External HD for PC complete backups

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by twl845, Feb 21, 2007.

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  1. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    I have been backing up my C drive with DVD+RW disks, and am considering an 80 GB external HD. I am ignorant about imaging (backing up) the whole pc hard drive on an external drive, so if I could get some advice as to what to buy, I can learn the rest. I see mobile external drives, but they seem to be for laptops. The external HDs available in stores by me are all too big. All I need is 80GB. :) Thanks for any input in advance.
     
  2. Ralphie

    Ralphie Registered Member

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    Actually Backing up to an external drive is far easier than using dvd media. The Recovery process is a thousand times easier.
    As for what to buy, if you buy those called "portable" you will pay through the nose for them compared to a desktop sized drive. Though their prices seem to be coming down lately. For the desktop sized drives, yes it is hard to find anything smaller than 160 Gb, but you can put one together yourself - buy the hard drive and the enclosure separetely and install the drive yourself. There are only two cables to connect and you cannot put them in the wrong way. Doing it yourself will also save you quite a few bucks too.
    As for 80 gb being all you need ... I'm sure you can find those at online vendors with them. In fact here's Newegg's offering:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...010150014 103530096&Submit=ENE&SubCategory=14

    And here's their 3.5 drive enclosures, there are a ton of them:
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produ...10090092 1053807123&Submit=ENE&SubCategory=92
     
  3. rayh78

    rayh78 Registered Member

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    Recently Staples and circut city had the western digital external 250gb hard drive for $79.99 after rebates. Just plug into your USB port.
    If you can get bigger for the same price all the better.
    It just means you can keep a larger number of backup images of your PC on the external.
     
  4. foghorne

    foghorne Registered Member

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    I would buy the biggest drive you can afford.

    F.
     
  5. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Thanks for the info! One more question. Can I use the ext. HD like my C drive, create folders and store files as well as the backup, or is an ext. HD strictly for backups? Sorry if that's a dumb question, but I had to ask. :D
     
  6. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    It behaves just like any other drive except it is a bit slower. Backup image files (.tib) are just very large files. I put them in their own folder.

    If you buy a complete external drive rather than an enclosure and the HD separately you will likely find it is formatted FAT32. This will cause your image files greater than 4GB to be automatically split at that size due to FAT32 restrictions. This not a problem since TI understands it. It bothers some people, some people prefer NTFS as a general rule (it is superior to FAT32) so they format the external NTFS. The best time to do this is when the drive is new and empty so you don't have to worry about losing any data.
     
  7. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    I keep nothing other than .tib files on my external hard drive, which is dedicated to TI. I keep it disconnected from the PC and from a power source at all times (other than when I am creating or restoring a .tib file). If my PC is fried by a power surge, I don't want to lose my backup also. It also reduces the risk of the external hard drive suffering a mechanical failure.

    It also reduces the chance of my family screwing something up.:eek:
     
  8. digitalartist71

    digitalartist71 Registered Member

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    u can never have enough storage space.... for the money nowadays, you can LOTS of space for the same you would pay for a older out of date 80 gb. But if you want something VERY portable and convienant, those 2.5" laptop external drives are great...especially since they have only one usb cable..and not a "brick on a leash" power cable ALSO. SO once you back up, u can unplug and locate elsewhere from you pc just in case of catastrophe or theft! what's the point of backing up and leaving your large 3.5" external drive plugged in next tour pc all the time? when soemthing happens to it, all that time backing up is worthless. best to backup and relocate that backup away from pc.

    as for Western Digital (especailly the Caviar verions) stay AWAY! Go Seagate! I had a 250 MB WD drive fail me in only a few monthes, couldn't get my money back, so WD sent me a another (so I use it for NON IMPORTNAT STUFF). I went to Best Buy to buy a SEAGATE, and there was a guy there also getting a seagate because he had the same drive that also failed! so that should tell you something. I have also heard from others that WD drives a re really sucking for some reason. The drive that failed was made in Malaysia..not sure if that has anything to do with it...and the new replacement drive from WD was made elsewhere (can't remember, singaphore?)

    Seagate are supposed to be quieter also, they have a liquid bearing opposed to ball bearings? also seems faster and larger cache for the money.
     
  9. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Seekforever - Another dumb question: What's the procedure for formatting the ext. HD to NTFS? I have a backup app from Sonic which I over paid for and would like to use if I can. I just know it won't understand the Fat32 to NTFS. MY pc is NTFS.
     
  10. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    I'm not going to dispute the wisdom of disconnecting the external drive when not in use but I am going to add a caution. When you handle your external drive treat it like it was a dozen eggs. HD manufacturers will tell you most early HD failures are caused by poor handling during shipping.
     
  11. foghorne

    foghorne Registered Member

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    Convert.

    C:\WINDOWS>convert /?
    Converts FAT volumes to NTFS.

    CONVERT volume /FS:NTFS [/V] [/CvtArea:filename] [/NoSecurity] [/X]

    volume Specifies the drive letter (followed by a colon),
    mount point, or volume name.
    /FS:NTFS Specifies that the volume is to be converted to NTFS.
    /V Specifies that Convert should be run in verbose mode.
    /CvtArea:filename
    Specifies a contiguous file in the root directory to be
    the place holder for NTFS system files.
    /NoSecurity Specifies the converted files and directories security
    settings to be accessible by everyone.
    /X Forces the volume to dismount first if necessary.
    All opened handles to the volume would then be invalid.

