Really really simple backup question


Sharon
 

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.

Sharon

 

Sharon

 


 

Sharon,

I'm going to give it a shot at answering your questions, one by one, and including a bit of information about "the question I think you were trying to ask" in addition to what was literally there.  The questions will all be repeated, with a > at the beginning of the question quotation.

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

           A generic "backup" could be nothing other than copying files off to another drive by hand, but that's really not what the focus of the latest go-rounds was, nor will be here.

           A system image backup is, essentially, a snapshot of your computer's state:  all installed software, including the operating system, user accounts, all data associated with all user accounts, etc., taken at a given point in time and saved in a format that would allow you to restore that state, exactly, if you had a catastrophic failure of your hard drive and needed to replace it.

           Both differential and incremental backups are backups taken after a full system image backup, that collect the changes that have occurred since that last system image backup, but in slightly different ways.  Please see the article, Incremental vs differential backup – what is the difference?, which explains the differences better than I can and in non-technical terms.

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

            This is sort of the crux of the earlier discussions.   Clearly Image for Windows is great and accessible if you are willing and able to pay just under $40 for it.  But if you can't, my parallel thread about other options, whether fully accessible or just accessible for maintaining your backups, is in its infancy.  Watch that space.

> Where would be even a good starting point for a person who has never once done an image or complete backup?

             I guess my only answer is deciding whether you wish to purchase backup software or to use a free version.  Then to decide whether whatever you use has to be 100% accessible or whether you can live with having an assistant to help you set up the system image backup and/or user data backup and, heaven forbid but it could happen, do the recovery.

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

              You definitely need an external drive.   If you are using backup software, which I highly recommend, it can have lots of other stuff on it.  The backups will be placed in a folder of their own.

               I do not recommend disc cloning, which requires an external drive that's dedicated to nothing but the backup, and, ideally, would not be a regular external backup drive but a regular disc drive you could "pop in" to your machine for which you would purchase a USB enclosure where it would live while being used as an external backup drive.

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

                This question is a bit to vague to answer as posed.   Microsoft includes a built-in backup and recovery that's been around since Windows 7, at least.  They have, however, stated that it is officially deprecated and state that users should seek out third party options, which is why I don't discuss it.  This utility was for system image backup and recovery.

                 File History, which exists under Windows 10 (and Windows 8.1, I think), is an excellent starting place for taking user data backups.  I just suggest that those starting out with File History pay very careful attention to both the frequency of backup and the backup retention period.  The default frequency is hourly, which is way too often for your average home user, and retention is forever, which is a space hog particularly if you know you really generally only care about the most recent version of a file once it's more than so old.  This is why I suggest retention of three months, as this will keep all versions of the same file in File History that are younger than three months old then, as the oldest version becomes three months and one day (or more) old it gets booted out.  Versions older than your retention period get booted out successively until what's left is only the most recent version of the file from the date you last touched it.   The retention period is NOT about the age of the current and last copy of the file, but of its previous versions that were collected along the way.  The current and last version will be retained until or unless it is deleted or, if you start working on it again, as versions with the changes you've done.

By the way, I saw your comment about knowing that you don't necessarily expect total accessibility, but I thought a comprehensive answer for other readers would be useful.  Your options are a lot wider in this situation, and I can still recommend EaseUS To Do Backup Free without hesitation if you don't object to needing assistance with the setup of your backup regimen nor if recovery were ever necessary.  The part you have to deal with to take successive full system images, or incremental backups, is entirely accessible.  I don't think the free version supports differential backup, but I could be mistaken.   My own protocol is generally to take full system image backups about once per month, then deleting any of these older than the previous month's backups since I wouldn't want anything from "the wayback machine" if I have a more recent backup.

--

Brian - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134  

    The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

          ~ Dorothy Nevill


Mario
 

so Brian, Steve or anyone else, like Sharon, I'm a bit lost...
what about Drive Snapshot? I'm not sure now if it can do backups, or
can it, as it is known as a program that produces images?

