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Windows 7: Can I backup multiple internal drives to different external HDDs?

05 Mar 2015   #1

Win 7 pro 64 bit
Can I backup multiple internal drives to different external HDDs?

I recently updated my system to a 128 GB SSD for my boot drive, and am using an internal 1 TB internal drive for data. I'm using Windows BU/restore for my backups to a 2 TB external drive, and run out of space too frequently. I have a spare 750 GB external drive in good working condition. Can I routinely:
  • Backup the 128 GB SSD (boot drive) to the smaller 750 GB external HDD
  • Backup the 1 TB data drive to the 2TB HDD

If this preferred routine is not possible is it possible to span the two external drives so that when the larger drive runs out of space Backup and Restore switches to the second external drive to finish the backup?


My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2015   #2
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

The SSD I would image to the 750GB drive. The data drive I would sync to the 2TB drive. Then you never run out of space. AllwaySync is a good program.

Allway Sync: Free File Synchronization, Backup, Data Replication, PC Sync Software, Freeware, File Sync, Data Synchronization Software
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2015   #3
Lady Fitzgerald

Win 7 Ultimate 64 bit

Doing so with Windows Backup and Restore might be problematic since it tends to be a bit temperamental. A better imaging that would allow that would be able to do that is Macrium Reflect Free (here is a good tutorial on how to use Macrium Reflect).

Also, using imaging to backup anything other than your OS/programs drive or partition is inefficient and time consuming. For data only, a folder/file syncing program (I likeFreeFileSync) is faster and more efficient.

Once set up, a folder/file syncing program set to Mirror Mode will compare the folders on the source drive to the ones on the destination drive for any changes then will copy files from the source drive to the destination drive or delete files from the destination drive as necessary to essentially make the destination a clone of the source drive. FreeFileSync also has a feature that lets you have it send deleted files to a versioning folder or drive if you so desire. Once the initial backup has been made, updates take far less time than imaging all your backups. It's so fast, I can make daily backups with no trouble.

With the drives you already have, you could make a partition on the 2TB backup drive you already have that's the same size as your internal drive, then use FreeFileSync to sync the internal drive with the partition on the external drive. A second partition could then be made in the remaining space on the external drive that can be used to keep images of your boot drive and a Versioning folder for files deleted from the other partition by FreeFileSync. That way, you would be able to recover accidental deletions or earlier versions of documents.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

05 Mar 2015   #4

Win 7 pro 64 bit

Thanks to you both. I googled freefilesync and find that some users say that the www site for newer versions is blocked by their malware software. Allway sync apparently is one of those sites that claims to be free and then requires the paid version to continue use. Whereas I agree that there's no such thing as a free lunch, and that these companies need compensation for their work, I don't like tomfoolery to hook me into their web, or the potential for addware/malware. That's why I'd like to continue using the MSFT product if possible.

I do own Acronis True Image 2012 but I found that to be somewhat cumbersome for he conventional one-drive to one external drive. I actually just last week needed to restore my failed data drive to another drive and that made me a believer (again) for backups.

Would Acronis be a better choice for what I need? If so, I may reintroduce myself to that. They do have a pretty good forum with helpers.

Otherwise, I guess I'll just continue to use Windows BU/Restore.....

Thanks again for any thoughts on this.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2015   #5

Win 7 pro 64 bit
Can I use two instances of Backup/Restore

As noted in a previous thread here I would like to use two external HDDs to back up two internal drives (boot and data). This would keep me from retiring my 2 TB external drive for a larger backup drive. I'm accumulating retired drives too fast, and I have a 750 GB drive that I'd like to use.

Apparently Win BU/restore can't be configured to backup to two external drives. Is there some way to use two versions of Windows BU/Restore?

I also have an older version of Acronis True Image that I suppose I could use if there is an ingenious way to do that for one of the drives, but I'd rather not.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2015   #6

Microsoft Community Contributor Award Recipient

Windows 7 Home Premium SP1, 64-bit

You can look at Aomei products. I think "Backupper" does both imaging and file-by-file? As far as I know, it's free.

Most here will point you to Macrium or Aomei or Acronis for imaging (probably in that order), with Windows imaging a distant last. It "works" if you can live with it's inflexibility and crankiness. And if you can stick with it long enough to learn its nuances. Macrium has a very straightforward interface.

I think the paid version of Macrium also does file by file backups?

FBackup, Karen's Replicator, and Syncback are other file by file backup programs that you could check.

I use FreeFileSync and have not had any issue with it being blocked by anti-virus or anti-malware programs.

Second Copy is excellent, but I think it's $30 with a free 30 day trial.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Mar 2015   #7
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8

With Windows imaging and on the high seas you never know what is going to happen. I have bailed out several people with broken Windows images in the past and had to write a specific tutorial because the cases were so frequent.

In your case Acronis is probably the better option but the best imaging program I have found to-date is free Macrium. There are many people here that use it and you can get advice on any problem. To this day, over 344 thousand people have consulted the tutorial I linked and I have yet to hear the first complaint.
My System SpecsSystem Spec

 Can I backup multiple internal drives to different external HDDs?

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