Best Backup Procedure.

  sharkfin 17:41 31 Aug 2005


I'm going to be aquiring a second identical 120GB harddrive. I will have two 120GB's for my system. Just wanted to know how best i can utilise this for backing up purposes.

Should I split up the drive into partitions and copy important files over and have two copies of everything I want to keep?

Use a disk imaging program to clone the 1st hard drive onto the second drive?

I've been reading up on RAID 1 which is an automatic cloning techinque where everything is duplicated on the fly? How do you feel about this system?

I just really would like some advice and also to see what you members do.


  Diodorus Siculus 17:44 31 Aug 2005

click here for a very comprehensive guide.

  Diodorus Siculus 18:22 31 Aug 2005

What I've done:

two hard disks, both split into 3. C, D, & E

F, G & H

Win 98 on C

Win2k on D

my documents, downloads, email data etc on E

create a clean image of Win2k when installed, then when updated, then again when all programs installed.

Run EZBackup each morning at about 6am - that copies E drive to F.

On G I have all my CDs that I have ripped; as I have the originals I don't need to back this up.

The Ghost images are saved to DVD.

Hope that makes some sense.

  ade.h 18:30 31 Aug 2005

I've used RAID 1 for years, and more recently RAID 0+1 (four disks). I would never go back to the risk of a single disk configuration. In conjunction with a UPS to avoid any risk of data loss or damage in a power failure (and we get those occasionally out here in the sticks!) the ONLY thing that is going to cause data loss (OK, apart from a major user error!) is a particularly nasty virus. I trust my AV software (NOD32 these days, used to use F-Secure which is also very good but not free) and do a regular backup of important business files to USB flash drive.

In your case, I would thoroughly recommend using RAID, as it is very easy to setup and your motherboard probably already has native support. If not, a RAID PCI card can be bought for about £30 to £40.

  ade.h 18:32 31 Aug 2005

Also, make sure you follow DS's wise advice about using partitions. Keeping data seperate makes management and maintenance easier.

  ade.h 18:33 31 Aug 2005
  sharkfin 18:36 31 Aug 2005

Thankyou for the link to that nice guide. I've been breifly reading that guide and it does sound like partitioning big hard drives into smaller managable drives is the way to go but it all sounds alot of hard work having to make lots of little backups spread over different areas.

The Raid sounds more easy as it does it automatically but then I do lose the everyday use of 120GB. hmmmmm decisions!

ade.h can you recommend a Raid card for me? I have UDMA 100 drives I think.

  ade.h 16:40 01 Sep 2005

I always buy motherboards with native RAID chips, so I don't have first-hand experience of any particular RAID PCI cards. However. I have used built-in chips from Promise and Highpoint - both are good. Of course, they are dictated by what the motherboard manufacturer chose.

click here for a list. Please note that I don't particularly recommend this retailer, but it will give you an idea. Adaptec and Promise are probably a safe bet. You haven't mentioned whether you use parallel ATA or serial ATA. Make sure you get the right one.

  ade.h 16:43 01 Sep 2005

click here This model would be a good budget choice and works for P-ATA.

click here for an S-ATA equivalent.

  sharkfin 13:01 02 Sep 2005

Thank you ade.h

I think its either going to be down to buying disk partitioning software or a Raid card as both cost roughly the same. But Raid does sound the better and easiest option.

  ade.h 15:34 02 Sep 2005

Both are easy to do, with or without software, but achieve different things.

I always use at least four partitions regardless of RAID configuration - one for OS, one for any software which is not tied to the OS partition, one for the page file and finally one (or more) for documents. I usually leave some free space as well, for future expansion. On a fresh installation (or one with free space) Windows disk management is all you need. Obviously, Diskpart or Partition Magic is needed for dynamically resizing exisiting partitions. Start by assigning about 12 to 20GB for the C partition and leave the rest free to split up as and when needed.

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