-------- Original Message --------
From: Brian Vogel [mailto:britechguy@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, Aug 17, 2018 11:00 AM EST
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Really really simple backup question

Sharon,

I'm going to give it a shot at answering your questions, one by one, and
including a bit of information about "the question I think you were
trying to ask" in addition to what was literally there.  The questions
will all be repeated, with a > at the beginning of the question quotation.

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

           A generic "backup" could be nothing other than copying
files off to another drive by hand, but that's really not what the focus
of the latest go-rounds was, nor will be here.

           A system image backup is, essentially, a snapshot of your
computer's state:  all installed software, including the operating
system, user accounts, all data associated with all user accounts, etc.,
taken at a given point in time and saved in a format that would allow
you to restore that state, exactly, if you had a catastrophic failure of
your hard drive and needed to replace it.

           Both differential and incremental backups are backups taken
after a full system image backup, that collect the changes that have
occurred since that last system image backup, but in slightly different
ways.  Please see the article, *Incremental vs differential backup –
what is the difference?* (
https://www.codetwo.com/admins-blog/difference-differential-incremental-backup/
) , which explains the differences better than I can and in
non-technical terms.

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

            This is sort of the crux of the earlier discussions. 
 Clearly Image for Windows (
https://www.terabyteunlimited.com/image-for-windows.htm ) is great and
accessible if you are willing and able to pay just under $40 for it. 
But if you can't, my parallel thread about other options, whether fully
accessible or just accessible for maintaining your backups, is in its
infancy.  Watch that space.

Where would be even a good starting point for a person who has never
once done an image or complete backup?

             I guess my only answer is deciding whether you wish to
purchase backup software or to use a free version.  Then to decide
whether whatever you use has to be 100% accessible or whether you can
live with having an assistant to help you set up the system image backup
and/or user data backup and, heaven forbid but it could happen, do the
recovery.

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

              You definitely need an external drive.   If you are
using backup software, which I highly recommend, it can have lots of
other stuff on it.  The backups will be placed in a folder of their own.

               I do not recommend disc cloning, which requires an
external drive that's dedicated to nothing but the backup, and, ideally,
would not be a regular external backup drive but a regular disc drive
you could "pop in" to your machine for which you would purchase a USB
enclosure where it would live while being used as an external backup drive.

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

                This question is a bit to vague to answer as posed. 
 Microsoft includes a built-in backup and recovery that's been around
since Windows 7, at least.  They have, however, stated that it is
officially deprecated and state that users should seek out third party
options, which is why I don't discuss it.  This utility was for system
image backup and recovery.

                 File History, which exists under Windows 10 (and
Windows 8.1, I think), is an excellent starting place for taking user
data backups.  I just suggest that those starting out with File History
pay very careful attention to both the frequency of backup and the
backup retention period.  The default frequency is hourly, which is way
too often for your average home user, and retention is forever, which is
a space hog particularly if you know you really generally only care
about the most recent version of a file once it's more than so old. 
This is why I suggest retention of three months, as this will keep all
versions of the same file in File History that are younger than three
months old then, as the oldest version becomes three months and one day
(or more) old it gets booted out.  Versions older than your retention
period get booted out successively until what's left is only the most
recent version of the file from the date you last touched it.   The
retention period is NOT about the age of the current and last copy of
the file, but of its previous versions that were collected along the
way.  The current and last version will be retained until or unless it
is deleted or, if you start working on it again, as versions with the
changes you've done.

By the way, I saw your comment about knowing that you don't necessarily
expect total accessibility, but I thought a comprehensive answer for
other readers would be useful.  Your options are a lot wider in this
situation, and I can still recommend EaseUS To Do Backup Free without
hesitation if you don't object to needing assistance with the setup of
your backup regimen nor if recovery were ever necessary.  The part you
have to deal with to take successive full system images, or incremental
backups, is entirely accessible.  I don't think the free version
supports differential backup, but I could be mistaken.   My own protocol
is generally to take full system image backups about once per month,
then deleting any of these older than the previous month's backups since
I wouldn't want anything from "the wayback machine" if I have a more
recent backup.

