I have been doing a lot of research on building a sufficient back system for my needs, and I have a couple questions and I am looking for some advice from others on how I should proceed.
I first started with the purchase of an external hard drive. Actually, I purchased an external enclosure (thermaktake max 5 active cooling) and placed 1 TB western digital hard drive in it (WD Caviar Green). The reason I put my own external hard drive together was because I read horrible reviews from the standard external hard drives you can pick up from the store, as they crash a lot or just flat our fail after a year or so of use. I also did not want the software that came with the drive and with the external enclosure I can use a eSATA wire which is faster than a USB 2.0
As a casual home user my most important documents are my music, photos, videos (and metadata that goes along with it) and financial documents that I store on my computer - some of which are active excel files that I use daily. Therefore I do not think that a daily system image is required, however, it would be nice to backup all of my files daily (at least new files or one that have been changed). I would think that system image once a week or once a month would suffice.
I have just started using the standard windows backup that comes with windows 7 and it seems to do the job, however, it is lacking some flexibility. I do not mind paying for a good backup program, yet, after reading literally hundreds of articles and forums on backup programs I hear many different opinions and it makes choosing a program difficult. For example, I was ready to purchase Acronis TI 2011, until I started reading about all the complaints of how it ruined some peoples systems and they could not even get windows 7 backup to work after the initial install (some complain it would not even install at all). Also, the fact that the new user interface is very buggy and that it puts a lot of strain on your computer. Two other programs that I have also looked into are Paragon and Macrium.
As I mentioned above, I like windows 7 backup, however the lack of flexibility is making me look into other options. I do not like the fact that I cannot have separate schedules for a system image and file backups. Also, I do not like the fact that I cannot see how many images my computer is currently holding as Windows will only use 30% of the external drive for system images and will delete them after that. I read some people will copy the system image from windows and place it into another folder on the drive so it will not interfere with the 30% and ensures that you can keep an system image you want. But I do not know if this will somehow mess up the image in the event I need to use it.
Can anyone throw some suggestions my way as to what would be a good backup strategy for me - whether its one program or a combination of programs. The main features I am looking for are:
- scheduling ability (two different schedules, one for images, one for file backup)
- ability to control my backups (keep the backups/images I want, delete the ones I no longer need)
- computer usage (I do not want a program that will eat up all of my computing power)
- ease of use
Some other features that would be nice are:
- Ability to open image on another computer as if it were another drive (i think Paragon has this feature)
- Ability to install image on different hardware or smaller hard drive
- Compressed image file sizes
I have also read that Paragon and Macrium repair disc is designed for Linux which I know nothing about, so I don't know if those programs would even be an option for me. Any comments, suggestions or opinions will be appreciated. Thanks in advance