Advice on external drive

  tamsin 15:26 10 Jul 2009

I am running a dual boot Vista SP1 and XP SP3 system on a 500Gb HDD (although it is nowhere near full) and have just purchased a 500Gb Seagate ST305004EXD101-RK external drive. However there is no software with it - instructions say just drag and drop.
If I only drag and drop can I restore my system from this if it should crash. Or, do I need to purchase something like Norton Ghost or maybe a different program?
I am completely new to usign external drives having previously only backed up data.
Would appreciate any advice.

  Taff™ 15:33 10 Jul 2009

You would need Norton Ghost or Acronis True Image. The latter is well recommended on this forum and the cheapest place to buy it is on Amazon. (PC World is far too expensive)click here

  rawprawn 16:26 10 Jul 2009

I use Acronis to backup my Laptop to my external drive. No problem at all and I would recommend it.

  woodchip 16:36 10 Jul 2009

As above Acronis, and you do not need any other software for it. Yes you can Create Images of your main drive and put them on the External for rescue purposes. using Acronis Software.

  Inside Edge 00:58 11 Jul 2009

I use Acronis TI and it just got me out of a nasty problem with the System Security 2009 Trojan (see my separate thread closed out today). Dead easy to restore an image made with this software that I stored on a 500Gb western Digital external drive.

  gazzaho 03:59 11 Jul 2009

Buying an external drive for normal use, copying files like .mp3 .avi or perhaps pictures is just a drag and drop process. The drive should be already formatted, most likely with the Fat32 file system.

If you bought it for backup purposes, then as the others have suggested you will need software like Acronis to do a full system backup which will restore your machine if the OS becomes corrupted.

If you bought the drive just to perhaps backup your personal documents, pictures or music files then you could just copy the files or folders to the new drive, in this situation if the OS becomes corrupted you would have to reinstall it then copy all your personal files back over to the reinstalled boot drive.

In short if you want the ability to restore your full system in the least amount of time buy Acronis and do a full disk backup. If you only want to keep a backup of your personal files copy them to the new drive.

If a full backup is what you intend to use it for and only intend to use the disk with Windows then format it with the NTFS file system instead of Fat32. The NTFS file system can handle file sizes bigger than 4GB in size, this means your backup will only be one .tib backup file, a backup done with Fat32 will span multiple .tib files each 4GB in size.

If you intend to use the drive with other machines like Apple Macs or perhaps a PS3 then use the FAT32 file system as they don't read NTFS formatted drives.

  tamsin 19:47 11 Jul 2009

Thanks for the advice everyone, I will buy Acronis and go from there.

  Kingdom.B 20:00 11 Jul 2009

I have the latest Acronis suite and there is an option to boot from a USB pendrive which I have done. It is useful if the DVD drive is down as well as a corrupt system, no good if USB is down as well.
I backed up to an external HD but on another laptop with a 500 Gb HD I made two 250Gb partitons and backed up to the second one. After realizing that if the HD failed totally I was up the creek I copied it to the external HD.


  woodchip 20:16 11 Jul 2009

You should be able to boot from the Acronis CD to create Backups and do a Restore

  tamsin 20:39 11 Jul 2009

Question is as my computer is a dual boot should I install Acronis on Drive C:\ which is Vista or Drive H:\ which is XP? Presume it should be Drive C:\ from which it should read the whole disk?

  woodchip 22:48 11 Jul 2009

If you boot from CD there is no need to install it

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