Vista’s Backup Is A Ghost Buster

Filed under: — By Aviran Mordo @ 11:51 am

With the soon to be released Windows Vista, the new operating system overhauled a very important and usually overlooked feature, the backup.

Windows Vista provides a backup experience that is more comprehensive and even easier to use than the basic backup utility included in Windows XP. The new backup utility works in the background so you can use a simple wizard to schedule when and where you want it backed up. You can back up to CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, an external hard disk, another hard disk on your PC, or to another PC or server connected to your network.

Like commercial backup software such as Symantec Ghost, Vista backup can take a complete image of your hard drive, track changes and continue to backup only those changes, and of course backup individual files, specific file types and folders.

Just like Ghost, Vista backup lets you restore a complete hard drive from an image, which is most useful for corporations, that create a drive image which is then gets duplicated on many computers.

Maybe the most significant new feature Microsot introduced with Vista backup is the Previous Versions feature.
Have you ever accidentally saved over a file you were working on? Accidental file deletion or modification is a common cause of data loss. This feature automatically creates point-in-time copies of files as you work, so you can quickly and easily retrieve versions of a document you may have accidentally deleted, even after you emptied your recycle bin.

Vista Backup Previous Versions

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23 Responses to “Vista’s Backup Is A Ghost Buster”

  1. Al Degutis Says:

    Ghost and Acronis True Image have nothing to worry about when it comes to Vista’s Complete PC Backup as shown here;


  2. Ed Ebert Jr. Says:

    Interesting article; however Vista home basic does almost none of the functions alledged in the article! I recently acquired a notebook with Vista basic and today attempted a MS Backup. Miserable thing would ONLY allow B/U of various media files, and ONLY to the original notebook HD! I then installed Veritas original Backup Exec in the form of Stompsoft’s BackUp MyPC … most functions were available, so I got a complete image on a USB drive, but Vista asks for a driver that’s unavailable from Sonic, who own Roxio … current IP owner of the BackUp MyPC code … Sonic has dropped the product from their list of Vista compatible programs … WTF is going here?

  3. Lawrence A. Murakami Says:

    In Vista, Backup is installed with all versions but the image backup option is only available in Ultimate, Business, and Enterprise versions.

    Pricing for full retail versions of the software: Windows Vista Ultimate, $399; Windows Vista Business, $299; Windows Vista Home Premium, $239; and Windows Vista Home Basic, $199.

    This excludes Home users from the feature except for those that pay the premium for the Ultimate version. You have to pay $100.00 more and get a business version or $200.00 more for the Ultimate version before you see this or pay big bucks for an enterprise license. Market prices will be less but most home users will NOT have access to the image option.

    It looks to me that there is still room for third party image backup solutions. It also looks to me that MS is definitely going after some of the enterprise dollars in this area.

  4. Artem Says:

    I have a good experience with it’s backup. It really very easy to use.

  5. Claud Says:

    Should be interesting to see a follow-up on this post, if indeed vista’s backup is “killing” the 3rd party developers.

  6. Howard Says:

    Vista backup cliams to backup only files that have been added or changed since its last backup, but I have yet to find that feature. Each night it just backs up all the files and leaves me with a huge zip file the next morning. I would love to have it just backup the changes, but so far, it does not.

  7. Kurye Says:

    “Windows Vista provides a backup experience that is more comprehensive and even easier to use than the basic backup utility included in Windows XP” Good working thanks.

  8. Nick Says:

    The copy i have of ultimate only lets you back up to dvd’s not images. Is it in a special spot to back up to a image on a external hdd?

  9. egon Says:

    Window xp seems to work fine for me, I dont think this is reason enough to switch to vista, may be I can try on my spare computer.
    anyway thanks for this article, It is always nice to know.

  10. resim Says:

    It really very easy to use.

  11. Blair Says:

    I just bought a new Toshiba laptop,and was stunned to learn that because it ships with Vista Home Premium, full backup is not included.

