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BABAR

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I try to put these out every new year. Short version is BACK UP YOUR SYSTEM regularly (you can skip the rest, unless you are bored or have an interest in computers mess ups, like me.)

Most of you are probably on some sort of automatic back up or back up to the cloud. I get a little nervous about "the cloud", as sometimes I have financial or tax or other personal data on my computer I am not sure I want Google or Microsoft to have their paws on, so I have a hard drive I try to back up things on monthly, but sometimes I forget.

Early this week, I turned on my computer and got "No operating system detected."

I tried the recovery disk, initially it would boot, the computer wouldn't even try to GET to the DVD drive, all it would give me was "No operating system detected", and it wouldn't obey any commands to try another drive.

I had pretty much given up, the computer I was a Dell All-in-one XPS One that I got in October 2013, upgraded to Windows 10.

says
Itel(R) Core (TM) i7-3770s CPU @ 3.1 GHz
8 BG RAM
64 Bit OS

I figured I would either discard it or donate it, but I wanted to get the hard drive out (I hadn't backed it up for a few months, like an idjit), and see if I could cable it to another computer to get anything off it I could, and then make sure that if it was really dead I would make sure it was REALLY dead (figured I'd stick it in a bag and let hang in the water in the lake in back of my house off the dock for a few months, then maybe take a sledgehammer to it). So I opened up the case, took me a while to find the hard drive, I'm not the most savvy on computer software obviously, and normally opening up a computer that I expected to work again would fill me with fear and trepidation, in this case I figured I had nothing to lose.

Anyway, got the case off, found the hard drive, pulled in. Put the thing back together, then wondered........would the Rescue disk work now?

Plugged it back in, low and behold it was asking for an operating system. I had already tried the rescue disk I made when I got the computer, which hadn't worked PREVIOUSLY, I tried a rescue disk from a laptop, it STARTED to work, when I hit "Restore with saved files", it chugged away and I could hear the hard disk rattling, so I new it wasn't dead. The restore system went through its routine, then got
Runtime Error
Program: X\windows\system32\restore7.exe
This application has requested the Runtime to terminate in an unusual way.
Please contact the applications support team for more information.

Well, shoot....... Then I looked at it, the system had been upgrade to Windows 10, maybe a Windows 7 restore wouldn't work (the restore disk is from an old laptop). So I tried the Recovery Disk that came with this computer. Suddenly (well, okay, a minute or two later) I am logged in and the Computer I was about to Deep Six (yes, Clive Cussler fan) was working.

First thing I did was back up to my solid state hard drive.

Now I am doing (within Windows 10) a Local Disk, Properties, Tools, Error Checking. Did the full error check. Says not Errors.

I looked at Local Disk , Tools, Error Checking. Did the full error check and got nothing.

Went to Tools, Optimize and Defragment.

It says it is doing this weekly already.

Says C: Hard Disk Drive (main drive) was "OK, 0% fragmented" , but I did hit Optimize and it is working on it now.
For "System Reserved" Hard Disk Drive is "OK, 0% fragmented" , I will optimize this next.

Thing is, seems like my Hard drive on this computer (BTW, I am doing this on separate laptop) is ALWAYS chugging, even when nothing is going on, which was what was happening the LAST time this computer failed on me (was still under extended warranty then.)

Oh, and I have plenty of room on my hard drive, says 1.64 TB of 1.8 TB free, so it's not like I am jamming up the hard drive.

Might try "chkdsk" under Admin control.

Anyway, I am open for suggestions. I have already ordered a replacement computer, but I may return it if I can keep this one working.
This was what I ordered

Lenovo - IdeaCentre 5i Desktop - Intel Core i3 - 8GB Memory - 1TB Hard Drive

it was $479 from Best Buy.

and I got a new 32" Monitor from Walmart
LG 32" 1920x1080 HDMI VGA FreeSync IPS HD Monitor

for $169.

It's all probably gonna get returned if all my computer checks on the current system come back okay. It's 8 years old, but it does what I need it too, and I have this laptop my son got me for Christmas that seems pretty good as a backup.

HP Spectre X360

It says it's an 11th Generation Intel I7-1165G7 @2.8
16 gm RAM
64-bit OS
Pen and touch Support.

But it doesn't have my RockSim and Open Rocket on it yet, not that I have really used either.

Anyway, I just wanted to say, if you haven't backed up your system in a while, especially if you have pictures or important documents that you don't want to lose, then by all means back it up somehow.
 
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dhbarr

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8 years and constant drive noise is a great time to replace either the drive or the whole system.

