Solved Clarifications about Backing Up to external HDD strategy

April 18, 2014 at 16:42:40
Specs: Windows Vista
I was wondering what the difference between backing up folders/files using drag and drop vs. syncing vs. using backup software to back them up. Does it make a difference? I would guess that using backup software to save files/folders you would need to use the software to recover or view the files/folders? What method takes up the least amount of space on the external drive?
If recovery is needed which backup method makes recovery easiest?
What advantage if any is it to use syncing vs. using incremental backups?

If doing incremental backups do I need to save the previous incremental backup? I have read that keeping previous incrementals back ups is need and also have read that the previous incremental back up does not need to be saved.

Please make your answers simple to understand.

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April 19, 2014 at 05:20:50
✔ Best Answer
First of all you need to protect your irreplaceable personal files by keeping at least TWO copies of them in separate places. If the files are extremely important you may want to keep more than two copies. I have my photos burned to DVDR in addition to residing on internal and external hard drives. My external drives are not running all the time. I isolate them when not in use.

Even if you have original media for your OS and all your programs imaging an entire partition can save you literally hours of time to re-install if you have cause to to do.

If you think about what is required to re-install everything you have on your computer, plus customize all the settings, you are easily talking about tens of hours.

The major difference in simply copying files and imaging a partition is that the image is compressed to save slack space.

For items that you may need to access quickly, copying is a better choice because you don't need to unpack those files in some manner.

The reason it is recommended you save a previous backup is twofold. Once you start to overwrite a previous backup you have destroyed it. If creating a new backup should fail for any reason or should prove to be un-restorable at least you have the previous, which may not have the most recent changes but is better than nothing.

With the price of storage space being so cheap there is reason you can't have enough space for multiple backup/images.

One thing to note. Music and photo files are already in a compressed mode by their nature so including them in an image does little to save drive space. That is a good reason to use multiple partitions. Simply copying those items makes them instantly accessible. Your Operating System (Windows) is what changes weekly if you use auto updates. So it makes sens to back up the partition with Windows on it the most often. Conversely, your installed programs rarely change, so the backup frequency can be much less often.

I use 3 partitions for the above reasons. C: holds Windows and a few key programs. D: Holds my installed programs. E: is used to store music, photos, created files, etc.

Hope this long response helps.

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April 19, 2014 at 06:09:27
Agreed. I use an image of my windows partition and a back up of my files with really important files copied over to another computer on my home network including family photos.
I use Windows back up for the main reason that once Windows is up and running (repaired, reimaged from stored image, or reinstalled), I can update windows and then immediately restore my back up without having to find or install a back up program. Then I keep a Windows Repair Disk (make one in the Windows Back Up program) which has the ability to do a Start Up Repair, Restore the drive from a stored drive image, and do a System Restore even if Windows itself does not start (very useful).

If you ever start off-loading files to an external drive to save on space, DO NOT use the same drive as you use for your back ups and drive image because if the drive dies, you may loose all copies of some files, and if you do not notice this until you have a problem with your computer, you may loose everything.

I hope that this helps you also.

You have to be a little bit crazy to keep you from going insane.

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