Need guidance on a good simple backup utility

By macx
Aug 14, 2011
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  1. I've got a new external TB drive I'd like to use for backing up my "main" storage drive which is an internal TB drive, currently with about 500g on it (I need to - continue - to delete duplicates, an on-again then off-again effort) - also my 75g C drive which has about 15g on it - I only use it for applications and temp files for short term storage before I move them to the storage drive.

    I looked at the Backup apps on this forum, but that doesn't tell me much. Or should I maybe say I don't understand much about it.

    I don't know anything about "incremental" backups, or really anything else about
    backing up.

    What can be backed up from applications - I don't suppose Windows (XP sp3)
    can be backed up? Is there some way to save the settings so in case it goes away
    from some reason? Also all my FireFox settings and add ons, and some other security and a few other misc applications.

    During backup, it doesn't make a whole new copy of everything, does it? I would hope it would just work with files that have been changed or added?

    Any "beginners" guide to backing up available anywhere? I can read and learn
    at least.

  2. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,022   +51

    The external hard drives can be used as extra storage to your C drive, and/or to duplicate important files in case of failure of the C drive or entire PC.
    Windows 7 has a simple way of backing up the entire C drive to another drive, that's known as an 'image'.
    It means an exact copy, operating system, drivers, updates, programs, photos, music, everything.
    An incremental backup is where only the files that have changed, since the last backup, will be saved.
    A free program that will do a similar job in XP, Vista and 7, is;

    As a guide, my C drive now holds 70GB of data, and that takes about 40 mins to copy a complete image onto my external Seagate 1TB hard drive.
  3. macx

    macx TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 710

    Thinking along those lines, I suppose if I were to just copy my storage drive onto my backup drive, then create a temporary folder on the desktop to put new stuff in, or to save changed files in, those could just be moved into the backup and into the internal storage drive at the same time. Changed files would just replace the older version in both drives.

    If that one you posted works for the apps in the C drive, which isn't all that much, that might be the easiest and least time consuming way to approach that.

  4. mike1959

    mike1959 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,022   +51

    Well you can use the external drive in any way that suits, but I believe the most useful way of using it, is as an image of 'C'.
    If the main hard drive fails at some time, then it's most likely a new hard drive will have to be bought and installed, not difficult.
    But then Windows has to be installed from DVD, then several drivers, then all the programs, then all the user files, everything back to where it was.
    With an 'image' of 'C' saved as a backup, it is simple to copy it back to the new hard drive, knowing everything will be there.
    It's said pc users don't bother with a backup, until they lose everything, then they do after that!
    In fact I have divided up my 1TB into 4 partitions, I use the first three as extra virtual drives, and the fourth to keep my 'image' of 'C'.
    The way to divide up a large hard drive is to use something like;
    The home version is free, and it divided up my HD into 220GB/220GB/220GB/220GB. (You do lose a part of the space in the process.)
    It could be even more important if the PC has a pre-installed Windows operating system, where no DVD was supplied, (usual case now.)
    Then a failed hard drive will mean the expense of a new one, plus the cost of Windows operating system, plus all other programs that were installed.

    If a 'system image' is saved in Win 7, the second time it is saved, will replace the first. So only the last version will be kept. I don't know if it is possible to keep many different 'images', or would even be needed.
  5. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    what os are you using? Win 7 comes with a very good backup program.

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