Best Windows backup prior to Win10 upgrade?

Hi. My parents have a couple of old Windows laptops still on Windows 7, and the newest one (Lenovo N series) I was going to try and update to Windows 10 while I am there next weekend. I will take an external HDD and take a full snapshot before I start. I’m primarily Mac at home, what is people’s favourite Windows backup utility that would be the least hassle to revert if I have to? Something like SuperDuper! on the mac?

You could use something like Macrium Reflect to mirror the whole drive if you want to be able to quickly restore the drive if something goes wrong. Personally, I like to use Clonezilla on a bootable USB stick, but I would say Macrium Reflect is the easier method - you could even produce a bootable drive with it on if you don’t want to install.


I’ll second the recommendation of Macrium Reflect for making a complete disk image. I have it installed on a USB key that I can boot a PC from, and it’s my standard backup method on several machines before applying Windows patches. Have restored PCs from a disk image several times without problems.


Great. Thanks both, I’ve downloaded Macrium Reflect to have a play around with in a Windows VM before I go.

Not sure what approach I’ll take yet. Their Lenovo laptop isn’t ancient (2015?), but the local ‘tech guy’ has told them it’s not compatible, buy a new machine (from him :thinking:). Thought I’d test this but want a solid back-out if needed.

I’m wondering if better to try and install/run Windows 10 from an external drive first, see what works and what doesn’t, before committing to an upgrade. Assume you can do this with Windows? Or even create a new partition on the HD if he has space and clean install Windows 10 there to test it?

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Not easy to run Windows from an external drive. Best to just do the backup and install. Windows 10 has pretty good roll back these days. 2015 laptop should be fine. I was running Windows 10 on a PC built in 2012 fine.

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I’m suspicious about that tech guy saying that a 2015 laptop isn’t compatible with Windows 10. I have two Dell laptops from 2007, and another one from 2012, all of which are running Windows 10 without problems.


My thinking too @Clayton.

So, I’ve used the MS Media Creator to make me a Windows 10 boot/install flash drive, spare hard drive for a backup, any other gotchas or things worth knowing ahead of the weekend?

Steve Gibson uses and recommends this . I messed around with the demo and it looked quite good but cant vouch for it personally.


Never tried it, but I trust the source of the recommendation:

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That Lenovo upgraded to Windows 10 without a hitch last night :+1:t2: Runs better than it did with Win7 I think, seems quicker. Thanks for the tips on backups.

Still a free upgrade from Windows 7 too, so MS are still allowing this on the quiet.


Did you just enter the Windows 7 product key to activate Windows 10?

No, it didn’t prompt for anything. I did an in-place upgrade and it looks to have validated the old key and migrated it to a digital licence?

I agree this makes no sense. I’m using a 2012 Lenovo T420 and it runs Win10 just fine. In fact it rules.

It would definitely do this during the “free upgrade” period when Windows 10 debuted, and no doubt it still works… I don’t think MS wants the money from an upgrade as much as it wants the installed base and on an Internet safe and maintained version of Windows. (At this point I think they feel they can make more money selling you MS Office or other things than they can selling you Windows… because they sell Windows to the OEMs.)

Interesting. You’ve never done an upgrade for this copy of Windows before?

like others mentioned here, I’ve used Macrium. Well, “use” is probably not the correct terminology. I’ve created ISOs, but haven’t had to restore an image as of yet.

No, I haven’t - although someone else might have run the installer I guess and cancelled it. Like @PHolder mentioned, I’d heard MS was still allowing free updates, just not publicising it, as it is their interests to get as many people as poss onto Windows 10. I was quite happy to buy a licence but looks like I don’t need to :+1:t2:

Yeah, always worries me not testing backups. I’m thinking of doing what Andy Ihnatko suggested the other day. My MBP is off to Apple to get its hardware issues looked into next week. He suggested completely wiping it, and restoring from backup when you get it back.

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I would think Clonezilla would be the one to use…

Did another older HP G61 laptop too, which must be 10 years old at least. This one had so much rubbish installed on it, I wiped it and reinstalled Windows 7. Typed in the product key printed on the label on the bottom of the laptop, wouldn’t work. It was OEM, and I had a retail Windows CD :thinking:

So I dialled the freephone MS licencing number, which took me through a process of typing in a long code, and it gave you another code back. Success :+1:t2: Windows 7 activated. Then updated to Win 10 with no issues, activated too.

Seems MS are keen to get people updated.