Set up snap­shots

Windows 7 Help & Advice - - WINDOWS 10 -

The Win­dows drive-imag­ing tool is fine for oc­ca­sional im­age-based back­ups, but if you want to reg­u­larly back up your en­tire Win­dows in­stal­la­tion with­out run­ning out of drive space – handy if you want to test soft­ware, then roll things back with­out mak­ing per­ma­nent changes to your sys­tem, for ex­am­ple – you need a tool that of­fers dif­fer­en­tial backup im­ages, such as Macrium Re­flect Free ( re­flect­free.aspx). Dif­fer­en­tial im­ages only record the changes made since the last backup was taken, re­duc­ing their file size dra­mat­i­cally.

Once you’ve in­stalled Macrium Re­flect Free (cre­ate the res­cue me­dia when prompted, in case of dis­as­ter), click ‘Cre­ate an im­age of the par­ti­tion(s) re­quired to back up and re­store Win­dows’. Select a suit­able lo­ca­tion on your backup drive, then click Next. Click the Tem­plate drop-down menu, and choose Dif­fer­en­tial Backup Set to cre­ate a sched­ule that makes a monthly full drive im­age, then daily dif­fer­en­tial im­ages – select Dif­fer­en­tial, then Edit Sched­ule to change this (to a weekly sched­ule, for ex­am­ple).

To stop you run­ning out of spare drive space, tweak Macrium Re­flect Free’s De­fine Re­ten­tion Rules by weeks, days, or num­ber of back­ups. Click ‘Next’ to re­view your set­tings – click Ad­vanced Op­tions > Auto Ver­ify Im­age, and check the box to au­to­mat­i­cally ver­ify your drive im­age after it’s cre­ated. Click ‘OK’, fol­lowed by Fin­ish. You need to en­ter your ac­count pass­word to en­able sched­uled back­ups, and Macrium is set up to back up au­to­mat­i­cally go­ing for­ward, but you need to cre­ate your first backup: Switch to the Backup Def­i­ni­tion Files tab, select your backup def­i­ni­tion file, and click Run, choos­ing Full from the drop-down menu.

If you’re dili­gent, cre­ate an­other backup job from here to pe­ri­od­i­cally back up to an al­ter­na­tive lo­ca­tion – a network drive, say – to pro­vide an ex­tra layer of re­dun­dancy for your Win­dows in­stal­la­tion.

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