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Windows 7: Backing up computer

31 Oct 2010   #11
Maxxwire

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
Make your backups to an external USB Hard Disk Drive (HDD). If you don't have one, I suggest you buy one 500GB is enough (Bigger's ok of course). Cost less than $100.
I have been backing up to external drives for a long time and I have purchased 3 Western Digital Drives including one that had a 1 TB capacity as well as a 1.5 TB Seagate Drive and they all failed within a short period of time. The longest lasting was the $180 1TB WD at 18 months and the record for the shortest amount of time before complete failure was the $150 1.5 TB Seagate.

By the time the 1TB WD Firewire Drive which was the fastest of the bunch @ 38 MBps read time went out I had spent almost $500 on external drives with slow transfer speeds and frequent failures and so I decided to spend slightly more than one of these failed drives cost on the 2TB LaCie eSATA Raid 0 drive. Some owners of the 2TB LaCie say that they have used their Lacie Drives for 4 years with no issues. I have yet to know how long my 2TB LaCie Drive will last, but one thing I know for sure and that it has transfer speeds that are 6X as fast as the USB Drives that I had before they broke down.

~Maxx~
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My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Oct 2010   #12
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by Maxxwire View Post
Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
Make your backups to an external USB Hard Disk Drive (HDD). If you don't have one, I suggest you buy one 500GB is enough (Bigger's ok of course). Cost less than $100.
I have been backing up to external drives for a long time and I have purchased 3 Western Digital Drives including one that had a 1 TB capacity as well as a 1.5 TB Seagate Drive and they all failed within a short period of time. The longest lasting was the $180 1TB WD at 18 months and the record for the shortest amount of time before complete failure was the $150 1.5 TB Seagate.

By the time the 1TB WD Firewire Drive which was the fastest of the bunch @ 38 MBps read time went out I had spent almost $500 on external drives with slow transfer speeds and frequent failures and so I decided to spend slightly more than one of these failed drives cost on the 2TB LaCie eSATA Raid 0 drive. Some owners of the 2TB LaCie say that they have used their Lacie Drives for 4 years with no issues. I have yet to know how long my 2TB LaCie Drive will last, but one thing I know for sure and that it has transfer speeds that are 6X as fast as the USB Drives that I had before they broke down.

~Maxx~
.
I hope your experience is (unfortunate) bad luck. But they are high precision, mass produced, relatively low cost. Feedback from others in a new thread would be interesting.
Call me Mr Paranoid - I have 2 external drives, just for backup) which I keep spun down most of the time.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
31 Oct 2010   #13
Maxxwire

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
I hope your experience is (unfortunate) bad luck.
Call me Mr Paranoid - I have 2 external drives, just for backup) which I keep spun down most of the time.
Please don't let by experience with these external HDD's worry you. This 2 1/2 year long period of one drive failing after another did teach me to keep 4 copies of my data and 100+ GB of pictures though.

I have another 500 GB Verbatim external USB drive with WD discs that has been running every day for 9 months or so along with a 1 TB WD drive I bought at the same time that is usually inert which only cost $60 less than the 2TB LaCie eSATA Raid 0 drive. The moral of the story for me is that I will not be byuing WD or Seagate HDD's again in the future when I can get 6X faster performance and much better longivity from a 2TB LaCie eSATA drive.



~Maxx~
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My System SpecsSystem Spec
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31 Oct 2010   #14
gte024h

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

I've been trying to use the Windows 7 backup feature but I keep running into a problem. I have an external 300GB USB hard drive with nothing on it except for the backups. I have a set of files about 80GB (Music Library, Photo Library, Documents, etc) that I want backed up onto it daily. I do not have it set to create a system image. Within a few weeks the drive fills up and Windows stops making backups. Everything I have read says this is normal behavior and I need to "Manage Space" to remove old backups to free up space for new ones. Can anyone else say if this is normal behavior? If so, I would say that Win7 backup is USELESS since the point of automated backups is that they do not need user intervention to run. It should automatically manage space to remove old backup sets as necessary.

Maybe I'm just doing it wrong...
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2010   #15
Maxxwire

Windows 7 x64 Home Premium
 
 

gte024h- Welcome to the Windows 7 Forums!

My Windows System Image backups are initially 24 GB and each weekly incremental backup adds very little to that amount. I think that the problem you are having is that even though relatively little information is being added Windows refuses to do the backup because the drive is full. It sounds like you will need to move either the Music or Windows Backup to another external drive to avoid this conflict.

~Maxx~

My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2010   #16
jimbo45

Linux CENTOS 7 / various Windows OS'es and servers
 
 

Hi there
There are 2 different types of backup strategies you should adopt -- "Archive" which is data that doesn't change too much -- for example a lot of data files (spread sheets, Word documents, email folders, photos, music etc etc) and "Backup" for data that DOES change quite frequently.

I would possibly backup the User data stuff that doesn't change a lot to say 50GB BD blue ray discs or to passport type external USB disks -- BUT DON'T USE THESE EVERY DAY. Only use them when re-archiving or extending an archive.