--

Brian *-* Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134

   The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in
the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

          ~ Dorothy Nevill


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. https://www.acronis.com/en-us/articles/incremental-differential-backups 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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bootstrapping

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 https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4026852/windows-create-a-recovery-drive

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 https://www.dropbox.com/s/654zldv0meha93c/PE%20Builder.mp3?dl=1 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.

Sharon

 

Sharon

 




 

Mario,

           I presume you're talking about this Drive Snapshot (v1.46).

           Yes, it does backups, and it's own webpage states, "Disk Image Backup for Windows."

           Disk image, system image, potato, po-tah-to.

           One could, of course, take a disk image backup of a disk other than your system disc, too, but that's not what's been being talked about.  It appears that Drive Snapshot allows you to selectively recover files/folders as well, which is a very nice feature not always available.
 
--

Brian - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134  

    The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

          ~ Dorothy Nevill


Sharon
 

Okay, I think I understand. So with file history you are saying that files are not deleted after three months if it’s the only file you have?

Like if a file is six months old but I haven’t changed it at all in that time, it wouldn’t be deleted?

And I’m assuming this is data backup not image backup right?

Sharon

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Friday, August 17, 2018 11:01 AM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Really really simple backup question

 

Sharon,

I'm going to give it a shot at answering your questions, one by one, and including a bit of information about "the question I think you were trying to ask" in addition to what was literally there.  The questions will all be repeated, with a > at the beginning of the question quotation.

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

           A generic "backup" could be nothing other than copying files off to another drive by hand, but that's really not what the focus of the latest go-rounds was, nor will be here.

           A system image backup is, essentially, a snapshot of your computer's state:  all installed software, including the operating system, user accounts, all data associated with all user accounts, etc., taken at a given point in time and saved in a format that would allow you to restore that state, exactly, if you had a catastrophic failure of your hard drive and needed to replace it.

           Both differential and incremental backups are backups taken after a full system image backup, that collect the changes that have occurred since that last system image backup, but in slightly different ways.  Please see the article, Incremental vs differential backup – what is the difference?, which explains the differences better than I can and in non-technical terms.

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

            This is sort of the crux of the earlier discussions.   Clearly Image for Windows is great and accessible if you are willing and able to pay just under $40 for it.  But if you can't, my parallel thread about other options, whether fully accessible or just accessible for maintaining your backups, is in its infancy.  Watch that space.

> Where would be even a good starting point for a person who has never once done an image or complete backup?

             I guess my only answer is deciding whether you wish to purchase backup software or to use a free version.  Then to decide whether whatever you use has to be 100% accessible or whether you can live with having an assistant to help you set up the system image backup and/or user data backup and, heaven forbid but it could happen, do the recovery.

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

              You definitely need an external drive.   If you are using backup software, which I highly recommend, it can have lots of other stuff on it.  The backups will be placed in a folder of their own.

               I do not recommend disc cloning, which requires an external drive that's dedicated to nothing but the backup, and, ideally, would not be a regular external backup drive but a regular disc drive you could "pop in" to your machine for which you would purchase a USB enclosure where it would live while being used as an external backup drive.

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

                This question is a bit to vague to answer as posed.   Microsoft includes a built-in backup and recovery that's been around since Windows 7, at least.  They have, however, stated that it is officially deprecated and state that users should seek out third party options, which is why I don't discuss it.  This utility was for system image backup and recovery.

                 File History, which exists under Windows 10 (and Windows 8.1, I think), is an excellent starting place for taking user data backups.  I just suggest that those starting out with File History pay very careful attention to both the frequency of backup and the backup retention period.  The default frequency is hourly, which is way too often for your average home user, and retention is forever, which is a space hog particularly if you know you really generally only care about the most recent version of a file once it's more than so old.  This is why I suggest retention of three months, as this will keep all versions of the same file in File History that are younger than three months old then, as the oldest version becomes three months and one day (or more) old it gets booted out.  Versions older than your retention period get booted out successively until what's left is only the most recent version of the file from the date you last touched it.   The retention period is NOT about the age of the current and last copy of the file, but of its previous versions that were collected along the way.  The current and last version will be retained until or unless it is deleted or, if you start working on it again, as versions with the changes you've done.

