Macrium Reflect to the Rescue
Not long ago, I took over a PC used for administrative purposes. It has several outdated proprietary programs to manage things like the phone system, wireless routers beyond EOL, as well as my own software development IDE setups. The PC was previously being backed up by Acronis True Image, which I have used but have never been a fan of. I decided to switch it to the Macrium Reflect program. I setup Macrium to do a C: drive backup once a week to an external drive. It was a pretty painless process, running as a scheduled task, and I never got the annoying pop-ups that Acronis seemed to display. And then, the inevitable happened: one day my computer was simply dead. The motherboard was dead, and I had tons of work that I needed to get to.
Macrium saved my bacon by allowing me to go from a dead computer to operational status in about 15 minutes. I pulled the hard drive containing the drive image, put it into a SATA/USB enclosure I had, and used Macrium to launch the drive image as a virtual machine. It is very relieving to see your dead computer come back to life as a virtual machine. As my data was backed up nightly, I was able to continue working on projects with apps and IDEs as needed for the rest of the week, as I awaited a replacement motherboard.
As my computer was used for various systems administration and software development with several IDEs, setting up a replacement can easily take 3 or 4 full days. I wanted to purchase the exact same motherboard in hopes that I could just swap it out and regain full operation. Unfortunately, the motherboard was discontinued, so I purchased the most similar motherboard I could from the same manufacturer. I also opted for a larger SSD as an upgrade since I was running low on the original. Macrium assisted by allowing me to clone the old SSD to the new one. Pretty standard stuff really, but Macrium just made it a simple process. With the new SSD installed, and the new motherboard, I booted up everything and was greeted with a fully operational version of my old PC.
The only real downside I had was that because the PC was using an OEM System Builder version of windows, replacing the motherboard meant I had to activate Windows. And of course, OEM System Builders don’t reactivate on a new computer, only on the first computer that they were activated with. So, I had to purchase another copy of Windows 10 OEM System Builder.
We all know the importance of backups. But, these Macrium drive images allowed me to go one step further. Thanks to the fact that I have some extra hardware at my disposal (like a spare PC and some SATA/USB enclosures), I was able to go from a dead PC to normal in a few minutes. Granted, it was a virtual machine of my PC, and running slower than normal, but at least it allowed me to get my work done when I needed. I am now a paying member of the Macrium fan club.