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XP backup to external hard drive

by Crashlake / July 18, 2006 1:22 AM PDT

I have a 250gb external seagate USB2 hard drive. I wish to back up my entire C drive to enable me to reboot in case of hard disk failure. When using XP Backup I identify the drive and it starts then a message appears 'unable to make recovery disk' and aborts the operation. Initially the drive was not recognised in backup but by using advanced mode it now is. It has always been visible in Windows explorer and I can transfer data manually. Any ideas?
Thanks

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Doesn't work like that
by jnbhoward / July 18, 2006 2:12 AM PDT

You can't just copy all the files on the drive to another and expect it to work. You need to use a specialized cloning program such as Norton Ghost to do that. There's still no guarantee it will work after that either. Microsoft has been steadily plodding away at making Windows less and less "portable" for the last 10 years, and will undoubtedly reach new heights with Vista in this regard. The same goes for most Windows programs.

Even if you manage to make a successful image, you won't be able to use your external drive to boot Windows, because Windows can't be booted from external devices. You'd have to crack open the case of the external drive and transfer the drive to the inside of your computer.

There simply is no good way to back up Windows. Most people eventually come to realize the best you can do is to back up your documents and other important files. There's nothing more you can really do with Windows. Any other operating system and you'd have a few more options, but not Windows.

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Thanks
by Crashlake / July 18, 2006 4:42 AM PDT
In reply to: Doesn't work like that

It seemed good in principal but obviously I was abit naive, thanks for the info, now I know it will save me alot of messing about. I will just back up my main data as you advise
Cheers

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two ways
by linkit / July 18, 2006 5:29 AM PDT
In reply to: Thanks

For regular backups I just copy select files and folders and burn them to optical disc.

Norton Ghost and Acronis True Image are retail software packages that can make a complete image of your HD on an external HD, optical discs, USB flash drive, etc. When you need to restore the backup image to your HD, just insert the Recovery Disc that comes with Ghost (or True Image) and you will be able to access your external HD for the recovery.

True Image also lets you backup select folders instead of only a complete HD image. It also lets you mount and browse a stored HD image. I downloaded my copy of True Image for about USD$25 and have been very pleased.

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