected a problem with your hard disk. The good news is that this problem is not in any partition you use regularly.
But hard disk problems still make me uncomfortable, and it’s possible that this type of problem could impact your ability to perform certain types of recovery in the future.
I am a relatively new PC user and want to start backing up my hard drive. I have an external drive, and my PC has two internal drives configured in a raid set up. The PC drive has four partitions on it.
Must I create the same four partitions on the external and back up the contents of each partition in the PC to the relevant new partition on the external?
First let me say good on you for setting up a backup. Sadly, you’re in a minority. Most people still don’t think about backups until it’s too late.
The answer to your question depends in part on the capabilities of the backup software you use. But I do have some ideas and recommendations.
I was asked the other day to describe how I back up my machine. Presumably the intent was to learn some kind of “best practices” from what I choose to do for myself.
Oh, I’ll describe what I do, as best I can, but I’ll warn you: I’m a geeky edge-case, far away from what “average” computer users do. It’s unclear whether anything I do might help you directly.
The big take-away might be that I’m crazy, I back up like crazy, and I automate as much as a I can.
Beyond that … well, it’s a maze of twisty little passages.
Your question isn’t ridiculous at all. In fact, I’m certain it’s one reason so many people don’t back up: they simply don’t know how.
For something as critically important as backing up, that’s more than a little scary. I hear from people who lose important, valuable information all the time. Whether it’s from malware, hardware failure, account hacks, or other disasters, a backup can easily prevent such loss.
First, let’s look at what it means to back up a computer, and what your options are. Then, I’ll share some guidelines and tell you what I recommend for typical users.
Ultimately, this is an unanswerable question in a general sense. By that, I mean three days might be enough… or it might not.
It actually depends on a number of factors that range from your comfort level to your risk tolerance, as well as your personal back-up scheme.
To understand how long you might want to keep backups, we’ll want to look at those risks.
As I wrote in my initial reactions to Windows 10 backup, its options disappoint me.
In fact, built-in Windows backup continues a history of disappointment. Like Windows 7 and 8 before it, Windows 10 backup is at best only “acceptable”, meaning it has enough functionality to be better than nothing at all. Sadly, even that represents an improvement over previous versions of Windows.
And, no, I don’t consider “better than nothing” to be a ringing endorsement.
Download the video: free-quick-640x360_512kbps.mp4.
Download or watch in HD:
One of the common questions I get after talking about image backups is “Great – how do I make one?”
There are many ways and tools with which to make image backups. Detailed instructions will vary, of course, depending on exactly which tool you want to use.
In the brief video linked above, I’m going to show you the steps to create an image backup using Macrium Reflect’s free edition (there’s a link to the transcript of the video at the end of this post). This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive how-to, but rather a very quick demonstration of just how easy it can be to create an image backup. As brief and simple as it is, it’s possible that this may be all you need to create your own backup image.
It’s not a question of “allowing”.
By definition, restoring a full image backup will completely overwrite everything that exists on the hard disk, replacing whatever was there before, no matter what it was.
So, sure, the previous operating system, along with everything else on the hard disk, will be overwritten and replaced with the contents of the image backup.
The real question is: will what you’ve just restored then work?
Most of time, the answer is a very short “no”.
I’ll explain why that is.
As you might expect, after doing this for over a decade, there are individuals that I hear from fairly regularly, and whose names and/or email addresses become quite familiar to me. Over time, they start to feel like extended family.
This comment came from one of my long-time readers – a member of that family – after she detailed a story of … well, it really all boils down to this heartbreaking statement:
I had FIVE YEARS’ worth of files backed up in multiple places […]. Leo, I am astonished–just mind-blowingly astonished: while both [external drives had] backed up random, helter-skelter, files–sometimes redundant to the point of absurdity–BOTH did not make a backup.
She experienced a failed Windows 10 upgrade, and restored to Windows 7 only to find that massive amounts of data had been lost in the process.
A member of the family requests that we all learn from her painful experience.
There are indeed programs that can help.
They’re called “backup programs”.
While there are many, many ways to do what you’re looking to do, I’m going to review what I think is the most appropriate way.
In fact, it’s the exact way that I frequently do exactly what you’re asking about.
I’ve written some about free online backup services before, but I want to take this opportunity to look at the entire concept of online backups, whether they’re free or paid.
Online backup services can be a useful component of a broader backup strategy, but there are a number of factors to consider before deciding if online backup is the right thing to do, including security, completeness, speed, and cost.
I get this question a lot, so you’re most certainly not alone in wondering.
Here’s my take on the situation: I don’t know what free backup software came with your drive.
And chances are, neither do you.
And that should tell you something.
The size of incremental backups often surprises people.
All you do is edit one small document, and the next day your incremental backup ends up being gigabytes in size – that doesn’t make sense, right?
But it does make sense, because Windows is a very busy operating system.