Is Acronis True Image 9 for me???

Discussion in 'Acronis True Image Product Line' started by tamba1, Jan 14, 2006.

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  1. tamba1

    tamba1 Registered Member

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    Hi

    Firstly please bear with me as I am a relative newbie to this..and would value your opinions & advice & experience..

    I have made backups in the past onto MULTIPLE Floppies using Windows backup BUT THANKFULLY have never had an emergency fallback situation, though have had heard quite a few "horror stories" from friends & family..

    I have also done lots of backups of documents , files etc on Floppies or CDs and called them up as and when required ... BUT I have never used any System Imaging software

    Sorting out my backups has been on my "things to do list" for some time but I am ashamed to say having been very ill for more than 3 years now have not in a position to, and been put off by the complexity of it all ... I also can struggle to "keep up at times" with what is going on with new technology ..

    However the more and more I read and hear about other peopls PC nightmares not having backups etc the more I feel I MUST do this NOW, or I could be the one saying why oh why!

    I have read sooooo much about Acronis True 9 and other software on the market that to be honest my brain has gone to mush... o_O At one point I was going to go for N Ghost hmm well not any more !

    Can someone please tell me if this software Acronis True 9 is for me...to put it simply my system details are:

    Dell Dimension
    Pentium 4
    WIN XP Prof
    2.66 GHZ
    768 RAM
    Total Capacity: 111.72 GB
    Free: 86.24 GB
    25.47 GB

    Cd Software Roxio Easy CD Creator 5


    I am looking to be able to do the following

    1. Have a master backup of my entire PC (hard disk drive, operating system, applications, user settings, and all data) I think this is being called a System Image backup) something I can use to restore my PC back to "easily" in an emergency and would be stored on CDRW's as I dont have "spare drives".

    2. Be able to make regular user friendly backups ( ideally set to run automatically) on a regular basis, say weekly or fortnight of Documents, emails, Digital Artwork, Photos etc etc

    Yes I know this is hardly rocket science is it :rolleyes: ( I just need piece of mind)

    3. Does True Image 9 cover EVERYTHING I would need in order to USE the backup in an emergency ... Bootdisks etc ( sorry I have not done this before)

    4. How does TI9 somehow take into consideration Service Pack 2 and other windows updates.... I have heard about Winxp users needing to create Slipstream Cds for these o_O?

    5. Roughly how many CDRWs are required to back up my entire system - I just need an approx idea so I can be fully prepared...

    6. How about CDRW failure rates ( I assume there is a way to TEST the Image backup to ensure it is successful)

    7. Are there CDRWs that shoud defintiely be considred for these purposes I have Novatechs TuffDiscs 700mb 80 min ( are these any good for this) ?

    I read on a forum somewhere about some guy praising ATI9 as he could easily & quickly take a back up image of each member of his families PC's on CD.

    Then in the event of an emergency he just has to mail them the Cds and off they go recreating their "new" PC.. no trauma and stress free !

    He also suggested people should consider keeping a System image backup of their PC at a friend/family members house just in case of a TRUE emergency Fire, flood etc ( I had not thought of this)

    So assuming you are still reading this please can you give me your opinions and any advice as to what I ALSO need to do or be aware of in order to get a successful backup using this software...

    Thanks so much for your time

    tamba1
     
  2. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    1 + 2 + 3 -- ATI 9 supports both hard disk imaging as well as file backups, however, since im sticking to version 8 i cant tell u much more

    4 -- not sure what u mean

    5 -- teh image size of course depends on how much data ur imaging. ATI should give u an estimate when u do the backup

    6 -- i only use CDs when i make the rescue media, so again, i cant help

    7 -- any blank CD should be fine
     
  3. Xpilot

    Xpilot Registered Member

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    Hi Tamba1,

    The answer to all your requirements is a positive YES and TI9 is capable of a lot more which you could use or ignore.
    Backing up to CDs is not the only way to go. DVDs are another option if you have a DVD writer on board. However saving your images to a second hard drive has many advantages the main one being convenience. Using an external HDD is more secure than fitting a second internal drive, you can take it with you and keep it under your pillow for safe keeping!
    One of the great features of TI is that it can make backup images to a schedule that suits you and this can run automatically without operator intervention if the image is sent to a HDD. Even better you do not have to leave Windows and can carry on working while the backup takes place.

