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So last month my HD crashed and I lost almost everything I had. Now, I keep regular backups. I store everything on the cloud.

For my HD backup, I use an external hard drive and create a system image regularly.

However I want to know if that's all I need for the worst case scenario. Say my HD crashes or Windows is unable to boot or anything like that. What do I need to have and how do I create proper backups?

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A good backup strategy for Windows 8 isn't much different from any other system. First and foremost you want your personal data backed up (documents, photos, music, etc). Things that would be difficult or impossible to replace if you lose a hard drive. The OS and applications can be reinstalled, backing those up should be for convenience and not critical.

Creating a system image to an external hard drive is a good place to start. You also want to consider offsite storage of backup data. This can be by having two external drives (one that you store at work or another house) or using an online service (like Crashplan, Carbonite, Mozy, Backblaze, etc). Because having backup just onsite doesn't protect against fire, theft, etc.

Paul Thurrott at WinSupersite has a good write up for Windows 8 Picking a Backup Strategy. Using a backup of your data along with Push Button Reset seems like it would be a quick way to get back up and running.

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Yes, I do store all my documents, pics, music etc on the cloud (Dropbox, skydrive etc). I take weekly system image backups (without creating recovery disc). However, I'm not sure if the system image I take is enough. And if it's possible to restore from it. – None Apr 11 '13 at 22:20
Added a link to some more info – Brad Patton Apr 12 '13 at 0:47
You should try if you are able to restore from your image. 1. Get your hands on an empty HD. 2. disconnect your actual HD (so you are sure that you do not destroy data on it). 3. try restoring your backup to the empty HD. – masgo May 15 '15 at 9:17

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