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I have a Mac (running Mountain Lion) and a Windows 8 computer. I use Time Machine for my Mac, which has saved me a few times when my HD dies, by allowing me to simply restore my entire computer and making it bootable. And the backup is always at MOST an hour old!

How can I do the same thing in Windows? That is, create an automatic, scheduled backup (once a day is fine), which is a backup of the ENTIRE Windows drive (so, including the C:\Windows\ directory, importantly), which I can restore immediately whenever my Windows HD dies?

I've done some research on this in the past, and have never came up with a satisfactory solution. Everything that has been suggested always seems to have some strange problems or quirks with them. Most importantly, I haven't seen a solution that creates a bootable backup that I can easily restore whenever necessary.

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There is an in-built mechanism like Time Machine on Windows 8. It is called "File History". However I don't know whether it can be made boot-able; or if the Windows OS directory itself can be backed up. You will need to try, tweak, and play with it.

Here is how you do it.

  • You can open the File History control panel by pressing the Windows key, typing File History at the Start screen, selecting the Settings category, and clicking the File History shortcut that appears. Connect an external hard drive to your computer and click the Turn On button to enable File History.

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  • Windows backs up files in your libraries, desktop, contacts, and favorites to this location. Windows does this automatically every hour.

  • You can exclude and include specific folders. You can try including the Windows folder as well. However I do not know if it will maintain its boot-ablity. Other custom Folders can be added to the Library for Backup.

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  • You can also Restore Files and folders by clicking the Restore personal files link in the File History Control Panel.

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  • As such I'm a Mac user, and I'm sure, there must be some hack / tweak to make this work exactly like the Mac Time Machine.

  • That is how Microsoft is even marketing this feature. So I guess all we need to do is explore.

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