External Hard Drive For Backups - Comments Page 1

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Posted by:

Phil Sevetson
19 Nov 2009

Bob, I've used two packages, haven't had to restore from either one yet. The Toshiba USB drive I bought came with one package (and no doc), Shadow for PC. It came up, apparently uninstalled itself, and shut down!

I've switched to using a registered copy of Retrospect Express HD. It was a little pricey but it took a base copy of everything and since then has taken incremental copies. I haven't been using it long enough to want another fullcopy, and I haven't had occasion to use it for a restoration (yet). It hums along quietly, apparently doing its work. A self-checking routine and report would be a nice addition, since I hope not to do a full-up restore-from-bare-metal function test any time soon.

--Phil

Posted by:

Bob
19 Nov 2009

I purchased a duplicate internal hard drive for my computer and use that for backups. It lays in a case on my desk an plugs into a USB port. I backup My Documents weekly. Based on this article I may look into Replica because I like the idea of a continuous backup.

Posted by:

Alex
19 Nov 2009

Hi.
I use a Western Digitals external hard drive in conjunction with Macrium Reflect Free Programme to do full disk images.This works great and these images have got me out of a mess more than once. What I can't do with this set up is make continuous back ups like you describe with the Seagate Replica. That sounds like a great way to go.
Regards Alex.

Posted by:

Ron
19 Nov 2009

I previously had a Western Digital external hard drive that gave me lots of trouble and, finally, died. I replaced it with a small SimpleTech external hard drive that was fairly cheap ($60), very compact, and is very reliable. I back up My Documents every night.
Ron

Posted by:

Nathaniel Gildersleeve
19 Nov 2009

In my experience, an important feature of the external hard drive is that it is self(USB) powered and does not require a power supply of its own. They are MUCH easier to handle and store. Unfortunately, these are a little more expensive per gb and the peak storage capacities available lag behind the powered units by about 50%.

Posted by:

Phil Sevetson
19 Nov 2009

I should add that I've heard about one package that does a _real_ Disaster Recovery type image, but I can't lay hands on it. It's called EZ Gig II and it takes a full image of the whole system, suitable for laying down as a bare-metal restore. Frankly, I think this should be done every week for systems that people are relying on financially or for creative work.

I don't think most current backup programs will be much use in the event of a hard drive failure -- you'll wind up paying for the OS again, reinstalling a lot of stuff, and losing a lot of data.

Posted by:

Doug
19 Nov 2009

I have a couple of external back-ups as one of my internal hard drives has crashed in the past. Fortunately I had a back-up at the time. I have two Western Digitals and they both work well. I use Memeo as the software and back up everything once a week. The software can work automatically in the background as well.

Posted by:

Steve
19 Nov 2009

External USB backups work fine for stand alone machines, but how about a server? Many backup software programs will not run on Windows 2003 Server - nor can I find an external USB drive that is server compatible. I called Seagate and they said they have nothing, and from experience, I know Maxtor drives don't work on servers. Any ideas?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I can't imagine why any USB drive would not work on W2003. Bizarre...

Posted by:

Bob Nolan
19 Nov 2009

Bob,
I have used a Maxtor One Touch III Firewire/USB 400 for three years for backup using ZipBackUp and Acronis True Image. I went to use the drive recently after not using it for a while, and it would not work. The WIN XP Device Manager revealed a yellow exclamation point and I got a CODE 10 message, which Seagate indicated was a drive failure. The Maxtor Drive Manager would not allow a diagnostics to be run and said the drive was "unknown". I guess it is dead, containing much of my C drive information, so it's off to buy another external drive. I still like the ext. drives, however.

Posted by:

Tom Janzen
19 Nov 2009

I just installed Windows 7 and was pleasantly surprised to find that it includes a cloning (imaging) option in the built-in backup routine. I've used an external drive in the past but I'm adding a 1TB drive to my desktop computer to store images and backups. It should be faster than connecting to an external drive via USB. And the software is FREE!!

Posted by:

rg
20 Nov 2009

If you have a Mac using Leopard or Snow Leopard, Time machine takes care of everything. I can use the same external drive for multiple computers, and I also store some very large files like past design work and pictures separately so they do not take up space on the hard drive of my working computer. I also archive important files on disc when I am done with them.

