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need advice regarding backing up to external hard drive

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by squeaky, Jan 2, 2006.

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  1. squeaky

    squeaky Thread Starter

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    my computer is an emachines it came with no windows cd's , just a restore cd that is made with norton ghost that takes it completely back to factory defaults and makes me lose everything and puts a lot of crap on the machine that i don't want , so i bought an external hard drive thinking that i would be able to save a clean install onto that with the stuff i want.
    so i was pondering this when i realised that it would probably be impossible to be able to format my computer hard drive and still be able to transfer the clean install to it, from the external drive. I do not have norton ghost or anything like it so i can't make my own recovery cd's.
    does anyone know how i can acheive this and if it's even possible. Also the external hard drive is using FAT32 file system, since my pc hard drive is NTFS would it be wise to change the external drive to NTFS as well and if so how would i go about doing that (for free)
    Thanks
     
  2. GripS

    GripS

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    Given your position here is what i would do: Make a backup of all important files onto the external hard drive. Do a clean install of windows(unfortunately you'll need to uninstall all the garbage you don't want). Then transfer the files back.

    If you want to get into slipstreaming(where you install updates and other programs) a windows install it is very possible but requires a lot of research and work. There is freeware available to do this.

    Slipstream guide:http://www.winsupersite.com/showcase/windowsxp_sp2_slipstream.asp

    Converting FAT32 to NTFS:http://aumha.org/win5/a/ntfscvt.php
     
  3. squeaky

    squeaky Thread Starter

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    Hi and thanks, i'm also wondering would it be possible to copy every single thing from drive c:\ to my external USB hard drive and then if i want to do a clean install, Format c:\ and somehow boot to the external hard drive and copy the entire contents of it back to c:\ it sounds like it should be easy but i fear it is probably not.

    Ive done this but i haven't tranfered the files back yet, is there a free way to copy my entire hard drive to the external hard drive?

    Thanks for the links, i checked them out but it is way to complicated for me.:)

    About converting the external hard drive to NTFS; If I left it as FAT32 would it cause problems for me while transferring my saved hard drive backup, back to drive c:\ and are there any benefits to making it the same as c:\ (NTFS)?
     
  4. JohnWill

    JohnWill Retired Moderator

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    To do a complete image backup, you need something like Acronis True Image. It'll create a baclup image file that can be restored and your system will be exactly as when the image was created.

    If you do a clean install, you can't restore the complete image, or you lose the new installation.

    Basically, you can't do what you're thinking of. If you want to keep all the installed applications, you can't do a clean install.

    Changing the external drive to NTFS is easy, if there's no data on it, use Disk Manager and delete the existing logical drive, and create a new one and format it NTFS.

    If you have the files from a restore disk, you can create an XP installation disk from it, Create Install CD from Recovery Disk should show you the way. After you have an XP install disk, AutoStreamer is the painless way to slipstream XP2 onto it.
     
  5. squeaky

    squeaky Thread Starter

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    thankyou all very much, i've put all links into favorites to study them, does anyone know of a quality freeware backup image program? also is it possable to boot from my external hard drive?
     
  6. Mulderator

    Mulderator

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    The program JohnWill mentioned (Acronis) will let you use it for free for 15 days.

    Why do you want to boot from the other drive? That would require you to install Windows on it which is a long process and you don't want to go through that. If you want a clean install, then you create an copy of your main drive on the external, then install on the main drive using Windows CD, reformat your main drive and install windows, then copy back to it what you want from the external drive.

    What is it you are trying to accomplish?
     
  7. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    You can boot something like dos from your external drive, however you will not be able to boot xp or win2k due to how windows configures the usb ports. I am assuming your external drive is usb.

    Buy acronis true image; the app is well worth the money spent for it. You can save a clean install image along with weekly or daily images for backup. With acronis you can restore one file, one folder, or an entire drive.
     
  8. Noyb

    Noyb Trusted Advisor

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  9. squeaky

    squeaky Thread Starter

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    thanks for all your replies ....i think what i am trying to do is be able to format my hard drive if/when i need to and then just be able to copy whatevers on my external drive back to the hard drive somehow and have a working computer again with as little hassle as possible.
     
  10. Noyb

    Noyb Trusted Advisor

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    This is relatively easy with Acronis True Image.
    Also - If you have an external HD enclosure - you can even clone you current system to the external and make a spare HD in case of a total crash.

    When you install Acronis - it will ask you to make a bootable CD... or you can do it later.
    Then you can copy an "image" of your system to a file in the external.
    This backup Image will be about half as large as the number of gigs you are backing up.

    Then - when needed - you can boot from the Acronis disc - and tell it where to fetch the recovery image from. Take a short break while Acronis rewrites your system and you'll have your system back, exactly the way it was when you made the recovery image.
     
  11. squeaky

    squeaky Thread Starter

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    that sounds like what i want...what is an HD enclosure, i think i have that...(i have a maxtor personal storage 3100) it's in it's own case if thats what you mean, will using acronis image back up everything in my computer including the master boot record, i'm sorry i'm such a newbie at this
     
  12. Noyb

    Noyb Trusted Advisor

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    Yes - I think Acronis is what you're looking for.
    An External Enclosure is a "case" that you can install your own hard drive.
    This has the advantage of being able to swap hard drives easily.

    Your External will let you store recovery "Images"

    Here's the USB Enclosure I use ... to give you a better idea.
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16817123116
     

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  13. Noyb

    Noyb Trusted Advisor

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    PS ....
    Acronis can recover you existing hard drive - or a new hard drive ...
    back to exactly the way it was when you made the recovery Image.
    This will include the Master Boot record "MBR"

    Appologies for being a newbe - not needed here.
     
  14. Rebel38668

    Rebel38668

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    What if you decide to put in a bigger Hard drive. Will the image still work with acronis true image?
     
  15. crjdriver

    crjdriver Moderator

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    Yes; no problem restoring an image to a bigger drive.

    If you use acronis to clone one disk to another, you have the option to resize partitions, use the same percentage for partitions, or just use the same size partitions.
     
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