Backup entire C: Drive?

January 30, 2009 at 10:54:38
Specs: WinXP sp2, AMD Athlon 64x2 3800
I have an external hard drive that I want to use to backup everything just in case something happens. The Windows backup utility only lets me copy 4 GB at a time. My C: Drive is about 50 GB large. I've tried simply just dropping the entire C: Drive onto my external HDD to copy, but it never makes it through because some files are being used by my computer. How can I just copy my entire C: drive for free and easily? Thank you!

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January 30, 2009 at 11:04:18
You can use the software that came with your external drive. If you don't have it, you can download it from the manufacturer's website. If you use Norton Ghost or another similar program, you can create an Image file, which is a lot smaller. I use Norton Ghost, but someone in here can probably suggest a free program to use.

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January 30, 2009 at 11:11:03
No, the external HDD I got doesn't come with any software discs or anything for backing up. It's about 2 years old and 500 GB but I got it on sale at Target on "Black Friday" for $80. I don't really want to pay for Norton Ghost... I also don't care about compression since I have way more room on this HDD than I need. I'd be fine with copying everything in bulk... I thought about trying to do it in Safe Mode but I think I'll still run into files being used.

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January 30, 2009 at 12:10:09
The reason you can only backup 4GB at a time is because your external drive is formatted using FAT32. This is normally done for compatibility reasons.

You can reformat using NTFS file system and that limit would no long apply.

You do understand that you will need to create a new backup every day in order to keep current.

Is you want to use the built in backup function in WinXP I recommend you partition your hard drive into at least three partitions. The reason is simple. Your operating system changes infrequently when you apply updates to it.

Your programs rarely change. Only when you may add a program.

What changes daily are your person files.

I am providing a link below to further explain the benefits of multiple partitions.

When using backup you should backup to a folder with a name that identifies when and what the backup contains. Besides, that is the only way you can store multiple backups and other data on the external.

Creating multiple partitions will require that you re-install everything.

In order to reformat you may need to off load any files you need from the external.

You could also partition that drive.

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January 30, 2009 at 17:56:28
I am not reformatting. That makes no sense -- if I reformat I lose my stuff and that would mean I have to somehow backup my stuff before I reformat. I want to back up my stuff now, just in case.

I'm not even interested in having a backup that I can run and everything can automatically be the same on my computer. I don't mind reinstalling all my stuff. I just want to save everything, again, just in case.

Now can someone please just answer my original question: How can I copy everything on my hard drive without an error saying some files are in use, making the copy process stop?

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January 30, 2009 at 19:52:12
I told you how to do that.

You need to reformat the EXTERNAL drive to NTFS. Then use the backup feature in WinXP.

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