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Windows 7: Totally Confused About Backup

07 Apr 2011   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
Totally Confused About Backup

I recently bought a HP Pavilion with a 640 gb HD and Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit. I went from Win 98 to Win 7 so I am years behind in new hardware technology. I want to add an external hard drive to make backups but after reading about the different brands and types I am totally confused. Which is the most recommended brand and what size in gigs should I get? Should I use the Win 7 backup software or the software that comes with some of the brands ? Thanks for your help.

My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2011   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Western Digital, Samsung, and Seagate are the predominant brands. You can have bad luck with any of them, but I would lean toward the first two.

I'd get a size at least as big as your 640. There won't be much price difference if you go larger.

Some people here use Windows backup successfully, but others find it lacks flexibility and isn't intuitive.

Distinguish between the 2 forms of backup: imaging and file by file. The general problem with imaging is that it doesn't always work---you think you have a valid backup, but then can't restore it for whatever reason.

You should definitely do file by file for your personal data.

Optionally, you can use imaging to make an image of your entire C partition. That image file would include any personal data you might have on C, but I would still make a separate file by file backup of personal data.

You can store it all on the external. I'd just make a single partition on the external and use a folder structure to organize your backups, whatever they may be.

The primary alternative to Windows for imaging are Acronis and Macrium Reflect Free Edition. You can also get a free copy of Acronis is you have a Seagate or Western Digital hard drive.

There are a number of file by file backup applications: Synctoy from Microsoft, Karen's Replicator, Cobian, Second Copy, etc. Most people use a free application of some type.

You might consider making 2 partitions on your boot drive if you haven't already done so: C for Windows and D for personal data. You could then make an image of C alone or D alone or both. And also make file by file backups of D alone.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2011   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

One of the brands says it makes continuous backups. Do you recommend that or would it slow down my computer too much ?
My System SpecsSystem Spec

07 Apr 2011   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

I have no idea what "continuous backup" means. Never heard the term. But it's obviously a software thing and not limited to just one hard drive brand, whatever it is.

Windows backup or any third party program I know of can be used on any brand hard drive. I suspect "continuous backup" is just marketing jive of some kind.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2011   #5

Windows 7 x64 pro/ Windows 7 x86 Pro/ XP SP3 x86

Continuous backup software makes a copy of a file whenever it changes. Called continuous backup, instant backup or continuous data protection, it is not suitable for every situation because it can use a lot of storage space and processor time. Continuous backup also requires an always-available second disk drive to write the backups to in real time - it isn't suitable for use with CD or DVD writers.

But continuous backup is an excellent companion to conventional backup software as it protects against loss of work done since your last backup. It can also provide you with a version control system, as it lets you restore any previous saved version of a file, not just the latest. Some continuous backup products even include tools that allow you to compare the differences between versions of a file.
Read more: How To: Buy backup software

Continuous backup software? - Wilders Security Forums
My System SpecsSystem Spec
07 Apr 2011   #6

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

I bought the Western Digital My Passport....1 TB external drive tonite and installed the SmartWare software and set it to make continuous backups. I'll let you know how things go. The (PDF) manual is 75 pages and I have several more to read.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

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