When it comes to backing up my
computers, I am a fan of image backups. For
more info, see my article Backing it up in the
March, 2013 issue of the newsletter ( http://opcug.ca/public/Articles/1303.pdf)
I have been an Acronis True Image
user for many years and am happy with the program and its
full features. But I dont always need full
features. For example, I started using a Microsoft
Surface Pro 2 for my Ottawa Public Library presentations.
I dont have any real amount of unique data on the
tablet, so I dont need a backup program with tons
of features. All I really want is disaster recovery
the ability to quickly get back to a working
operating system with a couple of dozen programs. A full
image backup every month or two is sufficient for that.
Alan German wrote a review of the
free version of Macrium Reflect (http://opcug.ca/public/Articles/1110.pdf)
and I considered using it. One of the big limitations of
the free version of Macrium Reflect is that it cannot do
incremental images, but I dont need that feature on
Before I got around to installing
Macrium Reflect, I happened across EaseUS Todo Backup
Free. One thing that caught my eye Todo Backup
Free can do incremental images! Even though I didnt
need it for my tablet backup, I figured it was worth
trying. I thought if I liked it, it might be a candidate
to replace Acronis True Image on my desktop computer.
The 127MB download went smoothly. As
with many free programs, during the installation, you are
offered some programs from other vendors, which you can
accept or decline. The Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 is
required. If you dont already have it, you will be
prompted to install it.
The user interface is quite clean
For a complete backup, you select
the disks/partitions you want to back up, choose a
destination location & file name and click on the Proceed
button. My Surface has a 64GB SSD with 5 partitions.
There is the C drive sized at 53GB. The remaining
partitions are for recovery and
who knows? As
well, I have a 32GB micro-SD card in the system.
I selected the SSD and the SD card
which automatically selected all partitions. I plugged an
external drive into the USB port and pointed there for
the backup file. After 14 minutes, my first backup,
totalling 33GB, was done. The backup file was just under
There are lots of options for
tweaking the way the program operates. You can do full or
incremental backups, select from multiple levels of
compression, password-protect the backup, split backup
files into parts (useful if you want to store the backup
files on optical media), send email notifications after
backup, run commands before and after backup, schedule
backup operations, and set the priority for the backup
Todo Backup has a Clone
operation, which simply copies all files from a disk or
partition to another disk. This can be useful if you are
upgrading to a larger disk drive.
If you dont want to image an
entire disk or partition, you can choose File Backup
and select folders, files, and libraries.
Nobody runs a backup solely to
backup. What is important is the ability to perform a recovery.
A common recovery task is for
individual files or folders that have been deleted or
corrupted. To do this kind of recovery, click on Recovery
in the main window and select File Recovery.
Select the backup file you want and then browse to select
the files or folders for recovery. You can choose to
restore the files to the original location or a different
Another way of recovering files is
to mount a backup file, which will assign a drive
letter to the backup and then you can access the files
within the backup with any file manager you want. You can
also simply double-click on a backup file and it will
open an Explorer window which looks just like a normal
drive (but read-only). You can then just use normal file
operations to copy files or folders from the backup to
any location you want.
All file and folder recovery tests I
ran worked flawlessly.
I need an image backup for my
Surface Pro 2 tablet so I can recover the operating
system and applications in the event of a disaster,
rather than individual file recovery. In order to fully
test a backup procedure, you really need to actually do a
recovery. I am not about to try an actual recovery on my
Surface tablet, but I do know I have to be prepared.
Within the Tools section of Todo Backup, you can
create bootable recovery media. In the event that Windows
cant boot, you use this to boot the computer and
perform the recovery. As with most backup programs, Todo
Backup allows you to create either Linux-based or Windows
PE-based recovery media. The free versions of Todo
cant create Windows PE-based recovery media so I
chose the Linux version and opted for a flash drive.
And then my problems started. Once
the bootable flash drive was created, I could not get my
tablet to boot from it. I tried a bootable DVD with a USB
DVD drive and it didnt work either. I found an
incomplete article published by Microsoft at http://preview.tinyurl.com/pjfs2ul
that provided part of the answer. In addition to the
instructions there, I found I had to also disable secure
boot in UEFI. But even then, I could not get the
Surface Pro 2 to boot from the flash drive or DVD.
Google searches turned up others
with the same problem. Some proposed solutions, quite
obviously from people who never actually tried it,
regurgitated the Microsoft instructions that didnt
work. Other suggestions, from people who said worked they
for them, didnt work for me.
I really dont know if the
problem Im having stems from the Surface Pro 2, the
UEFI based Secure Boot built into every Intel Core-i CPU,
Windows 8, or something else. Really too bad, because I
do like Todo Backup Free. It has a nice feature set and
the parts I could get to work, worked well.
Make sure, whatever backup solution
you choose, that it will allow you to recover. Maybe I
will try Macrium Reflect Free.
EaseUS Todo Backup Free
System requirements: Windows XP/Vista/7/8, 1GB
RAM (2GB for Windows 8/8.1), 1GB disk space
Supported file systems: FAT12/16/32 and NTFS. Other file
systems can be backed up in sector-by-sector mode.
Maximum disk size supported is 4TB.
Free for home use
Originally published: March, 2014