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Windows 7: Backing up multiple hard drives to one location

30 Sep 2012   #1

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit
Backing up multiple hard drives to one location

I have a few drives and I was wondering the best way to back them all up.
I have:
- 1TB internal HD
- 1TB external HD
- 250GB external HD

I am considering getting another 1TB internal drive to save my backups.
Is there a way to compress the files on each drive so that they could all be saved to one location? Or does the backup location need to be the same size as the others to basically just copy the files?

My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2012   #2

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

I assume all 3 of those drives contain either an operating system or original copies of data, not backups?

I wouldn't compress anything unless forced to for space reasons.

I'd use an image file to back up the C partition.

I would not use images to back up data.

The backup location can be any size---as long as it's big enough to hold it all.

More info would help, such as your partition setup and type of data.

Any data on the internal?

How many GB total of data?

How much occupied space on your C partition?

I backup to an internal daily--and make other backups to externals less often. I back up my system (C partition) only once a month.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
30 Sep 2012   #3

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

Woops, sorry forgot to say what I was backing up.
The external drives are almost filled up with data, .avi, .mp4, .mp3, etc.
The internal drive would be an actual image file, and yes there is some data on there too.
Basically I want to backup about 1TB of data, and the C image onto the one hard drive that I would be obtaining if all of this is possible.
I have not set up any partitions, the C: drive has 574GB free of 914GB
Hope that helps
My System SpecsSystem Spec

30 Sep 2012   #4

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

You say you have about 1 TB of data.

If so, I wouldn't buy a 1 TB drive to back it up. I'd get something larger, probably 2 GB. If you get a 1 TB, I'd assume it would be full in a relatively short time.

The slickest way to do things would be:

Keep ALL original data on a single internal partition or drive, not C.

Back up ALL of that to a single external drive.

That likely would require a new internal and a new external. Is that out of the question?

Do you deliberately keep original data on externals rather than internals for some reason? Internals are preferable for that purpose if at all possible---and you apparently have space in your case for more internals.

Apparently, your C drive has over 300 GB used. How much of that is personal files (data) as opposed to Windows and installed applications?

I'll try to adapt my advice to your requirements, but I need to gather this information to best advise you.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2012   #5

Windows 7 Home Premium 64 bit

I need the info that is on the external drives to stay on the external drives, it is info that I carry around and use on other computers, that is why I want to back them up. I connect and disconnect them so often that I am worried about possibly losing everything.
I havent figured everything out, I assume everything is faster on an internal drive and is therefore much easier to deal with.
Maybe I will just use the smaller external drive to carry around the necessary info I will be using in the near future and keep the bulk of everything on the new internal drive. If this was the case though I would need a bigger external for backups.
That is why my main question is about backing up that data using some kind of compression to save space. If I am backing up that data, do I basically just need to save a copy of all of it? Is there no way to compress the data to save space and only use it if there is a problem?
The C: drive is about half windows files and half personal data.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Oct 2012   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

Given your situation, you could back up to yet another external---or to an internal.

You can use compression--it will slow down access to the files as they would need to be uncompressed.

I don't know if compression has other risks---such as possible corruption. I never use it as I have no space issues, don't want to be slowed down, and don't want any issues at all about accessing data.

Some files are more compressible than others. You may find that compression doesn't save as much space as you had hoped. For instance, I don't think you gain much at all by compressing JPG pictures. I've never compressed video files to see how much space was saved.

Yes--the most basic way of backing up is to simply save a copy on some other drive--by dragging with the mouse or using the keyboard. Without using any programs or compression.

You are kind of on your own given your requirements. You might experiment with a random sample or two of your files to see how much space compression might save.

I'd certainly try to minimize external storage, but you are the judge of how much of that stuff has to be carried around to other locations.

And you might consider saving one set of backups to another location entirely---a safe deposit box, online storage in the cloud, or whatever---as a protection against fire or theft.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Backing up multiple hard drives to one location

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