How to Backup Entire Computer (Applications, Documents and Other Data) with EBCD

Rather than waiting for digital disaster to happen and then trying to fix it with various tools and approaches, it's better to act proactively and have a full backup of your computer, so you can always get back to known good state at a glance.

Emergency Boot CD can backup your whole computer (applications, documents and other data) or a chosen subset of your data. Backup copy is saved in open format, so it can be restored either with Emergency Boot CD or other tools if necessary.

Contents

1. Theory, Tools and Hardware

All data on your computer is stored in disk partitions. You can backup partitions into compressed image files and store them on USB thumbdrive or external USB HDD. Compressed image of disk C: contains Windows, desktop, all software installed into Program Files, entire Registry (application and system settings), documents, browser data (bookmarks, saved password, history), games etc.

So, you can make a snapshot of your entire computer, which can be restored at any time later, resetting the whole computer to the known good state.

Snapshot may include other partitions (for example D:) if you have them — so in emergency situation not only the operating system, but your data can be restored as well. Or you can back up your disk D: as usually (each file separately), and use whole partition image backup just for disk C: — so retain bootability, NTFS junctions and special NTFS access permissions for system files and folders.


You need Emergency Boot CD to make whole system backup as described above. Here is an instruction how to burn Emergency Boot CD to the compact disc and set up your BIOS to boot from CD.

Also you need USB thumbdrive or external USB HDD to store compressed partition images. Optionally, using FlashBoot you can make that USB thumbdrive bootable (transfer Emergency Boot CD to USB) and get rid of compact disc.

2. Making Backup

1) Boot EBCD, Choose Partition Manager in the main menu:

Backup Entire Computer - Choosing Partition Manager in the Main Menu
Backup Entire Computer - Choosing Partition Manager in the Main Menu

2) Choose "Backup partition/disk to image file" in the Partition Manager menu:

Backup Entire Computer - Choosing Backup Partition/Disk to Image File in the Partition Manager Menu
Backup Entire Computer - Choosing Backup Partition/Disk to Image File in the Partition Manager Menu

3) Choose partition to backup (your disk C: in Windows) and click [...] button:

Backup Entire Computer - Choose Partition To Backup And Click Browse Button
Backup Entire Computer - Choose Partition To Backup And Click Browse Button

4) Choose disk and folder to save compressed partition image file to (E: USB 29G in this example) and then type in the file name to the corresponding input field (backup-2013-09-03 in this example).

Backup Entire Computer - Choosing Disk and Folder and Typing In File Name
Backup Entire Computer - Choosing Disk and Folder and Typing In File Name

5) Check image file name and click "Next >" button to start saving partition image:

Backup Entire Computer - Click Next Button To Start Saving Partition Image
Backup Entire Computer - Click Next Button To Start Saving Partition Image

6) Partition backup in progress:

Backup Entire Computer - Partition Backup In Progress
Backup Entire Computer - Partition Backup In Progress

7) Partition backup complete:

Backup Entire Computer - Partition Backup Complete
Backup Entire Computer - Partition Backup Complete

If you have multiple partitions to backup (not just disk C:), then repeat steps 2-7 for each additional partition. Images file names of different partitions should be different.

Then quit EBCD Partition Manager:

Backup Entire Computer - Quit EBCD Partition Manager
Backup Entire Computer - Quit EBCD Partition Manager

3. Restoring From Backup

1) Boot EBCD, Choose Partition Manager in the main menu:

Backup Entire Computer - Choosing Partition Manager in the Main Menu
Backup Entire Computer - Choosing Partition Manager in the Main Menu

2) Choose "Restore partition/disk from image file" in the Partition Manager menu:

Backup Entire Computer - Choosing Restore Partition/Disk from Image File in the Partition Manager Menu
Backup Entire Computer - Choosing Restore Partition/Disk from Image File in the Partition Manager Menu

3) Choose destination partition (your disk C: in Windows) and click [...] button:

Backup Entire Computer - Choose Destination Partition And Click Browse Button
Backup Entire Computer - Choose Destination Partition And Click Browse Button

4) Choose disk and folder which contains compressed partition image file (E: USB 29G in this example) and then click on that file (backup-2013-09-03.dd.gz in this example).

Backup Entire Computer - Opening Compressed Partition Image File
Backup Entire Computer - Opening Compressed Partition Image File

5) Check target partition once again and click "Next >" button:

Backup Entire Computer - Check Target Partition and Click Next
Backup Entire Computer - Check Target Partition and Click Next

6) Read this warning carefully:

Backup Entire Computer - Read This Warning Carefully
Backup Entire Computer - Read This Warning Carefully

7) Partition restore in progress:

Backup Entire Computer - Partition Restore In Progress
Backup Entire Computer - Partition Restore In Progress

8) Partition restore complete:

Backup Entire Computer - Partition Restore Complete
Backup Entire Computer - Partition Restore Complete

If you have multiple partitions to backup (not just disk C:), then repeat steps 2-8 for each additional partition. Different partitions should be restored from different images files.

Then quit EBCD Partition Manager:

Backup Entire Computer - Quit EBCD Partition Manager
Backup Entire Computer - Quit EBCD Partition Manager

4. Verifying Boot Path

Now you should verify that disk C: is still bootable. It may be not bootable if NT disk signature has been changed between backup and restore, or if start of partition was moved due to partition realignment or other reasons.

1) Run EBCD Mount & Boot Center:

Backup Entire Computer - Run EBCD Mount and Boot Center
Backup Entire Computer - Run EBCD Mount and Boot Center

2) Wait for EBCD Mount & Boot Center to load:

Backup Entire Computer - Wait EBCD Mount and Boot Center To Load
Backup Entire Computer - Wait EBCD Mount and Boot Center To Load

3) Make sure your windows partition is mounted as C:, Windows Loader is called by BIOS and Windows Loader is linked with Windows. If some of these conditions does not hold, make corrections as necessary and click OK:

Backup Entire Computer - Making Corrections In EBCD Mount and Boot Center
Backup Entire Computer - Making Corrections In EBCD Mount and Boot Center

4) Done. Choose Reboot in EBCD main menu.

Backup Entire Computer - Done, Rebooting
Backup Entire Computer - Done, Rebooting