This article describes without commitment a possible scenario how to create and use an external backup disk. You might implement this proposition on your own risk.
Prerequisite is an external MBR harddisk (USB or eSATA) up to a size of 2 TB.
The goal is to create a bootable harddisk you can store your backups on. To restore your archives you boot into the WinPE environment with the Paragon program. From there the restore can be executed without any problem.
- Start the Recovery Media Builder (RMB) from the Paragon program.
- Attach your external harddisk to a USB 2.0 or eSATA interface.
- Proceed as described in or KB article “How to create recovery USB flash“. Select your external harddisk as destination. Keep in mind that all partitions – and thus all data – on this harddisk will be deleted.
- The RMB will create a bootable FAT32 partition at the beginning of your harddisk. This partition will have a size of 32 GB. It will contain the rescue environment with your Paragon program.
- Check if your harddisk will boot. Just try.
- Once you made sure that your disk boots successfully create one big NTFS partition covering the rest of the disk space.
- Write your backups into this NTFS partition.
In case of damage just boot from your backup disk and restore the desired backup.
- Remove the backup disk immediately after each backup.
- Do not leave the disk attached to the system. Attach it right before each backup.
- To not give viruses any chance you may want to create your backups from the rescue environment as well. This is less comfortable of course but more secure.
- If your system caught a virus turn the machine off. Attach the backup disk not before the PC is definitely off. Make absolutely sure the systems boots directly into the rescue environment. Particularly ransomware will immediately be able to encrypt your backups otherwise.
- For most of the viruses and ransomware it will be sufficient to follow the above mentioned precautions. In case you caught a Root Kit it will be in vain. Those are very rare luckily.
- These instructions are only valid for USB harddisks not for USB flash drives – no matter how big they are. Windows can only create one partition on a flash drive. In case of a NTFS partition it can use the entire capacity of the drive. A FAT32 partition can’t be bigger than 32 GB, the rest of the drive will remain unused and unusable. If you create a FAT32 partition bigger than 32 GB it will be used but it will not boot. Even not if you upsize it afterwards. If you create a NTFS partition manually in advance it will be used for the rescue environment but will not boot on UEFI systems.
HowTos: Paragon, HowTos: Windows
Tags: Backup disk, Use case