We are committed to providing fast, efficient, and affordable software solutions that set new standards in the software development industry.
  • File Backup for Personal Computers and Laptops of Home and Self-Employed Users

All computers and file storage devices eventually fail. This often leads to losing files, which may be more valuable than the computer itself. Recovering these files can be expensive and time-consuming, especially if the hardware is damaged. Sometimes, the files can't be recovered at all.

You might also need to restore your entire operating system. This is usually a lengthy process if you have to start from scratch, especially if you need to reinstall a bunch of programs and reapply settings.

This is especially important for home users who don't have many resources for full system recovery and have to do it themselves instead of calling expensive IT professionals. Their files are important and often irreplaceable, like family photos and videos, unique artwork, and similar stuff.

IT professionals say a backup a day keeps data recovery away. It's much easier and cheaper to invest in file backup software and storage than to deal with emergency data recovery. This article will give you detailed suggestions on how to create a data backup plan for your personal computer and implement it using our disk imaging and data backup software R-Drive Image.

We've published some articles in our Knowledge Base that describe creating data backup plans for small business servers (for example Creating a Data Consistent, Space Efficient Data Backup Plan for a Small Business Server), but they might be too complicated for home users.

Another difference between business servers and personal computers is what kind of data needs to be backed up. Business servers usually contain complex data structures like databases, so backing up the entire hard drive is often the best option. Personal computers, on the other hand, generally have separate files, so regularly backing up only those files would be better.

Another difference between business servers and personal computers is what kind of data needs to be backed up. Business servers usually contain complex data structures like databases, so backing up the entire hard drive is often the best option. Personal computers, on the other hand, generally have separate files, so regularly backing up only those files would be better.

There are also some restrictions on where to store backup files. They're limited to external USB storage devices and maybe a NAS (Network Attached Storage) device. You can also use various cloud services. They're reliable, well-protected, and available from almost anywhere, plus they might be free for a limited amount of storage space (15 GB for Google Drive, for example).

When we say "a personal use computer" we mean two very different types of computers, and therefore they need different backup plans.

Click the plan you think most suitable to you. You may adapt these plans to your specific needs.

  • A backup plan for a laptop
  • A backup plan for a desktop PC s

A backup plan for a laptop
Laptops like these are used irregularly, so it's pretty hard to come up with a specific pattern for automatic data backups that would work for most home users. That's why backup tasks will be started manually.

We'll use an external USB drive as the main place to store backup files. It will also protect against various ransomware. Since it's good to have several backups in different locations, we'll use a cloud service for replications. Cloud services are reliable, well-protected, and available from almost anywhere, plus they might be free for a limited amount of storage space (15 GB for Google Drive, for example).

Taking all above into consideration we can now start creating our exemplary backup plan.

  • Our system: a laptop with a 128GB SSD, BitLocker protection is on, Windows 10 as its OS.
  • Backup tasks: Personal files backup: every time you're done using the computer. The entire disk: Once a week and before and after major Windows updates.
  • Places to store backup files: Personal files: a detachable external USB drive and Google Drive as a replication. The system disk: the detachable external USB drive. Google Drive can also be used if your account has enough storage space (not suitable for free accounts).
  • Backup software: R-Drive Image Standalone. It has all the features we need and more, and it's inexpensive. You can try it for free for a month, with all its features intact.

Task 1: User files backup
1. Click the Task and Scripts button.
R-Drive Image Main panel
Click image to enlarge

2. Select Task to create image from files.
Task to create image from files
Click image to enlarge

3. Select the folders and subfolders/files you want to back up.
Folders and files to backup
Click image to enlarge

You only need to do this once; you won't have to do it again each time you run this task.

Then click the Next button.

4. Click the Connect to cloud button to establish a connection with Google Drive.
Connect to cloud button
Click image to enlarge

5. Click Google Drive on the Connect to cloud dialog box.
Connect to cloud button
Click image to enlarge

Your default browser will open and connect to the Google site.

6. Select your Google account
Sign in with Google
Click image to enlarge

and log in.

7. Look through the permissions you will grant to R-Drive Image
Google permissions
Click image to enlarge

and click the Continue button.

8. Verify that R-Drive Image is successfully authorized
Google authorized
Click image to enlarge

and close the browser.

9. Make sure the connection to Google Drive is active.
Google drive connection
Click image to enlarge

10. Select the external USB disk (D: Backup) for the Main copy folder, and choose the backup type for files.
Main copy folder
Click image to enlarge

You can select two backup types: an rdi image file and Differential files copy.

