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Advice For External Storage Device?


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#1 jhsmurray

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 06:42 AM

Hi all,

I'm looking for some disaster recovery options for the comps on my network. There are so many options! :huh:
Anyways, I'm a total noob with this and I'd like to figure something out before the "problem" hits me in the face. :huh:

If anybody has experience with this, I'm all ears! Note: this is not a request to laborously scour the net - I'm really just looking for advice from someone with first hand experience B)

Using a Vista Home Premium//Toshiba and an XP-SP2//Dell Inspiron on a Belkin G+ MIMO Modem/Router.
Residing in UK (220v)

I've put together a list of things that might illustrate what I am looking for.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Must Have (in order of precedence):
- Capacity: 250GB+
- Ethernet and USB2 interface
- Reliable/Reputable/Good Data&Hardware Warranty
- Cost < 150 B.P.
- Vista Compatible

Nice To Have:
- Dual 220v & 110v capacity (US/UK interchangable, must be UK if only one choice)
- Software bundle: Disk Imaging AND single file/directory retrieval
- RAID?
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm sure I can't have everything on that list, but close matches would be nice.

Any and all recommendations are more than welcome! If I've missed something obvious please let me know! :thumbsup:

many thanks!

Acer Aspire 5732z
OS: Windows 7 Ultimate
Processor: Intel Pentium III Xeon, 2200 MHz
RAM: 3 GB
Display: Mobile Intel GMA 4500M

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#2 Budapest

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 06:47 AM

I haven't used it personally but many people on this forum recommend Acronis True Image software.
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who haven't got it.

—George Bernard Shaw

#3 jhsmurray

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 06:53 AM

I haven't used it personally but many people on this forum recommend Acronis True Image software.


yeah I'm definetely thinking about using that for my software option. Looks like a great package. One thing - according to reviews in Amazon the latest version (10) was often shipped without the CD-Key (!), but maybe that was limited to orders on Amazon. Anyways that small "glitch" should be fixed by now. :thumbsup:

PS anyone ever use Ximeta?

Edited by jhsmurray, 26 July 2007 - 06:55 AM.


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#4 usasma

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 07:13 AM

I don't have as much experience with v10 of Acronis True Image (required for Vista) as I do with the other versions. But I do find it to take care of all my needs when it comes to disk imaging with a minimum of fuss and bother. Since I started working at my current job our sales of Acronis True Image have gone up significantly - and I haven't had anyone come back complaining about it.

I've also had good experiences with the built in Windows Backup/Imaging tools in Vista. Can't recall if you need a "higher" version to get those tools or not. My main objection to them is that I can't seem to wrap my brain around how they store the backup info - with Acronis it's just one file, the Vista imaging makes files and folders in a pattern that I can't see :thumbsup:

I can't recommend Ethernet storage solutions because I just haven't had time to look into them - but an alternative is the soon to be released Windows Home Server. It'll facilitate backups and file sharing on a dedicated server on your network. In short, you'll have a box in a closet that'll automatically backup all your systems - and will share your files out for you from the server. Yes, it's another computer, but it gives you the flexibility of storing most stuff off of your system and onto the server for use from any computer in the house. Being a stripped down version of a Windows Server OS it's very simple to setup and use - but it doesn't have the other Server functions (such as controlling the network access of PC's on the network, etc).

I'm a Western Digital fan for hard drives, and that goes for my USB drives also. I like the MyBook Essential Edition and have used one for quite a while to backup my system images (I'm currently using Acronis True Image Enterprise Edition v8 for this - and booting from the Acronis restore disk rather than working from within Windows). Western Digital now puts out a Passport USB drive in 250 gB (it's what I use at work) that only requires a USB cable (no separate power adapter) - so the 115/230 volt issue is immaterial there (cost was about $150 US). My first MyBook started to die after a couple of months use - I contacted Western Digital for an RMA and got one. Then I gave them my credit card info (as a deposit) so they'd pre-ship the new one so I could move all my data. Once I returned the old drive, they deleted my credit card info and didn't charge me anything. As for Vista compatibility, that's just a matter of plugging it in and using it - with Vista or XP.

RAID for a USB device? Not, IMO, a good idea - although a RAID 1 setup on a stationary device attached to the network would be a good backup strategy. The other techs at work swear by NAS (Network Attached Storage), but I don't have any use for it, so I'll have to leave those recommendations to others.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#5 jhsmurray

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Posted 26 July 2007 - 08:42 AM

Hmm these are all great ideas!