By the way, I saw your comment about knowing that you don't necessarily expect total accessibility, but I thought a comprehensive answer for other readers would be useful.  Your options are a lot wider in this situation, and I can still recommend EaseUS To Do Backup Free without hesitation if you don't object to needing assistance with the setup of your backup regimen nor if recovery were ever necessary.  The part you have to deal with to take successive full system images, or incremental backups, is entirely accessible.  I don't think the free version supports differential backup, but I could be mistaken.   My own protocol is generally to take full system image backups about once per month, then deleting any of these older than the previous month's backups since I wouldn't want anything from "the wayback machine" if I have a more recent backup.

--

Brian - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134  

    The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

          ~ Dorothy Nevill


 

Sharon,

           Correct, correct, and correct.

           The retention period in File History, and any backup software that is an incremental data backup, is how long do I retain the versions other than the current static version.  The frequency of backup is how often do I want to make a new copy if anything is changed.

             I'm going to give an analogy that I think is reasonably easy to grasp.   Think of the various versions as photocopies of the original document, taken at a specific time, that are held in a filing cabinet.  Once every backup period (let's say one hour) someone's checking the filing cabinet to see if the oldest photocopy is older than the retention period (let's say 4 hours).  If it is older it gets tossed.  This continues hourly until the only copy left in the cabinet is the most recent photocopy.

             If you make a change 5 weeks later, then a new photocopy is placed in the folder.  If you keep making changes over the course of 4 hours, multiple copies will be kept while this changing is going on, and the oldest copies tossed away when they are older than 4 hours.

             You eventually have only one backed up copy of anything that is older than the retention period and that has not been changed.  It will only be deleted from the backup if you delete the original, and even that, I believe, won't happen until the retention period has passed for the one copy has been sitting there.

--

Brian - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134  

    The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

          ~ Dorothy Nevill


Steve Matzura
 

 Brian,

The ability to pull  files  out of an image backup does exist in the TDIBRS. An image can be opened like an archive (ZIP, LZH, GZip, etc.), or mounted and given a letter like a disk. This was never brought up in the original discussion, but before you or anyone else asked, I thought I'd pre-answer.

On 8/17/2018 12:11 PM, Brian Vogel wrote:
Mario,

           I presume you're talking about this Drive Snapshot (v1.46).

           Yes, it does backups, and it's own webpage states, "Disk Image Backup for Windows."

           Disk image, system image, potato, po-tah-to.

           One could, of course, take a disk image backup of a disk other than your system disc, too, but that's not what's been being talked about.  It appears that Drive Snapshot allows you to selectively recover files/folders as well, which is a very nice feature not always available.
 


ely.r@...
 

 

Great job Professor Brian. Sharron, Good job of structuring your “simple” questions.

Going to keep this but promise to site both of you if I quote it anywhere.

Rik

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Friday, August 17, 2018 11:01 AM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Really really simple backup question

 

Sharon,

I'm going to give it a shot at answering your questions, one by one, and including a bit of information about "the question I think you were trying to ask" in addition to what was literally there.  The questions will all be repeated, with a > at the beginning of the question quotation.

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

           A generic "backup" could be nothing other than copying files off to another drive by hand, but that's really not what the focus of the latest go-rounds was, nor will be here.

           A system image backup is, essentially, a snapshot of your computer's state:  all installed software, including the operating system, user accounts, all data associated with all user accounts, etc., taken at a given point in time and saved in a format that would allow you to restore that state, exactly, if you had a catastrophic failure of your hard drive and needed to replace it.

           Both differential and incremental backups are backups taken after a full system image backup, that collect the changes that have occurred since that last system image backup, but in slightly different ways.  Please see the article, Incremental vs differential backup – what is the difference?, which explains the differences better than I can and in non-technical terms.

