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Mini Hard Drive For Desktop Backtop?


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#1 Kat

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 03:42 PM

Finally getting around to backing up our home desktop (running Windows XP/Home/ 74GB hard drive capacity w/64GB still available). Some Word and Excel docs; lots of photos to backup. How do the backup units work...does one leave them USB-connected all the time and they're being written to at the same time the desktop is being written to, or do you connect them from time to time for updating? Why do prices vary so much w/the same amount of storage availability? And do they overwrite when it's called for? Is separate software necessary? I just saw an online review of one unit that said the software was "deficient and dangerous". Aaaacckk! What's this girl to do?

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#2 arcman

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 04:18 PM

You mention a Mini hard drive, are you looking for one of the portable models? The major difference between the portable external drives and the normal external drives, besides the higher cost per gigabyte, is that the portable drives can run off the power from just a couple of your USB ports, whereas the full size external hard drives have their own A/C power adapters. If it's for a desktop I would recommend a typical full size external.

Anyway, to use a typical backup drive you need to either set some time aside to run a backup of all of the data you want saved, or if you're using backup software, schedule it to backup your data at a regular specified time. You don't necessarily have to use software, you can basically drag and drop, but it's a good idea to use some kind of backup software. If you're using XP you may be able to use the built-in backup software called ntbackup. Find it in Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Backup. If it's not there you may be able to add it from Add/Remove Programs > Windows Components.

There's also a Microsoft utility called SyncToy, http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/using/d...to/synctoy.mspx

or another called fullsync, http://fullsync.sourceforge.net/
I myself use fullsync for my backups.

Or you can purchase a backup software solution. Acronis makes a nice one, I believe.

So far as the backup process itself, if you're using backup software you can select between a full backup, which will overwrite any existing backup with the new backup data you specify, or an incremental backup, which will add new files to the backup and update changed ones, while leaving alone the files that have not been changed.
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#3 Kat

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 08:48 PM

Thanks, ArcMan. Now I see that what I need is a "normal external drive". A couple more questions: Do you have a suggestion as to full backup vs. incremental, and do you know how XP's builtin, (ntbackup) operates? How about the other two you cited for me..synctoy and fullsync (full versus incremental)? A friend has just recommended some software called ghostwriter. Know anything about it?
Thanks verrrrry much!

#4 arcman

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Posted 17 March 2007 - 10:21 PM

Not familiar with ghostwriter, I'm afraid. (Wasn't that a show on PBS?)

ntbackup, as most types of file backup software, operate fairly similarly. You pick the source files and folders you want backed up from a list, select the destination you want them copied to, and select the type of backup you want to perform.

Again, a full backup wipes the destination clean and backs up everything from the source. An incremental backup only copies over that which has changed. Most times you'll only want to do the incremental backup because doing a full backup every time will be a waste of time when you only have a few files that you've changed or created since your last full backup. Fullsync uses incremental by default, it doesn't exactly have a full backup option to where it will delete everything in the source and start the backup fresh. I haven't used SyncToy all that much so I'm not as familiar with how it works, but it should be similar to that.
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#5 JohnWho

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 08:50 AM

Hey Kat -

Many (maybe all?) external HDs come with backup software.

Whatever you get for free with the drive may do what you want.

I'd suggest you start there. Can't hurt.


I know you think you understand what you thought I said,
but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!


#6 TMacK

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 11:00 AM

How to Use Windows Backup Program. Is very easy to use.
I would recommend using it in Wizard Mode opposed to Advanced Mode until you have used it a few times.

I wonder if you are meaning Norton Ghost 10.

From what I've seen, most external HD's are not sold with any kind of backup software as not everyone is purchasing the HD for this purpose.
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#7 Kat

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 11:03 AM

Thanks, you two. I think I've finally got it. Going to go w/incremental and wait on software to first see what/if the external unit provides. One last question..will price differences pretty much be related to speed?

Maybe you're thinking of Ghost Whisperer, ArcMan?

OK, now off to check out what's out there.

#8 TMacK

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 01:03 PM

One last question..will price differences pretty much be related to speed?


I think you will find prices will vary depending on the GB size of the unit.
Chaos reigns within.
Reflect, repent, and reboot.
Order shall return.

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#9 JohnWho

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 01:15 PM

From what I've seen, most external HD's are not sold with any kind of backup software as not everyone is purchasing the HD for this purpose.



:thumbsup:

Well, Kat,

if the drive doesn't come with software,

disregard my suggestion.


I know you think you understand what you thought I said,
but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant!


#10 arcman

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Posted 18 March 2007 - 06:37 PM

Maybe you're thinking of Ghost Whisperer, ArcMan?

Nope!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghostwriter_%28TV_series%29
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