I think you might be pleasantly surprised with how fast the new system feels.
 

neil_w

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It is mind-boggling how often I have read on this forum about someone having lost their data. It kills me because it is completely preventable. Some thoughts:
  1. If you care about your data, then it is good to have at least two physically diverse backups. There are many possible approaches, but here's what I do:
    1. I have a local bootable clone on a USB drive (1 TB Samsung T5, $119 on Amazon), backed up daily. If my internal drive ever fails, I can boot off the backup drive and be up and running almost immediately.
    2. I also have a Backblaze account (continuous cloud backup). The data in the cloud is encrypted and only I have the key; I am not worried about it. It is *extremely* useful to have an off-site backup, in case of catastrophe on-site. I'm very happy with Backblaze.
  2. In 2021 there is no reason to be using a spinning drive at all. Get yourself an SSD. They don't cost much and will transform your experience. If you have an old spinning drive that is making noise you should be replacing it immediately. The alternative is... well, exactly what you're experiencing.
 

PatD

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I put an SSD drive in my old AMD computer and bumped the memory. Just like a new computer, of course it was top of the line stuff when I built it years ago. I do a drive image quarterly and have backup to a local usb drive running daily. The local backup drive is dumped to a router connected hard drive. Local redundant backup. Not that it couldn't fail but it hasn't yet.
 

Sandy H.

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In my opinion, if you are savvy enough to open up a computer, you might want to buy a USB to ATA/SATA/IDE bridge. I think they are like $30, but if you get into a problem, it is sometimes possible to pull the hard drive, plug it into the USB bridge and then mount the drive as an external drive on a working computer. You get your critical files off, wipe your brow and then are more motivated to backup in the future.

Over the past 10 years, this method has worked on probably 20 out of 25 'ruined' hard drives. Obviously if you drop a computer while its running or something like that, a real mechanical issue will likely ruin the drive and sometimes power glitches cause issues that fry chips, but in most of the cases I've seen, something on the drive gets corrupted and screws up the OS's ability to boot, but the drive and file system might still be viable to get data.

There are more involved tools and methods that work with various amounts of success, but my first step is to try the USB bridge. If it does mount and seem viewable, I always make a drive image and then put the suspect drive somewhere safe and then pull the data from the image. Just my methodology.

Good luck.

Sandy.
 

shockie

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I backup ie perform a system clone using macrium 7 free every Sunday . Been doing it religiously for almost 3 years.
 

PatD

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I put an SSD drive in my old AMD computer and bumped the memory. Just like a new computer, of course it was top of the line stuff when I built it years ago. I do a drive image quarterly and have backup to a local usb drive running daily. The local backup drive is dumped to a router connected hard drive. Local redundant backup. Not that it couldn't fail but it hasn't yet.
Oh BTW. I do understand that offsite backup is preferred. I used to be the backup/disaster recovery/business continuity guy (plus 6 other hats I wore) where I worked at a state wide establishment. I just personally don't trust any of the online providers with my data. If you trust them use them, not my cup of tea.
 

Marc_G

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I've gotten lazy since the pandemic started. I have Carbonite backing up my data files, and Google drive mirroring certain critical stuff, and backups made with Acronis True Image of various sorts on various drives some of which are always offline. One is usually at the bank in the safe deposit box, but that box was inaccessible for a while in March/April and when they opened back up I grabbed the drive and have it here in a fire safe. But I haven't done the Acronis thing in almost a year.

Tomorrow I will have to start back up. Get it? Backup?
 

BABAR

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Thanks folks.

Here's another fun part. So I get it running (I hadn't put the steel back plate over the CPU, or the plastic cover on the back.)

I put those on, plug it in, and get the same "Operating System not found" error.

So I take both those plates off, plug it in, and it starts normally.

I now am going to leave the steel plate off, and carefully put the plastic plate on while it is still running.

Okay, I can't get the plastic plate on tight, but it's on and it's covering the back.

I'm going to leave the steel plate off. Does this sound reasonable?

Somehow this plate must be pressing on something that is killing the OS. It can't be a heat issue, as it happens immediately at start up. Any risks leaving this plate off?
 

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Bill S

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I keep an periodically updated external hard drive in my safety deposit box - its mainly for family photos and videos. I have an identical external drive , add stuff to it, and put it in the safety deposit box, bring the one from the box home and update it to match the other one. PLUS the same stuff is on a secondary hard drive.