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

            This is sort of the crux of the earlier discussions.   Clearly Image for Windows is great and accessible if you are willing and able to pay just under $40 for it.  But if you can't, my parallel thread about other options, whether fully accessible or just accessible for maintaining your backups, is in its infancy.  Watch that space.

> Where would be even a good starting point for a person who has never once done an image or complete backup?

             I guess my only answer is deciding whether you wish to purchase backup software or to use a free version.  Then to decide whether whatever you use has to be 100% accessible or whether you can live with having an assistant to help you set up the system image backup and/or user data backup and, heaven forbid but it could happen, do the recovery.

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

              You definitely need an external drive.   If you are using backup software, which I highly recommend, it can have lots of other stuff on it.  The backups will be placed in a folder of their own.

               I do not recommend disc cloning, which requires an external drive that's dedicated to nothing but the backup, and, ideally, would not be a regular external backup drive but a regular disc drive you could "pop in" to your machine for which you would purchase a USB enclosure where it would live while being used as an external backup drive.

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

                This question is a bit to vague to answer as posed.   Microsoft includes a built-in backup and recovery that's been around since Windows 7, at least.  They have, however, stated that it is officially deprecated and state that users should seek out third party options, which is why I don't discuss it.  This utility was for system image backup and recovery.

                 File History, which exists under Windows 10 (and Windows 8.1, I think), is an excellent starting place for taking user data backups.  I just suggest that those starting out with File History pay very careful attention to both the frequency of backup and the backup retention period.  The default frequency is hourly, which is way too often for your average home user, and retention is forever, which is a space hog particularly if you know you really generally only care about the most recent version of a file once it's more than so old.  This is why I suggest retention of three months, as this will keep all versions of the same file in File History that are younger than three months old then, as the oldest version becomes three months and one day (or more) old it gets booted out.  Versions older than your retention period get booted out successively until what's left is only the most recent version of the file from the date you last touched it.   The retention period is NOT about the age of the current and last copy of the file, but of its previous versions that were collected along the way.  The current and last version will be retained until or unless it is deleted or, if you start working on it again, as versions with the changes you've done.

By the way, I saw your comment about knowing that you don't necessarily expect total accessibility, but I thought a comprehensive answer for other readers would be useful.  Your options are a lot wider in this situation, and I can still recommend EaseUS To Do Backup Free without hesitation if you don't object to needing assistance with the setup of your backup regimen nor if recovery were ever necessary.  The part you have to deal with to take successive full system images, or incremental backups, is entirely accessible.  I don't think the free version supports differential backup, but I could be mistaken.   My own protocol is generally to take full system image backups about once per month, then deleting any of these older than the previous month's backups since I wouldn't want anything from "the wayback machine" if I have a more recent backup.

--

Brian - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134  

    The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

          ~ Dorothy Nevill


Stan Bobbitt
 

Thank you very much Brian for this comprehensive information!

Stan B

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Friday, August 17, 2018 11:01 AM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Really really simple backup question

 

Sharon,

I'm going to give it a shot at answering your questions, one by one, and including a bit of information about "the question I think you were trying to ask" in addition to what was literally there.  The questions will all be repeated, with a > at the beginning of the question quotation.

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

           A generic "backup" could be nothing other than copying files off to another drive by hand, but that's really not what the focus of the latest go-rounds was, nor will be here.

           A system image backup is, essentially, a snapshot of your computer's state:  all installed software, including the operating system, user accounts, all data associated with all user accounts, etc., taken at a given point in time and saved in a format that would allow you to restore that state, exactly, if you had a catastrophic failure of your hard drive and needed to replace it.

           Both differential and incremental backups are backups taken after a full system image backup, that collect the changes that have occurred since that last system image backup, but in slightly different ways.  Please see the article, Incremental vs differential backup – what is the difference?, which explains the differences better than I can and in non-technical terms.