    Xpilot
     
  4. Chutsman

    Chutsman Registered Member

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    I'll put my 2 cents in. :D

    With over 25 Gb of used space, you would be better off (read: save yourself a lot of headaches) getting an external hard drive. TI does not play well when trying to create images directly to CDs or DVDs. Plus you would need more than 5 DVDs for the image and way too many to store on CDs.

    After you put your backup image on an external hd (TI will be able to split the image in DVD sized chunks) then for extra insurance you can burn them to DVDs. But use the external hd for backup and restore.

    Whether or not you have SP2 does not matter to TI. It will work with both. If you already have SP2 and make a backup, then of course, when you restore you will have SP2. The slipstreaming is for those who originally started with a non-SP2 Windows installation CD and downloaded and installed SP2 afterwards. Slipstreaming allows for re-making that Windows installation to include SP2.

    Your #2 statement will definitely exclude using DVDs or CDs.

    As for what you read on another forum - the backup fitting on one CD ... sure that's possible if the computers don't have more than 1 gig used space (usually you get about 60% compression) ... you already have 25 Gig.
     
  5. tamba1

    tamba1 Registered Member

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    Wow guys you are such a clever and helpful group thanks for the above info

    So it appears ATI9 is EXACTLY what I am after that’s great ..

    Now I have more to think about though ……external HDD, or CDRWs or DVD’s hmmm I don’t have a DVD burner at this stage…so that’s one less thing to think about .

    OK so assuming I wanted to go down the backing up to external HDD approach how best should I start.o_O? Do I only need ATI9 and an external HDD… no other Installation CDs etc o_O?

    Where to buy HDD’s hmmmm I learnt a LONG time ago NOT to go to places like PC world – as often the salespeople don’t listen and don’t understand a persons requirements… I have also had several encounters of accompanying friends to those stores too and being fed drivel or codswallop ..PLUS of course they can be quite a lot more expensive than other places ….

    The number of times we have had false info from salepeople quite disturbing ... equally I have heard so many “horror stories” of people who have gone the other way and “cobbled a system together with bits from here and there to save money “ that have found unless you REALLY know what you are doing this can cause real headaches too with incompatibility issue further down the line .. or just be in and out of “repair” places

    To avoid this we bought DELL and delighted to say touch wood she has been steady as a rock, god now I have said that I will probably find she will die tomorrow or something.

    So do you have any suggestions of GOOD external HDD’s ones you are using and happy with and or ones to avoid at all costs.

    I would be looking for something that would be adequate for my needs, based on the above info re my System. The new external HDD it just sits alongside my current one I assume? No I don’t think I’ll be keeping it under my pillow Xpilot LOL I may love my PC but not that much, LOL…

    Seriously though I am not wanting to spend ridiculous amounts, but equally don’t want to buy cheap RUBBISH that would be unreliable and totally defeat the object of arranging backups in the 1st place we don’t have any Gamers here so our current system is doing great.

    To be honest the only likely thing to change is a lot more Digital Photography work which I know can take up lots of space.. I guess this is MORE research I need to do.

    To be on the safe side I guess I should be backing up to a HDD as well as CDRW’s /DVDs (that was a good suggestion.. Chutsman thanks) ..and hopefully the event of BOTH HDDs dieing would be EXTREMELY rare…

    Chutsman : Re the slipstreaming q from above – My PC came with WinXP non SP2 , it is 3-4 years old now ..so I assume it definitely came with a non SP2 Windows installation CD…

    Hmm well obviously the HDD backup approach would take the “headache” out of that one ..I had been reading articles on “Slipstreaming Windows XP Service Pack 2 and Creating a Bootable CD”

    Out of interest does anyone know if Microsoft do the windows installation cd WITH the relavant updatesincluding SP2 assuming of course you give them your registration details.. .. I thought for people who donts have broadband they were able to send out CDs with patches on or maybe I dreamt that one?

