Sunday, 1 November 2015

How To Backup Windows 10 The Safe Way With Macrium Reflect

Posted by Gary Newell  |  at  23:24 39 comments


You might be wondering why I am writing a Windows how to guide on a blog about Linux.

This tutorial is part of a much larger guide which will show users how to dual boot Windows 10 and Ubuntu.

As such it is important for Windows users to be able to back up their operating system and know they can get back to their original starting point if something goes wrong or if they decide they don't want Linux after all.

Download Macrium Reflect

Download Macrium Reflect from

Macrium Reflect is a great tool for making a backup of your Windows operating system.

Whilst not 100% required for installing Ubuntu I can’t impress upon you the importance of taking a good backup in case something goes wrong.

It may cost you money if you do not backup your computer and for whatever reason you are unable to boot into Windows.

There is a free version of Macrium available and all this will cost you is a little bit of time.
Click on the download link above and when the above page appears click on the green download button.

Another web page will appear for which is a common site used for installing Windows free, trial and shareware.

Click on the green Download Now button.

A dialog window will open and you can now choose where to download the Reflect installer into. 

When you have chosen the location click “Save”.

The downloaded file is quite small at just a few megabytes (4). 

Double click on the downloaded file. The above dialog window will be displayed.

All you need to do here is click the “Download” button at the bottom of the window. 

The full installer will be downloaded. This is a little bit larger. (Around 45 megabytes).

Install Macrium Reflect

The installer will automatically start once the download has completed. 

The first screen is a welcome screen.

Click “Next” to start.

The first screen is a simple welcome message. Click “Next” to continue.

You will be asked to accept a license agreement. 

Click “Next” to continue. 

(After reading the license of course).

A license key screen will appear. Click “Next” to continue.

You will now be asked to register your copy of Macrium. 

If you wish to do so enter your name and email address otherwise click the “No” radio button.

Click “Next” to continue.

You now have the option to customise your setup but to be honest you can simply click “Next” as there are no other options for the free version.

You are finally ready to install Macrium. Click “Install”.

Macrium Reflect will now be installed. Click “Finish”.

Backup Windows 10 With Macrium Reflect

To start Macrium Reflect start typing the words into the search box in the bottom left corner. 

Macrium Reflect will appear as the only option. Click on the link.

You will be asked to register your copy of Macrium. 

It is up to you whether you do or not. Either fill in the form and click “Register” or choose one of the reminder options or indeed the “Do not remind me” option.

The main Macrium interface will load and you will be able to see all of the available partitions.

If you are using a UEFI based machine you are likely to have more partitions than a computer with a standard BIOS.

The image above shows the disk layout on my computer which used to run Windows 8 (UEFI) and the image below shows the disk layout on my computer which used to run Windows 7 (standard BIOS with MBR).

At this point you will need an external hard drive or a lot of blank DVDs. I obviously recommend an external hard drive.

Insert the external hard drive into your computer using the USB cable.

Make sure that all of the partitions have a check in the box and click the “Image this disk” option.

You will be asked to choose a destination for the system image. 

By clicking on the button with three dots you can choose the location where the system image is to be created. It is a good idea to choose either a network drive or an external hard drive.

If you haven’t got an external hard drive you can click on the CD/DVD Burner option. You will need to have enough blank DVDs to cover all the data you are currently using on your main hard drive.
When you have chosen the location you wish to backup to click “Next”.

A template will appear so that you can backup using this method at regular intervals. 

You don’t really need to do anything here apart from clicking “Next”.

A screen will appear showing which partitions are to be backed up and how much space is required for each partition.

Click “Finish” to create the backup.

A message will appear asking whether you want to run the backup now or save the settings until later.

Click “OK” to continue.

Add A Macrium Boot Menu Option

This step is useful for two purposes:

  • If your computer won't boot into Windows or Ubuntu, for whatever reason, you can get to a recovery menu to restore your system image
  • On UEFI based computers you can get instant access to the UEFI boot screens without having to hold down the shift key within Windows.

From the main Macrium Reflect window click on other tasks and choose the “Add a boot menu option to start the Reflect recovery environment” option.