I suppose yet another option might be to buy a used POC for cheap, replace the drive with a new, warranteed high capacity drive and install Samba on it - sort of a makeshift cost-effective file server. When its time to go back to the States, just pack the drive in the suitcase (with plenty of bubble-wrap) and throw away the pc case. :thumbsup: Although one concern might be compatibility with backup/imaging software.

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RAM: 3 GB
Display: Mobile Intel GMA 4500M

#6 jhsmurray

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Posted 27 July 2007 - 12:26 PM

Having looked at what was available for new and used PC options, I've decided to scrap that because I'm not sure how much time it would take to orient myself to a non-windows environment, and deal with any hardware issues from a used machine. I am interested in working with *Nix platforms eventually, but for now I just need to solve this one issue. THat means I would have to fork over $$$ for a MS product.

I've decided not to wait for MS Home Server - intriguing as it is.

Eventually I will get the Acronis for a software package, just looks to good to resist. But for now I've met my budget limit. I'll stick with the OS backup options, even they they are not as efficient and XP wont do disk imaging (as I understand it).

A solely USB based option does solve the power conversion concerns, but having the option of a networked based solution is very tempting. Also, I've convinced a friend he'll want to buy it at a deeply discounted price if I cant use it overseas later on. :huh:

All things considered, I've decided on a 500GB Network Drive from Freecom. Not many reviews to be found, but here's a decent one. A decent buy for 120 GBP. The backup solution can also serve as a file-server for the rest of my network. Plus I get a 2-year warranty.



Hope this helps others with some ideas. Thanks to all for your input! :thumbsup:

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#7 usasma

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Posted 28 July 2007 - 08:22 AM

There are many freeware disk imaging and disk backup utilities available on the web (although I don't have experience with many of them). You can find a list of some of them here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic3616.html
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#8 Powertap

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Posted 02 September 2007 - 08:52 PM

There are many freeware disk imaging and disk backup utilities available on the web (although I don't have experience with many of them). You can find a list of some of them here: http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic3616.html


Hello forum members. I am looking to buy a small, portable external hard drive, and I have an elementary question. I have noticed that most of them come with their own backup, sync and encryption software. But I have already spent some time reading reviews on various backup software programs at the freeware review sites, and would like to be able to use a freeware backup software program that I have selected from reading these reviews. Will the common external drives that are for sale today, Seagate Free Agent Go and Western Digital Passport for example, allow me to use freeware software instead of the built in software? Will I need to reformat the drive or something to use the outside software? I have no idea because I have never used an external hard drive before. I have been getting by with backing up information to CDs. Thanks for your answer.

#9 usasma

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 05:54 AM

No need to do anything special except to not let the inbuilt software work.

I prefer Western Digital drives, but I will never recommend using their backup software (and never use it on my drives). I have had one experience trying to retrieve data backed up by the software and nearly went bald trying to do it!!! I use SyncBackSE for all my backups (not disk imaging tho') and it has a free version that works well with all of my internal and external Western Digital drives.
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#10 jhsmurray

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 06:06 AM

The 500GB Network Drive from Freecom is formatted as FAT32. It is possible to format it as NTFS, but that would keep their proprietary software from running properly with it. I guess in your case, that is of no particular concern. ;)

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#11 Mr Alpha

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Posted 06 September 2007 - 12:00 PM

You might want to look at Windows Home Server. It is a sort of NAS/file-server with some enterprise class backup functions aimed at the home. At least HP has an September shipping date.
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#12 usasma

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 06:07 AM

I beta tested the first beta release of Home Server and it'll be great for home networks. You can automate backups and share media with it. Look at it carefully before purchasing tho' - because the features offered are very limited when compared with the full Server OS's. (basically just backups (and restore) along with sharing media).
My browser caused a flood of traffic, sio my IP address was banned. Hope to fix it soon. Will get back to posting as soon as Im able.

- John  (my website: http://www.carrona.org/ )**If you need a more detailed explanation, please ask for it. I have the Knack. **  If I haven't replied in 48 hours, please send me a message. My eye problems have recently increased and I'm having difficult reading posts. (23 Nov 2017)FYI - I am completely blind in the right eye and ~30% blind in the left eye.<p>If the eye problems get worse suddenly, I may not be able to respond.If that's the case and help is needed, please PM a staff member for assistance.

#13 garmanma

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Posted 07 September 2007 - 12:47 PM

Pricey, but I thought I'd throw this into the mix
http://www.drobo.com
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