Help from Computer Guru's Please

Submitted: Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 14:01
ThreadID: 79845 Views:3197 Replies:13 FollowUps:7
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Hi All

We lost quite a lot of our info in a computer crash at the start of the year and don’t want to go through it again. It’s not so much the backing up of photos etc that concern me, even I can do that ?. It’s loosing things like the settings Fred from EO has set up for the GPS (thanks again Fred), we lost an old family tree program that was on a floppy, no floppy access on the laptop, yes I know there is something to convert it.
Anyway, what I’m looking at is a mirror image of the hard drive, operating system included, this way I might lose a bit of current stuff but the all the programs, major updates etc will all be at hand should the worse happen again. So what program do I use? The more user friendly the better!! Wondering if I need an external hard drive or can it be done to a large usb thumb drive? If your HD is say 300Gb but it is showing only 110MB used could this be mirrored to a 128GB stick?
I’m sure there is plenty I’ve missed here.
Appreciate you help.
Cheers Lyndon
Now is the only time you own
Decide now what you will,
Place faith not in tomorrow
For the clock may then be still

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Reply By: Shaker - Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 14:06

Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 14:06
Is it a desktop or a laptop?
With desktop you can set up a raid system, which runs 2 HDDs in tandem with one mirroring the other.
I know HP external HDDs come with an automatic software back up program, I got my 500gb one for around $70.00.
AnswerID: 422981

Follow Up By: Member - lyndon NT - Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 14:35

Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 14:35
opps, laptops x 2
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Reply By: timglobal - Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 15:41

Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 15:41
Hey Lyndon,

PC or Mac?

Guessing PC - most decent backup options like external drives (recommend Western Digital among many worthy others) come with some sort of useful backup software.

You can pay more.

Mac make this simpler with Time Machine built in. Mobileme also enhances the process.

Regular backups are the key.

Can expand if you need more help.

Cheers,

Tim
AnswerID: 422990

Reply By: Bazooka - Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 15:52

Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 15:52
I have a 300Gb Seagate (ex quality) external HD, USB connection, which comes with full backup software. Even newer is the Seagate Replica, ~$150. Don't know much about them but a good write-up here : http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/hdd-backup-recovery,2450-3.html.

Although GOOD thumb drives are generally very reliable I doubt if anyone would seriously recommend them as your SOLE backup device. Seagate and Western Digital make quality external drives exactly for your purpose (only some come with backup software so check before buying). Good luck.
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Follow Up By: Member - lyndon NT - Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 16:21

Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 16:21
Thanks Mate, just tried to look at it but link is wrong? Can you please re post?
Thanks Lyndon
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Follow Up By: Bazooka - Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 18:23

Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 18:23
Lyndon
Try http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/hdd-backup-recovery,2450.html
or Google "SEAGATE replica site: tomshardware.com" (minus the quotes)
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 16:05

Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 16:05
If you copy the complete and post into your browser (minus the full stop at the end) it works.

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Reply By: Member - lyndon NT - Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 15:56

Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 15:56
Opps, yes, PC
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Reply By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 17:21

Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 17:21
To make a mirror of the whole drive, bootsector and all you really need something like Norton Ghost which copies EVERYTHING to a second drive which must be bigger than what you have.

For the price a 1Tb WD external drive is only about $95 at WOW and can be partitioned into two 500gig drives and do what you want.

Copying files across wont copy the vital bits to make it go again Only A full copy program like Ghost or similar will do that.
A lot of lappys have a recovery partition that allows you to recover the operating system without losing any data. Usually boot into Dos and follow the prompts after reading the manual.

My netbook crashed a few weeeks ago and I got it back without losing anything other than some programs which I had installed later, emails and history.

All my documents and photos etc were still there

There are also Data recovery programs like GETDATA BACK NTFS that will recover stuff off even a formatted drive.

I mistakenly F disked a drive at 2 am once and realised it was the wrong drive.

3 hours later had everything back as it was, the whole 128gig of it. All is not lost wven when you think it is.

The main thing is DONT WRITE ANYTHING TO THE DRIVE AFTER THE CRASH as it can overwrite what is there.

Buy an external drive and back up your pics and documents and any other data once a week and you will be fairly safe

AnswerID: 423001

Reply By: Mandrake's Solar Power- Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 19:27

Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 19:27
There is a freeware program called XXCLONE which can clone / duplicate exactly any HDD on your computer ..

I use it to have a bootable copy of my C: drive on a similar sized drive ,.

I have lost a C Drive before and its a real pain trying to find all those little

programs I use every now and then and getting windows to run again !!

