Newbie question: How do I back up my hard drive?

By Helix ยท 4 replies
May 29, 2003
  1. It looks like I'll need to re-install Windows 98 after swapping my motherboard. How do I back up my HD when I do this? I'm guessing something like a zip drive?

    Also, let's say that I swap the motherboard and back up my HD on a zip drive, then I just transfer all the content from it back to the HD, right?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Phantasm66

    Phantasm66 TS Rookie Posts: 5,734   +8

    Well, there are a number of ways of doing this.

    I am assuming that you have only one hard drive, that's why you have this problem. In future, you should aim to keep your OS and programs on one partition or hard drive, and your user data on another.

    If your machine can still be booted, then copy any data to Zip disks or CD-RW, or whatever, if you can.

    If you do this, and you are planning on formatting your hard drive, then I recommend thinking perhaps about partitioning it as well. Have a partition for the operating system, C:, and then maybe a D: for documents, pictures, mp3s, and so forth.

    If its not bootable, then maybe you can get into DOS, and simply deltree the Windows Directory, Program Files Directory, and anything else that you didn't create. Then reinstall again, without formatting the partition. It will be badly fragmented, so run the disk defragmenter.

    You could also buy another hard drive, fit that as primary master HDD and install the new OS installation to there, when finished remove any unneeded directories from the old disk, preserving the data you wanted to keep, and then use that old drive for data only. That's a good idea.
  3. Rick

    Rick TechSpot Staff Posts: 4,572   +65

    Although I recommend reinstalling Windows when installing a new motherboard, you probably do not HAVE to...

    There is a VERY good chance you can use the same Windows. Depending on what OS you are using, the methods vary however. XP and 2000 are the most sensitive to system board changes, while 98 and Me generally have no problems accepting new boards.

    If you are using XP or 2000, you can use the repair process from booting with the CDs. This reinstalls all of your drivers, allowing Windows to redect all of your hardware, but keeps all of your settings and files. If you would like more information on 2000/XP's repair process, search for "2000 recovery" on this forum.. I'm sure something will pop up.
  4. enduser

    enduser TS Rookie Posts: 17

    Norton Ghost is a nice program to backup the drive. You either need a second hard drive or a cdrw if you are using the newest version of the program.

    I have to agree that Win98 might not need to be reinstalled if you are changing components.
  5. Goalie

    Goalie TS Booster Posts: 616

    My experience was slightly different with win98... installing a new mobo required a new win98 install- then everything was smooth.

    If you are going to reinstall from the original windows98 CD, you can make the computer think windows never existed by (gasp) deleting the \windows directory. Be SURE that you have all of your content moved out of the windows directory though.

    Of course, after deleting \windows and reinstalling the OS, you'll have to reinstall all your old programs again. The good news is you can specify the same program directories, and some of the programs may automagically reinherit their old settings. The bad news is the same thing- some of them won't.

    Enduser is right, Norton Ghost is an excellent program for backing up drives/partitions if you have a network location to store the data, or have room to hold the gho files until you move them off of the HD. There's a program called ghost explorer floating around that will let you pick and chose what files to restore from the ghost, I'm not sure if it's free or not.

    Perhaps if you could provide us with the details of what exactly you're wanting to do we could help more- are you wanting to take a complete perfect snapshot of the HD as it exists now, or simply back up some data but not all? Are you adverse to creating a new partition (which would appear as a new drive in windows)? What backup resources (network HDs, cdr/rw, zip drive, tape backup, etc.) do you have access to?

    Hope this helps some, and if you can provide more info we might be able to answer your question a bit better. Oh, and welcome to TS!
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