Odd situation for me: how do I back up my information?

- Background: Upgrading my computer (new CPU, larger HDD, first SSD)
- Goal: Use new HDD as primary and current HDD as internal backup drive
- Problem: Unsure how to save current data (Disk Space Fan 4 Free puts me at 65-70GB)

- Ideal plan: Save data in format 'x', go through upgrade checklist (includes wiping my current HDD), transfer data from format 'x' to new HDD, periodically back up data onto old HDD

- Obstacles: Online 'cloud' storage would take ~7 days (fear of complete data loss aside), only own one 16GB flash drive, won't have funds for external drive for some time

- Thoughts: Appears only viable option is transferring data from current HDD to new one
- Issues: Wouldn't this require formatting and/or partitioning of new drive? Isn't that usually done before fresh installations of Windows?
- Uncertain outline: Unplug current HDD, plug in new one, format/partition (assuming OS not required), plug in both HDDs, transfer data

Any assistance would be fantastic as I really can't proceed without solving this issue first. Thanks in advance.

EDIT: I believe you can essentially flash your data from one HDD to another. I do not wish to do this. I only wish to transfer individual files to keep the new hardware as clean as possible.
4 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about odd situation back information
  1. With two hard drives, and a SSD as mentioned above, the first thing I would do is install the SSD as the only drive in the system, install the operating system, do the updates, and make sure that you have everything set - including anti-virus and all the current drives.

    Second step, install the new hard drive, partition it (disk management) and format it. Create the "users" folder for data, and move your libraries to the hard drive.

    Third step, install the old hard drive, copy your user data (libraries) to the new hard drive. Once you are sure that you have transferred all important information from the old hard drive to the new one, remove the partitions on the drive and create a new one and format it.

    Get a good backup solution - SyncBack Free is a great program to backup your data from the new drive to the old one - and set it to run daily.

    HINTS: Name your SSD OP_SYS (operating system), your new hard drive DATA and the old hard drive BACKUP so you can easily tell which drive is which.
  2. Thank you for assistance. I guess the hardest part, for me, is trying to figure out where that should go in the grand scheme of the upgrading process. This is what it would look like with your suggestions:

    - basic stuff (remove WLAN card, manage cables better, etc)
    - install SSD now, download software, and update firmware to latest version (just to get it out of the way)
    - unplug SSD, reboot
    - flash BIOS (necessary for new CPU), load optimized default settings, and shut down computer
    - uninstall old HDD and install new CPU, cooler, and SSD
    - boot up computer and install Windows 7
    - install all drivers in order (chipset, USB 3.0, GPU, onboard audio/sound card, etc) - reboot?
    - install only necessary Windows updates, reboot
    - install AMD FX optimization update, reboot
    - install AMD FX Core Parking update, reboot
    - [ronintexas] download anti-virus and make sure current drives are set (what did you mean regarding this step?)
    - install new HDD
    - change boot order in BIOS (if necessary)
    - partition via Disk Management
    - format
    - create "users" folder for data and move libraries from SSD to new HDD
    - install old HDD
    - change boot order in BIOS (if necessary)
    - copy user data (libraries) over to new HDD
    - remove partitions, create new one, and format (old HDD)

    This is what I came up with once I squeezed your recommendations in. Good? Bad? Any redundant, unnecessary, or just plain wrong steps?

    Is there any way I can be more selective in what I copy over to the new HDD? I'm deleting as much stuff as I can because my O.C.D. says that moving less data is better (i.e. I'm trying to only get the bare minimum over to the new HDD - everything else can be reinstalled or re-downloaded).

    EDIT: Wait a minute. Now I have to look up the definitions for "partition" and "format" because I thought I only had to format the drives. Aren't partitions just for the user to split up the drive (i.e. they aren't necessary)? Don't operating systems automatically make their own, small partitions once you format a drive to allow all of the storage space to be utilized?
  3. Best answer
    Anti-Virus - make sure you have it. Microsoft Security Essentials is good enough for 99% of the people out there - unless you are a professional porn surfer or download a lot of illegal software, music or videos - it will keep you protected as good as anything else.

    For the drivers - make sure you have the proper drivers installed - computer management doesn't show any hardware that isn't working correctly (Yellow Triangle).

    For the partitions - on your old hard drive, windows created a recovery partition and possibly other partitions on the drive - they aren't big....just my OCD to get rid of them - if you keep them, it is possible that Windows could try to boot from the hard drive.

    When I installed my SSD, I only copied stuff from the user folder over. This included documents, pictures, music, videos, etc (Libraries), and because I play games with a lot of scripts under multiple profiles - I copied the profile directories for Firefox and Chrome. If you use photoshop or other programs that you have installed add-ons and/or extra software for - you might want to move that stuff over too. If you do a fresh install of Windows, you will be required to re-install all your programs - so just copying them over isn't a good idea.
  4. All drives have at least one partition, even if it's the size of the entire drive. Partitions get formatted.
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