back up questions from a beginner

  Superstylin 14:40 15 Mar 2005

hi, i've decided after reading lots of nagging in various pc mags that i should backup my hard drive. i'm planning on using Paragon DriveCopy as provided on disk from pc basics 101 programs magazine. anyhoo, questions are:
should i back up to cd r/rw? (i have no dvd rw drive) i only have a 40gb hard drive so i wonder how many disks this might need? or maybe should i go about researching how to partition the drive and backup an image to that? (isn't this risky since it's on the same drive that might be damaged??)

also out of interest more than anything...what is the difference between the backup i'm about to make, a bootable disk, and the restore cd that often comes with new store computers?

thanks for any help

  dan11 15:12 15 Mar 2005

It all depends on what you would like to backup.

If it's just your important files, music and photos. The putting them on cdr should be fine.

If you want to back up your whole system, in case of a total crash or hard drive failure.

This is what I would do, so the computer can be up and running in minutes. This assumes you have a full disk and not a restore disk.

I would get a spare hard drive, say click here for £33. Install it as a slave drive. Then use the software to image the C drive to the slave drive. It will copy everything, even partitions, pro rata. It will be bootable.

You can then take out the slave drive and store it away from the computer.

If your hard drive fails, just take the old C drive out, put the slave in and boot up. You should be up and running in a few minutes.

You could even take out the old C drive and leave the new shiny 80 gig in. You would then have a fast 80gig C drive.

  Superstylin 15:52 15 Mar 2005

i'm not looking to pay out for another hard drive, just protect the one i've got. cheap i know! thanks for your info though.

i want to make an image of the hard drive as it is, only about 15gb of it is used (of a 40gb drive), but yep incase of a crash or hard drive failure.

  Technotiger 16:04 15 Mar 2005

Hi, you don't really need to back-up all 15gig,
just your Documents&Settings Folder and System Files. I would assume that you have all necessary software for your normal Programs, so in the event of future problems you would be able to re-install your normal programs. So what you need to back-up should fit easily on one cd.


  mattyc_92 16:05 15 Mar 2005

Partition your drive and use one partition for the backup and the other for your o/s, personal data, applications, etc...

  BillEmm 16:11 15 Mar 2005

Given that you want a disk image copy of your system drive he Dan11 solution is a good one and probably the cheapest with Gigabytes of hard drive costing less than a cup of coffee!

Your only other option is to create a backup image on CDs – you would need about 20 of them if you used a program like Drive Image. This is the one I prefer but there are others who like Norton Ghost (which now sports the Drive Image engine).

It looks like DiskCopy will perform the same function but I have no experience of this program.

Finally, I agree – it is not a good idea to put a backup image on the same drive, albeit on a separate partition.


  griffon 56 16:19 15 Mar 2005

Hi Superstylin69,

To find out how much of your hard drive is full, click on 'My Computer', right click on the C drive icon and then on 'Properties' in the menu which appears. In Win98 a window with a pie chart and words will appear showing how much disc is full and how much available. In WinXP a window will open with the same info without the pie chart.

I'm not sure about the definition of a bootable disc though I have seen references to discs from which a computer can be started and programs run.

A system restore disc is one from which the basic operating system can be restored after a disaster but which lacks the extra programs which might have come with the computer in the first place.

A full disc copy is not bootable unless it is what is called a Drive Image, that is one with all the bells and whistles identical in every respect to the existing hard drive, containing all the drivers for everything and all the system files which load right at the beginning of Windows starting.

If you've got a system restore disc all you really need to do is back up all the data you have created yourself, the operating system is on the restore disc and can be reloaded after formatting the hard drive and then all your data loaded back on into 'My Docs' or wherever it originated from. For this a few CD-RW's are all that's necessary, but it's recommended that you keep two sets in case one gets corrupted somehow. I put everything I create into 'My Docs', 'My Pictures' and 'My Music' and you can create other folders if you want to, and it works a treat.

Like dan11 says a second hard drive is a good idea because two hard drives are not likely to fail at once, though this Forum has the evidence if you need it, and you can set the second one up as a slave on the same cable and keep backing up to it as data is created. If you wanted the second drive to act as a full system restore as well then you would have to create an Image on it of everything on the first hard drive and there are programs which do this, for example, Acronis Drive Image and Norton Ghost for a couple.

If you want to trawl for freeware which does this try click here, click here, click here, click here and so on.

Best of luck.

  Superstylin 14:57 16 Mar 2005

now i'm considering the 2nd hard drive!

my disk holds 9.69 gb's of used space and 28.5 of unused. it's gone down of late because i had a spring clean and removed unused programs and cleaned it of erroneous files. this is why i'm considering the full image of the drive, i took off a lot that would be re-applied if i used the system restore disc that came with the comp when bought. i don't fancy trawling thru it all again deleting the same files. i really don't have any important files in e.g. my documents, only things that would be a pain to lose, i'm more concerned about the system itself incase of a total crash. i guess this means another drive!

thanks v.much for all your help so far

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Samsung Galaxy A8 review: Hands-on

Majority of illustrators don’t earn enough to live from, new survey shows

iPhone X problems

Word gratuit : comment télécharger le logiciel de Microsoft ?