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    4 Discussions


    6 months ago

    Thanks for sharing. As an IT person, I get frustrated with people who have no plan for recovering what is on a computer. So what should be stored on a computer? Two things, operating and programs only. Data, photos, music etc should not be stored on a computer. It should be put on external drive and the external drive should be backed up with another drive or the cloud preferably both in some cases. But then, this is a perfect scenario.

    Data you "back up",everything else on a computer you "image". Hard drive crashes or virus, you re-image from latest image file. Not that tough, you lose nothing, your data was not on the computer anyway. As you mentioned windows makes it extremely easy to "backup" data. This is great because your data is everything that you use a computer for. The only drawback to backups is the OS and programs themselves, you can lose all of that. This is why you image the hard drive. You are up and running in a fraction of the time of a factory restore and reloading programs.

    Imaging (programs and OS), and backups (data) are the two things that can be your best friends in a catastrophe.

    Not much is ever said about imaging, it goes hand in hand with backups. Both are important habits to learn and utilize to maintain and protect your computer system and data. Thanks for showing people how windows provides for backing up data. I just wanted to expand on what you posted.

    1 reply

    Reply 5 months ago

    Having all of your 'daily use' data on an external drive is going to slow things down across the board. USB 3.0 is around 20% slower than SATA III. Are you willing to take an hour longer to get your work done every day? (~8 hours in a working day, minus lunch breaks and non-computer related tasks, ~5 hours of on-screen work time, add 20% for USB 3.0 connection = ~6 hours). Then you add the complexity of not having data in the obvious places - My Documents, My Pictures etc. Most programs store your stuff in the obvious places, looking to open files and save files, but having to navigate frequently to your external drive... add more time.

    Then you have your hidden data - AppData < Local and Roaming, ProgramData. Many programs still keep some of your data there, such as settings, preferences and licences. Your system image will capture these, but it will be separate to your external USB data, and somewhat out of date if you don't also do a full system image every time you do a data backup.

    Imaging your computer works fine to recover from major software failure / OS corruption, virus attack - where re-imaging your base system / OS is quicker than re-installing it along with drivers, updates and software packages like MS Office, Photoshop etc, however, imaging an entire OS with all of that software installed typically takes longer than backing up your data. And to keep the image reasonably up to date (with weekly Windows updates, Photoshop packages and updates, Java, Browsers etc) means imaging frequently. ALL software packages update regularly these days. You could use expensive software that is able to do that for you, like Acronis, and a huge external hard drive to keep these image updates rolling along.

    Then there's the issue of a 4-5 year old computer failing completely and having to replace it - usually not with the exact same model, which means driver issues when you re-image your system onto a new PC. And with Windows 10 licences being coded into firmware now, you get licence activation issues and have to do a base OS reinstall / repair anyway.

    The time you feel you are saving by having an image will probably be equal to the time spent doing 2 backups - 1 for your second drive containing all of your data, and the extra one for your system image. Then when it comes to a total system failure, the time you save by having an image is lost again fixing your driver issues or performing base OS repairs. Plus you are now adding a layer of complexity that the average user is not going to find easy to learn or execute flawlessly.

    I will always tell clients, and anyone who asks - do what you are capable of doing properly, and if you don't know how to do any kind of backup, at least use the built-in OS provided backup. Of the ~50% of my clients who do it regularly and properly, about 20% of those have a clue what they are doing. The rest are just "following the bouncing ball", then call me anyway when it all goes south.