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Help with general backup info.


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#1 grelsner96

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 07:43 PM

I have a number of questions, as I want to backup all of my laptop in case it dies, its 2 years old. 

I want to know several things.  If you have any info on even one of them please don't hesitate.

 

1) Which program should I use: nero, norton security suite, or the windows standard backup/restore utility.

2) I dont have a hard disk external that is  big, only like 8gb flashdrives.  So I plan to use DVDs, which I have a whole bundle of.  Assuming it will take more than a few DVDs for the first full backup ever, what if I have time to burn about 2 DVDs worth, and then have to do more the next day or couple days later.  Can I continue where I left off(I assume I could if I just leave the program open and let it say "please insert a blank disk" the whole time. But I mean if I don't want to have the program running the whole time, taking up resources. 

3) Let's say I do a full backup today, successfully onto DVDs.  Over the next 6 months I add lots of personal data to the computer.  If I go to do a backup again, will it just backup what has been added since the original backup, or will it do a new full backup(thus wasting of DVDs)?

4) What folders should I backup? I mean obviously I'm gonna select pictures, videos, etc and my documents for all my personal items.  But what about programs, for example C:/Program Files.  If I backup that entire folder, then when I get a new laptop would those be install?  If not, I won't have a need to back them up.

5) IS there a better way to backup than DVDs- that is, without spending $80 for an external HD?  AKA a free program, website, or a inexpensive website (I wouldnt pay more than a few dollars a month at most).

 

Thank you all if there are any replies, I am very much in need of help!

 



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#2 OldPhil

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 08:24 PM

Just a thought about using CD's, they take a ton of time tying up the machine.  I have a few machines and still went out and bought a remote, I formatted one of my spare drives.  Backing up the entire drive took about the same amount of time a burning two CD's, just for piece of mind consider all options!

 

Phil


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#3 rockysosua

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 09:00 PM

In a day and age that you can buy a portable good quality high speed 2TB external hard drive for less than $100 that copies data faster than a speeding bullet, and this very same day and age where DVD's are slowly being phased out. it's a no brainer.

Manually copying your 7 main data folders, documents, pictures, videos, games, favorites, downloads, favorites and pasting them into the external hard drive is the way to go.


All is well in Paradise.

#4 rp88

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Posted 18 September 2014 - 05:56 PM

Backing up C:\ProgramFiles does no good whatsoever, if you copy a folder in C:\ProgramFiles onto a new machine that will not instantly allow the new machine to run the programs. If you have the original (offline) installer exe files of programs you want to backup you can keep copies of the installer on USB or CD-RW (or any other backup medium) and then run the installer exe files to put the program onto a new machine/ the old machine after a wipe and reinstall. I copied the exe files i used for installing sketchup and blender on my xp machine onto USB and ran those two installer exe files on a new machine to put the programs onto it, if i had copied C:\ProgramFiles\blender onto my new machine instead then the new machine would not be able to run blender because although the stuff in C:\ProgramFiles would be in place all the other stuff needed (stuff in the registry, stuff in C:\Users\(user name)\Appdata stuff in C:\ProgramData  ) would not be in place. Don't bother backing up C:\ProgramFiles but do backup all your installer exe files for the programs (if you still have the installers).

 

For personal files I fully agree with rockysosua on "Manually copying ....and pasting ... is the way to go." for personal file backups, as for backing up system states, I'm still researching that myself (but in many ways that is not AS critical as backing up your documents/pictures/video/zip archives/music/games/internet favourites.). For backing up personal files no software is needed, just plenty of mediums to put them onto (system images are more confusing). With manual backup you can just backup what you need to backup item by item, folder by folder. You can share it out over several USB drives (or DVDs) or if it is a larger amount put it onto an external hard drive. USB is easier than DVD because i can write 100 megabytes to a USB in seconds whilst putting that much on a CD-RW takes 10 minutes or so. 

 

As far as question 3) goes doing another full backup in 6 months is not a bad idea, i have a long post    http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/t/546738/question-about-external-hard-drives/   (the second post on that thread is mine, I'll make a proper article out of that post at some time)   here on how to backup to the very highest of standards and i recommend multiple copies of any backed up item in it. If you do your backups manually though you can ensure that only the stuff you remember having changed since the last backup is saved, if you sue software to backup then this is still possible but trickier and the method varies amongst which program you use.

