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Backing up advice


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#1
joe1167

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Hi,
I have 3 computers (1 desktop & 2 laptops) and would like to know the best way to back up the machines. I have an AOL account and know they offer some back-up space. I also know that there are some free online back-up services. The problem I have is that I'm not familiar with backing up and know one day I'll regret it if I didn't learn how. What is the actual definition of "back-up" regarding computers? Does the process actually back up all the software and programs including individual documents, stored pictures & music (itunes), etc? Is it better to back-up to an external drive? I've got lots of things stored on the machines; especially the laptops and would hate to lose them. If it makes a difference, the desktop and 1 of the laptops run Windows XP and the other laptop runs Windows Vista Home Premium. Any help and advice is greatly appreciated!
Thanks,
-Joe
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#2
Troy

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It really depends what you want to backup. If you want to make a complete backup of the whole system (OS, Programs, and Data files) then I recommend using Acronis True Image. This makes an "image" of your hard drive and puts it elsewhere. This is a pay-for program, and in my opinion is worth the $$$. In the event of a failure you can just copy everything using the Acronis program to a new hard drive and it will boot straight back where you last backed up with the program.

There are also programs that backup all your data for you, meaning in the event of a failure you will need to install the OS, your programs, and the backup program and then you can use it to restore all your data. For example, Nero also has this feature included in the Nero BackItUp program. Alot of people have Nero, but don't actually know it's there. The benefits of this kind of program is that it compresses all your data, making it fit smaller on the source.

Otherwise you could just copy all your important data files over to the backup drive, this is what I currently do. I have a single external hard drive and once a week I copy all my important data files straight over, because personally I'm not phased at installing XP and all my programs again. I have done this many times...

And as for actual hardware to use for the backups, I'm not too sure what would be most cost-effective for all three computers. I imagine something like a NAS (network attached storage) device might work, but I've never used one of these before... I'm sure someone else will comment on this soon, though so just wait and see what they say.

Oh and YES this is important!!!! Glad to hear you wanna know about it!

EDIT: Online backups are also good, but the biggest drawback is that you have to upload everything with your internet connection. Even with a fast broadband, if you have GB's of data to backup, it will take a long time... And then you'll have to download it all again. This may affect your ISP download/uploads, and therefore, your bill ($$$$)

Edited by ruthandtroy, 15 July 2007 - 12:37 AM.

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#3
sharlpero

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There are a lot of backup software, and wich one you need depends just of your requirements.
I use True Image for backing up my data. I make the scheduled backups every week. Also I have the backup of all my photoes and music on the DVDs.
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#4
happyrock

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remember this ...any data you don't have at least 2 copies of is data you really don't care about...
I use a Maxtor 2 external drive that I back up to weekly...in addition I burn copies to dvd's of the important folders every couple of weeks...that way there is some overlap with most of the data on multiple dvd's...just in case one of the burns is unreadable...DO NOT USE PACKET WRITING SOFTWARE ...I use nero but there are many other burning programs that are good...
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#5
vally

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:whistling: It is impotant to make a backup :blink:


One thing is making an image of the operating system like ruthandtroy posted. This is done once in while not to often and saves time if computer crashes/virus. It saves time to reinstall because you just load the image and get going.

Another is to back up data. For this is more critical at times. to save an OS is good for time data could be lost for life. If the data you have is music\pictures or movies then I would recommend to burn you data on a DVD in 2 copies.

If you have documents and other things that change frequently then I would recommend an external hard drive that you back up to about once a week or less. This may be convenient with three computers it just hooks up and you save the data based on the computer so that you can easily get to it. you might want to burn this every know and then because they may have problems like all things.

There is an option of makeing a raid in the computer That backsup data while beaing writen.

There are more options but it depends on what you need and how much you are willing to spend.
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#6
joe1167

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I just want to thank all that have posted replies thus far.....the information is EXTREMELY helpful. I'm going to take a few days to digest what your recommendations are and post again with my strategy and hopefully you can give me your opinions. Also, if anyone else wants to offer their advice in the meantime.........please do. I'll consider future suggestions as well.

Here's an update of sorts and more info. When I bought the computer (an HP Pavillion), it did not come with a recovery disc as some do. I paid a fee to have recovery discs made. Also, today as a start and to get acquainted with backing up, I used the back-up wizard on Windows Vista (Home Premium Edition) on the newest laptop (an HP Pavillion) and it backed up but failed to complete because of low disc space in the HP_Recovery (D:) It suggested deleting files so I deleted all temporary internet files and tried again. The back-up still couldn't complete. According to the free disc space info, the red bar extends fully to the right and the data below it says 5.83MB free of 6.61 GB. I bought this computer last week and the only thing I loaded onto it myself thus far has been iTunes. Could this be why I'm low on free space (or am I low?) Is there a way to free up more space? I want to also load digital photos and some short video clips as well. Maybe this new info can help fine-tune previous or future suggestions. By the way, I don't mind paying for either an external drive or other methods of backing up so if your suggestions will cost me, I'm fine with that. Thanks for reading all of this. As you can tell, I'm not well-versed in the art of backing-up and I appreciate the suggestions and patience.
The best to you all,
-Joe
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#7
vally

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For starters D is FULL. you filled over 99% of the disk.
There is no room for anything on that disk.
You should look on the disk and see what files are there and eather burn or delete what your not useing.
To make a backup you need a few giga bytes free not a few mega bytes. (1 giga = 1,000 mega)
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#8
happyrock

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D drive on a laptop is usually the restore partition...and its usually a small partition(just large enough to hold the restore image)...you can attach a usb external hard drive to it for your backups or burn the data to dvd's...
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