This Christmas, Santa brought me a new HP Mini 110 netbook. It came with Windows XP pre-installed and it also came with all the normal stuff except for two things. It doesn’t have a CD/DVD drive and it doesn’t have a system recovery CD.
The first thing I wanted to do after getting all of my must haveprograms loaded, was to get the new netbook backed up on my external USB backup drive. I knew that creating the backup on my USB drive was not going to be a problem with almost any software I chose to use. However, how was I going to be able to boot my PC into a recovery mode if Windows or my hard drive failed? After some trial and error, I found that Easeus Todo Backup makes the job pretty easy once you’ve learned a trick or two. Below, I’ll share my new tricks with you, so that you won’t have to sweat for hours figuring it out on your own.
What is Easeus Todo Backup?
According to the authors, Todo Backup is Advanced data recovery software for Windows 2000/2003/2008/XP/Vista to do format recovery, partition recovery and recover deleted files emptied from Recycle Bin or lost data due to partition loss or damage, software crash, virus infection, unexpected shutdown or any other unknown reasons.
Here’s the cool part I left out of that short description. Todo Backup is FREE. According to the site, it’s only free for a limited time. Don’t be too concerned though. Even if Todo suddenly becomes non-free, there are other free alternative backup programs that should work as well.
What are the main features?
â€¢ Backup system partition to image
â€¢ Backup partition(s) or disk(s)
â€¢ Restore hard drive and operating system in Windows
â€¢ Restore the system partition by bootable CD
â€¢ Compress image file
â€¢ Image file splitting
â€¢ Clone disk to another one
â€¢ Mount the backup image file
â€¢ Check Backup Image File
The best feature is that it’s fairly easy to create backups. As you can see from the screen shots below, you’ll enter into a sort of backup wizard that walks you through it.
Creating a backup
Hit the button labeled Backup.
At this point, you select the partitions or the entire drive to be backed up.
Then you tell it where you want the backup files stored. You really should have a place on another hard drive or another partition to write the backup files. I didn’t see an option to burn backups directly to CD or DVD, but you will get a choice to split the backup files into smaller pieces. Later you could easily burn the smaller pieces onto CD or DVD if you want to.
On the last screen you’ll see the options to write the backup data with compression and passwords. You can also tell it to split the data into smaller chunks as I mentioned above.
Create a bootable CD or Flash drive
You will definitely want to create a bootable CD or flash drive to allow you to recover your data if Windows decides it’s done and will not boot. The bootable CD/flash will contain a miniature operating system and it’s purpose is to run the ToDo Backup program so that you can recover your system files and data.
Easeus offers you an included ISO file (image.iso) that you can burn to a CD. If you place that CD in a CD drive and reboot, you should be offered a chance to boot into the Linux based recovery CD. If you successfully burn your CD and your PC won’t boot from it, you may need to go into your PC Bios settings to change the boot device order so that the PC looks for the CD drive first when it reboots.
Note: The file image.isois in the binfolder under the installation location of Todo Backup. Example: C:\Program Files\EASEUS\EASEUS Todo Backup 1.1\bin\image.iso
As you know from my earlier description, my netbook doesn’t have a CD drive. Therefore, I had to figure out how to create a bootable flash drive. After trying several utilities to help me get that ISO file onto a flash stick, I finally found UNetbootin. It made the job of creating a properly booting flash drive as easy as pie.
Restoring your backups
A few days after I had created my bootable flash stick, disaster struck. I crashed my entire hard drive while I was trying to re-partition it. I was happy to have the full disk backup I’d created and twenty minutes later, Windows was back up and running like nothing had ever happened.
The restore process is very straightforward in my experience. Plug in your bootable recovery CD or flash drive. Connect the external backup drives if needed. Reboot to start Todo Backup recovery. The final step is to click on Restoreand choose the backup file that you had created earlier.
Techie Buzz Verdict:
Easeus Todo Backup is free, fairly easy to use and has plenty of great features. If you get stuck, the built in help files can often get you back in action. This or other backup tools are a must have for any PC user.
Techie Buzz Rating: 4/5 (Good)