Backup for mixed OS network


I just joined so this is my first post. I hope someone can give me a piece of advise.

Background: My (currently modest) home network consists of two notebooks (old Dell Inspiron 510 @ XP SP2 and new Acer 1810 @ Win 7 Home Premium 64b), one Apple Airport Extreme Base Station (AEBS) and in addition one Apple Airport Express unit for range extension. The network setup works perfect.

Plans: In the near future, I want to do three things: (i) buy an iMac for video editing purposes; (ii) get myself a proper backup solution for the notebooks and the future iMac; and (iii) buy a NAS unit for media streaming purposes.

Today's questions relate to point (ii). As I do not want to use the NAS for backup and I want a solution that is simple and works with a minimum if intervention, I believe I would like to

a) buy an eSATA cabinet (e.g. IcyDock) and a 1.5TB HDD;
b) partition and format the HDD with a 500GB NTFS slice for the PC machines and 1TB for the future iMac;
c) connect this unit to the AEBS via USB; and
d) run PC backups via Win 7 backup center/corresponding XP software and Mac backups via Time Machine

At least in theory this sounds like an efficient solution. For the sake of clarity, the future NAS will not be backed up on this eSATA unit. Now to the questions:

1. Is the above doable in general?
2. Am I creating problems for myself by having a HDD with different file systems on different partitions?
3. When I format the HDD, can I start with making the entire volume NTFS and subsequently create a HFS+ partition when I've bought the iMac?
4. Would it be preferrable/is it possible to use an Ethernet connection instead of USB between the AEBS and the eSATA cabinet?
5. Will my PCs be able to see the eSATA cabinet on the network if it's connected to the AEBS?
5. Is there another setup I should be contemplating for a pure backup solution for my computers?

Grateful for any thoughts and experiences you can share with me.
2 answers Last reply
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  1. Ill chip in with 5 cents worth on 2 points.
    With the money you will be outlaying on hardware, I would forget using Windows backup, spend an extra $50 US and get Acronis Tue Image Home for your Windows backup, you can get details here:
    it can do image backups as well as file and folders at your choice of predetermined times.
    My next point is use seperate drives for PC and Mac, they are cheap as now and format each for the system required.
    Some others I can't answer but someone is sure to chip in.
  2. Thanks Jonmor, that's helpful.

    I'll check out Acronis. I guess it will not cost me too much more to buy two small HDDs instead of one large so that's clearly worth contemplating as well.
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