Isolate a 2nd internal HD to use as backup?

Discussion in 'backup, imaging & disk mgmt' started by justenough, Jun 9, 2012.

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  1. justenough

    justenough Registered Member

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    I use one of my two internal hard drives for storing a system image and backup files. I've been thinking about getting an external hard drive for backups since it can be turned off. But being able to isolate the 2nd internal HD from what's going on with the 1st HD (such as an infection) would be more convenient. Is there a way to do that?
     
  2. AlexC

    AlexC Registered Member

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    An easy solution is to unplug the second hard drive, and only connect it when you want to backup something...
     
  3. Cudni

    Cudni Global Moderator

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    External hd would be as susceptible to malware, the moment it connects to infected machine, as the internal hd. Secure the system and you needn't worry
     
  4. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    Not a practical solution if the disk must be connected and disconnected frequently. Also risky, because frequent operations could damage the SATA port connector in the main board.

    The partitions in the second internal disk can be "hidden", so that Windows does not mount them and they are not shown in Windows Explorer. But I do not know how much of a real "isolation" this method would provide.
     
  5. justenough

    justenough Registered Member

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    Would that be true when restoring an image from that external HD after booting from a rescue disk, which is what I would be doing if crippling malware got past my security. After the system was restored the backup files could be accessed without risk.
     
  6. justenough

    justenough Registered Member

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    Yes, hiding the partitions sounds good. How would that be done so that malware couldn't be propagated onto it?
     
  7. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    Using a second disk in the machine is convenient, but that disk is much more vulnerable compared with an external disk. If the internal disk is spinning it's wearing itself out just like the primary disk and will fail sooner or later, usually unexpectedly. An internal disk is also more vulnerable to electrical damage if the system experiences a voltage spike. An external disk that is only turned on during the backup process is going to last indefinitely, and if you unplug the USB cable and the power connector it will also be isolated.

    Another option is an internal hard drive dock - you can plug the drive directly into the system for maximum performance and then remove it to store elsewhere. That would be even better than an external USB device. See here:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16817994074
     
  8. AlexC

    AlexC Registered Member

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    I´m talking about disconnecting the power and data cable from the disk, not about disconnecting the cable from the motherboard.

    That's not a risky procedure assuming that justenough remembers to turn off the computer before connect/disconnect the cables, and that he does that carefully and not in a daily basis or many times in one day. About malware infections, he could (and should) scan the computer before connect the 2nd HD and create the backup.

    Anyway i think that a external HD or a dock where to connect the HD is a more practical solution.
     
  9. Baldrick

    Baldrick Registered Member

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    Would recommend this approach. I use it and it works perfectly. With the added advantage that you can, if required, take the external hard drive with you if required or store it away from your main system for added security.

    I occasionally check the SMART indicators for this disk and as far as I can see this approach puts little wear on the disk itself.
     
  10. 2YsUR

    2YsUR Registered Member

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    I think that would be the safest method. I sure wish someone with some more experience would comment.
     
  11. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    What do you feel is unclear at this point?
     
  12. 2YsUR

    2YsUR Registered Member

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    justenough asked:
    I was hoping someone would answer his question.

    Specifically, would booting from a CD to recover a system from malware be an effective method of restoring the system and data files from an external drive without encountering malware problems? Of course this assumes the backup image/files [edit: and system BIOS] are clean of malware.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2012
  13. Victek

    Victek Registered Member

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    Yes it's an effective method because when you restore an image you are completely replacing the current OS installation. You could in fact boot the OS CD/DVD and format the hard drive first to destroy any malware before booting the rescue CD/DVD to restore an image if you wanted to separate the process into steps.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
  14. justenough

    justenough Registered Member

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    That helps a lot, thank you 2YsUR and Victek123. Tonight I'm ordering a hard drive and external case, and with Macrium Reflect Pro I should be okay if things ever go badly off the rails.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2012
  15. Brian K

    Brian K Imaging Specialist

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    justenough,

    Same here. A second internal HD is fast and convenient and it's my main backup storage area. I use an external HD and remote network shares as secondary storage sites.
     
  16. Robin A.

    Robin A. Registered Member

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    I use a second hard drive to test if an image can be restored. All the images are in external USB disks, I restore to the internal disk and then boot from it.
     
  17. Keatah

    Keatah Registered Member

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    Totally agree with 2YsUR and Victek123. I've been doing this style of backup for a number of years now. And the rare few times I got a blasted by malware I was always able to recover 100% with a rescue disc and image.

    Other things I was thinking of, you might be able to isolate a drive in the main box by disabling it through bios. Alternately you could build some sort of quick connect/disconnect cable that hangs out the back. It would need to be done for the SATA and POWER as well.

    I've also used RollBack RX for PC with good results. This recovered from a number of mal-ware attacks. IDK how it would be against the more hardcore mbr attacks though.

    When all the discussions are over, there is no substitute for a separate disk image (and bootable rescue disc) stored away from the system.
     
  18. 2YsUR

    2YsUR Registered Member

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    RBrx does not protect the MBR so you would most likely be out of luck.

    Fully agree:thumb:
     
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