The key is to preserving your existing investment in Windows Vista. I’ll show you what you need to know in order to survive any catastrophes that may occur by providing a detailed look at backup strategies, recovery procedures and how to install Windows 10 alongside Windows Vista to create a dual boot computer.
Document backups: Obviously you will continue to use Vista while evaluating Windows 10. This means you will day by day continuously add more data files (Documents, Photos, Music, Etc.) when using Vista. It’s not practical to create a new image backup each day, but you can create file and folder backups of your documents, more on how later.
Drive Partitions: There are a significant number of partition arrangements, from a variety of computer manufactures which have preinstalled OEM versions of Windows Vista or home built systems with retail versions of Vista.
Store bought computers may also include a “Recovery partition or Factory Image” usually located at the end of the hard disk drive. If your drive does not have a recovery partition then you may have a set of “Recovery” media CD(s).
For this article I will be using a drive with a 2 partition arrangement with Vista installed on the 1st partition, followed by a recovery partition. It is important that you include the recovery partition in at least the 1st image backup.
Image Backup overview: The Image Backup software must be installed in Windows Vista and “All” Image Backups will be created from within the Vista operating system and stored on an external USB drive, so the backup software only needs to support Vista. Restoration / drive recovery of a backup will be made from a bootable recovery disk that you need to create immediately after installing the image backup software.
The choice of which backup software you use is yours, however I suggest one of the following products:
1. Norton Ghost 15: (Supports XP, Vista and Windows 7, but cannot be installed on Windows 8 / 8.1) 2. Acronis True Image: 2015 (Supports XP, Vista, Windows 7 and 8 / 8.1) 3. EaseUS Todo Backup Free: Version 7.5 / 8.0 (Supports XP, Vista, Windows 7 and 8 / 8.1) 4. Paragon Backup and Recovery 14 / 15 (Supports XP, Vista, Windows 7 and 8 / 8.1)
Note: None of these products can be installed on Windows 10 but they will backup and if necessary restore a Windows 10 partition when installed on Windows Vista.
I will be using EaseUS Todo Backup Free: Version 7.5 (Note: EaseUS just released version 8.0 after just as I was finishing this article, from all appearances the trial version has the same user interface.)
After you install Todo Backup you need to create the recovery media: Launch Todo Backup and from the main screen click on the Tools icon located in the upper right corner. Then click on the ‘Create Emergency Disk’ icon.
Next insert a CD into your DVD burner and set the ‘Boot disk type’ to ‘Create Linux emergency disk’ and the ‘Boot disk location’ to ‘CD/DVD’. Note: To create a WinPE disk in version 7.5 requires that you download and install Microsoft’s WinPE tools.
Click ‘Proceed’, in about a minute the emergency disk should be created. Click ‘Finish’ and exit Todo Backup.
Windows Vista Documents backups: Todo Backup has a “File backup” option on the main screen that makes it easy to backup your data files and if need be to restore them. For the details on setting up a backup go to page 13 of the user’s guide (Note: Don’t forget to elect the ‘Include all content referred to Reparse Point’ option when configuring the backup options).
Recovery (page 31 of the user’s guide) is just as easy as long as you are aware that at the completion of a recovery you may see a list of errors. Most likely this is due to the fact that the ‘Replace existing files’ option is not selected and normally should not be. After the recovery is completed you will see a list of files not replaced as “a file with the same name exist”. Since the file on your disk drive may be newer / revised version of the file than is stored in the last ‘File backup’ you create you certainly don’t want to replace it with an older version contained in the backup. An exception would be if the file on your drive is corrupted and you need to recover a usable version from the backup.
Frequent backups, either run manually or scheduled should keep your data safe.