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 http://www.todo-backup.com/products/home/free-backup-software.htm and Memeo which has a 30 day free trial and you can buy it for $29.99 - you can download it from http://memeo.com . 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
CNET has a lot of backup program reviews at
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
I am running windows 7 64bit on a fairly new HP. I backup regularly to a 1TB Toshiba external drive. As drive space regularly decreases with successive backups, I would like to know whether backup drives are occasionally re-formatted to basically "start over" with the whole backup process. I rarely add new programs or games but I do see backup space decreasing steadily. Is this a common practice that is implemented to restore backup drive space?