I'm under the impression that SSD drives don't last as long as old school hard drives - if the SSD fails, you can't get your data, whereas its possible (but expensive) to get it back via a data recovery service (assuming its an electronics failure, not hard drive heads gouging into the spinning platters).
 

BABAR

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It is mind-boggling how often I have read on this forum about someone having lost their data. It kills me because it is completely preventable. Some thoughts:
  1. If you care about your data, then it is good to have at least twophysically diverse backups. There are many possible approaches, but here's what I do:
    1. I have a local bootable clone on a USB drive (1 TB Samsung T5, $119 on Amazon), backed up daily. If my internal drive ever fails, I can boot off the backup drive and be up and running almost immediately.
    2. I also have a Backblaze account (continuous cloud backup). The data in the cloud is encrypted and only I have the key; I am not worried about it. It is *extremely* useful to have an off-site backup, in case of catastrophe on-site. I'm very happy with Backblaze.
  2. In 2021 there is no reason to be using a spinning drive at all. Get yourself an SSD. They don't cost much and will transform your experience. If you have an old spinning drive that is making noise you should be replacing it immediately. The alternative is... well, exactly what you're experiencing.
I like the idea of the SSD. Will I be able to move my Windows 10 that I already OWN to the SSD drive (run externally)?
 

neil_w

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I like the idea of the SSD. Will I be able to move my Windows 10 that I already OWN to the SSD drive (run externally)?
Yes. There are free tools available to copy your system drive to an external.

But if your internal drive is dying, you might as well install the SSD inside after you've completed the clone. Or if your PC has two internal drive connectors (common on older desktop machines) you can just put the SSD inside right away.

I don't recall the process to transfer the Windows license to the new drive. When I've done this in the past I didn't have a problem.
 

neil_w

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I'm under the impression that SSD drives don't last as long as old school hard drives - if the SSD fails, you can't get your data, whereas its possible (but expensive) to get it back via a data recovery service (assuming its an electronics failure, not hard drive heads gouging into the spinning platters).
Sort of true. However, in the consumer space, spinning drives are mostly an obsolete technology. Modern SSDs are about (... performs calculation in head ...) a bajillion times faster than spinning drives. Spinning drives would still be appropriate for very large storage (many Terabytes) where the cost of SSDs starts to become a problem.

And I would venture to say that vanishingly few folks have ever actually gone through the process of trying to recover the data off a platter. That is what backups are for.
 

BABAR

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Yes. There are free tools available to copy your system drive to an external.

But if your internal drive is dying, you might as well install the SSD inside after you've completed the clone. Or if your PC has two internal drive connectors (common on older desktop machines) you can just put the SSD inside right away.

I don't recall the process to transfer the Windows license to the new drive. When I've done this in the past I didn't have a problem.
Apparently not that hard

 

PatD

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Thanks folks.

Here's another fun part. So I get it running (I hadn't put the steel back plate over the CPU, or the plastic cover on the back.)

I put those on, plug it in, and get the same "Operating System not found" error.

So I take both those plates off, plug it in, and it starts normally.

I now am going to leave the steel plate off, and carefully put the plastic plate on while it is still running.

Okay, I can't get the plastic plate on tight, but it's on and it's covering the back.

I'm going to leave the steel plate off. Does this sound reasonable?

Somehow this plate must be pressing on something that is killing the OS. It can't be a heat issue, as it happens immediately at start up. Any risks leaving this plate off?
No
 

Arpak

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Thanks folks.

Here's another fun part. So I get it running (I hadn't put the steel back plate over the CPU, or the plastic cover on the back.)

I put those on, plug it in, and get the same "Operating System not found" error.

So I take both those plates off, plug it in, and it starts normally.

I now am going to leave the steel plate off, and carefully put the plastic plate on while it is still running.

Okay, I can't get the plastic plate on tight, but it's on and it's covering the back.

I'm going to leave the steel plate off. Does this sound reasonable?

Somehow this plate must be pressing on something that is killing the OS. It can't be a heat issue, as it happens immediately at start up. Any risks leaving this plate off?
That is strange. Do you think the side panel is pressing on a SATA cable, either power or data? If you're curious to see a bit more info about the drive than the default windows tools download crystaldiskinfo, it'll show you all the SMART statistics of your drives and gives you a nifty little health monitor.
 

PatD

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Sort of true. However, in the consumer space, spinning drives are mostly an obsolete technology. Modern SSDs are about (... performs calculation in head ...) a bajillion times faster than spinning drives. Spinning drives would still be appropriate for very large storage (many Terabytes) where the cost of SSDs starts to become a problem.

