I have 3 back up sets on an external hard drive. Two very old ones and one I made recently, as my desktop computer running Win 7 was playing up. It has now given up the ghost and I will probably have to use my recovery discs to see if I can get it up and running again. My question is as there are several years between the newest backup set and the other 2, will this new one be a full back up ? I also have a WindowsImage Backup taken automatically at the same time as the newest backup set - what is this ? Can someone enlighten me please. Before I run the recovery discs which tell me I will lose all my personal files, I want to be sure that I can restore my files onto a new laptop which I intend to buy which will probably run Windows 10, The laptop I am using at the moment does have windows 10 but only a very small RAM and only 2gb ofdisc space. Hopefully someone can help me.
If you are not taking backup on regular basis then there may be a chance that your all data are not getting fully backup.
These should help
Its going to depend on how you have been doing your backups and with what program.
There is a difference between doing an image backup and backing up just the data (files).
If you have been doing just an image backup, you won’t be able to restore a Windows 7 image to your new Windows 10 laptop. Images aren’t really meant to backup data (although they do end up doing that as part of the process), but rather to take a snapshot of your current system so that in the event of a disaster (like a hard drive failure) you can easily restore everything back to the way it was (or at least how it was the last time you did a system image). Images aren’t meant for transferring data between different systems, at least not in the way you are trying to use it.
The other thing to think about is what program have you been using to create these backups? If you have been using the built-in Windows utility, they have been known to be unreliable.
So what do you need to do? Locate the data that you want to ensure is backed up. The majority of this data, if not all, is located within your user profile at C:\Users. You want to go into the profile and make copies to your external drive of things like your desktop, (internet) favorites, pictures, music, videos, etc…they all have a folder.
If you can organize your data and keep it organized in the future, then once you switch over to Windows 10 you can use a program like freefilesync.org to easily keep your data backups current. As you add/remove data, when you use the program it syncs those changes over to your external drive according to the folder pairs that you have previously designated. If you want you can also use this in combination with a program like google drive, mega, or onedrive so that you have off-site data backups (in case your house burns down).
Now keep in mind this is just data, on your new Windows 10 system you will need to install and configure all your programs that you want that you used to have on Windows 7 (assuming they are compatible). Once you have installed everything and have your data copied over you could certainly create a new image at that point if you want a way to easily put everything back in the case of a disaster, but use a reliable program like Macrium Reflect (free).
Finally remember, both your data backups and image backups are only as current as the last time you performed them. So make a habit of at least running the data sync every once in a while, since data is more important than programs you can easily reinstall. I always make a habit of doing a data backup anytime I import a lot of new data, like a bunch of pictures, or a bunch of new music tracks. That should keep data loss minimal in case of a disaster.
This gets even worse than what Larry said… from what I recall, the Windows 7 image backup tool is not compatible with the restore tools in Windows 10. This is one reason I generally discourage image backups - they’re much harder to use later.
So what you really need to do is either pull the hard drive and install it in a hard drive dock, or boot to a Live Linux USB and copy your data off to an external drive.
And in the future, never use the built-in Windows backup tools. They’re garbage and should not even be included in the operating system.
Download Macrium Reflect. Not only is the basic version free, but it’s capable of doing both image backups and later recovering individual files from the backup image.
I also strongly encourage the use of a separate backup process for your files. I use a program called SyncBack Pro, which does simple file-copy backups and can even do file versioning by renaming existing copies of files when new versions are backed up.
While it’s a little more complicated to set up, the restore process is dead-simple: you don’t need any special tools to restore a SyncBack backup; you just plug in your backup medium and copy the files back.