Create an initial baseline Image Backup: Prior to making any changes to your computer’s drive you need to establish a backup of the entire drive in case you need to restore Windows XP to its current state (containing all your data files and applications) after your evaluation of Windows 10 has completed or for whatever reason after installing Windows 10 you are no longer able to boot to Windows and need to restore Windows XP.
This baseline is created before any changes are made to the Windows XP drive partition layout, and should include the entire drive (all partitions).
A number of computers with Windows XP preinstalled may have included “Recovery Media” (set of CDs) or a recovery partition located on the hard drive. Recovery partition sizes vary from one manufacture to another and can be as small as 10GB or as large as 30GB. You should include this partition as part of your backup. Note that using the recovery partition or media to restore XP will erase all your existing data and applications which is the main reason for an Image Backup which will restore XP and all your data and applications.
The image backup(s) you will create over time (after Windows 10 is installed), eliminates the need to use the recovery partition or media to reinstall Windows XP, your applications and data files. It’s your safety net!
That first / baseline image backup you create will allow you to revert to your pre Windows 10 drive configuration should Windows 10 fail to install or lacks the device drivers needed for your computer to function properly.
Since I had a spare hard drive I tested the backup recovery process using Paragon’s recovery media CD to verify that both the recovery media was bootable and could be used to restore Windows from the Image Backup I created, which it did although it did take me two attempts since I was not familiar with the “Recovery Wizard” option and the mouse was not 100% functional forcing me to using a combination of keyboard and mouse on this computer. End result was that I was able to restore the image to the spare drive and load Windows XP proving that I had a valid image backup and usable recovery media.
Note: After you have your dual boot system configured and operational, “if and only if you plan to keep Windows 10 preview for a period of time”, you should create separate image backups of just the Windows XP partition if and when you install additional applications within Windows XP. This will allow quick recovery of your latest XP configuration, data files and applications.
The Disk Management utility screenshot shows a relatively small 250GB drive (not an uncommon size with XP computers sold in the 2005, 2006 time frame) with a single partition.
Paragon has a ‘Back Up’ option located in the upper left corner of the ‘Backup & Restore’ tab. Select this option to start the ‘Backup Wizard’.
Click the ‘Next’ button and select the hard drive that contains Windows XP.
This creates as implied a single backup of the drive partitions you select. No scheduled incremental backup is part of this one time backup. I will use this option to create my initial Windows XP baseline and it will and should include all the partitions on your drive.
As you can see, I’ve clicked on the Disk/Partition box which automatically includes the Master Boot Record (MBR) and the only partition on my drive (shown as Disk 1) which is the Windows XP partition. The 2nd drive listed is my external USB drive and should not be included in the drive image.
Click ‘Next’ and verify that the ‘Backup Destination’ is set to the ‘Save data to local/network drives’.
Click ‘Next’ and the wizard will ask you to select the backup destination, select / highlight the external USB drive. In the ‘Archive location’ box change the folder name from the long series of numbers to a folder name that is more meaningful by clicking on the ‘Create New Folder’ icon.
For a folder name, enter: WinXP_Baseline
Tap the ‘Enter’ key to save the folder name you entered.
Click ‘Next’ to continue.
Now enter a comment as to why the backup was created, Example: Prior to shrinking Windows XP partition.
My personal style of where and how to store the Image Backup file includes an external USB drive and creating a destination folder name that has some obvious meaning about the backup. Then after the backup has completed, inside the folder I also create a small Notepad readme.txt file that includes notes of why and when the backup was created. This saves me the effort of starting Paragon just to see the comments I entered in Paragon, with multiple backups this could be time consuming and the readme.txt file is a lot quicker means of locating a specific backup.
Click ‘Next’ to continue. You should see a ‘Backup summary’ screen, click ‘Next’ to start the backup.
Note: If you see a message that indicates “The wizard did not commit the changes”, click the ‘Finish’ button.
From Paragon’s main Backup and Restore screen click on the ‘Apply’ option to start the backup.
The time to complete the backup is dependent on the image compression level, amount of data / used drive space your Windows XP partition contains and to some extent the size of the recovery partition (if you have one).
After the backup has completed, click ‘Close’ button and exist Paragon.
Now that your baseline backup is complete, the next step is to shrink the existing Windows XP partition to make room for an additional partition to be used when installing Windows 10. XP does not have the ability to shrink / Resize a partition, so a free third party utility will be used to accomplish this task. After you shrink the partition you will create a 2nd image backup prior to installing Windows 10. Should Windows 10 fail to install you can restore the 2nd backup and try again.