Backup and create disk images with EaseUS Todo Backup

There are many tools with which you can back up data and there are also various programs with which you can create an image or clone of a complete disk (partition). The EaseUS Todo Backup program combines these three operations (backing up, creating images and cloning) in one easy-to-use interface. There is also a good chance that you will be fine with the free version.

You can download EaseUS Todo Backup Free from www.easeus.com (at the time of writing, 12.0 was the most recent version). You can also visit this webpage for a job description and for a comparison with the paid Home version (approximately 30 euros, but often available with 'temporary' discounts up to around 10 euros). The most striking extra feature of the Home version is that you can also transfer a system disk for use on another computer (migration). If you actually have this scenario in mind, you can always download the Trial version and use it for free for one month. However, we focus on the free version and you will see that it can already be used for many practical scenarios.

The installation of the program is straight forward. You may want to uncheck Join the Customer Experience Improvement Program. During installation, the tool also suggests a suitable location for your data backups, which you can customize. After installation, start the tool: an almost empty window appears with the laconic message “There is no backup”. So there is work to be done and in this article we take a closer look at three actions: backup, create images and clone.

01 Smart backup

If you regularly create or modify files in specific locations, the option is Smart Backup interesting (the fifth button in the left menu). This backup type automatically creates a new backup when changes were detected in the monitored locations during the last half hour. Underlying, Smart Backup uses this in a smart sequence of full, differential, and incremental backups. For us as end users, this means above all that we can very quickly recover data that was believed to be lost if necessary.

To get started with Smart Backup, you really only have to indicate all the files that you want to have in the backup. By default, all your documents folder, favorites and desktop are selected, but by removing or placing checks you have quickly adjusted this. Check at Destination whether the correct destination folder is selected (you can adjust it if necessary via Browse) and initiate the backup operation with Process. Network drives are apparently not included in this list: if you also want to back up data from such locations, we refer you to section 3 'File backup'.

02 Smart recovery

The newly added backup will now appear in the main window, with two buttons: Recovery and Advanced. This last button gives you access to the option Edit plan, which allows you to customize the backup data and Check Image, which quickly checks whether the backup file is still completely intact. This file is in fact an image file (with extension pbd), but that does not alter the fact that it is also perfectly possible to restore individual files. For that you press the Recoverybutton. Todo Backup now lets you navigate to the image file, just like in File Explorer. click on History Version to go to the desired backup version and select (only) the data you want to restore. Indicate the location to which you want to restore the files and confirm with Process.

03 File Backup

If you prefer to keep the backup of your data in your own hands, it is better to opt for the more classic approach of the option File Backup, especially since you can also access your network drives here. The working method is in principle the same as with Smart Backup, but you get a number of extra options here. One of them is the ability to schedule the backup frequency yourself. Click on schedule and specify not only the frequency but also the backup type: Full, Incremental (only data created or modified since a previous backup) or differential (only new or changed data since the last full backup). Place a checkmark Wake the computer to run this backup and enter the correct login details if you want to wake the PC from sleep mode at regular intervals. Also the option Image reserve strategy is useful: here you can set whether you want to keep older backup images and if so, how much.

Through the tab File type you can also backup data by file type (Document, Email, Music, Picture, Video and so forth). Use the Addbutton to add custom file extensions, separated by a semicolon.

04 Additional backup options

Via the button Backup options you get a number of additional options available. This is how you put in the section space the desired compression rate of the image file (from none until high) and, if desired, make it clear per how many MB you would like to see the image split; for example, because you want to copy the image to a DVD or to a fat32 partition (maximum 4096 MB).

You can protect your backups with a password from the section encryption and using sliders in the heading Performance you may want to throttle system resources and/or bandwidth during the backup process.

The rest of the story is almost identical to that of Smart Backup, only you will see a third button in the main window, backup, with which you can perform a backup yourself at any time.

05 System Backup

It can also be very helpful to have a backup of your entire drive or partition, including installed applications and system files. Such a disk image makes it possible to return to a previous, stable state in one go.

You have the functions for that Disk/Partition Backup or possibly System Backup required. The latter is a lot easier, but gives you little room to move: the program automatically makes a backup of your current system. For Windows, that means a copy of the system and boot partitions (usually a tiny partition at the beginning of your drive as well as your entire C: partition (or at least the partition where Windows is installed).

Basically you don't have to do more than on Process to click, although here you also have options like Schedule, Image Reserve Strategy and Backup options have available. In section 7 'Live medium' you can read how you can survive a system crash via such a backup.

We choose a little more freedom in our choice and therefore select Disk/Partition Backup. You can also still select the system and boot partition via this last option.

06 Partition Backup

As soon as you Disk/Partition Backup have selected, you will immediately notice that the method has surprisingly many similarities with a normal data backup. The main difference is that you are not selecting individual folders or files here, but one or more complete drives or partitions. The option is also interesting Sector by Sector backup, which you can find via Backup options / Advanced. If you check this box, empty data sectors will also be placed in the backup, which of course requires more time and space. This scenario can be useful when you back up a partition with the intention of finding previously deleted files. The latter makes it possible to perform data recovery on the actual partition. In the unlikely event that something goes wrong, you can easily restore the original partition to make another recovery attempt.