And I would venture to say that vanishingly few folks have ever actually gone through the process of trying to recover the data off a platter. That is what backups are for.
That is what backups are for. :questions: And that is why there will always be a recovery ($$$$$) business out there. I have worked with small businesses in the past (although a 8 year past, lots changes) who basically had no idea where, what or when if it came to their network. I always tried to teach them and setup foolproof backup systems for them (and then they invent a better fool). If you go cloud now it's easy, I don't subscribe to them personally.
 

Mike Haberer

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It's 2021. Here's the drill....

If you buy new, only buy an SSD for internal use in either a laptop or desktop. Note that SSDs deteriorate based on the total number of read/write/erasures on the drive, so it's tied to usage. They, too, will die eventually (but for typical usage, the computer will likely die first), so on to the backup scheme.

For at home backups, buy a NAS unit with at least 2 spinning hard drives, mirrored, for local backups. The drives don't need to be fast, just reliable. Western Digital has drives specifically for this purpose. Run backups at least daily. Some software let's you run incremental backups when anything is changed. Local backups allow immediate recovery of critical files from a second computer if the backed up computer dies.

Backup to the cloud at least daily. Many cloud backup solutions allow incremental backups when anything is changed. This backup is for disaster recovery (yes, I'm a retired IT guy). Your house burns down with all of your computers and NAS drives, you still have your data. Putting backups into safe deposit boxes and switching often is a non-starter. It's too easy to not swap them and then your backup is so stale it's worthless. Windows in particular is updated so frequently these days that after six months, if you had to use a safe deposit copy to recover your system, it could take a zillion reboots and a month to get the system up to date from a security standpoint. Ugh.

Do buy a USB to ATA/SATA/IDE bridge. They are cheap. You can usually salvage data from a boot drive that won't boot and can physically erase the drive if you want to retire it. Or get a BIG magnet. Or reformat the drive and use it as secondary archival storage. I have many old units laying around for that purpose.
 

Marc_G

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@BABAR I agree with others that the steel plate is pushing on something, either creating an open circuit or a short circuit. It could be the SATA data cable, or the power cable. If it were me I couldn't rest until I understood it, but I've been running my main PC without the side panel for a year or so out of laziness about screwing it back on.

Oh, one other note: Windows 10 is licensed per computer, not per hard drive. So, as long as you don't change motherboard/cpu, you can swap hard drives at will.
 
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neil_w

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I'll add one more note here: the most important thing is to backup regularly. Almost always, this means setting up an automatic backup, either periodically or continuously. If your response to this thread is "oh, I'd better go back up now" then you're doing it wrong.

Cloud backup software is often automatic and continuous, so it's mostly a "set it and forget it" kind of thing. In fact, most reasonable backup arrangements for the typical home users don't require much maintenance. But if it's not automatic, you won't do it regularly, and then its value drops significantly.
 

Greg Furtman

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I have Win 10 on my desktop, 2 laptops, and my HTPC. All were previously Win 7 machines. You can activate Win 10 using a valid Win 7 key. And I highly recommend SSD's for older machines. Replacing a HD with a SSD is like getting a new machine!

Also, Win 10 by default never really turns a computer off. Instead it goes into a suspend/hibernate mode so it starts faster. I don't like the idea of my computer not being totally off. You can change this in the power settings. It does add a few more seconds to starting it up but with a SSD it is still much faster than a regular HD.

Also, if you have a DVD in your laptop you can ditch it and put a second SSD in there. I have Lenovo ThinkPads and I think an adapter cost me around $15. I routinely back up my primary SSD to my second SSD. Also, if you are doing a clean install of Win 10 I would recommend partitioning the SSD into a C: drive & D; drive. Put the OS & programs on the C: partition and set up Windows to keep your data on the D: partition. This way if the OS gets toasted you can reinstall the OS & programs without over-writing your data.
 
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mbeels

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Most of you are probably on some sort of automatic back up or back up to the cloud. I get a little nervous about "the cloud", as sometimes I have financial or tax or other personal data on my computer I am not sure I want Google or Microsoft to have their paws on, so I have a hard drive I try to back up things on monthly, but sometimes I forget.
If you're nervous about Google and Microsoft, there are other good "cloud" back up services that offer more privacy and annonminity. I use the SpiderOak One backup service, (https://spideroak.com/). It offers continual backup service, you can use it to recover old versions of files, and you can use it to synchronize data in two places. (For example, between your laptop and a desktop.) The service isn't free, but if you value privacy and your data, it's worth it to me.
 

Greg Furtman

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If you're nervous about Google and Microsoft, there are other good "cloud" back up services that offer more privacy and annonminity. I use the SpiderOak One backup service, (https://spideroak.com/). It offers continual backup service, you can use it to recover old versions of files, and you can use it to synchronize data in two places. (For example, between your laptop and a desktop.) The service isn't free, but if you value privacy and your data, it's worth it to me.
One of the problems for me and I'm sure others have this problem if they live rurally is internet speed. I have 10 mb/s ADSL download & 2 mb/s upload and using the cloud to make backups takes way too long. Hence I back up to external USB hard drives.
 

neil_w

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Also, Win 10 by default never really turns a computer off. Instead it goes into a suspend/hibernate mode so it starts faster. I don't like the idea of my computer not being totally off. You can change this in the power settings. It does add a few more seconds to starting it up but with a SSD it is still much faster than a regular HD.
What exactly bothers you about hibernate? Is it just a feeling, or do you have a concrete concern?

I almost never reboot my systems unless absolutely necessary; I always use hibernate. I have a lot of apps running all the time and have no interest in needing to start everything back up every morning.
 

Arpak

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From what I know hibernate just takes a snapshot of what you were doing and your RAM contents and stores it in your drive until you turn it back on, when it then grabs that stuff and restores it. It's identical to sleep except instead of keeping the data in your RAM it moves it so the device draws no power.
 

jrap330

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In my opinion, if you are savvy enough to open up a computer, you might want to buy a USB to ATA/SATA/IDE bridge. I think they are like $30, but if you get into a problem, it is sometimes possible to pull the hard drive, plug it into the USB bridge and then mount the drive as an external drive on a working computer. You get your critical files off, wipe your brow and then are more motivated to backup in the future.

Over the past 10 years, this method has worked on probably 20 out of 25 'ruined' hard drives. Obviously if you drop a computer while its running or something like that, a real mechanical issue will likely ruin the drive and sometimes power glitches cause issues that fry chips, but in most of the cases I've seen, something on the drive gets corrupted and screws up the OS's ability to boot, but the drive and file system might still be viable to get data.

There are more involved tools and methods that work with various amounts of success, but my first step is to try the USB bridge. If it does mount and seem viewable, I always make a drive image and then put the suspect drive somewhere safe and then pull the data from the image. Just my methodology.

Good luck.

Sandy.
Yes but don't you mean a USB docking station or a hard drive enclosure. Drive no longer beats but you still copy the data or files to new drive.
 

jrap330

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What exactly bothers you about hibernate? Is it just a feeling, or do you have a concrete concern?

I almost never reboot my systems unless absolutely necessary; I always use hibernate. I have a lot of apps running all the time and have no interest in needing to start everything back up every morning.
Windows always has issues with hibernate, even W10 and I agreed I like to shut it off at the end of the day , like everything de-energize and clean out your cache memory. At least shut off a few times a week. And I know SW engineers like yourself , like to keep their systems on. I used to work for a SW office.
 

CPUTommy

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I have a BACKUP solution that is not only a backup of my data but also my pc. Its not just data backup it's disaster recovery which is 100% diffrent in that say for example my laptop got stolen/broken/outdated, all I have to do is get on the internet and make a phone call and my PC is like it never happened. All my stuff, my icons programs and even my browsing history and passwords. The program I use copy system files that are currently in use so that makes a huge diffrence.

You cant make a backup of a computer while that computer is in use !! So if your using the computer and you think your backing it up, try to acually restore your data.. 100% it will be unsuccessful. Ive been in the computer business since 1995 with a store front since 1997, I manage AND backup multiple mulit million dollar car company's. With everyone's personal info, names,socials, credit etc.. so not only is SECURITY PARAMOUNT But proper backup is also just as important. Copy data all you want...restore that data and get it to work again.. thats when the real problems start..

Its super easy and hands off confidence that makes it worth having for me. More than once has a computers hard drive crashed, its as simple as plugging in a new pc, and making a phone call and 100% of that computer is returned as it was at time of last backup. Down time is a huge pet peeve of mine. It happens, and it can't be prevented.

Tom
 
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CPUTommy

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One of the problems for me and I'm sure others have this problem if they live rurally is internet speed. I have 10 mb/s ADSL download & 2 mb/s upload and using the cloud to make backups takes way too long. Hence I back up to external USB hard drives.
You can copy the data but you can't copy system files that are being used while the pc is on so its not a true backup.
 
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