Recently I had the realization that I NEED to be backing up my HDD (WD caviar black 1tb).
The way I am going to be backing it up is that at first I will take on image of my current HDD, so I get everything that is on there, and then I will make it so that any changes made to my primary HDD, will then be made on my backup as well.
The ultimate goal of prevention is so that say windows ever crashed on my primary, I woulld be able to boot windows and have all of the same stuff through my backup.
I will be getting a WD Caviar Green 1TB as my backup drive, and I will be putting it in an external enclosure. I won't be putting it in raid, because (and Im not sure on this so please correct me if I am wrong) RAID 1 would be the only kind of backup option, and that takes immediate mirror images. So if I was to get a crash on one drive, it is likely I would get a crash on the other drive.
I'll probably be doing a backup twice a week.
So, the real question. If one hard drive's windows crashes, then I want to be able to boot and run basically an identicle backup drive. So, can I install windows 7 on both drives? My backup would be plugged in through esata, so I think I would be able to go into my bios and select which drive is the boot priority, no?
Anyways, lots of questions I know, but please see which ones you can answer.
If you use backup software, e.g., with Acronis can do the first backup, then perform incremental backups of changed data/files. Acronis also allows you to make a start-up disk that you could use on the backup HDD if the primary HDD fails. There is other backup software, and you could learn much about backups and the related software with google.
RAID1 is mirroring the data/files on two like-capacity HDDs (or same-size primary partitions). Again, google can be your friend. After reading about backups and RAID, you can decide what best meets your needs.
As another example, say you opt for RAID1: having your original HHD1, you add the new HDD2, then buy a third HHD3. Each week, you remove a good HDD, say HHD1 and replace it with HDD3, and re-build the RAID array with HHD2, holding HDD1 as an offline backup, and repeat that process every week.
When you do your first backup Acronis will ask you to make a start-up CD that you can use if your HDD fails by inserting that CD into your CD/DVD drive and booting from that disk. I've used it, and its pretty easy to restore everything from the entire drive to just a couple of folders or files.
That sounds great, and it is probably a feature I will use, but it would be a lot more ideal if I could simply boot to windows on my backup.
So if I install windows 7 on my backup, as well as my primary, and my primary fails, can I boot to windows on my backup, and have everything the same as my primary?
You should clone your existing installation on to the backup drive, if you want to be able to boot from it. Then you would need to backup the image and use incremental file/folder backup to that image.
Acronis would prefer you do image backups with incremental updates. You would use the Acronis startup cd to restore that backedup image to a new HDD (or your old primary HDD, if it has not died) in case of emergency.