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Looking for an External Storage suggestion


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#1 Jeremy James

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 02:48 PM

Hey guys,

My computer of 3.5 years may be slowly starting to retire. It has a LOT of irreplaceable data on it, such as photos, podcasts, notes, and a video of a dear friend's memorial service.

I am wanting to back up the contents of my hard drive. I just had a few questions.

1. What would be better (effective and cheaper) - Online backup or external hard drive? I am assuming you're going to say external hard drive.
2. What would be better? A solid one piece unit, or an internal hard drive and a hard drive casing?
3. What is all the "one touch?
4. Can I also back up my programs that came with my computer, like my Microsoft Office, etc, so, if I lose the computer, I can back it up to another unit?
5. Is there an inexpensive unit or combo unit that anyone could recommend?

Thanks.

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 03:54 PM

I would just clone the drive, rather than backing up.

I would not use an external drive, but rather a hard drive which could be temporarily connected to the motherboard. Once the clone was complete, I would remove that drive and store it in the container it comes in.

That way I have an instant replacement for that hard drive which is bootable...and which contains all files/folders exactly as they appeared on my system at the time/date on which I last cloned the drive.

Hard drives are dirt cheap, these days. PATA drives are overpriced (compared to SATA) so I would choose a SATA drive that would approximate the size of the drive I currently have installed.

Software for doing such (just an example): http://www.partition-tool.com/, Home Edition.

Louis

#3 Jeremy James

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 04:30 PM

So, with a cloneable drive, say my computer died completely, I could put the hard drive another computer, and instantly have everything, programs, files, everything, the exact same?

#4 hamluis

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 05:10 PM

No.

You could put the hard back into the same system (replacing the old hard drive) and (assuming that you've made a good copy of the old drive before things went wrong), it will work in the old system.

If what you suggest was possible...then there would not be any point to product activation...since any user could install XP on one system and easily move it to a completely different system.

When Windows installs, it also records the hardware for that system. When a nonmatch is found, then the user gets the nastygram from Windows/Microsoft indicating that the install of XP is not a valid/legal one.

If you used backup software (as opposed to copying the hard drive), the same would be true (invalid install).

Louis

#5 Jeremy James

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Posted 19 August 2009 - 10:23 PM

So, basically, what you're saying is that right now, the software that I have on my computer is perfectly configured for my specific computer, so, if I "clone" the hard drive, adn the computer crashes, I can just put the clone back in the SAME unit, and it'll work fine.

Right/

Sorry, I am slow on some stuff.

#6 hamluis

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 12:04 PM

That's correct...I have no problem with being sure when approached with new ideas :thumbsup:.

Louis

#7 Jeremy James

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 04:02 PM

But, say I just wanted to back up my files, and not my programs. What would my best option be?

#8 hamluis

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Posted 20 August 2009 - 06:17 PM

If by "files", you mean data files...you can just copy those to CD/DVD, partition/drive, etc.

Do a Google for "back up software" and you'll get a better idea of what the possibilities are.

Louis

#9 Odyssey42

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Posted 21 August 2009 - 09:01 AM

Another possiblity is to buy one of the massive USB 2.0 external hdd's (1TB ones sell at about $90 on various online computer suppliers).

Use cloning software, such as Norton Ghost, or one of the free ones (best one will need to be researched) to create an image that can be used, if needed, to re-create your existing (as of the moment of the cloning) hdd setup and data on a new drive. But as stated, this will only work in the same computer that you were using at the time of cloning. Copy this "clone" file to the new USB HDD if the cloning software will not put it on the USB HDD directly.

From time to time, you can update the clone, but limit the number of clones you keep as they are really big files.

Then, using a bit of the remaining space, simply copy the files you don't want to lose onto the USB HDD also.

If you learn to use xxcopy, you can then easily update those files, either manually or by setting up a daily routine.

("One Touch" is a Maxtor software that allows you to set up the parameters (what you want to backup, where you want it, how often, etc) and then execute that with "one touch" of a button. But many backup softwares will do this as an automated process so that you don't have to remember to do it.)

One thing to keep in mind is that your risk of loss will be concentrated at the location of the computer and the USB HDD, so theft, fire, or lightning strike might undo all your efforts as above. So by all means copy those important files, photos, videos, etc to DUPLICATE CD-Rom, or better, DVD, and keep one complete set at Mom's, a brother or sister's house, in your safe deposit box, or another "off-site" location.

You may also be able to keep online copies for free or at a small cost, if the total size of the files is not too large, but then you are dependent on the continuing operation of the outfit supplying you the space. Be aware that these companies come and go.




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