How do i back up onto my new 320Gb ext drive??

  julius44 18:14 04 Aug 2007

Hello all, i just purchased a brand new 320Gb Seagate external hardrive from Maplins for £60 on sale. I have connected it to my Pc via the usb, and everyting is fine, but i have no idea how to BACK UP..everyting onto the new drive...just incase i have a virus or something, and also i wish to copy myall Mp3 songs, and my Picasa photos folder, to the external drive, and free up more space on the 160Gb of my PC.....can someone plse kindly guide me through all the steps pls?? thanks loadz

  DieSse 22:37 04 Aug 2007

" to BACK UP..everything onto the new drive..."

I strongly recommend you to use a really good backup/imaging program, such as Acronis True Image. It's straightforward to use, and works reliably. I've used it for several years, recommended it to many clients and friends, and it's saved a number of peoples systems when they had hard drive problems. 100% recommendation from me.

  DieSse 22:41 04 Aug 2007

"...i wish to copy myall Mp3 songs, and my Picasa photos folder, to the external drive..."

mp3 songs - just copy the folder across like you would any copying in your system.

Picasa - forgive me if I'm mistaken, but I don't think Picasa has a pictures folder per se - it's just a way of identifying where all your pictures are located in their original folders.

  UncleP 23:15 04 Aug 2007

It's a biggish topic to cover, but here are a few very basic comments to get you started and thinking. First, the information on your main hard disk contains three types of files:-

:the operating system - Windows whatever - which runs the computer
:applications - your word processor, Picasa, media player etc - which you use to manipulate different types of information, and
:your data files, which contain your personal collection of information produced by the applications you have selected and installed.

Of these, by far the most important from the point of view of security is the last group. You should have CDs which would enable you to re-install the OS and the applications should the worst happen and your main (master) hard disk fail. So it is essential to back up at least the last group, your data files.

'Backing up' means making a copy of the required files or folders; it does not by itself free up space on your main HD because you should not rely on having only a single copy of a given data file. If you need to free up space, you may transfer data files to the external HD but you should back these up to another location, eg burn them to a CD or DVD, so you have two separate copies (minimum) of every data file.

You may well find that the Seagate HD contains a back-up facility. If not, back-up programs are widely available cheaply or for free (look on the CD/DVDs accompanying the PCAdvisor magazine). You select the files or folders you wish to back up from a directory (like that in Windows Explorer), by clicking on them. Then it is simply a question of telling the program where you want them backed up to eg the external HD (D:?) or the CD/DVD writer, and how often to do it if you want a regular schedule.

An alternative to this procedure is to back up all three of the file groups above simultaneously by making a 'disk image' eg a copy of everything on your main HD. Acronis True Image and Norton Ghost are examples of programs which can do this. The advantage is that you can re-install everything or just a few files from the image, The disadvantages are that the process is, until you've got the hang of it, more complex than the simple back-up procedure, and that the disk images are large files - several Gb - so are best stored on your external HD (although they can be written to multiple DVDs).

One final point: it is important to validate the backed-up files ie that they are really there where they should be and have not been lost or corrupted. As you use your selected back-up system, you should gain confidence that it is all working as expected, before it may be required in an emergency.

  UncleP 23:20 04 Aug 2007

Sorry, I started writing the above about 22:00, and was overtaken by DieSse's more succinct posts. Mind you, I did stop for a cup of coffee!

  Strawballs 00:23 05 Aug 2007

I'm with DieSse on this one get Acronis from somewhare like Amazon (about £24) and if enough room backup your entire C drive and if you have have problems the Acronis disc is bootable and will find your backup and reinstall everything as it was when the backup was taken.

  pj123 14:35 05 Aug 2007

You say:

"just incase i have a virus or something"

Remember if you back up all of your existing drive to the new one you will back up any virus as well.

  Strawballs 16:28 05 Aug 2007

I think he means if he gets a virus

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