Restoring a backed up partition is done in a similar way to section 2 'Smart recovery'. However, you don't necessarily need to restore an entire partition. It is equally possible to recover only specific files or folders. In this case, first select the option File mode: you can then quietly navigate through the image file to restore the desired files.

07 Live Medium

The fact that EaseUS Todo Backup lets you navigate through image files for restore operations is an excellent solution, but what if your (backed up) system partition is so corrupt that Windows still refuses to boot? This does not have to be a disaster scenario, because the software provides two emergency solutions.

Let's start with the first (for the second see the next section). Launch Todo Backup, click Tools (the bottom button in the left menu) and choose Create Emergencydisc. Choose the desired medium: USB stick, CD/DVD or, if necessary, an ISO file (which you can then transfer to a boot medium yourself with a free tool like Rufus). You can also choose from two operating systems for the boot medium here: Create WinPE Emergency Disk and Create Linux Emergency Disk. Both will suffice if your intent is to restore a disk or partition image from Todo Backup. You then only have to boot your PC from this boot medium (in some cases you have to adjust the boot order in the bios of the computer), after which you click in the graphical user interface on Browse to recover and select the correct image file. Note: if you also want to be able to restore file backups in this way, you must choose the WinPE version.

If necessary, you can still create a live medium after the disaster has occurred, albeit from another PC.

08 Pre OS

You must have set up the second emergency solution before Windows gives up. Also select the Tools section in the left menu and choose Enable PreOS, after which Todo Backup will first create a WinPE environment. A confirmation follows and you can complete the procedure with OK. The option is now changed to Disable PreOS, which means that this function can also be turned off. This function should ensure that when you start up your system, you will first see a boot menu from which you can start a slimmed-down version of Todo Backup, so before any Windows that has become corrupted. As with the live medium, you can then start a recovery operation from here. Since Todo Backup adjusts the boot sector for this, we prefer to choose the less intrusive method of the boot medium from the previous section.

09 Clone

Let's say your current drive is bursting at the seams and you want to replace it with a bigger drive. Or that you want to replace a slow hard drive with a faster SSD. This can also be done via the detour of an image file, but it is more convenient than a direct copy to the already connected target disk. So clone and for that Todo Backup offers you two options: clone and System Clone. This is pretty much the same story as creating images. With the first option you can select the desired disks and/or partitions yourself, while with the second option Todo Backup has already made that choice for you and has specifically selected the system disk. Both options offer additional settings via the button Advanced options. In addition to the option Sector for Sector clone (whereby empty data sectors are also copied) you will also find here Optimize for SSD at. We recommend that you check this option if the target disk is indeed an SSD or is a so-called AF (Advanced Format) disk, so that the partition is optimally aligned. If in doubt, it is preferable to place a check here. Please note that all existing data in the target location will be overwritten. You initiate the operation with the button Process.

10 Mbr to gpt

It may also happen that you want to replace an older system disk, which was partitioned according to the MBR (Master Boot Record) partition style, with a new and larger disk. However, if the new disk is larger than 2.2 TB and you want to be able to access that partition completely, you have to organize it according to the partition style GPT (GUID Partition Table). To check the partition style of your disk, start Windows Disk Management by pressing Windows key+R and the command diskmgmt.msc typing followed by Enter. Right click on the disc number (bottom left) and when you Convert to MBR Disk If you see it, it means it's a GPT drive - and vice versa.

Clone operation from mbr to gpt may cause boot problems on the target disk. You can avoid this as follows. Right-click in the Disk Management on the still empty target disk and choose Convert to MBR. If that option is not available, first right click on the partitions of that drive and get them via the option Delete volume in the context menu.

Then clone the source disk to the target disk as described in the previous section. After a successful cloning operation, remove the source disk and boot the PC from the target disk, after which you can convert that mbr disk to gpt again from the Disk Management. In the box 'Gpt' we mention a few more conditions for the conversion to and use of a Gpt disk.

Gpt

It is possible to convert an mbr disk to gpt without data loss. For this, Windows 10 (from version 1703) includes the Command Prompt command mbr2gpt. You will find an instructional video (in English) below, but the procedure is quite complex. An alternative is another program like EaseUS Partition Master Pro (a free trial version is available).

Furthermore, to be able to boot from a gpt disk you need Windows 64 bit (you can check that with Windows key + Pause, at Type System) and your system must also be set to uefi (instead of bios). This is how you find out: press the Windows key, tap system information , run the app and check if there are BIOS mode indeed UEFA state (instead of Deprecated). On Windowscentral you will find instructions to both convert your disk to gpt and to set your bios mode to uefi. You carry out these instructions at your own risk.

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