This review is about a simple, powerful and free backup tool for Windows: Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows Free (formerly called Veeam Endpoint Backup Free), which allows you to conveniently create system images, disk backups or data disk partitions as on internal , and on external or network drives, restore this data, as well as reanimate the system in some common cases.
Windows 10, 8 and Windows 7 have built-in backup tools that allow you to save the state of the system and important files at a certain point in time (see Windows Recovery Points , Windows 10 File History ) or create a full backup (image) of the system (see How create a backup of Windows 10 , suitable for previous versions of the OS). There are also simple free backup programs, for example, Aomei Backupper Standard (described in the previous instructions).
However, if “advanced” backups of Windows or data disks (partitions) are required, the built-in OS tools may not be enough, but the Veeam Agent for Windows Free program discussed in this article is most likely enough for most backup tasks. The only possible drawback for my reader is the lack of a Russian interface language, but I will try to talk about using the utility in as much detail as possible.
Install Veeam Agent Free (Veeam Endpoint Backup)
Installing the program should not cause any special difficulties and is performed using the following simple steps:
- Accept the terms of the license agreement by checking the corresponding box and click “Install”.
- In the next step, you will be prompted to connect an external drive, which will be used for backup to configure it. This is not necessary: you can back up to an internal drive (for example, a second hard drive) or do the setup later. If during the installation you decide to skip this step, check “Skip this, I will configure backup later” and click “Next” (next).
- When the installation is complete, you will see a window stating that the installation was completed and the default setting is “Run Veeam Recovery Media Creation wizard”, which starts the creation of the recovery disc. If at this point you do not want to create a recovery disk, you can uncheck.
Veeam Recovery Disk
You can create a Veeam Agent for Microsoft Windows Free recovery disk immediately after installation, leaving the mark in p. 3 above or at any time by launching “Create Recovery Media” from the Start menu.
Why do you need a recovery disk:
- First of all, if you plan to create an image of the entire computer or a backup copy of the system partitions of the disk, you can restore them from the backup only by booting from the created recovery disk.
- The Veeam recovery disk also contains several useful utilities that you can use to restore Windows (for example, resetting the administrator password , command line, restoring the Windows boot loader ).
After starting the creation of Veeam Recovery Media, you will need to perform the following steps:
- Choose the type of recovery disk to create - CD / DVD, USB-drive (flash drive) or ISO-image for subsequent recording to disk or USB flash drive (I only see the ISO-image in the screenshot, because the computer without an optical drive and USB flash drives connected) .
- By default, items are marked that include the network connection settings of the current computer (useful for recovering from a network drive) and the drivers of the current computer (also useful, for example, to allow access to the network after booting from the recovery drive).
- If you wish, you can mark the third item and add additional folders with drivers to the recovery disc.
- Click “Next." Depending on the type of drive you’ve selected, you will be taken to different windows, for example, in my case, when creating an ISO image, to the folder selection for saving this image (with the option to use a network location).
- In the next step, all that remains is to click “Create” and wait for the creation of the recovery disc to complete.
That's all there is to creating backups and restoring from them.
Backup copies of the system and disks (partitions) in Veeam Agent
First of all, you need to configure backups in Veeam Agent. For this:
- Run the program and in the main window click "Configure Backup".
- In the next window, you can select the following options: Entire Computer (a backup of the entire computer must be saved on an external or network drive), Volume Level Backup (backup of disk partitions), File Level Backup (creating backup copies of files and folders).
- When you select the Volume Level Backup option, you will be asked to select which sections should be included in the backup. At the same time, when choosing a system partition (I have a C drive in the screenshot), the hidden partitions with the bootloader and recovery environment will be included in the image, both on EFI and MBR systems.
- At the next stage, you need to choose a backup location: Local Storage, which includes both local drives and external drives or Shared Folder - a network folder or NAS drive.
- When choosing local storage in the next step, you need to specify which drive (disk partition) to use to save the backups and the folder on this drive. It also indicates how long to keep backups.
- By clicking on the “Advanced” button, you can create a frequency for creating full backups (by default a full backup is created first, and later only changes that have occurred since it was created are recorded. If the periodicity Active full backup is enabled, each time specified time will start a new backup chain). Here, on the Storage tab, you can set the compression ratio of backups and enable encryption for them.
- The next window (Schedule) - setting the frequency of backups. By default, they are created daily at 0:30, provided that the computer is turned on (or in sleep mode). If it is turned off, the backup starts after the next power-up. You can also set up backups when Windows is locked (Lock), logged out (Log off), or when an external drive is set as the destination for storing backups (When backup target is connected).
After applying the settings, you can create the first backup manually by simply clicking the “Backup Now” button in the Veeam Agent program. The time it takes to create the first image can be lengthy (it depends on the parameters, the amount of data to be saved, the speed of the drives).
Restore from backup
If you need to restore from a Veeam backup, you can do this:
- By launching Volume Level Restore from the Start menu (only for restoring backups of non-system partitions).
- By running File Level Restore - to restore only individual files from a backup.
- Boot from the recovery disk (to restore a backup of Windows or the entire computer).
Volume Level Restore
After starting Volume Level Restore, you will need to specify the backup storage location (usually determined automatically) and the recovery point (if there are several).
And indicate which sections you want to restore in the next window. When you try to select system partitions, you will see a message stating that it is impossible to restore them inside the running system (only from the recovery disk).
After that, wait for the recovery of the contents of the partitions from the backup.
File level restore
If you need to restore only individual files from a backup, run File Level Restore and select a recovery point, then on the next screen, click the "Open" button.
The Backup Browser window opens with the contents of the sections and folders in the backup. You can select any of them (including selecting several) and click the “Restore” button in the Backup Browser main menu (appears only when selecting files or files + folders, but not only folders).
If a folder has been selected, right-click on it and select "Restore", and also restore mode - Overwrite (overwrite the current folder) or Keep (save both versions of the folder).
When you select the second option, the folder will remain on the disk in its current form and a restored copy with the name RESTORED-FOLDER_NAME.
Recovering a computer or system using the Veeam recovery disk
If you need to restore the system partitions of the disk, you will need to boot from the boot disk or flash drive Veeam Recovery Media (you may need to disable Secure Boot, supports EFI and Legacy boot).
When booting, while “press any key to boot from cd or dvd” appears, press any key. After that, the recovery menu will open.
- Bare Metal Recovery - using recovery from Veeam Agent for Windows backups. Everything works the same as when restoring partitions in Volume Level Restore, but with the ability to restore system partitions of the disk (If necessary, if the program does not find the location itself, specify the backup folder on the “Backup Location” page).
- Windows Recovery Environment - launch Windows recovery environment (built-in system tools).
- Tools - tools useful in the context of system recovery: command line, password reset, loading the hardware driver, RAM diagnostics, saving verification logs.
Perhaps this is all about creating backups using Veeam Agent for Windows Free. I hope, if it is interesting, with additional options you can figure it out.
You can download the program for free from the official page https://www.veeam.com/en/windows-endpoint-server-backup-free.html (you will need to register to download, but it is not checked in any way at the time of writing )