The rdi image file can be encrypted and mounted to your system as a read-only logical disk to extract only necessary files, but only R-Drive Image can work with it. Differential files copy doesn't require R-Drive Image to access files, but it's less secure as files are stored as they are. We believe that modern external disks and Google Drive have strong enough security measures for ordinary user files.

Then click the Options button.

11. Switch to the Replications tab on the Options dialog box,
Replications options
Click image to enlarge

then click the Add replications button, select Google_Drive, and click the Open button.

12. Check that the replication path has appeared on the Replication tab.
Replications path
Click image to enlarge

Then you can go to the Copy options tab and specify any necessary parameters.
Copy options tab
Click image to enlarge

Select Shutdown computer when completed if you want to turn your computer off when the task is finished.

You can read more about the other options in R-Drive Image help: Copy Files to a Folder.

Then click the OK button to return to the Select the destination for the new image panel.

Click the OK button on this panel.
Select the destination for the new image
Click image to enlarge

14. Select Manually in the Perform this task option on the Task execution schedule panel,
Task execution schedule panel
Click image to enlarge

then click the Save button.

A new task will appear on the Tasks and Scripts panel.
Tasks and Scripts panel
Click image to enlarge

Now you can start the task manually.

1. Right-click the task and select Execute now.
Manual execution of a task
Click image to enlarge

R-Drive Image will start executing this task, showing its progress.
Task execution progress
Click image to enlarge

R-Drive Image will show the result when the task is completed.
Task execution result
Click image to enlarge

Please note that uploading data to Google Drive may take a while if your internet is not fast enough.

Your computer will turn off automatically if you selected the Shutdown computer when completed option.

Files on the disk when the task is successfully completed.
Files on the disk
Click image to enlarge

And on Google Drive
Files on Google Drive
Click image to enlarge

Note that there are no folders on Google Drive.

When you start the task next time, restore the connection to Google Drive by going to Restore Image, then Tasks and Scripts, and execute the task when the connection has been restored.

Task 2: Backup of the entire system disk
1. Click the Tasks and Scripts button on the Main panel, then click Create task on the Tasks and Scripts panel.
Creating another backup task
Click image to enlarge

2. Select the entire hard disk on the Select disk(s) to create image from panel.
Select disk(s) to create image from panel
Click image to enlarge
You need to back up the entire hard drive because it contains the System partition locked by BitLocker.

3. Select the destination for the new image, backup type (R-Drive Image format - default),
Image destination
Click image to enlarge
and click the Next button.

4. Select the Rotations options on its panel.
Rotations options
Click image to enlarge

A new full image will be created and the old one deleted every time this task is started. You can change this setting if you want to keep several old images on the disk. See R-Drive Image online help for more details: Simple Rotation Schemes.

5. Go to the Image options tab and specify any necessary parameters.
Image options tab
Click image to enlarge

Select Shutdown computer when completed if you want to turn your computer off when the task is finished. You can read more about the other options in R-Drive Image help: Create an Image.

6. Select Manually in the Perform this task option on the Task execution schedule tab,
Task execution schedule tab
Click image to enlarge
then click the Save button.

A new task will appear on the Task and Scripts panel.
Task and Scripts panel
Click image to enlarge

Now it's time to start the task manually.

1. Right-click the task and select Execute now.
Manual task execution
Click image to enlarge

R-Drive Image will start executing this task, showing its progress.
Task execution progress
Click image to enlarge

R-Drive Image will show the result when the task is completed.
Task execution result
Click image to enlarge

Your computer will turn off automatically if you selected the Shutdown computer when completed option.

Files on the disk when the task is successfully completed.
Files on the disk
Click image to enlarge

Note that you'll need R-Drive Startup version to restore the system disk. Read more in the R-Drive Image help page: R-Drive Startup version

A backup plan for a desktop PC
This computer is usually part of a home network, maybe with a NAS device. We'll use the NAS as the place for backup copies. The computer is always on and sleeps when idle, so we can set up automatic backups for some tasks.

  • Our system: a desktop PC with a 512 GB SSD divided into two parts (Disk C:, System, 148 GB and D:, Data, 316 GB), plus 2 system reserved partitions. User files are stored on Disk D:, and it runs Windows 10.
    Important: You'll need to change some settings in Windows so it can wake up and start a scheduled task. Go to Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Power Options -> Change Plan Settings -> Change Advanced Power Settings -> Sleep -> Allow Wake Timers and select Enable.
    Advanced Power options
    Click image to enlarge
  • Backup tasks: Work files backup: manually every time you're done working. Game files backup: manually every time you finish playing a game. System disk: automatically every day at 4 AM, a full image every Sunday, differential images on other days.
  • Places to store backup files: An external USB DAS (Direct-Access Storage) device as the main backup, with a copy on the NAS device.

