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Windows Backup Help

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After many years of pc work, I recently decided to use the Windows backup utility.  Unfortunately, it is baffling me. The disk that it is saved on is full so I'm trying to delete some of the previous backups, however the backups don't appear to be logical. The instructions tell me that to make more disk space available, I can delete older backups.  Looking at the jpg below, I would have expected the size to increase with every backup as more and more data is saved on the disk.  Am I missing something? Any and all help appreciated.

 

backup.jpg

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What did you select (data/drives) in the step-by-step procedure? It seems that the first backup contains a system image as well, but I'm guessing. Or did you do a cleanup last year?

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you know how I back-up?

 

I manually copy "My Documents" and "My Music" and "My Movies" to my external backup drive and let it merge anything that's not already there. 

 

sometimes you gotta just cut to the chase.

 

 

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12 hours ago, LukeSkywalker said:

What did you select (data/drives) in the step-by-step procedure? It seems that the first backup contains a system image as well, but I'm guessing. Or did you do a cleanup last year?

I really don't remember what I chose to back up. I did it that first time and must have also ticked on "do it automatically".  I must have also got a system image in there as the photo below shows.

 

12 hours ago, lisa13 said:

you know how I back-up?

I manually copy "My Documents" and "My Music" and "My Movies" to my external backup drive and let it merge anything that's not already there. 

sometimes you gotta just cut to the chase.

I used to copy all my data files onto an external drive but it was long and tedious.  I wanted "backup" as it said it only copied the changes.  Would merging delete the deleted files and add the new files and do it automatically or do you have to sit there and hit "skip", "delete" or whatever.

backup1.jpg

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46 minutes ago, rodisi said:

I used to copy all my data files onto an external drive but it was long and tedious.  I wanted "backup" as it said it only copied the changes.  Would merging delete the deleted files and add the new files and do it automatically or do you have to sit there and hit "skip", "delete" or whatever.

 

no it won't

 

I delete anything I don't need to keep before I make my backup.  I would not want to auto-delete files from my backup drive as I don't intend for them to match what's on the computer exactly so it's not a concern for me.  I just want the data, I don't need a restorable image of my laptop and its contents.

 

I literally just want to be sure I have backup copies of media I've acquired, photos, important docs, and other stuff that would make my life less fun or more difficult if I lost it permanently.  Usually I tell it to skip pasting files that already exist on the backup, but sometimes I just replace them.  It's a couple of clicks.

 

I know this isn't for everyone but works fine for my simple needs.

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14 hours ago, rodisi said:

After many years of pc work, I recently decided to use the Windows backup utility.  Unfortunately, it is baffling me. The disk that it is saved on is full so I'm trying to delete some of the previous backups, however the backups don't appear to be logical. The instructions tell me that to make more disk space available,

 

It baffled me as well, particularly after accidentally deleting something important I then found that the MS Backup had not actually saved the lost file.:angry:.  I assume you are running Win 7 so please be aware that in Win 10 there is no longer a "native" backup, the Win 7 backup is retained but support is declining and it is reported that that the image restore is no longer reliable.

If your current system is running OK and there is nothing important that you need on the "backup" disk, that is not on the system disk then I would suggest you google "free backup programs"  and try out one of the many on offer (I like AOMEI- clear understandable GUI and help), delete everything on the backup disk and start again with a System Image and a File Backup/incremental.

 

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Do you have a C-drive for programs and a D-drive for data? I only backup my D-drive where my PST-files (Outlook) are saved as well. You could then delete your old backup files to free up space and then make a manual backup of your D-drive only by selecting it.

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@lisa13 Thanks but your method, for me, is too time consuming.

 

5 hours ago, keith2011 said:

If your current system is running OK and there is nothing important that you need on the "backup" disk, that is not on the system disk then I would suggest you google "free backup programs"  and try out one of the many on offer (I like AOMEI- clear understandable GUI and help), delete everything on the backup disk and start again with a System Image and a File Backup/incremental.

 

Yes, I am running Win7.  I shall look into the other programmes.

