What Backup Program Should I Use?

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.

Read moreWhat Backup Program Should I Use?

How Do I Test Backups?

//
I do backups of my data using Windows but it’s not maybe as retrievable as I would like it to be. I don’t know exactly how to test backups to know whether they’re really there. It says they are but are they? I’ve had to use the system image to restore function once when my computer became infected with something. I basically just transferred the system image back to my C drive and it solved all my problems. I must say I’m thankful to you for strongly encouraging everyone to do backups. I can’t tell you how many friends and family have lost stuff – everything – because of not backing up. Pictures, important data. Loss of pictures seems to be the most heartbreaking.

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.

Read moreHow Do I Test Backups?

Why testing your backups is critical

//
I wrote to suggest, …, that you write an article IN CAPITAL LETTERS if necessary that verifying a back-up is exigent. Exigent.

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.

Read moreWhy testing your backups is critical

What Backup Program do You Use?

This is somewhat backwards from my usual approach.

Normally I’m pleading with you to back up, and throwing out recommendations for programs and techniques to help make it easier and more likely that you’ll do so.

My most recent book is yet another attempt to make backing up simpler: Just Do This: Back Up!

But I’m currently faced with a dilemma. If you are backing up, the tables have turned.

I need your advice.

Read moreWhat Backup Program do You Use?

Why do you prefer Macrium Reflect over Windows 7’s backup program?

//
Is Macrium Reflect superior to the disk imaging utility included with a 32-bit version of Windows 7? And if so, in what regard?

To begin with, I wouldn’t call Windows 7’s backup program a disk imaging program exactly. Yes, it can create what we would call an image backup. But the term “disk imaging utility” really implies, to me, a lot more functionality than the Windows 7 backup program actually has.

While the Windows 7 backup program is perhaps the first utility built into Windows that meets what I consider the bare minimum necessary for a backup program, I definitely prefer solutions like Reflect.

Read moreWhy do you prefer Macrium Reflect over Windows 7’s backup program?

Why does my computer crash when I try to back up?

//
My husband keeps telling me that I need to backup my computer so that we don’t lose our photos or files from my home business. A couple of years ago, we spent $100 to buy an external hard drive. We used it, but it would freeze my computer. It would literally take a day or two before we could get the machine to work again. We contacted the company and they sent out a different software download. We tried for a year to get that blasted external hard drive to work. My computer would shut down within five minutes of plugging it in.

We bought a new computer and tried the same external hard drive with the same results. We then purchased a program from my husband’s college called Crash Plan. The same result as the hard drive happened. We uninstalled the program. Last week, my husband again pleaded to me to have me backup my files. We purchased a plan for $50 through iDrive. It actually started to backup files – good progress! 50 hours later, we were only at 25%. My computer was hot to the touch and the fan was running so loud that you could hear it upstairs. We paused the program just to let the computer rest. We let it rest for two days. I turned it on this morning and it froze three times within the hour. Even Ctrl + Alt + Delete wouldn’t work. Why will my computer not back up files? There honestly has to be a better way.

Backing up shouldn’t be this hard. All of the things that you’ve tried should work.

Your computer shouldn’t crash after you plug in an external hard drive or run a backup. Technically, a computer should never crash. The only thing that has me puzzled here is that the crash happened on two different computers.

So, let’s talk about what could be going on here.

Read moreWhy does my computer crash when I try to back up?

Macrium Reflect – Powerful Windows Backup Software

I consider backing up to be one of the fundamental necessities for anyone who uses a computer.

As anyone with even a little experience will tell you, you will lose something important someday without a backup; it’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when. And someone with more than a little experience will also be able to share horror stories of how and when they learned this important lesson.

In my opinion, that’s why it’s critical that you backup your computer and data regularly. As I’ve said repeatedly, if your data is in only one place, it’s not backed up.

Over the years, I’ve developed a set of criteria – a set of features and characteristics – that I want out of a backup program before I recommend it.

Macrium Reflect makes the cut.

Read moreMacrium Reflect – Powerful Windows Backup Software