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Don't lose your data when upgrading to Windows 10

By Shannon Williams, Thu 13 Aug 2015
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Following its release on July 29, Windows 10 has been installed on more 14 million devices within 24 hours. 

Data protection firm Acronis is telling organisations to keep several things in mind before upgrading to the new software in order to have the best update experience. 

“For the millions of people out there who have yet to update their PCs with Windows 10, it is important to keep in mind that data can sometimes be lost if something goes wrong when a machine is being updated with a new operating system,” Lincoln Goldsmith, general manager A/NZ, Acronis, explains.

Acronis recommends these seven tips to reduce the chances of data being lost when updating devices to Windows 10: 

1. Plan the upgrade  “For those who have multiple PCs, don’t rush into installing Windows 10 on all of those machines right away,” Goldsmith suggests. “Choose one computer and upgrade to Windows 10.”

Goldsmith says this will help users learn what to do and what not to do, and make the upgrade process easier for other PCs. 

2. Make sure the PC can handle the upgrade  A recently-purchased PC that runs an older version of Windows can probably be upgraded to Windows 10 and remain in use, Goldsmith says.

“However, if the PC is over three years old, it is best to consider replacing it with a newer machine that can more easily run Windows 10,” he says.

3. Back up the old PC  “Before upgrading to Windows 10, it is important to back up all the information and applications on the original PC,” Goldsmith says. “Upgrading without first backing up all the files on an older system can lead to data loss.” 

He explains, “Windows 10 is not a simple Windows update, but rather a clean rollout of a new system and the install process will wipe out many folders containing important files or data.” 

4. Use disk-imaging technology for backup, not just file copy  “Windows, even XP, is a complex operating system and some data lives outside of easily identifiable files, such passwords and preferences,” says Goldsmith. “For this reason, use a backup solution with disk imaging technology that simultaneously backs up your entire system while also backing up individual files.” 

5. Back up everything  Goldsmith says that over time, documents may have been filed into desktop folders, temporary files, or even a recycle bin. “Even these forgotten folders must be backed up,” he says. “Additionally, remember to back up hidden partitions.

“These partitions, found on Acer, Asus, Dell, HP, and IBM machines, let you restore your computer back to its original state,” he explains. “You must back up this extremely important partition too.” 

6. Follow the 3-2-1 backup rule  “The 3-2-1 backup rule is a valuable rule of thumb that helps to dramatically lower the risk of data loss,” Goldsmith says. ‘Create three copies of data, store those copies in at least two types of storage media, and store one of these copies offsite.”

7. Save older backups after you upgrade  Once a device is switched over to Windows 10, make sure to keep older backups of data, says Goldsmith. He says they may be needed again later if the device is updated to a newer Windows version further down the track. 

“Before you make the move to Windows 10, don't risk everything by not being backed up,” he says. “If you follow the seven simple tips above, you can make your Windows 10 upgrade experience smoother, and keep your vital data.”

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