Solved Best practices in backing up data and cloning hard drives

August 6, 2015 at 00:21:26
Specs: Windows 7
I want to clone another hard-drive for my PC as a back-up, including all files and folders. My current HD is samsung SSD, I'd like to buy something cheaper like the Western Digital 2TB HD. Will that work? If not, what will. Also, what is best practice for backing up files to prevent data loss from a HD crashing?

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August 6, 2015 at 05:28:11
✔ Best Answer
Best to use a removable hard drive because hardware failures can damage any and all internal components. I use TWO USB hard drives that I switch off when not in use. Using a master surge protector with multiple switches that can be turned on or off individually.

Windows 7 has a built-in backup program that works just fine for most users.

Find the program under Control Panel> backup and restore.

Is your current SSD partitioned to ONE partition?

For your personal files I recommend using additional measures. Burn photos and music to DVDR media often. Photos are especially important as they can't be duplicated so you should maintain additional copies, preferably off-site.

I have multiple partitions because different files require backup at different intervals. Windows has frequent updates so needs to be backed up more often than your installed programs. Personal files like photos and music are already compressed so they don't benefit much from the additional compression gained from backup programs so simply copying and pasting those items makes sense. You also have easier access to them, should something happen to your primary copies.

If you need more flexibility than the built-in program there are third party programs that offer more features.

Windows can be re-installed from scratch, so backing up is more for convenience than anything else. Some programs came with your computer and can't be replaced so those are more critical. Your personal files are the most important and should be treated as such.

IMO DVDR is the most secure media available and should be used for irreplaceable files like photos and personally created files. These files are generally small so DVDR works fine. Also back them up with everything else.

Hope this covers it for you.

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August 6, 2015 at 07:19:30
Just my thoughts. Any important photos & documents, save to a Onedrive & or Gdrive or any other cloud places.
For a clone, to make restoring a failed system drive, quick & easy, there are many free programs
Paragon, EasusToDo, Clonezilla, Macrium Reflect are just a few, to keep the clone "up to date" you need one with a differential or incrimental backup, not all do this in the free version. Or, just regularly make a new clone.
One slight issue, not all free versions can restore a clone to a hard disk of a different size. Although resizing a partition might get around this.

A thank you would be nice, if I have helped.

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August 7, 2015 at 11:51:15
Thank you every, appreciate the suggestions. I am using a Samsung Magician to clone my SSD (I bought another SSD) and it worked successfully. I am working on backing up the files now to Amazon Prime cloud which has unlimited storage for photos. Thank you all for your help!

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August 9, 2015 at 14:14:18
If the photos are extremely important I would have a third source. DVDR is convenient.

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