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Thread: Using external hard drives ?

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    v3loc1ty's Avatar
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    Question Using external hard drives ?

    im thinking of getting one before new year. there is a 500GB one on sale under 90 dollars which is within my buying range..so

    how does it work?
    does it come with connections to backup system?
    do i have to register to the company's site?
    how do i store the external hard drive safely away?
    and once backup, is it easy to put everything back lol?


  2. #2
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    If you use a "normal" drive (not a Maxtor One Touch), then you also need a backup program. There are a couple of free ones like Macrium ( Macrium Reflect FREE Edition - Information and download ) but most are for a fee between $40 and $70 ( Data Backup Software Review 2009 - TopTenREVIEWS ). Those programs do both data backup and imaging. For data, you can recover some or all data files any time with the program on your system. For system recovery (e.g. when your Vista crashed completely or when your disk went south and you had to replace it with a new one) you have to load the recovery program from the CD (that either comes with the program or you have to produce (burn) one yourself) by switching the boot sequence in the BIOS. The recovery works very well - at least with Norton Ghost where I have done it already a few times. With my Maxtor One Touch (that comes with those programs and the recovery disk), I have only done backup. I have recovered a couple of files but not the whole system yet - there was no need yet.

    The best is to disconnect the external disk when you are done with the backups. That way, even the worst malware cannot get at it. Just put it into the closet. It is easier with a USB powered disk than with one that comes with it's own power supply.

    Here is a link where they offer disks at good prices. The offerings change daily. ( Deals2buy: Storage Devices deals ).

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    I was just reading thru the Sunday ads and found this disk. This would be ideal for your purposes. BestBuy.com - Search Results

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    so youre saying no need to backup entire system. ok.ive already bought 2-3 items online and that is enough for this year lol..so thats where the external drive comes into play.

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    Well, there are 2 types of backup I am talking about:
    1. You can backup your data. This is useful in case you reinstall Vista and you want to then reinstall your saved data. But that does not protect the system in case you get a real bad Virus that makes your system inoperable or if your system disk crashes. For that you do:
    2. image the whole system (I do this once a week with Norton Ghost or Maxtor Manager). This copies the whole system (typically about 35GBs) and allows you to recover to where you were last week. Since the recovery is initiated by a seperate program from a CD, you don't need Vista for that. It works even when you have swapped your hard disk for whatever reason. It is a similar facility as system restore from shadowstorage - only system restore does not help you when your Vista is inoperable or when your system disk crashed.

    For both, 1 and 2 you need an external drive to save either your data and/or the system images. If you have a second physical internal drive, you can use that too (I do that on one of my systems for speed). But even that I copy once a month to an external disk - just to be sure it does not attacked by malware. But systems with more than 1 internal drive are not that common.
    Last edited by whs; 28th December 2008 at 21:36.

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    maybe 500GB external drive is a bit too much for me..i could start with a 160 or 250 GB drive

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    I use only 250GB drives. But the prices for those are usually the same as the 640GB Maxtor drive at BestBuy that I linked above. I would not go under 250GB - especially as one always finds additional uses. And the day you start with videos, you'll appreciate a lot of disk space.
    Here is the external disk on this system. It got pretty busy in just a few months. This is 140 GBs used and the oldest file is from Nov. 22, 2008.

    Last edited by whs; 29th December 2008 at 01:43.

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    ah ok..i have found out the hard drive thats on sale at target , doesnt have some features i was looking for..theres no sync & encrypt, capacity guage etc. so ill wait for after new years, then ill find a good bargain and buy a 250GB one.

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    Disks is not something one buys at Target. There are a lot better sources. Keep the links I posted - there you'll find better deals. And if you need more, let me know. Newegg.com, buy.com, Tiger.com, etc are much better sources than Target. At Target we usually buy tissue and TP - lol.
    Btw. Do you have a desktop or a laptop?

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    i have a laptop..a compaq presario f700 series

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