    Given the inherent unreliability of Windows (I had to reinstall the entire machine just days after buying it), it’s appalling not to include such essential functionality in ANY version of the OS.

    Yet another reason I prefer my Mac …

  12. Bill Lesher Says:

    A couple of comments on this thread:

    What is apparently not understood by some is that the naming convention - Home vs. Business vs. Ultimate is just that, a naming convention. You can think of it as Vista Basic, Vista Advanced, Vista More Advanced, and Vista Most Advanced, or any other naming convention. It simply alludes to the fact that at each stage of advancement there are more features, and, since this is a capitalist society, a higher price tag. Virtually every software manufacturer has this kind of tiered strategy. Each of the various “features” is a module, and each module has a cost of development, and a company, if they are to be profitable, really cannot just give programming time away for free.

    It is unfortunate, but the vast majority of end-users of computer products have never been involved in anything resembling a major programming project, or a major electronic design project. The tremendous number of hours, and the cost in materials and highly paid, highly educated, manpower has to be recouped through some means. Understanding the fact that Microsoft Vista is now over a billion lines of code, written by thousands of programmers, and took over 5 years in development, it may be easier to understand its pricing structure. As a major piece of software, it is actually relatively economically priced, and most people are not paying “retail” for it, unless this is their first PC purchase. Upgrade pricing tops at $250 for the Ultimate Edition, and decreases in $50 increments with each successive reduction in feature set, which puts the Home Basic version at $100. The same pricing structure applies to the OEM version which is what you get bundled with any OEM manufactured “clone” PC.

    The reason to switch to Vista, as has always been the reason to switch operating systems, has little to do with one individual module. It has to do with advances in computing technology, support for newer software and hardware conventions, and, ultimately, the fact that no software developer, even Microsoft, can, or should, be obligated to support, or continue development on, any outdated product. Support will end. Updates will no longer be available, and in the meantime between the end of support, and the end of sales of the product, which happens February of 2008, only major security bugs are going to be a priority, so as time goes on, XP is going to become less and less secure, more and more prone to virus’, trojans, and the like, and it will eventually be unable to load web pages, and run newer software that takes advantage of the newer hardware and software technologies that Vista supports.

    This happened with Windows 3.1, 95, ME, and, for that matter, going back in time, with CP/M, various forms of BASIC (yes, basic was once an operating system that ran on the Apple, among others), PC and MS DOS, and their varients like DR. DOS. All along the way, computers have been evolving.

    Now, if you want to blame someone for this, you need to go look into the mirror. It is the end users of computing equipment, to a very high degree, that drive evolution and development of computing. You were the one screaming at this software or hardware developer that you needed this feature, or that feature, or more speed, or more capacity, or …… whatever else it was that you felt your older computer should be capable of doing, but could not do. Then, when the developers respond to the millions of such requests from the millions of computer users, and they go to charge you for it, you are the first one to bitch about the price. You cannot have it both ways. Either you want a cheap computer that does very little, or you want a computer that does a great many things, but costs more.

    Truth be known, when PC’s debuted, they cost $4,000 for a machine that did just very basic things - basic 2 dimensional spreadsheets in Visicalc, basic word processing in Wordstar, and basic flat file databases in dBase I, on an 8 bit, 4.77 Mhz processor in 256 Kilobytes of RAM, and a couple of 360 Kb floppy drives. It a a monochrome green screen, and came loaded with DOS. You had to buy all the rest of the software. Now an average Windows Vista computer, bundled with Ultimate, comes with a Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz processor, 2 Gigabytes of RAM, 300 GB hard drive, 1.44 floppy, 18 or 20X DVD burner, and a wide screen 19″ LCD display, keyboard, mouse, and all for about $1200, and most of the major PC vendors bundle all sorts of software with their PCs.