 

5) there are 4 main types of backup: optical (CD-RW or DVD), USB flash drive, External hard drive (it might be using similar flash solid state storage technology to USB drives but it is bigger capacity and better on pounds(or dollars or euros) per gigabyte.) and cloud. Some cloud storage is free, like 15 gigabytes from gmail, or 50 gigabytes from mediafire (though mediafire has a problem with pop-ups when it comes to downloading things again), or 5 gigabytes free from amazon, and other free options for many services. You could have multiple accounts if you needed more than was offered, or you can pay for more storage space some services are pretty cheap. DVD is probably cheaper per gigabyte than USB flash drive but it takes longer to write and DVDs/CD-RWs are vulnerable to scratching and impacts, external harddrive is cheaper than either per gigabyte but only worth it if you have big files than need backing up. Another issue with external hard drives is because they are high capacity and high cost you won't have many of them so having one be corrupted/damaged/infected leads to more data loss than losing 1 USB stick or 1 DVD/CD. Cloud storage varies in price but should not be your primary backup (but rather your secondary one) because the company running it might one day go bust and it takes ages to perform the upload and downloads. Where cloud backup is involved you should NEVER use a program but instead do it all through your web browser, programs lead to syncing, syncing leads to vulnerability. Many cloud backup services offer programs that can help you backup and navigate your online backups from your desktop, don't fall for this, it means your online backups are too connected to your main harddrive to be truly safe in the event of some types of accident/disaster.


Edited by rp88, 18 September 2014 - 06:03 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#5 grelsner96

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Posted 20 September 2014 - 07:38 PM

Thank you for the helpful information.  I could go ahead and buy an external, although everyone's budget is different and even though it's only $80-100, I can hardly pay my bills and debt, so this was not a no-brainer for me.  However, I think it could save alot of time and would be better than making 10 DVDs, and if I lose 1 or 1 gets scratched, I'm in a pickle. 

I figured I would be able to copy the entire C drive, everything.  Would that be a good idea? Or a waste?

My laptop holds 750 and I have 630 full, so a 1TB would do the trick.

Thanks all of you, I can make a decision now, I think



#6 rp88

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Posted 21 September 2014 - 09:31 AM

Copying all of C:\ is a waste, to reinstall programs on a new or cleaned out machine you need their installer exe files NOT their folder in C:\programfiles  a system image kind of copies your c drive but it is not the same as doing a normal copy and paste type backup. Unless you use a system image then copying C:\ is a waste, just copy all your personal files and any installers you have for programs(if you don't have the installer file there is no way to backup the program other than to download it again after a crisis is recovered from). You need to count up how many gigabytes of documents,zip archives,music,pictures,videos,other personal files you have and find a backup device a little larger than that sum. If you make 10 DVDs rather than 1 external hard drive for your personal file backups then you only lose 1 tenth of the stuff you have backed up if 1 DVD is damaged (if you use a group of DVDs for a system image losing one means all become useless). You say you have 630 (i assume this is 630 gigabytes) so a 1 terabyte drive might be a good idea but before you decide on using a backup drive that big work out what proportion of the 630 gig is personal files and what is program and system files.


Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#7 grelsner96

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 04:10 PM

Okay, so I know this should be simple and I'm asking a lot of questions but I am just about done!  Only so you think the best is for me to just copy and paste the items I want? Because if I do a backup (general backup, as I already just now did a system image and a system repair disc), and one of the discs is lost, the computer won't be able to go past that spot that's lost.  So example, if it's 10 DVDs and number 8 is lost, then 8 9 and 10 are useless.  Is that true with system images AND regular C backup, or that is only for the system backup?

Thank you all for the help, I shall do my backup today and get all stuff saved just in case it crashes!



#8 grelsner96

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Posted 24 September 2014 - 10:23 PM

Please look at the picture below. Ill explain it. My laptop holds 700GB Hard Drive, but some of that space is recovery drive etc, so it weighs in at roughly 674 GB officially.  It has 123 free space, so the math is 551 Gm of data total on my whole laptop.