    Once again I look forward to your replies thanks so much
    tamba1
     
  6. WSFuser

    WSFuser Registered Member

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    i just bought an internal hdd (western digital 80gb ide) with vantec's nexstar2 enclosure (link). u have to put it together but its not too hard just a tight fit for the drive. so far its been working fine. it must be noted however, that i dont use it for backup. it may be a poor choice but i created a seperate partition on my main HD for ATI images.
     
  7. Chutsman

    Chutsman Registered Member

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    Tamba, you don't have your location showing, but if you are in the USA, you can get a 160 gig hard drive for around $40 after rebates from any of the chain retail computer stores. An enclosure for this would be under $20. A few weeks ago I bought two enclosures for $18 ea. from Geeks.com and a 160-gig hd locally which will cost less than $40 after rebates.

    Usually, the weekend sales flyers from the local chains will have the deals on the hard drives. If you feel more comfortable buying an enclosure with the hard drive already in it, you will, of course, pay more.

    If you do True Image backups, you wouldn't need to be concerned about having a slipstreamed SP2 Windows CD. I don't know about MS doing the slipstreamed SP2 for you but they did give out just the SP2 CD about a year ago.

    I don't think any of the known hd makers make a bad hard drive nowadays. You'll be okay with Western Digital, Maxtor, Seagate (not in any particular order). I have both Maxtor and WD. Seagates are usually more expensive. If you are in the USA and you see a drive that looks interesting, drop me a PM, since that will not really be what this forum is for, and I will give you my opinion.

    You can keep backups of your photos without using TI. In fact I would recommend that you use simply Windows Explorer to copy your photos on to the external drive or Roxio to burn them to CD. Use TI for backing up the ENTIRE hard drive.
     
  8. noonie

    noonie Registered Member

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    Ti9 will have no problems with winxpsp2 installed with all patches.
    If you didn't get the restore cds with your Dell new, you should be able to make 1 set without any additional software. I would do this, no matter what future plans you have for imaging.
    Look at these
    http://www.directron.com/mobilerack.html as an alternative to external enclosures. They are much faster than usb and eliminate the problems you read about on these forums concerning externals.
    If you decide on external, get one with a built in power supply and cooling fan and a combo firewire for increased flex.
    Look here
    http://www.meritline.com/firewire-usb-external-enclosure-5-25-cd-dvd-drive-hdd.html
    Seagates have a 5yr waranty and the ide you need are discounted very well
    look here
    http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=101554
    but shop for a better price. Chain stores, as mentioned, have good rebates. Maxtors seem to have the the most rebates, but are currently gaining a higher failure rate reputation as well.
    You can download and save the full xpsp2 upgrade file from microsoft, so no need to get the cd, although it is free from ms with a shipping charge. Yes, MS does have an xpsp2 slipstreamed as well. It's called a version upgrade and costs you around $100.00 for xphomesp2
    Cdrw disks are generally less reliable than cdr, but do have good temporary use.
    It sounds like you may not be in the US, so if not, it may help people responding, by adding your location to your profile.
     
  9. tamba1

    tamba1 Registered Member

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    Noonie, Chutsman, WSFfuser

    Once again a BIG Thankyou for yoru comments and help, you guys sound like true experts and your advice is FANTASTIC. Are you home users with lots of experience or Acronis Employees ..o_O?

    I have updated my profile now - sorry I had overlooked that, as you can see I live in the UK.

    I will check out the makes you have mentioned and yes please Chutsman I would like to take you up on your offer of dropping you a PM once I have identified a drive I like the look of...