Backing up your OS (image the disk) and other data should be done regularly to DIFFERENT disks -- the chances of TWO failing at the same time are so small as to be discounted.

Decent backup software also allows "incremental backups" - you create a FULL backup and then the next set of backups only backups stuff that has CHANGED.

Say once a week do a full backup and run incremental backups daily.

Data that you don't change very often or even need online 100% copy it to your ARCHIVE system.

Cheers
jimbo
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2010   #17
mjf

Windows 7x64 Home Premium SP1
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mjf View Post
Patti,
I'm not trying to talk down to you I'm assuming backup is new to you.

Coming from no backups I suggest sticking to the Microsoft inbuilt backup capabilities. Only if they cause problems or later would I look at some of the other good software around.
"Backup" has 2 main parts to it.
(1) Backing up your files and folders. Like your documents, photos and so on.
The "BACK UP NOW" button will start this.
The first one you make will take a little longer but then say you run it every couple of days it will pick up the new stuff you've made and add it to the backup - pretty quick.
(2) System Image. Snapshots of your whole disk (partitions to be precise). The snaps shots contains everything: Windows itself, application programs, your personal stuff -- The works.
These are VERY important to have because you can put the image/snapshot back to when everything was running fine.
These couldn't be easier to make. You press a button "CREATE A SYSTEM IMAGE NOW". Make say one every couple of weeks (or a month) - takes 10-20 minutes).
(3) Just one more thing you will need to hit the "Change Settings" button once to set a few things up. There is a little box there that say create a system image along with the backup. I would UNTICK this one or else it will do the the image/snapshot thing along with your more regular personal file backups. I'd use the button on the left of the "backup" page - called "Create a System Image" with the little shield in front of it. You don't need to make these that often.
You can setup a automatic backup schedule but the program may want to backup when it's inconvenient...up to you.


Make your backups to an external USB Hard Disk Drive (HDD). If you don't have one, I suggest you buy one 500GB is enough (Bigger's ok of course). Cost less than $100.

Finally!!!!!! There are tutorials here that take you through the step by step procedures.
Repeating this again for you in case it gets lost in the noise.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2010   #18
mborner

Windows 7 Pro/32 Academic. Build 7600
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by gte024h View Post
I've been trying to use the Windows 7 backup feature but I keep running into a problem. I have an external 300GB USB hard drive with nothing on it except for the backups. I have a set of files about 80GB (Music Library, Photo Library, Documents, etc) that I want backed up onto it daily. I do not have it set to create a system image. Within a few weeks the drive fills up and Windows stops making backups. Everything I have read says this is normal behavior and I need to "Manage Space" to remove old backups to free up space for new ones. Can anyone else say if this is normal behavior? If so, I would say that Win7 backup is USELESS since the point of automated backups is that they do not need user intervention to run. It should automatically manage space to remove old backup sets as necessary.

Maybe I'm just doing it wrong...
If you're doing daily backups, over a period of time, Windows will create several backup "periods". A regular backup is incremental and generally won't get a whole lot larger unless you continuously add large chunks of data. The first time you back up, Windows does a complete, full backup. After that, your backups become incremental. However, after several incremental backups, Windows will create, yet, another complete, full backup. These "full" backups are called backup "periods". They collect on your HDD in backup ranges by date. It is safe to delete old backup periods, keeping just the latest ones. When Windows manages backup disk space, they are referring to "image" backups, not incremental backups. You can elect to keep just the latest "image" backup and each time an image is made, windows will automatically delete the one it replaces. It will not do such things for backup periods, they must be managed manually.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2010   #19
gte024h

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
 
 

Quote   Quote: Originally Posted by mborner View Post
If you're doing daily backups, over a period of time, Windows will create several backup "periods". A regular backup is incremental and generally won't get a whole lot larger unless you continuously add large chunks of data. The first time you back up, Windows does a complete, full backup. After that, your backups become incremental. However, after several incremental backups, Windows will create, yet, another complete, full backup. These "full" backups are called backup "periods". They collect on your HDD in backup ranges by date. It is safe to delete old backup periods, keeping just the latest ones. When Windows manages backup disk space, they are referring to "image" backups, not incremental backups. You can elect to keep just the latest "image" backup and each time an image is made, windows will automatically delete the one it replaces. It will not do such things for backup periods, they must be managed manually.
Thank you that was the info I was looking for. I noticed the backup periods collecting over time, usually it starts failing on the third backup period. If I have to manually manage these backup periods, then IMO Windows 7 backup is broken. Now I go in search of a smart automated backup solution.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
01 Nov 2010   #20
gregrocker

 

An alternative method is to place your User folders in a separate data partition or HD: User Folders - Change Default Location

This keeps the OS/Programs partition leaner for an SSD and so the backup image is more compact.

If Win7 becomes irreparable, in 15 minutes you can reimage your OS/Programs partition and your data is waiting and current in its vault.

As for the data backup, I like using a sync program like Windows Live Mesh which keeps the same folder structure while synch'ing your User folders to another HD, other network computers, or using free Sky Drive as a server can make them available worldwide to access securely from anywhere.
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