You don't have to convince me on back-up hard drive

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  #1  
Old 03-21-16, 08:38 AM
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You don't have to convince me on back-up hard drive

Ok. After all the hassle I went through after system crash, you guys sold me on the idea of a back-up hard drive. Could I ask a few questions?

1. What option is most likely to be trouble-free.............second internal hard drive or USB external hard drive? Could adding second hard drive cause a system crash or other malfunction?

2. When you power up PC after initially installing second hard drive and thereafter, what happens? Does it ask you which drive you want to boot up to?

3. My Current PC has 500 watt power supply, 3.1 GHz CPU, 4GB DDR3 RAM, SATA 3 motherboard. Will I need to upgrade any hardware to add another internal or external hard drive?

Thanks,
Dave
 

Last edited by bluesbreaker; 03-21-16 at 09:08 AM.
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  #2  
Old 03-21-16, 09:08 AM
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I'll give you my thoughts....others here can chime in.

1. Both are reasonably reliable, but choice should be driven by what you are trying to protect your system from. There are hardware failures, software failures, operator errors, catastrophes (fire, flood, etc) and bad actor problems (ransom ware, malware, viruses, etc). As a minimum, an external hard drive used to back up data files regularly, and stored somewhere safe, like a fireproof safe or chest or a safety deposit box, gives you fair protection from most of those.

A more robust solution would have a second internal hard drive configured as a mirrored backup drive, coupled with one or two external drives containing multiple, encrypted, versioned, system and data backups, with the oldest versions deleted as needed to make space for newest.

There are many levels between and beyond these depending on what you are most worried about and what the consequences of a total loss of data would be for you, as well as what kind of delay you can tolerate getting back up and running after a problem.

2. It depends. A drive used only for file backup won't be bootable. If your main drive fails you replace it, restore the operating system and then restore all your files from the backup. If the second drive is set up as a mirrored backup, then it may boot automatically if your primary fails, or you may have make a bios change to make it the boot drive....depends on details of your setup and configuration.

3. You probably don't need to do any upgrade for either internal or external drive unless you have a power sucking gaming video card. Some types of RAID/Mirroring require hardware support for best performance.
 
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Old 03-21-16, 09:45 AM
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Anything beyond a second hard drive would go beyond my needs and finances. I'll check my video card specs and respond tomorrow. It's ATI Radeon. But not a high end high power gaming video card.

Can I mirror a bootable external USB drive? I already saved files, documents, media on USB flash drives
 
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Old 03-21-16, 10:32 AM
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I would go with option 1 that Carbide suggested. Back your data up to an external drive and put it in a safe place, like a fireproof safe. Try to set a schedule to regularly backup your data. How big is the drive in your current system?

A second drive internally wouldn't be bad if just a system failure/corruption occurs, but should a major catastrophe happen such as a fire, it wouldn't be of much help.

If you go the internal route with a second drive, it doesn't seem likely that you'd need to upgrade anything else in your PC given what you listed.

But if it were me...I'd go with the external backup stashed elsewhere.
 
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Old 03-21-16, 10:51 AM
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I back up to an external just because I already have two HDs in the case - SSD for the OS and programs and a physical disc for data. I also have a second external to which I back up a little less often, as this is the one which is stored elsewhere.
 
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Old 03-21-16, 11:34 AM
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Thanks. To answer Shannon's question. My current internal drive is a brand new Western Digital Black SATA 6 7200 rpm with 500GB. That reminds me of another question.

Since my current drive is 500 GB, would a 1 terabyte drive be acceptable for back-up?

I can clone or mirror from an internal drive to a USB external drive.......correct?
 
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Old 03-21-16, 12:41 PM
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1 TB would be fine for an external backup. You'll always want the backup drive to be at least as large as the data you have...more certainly doesn't hurt.

Cloning/Mirroring to an external drive is possible, but it'd basically take an entire snapshot of your primary drive and copy that to the external. Meaning, should your drive get infected with malware at some point, whenever you next run a backup after the infection, that backup will also house the malware.