5 hours ago, LukeSkywalker said:

Do you have a C-drive for programs and a D-drive for data? I only backup my D-drive where my PST-files (Outlook) are saved as well. You could then delete your old backup files to free up space and then make a manual backup of your D-drive only by selecting it.

Exactly that.  However, by manual backup, do you mean copy D: to E:? My purpose in using the backup utility is so each new backup only saves any changes since the last, that way it takes less time.

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In the step-by-step procedure you should get a question like "What do you want to backup?" and then select "Let me choose". There you select the D-drive only. This is what I mean with manual. Later, you schedule it.

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1 hour ago, rodisi said:

I really don't remember what I chose to back up. I did it that first time and must have also ticked on "do it automatically".  I must have also got a system image in there as the photo below shows.

 

backup1.jpg

 

 

Wow! You have a yuuuuge 1.3 TB disc and only 2.6 MB free space?!?

 

That's not explainable by the (surprisingly large) 53.22 GB System image nor by the 2.71 MB Other files, which are most likely that discs own operating - START testing - DMA block addressing - partition management files.

 

For comparison; I have a (nominal) 750GB disc to which over the last 9 years I've been regularly physically transferring every single item I've needed to save (Picture,Text, Doc, Music, Podcast, Video, Mp3, Mp4, Mpeg, Jpeg, etc.) as well as copies of my several browser profiles, plugins, addons (.json .xpi etc) and copies of all installed operational programme software files  as well as making multiple (due to HDD crashes and replaced HDDS) Windows backups of 3 different Windows PCs (laptops) and out of the usable 698 GB I still have 431 GB free space!

 

14 hours ago, rodisi said:

After many years of pc work, I recently decided to use the Windows backup utility.  Unfortunately, it is baffling me. The disk that it is saved on is full so I'm trying to delete some of the previous backups, however the backups don't appear to be logical. The instructions tell me that to make more disk space available, I can delete older backups.  Looking at the jpg below, I would have expected the size to increase with every backup as more and more data is saved on the disk.  Am I missing something? Any and all help appreciated.

 

backup.jpg

 

Unless your original C disc was larger than 850 GB and/or loaded with videos like a TNT Classic Movies server I've no idea how your first backup reached such an enormous size but, be that as it may, I suspect you may have unwittingly restarted the backup procedure at least once or twice during the time you should have simply walked away and gone to sleep while it did its snail-paced job undisturbed.

 

Unless you're an extremely rapid video filmer (maybe your son's concert appearances?) it's also hard to believe you could possibly be increasing your files to save by 82, 191 and 282 GB in such short time intervals.

 

Logically each subsequent backup should have been smaller NOT larger IF it was only saving the changes which happened between backups. That you may have been backing up duplicates of everything you backed up during the preceding period seems the more likely explanation, tbh.

 

Here're some suggestions, which are entirely based on my own personal experience and extensive reading on the subject rather than any technical qualification!

 

I'm a bit reluctant to say this (because I've no idea what you've done, whether you'd take enough time to diligently follow any of the tips anyone here might post, or how you'd feel about the suggestion of starting again from scratch by learning to use Windows backup properly) but am inclined to tell you that I personally would take the risk and delete the entire lot of those Data backup files - which I doubt you'll ever be able to use in any practical way -  before starting over again.

 

NB: I myself am still not absolutely sure how to use the Windows backup task scheduler to do everything I want it to do automatically once a week, month or quarter and consequently still resort to doing it manually about every 6th or 8th month albeit, like @lisa13, I do religiously transfer everything I'm not actually using weekly from C:\\ My files to an identically named folder in E:\\ Lokale Datenträger (D) --> E:\\ being my external disc and Lokal Datenträger (D) being the name of a partition I had on one of my earliest previous crashed HDDs.

 

That way I usually know where to find whatever type of info (e.g.My Pics/Pix4TT, or My Docs/Texts/Text 4TT/Legal, or PDFs/PDFs4TT/Legal/Rental etc.) without having to launch a search.

 

To save a large number (up to 16 per day) of duplications of system image mirroring - whenever Windows ignores my task scheduled instructions and resorts to default - I find myself manually deleting about 50 System Restore points every week (who needs to create one more than before installing or removing software or maybe once a week?).

