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External HD

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October 14, 2007 7:06:39 PM

I need an external HDD. Between my two computers, I have 480GB of internal space, and I want to back both of them up. However, I do know that neither will be filled up completely. Thus, I don't know what size to get. Should I get a 500GB, or a 400Gb, and what brand?

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October 14, 2007 11:33:28 PM

First, if you Right Click on each drive and go to Properties, it will tell you how much space you're using. That being said, what you need to do is go to the folders your data are in, Right Click, and see how much space is being used. If you do the C drive, the one with the OS/programs on, you'll not only get data but all the program files, which you don't want to back up. If you want to back up the entire drive, you should get something like Acronis True Image and create clone the drive but that is not the same as backing up data.
October 15, 2007 12:12:36 AM

I basically wanted to partition the external HDD so I could make a full copy of each disk on it. If I just want to back up documents, I would use DVDs.
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October 15, 2007 12:32:39 AM

The only way to backup the OS and programs would be through a program such as Norton Ghost, or as g-paw mentioned, Acronis.
October 15, 2007 12:57:00 AM

I have a cloning program that I used to copy XP from my old computer to my new one.
October 15, 2007 11:05:41 AM

nukchebi0 said:
I basically wanted to partition the external HDD so I could make a full copy of each disk on it. If I just want to back up documents, I would use DVDs.


You might also want to think about backing up your data on an external or 2nd internal hdd rather than a DVD. The hdd can handle more data and you don't have to worry about sorting and storing DVDs. Acronis and, I would imagine, Norton Ghost both back up data as well as Cloning and Imaging drives
October 15, 2007 12:26:17 PM

nukchebi0 said:
I basically wanted to partition the external HDD so I could make a full copy of each disk on it. If I just want to back up documents, I would use DVDs.

Hey! Planning a backup procedure is a good thing! :) 

The question is Why? You could just create 2 directories and share the whole disk for both. If one of your partition is full and the othe one is half filled, what will you do? Resize the partition? Also, you could add directories has needed like one for your download or whatever, one for sharing, ...

Another thing to look at is:
What will be the connection? USB or eSATA or both? eSata is far more faster than USB. Look for a case that support both. But, is one of your computer have an external eSata?

For the size, this really depend of What do you want to backup? Data or Drive Image?
October 15, 2007 2:26:26 PM

nukchebi0 said:
I basically wanted to partition the external HDD so I could make a full copy of each disk on it. If I just want to back up documents, I would use DVDs.


so what exactly are you backing up?

programs so you won't have to install them later? bookmarks? drivers?

what do you have installed that you don't want to loose if you have to reformat?
October 15, 2007 2:32:21 PM

Take note that Hard Disk Imaging is taking a lot of space and take some times to run. Will you keep more than 1 Disk Image? Will the software that you will be using will allow you to recover just 1 file for example (some do)?

I'am using Live OneCare for my backups on an external USB drive. It will backup all my good stuff bu no software or OS. But It will backup only what changed since last time. So, it's fast and can be done daily.

My RAID crash, yes Vista reinstall and Software too. :(  But Data is the key!
October 15, 2007 4:20:00 PM

Agree with loneeagle, what's really important to back up is data. While it's a pain to reinstall the OS and programs, data can be irreplaceable. A good program I found for data back up is GoodSync, inexpensive and lets you just do incremental backups. One of the things I really like is it backs up the data in the original format, e.g., mp3 to mp3, doc to doc, where as some programs back up to a proprietary format, e.g., Acronis. Isn't a bad idea to have 2 hdds, one for data and one for a full sytem clone or image. Data you probably want to back up everyday or at least every time you add data.
October 16, 2007 1:16:03 AM

Data=My documents?

I guess I don't really need to back up the OS and programs. The documents and downloaded files are all that is really important should the drive fail. With that in mind, should I just get a much smaller external HDD and be happy with that?

One more question: I have a dual-boot on my Vista machine with XP Pro (on separate partitions). However, XP Pro doesn't work because it won't activate, and my parents want it off. Is there a way to combine two partitions so the Vista partition erases and adds the XP partition, or do I need to wipe the whole drive and begin anew?
October 16, 2007 11:22:09 AM

nukchebi0 said:
Data=My documents?

