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Old 08-12-2010, 02:26 PM   #5
Hugh Wyn Griffith
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Join Date: Jan 2005
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Andrew,

If you are not short of hard drive space to back up to on an external hard drive -- anywhere else is useless and/or slow -- then make Full backups every time.

That way if you have a problem with Windows for example due to a Windows Update you can go back a generation of backups to before the Windows Update in question, restore that and then pull "incremented files" from the current backup even if it's Windows would be faulty after restore because of that Windows Update problem (and they do happen including currently)

Acronis is very neat for naming backup files intelligently so you can give a meaningful title like identifying the PC if you have more than one and there is also an @date @time function which automatically tacks that on at the end of the filename.

If your drive starts to fill up then you can always verify the latest drive and then delete some of it's predecessors when you have full backups.

If you are starting with a new computer then what I've done is to install Windows and update it (I built my last one) and make a full image; then I added some utilities that I always use and updated Windows again if there were any new updates and made a new full image; then I installed my applications and made a new full image; then I started using the system and I must confess I'm less regular in making a system backup image to include data files but I have very little that is critical and dupes of most of those.

Hard drives and cases for them to make your own external hard drive are very cheap -- I've been looking for someone in the Norton Forums and you can get a 3.5 in WD 320GB SATA hard drive for $50 from Best Buy (very good return policy I know from experience when I bought an EIDE 2.5 in drive for an old laptop without checking and found it needed SATA). You can get a case from NEwEgg for $10 complete with power brick and cables to connect to USB on the PC. You can get eSATA connected boxes if you have an external eSATA connection on your PC already; otherwise USB 3 is on its way and buying a new eSATA case for the srive would not be that expensive. Or you can buy dual USB / eSATA cases ....

Why it must be an external drive:
If it's a partition on an internal hard drive that also contains your OS then when the hard drive crashes (when not if) you lose everything ....

Even if it is a second internal hard drive inside the PC it can be infected

Online storage is usually slow with upload speeds much slower than download speeds and it could take hours and hours to upload a system drive backup.

Optical media are slow and inherently more unreliable than a hard drive.

   
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