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Error code 0x81000033 when using Win 7 backup

by docdrew / December 28, 2012 1:37 PM PST

I have a 3 year old Alienware desktop running Win 7 Professional. I have never had any major problem including running weekly backups to a second internal hard drive using Windows backup. About 3 weeks ago the backup failed and produced the mentioned error code. The description of the error is misleading and makes you think that you have insufficient room on your backup drive. I subsequently replaced the drive with a larger one but the problem persisted. I then researched (including here) the error code and found "solutions" that were all over the map including some frankly worthless responses. The most frequently described cause is attributed to lack of space in a 100 MB "system reserved" partition on the boot drive. When I checked my drive this partition was not present. I had an OS partition, a Recovery partition, and a 16 MB unlabeled partition. I thought that perhaps the 16 MB partition was supposed to be the 100 MB partition and, because it was too small, was causing the backup problem. I then took my computer to Data Doctors. They were unable to enlarge the 16 MB partition but created another 100 MB partition which they said would solve the problem but, you guessed it, it didn't. At this point I either need someone to solve the problem or start using a different backup program. Thanks.

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start using a different backup program.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 28, 2012 6:17 PM PST

I can only guess why folk continue to try MSFT's backup programs. I stopped about 10 years ago.

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So what do you recommend?
by docdrew / December 29, 2012 2:03 AM PST

I would need a well-reviewed dependable program that is easy to use and similar to MS backup in that it backs up all relevant libraries and files as well as creates a system image. I've read some reviews but there are always conflicting opinions. For example, I'd heard good things about Acronis but then found many reviews on Amazon which were highly critical and basically said stay away from this product.

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Here's what I suggest
by wpgwpg / December 29, 2012 2:16 AM PST

I suggest you get away from the Windows backup program and get yourself a good commercial backup program. I've seen forums fraught with problem reports for the Windows one. I know I was very unimpressed when I tried it. Three I'm familiar with and like are Norton Ghost (which I've been using for 8 years without the 1st problem), Easeus Todo Backup Free, which you can download from and Memeo which has a 30 day free trial and you can buy it for $29.99 - you can download it from . You can get Ghost for next to nothing (like I did) if you watch the sales.
The March 2012 issue of PC World was very high on the FREE program from Easeus and so is CNET. In my experience with a variety of configurations I have to say I'm very impressed. Like Ghost it will back up to a networked drive, and it will create a boot CD for when your PC won't boot. See CNET's review of it at;1#editorsreview .
CNET has a lot of backup program reviews at;sideBar .

Some of these are free (last time I checked there were over 300), some have free trials (over 1000), and some are purchase only (over 200).
External hard drives are best for backup. You can get a 500 GB one for around $60 and a 1 TB one for around $70. You can also buy a 32 GB flash drive for under $15. It's the best insurance you can ever buy!

I hope this helps. Good luck

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I like Acronis.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / December 29, 2012 3:23 AM PST

The reason for the conflicting reviews is simple. It's a power tool and there is no tutorial that starts with the beginning (What's a file, hard disk, file system, bytes, bits and more.) It also does not cover drive connections, jumpers and more.

I've used that but what I use weekly is SyncBack, GoodSync and more . These two are very similar so I can use such interchangeably and the backup is non-proprietary.

For a system image I use CLONEZILLA. It's a little more limited than Acronis and for some folk, scary as there is no GUI. It's the old move the highlight to the item or answer yes/no style of software. Its' terminology will be foreign to new users. But it's quite good. AND FREE.

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