    Work and game files aren't usually very large, so we'll use differential backups to save space.
  • Backup software: R-Drive Image Standalone. It has all the features we need and more, and it's inexpensive. You can try it for free for a month, with all its features intact.

With all this in mind, we can now create our example backup plan.

Task 1: Work files backup
1. Click the Task and Scripts button.
R-Drive Image Main panel
Click image to enlarge

2. Select Task to create an image from files.
Task to create an image from files
Click image to enlarge
Then click the Next button.

3. Select the folders, subfolders, and/or files you want to back up.
Files to backup
Click image to enlarge
You only need to do this once. Then click the Next button.

4. Select the external USB DAS device (E: Backup) for the Main copy folder, and choose the backup type for files.
Main copy folder
Click image to enlarge
Then click the Options button.

5. Go to the Replications tab and click Add replication. Enter the location for the backup copy (\NAS-Device\NAS\Files) and click the Add replication button.
Main copy folder
Click image to enlarge

6. Go to the Replications tab and click Add replication. Enter the location for the backup copy (\NAS-Device\NAS\Files) and click the Select Folder button.
Replication location
Click image to enlarge

7. Verify that the replication address is correct
Replications tab
Click image to enlarge
and go to the Copy options tab.

8. Make sure the Shutdown when completed option is not selected
Copy options tab
Click image to enlarge
and click OK to return to the Select the destination for the new image panel.

9. Click the Next button.
Select the destination for the new image panel
Click image to enlarge

10. Select Perform this task Manually and click the Save button. A new task will appear.
Task execution schedule panel
Click image to enlarge

A new task will appear.
Tasks and Scripts panel
Click image to enlarge

11. Right-click the task and select Execute now.
Task execution
Click image to enlarge

R-Drive Image will start the task and show its progress.
Task execution progress
Click image to enlarge

You can leave your computer; the task will finish, and then the computer will go to sleep.

When you wake up your computer and open R-Drive Image, it will show the task results.
Task execution result
Click image to enlarge

You can see the backed-up files on the DAS and NAS devices.

DAS device
DAS device
Click image to enlarge

NAS device
NAS device
Click image to enlarge

Task 2: Game file backup
Next, you can create another task to back up your game files and do it the same way you did for your work files.
R-Drive Image Main panel
Click image to enlarge

Task 3: System disk backup
1. Create a new task and select the System, Boot, and System Recovery partitions,
Select disk(s) to create image from panel
Click image to enlarge
Then click the Next button.

2. Select the external USB DAS device (E: Backup) for the Main image file,
Main image file location
Click image to enlarge
and click the Options button.

3. Make sure the Shutdown when completed option is not selected,
Image options tab
Click image to enlarge
and switch to the Replications tab.

4. Specify the place for replications
Replications tab
Click image to enlarge
and click OK.

5. Specify the Rotation options.
Rotation options panel
Click image to enlarge
R-Drive Image will create 1 full image once a week and 1 differential image every other day. It will always keep 1 previous full image. Then click the Next button.

6. Select the options you want on the Task execution schedule panel.
Task execution schedule panel
Click image to enlarge
Make sure the Wake up computer to run this task option is selected. Then click the Save button.

This task will appear on the Tasks and Scripts panel.
Tasks and Scripts panel
Click image to enlarge
Make sure the Wake up computer to run this task option is selected. Then click the Save button.

The task will start automatically every day at 4 AM.
Task result
Click image to enlarge
When you wake up your computer and open R-Drive Image again, it will show you the results of the task.

Note that you'll need R-Drive Startup version to restore the system disk. Read more in the R-Drive Image help page: R-Drive Startup version

Drive Image Feedback
68 feedbacks
Rating: 4.6 / 5
I played with the free trial little realising that my saved image would come to the rescue several months later. I immediately purchased some licences and restored my system with ease. I am most satisfied with R-Drive. I like its clean and simple interface - it makes things easy.
I have been using R-Drive for many years, I trust my data to nothing else. The latest version has enabled me to do things I didn`t think possible in just a couple of clicks. Thanks r-tools!
Is there an ISO available for download so we can restore even though we no longer have a working Windows 10 machine anywhere in the building?
R-Drive Image is an awesome product that works flawlessly, every time.
Thanks
tried many backup products all failed and crashed. this backup made it easy and trouble free highly recomend it for simple easy use