Computer Backup

What’s the best way to totally back up my Windows computer?

I also have a Macbook and the facility there to totally backup is the excellent Time Machne.

Is there a Windows equivalent?
For example as a free alternative.

I have been using the built in Windows system image for years. Go to control panel then backup and restore. You would want to be sure and back up to a different drive than your operating system drive.


I’ve not used that Windows function so I have to ask: Does it create a true disk image that can be used to restore a drive from scratch or does it create an “image” of data and apps but not OS?

With Macrium Reflect the “image” becomes what can be used to create an identical clone of the system drive.

I also use the Windows backup systemcopy, works supergreat and I trust it 100% because I have made systemcopies with it since W7, and restored many many times my C drive with it. Takes about 20 minutes to restore my PC.
It makes a image of the whole C drive, OS included offcourse and you can restore it using the W10 recovery disc you once have once to make.
It truly is very easy and 100%safe.
And very quick also.
I wrote about this feature lots of times becasue I still do not understand why clearly so few people do make C-backups :smiley: where it is so simple and takes so little time.

But then you also need for example a USB drive to work as the “recovery disk” or? I mean, how does it work practically speaking when you need to restore an entire system drive and not just the OS…?

I have a c System Drive, but also an audio drive and a sample drive. Do I have to conduct 3 separate backups? However, the real issue for me is to create a system image of the OS and all the supplemental programs (Kontakt, Omnisphere, Ozone etc) all of which reside on the C Drive.

Typically yes. But you can have software like Reflect set to back up different drives (or files/folders) independently but according to a schedule for example. So if you have a backup drive you can have those three drives back up to independent backup “sets” - one “set” per drive. And that can be automatic and scheduled.

Macrium Reflect allows you to do that. And I guess Windows as well (?).

What you say : the main backup is the C drive with all the programsoftware on it and the OS.
The Systemcopy in W10 makes ONE imagefile of your entirely C-drive.
All other Data like VST sounds, Audio projects, Office-Data etc. I put on other internal HDD’s, and those Drives I backup manually on external USB drives.
Before W7 you had to use third party backup sopftware, but since W7 it has its own great backup function.
IN W10 it is still calleed “W7 backup” .

In the menu of the backup/systemcopy in W10, there is a function to burn a CD/DVD which automaticly puts a small W10 on it, so you can Boot with this. Then this W10 version opens and you can select to make a systemrecovery and point it to the place on a drive where you made the Systemcopy.
SO always first make this Disc, then perform a systemcopy.
WHen you want to test if this works and you have an empty SSD/HDD lying around, then put this one briefly in your PC and perform the recovery.
It wil put your first Cdrive on the new one (offcourse that drive has to have minimal the same storingcapacity).

So if I get this right:

  1. create recovery media (optical or USB)
  2. image whole system © drive to other media (backup disk)

To restore;

  1. boot from recovery media
  2. point to the drive in #2 above
  3. point to new target drive and rebuild original there.


Or you can go to settings-update and security then to recovery then under advanced startup click on restart now. That will take you to a menu where you can recover from a system image that has been stored on a different drive.

Ok, but were the steps I outlined correc?

Basically Yes. The way I described does not require booting from recovery disk. Keep in mind the system image will be the entire system drive. In my case C Drive.My C drive is over 400 GB. So the only practical way is to have a large backup drive. I use a 1 TB M.2 NVME SSD Drive for System © and a 1TB M.2 NVME SSD for image to be stored on. I typically do a system image once a week or if any major update is installed.

So you boot from the disk that will become the new system disk?

Of course.

My advice is tp keep your c drive as small as possible.
That way making backups saves a lot of time and so is the restoring offcourse.
I do not know what you guys have on the c to come up with 400 gb’s
Mine has about 125 gb total of storage on C, and believe me i have a lot of software going on there, because i use my PC not only for studiowork.
But f.e. Cubase’s vst sounds, arturia vsti’s etc. are all moved to a different drive.

Yes they are. But indeed you can restore your c drive from within the backup menu.
To do it with the cd/dvd is in case your drive is broken or windows crashed
But i always use the restore CD, just being used to that

Sorry if I am being dumb, but can I use the Windows Backup to back up a C drive system image by burning the image on a CD/DVD? (Rather than savng to a separate hard drive).

No, windows10 alone is about 30Gb, so the whole C drive with programs on it and windows included is very large, and only fits on a harddrive or large usb stick

OK thanks. So the next question is that I have a backup hard drive (USB linked separately) which backs up all my projects and has a spare !50Gb or so. Can I put a separate folder or somesuch on it to back up the C drive image?