I guess I don't really need to back up the OS and programs. The documents and downloaded files are all that is really important should the drive fail. With that in mind, should I just get a much smaller external HDD and be happy with that?

One more question: I have a dual-boot on my Vista machine with XP Pro (on separate partitions). However, XP Pro doesn't work because it won't activate, and my parents want it off. Is there a way to combine two partitions so the Vista partition erases and adds the XP partition, or do I need to wipe the whole drive and begin anew?


By default most programs save data to My Documents but if you manually saved them somewhere else or the program had a different default save location, then data could be anywhere. The best way to find data is to search file extensions, e.g., *.mp3, *.doc, etc. The * directs the search to find all files with the particular extension. To simplify backup, create a folder for each extension or type of data, e.g., music, Word documents, movies and copy any files found their respective folders. Can sort by file extension but still a lot of work. I think it is always best to create folders rather than using the default folder to save data. As to size, a good rule of thumb is storage space is like horsepower, you can't have too much. Get the largest back up drive you can afford but I wouldn't go beyond 350GB unless you have or plan to save a lot of video files
October 16, 2007 12:50:48 PM

Why use a software like MS Live OneCare? Because it will backup your e-mail, contact, documents, music, videos, ....

So, I would not recommand a manual backup like a batch file where your will manually copy files. Too dangerous to forget something.

External backup prices won't be that diffenrent between a 120, 320. May be at 500 or more, it might be too much and too expensive. I have a 160 and plenty for me. My backup is incremental so don't really need that much. Check prices and get a good brand with good warranty and for the size, I would say a 320 should be good.

There is a trial of MS Live OnceCare, you could try it! And the Beta 2.0 has a 180 days trial! :) 
October 18, 2007 1:53:37 AM

Okay, thanks for the help. Repeating the question above:

I have a dual-boot on my Vista machine with XP Pro (on separate partitions). However, XP Pro doesn't work because it won't activate, and my parents want it off. Is there a way to combine two partitions so the Vista partition erases and adds the XP partition, or do I need to wipe the whole drive and begin anew?
October 18, 2007 5:07:12 AM

nukchebi0 said:
Okay, thanks for the help. Repeating the question above:

I have a dual-boot on my Vista machine with XP Pro (on separate partitions). However, XP Pro doesn't work because it won't activate, and my parents want it off. Is there a way to combine two partitions so the Vista partition erases and adds the XP partition, or do I need to wipe the whole drive and begin anew?



Take a look at this link that shows how to install dualboot if XP was already installed:

http://apcmag.com/5023/dual_booting_xp_with_vista

It shows how to use DISKPART on your Vista CD to reduce the size of your XP partition, so that you can create a partition for Vista.

Maybe you can use DISKPART to take out the whole XP partition.

WARNING: Just make sure you know what you are doing before you do this. And off course have a back up!!

Good luck, and let me know if you do try it, how it works our

EDIT:
Hey just found a better article:
http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial133.html

This one tells you how to delete XP if you are using 2 HardDrives
http://www.cs-co.org/pdf/67.pdf
October 23, 2007 11:15:21 AM



I think you'd be much better off getting a case and hdd and assembling it yourself. Among other advantages, if for whatever reason these hdd are not recognized sometime, you may not be able to take out the drive and install it internally, which may allow you to access the data. In addition, you can always install a newer, larger hdd in the future. Cost wise you might save a few dollars. The assembly takes about 10 minutes and you can get a good case for around $35, give or take.
October 23, 2007 12:31:24 PM

I will add this:

1) Choose a case that support both UBS AND eSATA.
http://e3wwwtest.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.aspx?Submit=ENE&N=2000150414+1035920386&name=USB+2.0+%2f+eSATA
If your current MB do not support eSata, may be your next will. Much faster
and will be like an inside one.

2) You may look at "External" backup like iDrive, Mozy, Carbonite where you
pay a fee but it external to your location in case of a fire, theft or else.
I will myself look at IDrive where you can have a 150GB for like 50$ per year.
Note, you can have a 2GB for free with iDrive (others too).
October 24, 2007 5:05:54 AM

G-paw: So you are saying buy a standard computer drive and a case?

