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Nearly full Hard Drive - advice on best way setting up/using External Hard Drive


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#1 OscarG

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 09:59 AM

Apologies as I am not very computer-literate!

My hard drive is nearly full (175Gb used out of 189Gb), so I have bought a Western Digital Elements 1Tb External Hard Drive which I would like to use it for two purposes:-

1 - To transfer some of what is on my main drive across to the Ext HD, to create space on the main drive
2 - To back up, either the Full System or My Documents on the main drive with daily automatic back ups

What I would appreciate advice on, is, how best to use and set up the external drive for these two purposes and whether I'm thinking along the
right lines!
eg.
  • Do I need to partition it?
  • If I do, in what proportions do I split it?
  • What would be best to move from the main drive across to the external drive to free up the main drive (there are 3 user accounts) - eg videos, music, programs?
  • How would it be best to arrange any folders/files etc eg Should I create 3 folders for each User, then have subfolders under each for Videos, Music, Documents etc
I do realise that I will need an alternative backup solution for anything I move across. I am just not sure how best to set up the EHD initially.

Many thanks for any help.
Below is my System Info in case of any use.

My Computer Information - General
Specifications

ELITEGROUP COMPUTER SYSTEM CO.,LTD.
System Model: NFORCE6M-A
BIOS Version: Phoenix Technologies, LTD 6.00 PG


Operating System
Microsoft Windows XP Home Edition
Version: 5.1.2600
Service Pack: 2.0
Location: C:\WINDOWS
PID: 76477-OEM-0049744-57129
Hot Fix: KB973869


Memory (RAM)
Capacity: 1 GB


Processor
AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4000+
Version: x86 Family 15 Model 107 Stepping 1
Speed: 2109 MHz
AMD Athlon™ 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4000+
Version: x86 Family 15 Model 107 Stepping 1
Speed: 2109 MHz


General Computer Info
System Name: CUSTOMER-43E3BB
Domain: MSHOME
Time Zone: GMT Daylight Time
Connection: Workstation (standalone)
Proxy Server: None
IP Address: 0.0.0.0
192.168.1.64
IPX Address: Not Enabled


Local Disk
Total Capacity: 189.91 GB
Sum of Hard Disks: (C: )
Used: 175.08 GB

Free: 14.83 GB

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#2 rigacci

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 01:52 PM

You don't have to reformat although most external HDs come formatted in FAT32. I reformatted my Samsung 1TB to NTFS, after installing their backup software. NTFS will allow you more leeway in setting securities and allow larger files. :huh:


If you want to keep each person separate, I would make a folder for each. If you don't want to share the files, that is the best way. It also should help you keep things organized. I wouldn't want so-and-so putting stuff into my folder.... :huh:

I would do a simple copy from the main drive to the new. Once you are sure all is good, you can delete the main drive. :thumbsup:

Then I would use their software to set up a backup schedule.


I hope this helps.

DR

#3 hamluis

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Posted 09 October 2009 - 02:36 PM

I would be even simpler...I would just clone the existing setup to the new drive...changing the size of the partition to take advantage of the drive space available.

Louis

#4 OscarG

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 03:52 PM

Thanks for the advice both of you.

Yes I will reformat to NTFS thanks.

Sorry Louis but can you elaborate a bit, as this is all new to me - I clone my existing 'C' drive to the External HD which would be the back up. I need to remove quite a number of files from my 'C' drive to free it up a bit (how much free space should i create on the 'C' drive ideally for optimum operation eg 20,30, 40%?)

Then the files that I will have removed from 'C' drive - can I use them (eg play the music files, watch video etc) from where they are on the cloned back up or do I need to keep them separate from the cloned back up on the Ext HD? In which case, do I need to then partition?

I think I'm confusing myself here! Apologies - if you can make any sense of what I've said and clarify things, that would be great!

#5 hamluis

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Posted 11 October 2009 - 06:18 PM

No problem :thumbsup:.

A clone is an exact copy (although you can change the size of the partition) of your current boot partition. Every file on that partition will be copied exactly as it is at time of cloning.

All data files are accessible, programs are accessible only if you boot into that cloned copy of your XP install.

The general impression is that the boot partition (with Windows) neeeds 15-20% free space in order for XP to function properly.

My C: partition is only 20GB for XP, but I see that you have a partition that is much larger than that. My suggestion to clone the drive would be impractical for a partition that large...it can be done, but it's probably faster to just connect the drive and move all the data files from your current C: which don't belong there.

There is no reason to ever backup or use My Documents as anything other than a temporary storage area. Any files that go in there can easily be moved to some other folder/partition.

Organization of a hard drive is a matter for users to decide.

I have a 1TB hard drive connected to this system (I don't see any point in external hard drives) and I have split it (for the sake of defragmentation and chkdsk /r) into 2 partitions. On those two partitions, I have folders for the various things I consider (not normal use): movies, sports events videos, backups, email storage, etc.

I have other hard drives attached and I move files from these to the large hard drive, as I see fit.

I suggest using some of the remaining space on your current hard drive...as a temporary storage/WIP area. You might as well use the space for something, yet I would not suggest keeping any valued data on the same hard drive as Windows. Especially so, since that drive will be older than the new one and (theoretically) one step closer to death :huh:.

Louis

#6 OscarG

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Posted 12 October 2009 - 07:14 AM

Ok Louis, that's a great help. Your comments are much appreciated - I will consider what to do on the basis of your suggestions

Thanks again!




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