I had that installation of windows 3 to 4 years now.
I'm using a third party software for backup so everyday at 23:00 the backup service starts. The image is stored on a second HDD.
First i want to point out that i set up the windows maintenance around that time too. So any updates should occur then and i remember finding my PC at login screen couple of times meaning a restart had taken place.
Everything was fine all this time.
Couple of days ago i returned home late around 2 am to find a blue screen saying that the computer did not boot property the last time. Had two options, just restart or try to fix.
Of course i will fix it, come on.
Everything failed. Everything. Even safe mode won't boot.
Who cares i have the back up system image. Boot from the bootable usb stick and restore. Well nothing is happening. It's just freezing at 5%. Cancel. Try again. Cancel. Verify the image. Success! Try again! Nothing.
Damn. Im really tired, off to bed.
Woke up tried fixing and restore but to no avail.
Fuck it i will just install Windows fresh. I was set up after an hour or so installed the necessary drivers and such. Let's see that image of any file i want to get back.
Image is corrupted. What the fuck? How? Damn it. Mount and recovery also failed.

That's it. I did not lose any important files. I save everything on a different drive and also the backup.
But I'm wondering what had gone wrong.
My guess windows rebooted when the backup was running. If that's the case shouldn't be a check if such service is running?

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    You never leave the backup attached to the PC (virus!), and you never do the backup from the PC's OS in live mode. And you always have at least two, ideally three generations of backup.

    I'm using Clonezilla from a live Linux that I boot via DVD or USB stick, and I have it always check the recovery image.
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    Totally agree. I was keeping two versions of system backup but I though lets not waste all this space since i have a different file backup for my projects, images, music etc on an external drive. So i was left with one corrupt system backup image.
    No data loss but had to setup from the start.
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