With all the important files you likely have, you probably want to know how to recover everything if your computer crashes. This week we will learn which is the right recovery for different types of disasters. Let us start by recapping the three backup recovery processes.

Last week I discussed the importance of a valid backup process of your computer, the basic general steps required to restore your computer after a catastrophic failure, and the various types of backup processes.

This week we will learn which is the right recovery for different types of disasters. Let us start by recapping the three backup recovery processes:

  • Image Copy is used to back up the entire contents of the disk drive. This is a point in time backup and is generally obsolete as soon as the backup is completed.  Restores old copies of personal data.
  • Restore Point is used to back up the c-drive operation system status.  The Restore Point does not include personal data files. Software and maintenance updates applied from the date of restore point creation forward will be lost and will have to be re-applied.
  • Datafile backup is used to back up personal data files stored in user folders – this is where your data should be stored.  No operating system files or application programs are restored.

Read part 1:How to back up your computer, part 1

To better understand which backup to use, I will create three disaster profiles, and determine what it takes to recover from each type of disaster.

Disaster Profile 1: The worst possible disaster that very few people are prepared for when it happens: the disk drive fails and the disk drive is unreadable and everything has been lost.

  • Restoring an Image Copy to the new disk will work, but everything done since the Image Copy date will be lost.
  • Datafile backup will provide a copy of the datafiles as of the last time a backup was made, but no operating system and program applications.
  • Restore Point — all these were only on damaged disk drive, however there are no datafiles.
An external hard drive can easily hold additional data.

What will the Recovery process require?

•  Install new disk drive — easily purchased.

•  Reinstall operating system and all system updates

  • A recovery USB drive should have been was created when you purchased your new system, or
  • Windows 10 installation disk (may need drivers and preinstalled software), or
  • A recent image copy backup (this is a partial restore).

•  Reinstall all software programs that were installed

  • A set or list of all software installed on your computer to be reinstalled, or
  • If image copy backup used, reinstall all software installed since image copy was made.

•   Restore personal datafiles backup from external disk, USB, paid real-time online service

  • Backup from external disk or USB, only as current as last backup.
  • Paid online service should restore current datafiles.

•   Re-customize settings (program, desktop, datafiles)

  • Restore individual customizations.
  • Restore MS Edge favorites.

Disaster Profile 2: The second worst possible disaster is a Windows 10 Spring or Fall replacement of Windows 10 fails and the system will not boot (or all contents have been lost).

•   Restore the Image Copy that was made prior to starting the system replacement.

What will the Recovery process require?

•  Making an image copy before such a failure:

  • Special software is required that will back up the entire disk drive and all partitions.
  • Creation of a standalone DVD or USB that is bootable from the damaged disk drive.  This standalone system is generally created from the image copy software.

Disaster Profile 3: The third possible disaster, a Windows 10 update that fails (system still intact), but will not boot correctly.

  • Most common recovery, System Restore Point.
  • The worst case is the system must be reinstalled as previously described, however, the disk should be removed and data files backed up by attaching the disk to a second computer.

What will the Recovery process require?

•  Using a system restore point:

  • Note date of system restore point.
  • Note list of programs and system updates that need to be addressed after using the restore point backup.

•  Another alternative is the Windows 10 ‘clean restore’ that saves application and data.

Now that we understand how the backup processes are used.  Next week, I will conclude with a discussion of how to be prepared (before the disaster) so that we can achieve a total 99.9% system recovery.

Stay protected!

George Cox is the owner of Computer Diagnostics and Repair.  He can be reached at 346-4217.

George Cox, PC Periodicals

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