Windows 10: Foolproof Image Backup script for naive Home users

Discus and support Foolproof Image Backup script for naive Home users in Windows 10 Backup and Restore to solve the problem; Can anyone offer a script running 'WBADMIN -allcritical –systemstate', wrapped with a method of checking for success, and in particular coping with... Discussion in 'Windows 10 Backup and Restore' started by spilly, Aug 16, 2017.

  1. spilly Win User

    Foolproof Image Backup script for naive Home users

    Can anyone offer a script running 'WBADMIN -allcritical –systemstate',
    wrapped with a method of checking for success,
    and in particular coping with a mid-process user system shutdown?
    Let me explain this...

    In return for a donation to a local charity, I offer support to a number of home users.
    None of them is tech-savvy. Many are aged around 70 years. (like me!)
    The OS is Win 10, but the hardware is often old and slow, with a single disk + a local external backup disk (for File History and monthly System Image Backups) some USB3, some USB2.
    The users never check the success of their backup, and on occasions have just shut down the PC before going to bed - I'm only guessing, but certainly Win 7 data backups with system Image have often failed when I check.

    I have had to recover entire systems for various good people, sometimes by a clean re-install with all the hassle of keys for licensed software etc when no image is available. It takes hours of my time. The result is never identical.
    By contrast, last week one user had a system crash, but had a backup and was fully restored on a new disk drive by the end of the next day.

    My preferred scripting language would be PowerShell, even though I have never written any PS – my skills were 99% VBA and 1% VBScript. I'm willing to learn enough PS to get this working.

    I notice many votes for Macrium here, but I can only rely on MS provided software, (WBADMIN and File History), so I’d prefer to rule Macrium as Out of Scope.

    A possible design, with two simple scripts
    • A Logon script to check the backup state:
    If the last backup was not successful, warn user (very loudly) what to do.
    ElseIf previous backup > 30 days old, advise user to do a backup “soon”.
    Else Exit silentlyI plan a new custom key in HKCU with values of Backup Timestamp and a SUCCESS or FAIL value.
    • A WBADMIN wrapper script:
    check backup drive is connected, warn and quit if not.
    set HKCU key to Backup time stamp and a ‘FAIL’ value;
    start WBADMIN and on completion update HKCU key to SUCCESS.
    EndThe logon script should remind users daily until they have run the Backup script successfully.

    With such a tool, I should be able to expect a reliable Image for use on Disaster day.

    Questions about the WindowsImageBackup folderCan WindowsImageBackup hold more then one image of the same computer or not?
    Does creating a new image destroy any existing images?
    Is there a guaranteed way of storing two or more images (assuming space)?I can’t figure this out from all I have read. (Please, no ref to Macrium in your replies, as it is out of scope).

    I hope some guru here can help in what ought to be a trivial task.I hope I have not posted in the wrong group.

    spilly, Aug 16, 2017
  2. Nisaba Win User

    Naive User

    MAIL HELP: Does anyone know how to set the default for mail using a different email client that is not an app, instead of the Windows Mail app?
    Nisaba, Aug 16, 2017
  3. Nisaba Win User
    Naive User

    Yes, but I don't want to use the apps provided.
    Nisaba, Aug 16, 2017
  4. lx07 Win User

    Foolproof Image Backup script for naive Home users

    By default, no.
    By default yes.
    Not unless you write it.

    Windows System Image backup is deprecated in next release.

    You should consider using another method if you want it to be futureproof as well as foolproof rather than ask people to write a script for a deprecated technology.

    You are wanting to not just automate backups but check and rename files, provide user interface and then deal with responses. What you are asking is possible but certainly not trivial. That is why third party backup programs exist.

    It doesn't have to be Macrium - there are many different backup software providers, most free, many quicker and producing smaller images than Macrium. You can take your pick.

    If you do insist on re-inventing the wheel though I'd suggest you either write to your own log file (when wbadmin is finished) or check the timestamp on the backup.

    If you wanted to use PowerShell there are some examples here : Powershell and last modified date - Stack Overflow
  5. cereberus Win User
    I have never found any of the main players that are (significantly) quicker or more efficient than Macrium.

    And if you buy the Home version, its Rapid Delta Restore is awesome.
    cereberus, Aug 16, 2017
  6. spilly Win User
    I had assumed MS had finally provided a generally available OS with an integrated Backup and Restore solution and that this was going to be a core feature. So much for assumptions!
    Your #2 post has destroyed my naive assumptions and I will abandon this WBADMIN script as of now.
    Thank you for the enlightenment.

