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Best way to backup computer on regular basis?

by thurbie1823 / August 26, 2007 4:32 AM PDT

The computer I have at home (HP Pavillion a287x) is getting bogged down with lots of digital photos and video (over 6GB - mostly photos though). I use the computer mostly for internet (using Outlook) and Word/Excel files and organizing the photos. In the past year I had gone through the experience of the Blue Screen of Death and needed to have the hard drive replaced. I really don't want to go through that again. I'm basically looking for a way to:
-have a place to store my photos & video
-backup my entire hard drive (in case my computer dies again
-backup all the data (so that it's easily accessible - including Outlook's calendar, addresses, etc)
-back data up on a regular, automatic basis

I have heard of Maxtor backup harddrives but don't know if there are other ones that are good/better/less expensive.

Also is there separate software that you suggest I purchase or do these backup drives come with adequate software?

I'd love to hear your suggestions!!

Thank you!!!

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Re: regular backup.
by Kees Bakker / August 26, 2007 4:46 AM PDT

Nowadays I advocate the following solution.

1. Use a systematic way of storing data in folders.
2. Buy an external hard disk ($150 for 250 Gb or thereabout). Be sure to format it NTFS.
3. Download free Synctoy from (works for XP also).
4. Set it up so that it syncs all relevant folders (#1) on your hard disk with the backup copy on the external disk (#2).
5. Run it regularly. Disconnect the external drive when you don't need it.

Remember that files on an external hard disk are even more unsafe than on an internal disk. So it makes sense to burn them to a DVD-R or DVD-RW once in a while for extra security.

You have to know what files and folders to backup. Program files and windows folder don't make sense. Keep all setups for applications you download from the net in a separate folder (mine is called program files\installed_programs) and DO backup that for easy reinstallation. If you've got non-standard fonts, you might like to backup windows\fonts folder also. But most 'normal' fonts come with Windows and MS Office and will be reinstalled when you reinstall those.
Easily overlooked: favorites folder and desktop. They are in Documents and Settings.

Hope this helps.


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by mayday411 / August 31, 2007 7:00 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: regular backup.

Why does backup (something we all should have) have to be so complicated?
I have tried several suggested methods (latest Synctoy) and they all end up in totally incomprehensible jargon loaded minefields that only the most enthusiastic computer geek is going to persevere with.
Surely there must be a SIMPLE system available?

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backup over just copying files
by oscar202000 / September 29, 2010 8:11 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: regular backup.

what is the advantage of using a backup program instead of just copying files to an external harddrive? i recently did a backup of my music folder, it took about 3 hours and the result was a file the same size as the original. in the past i have just copied the files over, taken half the time and ended up with a perfectly good backup. any answer is appreciated cheers

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by rproffitt2 / September 30, 2010 9:44 AM PDT

There is a disadvantage of most backup programs is that most require you to use their software to restore files. If you can't use their software due to a change in OS or machines, your files are lost.

As some say -> "Go native."

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Computer backups, regular or otherwise, has been thoroughly
by VAPCMD / August 26, 2007 9:06 AM PDT
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Second Copy
by tlacuilo / August 31, 2007 11:25 PM PDT

I have found Second Copy to be the one solution I need to back up my files regularly. It's very simple but powerful. You can find it at

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back up
by dirtydan28 / September 1, 2007 12:43 AM PDT

ok this is what i do and i have never lost anything ever due to inevatable hard drive problems, back up on cd r or dvd r as you go, what i do is have a back up folder on my desktop and every time i add pics, vids etc they go in there and once the folder size becomes close to 700 mb then it goes on a cd r as a data disc, if you always do this the most you can posibily loose is the last 700 mb of data tops, then once its backed up then the contents of that folder can then go to there desired destinations on your pc then the contents of the back up file can be deleted, ok u end up with loads of data discs but least you know ya data is there ready to go back on after a normal re-format.i mean really why would you wanna back up ya whole hard drive when you are constantly adding programmes and pics after the back up anyway, nothing fixes more problems then a full re-format anyway.

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Why backup files when you can clone the entire HDD?!?
by cabowabo / September 18, 2007 4:56 AM PDT

Do yourself a huge favor; buy an external HDD from a place like and software like Acronis True Image and simply clone your HDD every weekend.

I use removable HDDs (much faster transfer rate) in the 5.25 inch (DVD/CD) bay and then remove them and put them on a shelf. I use two and alternate between the two each week. I use's MobileRack.

If you have files which need to be incrementally backed up, in between cloning, then back those important files to a CD-RW/DVD-RW. Then after a clone has been made, just write over the "old" files on the CD/DVD. Acronis will do this for you too.

Cloning is so superior a solution to backing up because when (not if) your HDD crashes or gets corrupted or gets a bad virus or whatever, you just replace the old HDD or reformat it and clone your "backup" back onto the new HDD. You are then up and running in no time with your applications and OS just the way it was before! Otherwise, it takes hours to get your PC back to the way you are comfortable and familiar.

This, in my mind, is the only way to go. It has saved me countless hours reinstalling XP.

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by mementh / September 23, 2007 2:19 PM PDT

I am trying out Mozy backup.. it uploads to there servers..

you get 2 gigs free and can pay for unlimited..

I currently am a week into backing up 30-40 gigs of data

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(NT) And you're not concerned about privacy ?
by VAPCMD / September 24, 2007 1:34 PM PDT
In reply to: Mozy
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by mementh / September 24, 2007 1:38 PM PDT

They encrypt the data.. you have to have my key to access the data at all...

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Too trusting.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / September 25, 2007 12:30 AM PDT
In reply to: encryption?

Now call in and claim you forgot the password. Can they help you out?


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by mementh / September 28, 2007 2:45 AM PDT
In reply to: Too trusting.

Not at all.
They have two options when selecting encryption keys.
Use there one that they can get back for you.
or use your own.

Your choosing between the lesser of two evils.
On one hand they can get to your data if they really wanted to.
on the other hand they can not help you if you loose your key.

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my answer:
by andy419 / September 28, 2007 4:23 PM PDT

there are several options:

1. norton 360. As well as the usual security stuff it backs up selected folders either to your secure online storage (you can buy more stirage if you need) to an external HD, or to a 2nd partition weekly

2. buy an external HD and retrospect. Retrospect backs up all files to the external HD and then backs up any new foles/folders to it every set amount of days (it takes quite a long time at first but when it is backed up, if you set it to do every day (preferably in the nighttime if you leave your pc on) then it should only take about 1 hour-2 depending on how much data there is

3. get an external HD and just copy and pase C drive to it and every so often do the same and just say replace al existing files on it

4. IF YOU HAVE A BACKUP PARTITION you do not need to wory about backup. If your PC dies, it should give you an option to boot from the 2nd partition, then just boot from that and depending on how it works, it should either go through a backup routine and then ask you to rebuild windows or start up as if its a completly new unused account. Then just go into my computer, click on C drive, copy all the files onto this partion, and then delete the bad partition

5. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A BACKUP PARTITION you can buy norton partition magic and make either a backup partition or install windows on a new partition then you can do as itsays in step 4

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