I recently had a bad experience with the built-in backup tool provided in Windows 10. Backups can backup just your personal files without backing up any programs you have installed, or they backup everything on your computer including programs and settings. Disk image backups save everything: files, programs, and settings.
I chose to use a free backup solution for the computers in my home: DriveImage XML. It's a really basic program that doesn't do any hand-holding. Here's how to set it up.
1) Tap the Windows key on your keyboard. Type "task scheduler", and then click the "Task Scheduler" button.
2) On the right side of the Task Scheduler window, click "Create Basic Task...".
3) Give your task a name and description. These aren't very important. As you can see, I named my computer "Toaster", so I said in the task's description that it is used to back up Toaster.
4) Choose how often you want to back up your computer. I chose to do this daily because why not?
5) Pick when you want your backup to run. I'm not usually awake at 3 AM, so that's the time I chose.
6) Choose the option "Start a program".
7) If you're running a 64-bit version of Windows (this is probably true), then put the following in the "Program/script" textbox (including the quotation marks.
"C:\Program Files (x86)\Runtime Software\DriveImage XML\dixml.exe"
If you're running a 32-bit version of Windows write this:
"C:\Program Files\Runtime Software\DriveImage XML\dixml.exe"
In the "Add arguments (optional)" textbox, put the text below and modify as necessary for your computer.
/bC /r /c2 /v /t"E:\DriveImage XML\Toaster"
- /bC means we want to backup drive C:
- /r = Backup in raw mode. This creates a sector-by sector image of the drive and makes it possible to restore the PC perfectly.
- /c2 = Good compression. This uses a lot of CPU but saves disk space. Since the computer is backing up when I'm sleeping, I don't care how much CPU it uses.
- /v = Use Volume Shadow Services. This is necessary for OS disks because the backup software needs to prevent the disk from changing during a backup to produce a good backup. VSS lets the disk change without breaking the backup.
- /t"E:\DriveImage XML\Toaster" - replace E with your external hard drive's letter. Replace Toaster with whatever you want to name your backup. DriveImage XML command line parameters
8) Check the box "Open the Properties dialog for this task when I click Finish" and click "Finish".
9) Check the box that says "Run with highest privileges" and click OK.
And now your backup will run everyday at 3 am.
Photo by David J Morgan