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I try to keep a list of all my tweaks and personal settings so I will have them all at hand and ready to apply should I have to do a reinstall. Unfortunately, I forget half the time to make entries to the list.

I've recently started using Macrium Reflect to keep an ongoing image of my disk. Not knowing the difference between an image, a mirror image and all the other terms used, a question arises.

I've read that certain types of whole disk backups include all your personal tweaks and settings while other types do not. Is Macrium Reflect one of the types that keeps these tweaks and settings?

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But which OS?

Common ones are Windows, Linux (which one?), Mac OS and others.

Windows may be the hardest since MSFT never issued a tool to backup just settings. So for now, for most OSes you image your system (the OS and if you split data to another drive = system) and that way you can get back to your last backup.

Member Avatar for MickeyD

Sorry, I forgot perhaps the most important information to help you answer my question. The OS is Win 10 Pro.

I take it you did research this and found that no one has created software to do this. There are mentions on how to copy the user profile but I found this to lead to a dead user account later.

My answers are:

  1. To backup your Windows today with all settings, you backup your system and data drive.
  2. Given how Microsoft and all app makers keep settings all over the place I don't see how any app could make this happen besides a full backup and restore of the entire PC.
Member Avatar for MickeyD

I think you answered my question even though I did not phrase it properly. When I said 'back up my settings', I meant as part of the entire disk backup, not separately.?

The answer is "it depends". My laptop (Windows 10 Home) is partitioned as follows:

  • 120 gB C:
  • 1.7 tB D:

C: is reserved for OS, applications, and some user folders. After I installed Windows I relocated My Documents, My Pictures, My Videos, My Music and Downloads to equivalent folders on D:. After installing Firefox, Thunderbird and Chrome I also relocated the profile folders for each to D: as well.

I set up Macrium Reflect (free edition) to do a full image of C: to an Images folder on D: on the first of every month. I also do an automatic differential of C: every day. At some point I plan to buy a copy of Macrium Reflect because that will allow me to do incremental images daily (much less space).

Because settings are stored helter skelter there is no way, other thann a full image, to guarantee all settinngs are backed up. I have had many occasions to restore a C: image in order to undo inadvertant damage.

If you allow Macrium Reflect to modify your boot, you can have it set up a boot image so that when you boot your computer you will have the option to boot directly into Macrium Reflect rather than Windows. This means you will almost never have to create or go looking for emergency boot media (unless your entire disk is toast).

PS: Never rely on Windows System Restore. It doesn't really do what you think it does. In fact, disable it completely to save hard drive space.

commented: I think MSFT and apps store settings in more place than any squirrel does for their winter nuts. +15
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