External hard drives

  Maughan 15:42 31 Jan 06


I have a PC and a laptop. I regularly back-up documents and settings etc onto DVDs, but it is a rather slow and tedious process.

If I bought an external hard drive, can I: a) do incremental back-ups (quickly and easily) and b) can I back-up the PC and the laptop separately but on the same external drive?

Is an external hard drive primarily used for backing up or does it have other uses?

Thank you!


  Gongoozler 16:07 31 Jan 06

Hi Maughan. I'm sure the answers to all your questions are "Yes". This other thread currently running also covers some of the points you've raised.

click here

  GANDALF <|:-)> 16:08 31 Jan 06

'Is an external hard drive primarily used for backing up or does it have other uses?'...you can use it as storage for photos and music or you can run programmes from it with no noticeable loss of speed if you have USB2.

'can I: a) do incremental back-ups (quickly and easily)'...yes witha 3rd party programme such as Ghost or True Image. there are some freebies about that I'm sure others will post.

'can I back-up the PC and the laptop separately but on the same external drive'...yes, just create 2 folders, one called 'PC' and one called 'Laptop' or whatever takes your fancy. Direct the backup programme on each computer to the respective folder.

An external HD as a backup is the best way, having an internal HD just for backup is lunacy.


  vinnyT 16:08 31 Jan 06

The type of backup you can do is primarily down to which software you use to backup. So, if your software allows you to do incremential backups, then yes you can.

Yes, you can backup both pc and lt to the same ext drive. You would just name the backups differently ie pc001, lap001, etc.

Many people use etx drives to store video, photos, music, etc. So long as the drive you get is usb2 or firewire speed should not be a concern (and there're not many usb1 ext drives around)

If you got a large hd, you could partition this into 2 (or more) drives just like a normal hd. Say, one partition for your backups and another for whatever.

Hope this helps.

  Diemmess 16:11 31 Jan 06

a) Yes
b) Yes

Yes, most use an external HD for backup, but it is a very useful way of carrying all sorts and quantities of data between computers, and at different addresses regardless of Internet access.

Data transfer using USB 2 is fast, much faster than burning a CD or DVD, but not as fast as between internal drives.

Download EZBackitup (free) and you can then with a copy on each machine select what you want to backup and make two folders on your ext. drive to receive the precious stuff.
EZB will take a minute or two the first time you run it but thereafter you can backup any changed files in a twinkling.

  Diemmess 17:29 31 Jan 06

One point implict in your question and tackled by GANDALF <|:-)> is that of backing up the Operating system/s.
Always a slow job but still faster with the USB external disk. Have no fear of storing say two system images, as well as two sets of precious data. Provided there is enough space on the HD there is no risk of losing files already saved this way.
It is when you "Restore" one of the system images to its target drive, that the action wipes all before it!

  Maughan 23:34 31 Jan 06

Some great responses - thank you all very much!

(This forum is a great resource)

  vinnyT 13:39 01 Feb 06


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