Re: Really really simple backup question

Steve Matzura

Your questions demonstrate the crying need for a good tutorial and explanation. This list isn't the appropriate place for one, but the Web is full of good articles that will definitely answer your questions. is just such an article, and as you see, it's from Acronis , which software has been discussed here, and a light version of which comes on Carlos Nazario's talking Windows 7 and 10 Pre-installation Environment disks. Terabyte Unlimited's Drive Image Backup and Restore Suite (TDIBRS), also known as Image for Windows (IFW),  can do all the kinds of backups described in the article. I'm not familiar enough with the native Windows backup program to say for sure, but I don't think it does anything except image backups. As you'll see when you read the above-cited article, images are just the first and most basic step in an overall backup strategy.

First, a definition or two. IN the next couple paragraphs, I mention system disks and boot disks. Those two  phrases are synonymous. A system or boot disk is the one containing the operating system--Windows in this case--that runs your computer and all the software programs, or "apps" as most people call them these days. Without a system disk, there's no system. A system disk is also bootable, boot being a short form for the old term "bootstrap," which comes from  a procedure of connecting short wires that looked like, you guessed it, bootstraps, between points on an electronic circuit board to load a short sequence of instructions into memory. More on that from

Yes, you will definitely need a second drive, internal or external, it doesn't matter, to store images and incrementals.

Yes, the native (included) Windows backup program is an excellent start. You will need to make a Windows Recovery disk as well because it's required to run the Windows backup program  if you ever need to restore the boot drive from an image made with it. The holy gospel according to Microsoft on how to do this is at

Yes, you can do it all and do it accessibly with no sighted assistance required.

If you don't use Microsoft's backup program--i.e., if you choose another, such as the Terabyte program, you don't need the Windows   Recovery disk, but if you have one, you'll have what you need to boot a pre-installation copy of Windows, bring up Narrator, and run the external copy of your backup program, IFW or otherwise, to restore (i.e. recreate) your system's boot disk. That's what most people use the Windows 10 Pre-installation Environment for.

In the case of the Terabyte product, as I mentioned in a previous message yesterday or so, there is one additional requirement. A "portable" copy must be built on another drive which will be used if you need to restore the system disk. A booted system disk cannot be restored, at least not by IFW or Microsoft's native backup program, which is why a secondary bootable medium, such as the Windows Recovery disk, or Carlos Nazario's Windows 7 or 10 Talking Pre-installation Environment disk, is needed. The portable copy of IFW is very small and can be stored on the same drive used to hold the image file created by an image backup of the system (or boot) disk. Instructions for building the portable version of IFW are covered in a short program I made, which can be downloaded from Don't let the term "build" fool you. The program used to do this is called the BartPE Builder, but all you have to do is answer a few simple questions in a dialog, and click, it's done. Opening a can of soda is harder. LOL.

I hope this ties a lot of things together for a lot of readers. If you have questions on backup strategies, let's take them off-list before we incur the justifiable wrath of the list moderator(s), since none of this really has much to do with JAWS. Backup and disaster prevention and recovery are my specialties, and I'm happy to  help anyone who  wants to learn how to formulate a personal strategy that will keep them and their systems safe and threat-free.

On 8/17/2018 9:58 AM, Sharon wrote:

I have read all of the posts and have understood about ten percent of the information.

So let me ask a few really simple questions for those of us who were very lost through these whole conversations.


So far, I’ve just backed up certain folders I really cared about on to an external hard drive, but this meant that my contacts and email files from Outlook were not backed up and also my programs.


What is the difference between a backup, a differential backup, an integral backup, a system backup?

I’m totally lost.

What if I wanted to get a complete backup of my system, and had no idea at all which program to get?

Where would be even a good starting point for a person who has never once done an image or complete backup? By that I mean like a picture of the whole system?

I don’t even know if I’m asking these questions correctly!

But I’m pretty lost and would like to attempt this.

Would I need an external drive with nothing else on it?

Is the Microsoft product a good starting place for a person who has never done anything like this before?

Or would one of the other programs you mentioned be a better starting place?

I don’t expect total accessibility and know I might need sighted assistance.





Join to automatically receive all group messages.