    I had been trying to avoid getting users to install anything other than 'pure' Win 10 for all system management issues.

    I played about with Macrium and ToDo EaseUS a while back, but my assumptions above kept me away from them.
    Judging by this forum, Macrium seems to be the product.

    Can you confirm that the free version will provide the equivalent of the following?
    WBADMIN start backup -backupTarget:<BackupTargetDrive> -include:<VolumesToInclude> -allCritical
    From memory & no experience, I believe it does.

    However my OP perhaps still remains - except that this script would now run Reflect instead of WBADMIN.
    - or in your opinion is such a script unnecessary for the naive users I describe?

    Then I think I ought to mark this post as answered.
    spilly, Aug 16, 2017
  7. Jeddie Win User

    I have recently install Macrium Free as my System image provider. It really is a fine product.
    There is a lot of flexibility in setting up your desired Image (eg Scheduling, which drive to image, Full or Differential image)

    The feature I like is; if your PC is not turned on at the time your image is scheduled, Macrium will run next time you log on.
    Jeddie, Aug 17, 2017
  8. Mooly Win User

    Foolproof Image Backup script for naive Home users

    Whenever Windows Backup gets mentioned, it always seems to be surrounded by confusion and mis-information.

    Windows Backup can and does by default create differential images meaning that a whole chain of backups is present and recoverable from the single WindowsImagBackup file. The previous image is NOT destroyed. The way Windows handles all this is complex and subtle but the benefit is that the user interface and operations needed to manage backups is very simple. You can even add a desktop shortcut that will launch straight into the application.

    Given W10's propensity to do unexpected things at unwanted times (such as defragging, installing updates etc) then I wouldn't advise a casual user to automate backups. The situation will arise where the backup and other multiple things all want to run at once with the result that the performance would be crippled.

    Once you have made a W10 base image then a home user of the type described here probably need only run the backup again perhaps weekly or fortnightly.
    Mooly, Aug 17, 2017
  9. SIW2 Win User
    Yes, that is correct.

    If you want to use a 3rd party program , I suggest you look at a few. Most have free versions:

    Aomei Backupper is the simplest to use, Paragon is a popular long standing product, macrium is another, Easeus Todo, Image for Windows (IFW), Drive Snapshot, O&O DiskImage. The last 3 don't have free versions, but they have trial versions.
  10. spilly Win User
    #5 Jeddie
    I downloaded Reflect free and then remembered why I was put off last time..
    It was the need to get involved with Win PE and x86 and/or x64 versions, - never been there as yet
    I'm hoping that I can easily generate a startup CD for 32bit on my x64 system
    Then yesterday's Win PE download failed too... grrrr

    #6 Mooly
    From what I've read, I'm sure you're right, but the MS documentation is complex and pretty confusing.
    Then File History seems to duplicate much of Win 7 Backup and runs very quietly in the background
    But the real crunch for me is MS deprecating System Image Backup (post #2 above)
    spilly, Aug 17, 2017
  11. Mooly Win User
    File history is great and I use that in combination with Windows Backup. You can set file history to work with a separate partition on the main HDD... yes I know, not ideal if your drive fails... but you can still copy the contents of file history to a separate drive whenever you feel like it. File history of course simply backs up user data and nothing else.

    As with everything, it depends on what the user wants. I need regular system images (I make at least one per day) and also because of the large amount of random files I work with I still need file history because even a 12hr old backup will often be missing some document I am working with.

    Also in my experience, having stuff like USB drives constantly plugged in and in use tend to slow things down or cause other random issues (hardware dependent of course... and older equipment is often the worse for this).
    Mooly, Aug 17, 2017
  12. Steve C Win User
    I'm quite happy with Macrium Reflect Free which I discovered via this forum. There are various alternative products as discussed above. I have a vehement disregard for Acronis products for reasons I won't go into.
    Steve C, Aug 18, 2017
  13. Mooly Win User

    Foolproof Image Backup script for naive Home users

    Please do *Smile

    I suffered with offerings from that company for far to long:
    An open letter to Acronis. | Acronis Forum

    One good point was that obtaining a refund was trouble free and handled professionally.
    Mooly, Aug 18, 2017
  14. Steve C Win User
    Steve C, Aug 18, 2017
  15. Mooly Win User
    Thanks Steve, that's an interesting read. I had heard that Acronis buries itself deep in the OS but that is just nutz. Well done for getting to the bottom of it all.
    Mooly, Apr 5, 2018

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