393 Don’t skip this important part of the backup process

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If you do the overnight backup to a portable drive (the process I recommend), make sure you don’t skip this one important step!

Macrium Reflect

I’ve set this up for hundreds of my clients. And I use the same software and process myself. The program is called Macrium Reflect, and it’s free for personal use. It takes some configuration in the beginning, but once it’s set up, the process is mostly automated.

Usually I set the backup to happen at 1 am, so it doesn’t interrupt you while you’re using the computer during the day. So, all you have to do in order for the backup to happen is this 3-step process:

  1. At night, when you’re done with the computer for the day, plug in the backup drive.
  2. The next morning, check the date to make sure the backup happened overnight.
  3. Unplug the backup drive.

That’s it!

At 1 am, the Macrium Reflect software takes everything on your computer – all the files, folders, programs, screen saver, everything – and puts it all into one single file, and it puts that file on your backup drive.

But here’s what I sometimes find: sometimes people skip step #2. They plug in the drive at night, and they unplug it the next morning. That’s a problem.

What if something happened, and the backup process wasn’t working properly? You would never know. You’d just keep plugging and unplugging the backup drive, and you would never even know that you’re not getting a backup.

I’ve had that happen with clients, unfortunately. They bring me their computer because it won’t boot up and we determine that the hard drive is failing (this is quite common). But it’s no problem, because they have that backup, right? But then when I look at the backup drive, it says the last successful backup was 4 months ago. Or in some cases, over a year ago.

So – don’t let that be you!

When you check your computer first thing in the morning, look at the date and make sure you see today’s date (since the backup happens at 1 am). If you don’t see that new backup that happened overnight, call me so that we can investigate what’s going on and get it working properly again.

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Sam Sweeney
February 28th, 2022

Could you give a setup guide for the backup using Macrun Reflect. Like a quick guide for “Dummies”
Thank you

Scott Johnson
February 28th, 2022

I have not posted a “guide” to this because there are too many ways to mess it up. And, the instructions would be out of date the next time the program is updated anyway. This is something I handle through my Remote Support service –

February 28th, 2022

Hi, Scott.

Macrium Reflect has saved my bacon _many_ times. I’ve used it for eons. The pro version lets you to back up specific files and folders, not just an image of everything, so I went with that after a few years.

Yes, it’s easy to use once you’ve paid attention and carefully tweaked it for what you want. Doesn’t take long, and it’s a one-and-done situation.

By the way, I’ve been a computer enthusiast since the early ’80s, yet I’ve learned tips from you that I never knew about. Many thanks!

P.S.: Found your computer know-how through your What Was That Like podcast.