Backup/Restore Procedures [as done by RolandJS]

Have been paying closer attention to my external USB HDs, I am much more aware that rather than ATI [Acronis] or Macrium failure -- it has been several times an explorer.exe not communing with respective external HD failure. It might be within any one particular external HD, it might be conflicting drive-letter assignments, it might be "explorer.exe and company" needs to be dropkicked or punted into better performance.

In order to maximize the idea of restorable backups, minimize the idea of failures in backup and/or restores, I've been doing the following...

Long ago, because drive letters differ when booting external media for backups & restores, I labeled all my OS partitions S0x[ddd]C, data partitions
S0x[ddd]D, x being computer number [1 2 or 3], ddd being three unique digits/letters from HD ID/serial number. Each external backup/restore HD's labeled: Hitachis Kitty & Katty[*], the four Seagate HDs labeled SeaEPD, SeaBPD, SeaKIT, SeaKAT. At all times, I know exactly which partition is being backed up to what ext HD, what ext HD is going to restore to what partition C or D, regardless of what the drive letters are. [* - My two cats are more famous than me, on Facebook & Twitter.]

Before beginning backup routine, I plan to test explorer & ext HD operations by a quick-copy into & out of attached ext HD, if bi-direction copy fails, the backup or restore will fail, it's time to fix the explorer-ext HD relationship. If bi-direction copy succeeds, backup begins. I normally label each backup: YYYYMMDDb[mil-time began]C[or D]_S0x -- both Macrium's XML file and the image itself; for Acronis, simply name the image. I think I will no longer assign drive letters to any ext HD, causes problems down the road. And, 2nd internal HD's C-partition & D-partition will no longer be drive-letter assigned.

YYYYMMDD[ext HD name]_[partition letter]_S0x -- that's the XML file and the high-compressed backup file name I use within Macrium Reflect Pro. Acronis keep its log files differently, I can name the backup file only. hours, days, weeks, later -- I know where each backup is.