    C:\WINDOWS>


    For example :

    C:\WINDOWS>Convert E: /FS:NTFS

    F.
     
  12. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Digitalartist71 - Thanks for the Western tip. I was looking at those. Arghh!
     
  13. digitalartist71

    digitalartist71 Registered Member

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    twl845,

    even though i say WD drives suck in mY OPINION, i guess that could be the case for any manufactruer. but from experience, WD apparently isn't to great Seagate. but like i said, my opinion and experience. I have (2) older 40GB Maxtors still running niceley... i think those drives are almost 10 years old! when they get that old...good to backup to new drive!

    if i were you....BEFORE converting a drive to NTFS, MAKE SURE YOU BACKUP UP YOUR SYSTEM!

    sounds like yours is already NTFS...which is what you want. if you get a new drive...also make sure you start that one out as NTFS.
     
  14. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Convert works but it upsets some users by using 512 byte clusters rather than 4096 which can reduce performance. The best way is to format it using XP when it has no data on it. Convert will preserve your data but a regular format won't. You can also convert using Partition Magic and other partitioning sofware and have your data preserved.

    I did a Convert on a FAT32 drive and later changed the cluster size to 4096 with PM. Can't really say the performance change was great although some claim significant improvement. The 4096 also has something to do with aligning boundaries or some such great thing.
     
  15. foghorne

    foghorne Registered Member

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    Yes I agree - I had assumed there was data on the disk.


    F.
     
  16. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    I want to make sure you all know that my computer already is NTFS. According to the replies, I get the idea you think I'm converting the C drive. I'm not. I'm talking about converting the new external drive from FAT32 to NTFS. I see in Foghorne's post C:/windows>convert. Wouldn't it be the new drive letter>convert?
     
  17. Ralphie

    Ralphie Registered Member

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    The C in the command is where the "convert" command resides which is in your windows folder on the c drive. If your external drive is E, the command will be:

    c:\windows\convert E: /fs:ntfs
     
  18. LenC

    LenC Registered Member

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    1) Right click on external hard drive in windows explorer

    2) Click on "format..."

    3) In the drop down menu, indicate NTFS
     
  19. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    LenC - What about the instructions from Foghorne and Seekforever. Also Seekforevers comment "convert will preserve your data but a regular format won't". Will your instruction do the same as Foghorne's instruction?
     
  20. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    LenC's method is the basic XP format command and is how I usually format but it is destructive - backup any data files on the drive first. After formatting you can copy them back.
     
  21. twl845

    twl845 Registered Member

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    Thanks again to everyone for the great info. I think I will be able to make it happen OK. Based on your help, I'm going to try and get a Seagate 160GB ext. HD at Best Buy. :)
     
  22. LesF

    LesF Registered Member

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    I'd like to ask another question, if I may (still on-topic).
    I, too, will be purchasing a USB external drive. It's my intention to clone my inernal drive to this new drive in such a manner as to be able to boot and run from my external drive in the event of an internal drive failure. In other words, I would normally have the USB drive disconnected from my machine. In the event that my internal hard drive fails, I would then hook up my USB drive, boot from it, and operate indefinitely as though this were my main (and only) drive, with all my programs and files (at the time of cloning) available. Would TI allow me to set up the new drive to use it in this fashion?
    At some point, of course, I would eventually replace my failed internal drive, and use TI to clone my USN drive back to my internal drive. Also, as the data changes on my internal drive, I would periodically re-clone it to my USB drive (note that this would be a total re-clone, not a backup).
    Can TI support this scenario?
     
  23. Ralphie

    Ralphie Registered Member

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    TI will be able to clone to your usb drive but I don't know of any motherboard bios that will allow Windows to boot from a usb drive. I've been on the lookout for just such a feature.
    You can, however, still accomplish the end result of what you want to do. You will either have to remove the drive from the enclosure and install it in place of the failed internal drive. Or make a Backup Image instead of a Clone and keep that Image on the usb drive. Then make the bootable Rescue CD from the True Image software. And in case of an internal drive failure, you would have to install a new drive, boot with the Rescue CD (it has all the basic Backup, Recover, Clone functions on it) and Recover the Image from the usb drive to the newly installed internal drive.
    You should make that Rescue CD and try it to make sure it will see your usb drive.
     
  24. LesF

    LesF Registered Member

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    Thanks, Ralphie.
    I guess I need to see if my BIOS will permit booting from a USB drive - I hadn't really considered that it would be a problem. I was planning on buying a stand-alone USB drive, but I guess I should consider getting a standard internal drive and use it with an external enclosure (do those connect via USB?). Having to then immediately swap out the failed internal drive with the external cloned drive is a bit of an inconvenience, but I guess it would have to be done eventually, anyway.
    Thanks again.
     
  25. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    It is more than the BIOS allowing booting. Windows, at least XP, don't know about Vista, does not allow booting from a removable drive. Supposedly some have made it work but it isn't a plug and go situation at all.
     
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