An option will appear with options for no menu, PE 3.1, PE 4.0 and PE 5.0.  PE 3.1 is for Windows 7, PE 4.0 is for Windows 8 and PE 5.0 is for Windows 8.1. It doesn’t really matter which one you choose though.

The most suitable option for Windows 10 users is PE 5.0.

A screen will appear for preparing the Windows PE image. Accept the recommended option and click Finish.

Next time you reboot Windows 10 you will have an option to boot Windows 10 or the Macrium Reflect recovery program. This is very useful.

How To Create A Recovery USB Or DVD

To make sure that you really have access to the Macrium recovery disk you created earlier you should also create either a recovery DVD, a USB drive or add a recovery partition to your external hard drive.

From the main Macrium interface click on “Create bootable rescue media”.

A wizard will start with information about the PE environment that will be used within the Macrium recovery environment. 

You can click the “Change PE version” if you want to choose a version more suitable to your current operating system but being that you are using Windows 10 you should probably stick with version 5.

Click “Next” to continue.

A list of drivers will appear. Generally you can just click “Next” at this screen.

You will now have an option to choose whether to create a bootable DVD or USB drive. Choose the relevant option and click “Next”. (you will need to insert a blank USB drive or DVD).

Macrium will now display a message telling you that it is either about to create a USB drive or DVD. Click “Continue” to create the rescue media.

You should now try booting into both the Macrium menu option and the Macrium rescue disk to make sure they boot correctly.


Whilst you don't necessarily have to backup your computer before dual booting with another operating system it is a very good idea to do so and Macrium provides a very good option.

About the Author

Gary Newell started the Everyday Linux User blog in 2010 and has written reviews on dozens of different Linux based operating systems. He has also written a number of tutorials.

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  1. What you think about booting to any live Linux and type
    dd if=/dev/sda of=EXTERNALDRIVE
    Isn't it simpler?

  2. I've never come across such a great detailed in-depth tutorial! Thanks so much Gary!

    1. Sorry to hijack your comment, but it won't let me post on my own (or I can't find it anyway). I totally agree though, such a great tutorial,love the step by step pictures, wish more were like this. I have only one question; I am on the last step and it says that there is not enough room on my hard drive to create the bootable rescue media. I have approx 600GB! Surely that should be more than enough?

  3. So after doing this my laptop only boots into Macrium. What gives?

    1. It should give 2 options, 1 for Macrium and 1 for windows boot loader

    2. I know but it didn't. I finally got around it by deleting enough of Macrium so it wouldn't boot anymore. (It did give me the 2 options 1 time before Macrium hijacked me).

  4. Sorry I don' t uderstand. The last thing to do is to Create A Recovery USB. After created it from a blank usb external disk, have i to put the backup image of windows previously created inside it? or isn't it necessary?

  5. I did it and it gave me the Macrium option after restarting even without having the external drive plugged into PC, is this right?
    Also, would the menu keep showing always?

  6. It looks like Macrium does not support GPT and windows 10 can only boot from a GPT drive.

    1. As I have been using MacRefl Free for several years, finding it all around the most reliable means of cloning/imaging, including over the past 2 months of messing with fixing the Win 10 'upgrade' nightmare, I must laugh at your completely wrong info. After a recent serious win 10 update taking 2 full hours, ie longer than the original upgrade from win 7 itself, it has finally stopped the infamous pagefile error crash on every shutdown/reboot. Along the way, using MacrRefl, I have successfully backed up and restored and moved partitions between numerous HDDs - ALL basic MBR not GPT, even the win 10. My coup de gras was using an old VHD of a dying win XP IDE laptop, mounting it via win 10, imaging it as if it were a real drive with MacRefl, then re-installing that back to the original lap IDE drive from the boot CD and external drive. Zero problems, and just remember if boot issues arise use the boot CD to fix MBR etc.
      Win 10 is the common link in all sorts of crashes and issues, and very unlikely Macrium is to blame. In combo with Minitool Partition or Aomei Part. assistant, most every disk/drive issue has had a simple visual method to address. Having to type from cmd prompts is getting awfully tedious and so last-century, especially when easy fixes are to be found.

