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I was thinking of buying an external hard drive to do a complete system backup at regular intervals but then I thought, "I could probably also do with a laptop".  Any reason why I should not backup my main PC configuration and files, using appropriate software, onto a laptop rather than another external hard drive?  Same thing or not?

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That's a bit messy, really. You can also create a partition on your existing hardrive, but if that drive fails you are no better off. I would go the separate route, they are not expensive and can be kept in a secure location away from all risks. Some of the members on here who have to protect important data run two extra drives, it just depends on how valuable you consider your stuff. I've just bought an external second drive for my laptop, 80Gb and it was 80€'s.

I use Acronis True Image as backup software.

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You can certainly back your current system on to a laptop. I've done that using a Windows wizard. You just need to feed the laptop with the relevant programmes and passwords.

You still need to back your files up regularly to a CD or other medium.

Good luck!

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Thanks, CJ and Bugs

I have no intention of partitioning my existing hard drive as it is a

hard drive failure or a system failure requiring a complete restore that I want to protect against.

This external backing up business is new to me - why is it more messy

to backup to a laptop than to a separate hard drive?  If I can save 80€

I'd rather just buy the laptop, rather than the laptop AND an external

drive.

Thanks for the software tip.  I take it you would recommend it, Gary?
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[quote user="Cassis"]Thanks, CJ and Bugs


Thanks for the software tip.  I take it you would recommend it, Gary?[/quote]

 

I've used it for a while now with no problems at all. I did a complete system restore after a hardrive failure and everything came back OK.

Before you do a backup make sure your files are clean and do a defrag. 

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You're welcome, Saucisson. I'm totally illiterate technically, but I'm very happy that I took the route that I did. I didn't find it messy at all, As it happends I'm using my laptop at the moment, as my all singing and dancing desktop refuses to start today. Partitioning or an external drive and no second computer wouldn't help me work today!
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[quote user="Bob T"]There is another option, that is to fit a second hard drive to your existing PC. With 160gb hard drives at around €80 it is a very quick and easy option.

[/quote]

That is only any good if you fit the additional drive via a cradle. You need to be able to remove the backup disk from site.

I would second Gary's recommendation of Acronis True Image because it's simple to use and works properly. I have used it for ages.

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My thoughts would be an external HD (USB2), used to back up both laptop and PC. If you get a sufficiently large HD you could save an image of your HD as it is at present to guard against catastrophic failure, will save you having to go back to square one with all the security updates, program reloading etc.
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I use a Firewire SmartDisk external HD for backup, at the moment mostly to store/synchronise files and especially photos between the desktop and laptop machines (1 lap + 2 desk). Work files are transferred by memory stick.

The drive is small (not much bigger than a full-size iPod), powered by Firewire (so no messing around with transformers) and quite stylish. The whole arrangement works very well indeed, and external drives are pretty cheap at the moment.

Some files are transferred on the iPod as well.

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I think maybe I didn't express this clearly in my first post!

I want to back up my PC hard drive (files and system configuration, using software of the type Gary et al recommend) and want to know if there is any reason I should not use a laptop instead of a second hard drive to do this.

Does that make sense, or am I talking utter drivel? [:)]

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If you are only interested in backing up your data and not programs, you can go with an online solution like Mozy. They give you 2 GB free, and you can subscribe to get more if you need it.  It has a software that then automatically backs up your changes on whatever schedule suits you (I let mine run every night). 

PG

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What you propose is perfectly possible and reasonable.  May I recommend Norton Ghost to do it.  You can also back-up to a cd or dvd.  It has saved my bacon (or at least many hours on a rebuild) a few times now as it seamlessly restores your machine to the state it was in at the back-up.  I do a 'Ghost' once a week and new docs are archived as they are produced to a Raid array.  Actually my son built the Raid out of spare parts just as an exercise but now I wouldn't be without it!
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[quote user="Cassis"]I think maybe I didn't express this clearly in my first post!

I want to back up my PC hard drive (files and system configuration, using software of the type Gary et al recommend) and want to know if there is any reason I should not use a laptop instead of a second hard drive to do this.

Does that make sense, or am I talking utter drivel? [:)]

[/quote]

There is nothing to stop you doing that if your laptop is connected via a network connection. The drive/drives on your laptop will show as available drives to backup to and restore from in "My Network Places" in True Image. True image creates a single image file which in theory can be anywhere on your network.

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Hi Cassis, i'll try and answer your question directly. Assunming you buy yourself a copy of Acronis True Image Home you can use your laptop to backup your PC (providing the laptop has enough free space on its hard drive). I am going to describe the simplest scenario I can think of to explain how this might work in practise;

1)   You install Acronis on your PC.

2)   You connect your laptop to your PC via network cabling of some kind.

3)   You create a backup directory on your laptop drive and share it so you can see it from your PC.

4)   You run a full image backup of your system, creating the image file on your laptop drive.

5)   DISASTER happens!! Your PC won't boot due to file corruption, virus  etc. (Note: if the disk has failed you would have to replace this first)

6)   Connect your laptop to the PC and boot up the PC from the Acronis Install CD.

7)   Acronis should detect your laptop and enable you to navigate to your previous image backup file. You will then be able to restore your PC to how it was when you did your last backup (you would of course loose any work created after the last back was done).

The argument in favour of using an external USB drive is that you would not have to worry about the complications of networking. If you decide to get an external drive, my advice is buy a known brand such as Buffalo, Maxtor, Lacie, Freecom etc Some vendors just sell hard disks in cheap no name disk enclosures. If you go for one of the major brands you will be able to potentially get better support (from a dedicated web site for example) and to be able to research the model before you buy to see how reliable it is.

Hope that helps.

 

 

 

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This is an improved version of Norton Ghost 10 and I've read an article in PC World online that rates it higher than True Image 9 from Acronis, on the basis that "the Symantec product is easier to use

since it automatically takes care of a lot of details. For example, it

can determine the most suitable backup location, consolidate backups

and reduce disk usage on its own. It also creates and restores images

faster than True Image does."
  On this basis I'm tempted to go for the Norton product which Leclerc have in for 59.99€. 

Does anyone know if this is suitable/unsuitable choice of software to create a complete system and file backup of my desktop machine, which I intend to store on a laptop (arriving tomorrow) rather than an external hard drive.  The purpose is to have a copy of my desktop in case of a Windows or hard drive catastrophe which cannot be solved by F8 and Last Known Good Configuration or Start in safe Mode, and requires a full system restore.

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Hi rjp

Thanks for the link - Ghost is not exactly the same, but I found an article on the same site relating to Save & Restore:

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/buyer-reviews/90598/norton-save-38-restore.html

Last para recommends it if you don't have Ghost already.  I'll have a look see if they've got any direct comparison with Acronis, as they don't mention it directly here.  Reviews of Ghost and Acronis all seem to come down in favour of Acronis.  I wonder if Save & Restore is sufficient improvement to tip it in Norton's favour?

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Hmmmm - another site has highly contrasting ratings from the 'Editor' vs. the Users.  The latter hate Save & Restore, in the main. 

http://reviews.cnet.com/Norton_Save_Restore/4505-3682_7-31780505.html

Mind, True Image 9 doesn't do a lot better - tough bunch to please?

http://reviews.cnet.com/Acronis_True_Image_9_0_Backup_Software/4505-3682_7-31752530.html

I'll keep digging.

Here's a review for a new version of Trueimage, imaginatively called True Image 10.  It gets excellent reviews. 

http://www.download.com/Acronis-True-Image-Home/3640-2242_4-10596480.html?tag=tab_ur

I think I'll go for that.

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