HOW TO BACKUP OPERATING SYSTEMS?

Necessity towards System Data Protection

With ultra-fast developments in the technological sector, data security is the most vulnerable threat. With more exposures to the digital frameworks and networks, data is prone to be hacked, lost or get into the calamity of accidental deletion. Imagine a situation where a company is storing its crucial data in its local storage and out of nowhere, something unfortunate happened and data is lost.

Furthermore, it has been noted that businesses incorporate their commercial targets in their computer systems. Such targets are set by molding system preferences and settings at par with the company’s vision and mission. In such a situation, the operating system also becomes a potential target point for hackers and accidental deletion.

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    There is only one way to deal with such unfortunate circumstances and it is none other than “contagious backup and restoration strategy”. While data backups are widely in the discussion, there has been very little discussion on the Operating System backups. Especially in situations where a lot of time and resources have been invested in setting the system’s preferences and settings at par with commercial stakes. In such situations, the corruption of the operating system or losing system may require the repetition of the same hectic and hefty exercise, as done before.

    In lieu of the above discussion, it is undoubtedly an established understanding that operating system backup tools are as necessary as data backups. This understanding put forward the necessity to take considerable measures to incorporate operating system backup plans in any sort of backup and restore strategy.

    Advantages of Operating System Backup

    The entailment of advantages is the most effective and classic method to persuade someone. While it has been established that operating system backups are though very much less in the debate, but, in fact, they are very much important to do.

    Before getting into discussing the advantages of operating system backup programs, it is important to note that operating system backups are also known as the system state backups. While file-level backups save the user from any sort of individual files loss, system state backup saves the user from every sort of calamity. Most of the time image-based backups are prepared on the commercial scale but it does not mean that system state backups are less important or efficient.

    Following are some of the notable advantages of the operating system backup:

    Cross-versioning of the Operating System

    Cross versioning is the handiest advantage of the operating system backup. Irrespective of the fact that system state backups follow full backup strategy, it isn’t associated with any specific version or type of the operating system. For instance, if someone has been doing system state or operating system backups on Windows 7, but later on, got Windows 10, then irrespective of parent version, the restoration will be done on Windows 10, without any hassle.
    From the business perspective, it gives business owners liberty where they won’t have to worry about the relevant version of the OS. Instead, they will keep on utilizing their operating system backups and can thus restore their OS settings and preferences.

    Customizable Restoration

    A backup strategy cannot stand victorious if it does not have an effective restoration policy. Although the backup plan acts as the first line of action in case of any disaster, one should not forget that it is the restoration that ensures the victory of such a line of actions.
    Operating system backups are the ones which ensure the victory of both backup and restoration strategy. It allows the user to restore its files, settings and system configuration without getting into the trouble of system wipe-out. This means that without overwriting the existing server with the aide of image backup, the users can restore whatever they need from the system state backup, while not disturbing routine tasks.

    Snapping the Server(s) Upgradation

    In the case of server(s) upgradation, it is seen that there comes a time, under normal circumstances, when full system restoration is required. Generally, this period is noted to be span over a couple of years. Analogously, it can be said that this usually happens in the time, Microsoft releases the new version of the Windows server.
    Operating system backups are handy enough to offer hassle-free restoration whenever the client wants. It does not matter if someone has upgraded the version of the operating system or undergone operating system update, operating system backups will be fully equipped to offer full restoration in case of server upgradation.
    With these advantages, it is quite sure that with the operating system backups, users can simultaneously back up their files, directories and system settings. Such concurrent backups give the user flexibility and liberty to get system restoration on different devices as well as on different operating systems.

    Methods to Perform Operating System Backups

    The understanding of the vitality of operating system backup is not enough. There is a need to look for the appropriate ways to do so. Although there are some third-party tools to perform operating system backups, generally, they are not much efficient. MAC and Windows are the two popular operating systems. Their popularity can be judged on account of their wide-area applications. Though MAC’s popularity has increased manifold over the years, still Windows is a popular choice.

    Realizing the importance of operating system backups, both of these popular operating systems have their own in-built OS backup utility. Following literature intends to give the step by step guideline to perform MAC and Windows operating system backup:

    Windows – System Image Backup

    Windows systems use system image backup to perform OS backups. It is available for all popular versions of Windows, such as Windows 7, 8 and 10. It is quite easy to find it as it is a system default backup software.