    My Goodness $40 sounds unbelievably cheap I doubt I could get one here that cheap, crikey I reckon thats cheaper than all the CDRW's I was considering buying for ONE backup before you pointed me towards the extrernal HDD..160 gig too sounds PERFECT both for now and gving me room to grow..

    Hmmm Western Digital, Maxtor, Seagate you say I need to check them out just from an inital search of a local supplier I use I found they are all sold..

    I agree the suggestion of keeeping a backup of my whole system on the HDD and Photos etc on CDs is exactly what I was thinking of..

    NOONIE - You say " Removable/Mobile Hard Drive Racks/Enclosures as opposed to external enclosures are much faster than usb and eliminate the problems you read about on these forums concerning externals." umm without being a complete nuisance could you summarise what sort of probs are happening and why one way is seemingly so much better than the other..

    Hmmmm so by getting the "built in power supply and cooling fan and a combo firewire for increased flex. " am I reducing the likelihood of problems arising...

    The company we use is called Novatech ( you guys may not have heard of it over there)

    With all this inf you guys have kindly provided do you not think it would be useful to put a "basic buyers guide" doc together for other people looking at buying HDDs for backup purposes...

    Once again THANKS so much for taking time out to share your knowledge with a newbie

    Again I look forward to your replies

    tamba1
     
  10. bcool2

    bcool2 Registered Member

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    Not to go too far OT (sorry)
    What a great idea! But why don't you back up to the external IDE? Is there something inherently unreliable with the setup?
     
  11. Menorcaman

    Menorcaman Retired Moderator

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    Hello tamba1,

    In no way do I wish to frighten or confuse you. However, you should be aware that some combinations of motherboard USB Controller chipsets and external hard drive enclosure USB to IDE Bridge chipsets can cause data corruption when transferring very large data files such as TI images. The external enclosure USB to IDE Bridge chipset seems to be the critical item.

    If you are interested in further details, check out the two embeded links in this <previous reply>.

    Regards
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2006
  12. Chutsman

    Chutsman Registered Member

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    Tamba, check this place too: www.dabs.com
    It was recommended to me when I was searching for items for someone who lives in England.

    The mobile racks someone else mentioned is also a good idea, but it means you have to open the case to install them. I also use quite a few of these. It will certainly eliminate the "clutter" of an external drive, but from the aesthetic point of view, most of the ones I've seen are beige in colour and I'm sure your Dell is the usual dark grey.

    Somewhere you asked if we worked for Acronis - my answer is a firm, NO. But we are unwittingly all unpaid beta testers :rolleyes:
     
  13. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    tamba1,

    After the disappointment I had with the external USB drive in a Q-TEC enclosure (TI wouldn't detect this drive), I opted for just a plain second internal drive for backups only. The cheapest, fastest running most robust and most confortable solution.

    Yes, it doesn't cover fire and theft, but it certainly does cover the most probable evils: OS crash and single drive breakdown.

    And when you replace the CD drive with a DVD burner and get to copy one backup every so often to DVDs, you have covered fire, theft and both disks breakdown too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2006
  14. seekforever

    seekforever Registered Member

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    Precisely the way I operate. Fast, reliable and no hassle. Other advantage is that if you burn to DVD write-once disks you can keep backups as far back as you want. Overwriting backups on a short time-cycle is not a good idea IMO - if a file goes bad or is deleted, once through the cycle and you don't have it anymore.
     
  15. tamba1

    tamba1 Registered Member

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    Chutsman, WSFuser, Xpilot, Noonie, bCool2, Menorcaman, Bvolk, Seekforever

    Hope I did not forget anyone if I did I REALLy do appreciate your time and advice thanks ...

    Once again THANKS so very much EVERYONE for helping me here , I still kinda can't believe how much knowledge is required to get through this properly... So much for going down to a local PC shop and picking and a HDD ...

    I have lots MORE to read and digest and will go away and do that at this stage a couple of further qs /comments..