I did a "system image" thru the windows backup program/utility.  That is ALL I HAVE PUT on my brand new 1TB external. I bought it two days ago. It says 52% full. so out of 1,000GB, the sytem image took up roughly 500GB. I read in the program prompts that it would generally be about 10GB.

I am going to delete it I think. That's a ton of space.  Anyone have an idea why it's so large? I did the default, which it didn't let me add/delete any folders anyway. I think it was C drive, recovery drive d: and third section.  Any advice?????

Capture_zps8e2b4143.jpg



#9 rp88

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Posted 25 September 2014 - 08:09 AM

What type of backup are you doing, if you just copy and paste items onto individual discs with no fancy software invlvement then losing one disc will only result in the los of data that is on that one disc, not loss of all the stuff being backed up. I am assuming you are backing up perosnal files here, not your system. I you do a normal copy and paste backup (copying one item or folder at a time and making sure the file or folder is smaller than the megabytes the disc can take) each disc is utterly independent of the others. Lets say you have 2.8 gigabytes of personal files (documents, pictures,videos,music,zip archives)to backup, and you have some 700 megabyte discsm we assume no individual file or folder in that 700 meg you want to backup is individually more than 700 megabytes. You manually copy the first 700 meg to the first disc, or rather you copy the first 690 meg or so, discs and usb drives are rarely quite as big as advertised. You go through the slow process of writing the disc, and you eject it. You reinsert it just to check the data was wirtten, then you eject it again. Next you put in a new disc and copy the next 700 megabytes or so to it, write it in the same way. And repeat so you have 4 (or if they are a little below advertised capacity it would be 5) discs containg all of your 2.8 gig of files. If once this is done you smash one disc into shards with a hammer, or start using it's edge as a knife when all the ones in your kitchen become blunt, or place it underneath a rocket that is about to launch then the 700 megabytes of stuff on that disc is lost, but 2.1 gigabytes of data is still safe and perfectly useable.  If you do system images then losing one disc wrecks the whole set, but for simple copy and paste backups without amcy and pointless software the "every disc will work fine alone" principle still holds. If you have a file you want to backup onto a 700 meg disc which is on it's own bigger than 700 meg, don't worry about using software to spread it over mutliple discs, just buy a usb drive big enough to take it. The situaton is simple, personal files should be backed up one at a time by copy and paste onto removable media, every time you change one. system images need not be done very often, they should be put onto USB or external hard drives big enough to hold the entire system image on itself rather than trying to spread the image across several discs. i have a feeling grlesner96 that you are new to backing up of ay kind, so the first thing to do is backup your personal files, file by file, folder by folder, copy and paste. Manually put as much files onto each removable device as will fit on it, note down on paper whch files are on that removable medium. Then copy other files to another removable device, note down on paper which thye were, keep going until evrything is backed up. Then do it a second time for everything, so each file is on two discs/USB drives not just one. After this you only need to back up personal files when you edit them. once all your persona fiels are backed up by simple copy and paste THEN worry about system imaging, a system image is primarily to restore the state of all your programs and software, not to protect your personal files. To make it even easier, when making a system image just buy a USB device big enough for the image, not much bigger. Put one sysetm image per devoce, don't try storing sevral system images on one UUSB/disc/external harddrive. Don't include personal files in a system image they should be dealt with seperately.


Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#10 grelsner96

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 04:28 PM

Well, I am currently talking about the system image.  Some people have said it would be good to do a system image so if windows fails and I have to load windows again, I can.  MY warranty is up soon so I won't be able to just go to geek squad like I can now. 

My personal files, that makes sense and someone also told me that, so that I understand and am fine with. Its just a system image is 500GB??? I see online other people are concerned about their 200-300 GB system image.

System image isn't even my personal files is it? It's just the system and settings? Is a system image important, or should I even do one? I dont know why it's so large.  THat's half of my 1TB external hard drive. That seems insane!



#11 rockysosua

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 04:36 PM

Making a system image is generally a good idea but in your case, your computer is WAY WAY too full.

