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  1. #1
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    Default Backing Up - need help please

    I have never backed up anything during 14 years of owning a home PC. I've tried so many times to understand the process and don't know why my brain can't get it. Piroska wrote in a post recently "one image and regular backups". It seems that firstly I need to buy an external drive so any suggestions of what to buy would be good. What would be my first steps after getting the external drive?
    What I've understood is that creating an image and making regular backups are two different things. Is one external drive is used for both? In my working life many years ago to not backup daily would have been unthinkable so I'm not quite sure how I got from there to never backing up on a home PC
    Last edited by bellbird; 19-01-2020 at 09:56 AM. Reason: error

  2. #2
    Computer Technician wainuitech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backing Up - need help please

    Making an image is a single backup (File) of the whole computer, which includes the OS, Programs, data at the time of the Image. This is good if your HDD suddenly dies, or something goes really wrong and you put back the image and the computer is exactly as it was.

    Then the altered backups, generally means changes to files that get altered or added from the image. These can be a simple copy/paste if you want.

    You need a drive (location) to put the image and files thats bigger than the used amount of the Main Drive, meaning if you have 200GB used on your hard drive, a 320GB backup drive is enough. Most external drives these days are 1TB (1024GB) or larger. You can get smaller but the price difference is generally not worth worrying about.

    The Backup images I use these days ( have for a while now) is macrium reflect - its free, and once its set once its just a simple case of double clicking a icon a and the backup (image) starts, or as I have setup , fully automatic (daily)

    I'm actually in the process of writing up some easy walk through instructions as I've had several people ask how to do it. So I can post back once done if you like.
    Update / Upgrades = Replace old bugs with new ones.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Backing Up - need help please

    I don't do the "traditional" back ups.
    I have 2 separate External hard drives and periodically (say every 3 weeks) swap between them.
    I copy my files to them (via Windows Explorer) and just add any new files or later saved versions to that hard drive.

    I also save any updated versions of programme files to my External drive , before installing the updates.
    My logic is that if my PC goes bonkers , I reinstall the programme from my External hard drive rather than having to burn up data allowance by having to go on the net and download each to reinstall.

    Others prefer to use the specialised backup programmes -each to their own.
    I have sometimes created a System Image but have not had occasion to try a "fix" from one.
    I believe that if you upgrade to a new version of Windows e.g Build 1909 v Build 1807 comes out your System Image becomes obsolete

  4. #4
    Senior Member piroska's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backing Up - need help please

    Quote Originally Posted by bellbird View Post
    I need to buy an external drive so any suggestions of what to buy would be good. What would be my first steps after getting the external drive?

    Yes.
    Buy a biggish one, depending how much stuff you have on the internal, too big is not a worry, too small is.....
    500GB , 1 TB better yet.

    Western Digital is good.

    I like 2.5" ones, they just have a USB, 3.5" ones need usb and external power...so meh.

    Use an image program, like Active @. Fairly simple to follow, use some compression so the resulting image isn't too big.

    And yes you can store the image (it s a compressed file) and your data files backups on the same drive.

    I do.

    However I am extra paranoid - or cautious - however you look at it, so I actually have 2 internal drives and 2 external backup drives. Copies on all 3 extra drives.....
    The thinking there is, it's unlikely all will die at one time.

    It is possible to have both internals die at one time though...so never trust just an internal.

    Externals, you back up, then unplug it, don't leave it connected all the time.
    For files you can use a program but a simple COPY and PASTE is all you need.
    Ex-pctek

  5. #5
    Old fella smithie 38's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backing Up - need help please

    Quote Originally Posted by wainuitech View Post

    I'm actually in the process of writing up some easy walk through instructions as I've had several people ask how to do it. So I can post back once done if you like.
    Yes please Wainui

  6. #6
    Enterprise IT Consultant chiefnz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backing Up - need help please

    The generally "accepted standard" is the 3-2-1 rule.

    You should have 3 copies of your data in 2 different "locations" 1 of which should be offsite.

    Most people would not be in a position to have a different location available to them though a cloud solution will fit the bill nicely here as long as you don't have a large data set.