It is worth the time and energy to develop a regular system. Having a computer down is hassle enough without wondering if your data will be recovered. Not to mention the expense of recovering it.

Posted by:

Linda
20 Nov 2009

I just purchased a 250 MB "Clickfree" automatic backup about a month ago, and love it. It's $130 in Canada. Not sure about the price in the U.S.

Just plug it into a USB port - or the newest model also comes with a second USB connector as well, so you can use 2 USB ports for faster operation - and with a few brief clicks to select your options, you're done. It sounds to me like this product is very similar to the Replica product you mention, because you can choose to back up continuously or on a schedule, and you can also choose whether to back up your entire hard drive or only your data files. Restoration is also very easy.

The first time you transfer your files will take several hours, depending on the size of your hard drive, but after that Clickfree will check for new files since the last back up and only copy those, so future backups are very fast.

Posted by:

Tom
20 Nov 2009

Bob, my son gave me a Western Digital My Book for Christmas last year and it came with Mimeo backup software. Every time I create or change a file, it sends a backup to the WD. Have had no problems at all.

Posted by:

slagman
20 Nov 2009

I have a seagate 1 ter. Came with great backup software and also does Sync.
Careful with sync. For obvious reasons.
I never rely on one backup media for my important stuff.
I use flash drives, cd and dvd disks also.
I do drag and drop backups to other drives.
I have copies of everything everywhere.

Posted by:

JanJaap
20 Nov 2009

I have a MyBook Mirror edition, in which a second drive is automatically mirrored from the first. Essentially, you have two identical backups.

But I worry that in case of, say, a power spike both drives would fry anyway -- still leaving me without a suitable backup.

Should external drives be unplugged after use?

Posted by:

Tim
20 Nov 2009

@Phil: All image-based backups should be okay for "bare-metal" restores. I recently had to do exactly that (for my Vista system) from a backup image stored on my external, USB, drive (admittedly built myself from a 250Gb 3.5" EIDE device and a cheap USB enclosure I bought from Amazon) and it worked fine -- certainly Vista was apparently unaware of the restore. Backup software from companies like Paragon and Acronis do this sort of thing, and as long as you build the recovery CD (so you can boot from CD into an environment that can restore the backup for you) you'll be fine.

Only thing is: image backups take time and should not really be performed when you're using the computer for other things. So for best security, do an image-based backup once a week or so, and backup your documents daily with something that can do file-based incremental backups -- there's an open source package called Toucan I quite like for this, which has a potential advantage of being installed portably -- on a thumbdrive, say (see www.portableapps.com for more on this.)

Posted by:

Heidi
20 Nov 2009

I use Acronis. I recently paid for the 2009 version had difficulty and was told 2010 had less problems. I purchased the 2010 version had difficulty and asked for help. WARNING: Acronis has the most incredibly terrible customer service! It took 8 days for them to respond. Their one month free customer service is worthless in my eyes. In the meantime I had to spend $125 for a tech to come out an help. Acronis is good, but don't expect any help from them if you run into problems. I would never recommend it to the person who is not computer savy.

Posted by:

Big Mike
20 Nov 2009

Bob, I have been using a "Clickfree transformer" device to help me back up my files to a external hard drive. It is simple and easy to use. Now I backup regularly because it is no longer a hassle

Posted by:

Mike
20 Nov 2009

There are free backup software solutions available for download. Cobian is one. (the latest is not free, but one version back is free, and it's more than adequate for a home user) There are others, Google will find them and the best ones will be mentioned in the better tech forums.

As for externals, I honestly would suggest putting your own together. Buy a good case (I like the Venus cases) with a FAN for ventilation, and the ports that you need, then buy an OEM hard drive. It takes 10 minutes to put the drive in the case and you're ready to go. The advantage? The drive dies, you can still use the case, and you're in no danger of being trapped by a vendor's proprietary software. You want to upgrade the drive? Just do it yourself. You want to archive the drive? Pull it out and put it on the shelf, and install another.

Posted by:

Don
20 Nov 2009

In the article you said, "Paragon Hard Disk Manager, Acronis True Image, Terabyte Unlimited's Image for Windows, and Drive Snapshot are popular (and pricey) drive imaging/cloning programs." Usually you follow such a comment with recommendations for the best freeware solutions out there. Are there none for this process?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, I should have mentioned Macrium Reflect - http://www.macrium.com/reflectfree.asp

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