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Windows 7: What Kind of External Back up hard drive should I get?

04 Feb 2011   #41
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Josh7 View Post
Wait...so Back up just on a External harddrive doesn't save programs, just photos, documents? Since I don't have a external I tried going to save a backup just to see what it did. It shows that I can back up on my DVD-RW drive. I think thats kind of stupid the whole point of a back up is so if you loose it your have it if you back up on the same drive thats so pointless. I'm still kind if confused. What exactly does a external hard drive back up?
The external harddrive backs up nothing. It is just another disk to which you can backup files or folders using backup programs, copy/paste, drag and drop or whatever method. Best though is to use an imaging program that will image the whole system, all installed programs, all settings, all data and will allow you to restore everything to exactly the state it was in when the image was taken.

There are many imaging programs awailable although I prefer free Macrium. After having tried and experimenting with many others I found Macrium to be the easiest to use, the fastest and it very reliable which is important. What good is a backup if it does not work when you need it.


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Feb 2011   #42
Josh7

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I think I get it now. So when you save an Image and save another does it overwrite the existing Image if you want it to? (No point wasting space)

Also, when does an image come into play? I think you guys told me you can't take the image and put it on a completely new computer. I found on my computer you can go to restore from back up. Lets say since you cant restore from a image, I wanted just photos and crap that I lost from maybe a hard drive failure. Would you then be able to take the photos or whatever else on the drive and restore it to the new computer?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2011   #43
NoN

Windows 7 Professional SP1 - x64 [Non-UEFI Boot]
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Josh7 View Post
I think I get it now. So when you save an Image and save another does it overwrite the existing Image if you want it to? (No point wasting space)

Also, when does an image come into play? I think you guys told me you can't take the image and put it on a completely new computer. I found on my computer you can go to restore from back up. Lets say since you cant restore from a image, I wanted just photos and crap that I lost from maybe a hard drive failure. Would you then be able to take the photos or whatever else on the drive and restore it to the new computer?
Not from an "image" unless your reinstalling entirely the OS, but better from a backup of your data files which is the easiest for that kind of situation.

I suggest you to buy an external hard drive, let's say 500Gb/3,5" at 5400RPM (basic one), plug it onto the USB port of your computer, then come back here to get some help about backing up files:

Simple Backup:
Backup User and System Files[2]=Backup Restore

Whole Image:
Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup[2]=Backup Restore
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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04 Feb 2011   #44
pparks1

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Josh7 View Post
I think I get it now. So when you save an Image and save another does it overwrite the existing Image if you want it to? (No point wasting space)
Yes, but maybe you want 2 images. For example, I image right after I load Windows and activate it and then again after I install all the apps I normally use. Why keep them both? Well, perhaps a year down the road I don't use 1/2 of the software in my second image anymore. No sense in uninstalling all of it. So, I would just put back the vanilla install and customize from there.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Josh7 View Post
Also, when does an image come into play?
Let's say you take an image. Then, you load a new video driver and now your computer does nothing but blue screen. Lets' say you uninstall the video driver, but the system still blue screens. You can restore back to the image and get back to the point where the machine wasn't blue screening.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Josh7 View Post
Would you then be able to take the photos or whatever else on the drive and restore it to the new computer?
Yes, I keep 2 backups. 1 that is just my data, copied to my external drive and that is the one that I really care about. My images are a nice to have, but not a must have. Without an image, I can always reload the OS from scratch, reload my apps and copy my data back. Without my data....well, I wouldn't have data.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2011   #45
NoN

Windows 7 Professional SP1 - x64 [Non-UEFI Boot]
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by pparks1 View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Josh7 View Post
I think I get it now. So when you save an Image and save another does it overwrite the existing Image if you want it to? (No point wasting space)
Yes, but maybe you want 2 images. For example, I image right after I load Windows and activate it and then again after I install all the apps I normally use. Why keep them both? Well, perhaps a year down the road I don't use 1/2 of the software in my second image anymore. No sense in uninstalling all of it. So, I would just put back the vanilla install and customize from there.

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Josh7 View Post
Also, when does an image come into play?
Let's say you take an image. Then, you load a new video driver and now your computer does nothing but blue screen. Lets' say you uninstall the video driver, but the system still blue screens. You can restore back to the image and get back to the point where the machine wasn't blue screening.


Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Josh7 View Post
Would you then be able to take the photos or whatever else on the drive and restore it to the new computer?
Yes, I keep 2 backups. 1 that is just my data, copied to my external drive and that is the one that I really care about. My images are a nice to have, but not a must have. Without an image, I can always reload the OS from scratch, reload my apps and copy my data back. Without my data....well, I wouldn't have data.
That's make sense!!
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04 Feb 2011   #46
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

You already got a lot of good answers. So let me just add one point. You want to keep as many images as you can fit - and I am talking about full images, not incrementals or differentials.

I keep 2 years worth including those that I made right after the initial installation. Now I do not keep one of each day - although I make an image each day. But all of last week, then one per week for the current month and then one per month for the current year. That gives me ample choices in case something happens - and if it is only for recovering a lost file.

I suggest you read the tutorial I made about imaging strategies. That will be useful to understand the scheme. https://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials...trategies.html
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2011   #47
Josh7

Windows 7 Home Premium x64
 
 

I'm starting to get it more...

Let me get this straight:
Just a back up no Image: Photos, Documents, other crap (Copy, paste, drag, etc.)
Image: Whole system, if the OS system dies I can restore the Image to what it was.

And Thats why you could take just the photos and documents from the back up and place on a new computer because you saved it by it self and not just with image.

That about correct?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Feb 2011   #48
whs
Microsoft MVP

Vista, Windows7, Mint Mate, Zorin, Windows 8
 
 

If your Photos, Documents, etc. are in the same partition as the OS, they are being saved with the image and automatically restored when you restore the image.

If they are on a different partition, you should image (or backup) that also (just in case the disk dies). But in case the OS dies, they would not be effected in that case.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Feb 2011   #49
NoN

Windows 7 Professional SP1 - x64 [Non-UEFI Boot]
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Josh7 View Post
I'm starting to get it more...

Let me get this straight:
Just a back up no Image: Photos, Documents, other crap (Copy, paste, drag, etc.)
Image: Whole system, if the OS system dies I can restore the Image to what it was.

And Thats why you could take just the photos and documents from the back up and place on a new computer because you saved it by it self and not just with image.

That about correct?
What is said here, is that you can do both.

-An Image to rescue your Personal Data files and OS at the same time.

-And a Backup of your Personal Data files only, and in case of disk fail trouble, to pick them up in the external Hdd to a new install.

It is just a matter of choice and how you would like and can handle the whole thing to save your Data.

I think manies call an Image they do each day or each week, doing a Backup.
That's why it's a little missunderstood.

When you will get use to it, you will probably say:

"Oh! anyway i'm backing up my Data on an external hard drive (thinking your making an Image of it, like it's something natural)!!"
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 What Kind of External Back up hard drive should I get?




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