    In the first step to create a backup, just type “backup” in the Windows search bar and open the result named “Backup and Restore”. In Windows 7, it can be found by clicking “backup your files” in the start menu. In Windows 8, the same utility can be found under the file history settings. However, in Windows 10, it can be found under the “Backup settings” option. This option is present inside the control panel and can also be retrieved from there.

    The second step involves the procedure to create a system image backup. Click on this option and then it will first scan all external and local hard drives of the system. After scanning, the user will be asked to choose the destination directory to save system images. It can either be an external hard drive, one or more DVDs or any network location. It must be noted that by default it will backup the system drive. However, the user can also include other drives. Once selected, it will display the estimated size of the backup and upon confirmation, OS backup will commence. It must be noted that backup time depends on the type of PC as well as on the type of storage.

    The third step involves the creation of a system repair disk. Upon successful completion of the operating system backup, Windows will ask the user to create a full system repair disk. This disk intends to facilitate the user in case of restoration from the system image backup. It is recommended to create and label this disk along with the safe storage of the disk in the safe location.

    After successful completion of these three steps, the user can stay assured that his or her operating system has successfully been backed up. In case the previous state of the Windows is required, the user will just have to gain access to the “system recovery options”, in the Windows setup. It must be noted that, for restoring windows, it is not customary that the recovery option will always be available while setting up the Windows. Instead, if the user hasn’t lost the OS but has got into the troubleshooting situation, then he or she can initiate system image recovery by accessing the System Recovery Option. Under this recovery option, the user will find the System Image Recovery and it is where earlier created system image will be called to initiate the restoration process.

    MAC – Time Machine

    MAC OS has the in-built backup tool named “Time Machine”. Time Machine is available for the MAC devices having an OS version above 10.5. It is quite an intelligent backup utility as it will automatically backup files, applications and system files. Furthermore, if someone runs out of the disk space, then Time Machine will automatically delete the older versions of the data files so as to make space for the newer ones. In this perspective, it is quite justified to regard this backup system as the set and forget system.

    In the first step of the backup process, the user will need to plug in the external hard drive of the same size as that of MAC’s internal storage. However, as storage plans are quite cheap these days, so it is recommended to use the external hard drive which is two to three times that of MAC’s storage. The external hard drive can either be connected via USB, Firewire or Thunderbolt, depending on the hard drive’s hardware.

    In the second step, go to the system preferences and turn ON the Time Machine. Afterward, select the drive or destination where backups are deemed to be prepared. Here the user will have the option to encrypt its backup drive with a password. It must be noted that the subjected drive must be formatted as the macOS extended type. However, if it is not then Time Machine will prompt the user to reformat the subjected drive.

    Although the third step is optional. But, in case the user wants follow-ups, then this option is quite handy. This step involves the enabling of the notifications pertaining to the deletion of old backups. Furthermore, it also lets the user exclude the volumes from the backups.

    The fourth step involves the commencement of the backup process. Backups will automatically be performed every hour. Besides that, Time Machine manages backup in an organized way. For instance, for the last 24 hours backups, it retains hourly backups, for the previous month backups, it retains daily backups and for all previous months backups, it retains weekly backups.

    In case restoration is required, the user will need to switch to the Time Machine view from the spotlight search menu. This allows the user to scroll through the timeline and go to a certain point in time. Once the subjected directory is highlighted, the user will just need to click on the restore button to initiate the restoration process. Apart from this, Time Machine can also restore the complete system at once. For this to happen, the user will have to hold the command key along with the R key, until the Apple logo appears on the screen. Afterward, just click on the “Restore from a Time Machine Backup”. Clone, also known as a complete image, is another option to initiate the full-system backup at the boot-level.

    Final Note

    Keeping in view the above discussion, there is no doubt in saying that operating system backups are very much important to maintain. This importance can better be understood through the analogy of the car and the road. How useful would a car be without a road? The same applies to the operating system and computer systems. Without an operating system, a computer is nothing but a decoration piece. Critics say that operating system backups are nothing but a duplication of already managed backups. To counter this false narrative there is a justification which says that, how useful would data backup strategy be, if the driving force of those backup tools, an operating system, is not safe from getting corrupt or lost? Therefore, operating system backup is considered as important as the data backup. Furthermore, having in-built utilities for backup lets the prospective users save a lot of bucks in terms of hiring a third-party backup vendor.