How do I backup my system to external drive?

  Sara K 17:22 08 Jan 2009

I have a Vista PC wich is working fine, and I regularly backup data files to another drive.

I have a spare 160gb drive taken from my old PC, and I have this is a case so that it works just like any external drive.

I know I can backup any data with no problem, but is there a way I can use this drive as my main drive if anything happens to my C drive? How do I make the PC look at this if my C drive fails? Can this be done?

Many thanks

  Pamy 17:29 08 Jan 2009

Only by making an image of your C: drive to it with appropriate software, then swapping the C:drive for it

  Sara K 17:51 08 Jan 2009

When the C drive fails, how do I get the PC to look at the external drive with the image on it when I switch on?


  Pamy 18:30 08 Jan 2009

You change the external drive for the defunct C: drive. You actuallt take the C: drive out and put in what was the external drive

  john bunyan 18:40 08 Jan 2009

Sara K. I would buy Acronis True Image 11. You then make an image of your main drive, after a vius and spyware check, and make a start up disc (ATI will tell you). The software makes an image of your drive including all programmes etc. Then if your drive fails you can replace it and clone the image back to the new drive, using the start up disc. I do a clone about once a week.

  Pineman100 19:14 08 Jan 2009

As advised above, Acronis True Image is a very worthwhile investment. For Vista, be sure that you buy version 11 or later.

Just to clarify the difference between 'imaging' and 'cloning' - the normal way to backup with ATI is to create an 'image' of your system. Then, if your system fails for any reason, you can restore it exactly as it was when you imaged it. You restore either to the existing drive (if it's still usable) or to a new drive (if necessary).

But with imaging you don't swap your backup drive into the computer and expect it to boot as your C: drive. If you want to do this, then you 'clone' your existing C: drive. When you do this, the backup drive automatically becomes your C: drive, so you have to mount it in the computer as such.

  Sara K 11:57 09 Jan 2009

I guess this means that I would have to put the cloned drive inside the PC to replace the C drive.

I had hoped that there was a way that the external drive could somehow be used instead of having an internal drive, but it appears that this is not possible.

Thanks for all your help.

  john bunyan 13:47 09 Jan 2009

Sara K . No, I think if your main HD went belly up, you could buy a new one, install it and clone it from the external one with the aid of the recovery disc. What it is not designed to do is to be used to transfer your programmes etc to a new computer unless you de-authorise the old one, otherwise people could illegally get software free. I , personally, have mounted the second drive in a pull out caddy in the main PC which has the advantage of working at the same speed as second intenal drive. I only turn it on once a week with the unlock key to do my weekly clone. I keep it mostly in another room.I have an external drive as well for back up of photos etc.

  Sara K 14:04 09 Jan 2009

Thanks again for all this help. I think I know what I need to do now.

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