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

            This is sort of the crux of the earlier discussions.   Clearly Image for Windows is great and accessible if you are willing and able to pay just under $40 for it.  But if you can't, my parallel thread about other options, whether fully accessible or just accessible for maintaining your backups, is in its infancy.  Watch that space.

> Where would be even a good starting point for a person who has never once done an image or complete backup?

             I guess my only answer is deciding whether you wish to purchase backup software or to use a free version.  Then to decide whether whatever you use has to be 100% accessible or whether you can live with having an assistant to help you set up the system image backup and/or user data backup and, heaven forbid but it could happen, do the recovery.

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

              You definitely need an external drive.   If you are using backup software, which I highly recommend, it can have lots of other stuff on it.  The backups will be placed in a folder of their own.

               I do not recommend disc cloning, which requires an external drive that's dedicated to nothing but the backup, and, ideally, would not be a regular external backup drive but a regular disc drive you could "pop in" to your machine for which you would purchase a USB enclosure where it would live while being used as an external backup drive.

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

                This question is a bit to vague to answer as posed.   Microsoft includes a built-in backup and recovery that's been around since Windows 7, at least.  They have, however, stated that it is officially deprecated and state that users should seek out third party options, which is why I don't discuss it.  This utility was for system image backup and recovery.

                 File History, which exists under Windows 10 (and Windows 8.1, I think), is an excellent starting place for taking user data backups.  I just suggest that those starting out with File History pay very careful attention to both the frequency of backup and the backup retention period.  The default frequency is hourly, which is way too often for your average home user, and retention is forever, which is a space hog particularly if you know you really generally only care about the most recent version of a file once it's more than so old.  This is why I suggest retention of three months, as this will keep all versions of the same file in File History that are younger than three months old then, as the oldest version becomes three months and one day (or more) old it gets booted out.  Versions older than your retention period get booted out successively until what's left is only the most recent version of the file from the date you last touched it.   The retention period is NOT about the age of the current and last copy of the file, but of its previous versions that were collected along the way.  The current and last version will be retained until or unless it is deleted or, if you start working on it again, as versions with the changes you've done.

By the way, I saw your comment about knowing that you don't necessarily expect total accessibility, but I thought a comprehensive answer for other readers would be useful.  Your options are a lot wider in this situation, and I can still recommend EaseUS To Do Backup Free without hesitation if you don't object to needing assistance with the setup of your backup regimen nor if recovery were ever necessary.  The part you have to deal with to take successive full system images, or incremental backups, is entirely accessible.  I don't think the free version supports differential backup, but I could be mistaken.   My own protocol is generally to take full system image backups about once per month, then deleting any of these older than the previous month's backups since I wouldn't want anything from "the wayback machine" if I have a more recent backup.

--

Brian - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134  

    The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

          ~ Dorothy Nevill


Steve Matzura
 

I wish there was a kind of backup that takes into account deletions as well as changes. Scenario: Sunday I run a full backup. Monday I delete something, and later in the day, run an incremental or differential backup, either one gets me the same result--no new copy of the file I deleted, but no indication that the file was deleted. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, everything goes well. Friday I have a problem and need to restore the disk,so I whip out my weekly backups to date, restore everything, and oh look, the file I thought I deleted is back!  The mere presence of that file caused a problem, and that's why it had to be deleted. Now the disk has been restored, the deleted file is back, and with it, the condition that caused it to have to be deleted in the first place. In a large org,  that fact may take a while to trickle down to those who need to know about it.


Is the previous scenario real-world? Yes it is. It has happened to me more than once. The file that was deleted was a bit of data that had mistakes in it and should not have been included in an accounting roll-up. When the disk was restored, the file came back, got included in the roll-up, and the month-end figures were wrong again. Took almost a full day for the number-crunchers to figure it out, call us, have us ferret out the problem, and remove the offending file for the second time.


On 8/17/2018 5:13 PM, ely.r@... wrote:

 

Great job Professor Brian. Sharron, Good job of structuring your “simple” questions.

