I'm a bit of a computer novice here who could use some sage advice on backing up your hard drive. I've done some research and it seems to me that a good way to go is to have an external enclosure containing a backup hard drive.
But when it gets to some of the finer points on mixing and matching hardware, I get lost. Will these two pieces of hardware be compatible?
The whole IDE, ATA, SATA thing confuses me and I also don’t know if this setup needs to conform somehow with my current hardware configuration in my box Isn’t having a backup hard drive essentially like a flash drive only LOTS bigger? I mean, I would just be using a USB cable to send an “image” of my internal hard drive to the backup, right? I understand I would need to format the new hard drive but is there anything else I’d need to know or be aware of in terms of compatibility issues? I probably would need some software like Acronis TrueImage or something right?
Those should work fine together - they're both IDE interface, so it should be fine.
IDE: Integrated Drive Electronics. Basically it means the drive controller is built into the drives. Before that the controller was a separate card (before everything was integrated onto the motherboard like today) and you had to match an MFM controller with an MFM drive, RLL to RLL, etc.
ATA: Advanced Technology Attachment. That is the next step from IDE, making it possible to connect CD's and other devices using the IDE interface. Generally today it's mis-used to define Parallel ATA (PATA) devices.
SATA: Serial ATA. Basically ramps up the max bandwidth again, and shrinks the cables, and of course the gratuitous 'gotta change something else too' power connector. (there's a technical reason for it but it sure seems irritating)
Yep, a huge flash drive is what you'll be using.
2 ways of doing it. #2 is to use a backup program like Retrospect or Windows Backup and drop an 'image' to the drive. To use the files you need to restore them first. I don't like this method for myself at home (at work is a different issue - millions of $ of data and all that...).
What I and many others do is just format that drive and drag 'n drop all your documents, MP3s, savegames, etc. to it. If you want a real snapshot image you can get TrueImage or similar but its not required.
Thanks! Can you clarify one point -- you say there's 2 ways of doing it. Isn't the way you suggest as the "#2" way the same as what I said in my original post? To use "a backup program like Retrospect or Windows Backup and drop an 'image' to the drive" (except I mentioned Acronis TrueImage instead of the ones you suggested). Or am I missing something?
I heard that the new bersion (v9) of TrueImage is VERY buggy so I'm not sure how to use this new hardware effectively to backup my computer without a user-friendly software program. I'm concerned I won't know how/what files to individually copy to the backup hard drive if I have to do it piecemeal.
I've never used TrueImage and my original take on it is it is a disk imager like Norton Ghost. That will work, but does it let you restore just 1 file out of that image, or do you have to restore the whole image? If its a backup program like Retrospect, then you're absolutely right. Windows Backup, et. al. don't take an 'image' so much as they package up all the files into a single file (think of it as a zip or rar - but different) and you can extract 1 file or all files (or a selection of course), but only with that software.
Generally I just copy the data files (my documents and any I've put on my desktop) and occasional savegames.