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In preparation for Windows 10 as a musician...

back up your stuff!

Windows 10 is coming soon. I reserved my free copy. I use my laptop for a lot, and I can't afford to have stuff breaking, so I'm preparing. So should you, whether you choose to upgrade or not.

I have a version of Windows 7 on my laptop that qualifies for a free upgrade, so I reserved my copy that will auto-download in late July:

Windows 10 Reservation

If you have a qualifying Windows version, you should see a little taskbar icon to reserve a free Win10 copy. If not, you either don't have a qualifying Windows version, or you haven't run the system updater in a while.

The system backup...

I will be creating a system image from here:

backup 1

...and then here:

backup 2

...and then here:


Fortunately, I still have a 1/4 spindle of these to do this with, which should be enough. If not, I'll buy another 100.

Verbatim 100-count DVD+R
(DVD+R is better for data compared to DVD-R)

The files backup...

Fortunately, this is easier.

I'm using 7-Zip v15.05 beta, which works fine and it's free. If you Google that, you'll find it. I'm purposely using 15 beta and not the old 9.20 because of better integration options, and it seems to work faster. Given the large amount of data I'm backing up, speed is important.

Side note: If you want something more user-friendly, use PeaZip instead, which is a more robust client and free like 7-Zip is. Use whatever archiver you like.

Anyway, you basically "Run as Administrator" for 7-Zip, do these options:

7-Zip Options

...and you get a nice tidy little icon for the right-click context menu so you can right-click and create backup archives easily like this:

7-Zip Context Menu

I have been 7-Zipping everything I want to save

I was using WinRAR before, but switched over to 7-Zip mainly because there's no licensing crapola to deal with. Just download and use it on any computer you want. No fuss, no hassle, compatible with every major OS out there. Can't ask for more than that.

All the archives I'm creating are getting copied to memory card and an external hard drive I have since I have the space for it.

This is yet another reason why you should NOT use software to record music with

It is very possible that when I upgrade to Windows 10, the audio editing software I use now may break. If it does, I can give Audacity a try since I just use it for mastering files anyway and not for direct multitrack recording.

There will be, and this is no joke, many thousands of musicians who will have their audio software break from a Win10 upgrade. The software will fail because of either driver incompatibility, software incompatibility, audio card incompatibility or a combination of all three.

This is why I absolutely do not do multitrack recording on a PC and opt to use a Zoom R8 instead. No matter what happens on the laptop, the Zoom R8 is not touched since it's a completely separate piece of hardware with its own software that does not change.

If after I upgrade to Win10 I find that too much stuff breaks, I will have a DVD full-image disc set to go right back to Win7 in less than a half-hour. Yes, it will probably take 1 to 2 hours to initially create the image set, but it's worth it because if too much stuff breaks, I can go back to Win7 very easily.

Final notes

If after reading this you want to create a backup image of your own using the Win7 way of doing it, I strongly suggest getting the following:

  1. A cheap external USB DVD writer drive. It's probably true you've not used your DVD drive in a while, so much to the point where you don't know if it's reliable or not. Get a new USB external drive and use it. It's less than 20 bucks.
  2. A 100-count spindle of DVD+R Verbatim discs as mentioned above.
  3. If you have the cash, a 1TB external drive. They're less than 60 bucks now.
  4. A 64GB memory card. This is the cheaper option compared to the 1TB as it's just 25 bucks. If you feel you can fit all your downloads and stuff on just 64GB, get this instead of the 1TB drive.

Yes, it's true you could put your system image on the 1TB drive, but I strongly suggest the DVD way of doing it instead. Why? Because you know you can boot from disc, but don't know if you can boot from the external drive. Better safe than sorry. Use the discs. Yes, it's slower, but there is no "Will it boot?" question. It will boot.

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