    As someone who started hacking the back of Tandy Color Computers, and second generation Apples in the late 1970’s, switched over to CP/M on the Kaypros and Columbias, and then into PC DOS 1.1 on an original IBM PC, and through all of the various machines and operating systems since, it mystifies me every time I hear computer users complaining about costs for features. We used to pay a lot more for much less than what you get with a basic PC now. Nobody, I mean NOBODY, has really got any room to gripe.

    Next topic:

    Don’t go buying the cheapest PC you can buy off some big retailer’s store shelves. Those are mass produced, and obsolete before you even get them out of the box. You may pay a couple hundred more, but you will get better service, and a more up to the minute PC or laptop from any of a number of local OEM dealers in your area. You can specify features, work with price, and get just about any bundle you want, but it will cost you a bit more than those cookie cutter, one size fits all, solutions that Best Buy, Circuit City, Office Depot, or your local Sam’s Club is selling. Had the buyer of that Toshiba gone to an OEM dealer, he probably would not have been stuck with the Home Basic version. OEM dealers can buy any of Toshibas, Acers, or any number of other laptop and PC manufacturer’s, machines, bare bones, and then configure your choice of hard drive, memory compliment, processor, operating system, or optical drive so you get exactly the PC you need, at a price you can afford, and help you balance price and functionality.

    The reason it is going to cost more is manifold. First, they are going to have sales and technical people there, people that they have to pay an actual salary to, who can answer any of your questions, not some guy who’s last gig before becoming a Best Buy computer salesman was at the local McDonalds, asking “Do you want fries with that?”. Then, instead of buying 10,000 cookie cutter units, they are going to buy one unit, your unit, and do all the configuration in-house instead of some factory in India where they can pay someone a day’s wage that equates to what any qualified technician in America makes in an hour. But, you will probably be more satisfied with the end result, and you will have someone to call if you have a problem, not some other guy in India who asks you if you have your monitor plugged in….another common mistake (reference to the Smelt Tech Support adventures with Foamy the Squirrel). It really is something to think about before you jump on that next great laptop deal a Walmart.

    Next Topic:

    As for the backup in Vista - this thread’s actual topic - since I only buy Business and Ultimate, I have nothing bad to say. It works better than the older backup solutions that were bundled with various previous issues of Windows. It still does not beat Acronis True Image, or any of the $300+ professional backup software systems, but it does a reasonable job in a pinch, and it does it within the cost of the operating system. The one downside is that it is strictly a local backup, so you cannot locate a large USB external hard drive array, or similar backup device, on the local computer, and then back up your network data locatons from that single Vista PC. You end up having to run a backup from each PC, seperately, to the shared drive, but that can be automated.

    Nick, go to the backup and restore center, and then choose the “Backup Computer” button. That is the choice that creates the image.

    As for Macs…..well, I owned an original Macintosh, and a IIGS, and I will admit that Macs have come a long way, but if you look to the data, real data, not the speal of the Mac Moonies, you realize that the Mac is no more secure, nor really any more reliable than a modern Windows PC. It is just that with a better than 80% market share, Windows PC’s are much more of a target than the Macs with their, I think the last figure I saw was somewhere around 5% market share. You also don’t have the issues that surround Macs with their highly proprietary, high cost, hardware, or the narrowing of software options. The Mac is still not an open architecture, like the PC is, and the very openness of the architecture on the PC is both its greatest strength and its greatest weakness. There are so many possible combinations that it is impossible to completely test them all, and, so, you get glitches with certain hardware combinations, certain software combinations, or certain hardware/software combinations. Ultimately, I decided a long time ago, that I would rather have that infinite degree of choice, and accept the repercussions of my choices, than to have the decisions made for me by Apple.

    Be well,


  13. dorber Says:

    And so blows a Mighty Wind!

  14. Ken Toran Says:

    Well said Bill Lesher. I could not have said it better myself. This echos what I have been telling all those Vista bashers who don’t understand what Microsoft has truly done here. Eventually, they will I believe. Yes, it has bugs and weaknesses but there is no such thing as a perfect operating system.


  15. john lewis Says:

    I run Vista 64 ultimate with all the bells and whistles. It cost me well over £400. Recently upgraded to SP1 then tried a computer complete backup to an identical blank drive within the same PC. The system blue screened and no longer booted any more after that. I spent hours trying to fix it. Also when I tried to re-instate the so called ghost image on the back up drive the windows installation repair procedure would not recognise it at all. So basically I lost the lot. Thanks Microsoft for taking up 3 days of my life and goodness knows how much longer to re-build my system to how it was. I am doing two things now. 1 switching to 32 bit. and 2 trying ghost or acronim.

  16. wayne white Says:

    Bill Lesher,
    Wow, for a newbie this was a wonderful read. I couldn’t verify or contradict a thing you have written about but it resonates as being quite true. I have vista home premium with one of those cookie cutter versions but I am very happy with it, like you said we get sooo much for the money these days it’s hard to complain. I will come back to this site and read on.

  17. john sinclair Says:

    The “complete pc backup” included in vista ultimate (i have the 32bit ver) is completely worthless. The backup operation is great, restore fails miserably with the traditional cryptic windows error messages and hex codes (not actually so cryptic, but without source code, what’s the point).

  18. Jim Says:

    Ah, yes. Everybody loves aesthetics, loves, easy to use software, love it simple… too bad it doesn’t work when you need it, and you need to shell out an additional $200 dollars to get something useful if you have the typical OEM version.

  19. kurye Says:

    thank you kurye kargo dağıtım hizmetleri moto kurye

  20. Arby Says:

    My wife just recently purchased a machine with Vista Home. She asked me to help her with her backup. I was stunned. Very little freedom as to what files to backup. I wound up writing my own script just like I did on my Linux machine. Maybe the more “advanced” Vista versions have better backup tools, but Vista Home does not. I’m glad I run Linux.

  21. P.DOFF Says:

    You won’t believe how many customers bring their new laptops to my workshop, complaining about this super new virus called VISTA, and they leave with an older (more friendly) version of of a similar virus called XP. Imagine if Mercedes sold cars with Microsoft engines, Mercedes deserve their name, Microsoft doesn’t. I’m so glad I run Macs and Linux PC’s (TOUCH WOOD). When people tell me they have problems with their computer I know they’re bringing me a machine running MS products. Sure… Microsoft is good (at what they do do) - look how rich Bill is, he deserves all the pie he gets, the question is…. when TF are they gonna get it right, Bill will be dead long before that day. Everything in this world is perfect, right down to the idiots that run it.

  22. Motor Kurye Says:

    better to best

  23. İzmit Kurye Says:

    İstanbul Kurye Moto Kurye Hizmetleri İstanbul kurye olarak yıllardır vermiş olduğumuz hizmet, her zaman için kaliteli ve doğru bir şekilde hizmet sunmakta.

    Uygun FİYATA Moto Kurye HİZMETİ Firmamızda moto kurye Olarak görev yapan bütün, ekip elemanlarımız, sizlere En Hızlı ettik tr kaliteli sekilde geri dönüşleri sunmak Için ellerinden geleni yapmaktadir. Dürüst olmak yeterli, onun zamanını sağlamak için hep arkadaşlarımızı, ailemizden bakınıyorum gibi, sizsiniz sizden geri dönüşleri de alarak alabilirsiniz.

    Hızlı Ve Kaliteli Moto Kurye Hizmetleri

    Hızlı ve uygun fiyatlı, uygun fiyat, hem uygun fiyat, hem de uygun fiyatlı bu ürünler götürmek için, motosikletlerle kurye hizmetimiz devam ediyoruz. Biliyorum gibi kargolarda çok da görülüyorsa, bir günden aşağıya kadar bir yere bile ürün getirilmemektedir. Ancak firmamız sizlere, acil kurye konusunda her zaman yardımcı olmakta ve sahiptir çözüm yollarını sunmaktadır. Sizler de bizlere güvenebilir ve kaliteli bir hizmet bekliyor. Bizleri aramakta müşteri hizmetleri

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