Overhaul of the backup strategy – long overdue

In anticipation of an in-place repair install of Windows 10, version 21H1, I find myself compelled to revise a long-neglected backup strategy. The arrival of Macrium Reflect Free, Version 8, installed on my two machines yesterday, provided an additional stimulus. Repair installation is required, in hopes of fixing a sleep issue (it will not sleep on time), the office computer only – the portable still functioning properly, sleeping as expected.

Office : Dell XPS 8700, Intel Core i7 4790 @ 3.60 GHz processor, 16 GB RAM, “1 TB” hard drive, NVIDIA GTX 745 graphics card with 4 GB RAM, Windows 10 Pro

Date of manufacture August 19, 2015, MBR / BIOS “legacy” system, originally Windows 7 Pro, upgraded directly to Windows 10.

Portable: Dell Inspiron 15R 5537, 1.80 GHz Intel Core i7 4500U processor, 12 GB RAM, “1 TB” hard drive, Intel HD graphics, Windows 10 Home

Ship date August 06, 2013, GPT / UEFI system, originally Windows 8 Home, upgraded to 8.1, then immediately to Windows 10.

Both are now running Windows 10, version 21H1, build 19043.1348

The office The hard drive has 3 partitions; Macrium marks # 2 and # 3 as required for backup / restore:

1 – Dell Utility, FAT 16, 116 KB used on 39.2 MB

2 – Recovery, NTFS, 11.73 GB used on 24.2 GB

3 – C :, NTFS, 489.04 GB used on 907.25 GB

The portable The hard drive has 7 partitions; Macrium marks all but # 2 as required for backup / restore:

1 – ESP, FAT 32 LBA, 56.2MB used out of 500.0MB

2 – DIAGS, FAT 32 LBA, 2 KB used on 40.0 MB

3 – (MSR), unformatted, 128.0 MB used out of 128.0 MB (Microsoft reserved partition)

4 – WINRETOOLS, NTFS, 290.7 MB used out of 490.0 MB

5 – WINDOWS (C :), NTFS, 175.50 GB used on 918.02 GB

6 – (no name), NTFS, 546.4 MB used out of 627.0 MB

7 – PBR image, NTFS, 11.05 GB used on 11.76 GB (the bar on this is bright red – that is ??)

The portableThe arrangement, which appears to violate some of Microsoft’s rules for Windows 10 partition sequence, is the result of this machine’s upgrade history, without “tinkering” by me or anyone else. (I did the updates on both machines myself, they were never near a computer store or a visiting expert).

I’m sure the startup disk I made years ago for an older version of Macrium is now out of date. I hope I understood correctly that the first thing to do is to create a bootable rescue disk (on an otherwise empty USB stick, I guess), for each machine, then a backup (not a clone) of the respective hard drives. I have copied the following, posted by ranchhand on another thread here, explaining how to restore a system to disaster:

> Your computer is off.

> Plug in your MR recovery drive (aka: flash drive)

> Connect your external backup drive, make sure it is powered on

> Start the computer, the MR recovery screen appears. (I’m assuming you’ve set BIOS to USB = First Boot Device, otherwise you need to use F9 key while booting).

> Select the backup drive, then select the image you want to use (that’s why I suggest naming each image with the date it was created; for example: OCTOBRE_12_2021. Makes it easier if you keep more than one like me. Select your primary Windows drive as the target.

> Select restore and MR does the rest

> Once finished, turn off your backup drive and remove your USB stick

> Start the computer, your own Windows will start.

Obviously, backups need to be updated regularly and quite frequently.

Then there is the question of separate backups of files / folders, which can be done via Macrium or by simple copy. Is there a “best practice” for this? I tend to think that file backups should be done even more frequently than system backups? I’m assuming Macrium can be configured to do most of this automatically – but I’m not sure how to do it.

Thanks as always for the lighting.

Edited by saluqi, today, 19:33.

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