You should never surpass 50% full, otherwise it affects performance in big way.

Maybe you can move some of the unneeded stuff to your external drive and clean that computer up a bit.

Then if you get it down to a smaller number, let's say 200 gigs, the image will also be around 200 gigs.


All is well in Paradise.

#12 grelsner96

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 04:45 PM

Thanks rocky

I think I know what you mean, but to clarify, what is a sytem image for and what are the info contained in one? My computer has lots of movies, songs, etc but I thought that was classified as "personal data" and the system image was more windows settings, firewalls, programs, permissions, etc just guessing, roughly.

 

So my logic is not accurate. Can someone tell me which part of my reasoning is incorrect? I'm fine with deleting some files and then doing one, just not sure what types of things to delete. I have alot of programs but use them all. Example: Norton Security Suite, general firewalling. Norton Family, to track my son's usage and limit it. FitBit, to upload my walking each day and get points  off my health insurance.  Firefox, mediacoder, adobe design premium(large), utorrent, and others that I use at least every couple of weeks and some daily, so I can't really delete those.



#13 rp88

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 04:47 PM

When making a system image it will be a case of "lose one disc and the lot become garbage". You could burn it onto a series of discs, but it is pretty big so will take a lot of discs, if you do put it on discs, buy some little cd or dvd cases to put the discs in, not just wallets but rigid plastic cases with lids. then once all the discs are burned tie something round the series of cases to hold them together in a stack (so you don't misplace one of them), clearly label them as what they are and put them in the safest room of your house inside a cupboard or safe or drawer. Alternatively get a large enough external hard drive to hold them all, i could find 500GB hard drives in superstores for £40, and as price is a less than linear relation to capacity you should get a 1 terabyte hard drive for £60 or so, there are probably cheaper places than the store i was at. How your system image would be that large surprises me (mine was 55gigabytes), how many programs do you have installed? have you ever cleared your temp files (CCleaner is good for that)?

Oh and your latest stuff about the difference between personal files (documents, images, videos, audio, zip archives) and program or system files, do you have personal and system files on separate "discs" or separate partitions? if they are all on C:\ drive, rather than system and program on C:\ and personal on D:\ system imaging won't differentiate between personal and system files, it will back up everything on the disc. So if your documents,images,video,audio,zip archives are on C:\ along with your windows and programs files then all you will be able to do is make a system image of all of them together. When i said system images weren't for backing up personal files, i didn't mean they can't i just meant that using them to do so was wasteful (and would mean far more gigabytes were required of the drive/discs onto which the image is placed).

Edited by rp88, 26 September 2014 - 04:52 PM.

Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB

#14 rockysosua

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 05:00 PM

You basically have three systems for recovering your system from a problem.

SYSTEM RESTORE.

is available in Backup and Restore in the control panel.

It allows you to restore your system to various available dates, and then you choose one that precedes the problem you have.

This option takes 5 to 10 minutes (normally) and it puts your computer back to the state that it was in at the chosen time you are restoring to.

This will NOT affect any of your files. It will affect settings and some programs or updates that may have been done between the time you restored to and the present.

 

SYSTEM IMAGE

is a clone image of EVERYTHING on your computer at the time you made it, programs, settings, data, etc.

It is meant to be used when your system is a mess and you want to bring it back to a healthy condition without having to start from scratch.

Bear in mind that you would lose the data that was saved between the time of making the image and the present, so you'd still have to back up your personal data, to not lose anything like Documents, downloads, favorites, pictures, music, videos, desktop, saved games.

 

OEM SYSTEM RECOVERY

from a recovery partition will put your computer back into the condition it was the day you bought it, so you would lose everything, data, programs and settings. When a user hasn't made a System Image, he or she has little choice but to recover this way, if the operating system is messed up beyond repair.


All is well in Paradise.

#15 rp88

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Posted 26 September 2014 - 06:11 PM

how is OEM system recovery done by the way? Would the recovery partition be immune and totally shielded from viruses and any other system damage?
Back on this site, for a while anyway, been so busy the last year.

My systems:2 laptops, intel i3 processors, windows 8.1 installed on the hard-drive and linux mint 17.3 MATE installed to USB




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