Cheers

Steve
AnswerID: 423022

Reply By: Member - Allan K (NT) - Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 19:34

Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 19:34
Hi Lyndon,
As you have discovered it can be quite distressing to have a hard drive crash with no backup. While there are some free solutions, the better commercial programmes are worth the modest outlay. I have used successfully Acronis, Paragon, Nero and Norton Ghost. I am currently using Paragon Hard Disk Manager 2010. All allow you to image your disk to a variety of media such as DVD, hard disk, USB, network. All will give you a boot disk to allow retrieval following a catastrophic event.
Your choice of backup media depends on your need for speed and depth of pocket. DVD is quite slow but inexpensive, another hard disk is much faster but will cost more. Neither will last for ever.
I use a cradle in my desktop that allows a sata drive to be hot-plugged (used much like a very large floppy). An external sata (faster) or usb (slower) hard drive is just as good. What ever you use, try and have more than one copy of the data. 1 Tb drives now cost about $100, and an external case can be got for about $30. Pre-assembled units do not cost much more. (Unfortunately local NT prices do not seem to reflect southern prices, .)
It is a good idea to check that your backup image can be restored before you have to rely on this function.
Also for a modest cost you can still buy usb external floppy drives which can use useful for those legacy install disks. With a bit of fiddling is usually possible to copy the floppy's to CD or DVD.
Cheers, AllanK


AnswerID: 423024

Reply By: roberttbruce - Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 21:28

Sunday, Jul 04, 2010 at 21:28
i use a suite of fast web-based or open-source applications and tools for most of my traditional computing, eg image-editing... web-based services and storage is a little more reliable than my pc and it makes recovery/reinstall quicker..
AnswerID: 423034

Reply By: Member - Bucky - Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 04:35

Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 04:35
Norton's Ghost, for your system. .. that's a good Idea !

Personally ....I am prepared to re-format my system every 3-6 months, if necessary. (but only if necessary) That's just the way it is.

As for your foto's ect, .. this is what I do.

I run 3 HDD's all about 100 GIG each, but I run foto's, downloads, and important things, in separete folders on HDD No.2, (Not system drive) and every month, or so I just drag these folders to the 3rd drive, and everything is updated.

I do admit that my 3 HDD's are a bit over the top, but I repair computers, in what little spare time I have, so It's easy for me, to get my hands on stuff.

I should get 2., 1 TB HDD's, (1 internal and one external USB.) and partition 200 - 300 GIG, of drive C... and the rest for my personal stuff. Foto's , downloads and documents.
Then every month just wack in the USB drive and drag everything across, as a back up drive

Cheers
Bucky



Simple as that
Cheers
Bucky


AnswerID: 423046

Follow Up By: Bonz (Vic) - Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 06:19

Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 06:19
yep me and Bucky are two peas in a pod, I do amlsot the same but 100 gigisnt big enough for me, I have 500 gig partitions
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Reply By: MrBitchi (QLD) - Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 07:35

Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 07:35
I use Drive Image XML to create image backups.

Thisi program is very simple to use and the resulting image files can be stored on a removable drive.

Then I use Microsofts Synctoy to periodically backup all my documants and images etc on an external drive.

In case of a disaster it's easy to reload the image on another drive (or another computer) and then restore the latest version of your documents from the Synctoy backup.

BTW, both these programs are free.
AnswerID: 423050

Reply By: Member No 1- Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 09:12

Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 09:12
having suffered from lost data by accidental deletion, and a hard disk failure I now back up important (company stuff) data every 4 hours and save it (each file) for one month where after it...the oldest copy, gets deleted with latest copy

I run a SCSI HD as the primary disk, with two additional HD's for storage

I then save My docs every 24hrs to 2 HD's giving me heaps of storage for additional stuff like burning movies and keeping the iso files....its cheap insurance considering the cost of a couple of hard disks in the 1 terabyte range

I have XP on the SCSI and XP on one of the two hhd''s. Should the scsi fail for any reason i am up and running in a matter mins....just need to load some programs such a quickbooks office etc etc to get me out of trouble till a new disk goes in

I am not in favour of running a mirror image on a partition in case the disk fails electrically/mechanically...my choice but others swear by it and I do see it has merit but, as I said a hd failure and you've still lost it all unless you can afford data recovery which is not guaranteed to work

I use Handy Back Up and have been for some 10 yrs now...its all auto to anywhere...even a remote server
AnswerID: 423059

Follow Up By: Member No 1- Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 10:26

Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 10:26
whatever you end up doing, make sure you backup your emails (and address book)....nothing worse than loosing all those lovely pics that your mates send to you...:))))
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Reply By: Member - Troll 81 (QLD) - Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 15:50

Monday, Jul 05, 2010 at 15:50
As others have said get a external drive WOW sells a 1TB for $95 or something crazy like that at the moment.

At home I backup to external drive once a week and then once a month I burn a DVD with all the Data on over a couple of DVD's. Just photos and docs
AnswerID: 423095

Reply By: Member - lyndon NT - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 08:40

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 08:40
Hi All

Thanks for all the help, looks like an external HD with a program like norton ghost is the way to go.

Cheers Lyndon
Now is the only time you own
Decide now what you will,
Place faith not in tomorrow
For the clock may then be still

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AnswerID: 423215

Follow Up By: Member - Graham H (QLD) - Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 09:17

Tuesday, Jul 06, 2010 at 09:17
Just remember that while Ghost will reconstruct a corrupt drive, anything put on it after the image is done will still be lost.

If you are worried about docs and pics create a folder on an external drive and copy the folders off your lappy into that.

You can choose to overwrite existing files of the same name or create a 7 day cycle by naming the folder you copy to like Backup 1 ---7.

Then if you want to save space on the 8th day delete no 1 and start again
Or use dates and delete the oldest every so often.

I have done that with my netbook and copy pics and docs to both my big lappy and the HDD that way I always have a copy.


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