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How Do I Save Everything To A New Hard Drive?

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#1 thegamer


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Posted 25 June 2006 - 10:49 PM

Hello. My hard drive recently started acting up, and i discovered that it is my HD and it probably won't last for much longer. I've never had a HD fail on me, so I never was in the position of having to save all my files.

I'm not sure what to do. I don't know how to save all my files, and my OS, so its like starting my computer up just like any other day.

Any detailed advise would be greatly appreciated. I'm not sure how to go about this.

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#2 Herk


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Posted 26 June 2006 - 12:06 AM

I never was in the position of having to save all my files.

Actually, you were. You should always back up any files that are important to you. There are only two kinds of hard drives: those that have failed and those that will.

That said, here is how I back up my own files:

First of all, you need media to back them up. Most computers these days have a CD burner. This is probably the cheapest way to back up data, since CD's are around thirty cents and will save about 750 MB of files. Since I don't know how many files you have, or how much space they require, I don't know how hard this will be for you.

You cannot backup programs or your operating system. These need to be reinstalled from their original media. Program installation files which are downloaded from the internet can be saved. Sometimes, with such things as antivirus programs, it is better to get the latest version of the program anyway.

You need to backup your favorites unless you are one of those people who don't often use them.

You can back up your email accounts, if desired, but some people don't care.

You should have any passwords you use saved somewhere, so that you can get back into sites that require a password, such as this site or ebay or other forums. You need to know your username and password for your ISP.

Many people keep most of their files in the My Documents folder. (I don't - I keep them all over the place.)

You need some kind of program to use to burn the CD's. I don't use backup programs because I hear too many horror stories about how the restore didn't work. You can use a program like Sonic or Nero to back up files, and if you don't have anything like that but you're using XP, you can download CDburnerXP for free.

Depending on which program you're using, you would backup your files by simply adding them to a data disk. If you have lots of music files or lots of pictures, you can back up as many as possible on a single CD. Backing up your Favorites/Bookmarks can be done from within whichever browser you're using - in Firefox, it's "Manage Bookmarks" and then File -> Export and then choose a folder to put them in, such as My Documents. You can then restore them by going to the same place and importing your bookmarks backup.

To install your operating system, you'll need the operating system disk and the 25-number Windows key. If you don't have that, you can use a program like Magical Jellybean Keyfinder to find out what it is and write it down. The number is usually on the holographic sticker on the side of the computer. Note: if you have the operating system on a partition on the hard drive itself and no actual install disks, you may have a problem.

Using the instructions for whichever program you're using, back up your files to the CD by adding them to the list that you want to back up. When you have them burned to the disk, put the disk back in the drive and make sure you can open the files - no sense having a backup that doesn't work.

If you have any programs such as Quicken or Microsoft Money that have data, you should follow those programs' instructions to back them up. You can back them up to the hard drive, then when you're burning the backup files to disk, you can include those files in the backup.

Take your time. Be thorough.

If you have any games that you're part way through, chances are you can back them up, too, and save the backup to CD's.

If you have a fast internet connection, you can back up stuff online. There are many places that will let you do this, such as this one. Just do a google search for "backup online." Then, when you get Windows and your other programs re-installed, your backups will be secure and ready to download back to your computer.

You do not have to backup all the contents of your hard drive - just the files such as pictures and music and anything else that you want to keep. If you want to back up things like your email account, let us know what you're using for email, and we can help you back that up.

If you have an address book on your computer, back that up, too.

Another option is to get a new hard drive, install Windows on it, put your old hard drive in as a slave drive and copy the files to it. But, for myself, I would never mess with anything if my data wasn't already backed up. I recommend getting in the habit of making regular backups.

#3 thegamer

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 12:53 AM

Thank you herk. I have many of my important files saved to cd. I just got back from having my computer repaired and they told me everything is all good. Then two days later my hard drive begins to fail.

I just got done re-installing many of the programs I used i just don't feel like going through the hassle to do it all over again.

I will try your method of buying a new HD and using the one that is slowly dying as a slave. I'm not exactly sure how to do this but im willing to learn. I do have the most important files to me saved so I'm not too worried about losing everything. I'm just trying to save myself from the hassle because I just went through this last week.

Also i do have my windows cd key, i just don't know if i have my windows cd to install it.

#4 Aya


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Posted 01 July 2006 - 09:25 PM

I've just been through this process upgrading my old Maxtor 80GB HDD to a newer Seagate 160GB HDD. If you want to copy everything; OS, programmes and files you need to clone your old HDD to a new HDD.

Firstly schedule a disk check on your old drive: Click Start -> Run and enter the command chkdsk c: /f /r and press enter. A message will appear saying "Chkdsk cannot run because the volume is in use by another process. Would you like to schedule this volume to be checked the next time the system restarts? (Y/N)". Type 'y' and press enter.

Restart the PC and let Windows XP do its thing (this may take quite some time (30 mins+) - do not stop the PC). The system will re-boot to Windows when it finishes.

Now that your system drive (C:\) is clean you can install the new HDD and start the cloning process. Install your new HDD as a Primary Slave drive. There are lots of articles on the web for both processes. I used the following link: Beginner's Guide: Cloning Windows XP. This will tell you the mechanics of how to install the new HDD but it goes on to recommend that you use Norton Ghost for the cloning process. Norton Ghost didn't work for me so I used Acronis Migrate Easy 7.0 (There is a fully operational, 15 day trial version available at: Acronis Migrate Easy 7.0 - 15 day trial version. Adobe PDF user manual available at: Acronis Migrate Easy 7.0 - User Manual. This cloning process will go from the Migrate Easy screens to a blue screen with the cloning process progress details. It will take a long time! Just leave the PC be!

When cloning you must clone to a new HDD of equal or greater size! DO NOT erase partitions on old HDD; you may need it later if things go wrong (they didn't for me!).

When the cloning is successfully completed shut down the PC, remove both HDD's, reset the jumper on the back of the new HDD to Primary Master, re-install it and start up the PC.

Hopefuilly, you have successfully copied your old HDD to your new HDD in its entirity. Good Luck

Edited by Aya, 01 July 2006 - 09:32 PM.

#5 wyldjkr69


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Posted 01 July 2006 - 11:37 PM

i dont know if this is alot of help but i found a real quick way of cloning a drive
i have a 2gb hd and a 15gb hd and all the info i need is on the 2 gb so i put the 2gb on my 2nd puter ,it has 20 gb, and i copied all the files and then i put it my 15 gb hd and pasted it all.it also helps because i acidently left all the info on my other puter and this one crashed so all i had to do is paste all the info back.

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