Going to keep this but promise to site both of you if I quote it anywhere.

Rik

 

From: main@jfw.groups.io <main@jfw.groups.io> On Behalf Of Brian Vogel
Sent: Friday, August 17, 2018 11:01 AM
To: main@jfw.groups.io
Subject: Re: Really really simple backup question

 

Sharon,

I'm going to give it a shot at answering your questions, one by one, and including a bit of information about "the question I think you were trying to ask" in addition to what was literally there.  The questions will all be repeated, with a > at the beginning of the question quotation.

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

           A generic "backup" could be nothing other than copying files off to another drive by hand, but that's really not what the focus of the latest go-rounds was, nor will be here.

           A system image backup is, essentially, a snapshot of your computer's state:  all installed software, including the operating system, user accounts, all data associated with all user accounts, etc., taken at a given point in time and saved in a format that would allow you to restore that state, exactly, if you had a catastrophic failure of your hard drive and needed to replace it.

           Both differential and incremental backups are backups taken after a full system image backup, that collect the changes that have occurred since that last system image backup, but in slightly different ways.  Please see the article, Incremental vs differential backup – what is the difference?, which explains the differences better than I can and in non-technical terms.

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

            This is sort of the crux of the earlier discussions.   Clearly Image for Windows is great and accessible if you are willing and able to pay just under $40 for it.  But if you can't, my parallel thread about other options, whether fully accessible or just accessible for maintaining your backups, is in its infancy.  Watch that space.

> Where would be even a good starting point for a person who has never once done an image or complete backup?

             I guess my only answer is deciding whether you wish to purchase backup software or to use a free version.  Then to decide whether whatever you use has to be 100% accessible or whether you can live with having an assistant to help you set up the system image backup and/or user data backup and, heaven forbid but it could happen, do the recovery.

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

              You definitely need an external drive.   If you are using backup software, which I highly recommend, it can have lots of other stuff on it.  The backups will be placed in a folder of their own.

               I do not recommend disc cloning, which requires an external drive that's dedicated to nothing but the backup, and, ideally, would not be a regular external backup drive but a regular disc drive you could "pop in" to your machine for which you would purchase a USB enclosure where it would live while being used as an external backup drive.

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

                This question is a bit to vague to answer as posed.   Microsoft includes a built-in backup and recovery that's been around since Windows 7, at least.  They have, however, stated that it is officially deprecated and state that users should seek out third party options, which is why I don't discuss it.  This utility was for system image backup and recovery.

                 File History, which exists under Windows 10 (and Windows 8.1, I think), is an excellent starting place for taking user data backups.  I just suggest that those starting out with File History pay very careful attention to both the frequency of backup and the backup retention period.  The default frequency is hourly, which is way too often for your average home user, and retention is forever, which is a space hog particularly if you know you really generally only care about the most recent version of a file once it's more than so old.  This is why I suggest retention of three months, as this will keep all versions of the same file in File History that are younger than three months old then, as the oldest version becomes three months and one day (or more) old it gets booted out.  Versions older than your retention period get booted out successively until what's left is only the most recent version of the file from the date you last touched it.   The retention period is NOT about the age of the current and last copy of the file, but of its previous versions that were collected along the way.  The current and last version will be retained until or unless it is deleted or, if you start working on it again, as versions with the changes you've done.

By the way, I saw your comment about knowing that you don't necessarily expect total accessibility, but I thought a comprehensive answer for other readers would be useful.  Your options are a lot wider in this situation, and I can still recommend EaseUS To Do Backup Free without hesitation if you don't object to needing assistance with the setup of your backup regimen nor if recovery were ever necessary.  The part you have to deal with to take successive full system images, or incremental backups, is entirely accessible.  I don't think the free version supports differential backup, but I could be mistaken.   My own protocol is generally to take full system image backups about once per month, then deleting any of these older than the previous month's backups since I wouldn't want anything from "the wayback machine" if I have a more recent backup.



