Using Macrium Reflect Free, Version 7, To Take A Full System Image Backup Using A Screen Reader

This Tutorial was written by Brian Vogel

The following instructions make a number of assumptions, the first and most important of which is that you are a typical Windows user who has the Windows operating system and all of your user folders and directories on the C:\ drive, and this is what will be backed up.  If you have multiple hard drives and separate the operating system and user data then the following “simple” technique will not work. 

External back up drive

You will need an external backup drive as large, or most likely significantly larger than, the drive in your computer.  You’ll typically want to keep more than one backup, so you need some additional space for that purpose.

Most external USB backup drives these days are USB 3.0 drives, so it is important, if you want your backups and/or recoveries to go as quickly as possible, that you plug it in to a USB 3.0 port on your machine.  A sighted assistant can identify the USB 3.0 port(s) on slightly less than brand new hardware by looking for a blue guide tab inside the port.  If it’s newer, they’ve gone back to black and above, below or beside the port will be the letters ‘SS’ along with the USB icon.

Assigning a specific drive letter to removable media

In addition, most backup utilities, not just Macrium, require you to specify the location where the backups will be stored.  Since the backup drives are removable media, sometimes that means the drive letter assigned could change.  To prevent this from happening I strongly suggest that you do not allow Windows to assign the drive letter at random, but instead intentionally assign it a drive letter that’s in the last half of the alphabet.  Instructions for doing so, via several ways, can be found here: Reflect Free 10-a.html

Macrium Reflect Free program

Macrium Reflect Free can be found here: (Home Use)

When installing Macrium you will be asked about creating recovery media, whether on a USB drive or DVD.  I suggest doing this so you have it if you need it.  You can skip this.  I believe there is an option in the nag as to whether you want it presented again, but when Reflect is running, or not.

I suggest creating a folder on your backup drive dedicated to storing your Macrium Backup Images.   I’ll presume this exists and for the purposes of the instructions is P:\Macrium\Backups

NOTE:  Every once in a while, when a dialog box opens in Macrium, for some odd reason focus is not thrown on to it and you can’t interact with it.  When this happens I simply ALT+TAB back to Macrium and the focus ends up on that dialog box.  Every time I have brought up a browse dialog this has occurred.

Once Macrium is installed and is open:

     Hit ALT+B (Backup Menu), W (Windows Option).

2.  You will be in the Select Source Drive(s) and Image Destination dialog, in the edit box for the location where the backups should be stored.  You can either manually type in the full path, e.g, P:\Macrium\Backups, or tab once to the Browse button, activate it, and browse to that folder location.  You should only need to specify the location the first time you go through this procedure.  It should be remembered afterward, but it never hurts to check.

3.  Navigate to the Next button and activate it.

4.  You will now be in the Edit Plan for this Backup dialog.  I recommend touching nothing and activating the Next button.  You may, however, explore the dialog and tweak any settings to your wishes before activating Next.  Whatever you do here will be remembered for future runs, too, so definitely just hit Next if things are set to your liking.

5.  You will now be in the Disc Image dialog.  Hit the Finish button.

6.  You will now be in the Backup Save Options dialog.  Leave the checkbox for Run this backup now checked.  Uncheck the checkbox for Save backup and schedules as an XML Backup Definition File.  Navigate to the OK button and activate it.

7.  Your full system image backup will begin.  If you tab once you will land on the process priority slider, which is at high (100%).  If you plan on working while the backup runs I suggest you set the slider down to 66% or 33%, the 0% (low priority) is way too slow.  If you can’t stand any slowdown then I suggest kicking off a backup before bed or when you know you’ll be away from the machine for at least several hours, leaving the slider at 100% (high priority).  I leave the On Completion combo box at its default setting of No Shutdown.  There are then three buttons:  Hide, Cancel, and Pause.  Hide minimizes the backup status to the system tray, usually in the overflow area.  Pause will pause the backup and it will change to Un-Pause if activated (and, of course, vice versa).  A typical backup can take several hours to run.  You will occasionally want to ALT+TAB back to the backup status dialog to see where it is in the process.

8.  When the backup completes, a dialog box with the title Macrium Reflect will pop up over the full system image progress window.  It will tell you whether the image was successfully created and, if so, exactly how long it took.  The only button is the OK button.  Activate it.

9.  Now you’re back in the full system image window.  Navigate to the Close button and activate it.

     Now you’re back at the Macrium Reflect main application window.  Close it with ALT+F4 and you’re finished until you next want or need to do a full system image backup.