    My backup strategy is;

    1. Twice weekly system backups (not images) of my PC saved to a 4-bay NAS (in RAID5 for data loss).
    2. Twice weekly backups of my programs/documents/photos/music etc. to the 4 bay NAS.
    3. For the backups above I keep 4 backup sets. Once there are 4, the oldest of these is deleted and replaced with the next new set. I run 1 full backup and 1 incremental.
    4. The above backups are then replicated to a 2 bay NAS (RAID0) - I only have 2 x 4TB disks hence the RAID0 choice - I want to upgrade this to a 2nd 4 bay NAS in RAID5 at some point.
    5. I make digital copies of all the blue ray movies I purchase as well as my purchased CDs and vinyls (I make a digital copy of all my receipts and place these in the respective folders as an extra precaution against being targeted for "piracy" - overkill I guess but a good practice nonetheless). I don't backup the movies though and just have a single copy of these files on the 4 bay NAS. RAID5 handles "data loss" and if I really wanted to I could just re-rip the movies.
    6. Then I have a weekly file replication of my programs/documents/photos/music/ from my PC to the 4 bay NAS which is then also replicated to the 2 bay NAS weekly. This happens the day after each of the Full backups run.
    7. Lastly I have a cloud backup (using iDrive) which backs up my programs/documents/photos to the cloud once a month. I have 5TB of storage on the iDrive servers.


    The above may seem a bit overkill or complex but has evolved over the years. To be honest the only backups I really "care" about are those of my programs/documents/photos and music and the music is only in there because I'm a bit of an audiophile and being a renter don't have the space for my substantial vinyl and CD collection. Mrs chiefnz has threatened divorce and bon fires on many occasion

    If you're starting out my advice would be;

    1. Get a NAS... at least 3-4 bays so that you can have RAID5 support - this will give you a good backup target and also whilst not a backup itself RAID5 does give you a buffer for data loss if a disk fails on your PC and then obviously for a single disk failure in the NAS itself. Having said that an external drive or 2 will do just as well. I prefer a NAS solution as it lets me access the data (music and movies) across multiple devices (TV mainly) via PLEX, iTunes etc. so I don't have to save copies to USB every time we want to watch a movie.
    2. Size your disks accordingly, take into account the size of your current data set and then factor in growth, number of backup sets and how long your "retention period" for each backup set will be. I have 4 x 4TB disks in my NAS which gives me about 10.5 TB of storage.
    3. Plan your backup sets and schedule. If you're only doing full backups then backup frequency can be lower - once a week or once a fortnight. I do twice weekly, 1 full backup and 1 incremental - again dealer's choice which will likely be determined by how much you're backing up and the hardware/platform you're using.


    Apologies for the long post but HTH.

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  7. #7
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    Default Re: Backing Up - need help please

    Thanks everyone for advice and explanations. I've used 260GB of 1TB so 1TB will be good. Western Digital or Seagate have external drives for around $100 which would be my budget just now and better a cheapish one than none at all I'm thinking. Are there minimum computer specs for connecting with a USB? Mine is a few years old now and has Intel i5 4440 - 8GB Ram - Nvidia GEForce GTX750Ti - 1TB WD 64MB hard drive. Instructions for macrium reflect would be good wainuitech, thanks.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Digby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backing Up - need help please

    Quote Originally Posted by Neil F View Post
    I don't do the "traditional" back ups.
    I have 2 separate External hard drives and periodically (say every 3 weeks) swap between them.
    I copy my files to them (via Windows Explorer) and just add any new files or later saved versions to that hard drive.
    I do basically the same as you.

    Except that I do a weekly back up of my critical files that I keep in one folder with a few sub folders
    So what colour is your Adkaf?
    Have you joined Proud to Be Kiwi yet?

  9. #9
    Soaring like an Eagle gary67's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backing Up - need help please

    I just backup our data once a week, gave up making images when Win10 came out as its so easy to just reinstall. I don't really have an offsite option as I am a tradie, my office is my ute and its parked in the garage at night

  10. #10
    Senior Member Digby's Avatar
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    Default Re: Backing Up - need help please

    Quote Originally Posted by gary67 View Post
    I just backup our data once a week, gave up making images when Win10 came out as its so easy to just reinstall. I don't really have an offsite option as I am a tradie, my office is my ute and its parked in the garage at night
    I think an offsite option is important,
    For my importunate files - eg photos and movies I have a Hard drive that I store at a friends house.
    So If something happens at my house, I will still have them!
    Unless the whole city gets wiped out.
    So what colour is your Adkaf?
    Have you joined Proud to Be Kiwi yet?

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