 

On Sat, Aug 18, 2018 at 05:38 AM, Steve Matzura wrote:
I wish there was a kind of backup that takes into account deletions as well as changes.
Isn't there?  That's the whole purpose of incremental or differential backups, so that you can restore to a point post baseline (full image) to any given backup point.  This should take into account file deletions. 

Incrementals take much longer to restore from because of the "sifting through" involved with it and differentials take way more space because that "sifting through" is done to decide just what gets added and removed at the differential backup time and includes each and every file change and deletion in each backup set.

This would seem to be a quirk of the particular backup utility being used, as no incremental/differential restore to "Wednesday's backup time" should bring back a file that was intentionally deleted on Tuesday.  It should be intelligent enough to either not have that file in the set (differential) or to nuke it itself when the last incremental time doesn't match the last check time in the set.

--

Brian - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134  

    The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing in the right place but to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.

          ~ Dorothy Nevill


Steve Matzura
 

Brian,


Everything you say is absolutely true and correct, but I've not yet seen a backup program behave this way. Just because a file is not in an incremental backup doesn't mean it's been deleted. It could just mean it hasn't been modified, therefore, no need to back it up and have it appear in said incremental backup. Just because it's not in the series of incremental backups made since the last image doesn't necessarily mean it's been deleted. I've been complaining about this for forty years now.


On 8/18/2018 9:47 AM, Brian Vogel wrote:
On Sat, Aug 18, 2018 at 05:38 AM, Steve Matzura wrote:
I wish there was a kind of backup that takes into account deletions as well as changes.
Isn't there?  That's the whole purpose of incremental or differential backups, so that you can restore to a point post baseline (full image) to any given backup point.  This should take into account file deletions. 

Incrementals take much longer to restore from because of the "sifting through" involved with it and differentials take way more space because that "sifting through" is done to decide just what gets added and removed at the differential backup time and includes each and every file change and deletion in each backup set.

This would seem to be a quirk of the particular backup utility being used, as no incremental/differential restore to "Wednesday's backup time" should bring back a file that was intentionally deleted on Tuesday.  It should be intelligent enough to either not have that file in the set (differential) or to nuke it itself when the last incremental time doesn't match the last check time in the set.



John Covici
 

I can tell you that at least with Macrium, it works as you would
expected, because all changed sectors are modified, including the
folder where the file was stored, so indeed its deleted when you
restore, if you restore the disk as a whole, and restore after a time
when the file was deleted.

On Sat, 18 Aug 2018 09:58:47 -0400,
Steve Matzura wrote:

[1 <text/plain; utf-8 (8bit)>]
[2 <text/html; utf-8 (8bit)>]
Brian,

Everything you say is absolutely true and correct, but I've not yet seen a backup program behave this way. Just because a file is not in an incremental backup doesn't mean it's been deleted. It could just mean it hasn't been modified,
therefore, no need to back it up and have it appear in said incremental backup. Just because it's not in the series of incremental backups made since the last image doesn't necessarily mean it's been deleted. I've been complaining about
this for forty years now.

On 8/18/2018 9:47 AM, Brian Vogel wrote:

On Sat, Aug 18, 2018 at 05:38 AM, Steve Matzura wrote:

I wish there was a kind of backup that takes into account deletions as well as changes.

Isn't there? That's the whole purpose of incremental or differential backups, so that you can restore to a point post baseline (full image) to any given backup point. This should take into account file deletions.

Incrementals take much longer to restore from because of the "sifting through" involved with it and differentials take way more space because that "sifting through" is done to decide just what gets added and removed at the
differential backup time and includes each and every file change and deletion in each backup set.

This would seem to be a quirk of the particular backup utility being used, as no incremental/differential restore to "Wednesday's backup time" should bring back a file that was intentionally deleted on Tuesday. It should be
intelligent enough to either not have that file in the set (differential) or to nuke it itself when the last incremental time doesn't match the last check time in the set.

--
Your life is like a penny. You're going to lose it. The question is:
How do
you spend it?

John Covici wb2una
covici@ccs.covici.com