 

Of course all those accumulating System Restore points are compressed mini-images of the entire Windows OS state and, when doing a backup, will automatically be duplicating themselves again too!

 

In order to reduce constant CPU and RAM usage I also disabled Windows Search and Indexing (which maintains yet another constantly changing image of EVERYTHING as it changes on the Windows registry files) so if you want to do the same but still be able to find stuff on your PC or disc(s) then download and install 'Everything' from http:\\www.voidtools.com beforehand. You can use wild cards like ? or * to speed up searching Everything like this -> say you want to find a YouTube video of John Lennon you could put ?*John Lennon* or *Lennon?.mp4 in to save time.

 

Please do read the explanatory panel on this Wiki page to determine the precise difference between a Windows Incremental backup and a Windows Differential backup - Wikipedia

 

Download and install the excellent Pirisoft  CCleaner - Standard which includes under its Tools tab an option to View disc space usage. By Adding (and then selecting by checking) the drive letter of your external drive and allowing it to run a Search for a few minutes undisturbed it will show a bar diagram in type, percentage and physical size of all data files stored.

 

Below that will be a list of what those items consist of so you can clearly identify which type of files are the largest by their suffix (.doc .txt .mp4 .webm .cab .dll etc.) their name, their location path address and type (e.g. Music, Video, Document, Text, Compressed, Hidden, System, etc.)

 

There will be a button below which allows you to Save as text file if you can't be arsed to scroll through and extend the field widths to read the full path addresses but I've not used that button so have no idea how well seperated the resulting saved text file may be.

 

HTH

 

(too bad if it doesn't but, having been bitten by your style of gratitude before after taking too much time and trouble to try and help you, I'm not too likely to care much either way, tbh.)

 

2B

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@2B_orNot2B I very much appreciate the time and effort you have put in to answering my problem.  I shall seriously look into your suggestions and compare to another one earlier in the thread.

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Ha, Luke! Good point! And maybe only 2B understands it!:D

I am just clueless!!!

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Well, John. The good thing about IT is that for each topic you have a manual for dummies :). Windows for Dummies, Office for Dummies, Java (no, not an Indonesian island) for Dummies, etc.

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One major PIA with anything to do with Microsoft is that even their simplest basic instructions meant for average private Windows users are written by people who are obligated to use their corporate vocabulary which includes many words, phrases and acronyms (often MS copyright or trade marked).

 

For lots of users this means cranking up their "Help" :lol: and trying to locate the correct of ziggety choice of page links, which may or may not be relevant, before referring to their Glossary to try to translate Microsoft English (or German) to human English in order to figure out wtf they're talking about.

 

Of course ALL their basic or Help instructions are also intended to satisfy the needs of fully tech savvy pros in the corporate environment, which they probably do, but that doesn't make life in any way easier for newbs or non-tech readers.

 

It's often quicker to google 'How to use Windows x feature' and check through some of the numerous links to explanatory articles which offer simplified versions of the instructions dealing with a lot of common Windows issues.

 

There is a caveat though.

 

Apart from the pointlessness of trying to find a less complicated option in the first few microsoft/help links a lot of the links are to sites written by folks who are either non-native English writers or are merely using the theme as bait to link through to spamming or phishing farms.

 

That said there are several reputable and reliable computer theme publishers out there too whose site names may be familiar to even the least geeky.

 

Even some of those who have a software solution to promote or sell may provide well written clear descriptions of how to use the original Windows feature before raising the added benefits of their own or featured product for comparison.

 

Where there are many choices (written by folks who appear to range from over-enthusiastic hip-hoppers with ADHD to old school grampas sitting on a porch rocker shooting the odd rabbit between beers) I generally recommend trying to find a writer whose style you are comfortable with so you can bookmark their links in case of a need to look up other similar issues in future.

 

Some links, including one from the folks @keith2011 recommended, which may be useful.

 

How to back up your Windows 7 computer - CNET

How To Use Backup and Restore in Windows 7

How to Use Windows 7 Backup and Restore Feature

NTBackup: A Built-in Backup and Restore Tool in Windows

 

2B

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