    1. In the even of buying a HDD that is not recognised as I think one of you mentioned ( did you take it back and get your money back) is it always possible to do this - or do shops take the attitude we did not do our homework properly so its our fault not theirs...? Sorry NEVER been in this situation before nor know of anyone who has...

    2. If I were to fit an internal HD in my PC as per a couple of other suggestions, i had considered this but was concerned about compatibility issues and finding a COMPLETELY compatible one so Dell acccepts it and works perfectly without error msgs, grumbling and ontermittent success with backups... ALSO of course this solution would not cover the fire theft etc etc situation..so stil not sure this is the way I'd go.. but good advice thanks

    3. This may sound completely Stupid or MAD but do DELL sell external HDDS??

    I mean they are probably x times more expensive than anywhere else, but in theory could I go to Dell and say this is what I want to do what do you recommend I buy so again in theory I could avoid all the posiible "nightmare" scenarios mentioned in this forum and get COMPLETE compatibility .. or is this a "dream solution"

    4. By going straight to Dell would that protect me from the situation Menorcaman warns about re " some combinations of motherboard USB Controller chipsets and external hard drive enclosure USB to IDE Bridge chipsets can cause data corruption when transferring very large data files such as TI images. The external USB to IDE Bridge chipset seems to be the critical item."

    Again these are just thought but maybe DELL could save us ALL a lot of headache and me asking you zillions of qs ....

    Once again I look forward to your replies
    tamba1
     
  16. noonie

    noonie Registered Member

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    Perhaps your best solution may be to go to a local custom computer shop armed with the options that have been that have presented here.
    Their hands on guidance may help you make the best choice for you.
    They will be more than mail order, but cheaper than Dell, but after 3 years I doubt your Dell is under warranty anyway.

    BTW all hardrives of the type that will fit your machine (pata) are compatable.
     
  17. bVolk

    bVolk Registered Member

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    tamba1,

    The fire and theft scenario needs some more comments.

    If that happenes, you will be faced with the prospect of restoring your disk image to another disk in a totally new computer. With TI, that will not work unless the new computer has "nearly identical" hardware components to the stolen (or burnt) one. Even if you could find the same model still on sale, you probably will not want to invest into an obsolete machine with developement still going on so wild in this branch. So, in such a case, your best course will be to buy a modern computer with Windows preinstalled, install all the application programs one by one and then copy your application data fom the disk image stored on DVDs (after copying all the files comprising one image into the same folder) using the TI Plug Image tool. It will take some work, but you will have a clean, fast running Windows as an added benefit. Fires and thefts do not happen so often, so that's a bearable risk.

    Here comes into play the difference between internal HD vs. external: if you opt for the internal HD (as I have), your very last image has gone into smoke with it - all you have is the last image you copied on DVDs. With the external store, your very last image is preserved.

    On the other side, if only the main harddisk has broken down, you just replace it with a new HD, restore the image (the other hardware remains unchanged) and your computer is in working order again.
     
  18. Simus1

    Simus1 Registered Member

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    Pardon my dumb questions. I'm very new to all this.

    (1) If the "mobile racks" or the enclosures cited by WSFuser and noonie above ( http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=101206-370860 and http://www.directron.com/mobilerack.html ) are designed to make a 2nd INternal hdd external, then why would there be an unavoidable risk of loss of this 2nd internal hdd in case of theft or fire (or other natural disaster)? Wouldn't this 2nd internal hdd with the mobile rack have to be connected to my laptop via a USB 2.0 port ONLY when I make backup images, and be placeable in another safe location at other times? Did I misunderstand the functionality of these mobile racks?

    (2) Are these mobile racks "One Size Fits All" for all internal hdd's specific to both desktop PC's and laptops like my Toshiba Satellite M45?

