Total backup solution

I am running Windows 8.1.  I need a good, and most of all, easy to use, backup solution. Inexpensive, or free if possible.

Windows 8.1 itself has a solution but it is complicated.  In the 25 years I've been using the computer I don't remember a hard drive crash (I change computers about every three years).  So, I want to keep the problem in perspective.  I have a backup plan that works well where data is concerned, but it's the overall (if the hard drive absolutely crashes) problem I would like to have an easy backup  (and restore) solution for.

Thank you
Who is Participating?
rindiConnect With a Mentor Commented:
If this is a private, not business PC, I recommend Paragon's free backup and recovery tool.
arnoldConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Using the builtin tool to an external/sevond device should do the trick.
You have one backup(image) that you will do after updates/application installs.
The more frequent backup will be of the documents that you are familiar with.

Are you looking on having a separate system that will handle the backup or deal with the system you have?
WoodrowAAuthor Commented:
Thank you for responding.

Whether my backup is done with internal tools (like that built-in to Windows 8.1) or a third party tool, it doesn't matter, as long as I can come up with something simple and easy. I am looking at Paragon.  Having an active forum where you can ask questions is important.  Their forum seems relatively current. If I had to spring for 30 or 40 dollars for a paid for solution I'd do it, if I can find something I really like.
Marcel_DConnect With a Mentor Commented:
I'm using Acronis True Image Home for years now and it the best tool I've tested so far. Easy to use, no need for config-armageddon (but it is possible, if wanted for encryption, lifecyles, etc.)

Give it a try!

Let's approach it in a different way.
What is your expectation? By your question you focus only on a Harddrive failure.
You get up get to the computer and it turns on and has missing boot device.

Is your current and prior backup plan involve an external storage (HD, CD/DVD,USB stick)?
WoodrowAAuthor Commented:
I have a generic but related question.  At the Paragon Site I am given the option of downloading the 32 bit or 62 bit version.  I am on a New Dell 64 bit desktop but I have noticed a lot of software is install on the 64 bit machine in what appears to be 32 bit mode.  For example, Office 2013.  I am often give a choice on the internet when downloading software of 32 or 64 bit download.  I am at a loss to know which.  Is there a good (in general rule)?
You should always install the version matching your CPU bus. So 32bit => 32bit application, 64bit => 64bit application.
Exclusion to this rule is Microsoft Office. The recommendation is to install the 32bit applications for most users.

See technet for this:
WoodrowAAuthor Commented:

I have a one terabyte C drive and a second hard drive in the same computer that is a terabyte.  I also have a 500 gig external hard drive.  I backup my data files daily with a third party tool (Second copy), but about once a month or once every quarter I would like to backup everything (just in case of C drive failure). My intent would be to keep up to three of the most recent backups.  I don't care about incremental backups.  I also have a strong desire to deal with an American company.  I tried dealing with a backup company from China recently (well known) with real problems. Would like someone that is fluent in English, with an active forum.
You should get the 64bit.
 All device/component drivers must be 64bit versions.

Often when available you should get and install 64bit software on 64bit OS.
MS while making 64bit office available, recommends the installation of the 32bit version.
Some software might not be available in

The version of the application does not alter the underlying document or functionality that would make then inaccessible by the other.

In a crude way it is somewhat similar to a vehicle with front wheel drive, and then one gets one with a switchable four wheel drive option. While the person can turn four wheel drive on all the time it is not a requirement for using the vehicle.
No 64bit application can be installed or run in a 32bit system, most 32bit applications can be installed and run on a 64bit system (there are times where this is not always the case).
arnoldConnect With a Mentor Commented:
let me try and drill down further on your expectations.
You have a total of 2TB in the system with a 500GB extenal.

Presumably about 80-200GB of C is occupied by the OS/installed programs.
Imaging the entire c and d drive is likely what your issue with the builtin backup option is.
Depending on how you break up the drive usage is useful as a guide to the backup plan.

A plan can be to image the used space on C to d.
While the backup of D excluding the c: backup images as well as documents from C will be backed to the external.
Just repeating at this time, the emphasis of the backup is to mitigate a drive failure.

The backup of C image will/could be automated.  Given you are looking to have multiple versions, this requires a significant amount of space.  What is the period of time between backups of documents for which you can tolerate a loss?

I.e. If you do full daily, you will have three days of backups, with a one day tolerance. I.e. If a document goes missing, and is not noticed within the subsequent three days, the access to it will be lost.
Given you have had systems that were replaced every three years, are they still available for use for a purpose such as a storage/backup?
Is non windows solutions an option you might consider? might be one such thing., bacula backup.
I.e. Building your own SAN (freenas/openfiler) that could be used to present additional storage to your system that is hosted on a different system with
Paragon also has a paid for version...

They have only recently made different versions for 32 and 64 bit, but since you have a 64 bit OS, you should install the 64 bit version, although the 32 bit version should also run fine. You just can't install a 64 bit version to a 32 bit OS...
WoodrowAAuthor Commented:
I am going to give Paragon a try.  Thank you all
All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.