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To backup data files, is it better to create an image or a copy?


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6 replies to this topic

#1 Thoughtful Skeptic

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 06:30 PM

I am using Windows XP and am in the process of creating a data partition on my C-drive to make it easier to do backups.

My question:

For the backup of the data partition, is there an advantage in creating an image of the partition on an external hard drive as opposed to simply copying it?

If I first do a disc-check just before restoring and some sectors are labeled as bad, then would restoring an image simply try to write data on to the bad sectors whereas restoring a copy of the files would presumably skip any bad sectors?

Thanks,

Thoughtful Skeptic

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#2 hamluis

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 06:43 PM

First of all...it's better to create your image/backup/clone...to another drive.

More drives lessens the chance that a single thing can ruin your day, shares the risk among at least two drives.

Creating a data partition on the same drive affects chkdsk, defrag, running AV/malware scans, etc...these run quicker if C: partition is smaller...and it (somewhat) reduces the chances of total loss if a portion of the hard drive goes bad.

In order to copy or clone a partition...you must use special software. Some of these programs will create partitions which are bootable, some will not...you need to read the specifics of the program before you ever install it and use it.

Bad sectors recognized via chkdsk /r...are areas which are marked as unuseable and any data on such is moved to sectors which are useable. After chkdsk /r has completed, those sectors so marked...remained identified as unuseable. No data will be written to such.

Louis

#3 Stang777

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 06:45 PM

A lot of people seem to really like having and using a disk image, but I have always been happy with just copying the files I want to back up. I figure a disk image would have a lot of stuff in it that I probably would not want if I am going for a fresh start on my computer. I would rather start with a clean slate and reinstall programs and copy my personal stuff back on the system.

If I were to do a disk image, it would be immediately after a clean install of everything

#4 ReviverSoft

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 07:07 PM

Copying files would be better!

Just in case, your image file gets corrupted/infected for some reason altogether.
ReviverSoft - Happy to help!

#5 ThunderZ

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 07:35 PM

Since all your backing up is data then I would have to go with the simple old copy as well. But I second Hamluis on using a second totally separate drive. Should the primary drive suffer a mechanical failure then the data is lost. Regardless of it residing on a separate partition.

#6 Thoughtful Skeptic

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 08:56 PM

Thank you, Hamluis, Stang777, ReviverSoft and ThunderZ for your helpful responses.

I tried hard to formulate the question carefully but I see that I did not make it absolutely clear. However, I think you have given me the answer, anyway.

1. I am creating a C-partition to hold the Windows operating system and all my programs
and a D-partition for all my data.

2. All backups will be saved on an external hard drive for safety, as you recommend

3. The question is: should the backup of data on the external drive consist of a copy of all the files in the D-partition
or an image of the D-partition.

4. I can see why I would need a bootable image of the C-partition, because that holds the Windows operating system.
You have already steered me in a previous post, Hamluis, to software (PING) that can create an image of a partition (bootable if appropriate).
But in the case of the D-partition (data), is it better to create an image or simply to copy the files?

5. From your suggestions, it seems that an image of the data partition confers no particular advantage and it is better to copy the files.
Therefore my understanding is:

that (i) for the C-partition, I should write an image to the external hard drive (or DVDís)

but (ii) for the D-partition, I should just copy all files to the external hard drive.

Thanks once again for your helpful comments. Iím hoping that one day, I may be able to contribute to other peopleís questions,
but Iím not there yet.

Regards,

Thoughtful Skeptic


#7 hamluis

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 09:20 PM

The only advantage that backing up data files...has over simply copying such...is the amount of disk space committed to each (backup files are compressed normally but don't have to be).

Louis




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