    (3) If my main/1st internal hdd were to die, what specific steps would you recommend I take to boot off the 2nd int hdd (made external with a mobile rack) to which I had been making TI images? The following is pasted from this web page ( http://www.alanmacek.com/ref/harddrive.shtml ). Please provide more details on what is involved in "activating the new drive" or "TELLING THE BIOS THAT THERE IS AN OPERATING SYSTEM ON THE DRIVE" either while it is still in an external enclosure or already installed in my laptop; more specifically, details on how a newbie like me could accomplish this with a simpler solution than using the DOS program mentioned below. QUOTE:

    "Activate the new Drive

    In order to boot off the new hard drive, you need to tell the BIOS that there is an operating system on the drive. I used a DOS program called fdisk to do this. Since I had skipped this step and spent a bunch of time later trying to figure out why my new drive was not working, I activated the partition after I had installed the drive. I booted the computer using the Windows Restore CD that came with my computer and hit Cancel on the first screen. This dropped into a dos prompt and I typed fdisk. Use the program to toggle the 'active' marker for the partition on the drive.

    I am sure that you can activate the partition while the new drive is still in the enclosure but I do not know how to do this."
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2006
  19. noonie

    noonie Registered Member

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    Simus1

    You get the highest marks in the class for " reading comprehension"
    Yes the key words "mobile" and "external" do mean that they can easily be stored in a safe place so there is no risk of fire etc.

    Let me clarify though, that mobile racks are primarily designed to be used in destop cases or drive storage cases such as nats that have 5.25" drive bays. Also they are connected directly to your computer's hard drive bus for full speed data transfer. Here is a link to a more descriptive animation http://www.storcase.com/removable/removable_overview.asp

    External drive cases come in several sizes, from 1.8 to 5.25". The larger will hold all size drives with adapters, from dvd writers, 3.5" hdrives down to any laptop drives. These are primarily connected to the computer by usb, firewire or rarely pcmcia or any combination thereof. Pcmcia is a direct full connection to the data buss, so it is the fasted and most reliable, with firewire 2nd and usb being last and the most problematic.
    Although I have never had need to, you should be able to put a mobile rack/tray into a quality 5.25 external enclosure.
    Activation
    If you are using Ti to clone a drive or restore an image of a whole physical exising drive, then the new empty drive will automatically boot when it is physically connected properly and it is set in bios to boot first. There is no need to use fdisk or to actvate a new drive.
    If you are not using Ti, then you have to fdisk a drive to make it readable by an os.
    For your purposes, it may be easier for you to just clone a new drive with Ti.
     
  20. Simus1

    Simus1 Registered Member

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    Thanks, noonie, for responding. :thumb:

    Let me see if I understand this. Please don't hesitate to correct me and expand/expound.

    Since I have a laptop, a mobile rack/tray would probably be right for me only if I bought a drive storage case. (I) Would a drive storage case be absolutely necessary, or can the mobile rack safely stand alone? (II) How would I connect the mobile rack to my laptop when making TI images/backups (it doesn't sound from the link http://www.directron.com/mobilerack.html like a firewire or usb connection)?

    Assuming for now I would choose an external enclosure (instead of a mobile rack/tray plus drive storage case), if I were to make TI images/backups to a 2nd (detachable) internal hdd and have that ready for install in case of failure of the main/1st internal hdd, I should look for an external enclosure with a built-in universal power supply and fan and firewire connection like the one you previously cited ( http://www.meritline.com/firewire-usb-external-enclosure-5-25-cd-dvd-drive-hdd.html ). Once the main/1st internal hdd dies, all I would have to do is swap the internal hdd's and my laptop would be up and running again. Is this correct?
     
  21. noonie

    noonie Registered Member

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    If your laptop supports a 2nd internal hdrive (in the laptop itself) then that is the ideal solution for imaging. In this case you can also just clone and swap.

    Unless you use a desktop also, mobile racks are probably not for you. An external usb/firewire/pcmcia would be better. http://apricorn.com/shopping.php

    Just for simplicity; if you can connect via cat5 to a friend or work networked pc, then just create your image files on a shared folder and burn them to dvd or cd, at least until you know that Ti will work well for you.
     
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