Backing up computer

I know there a few tech guys on here much more knowledgeable than me so here's what I'm looking to do, any help appreciated:

I want to have a perfect backup of my current hard drive on another hard drive inside my computer so that if my main drive dies then I have a perfect backup that just needs swapping over or reconfigured via bios to be the boot drive.

I've heard that this can be done - something to do with RAID setup, connecting them in parallel I believe?

Can someone explain exactly how to do this and how much it's going to cost me?

The advantages and disadvantages would be great also.

Thanks for any help,
davr

13 Comments

one way is to stick the other drive in as master and install the operating system and your other stuff on that job done then you can swap between the two whenever needed then just backup to a disk any important documents you make when using your main drive

You can do it that way providing your motherboard supports RAID or that you've got a spare PCI-E slot in which to install a SATA interface card that does, but doing so would give you redundancy, not a backup. It's actually a really bad idea to use RAID as a backup - it offers you zero protection against the possibility of theft, fire, and deletions be they malicious or accidental, and these are far more likely causes for your data to vanish than a drive failing. It doesn't entirely protect you from drive failure either - if that drive failing is because the PSU fouled up or something, there's no reason for it to not destroy both drives.

All in all, you're *far* better off buying an external 2TB USB drive, preferably encrypted with TrueCrypt, and manually backing up overnight once a week, before stuffing the drive in some obscure place where it won't come to harm. To actually backup, use Symantec Ghost.

Original Poster

Thanks for both replies, the reason I want to do this is because I don't want to have to reinstall everything and manually restore emails etc every time I backup.

dxx, can I backup using an external drive using symantec ghost in such a way that when a drive fails for whatever reason I can just transfer all the files from the backup drive onto a new internal hard drive and then I'll have a perfect working version of my machine before the failure, ie. with all programs installed?

how much is a 2TB USB drive?

Ok here are your options:

1) If your motherboard supports it then install two identical hard disks in your computer and set them in RAID 0 (mirrored). This will need a reinstall of your Windows, programs and files. it also means you effectively are not using one of the disks. If you have 2 x 500Gb disks you only have 500Gb disk space.

2) Alternatively I would recommend using an external disk and creating a scheduled image of your PC using Acronis Backup & Restore (very much like Symantec Ghost). This will keep an up to date backup of your PC and all programs files etc on the external disk.

When you hard disk fails you can then boot from the acronis boot disk and reinstall the image. The beauty of Acronis is you can buy the universal restore which means you can reload the image on to dissimilar hardware also.

davr

Thanks for both replies, the reason I want to do this is because I don't … Thanks for both replies, the reason I want to do this is because I don't want to have to reinstall everything and manually restore emails etc every time I backup.dxx, can I backup using an external drive using symantec ghost in such a way that when a drive fails for whatever reason I can just transfer all the files from the backup drive onto a new internal hard drive and then I'll have a perfect working version of my machine before the failure, ie. with all programs installed?



Yep. Have you ever used ISO image files of DVDs and the like? Ghost is based on the same principle, and it dumbly copies all the data on a drive into an image file, which can then be extracted onto any other drive with everything as it was before. Even your partition setup will be the same as it was before.

As a nerdy sidenote, it's with apps like Ghost that the likes of Dell use to put Windows and the various recovery partitions and shizzle on their computers. They'll just take a batch of harddrives, put them in a large computer, and extract the standard image file to them in bulk, before putting the drives into their appropriate systems. I know that's not exactly what you're going to be doing, but, I just thought I'd mention that as an example of how the tech works.

Banned

do you mean a real-time perfect backup or just a regular one (say weekly)?

dcx_badass

Raid 0 is striped, the worst possible one for data security. Raid 1 ist … Raid 0 is striped, the worst possible one for data security. Raid 1 ist mirrored.



Good spot, sorry meant RAID 1

i use norton ghost for backup. works really well. The best thing i ever did was make a good ghost copy of when i first installed all my programs onto my pc. so if i ever get a virus, i just backup 'my documents' folder and my emails and go back to my original ghost copy. best of all is that it does it in about 10mins. got my backp on a 16gb usb stick.also once i go back to this everything is mega fast again. stopped using microsoft updates aswell, as am sure it is just slowing everything down without any real benefit to me.

dxx

All in all, you're *far* better off buying an external 2TB USB drive.



Hmmmmm.....

thesaint

Hmmmmm.....



What?

dxx

What?



Are 2TB drives more reliable?

thesaint

Are 2TB drives more reliable?



Uh, moreso than the Seagate 1TB drives, although besides that, I'd assume about equal. Why, what's your point?
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