    2. Why would laugh at his comment? Not everyone is as amazing as you. You could use your incredible intelligence for good and be a Superhero rather than a grinch.

    3. @Die Fledermaus, how much were you paid to type that comment? XD XD XD

  7. I like your post so much, and it helped me a lot. Hope that we can communicate with each other.

    Backing up data in advance is really important, because recovering data is always annoying.

  8. While downloading the full installer of Macrium, it shows a size of 571.2 MB!

    1. choose "macrium only" from option button

  9. I'm not sure about this Macrium "free" version. I think it's screwed along with my pc since I installed win10.

    1. this macrium free stuff sounds pretty sketch. i think i'll just copy paste my important files onto my 1TB drive. no need to screw things up when the whole purpose of everything backing up is to be safe.

  10. I have Win 10 and I am trying to create the disk images. I get an error 21 on one of the partitions, claiming something about "Cluster Run Short". It says to run chkdsk /r , but that hangs up at 13%. I can image all of the other disks. I try Win 10 utilities in Disk Management and everything seems to be OK. Any thoughts?

  11. Gary, thanks for showing this procedure to safely back-up Windows 10. I've used it and everything worked fine, except for the last step where I tried to create the recovery USB on my external drive.
    Reflect comes back with the message that not enough space is availble on that disk (while there is more than enough space available).
    The error code given is error 6.
    Any help or suggestions here?


  12. As others have noted Macrium is much larger than 45 MB, download is 10 times that size.

  13. Can I use my external hard drive for creating the recovery USB?

    1. I don't see a reason why not. However after doing so it is worth trying to boot into it to make sure it works

  14. Reflect trashed a working copy of Win 10 during its installation, making it unbootable. The offending program is pssnap.sys. Anybody know a way to recover without having to completely reinstall Windows?

  15. Hi Gary,

    There's a newer PE version that goes with WIndows 10 - Windows PE 10.0.

    1. Hi Teddy: can you share the URL for the WinPE 10? TIA

  16. thanks Gary for this wonderful tutorial .
    just clear my one doubt here.....should i required to backup my all drives containing songs,pictures and movies or only the c drive.

  17. Thanks Sir for this wonderful Tutorial. I have a doubt here.......should i required to create backup of my all drives containing songs , pictures and movies or only C drive ?

    1. Hi Prateek.

      You should backup all of your files in case the partitioning goes wrong whilst installing Ubuntu

  18. That Macrium piece of shit software killed my Windows 10, it fucked up user accounts in a Lenovo and now boots straight to one key recovery. It deleted all my info when trying to add a recovery button. Before that it wouldnt backup in my 1 TB lacie because a readin error. Avoid this useless software it will fuck you up as comments everywhere testify. If you are recomending this thing you should warn all the problems it causes.

  19. Hello Gray! Very nice tutorial.
    I have a doubt..
    Can i use my hard disk for backup which already has 600 GB of data in it? Does backing up require the hard disk to be empty? Backing up and making my hard disk into recovery disk won't delete the data already present in it right??

  20. Thanks for all your tutorials Gary, very useful indeed!
    In the case of backing up the Windows 10 installation, what should I not just use the "Create recovery drive" offered by default from the system?

  21. " It deleted all my info when trying to add a recovery button." I would recommend avoiding all of these "One Key Recovery" options. I am reading this thread because I want to try Macrium Refect after my Acronis 2016 One Key Recovery also toasted my system and made it unbootable. **AVOID that feature,it's not worth it **

  22. what size pendrive can i use for this last step..

  23. I have 2 questions.

    1) Similar question with Anvi Bhat's above. I have a hard disk drive with data in it already. Can I use it to backup my Windows 10, or does it have to be empty (It's only 44 GB, so no problems for space)?

    2) You also added sections about adding boot menu option and creating a recovery drive. Are they to be created on the same drive, or different ones? This area got me a little confused, and I would appreciate it if you could clear it up for me.

    Thanks in advance.

  24. Excellent write-up Gary. Many thanks

  25. And the rest has to waste time in taking backup regularly because they have gone through it in the past.
    cloud review from joe

  26. This results in a file type of .mrimg. I thought imaging a drive is supposed to give you a .iso file?


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