Something you could do is just use the native Windows backup tool to backup just your personal data to the external. You can pick and choose what you want it to backup...documents, pictures, music, etc.
 
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Old 03-21-16, 12:51 PM
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What are you backing up? Big difference in just data versus the whole drive - since I have all of the original installation media for the OS and any programs installed from media, I only back up my data.
 
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Old 03-21-16, 01:23 PM
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I'm glad you asked Stickshift. I would want to put entire working copy of my internal drive with everything including functioning software apps and programs, onto the USB external drive. I assume this would be done by cloning or backup. Can this be done?
 
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Old 03-21-16, 04:01 PM
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If you are going to add one or more internal HDs, look into RAID which is mirroring. There are different levels that can handle more than one drive. Stay away from RAID 0. Look into the others. You want the backups to be automatic no matter if you use an internal drive or an external drive. As mentioned before, there are incremental backups & system state backups. Google that too.
 
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Old 03-23-16, 10:55 AM
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You've gotten great suggestions in terms of local or manual backups, but I'll also throw in the idea of a cloud-based backup solution. There's something to be said about an app that runs in the background and automatically backs up your important files to an offsite location.

It's amazing how many people will forget or delay backups if there's a manual process. Also, it's nice to have a level of security knowing that a fire, lightning, etc. won't affect your backups. Take a look at Mozy Home, or if you're looking for less expensive, DropBox or Google Drive aren't technically backup solutions, but provide offsite file storage.

Not for everyone - and I realize some people consider the cloud a bad thing. But it's at least worth a consideration.

-Mike
 
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Old 03-23-16, 12:21 PM
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Ah, the cloud. Forgot about those solutions.

I like the cloud...I embrace the cloud and it's capabilities. For certain things. Personally, I can't get around the idea of having all my personal data backed up to someone's server in some data center somewhere. Yes, I know it isn't like these places are actively looking at my data but there's always the potential for a breach. Doesn't matter what kind of security measures or encryption they have in place.

That said...I do utilize Google Photos for my pictures, Google Music for my music library, and Google Drive for general document storage. I have a collection of recipes, general house stuff, vehicle maintenance info, and some other general items on Drive...but things like tax documents or resumes are not kept on there.

So I'm selective. I still do the manual process and yes, I do tend to forget and delay my manual backups. I probably haven't done a backup in a while...but on the same token, I really haven't altered anything lately that would need to be backed up.
 
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Old 03-23-16, 12:29 PM
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I'm not a cloud fan and can often be heard saying, "There is no cloud, it's just someone else's computer." That said, the cloud for backup is one of the times I'm a fan - it's an easy way to back things up and it solves the problem of how to keep a copy off-site at the same time.
 
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Old 03-23-16, 05:20 PM
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The problem with the cloud aka "someone else's computer" is that you can't add security, to it. You are depending on the owner, to secure it. When you lease a private server, it's yours to protect it as you see fit.
 
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Old 03-23-16, 06:02 PM
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1. External USB Drive (although slower than internal)
2. Unplug when not in use. Plug when in use.
3. eXtreme Power Supply Calculator


Personally, I am not a fan of Cloud Backup and I am not a fan of software RAID (maybe Hardware RAID but definitely no software RAID prior to 3 years ago).

RAID Hardware Vs RAID Software - What is your best option?

In the recent years, software RAID technology has advanced quite a bit. It may be an option to look into but I highly recommend you do your research in the recovery part before implementing this, mainly because each motherboard supports software RAID differently.

Also, I second the following setup :

Originally Posted by StickShift
I back up to an external just because I already have two HDs in the case - SSD for the OS and programs and a physical disc for data. I also have a second external to which I back up a little less often, as this is the one which is stored elsewhere.
 

Last edited by WRDIY; 03-23-16 at 06:46 PM.
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Old 03-24-16, 10:28 AM
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I've read all you recommendations and I am giving this more thought. Thanks
 
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