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Home-1266
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How do I backup my software

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Microsoft Windows 10 (64-bit)

How do I backup my entire C: drive?

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WAWood
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@Home-1266 

You are asking two very different questions, so I will provide answers to both.

 

Backing up Software: basically, this can not be done.  Applications are installed using lots of different components in lots of different folders and there is no product that can hunt these down to create backups.  You can back up data files, but not the actual applications.

 

Backup entire C: Drive: This is done using apps known as Imaging tools.  They copy the entire contents of the C: drive into a file of some sort.  Since they read the physical sectors on the drive, and not the files or folders, they get everything, including hidden files and folders.  These tools, since the see everything, also back up the apps -- but not in a way that you could later restore the apps from the backups.  The very best product of this kind is known as Macrium Reflect -- and I have provided details about this below.

 

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I personally prefer to use third-party Backup solutions as they tend to be both more flexible and more reliable than any built-in solutions.

Macrium Reflect (MR) provides a FREE version that can be used to image and restore partitions or entire drives.

What I recommend is the following:
1) Download and install Macrium Reflect (MR) from here: http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.aspx
2) Run MR and choose the option: "Create an image of the partition(s) required to backup and restore Windows" to write a full backup to an external drive or USB stick
3) Use the option to create a boot USB stick or CD

My experience is that MR, when using the High Compression option, typically can compress the saved image file to about 60% of the USED space in the OS partition. This means if you have an 80GB OS partition, and 40GB is used, MR only needs about 24GB to store the image file.

I use this all the time and it typically takes less than 15 minutes to do the image backup and about the same time or less to do a restore.

Plus, MR has the option to Add a Recovery Boot Menu entry. This allows you then to boot into WinRE, and you can then use that to do a restore -- when you can't boot into Windows!

NOW, you have the means to restore a full working system from the external drive or USB stick in only a few minutes.

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