I have a good backup system, but I discovered some flaws that I am addressing today.
Until last week I had 2x 500GB Samsung 850 Evo's in RAID-0 C:/Windows, a 2TB WD green D:/Stuff and a 3TB WD red E:/Backup. I also have a hot-swap bay, a eSATA/USB dock, a 500GB Seagate Momentus XT SSHD USB that I use like a big thumb drive and a 16GB fast thumb drive. Bare old drives include a 160GB WD, 500GB WD blue, 500GB Seagate Barracuda, 500GB Maxtor.
Occasionally one drive in the RAID would drop. It usually took 5 or 6 reboots before the BIOS would see the drive again. Last week it caused 2 BSOD's so the RAID had to die. Goodbye 1013Mb/s. I think a SATA port on my ASUS Z97-AR is flaky, so I switched the rarely used DVD to that hole. No Problem, I was all backed up (or so I thought). I use SyncBack for regular scheduled backups, it's really good for a free program. Every other day I get all warm and fuzzy when my browser pops up with a 36 page detailed report, "D:/ has backed up to E:/ successfully". SyncBack saved my ass, my data was never in danger. I live near the original Microcenter in Cbus, OH. When they had a super-sale on the Samsung SSD, I decided to get a 2nd one to try RAID (again) as a failed experiment for the last time.
For backing up C:/Windows I always found Windows backup to be useless (but I still run it). Windows System Image was the only thing that ever worked to restore from a total meltdown (in W7). I scheduled both to run once a week. I switched SATA ports, turned off the RAID and booted from the System Repair DVD. Windows 10 restore is different from my previous experience with W7. It said "W10 Restore will now partition and format drives D:/data and E:/backup in order to restore drive C:/." I said "HELL NO YOU WON"T!" and disconnected D:/ and E:/. "W10 Restore encountered an error and can not continue." Huh..?
Windows restore - Last week:
My W7 Pro x64 install was a few years old before I upgraded to W10 on day 1, so I figured it was a good time for a clean install of W10 to clean out the registry. Luckily I had previously burned the W10 .ISO to DVD and wrote the revised serial number on it. Thank goodness I made a drag copy of my Program Files/Games folder to E:/ and most of them worked without a reinstall. Now I have a mostly empty (90GB) C:/W10 ssd, D:/data, E:/backup, F:/dvd, (300GB) G:/games ssd, H:/hot-swap. It took a while to re-install Windows and my important apps, I will install the other apps when needed, but that was easy. I don't know why both the W10 backup and image failed? Micro$oft really lured me into a false sense of security. I figured my best option was to backup manually to the hot-swap bay and it has taken most of the day.
Manual backup - Today:
I like to use EaseUS Partion Master Free Edition, I have tried many others like Gparted & Acronis, but EPM is easy and it works great. Essentially the GUI writes a Linux script that runs on reboot. The only issue I have is: it launches to the tray at every boot, so I uninstall EPM when I'm done using it.
Step 1: I made an EPM clone of C:/. After reboot > clone > reboot, I copied my G:/games folder to the clone. This my Windows backup I can boot from in an emergency, but it is 'in the red' full.
Step 2: I used the 160 (salvaged from my GF's little PC) to drag copy my 12,318 Pictures and irreplaceable Art (I'm a designer).
Step 3: I used a 500 to copy Documents, Downloads, Drivers, Music, and Pictures again. I don't use the Windows Users default file locations. All of my saves are in folders on D:/. I don't bother backing up my Videos ATM, because they take too much space and I gave that 1TB drive to my GF.
Step 4: I messed up when I backed up my game installer files. I have a lot of old games that I no longer play, but still want to save. I had too many raw drives lying around and hooked up (I was using the dock also) and accidentally deleted my active games folder (including Steam). "Too big to recycle. Do you want to delete?" Yes > NO abort abort! But I had previously backed the games up to the clone in Step 1 (whoa!), so I restored all the games I just reinstalled last week from there. Too late I realized I should have tried to use Recuva, but it worked out Okay, it just took longer. I backed up the game installers + my music + my work documents and made a third copy of my Art to the Barracuda.
Step 5: At that point I wrote a document describing what was on the 4 raw drives, so I shouldn't get too confused next time. Plus I can edit the Backup document in the future. Then I put a piece of masking tape on each drive, gave it a number and a description with a Sharpie. I also put tape on the boxes and stored them in the coat closet near the front door, so I can grab them when I'm running outside if the apartment catches fire.
Windows 10 backup is not reliable. A backup is useless if one can't use it to restore.
Have you used W10 restore successfully? If so, Please tell me how.
I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid