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What is the best backup software for Windows 7 Professional 64 bit?

Posted on 2016-09-07
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Last Modified: 2016-10-27
I have read various reviews of backup software, but I am not sure which one to pick.   I want one that runs automatically, allows for a boot CD and can be used to allow restoration of individual files, rather than simply an entire disk image.   I would also like to be able to restore to dissimilar hardware in the event of a hard drive failure.
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Question by:DoctorK12008
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18 Comments
 
LVL 34

Expert Comment

by:Dan Craciun
ID: 41787767
Acronis True Image.

HTH,
Dan
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 41787806
For that the best is Paragon's Backup and Recovery:

https://www.paragon-software.com/home/brh/
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LVL 26

Expert Comment

by:Dr. Klahn
ID: 41788798
As always, "best" is a matter of personal preference and there are as many opinions as there are experts.

I used to use Acronis, but since version 8 I no longer trust it.

I use Macrium Reflect, which I think is very good.  The basic version is free, so you can try it without risk.
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Author Comment

by:DoctorK12008
ID: 41789453
I just installed Paragon Backup and Recovery.   I am currently evaluating it and will post a comment within the next few days.
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Author Comment

by:DoctorK12008
ID: 41791769
I was able to back up the C: drive onto a second HD, but when I restored it, to a different HD, the new HD would not boot.   I was just doing this as a test to see if a restore would work.
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 41791773
Did you remove the original disk before restoring, and did you use the CD you made to boot the PC and restore the backup?
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Author Comment

by:DoctorK12008
ID: 41791809
Yes to both questions.
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LVL 88

Expert Comment

by:rindi
ID: 41791828
Is the BIOS set to boot from the new DISK? Did you backup/restore all the needed partitions, particularly the small, hidden ones? Is your disk GPT or MBR?
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Author Comment

by:DoctorK12008
ID: 41791834
As far as I know, the disk is MBR.   The BIOS is set to boot from the new disk.   I just restored whatever the Paragon program saved as a backup.   It seemed to back up the entire HD.
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LVL 27

Expert Comment

by:Thomas Zucker-Scharff
ID: 41795352
Paragon. No doubt about it. A secondary backup like driveimageXml,  is good to have around (DIX is only for home use).
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LVL 80

Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 41795357
On versions of windows vista and newer the boot sequence is different than in previous versions of windows.
You have the boot block which loads bootmgr which reads the bcd store.  The bcd store is usually located in its own 450 MB partition.  The bcd store locates the windows partition by loading the disk id of that partition rather than the previous disk #/Partition # scheme of ntldr (win xp) boot.ini. The disk ID is stored as a GUID (globally unique identifier).  Only a full image restore will keep this disk identifier.  

This means that one must backup the boot block, the System Reserved Partition, and the OS partition and restore them as a unified set.

A GPT disk is more complex in that it will have a boot block, a 450MB System Partition,  a 16MB Reserved Partition, and the Primary partition that contains the OS.

The boot block is always the first sector on the hard drive which means if this sector is damaged or unreadable the drive can never be used to boot the Operating System.

If one only recovers the OS partition then you have to fix up the boot sequence.. by 1st creating a NT60 boot sector using bootsect.  If you didn't restore the System Reserved Partition (no drive letter) bootsect which will rewrite the MBR and create the BCD store.. The BCD store will probably be pointing to an incorrect GUID and running 'bcdboot x:' where X: is the drive letter of the OS as shown in the recovery disk.  This may or may not be C:   This running of bcdboot will adjust the BCDStore to point to the correct disk identifier (GUID)

Note: many disk management programs including disk imaging software have problems with GPT drives as it is relatively NEW in comparison with the MBR disk layout which has been with us since MDSOS days.

As for disk backup I use Veeam Endpoint Protection
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Author Comment

by:DoctorK12008
ID: 41795795
Please explain how to use Paragon to create a backup of my C: drive so I can restore it to a hard drive that I can boot.   If necessary, I will just buy a new hard drive to restore the image to.   Please recommend such a drive.   I cannot follow the technical explanation you give, as I am not a computer expert.   Thank you.
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LVL 43

Expert Comment

by:Davis McCarn
ID: 41795847
Paragon should have an entry for "Basic MBR Hard Disk 0" or 1 which is what you need to make a backup of so it includes the hidden partitions and the boot block.  That backup, then, is also what you want to restore.
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Author Comment

by:DoctorK12008
ID: 41801912
When I tried Acronis True Image as a backup, after abandoning Paragon, the restore started but stopped about half-way through and said restore had failed.   I was trying to do a restore to a hard drive instead of an SSD, which was the original C: drive.   Does that make any difference?
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LVL 80

Expert Comment

by:David Johnson, CD, MVP
ID: 41801944
no it doesn't make a difference as far as the computer is concerned it is just a hard drive. With acronis you can check the integrity of the backup
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LVL 43

Accepted Solution

by:
Davis McCarn earned 500 total points
ID: 41802009
Is there any chance that drive is having problems?
Get the free trial of http://www.hdtune.com 's pro version and run the error scan on it.  No red boxes should appear.
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Author Closing Comment

by:DoctorK12008
ID: 41804009
Thank you.   I used another drive and it worked fine.
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