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Backing Up A Dell Inspiron with 680 Gig

by AdamOnPC / May 9, 2013 12:17 PM PDT


I've been working with a Dell Inspiron for a few months and I want to set up a better back up system. My hard drive is 680 Gig.

Some of my files are static and not changing, like videos and audio files. Other files are documents and files saved from various software, and, of course, I have software and system files that have saved configurations that I would not want to lose.

I'd like to learn more about how to back up a system this size; what alternatives are available; how to restore the system in case my hard drive fails. I'm working from my home and I'm on my own.

Can anyone tell me how I can set up a good back up system?

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All Answers

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My backup comments
by wpgwpg / May 9, 2013 12:35 PM PDT

Plan on the backup taking about 60% of the space USED on whatever you back up. Depending on how much of that 680 GB you're using, you might want to get a 2 TB external hard drive. My Dell Inspiron 660 has USB 3 ports so I assume you 680 does too. You'll definitely want the speed which is about 3 times faster than USB 2. If you have some static data you don't want backed up, you could partition your drive and put the data you want excluded on the other partition.
I suggest you get away from the Windows backup program and get yourself a good commercial backup program. I've seen forums fraught with problem reports for the Windows one. I know I was very unimpressed when I tried it. Three I'm familiar with and like are Norton Ghost (which I've been using since 2004 without the 1st problem), Easeus Todo Backup Free, which you can download from and Memeo which has a 30 day free trial and you can buy it for $29.99 - you can download it from . You can get Ghost for next to nothing (like I did) if you watch the sales.
The March 2012 issue of PC World was very high on the FREE program from Easeus and so is CNET. In my experience with a variety of configurations I have to say I'm very impressed. Like Ghost it will back up to a networked drive, and it will create a boot CD for when your PC won't boot. See CNET's review of it at;1#editorsreview .
CNET has a lot of backup program reviews at;sideBar .

Some of these are free (last time I checked there were over 300), some have free trials (over 1000), and some are purchase only (over 200).
External hard drives are best for backup. It's the best insurance you can ever buy!

I hope this helps. Good luck

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Still More Questions On Backing Up a PC
by AdamOnPC / May 9, 2013 11:11 PM PDT
In reply to: My backup comments

Hi wpgwpg,

Thank you for the reply, but I have a few more questions.

I understand about copying basic data files, but what do you do about system and software files?

Supposing your hard drive fails. Are you supposed to be able to load your back up on to a new hard drive and be up and running as if nothing happened? Aren't there items in the Registry that have to be backed up, too?

Do most people now back up to the cloud? If so, how is that done? For a serious residential user like myself, I would imagine it must take hours or even days to perform a back up.

Are people using a mixture of things for back ups? For example, smaller, more active word process files are backed up to the cloud, but larger videos and audios are backed to an external drive? And what do they do about software and the Registry?

As you can see, I have lots of questions on this topic. Any advice on where I can go to get a comprehensive strategy for my system?


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You don't copy system and software files.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / May 9, 2013 11:15 PM PDT

Since you can't restore those and have a working OS or apps, why copy those at all?

Due to a decision MSFT made in 1995, almost all apps can't be copied and come back to work by copying files.

So, safeguard your files and for the OS and apps, we install those.

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Here's what I do re backup
by wpgwpg / May 10, 2013 1:29 AM PDT

First, I avoid the cloud for the reasons you mentioned plus privacy/security reasons plus the fact that some providers have suddenly gone out of business, leaving users high & dry. Now what I do with my backups, I move my static files & folders to a separate partition and make one backup of that to either another computer (on my home network) or an external hard drive. Then I have about 90 GB of system related stuff on my C: partition which I back up often - the whole partition. I'm using Ghost 15 for Windows 7 and Easeus Todo Backup Free with Windows 8 (Ghost doesn't support Win 8 yet). I back up the whole partition so that if I have to replace the hard drive, I can boot from a Ghost or Easeus CD and restore in about 20 minutes, then boot back up as nothing had happened. It takes 10 to 15 min. to back up that C: drive including Windows, registry, drivers, applications, and any data I have on C:.
I make a full backup weekly, then incremental backups every 4 hours. That would probably be excessive for a lot of folks, but I have my financial data & transactions on this PC, and the incremental backups only take a couple of min. because they only back up what's changed since the last backup.
I hope this helps. Good luck.

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Keep it simple
by bob b / May 10, 2013 12:59 AM PDT

What your looking for is an image or clone prog.
Both get's and con's to each.
One takes all the data....compresses it....creates a file on the output device.
The other is an exact....sector by sector.... copy.

I use a clone.....500GB copy....a little more than 7 minutes.

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