Hard Drive Backup

  Craig22 13:01 21 Nov 06

I'm awaiting delivery of a new Dell desktop which has a "Hard Drive 320GB Serial ATA Non Raid (2 x 160GB) 7200Rpm Dual HDD Config"

I don't know whether these hard drives are completely separate or whether the system will treat the 2 drives as one (e.g. 'C' Drive).

What I'm really looking to do is use one of the 160GB hard drives as a back up for the other but I'm not sure if this is possible given that these are non Raid.

If one fails will I lose data on the other?

  rawprawn 13:36 21 Nov 06

If it is one 320gb HDD that has been partitioned, and I suspect that is the case. If the HDD goes for a burton you have had it. I would buy an external HDD and backup to that.

  UncleP 15:02 21 Nov 06

If, as rawprawn suggests, it is a single physical hard drive, it's too risky to back up files onto the same drive. Even if they are separate, there are too many failure/loss mechanisms in common for it to be good practice in general. For example, power surges, mechanical shocks (ie you drop it!), theft, fire etc may affect both drives simultaneously.

Backing up to an external medium eg CD, DVD, HDD or tape, depending on the amount of data to be stored, is safer because the copies can be stored in a controlled environment away from the computer. The copies should be checked, of course, to make sure they work, and you may choose to keep more than one copy for additional security.

If you don't need 320Gb of space, you could run two disks as a RAID1 array (Dell would probably set this up for you). The advantage is that a complete copy of the data is 'mirrored' on the other automatically; if one disk fails, you can replace it and rebuild the array with little effort and time lost. But, for the reasons given above, I would not regard this as a secure back-up system by itself.

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