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Windows 7: Backing up to External Hard drive - do i need to partition?


01 Aug 2012   #1

Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
 
 
Backing up to External Hard drive - do i need to partition?

Hi everyone

I've just read an article which explains how to back up my system to an external hard drive
(Backup/Restore in Windows7 – External Hard Drive (Computer Insurance))

I have a 2TB external with files alread on it. I was just wondering, do i need to partition the hard drive or can i just create a folder?

Also, just to check... If i complete this back up onto my external, and then create the system repair disc, will I be able to completely reinstall windows and drivers?

I recently tried to create a dual boot with windows and ubuntu on two seperate hard drives. It worked, but I had to have the unbuntu hard drive plugged in to be able to boot the windows drive (windows wouldnt boot at all without the unbuntu hard drive plugged in). I worried that if the ubuntu drive died (its quite old) then I would never be able to get back into windows.
So I now have a fresh instalation of windows 7 Professional that work put on my machine.

However I want to try and create and dual boot again, but if I mess it up this time i'd like to be able to sort it out myself. Would doing this back up and disc enable me to do so?

Thanks
Soph

My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

01 Aug 2012   #2
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

I will assume you are talking about Windows imaging as opposed to file/folder backup.
In one partition root Windows will recognize an image folder called WindowsImageBackup. If you create another partition you could have another WindowsImageBackup. Alternatively, you can rename or move (within a partition) WindowsImageBackup to a different folder. As long as what you move and/or rename to WindowsImageBackup in a partition root, a Windows system repair disk boot should recognze it. See these tutorials
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
System Image Recovery
Many people prefer this third party imaging program which is more flexible
Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download
I use both.

A system image restore will restore everything you need. It is a snapshot of when you made it. You can even restore it to a new HDD if your current one fails.

Re Ubuntu dual boot it sounds like you are booting Windows through the Ubuntu HDD = bad idea.
Post a full Disk Management Screenshot
Screenshots and Files - Upload and Post in Seven Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Aug 2012   #3

Windows 7 Professional
 
 

In general, a bad idea. If there is a specific implemnation ou requre, please plost here.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.


04 Aug 2012   #4
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

In general I disagree that partitioning is a bad idea. It really depends on the purpose of the external HDD. If I/O speed is an issue for certain data then storing it on a partition using the outer tracks is a good idea. If the HDD is a long term data repository then there is probably little point.
I know you are talking about external HDDs but for OS internals, partitioning your HDD would be recommended. I'd have my OS and installed programs on an outer partition no greater than ~200GB. For speed and ease of imaging.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Aug 2012   #5

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit 7601 Multiprocessor Free Service Pack 1
 
 

Some people partition data disks dividing the disk up by data type. In general this is a bad idea because you need to know in advance how big to make each partition. What happens when you run out of space for say videos, you need to modify the partition sizes. This is possible but can be risky. It is better to keep a single partition and to allow the file system to segregate your types.

The exception to this as mjf posted is the Windows disk, which should be partitioned to separate the OS and data as much as possible to make imaging the system easier.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Aug 2012   #6
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

The I/O requirements for videos are met by inner tracks. I was thinking more about modelling applications that do a fair bit of disk I/O. I'm not sure but I think even using say photoshop with multiple layers then doing regular saves may benefit from an outer scratch partition?

I partition less than I used to but I have thought that partitioning could also assist if your file system gets corrupted. Of course each partition has its own file system so recovery may be easier than on a single 2TB partition.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2012   #7

Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
I will assume you are talking about Windows imaging as opposed to file/folder backup.
In one partition root Windows will recognize an image folder called WindowsImageBackup. If you create another partition you could have another WindowsImageBackup. Alternatively, you can rename or move (within a partition) WindowsImageBackup to a different folder. As long as what you move and/or rename to WindowsImageBackup in a partition root, a Windows system repair disk boot should recognze it. l

Thankyou for the reply. I will leave the ubuntu problem for a later date. At the moment I have a fresh install of windows7 on an 80GB hard drive (this hard drive is the only one plugged in at the moment untill I decide to try ubuntu on another hard drive at a later date)

I have just had windows 7 installed on an 80GB hard drive. It has taken up about 50GB so far, so I want to use the rest of this hard drive for more programmes.

So I thought I would back up on an external Hard drive.
My external Hard drive is 2TB and contains lots of files already.
My main question is do I need to partition my external or can I just create a folder?



Sorry, i'm quite new to all this and am trying to learn as much as I can as I go along.


'In one partition root Windows will recognize an image folder called WindowsImageBackup'

Is this on my 80GB windows drive?
I haven't created a back up/image yet or do you mean there is automatically one already?
Are you saying that I can move this to my external?


Thanks
Soph
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2012   #8

Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
In general I disagree that partitioning is a bad idea. It really depends on the purpose of the external HDD. If I/O speed is an issue for certain data then storing it on a partition using the outer tracks is a good idea. If the HDD is a long term data repository then there is probably little point.
I know you are talking about external HDDs but for OS internals, partitioning your HDD would be recommended. I'd have my OS and installed programs on an outer partition no greater than ~200GB. For speed and ease of imaging.
The external hard drive contains all my files (music, pictures, films, office docs etc) and I move it between my laptop and PC a lot.
The internal 80GB hard drive contains Windows7

I want to back up windows7 and drives onto my external hard drive.

I just googled I/O speed... am I right in saying this means 'input/output' speed?
Are you saying that putting the back up on a partition on the external rather than a folder on the external would increase the speed when accessing my files?

I do not know what 'outer tracks' refers to.
Sorry to be a bit useless with knowing technical stuff - I'm trying to learn as quickly as I can!

From the info I have given would you be able to reccomend paritioning my external or just creating a folder for the back up.
I want to keep running windows from the internal though.

Cheers
Soph
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2012   #9

Windows 7 Professional 32-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by kado897 View Post
Some people partition data disks dividing the disk up by data type. In general this is a bad idea because you need to know in advance how big to make each partition. What happens when you run out of space for say videos, you need to modify the partition sizes. This is possible but can be risky. It is better to keep a single partition and to allow the file system to segregate your types.

The exception to this as mjf posted is the Windows disk, which should be partitioned to separate the OS and data as much as possible to make imaging the system easier.

My data and OS are seperated. The OS and programmes are on my 80GB internal.
My files are on my 2TB external.
I do not want to partition my 80GB because I need the remaining space for more programmes.
I want to back up my OS onto my 2TB external, but wasn't sure i I was meant to partition the external first to keep the back up and the files seperate.

My windows drive is 80GB so I guess I would only need to partition 80GB of my external. However, if I don't need to partition my external, and can just create a folder then I will do this.
I have never used windows imaging to back up an OS so I don't know what to expect. I didn't want to start it and then mess it up because I should have created a partition.

Cheers
Soph
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Aug 2012   #10

MS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
 
 

In my case, I use an external HD exclusively as a backup source. For additional space needed for data, etc., I use another HD.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Backing up to External Hard drive - do i need to partition?




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