Loneeagle: I didn't install it, but I think it does support e-sata. I saw a cable labeled that (hooked up to a back plate), but didn't worry about it.
October 24, 2007 11:09:28 AM

nukchebi0 said:
G-paw: So you are saying buy a standard computer drive and a case?

Loneeagle: I didn't install it, but I think it does support e-sata. I saw a cable labeled that (hooked up to a back plate), but didn't worry about it.


Yes, get a case with an internal SATA connection for the drive and an eSATA and USB external connection to the commuter. eSATA is the fastest connection right now and most cases with eSATA will also include an eSATA card. You can use the eSATA for the computer you use the most and the USB will let you connect to any other computer be it one of yours or someone else's, e.g., just helped one of my grandkids with a new build and she had a lot of stuff on her old machine she wanted, music and photos mostly. Hooked up the external to the old machine, copied the data, hooked up to the new one and copied. One of the real advantages of the external. You don't need a case with a fan, the new ones dissipate heat well and fans make more noise. They get warm to the touch but nothing serious, about the same as a hand warmer if that warm. As for the hdd, get a SATA obviously with as much storage as you can afford because you'll be using it for years. Also, make sure the case has an on/off switch, most do, since there is no sense running it when you're not using it will extend the life of the drive. Finally, make sure the case takes a 3.5 drive, wasn't paying attention when I bought my first one and got a 2.5, notebook driver, and had to return it. :o 
October 25, 2007 12:17:00 AM

Okay. Could you recommend a case?
October 25, 2007 12:35:03 PM


I quickly read reviews (from newegg) and the first one look to have some problems with eSata?
By the way, those links are for enclosures only (no HDD).

I would suggest to google enclosures to read some reviews before buying.
Sometime saving few dollars won't worth it! :) 
October 25, 2007 4:00:03 PM

loneeagle, agree, independent research is always a good idea. On newegg reviews I look for products with a 75% or better 4 and 5 reviews as well as what the problems are. Look to see if a lot of reviewers are having the same problem. Some I ignore,. e.g., people complaining about the on/off switch on the back of the case given almost all cases are set up like this and you know it when you buy it. Why complain about a feature you know it has and buy it anyway? Also, most of the power cords plug into the case the same way. I've read fair number of posts where people are having problems with eSATA connections but really don't know how prevalent this is or how old the boards in questions are. My case just has USB and firewire and use the USB with no problems but I just use it for back up, using incremental, so speed isn't a big issue. A friend of mine has his music collection on an external drive with a USB connection, a Samsung, and doesn't have a problem playing his music. I would guess that connection speed is far more important if you're running programs off the external. At least for me, the more important thing is that there are not problems with the external drive being recognized because of the case.

nukchebi0, as for a hdd, I like the Seagate with perpendicular technology. Unless you're planning on storing a lot of video files, 320GB would be good and seems to be the best price point. But the size really depends on how much you're backing up and money but remember, you'll be using this for years so give yourself plenty of room to grow.
October 25, 2007 10:41:20 PM

It doesn't seem any cheaper to buy an internal+case than an assembled external. What the benefits of getting the parts separately?
October 25, 2007 11:04:43 PM

nukchebi0 said:
It doesn't seem any cheaper to buy an internal+case than an assembled external. What the benefits of getting the parts separately?


You can replace the drive at a later date. If for what ever reason you have a connection problem, you can remove the drive and install it internally. Often times you can't open a pre-assembled case. You know the quality of the hdd your using.
October 25, 2007 11:05:19 PM

nukchebi0 said:
It doesn't seem any cheaper to buy an internal+case than an assembled external. What the benefits of getting the parts separately?

The same exist for Computer. Should I built it or buy one already built.
Custom = The enclosure you like with HDD you like. This is not always possible with an unit having both.
October 26, 2007 12:13:17 PM

I think build vs buy first comes down to how much control do you want, be it computers, external hdd, etc. When you buy someone else is deciding on the parts, what kind of access you have, what kind of warranty you'll have, and how upgradeable it is. Today your not going to see significant savings building a computer until you get to the $800 to $1000 range and then the higher the price of buying, the greater the savings of building. Also, as LoneEagle pointed out earlier in this post, saving a few dollars isn't necessarily the best thing to do in the long run.
!