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Preferred ways of backing up your OS/hard-drive?

For 5 years now, I have used DriveCopy to simply mirror my stable OS build (and all requisite apps/docs/settings to boot) onto another physical drive.  That way, whenever I got a HD failure, or an uncurable virus (not recently), I just reverted to my latest backup..

Is this method outdated?  How does Ghost work?
I will say I do NOT want my archive on the SAME physical drive, and the main reason for this is to circumvent drive failures....

Wondering what methods are in use today..
Ideally, I would like something seamless,
like a scheduled archive that runs overnight once a week


Sunday, August 15, 2004

I just backup my important documents and view crashes and such as Father Computer's reminder to rebuild my system.

Flamebait Sr.
Sunday, August 15, 2004

Your method is fast and easy to restore, but you also need to make copies in the event the machine is stolen and they get both drives.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

DVDs are pretty reasonable, less than $1 each and give you about 4.6 Gig. If that's enough space you might want to consider a weekly backup to DVD in addition to the hard drive.

Tom h
Sunday, August 15, 2004

I agree with Flamebait Sr.

I have 2 backup processes.

One takes lots of semi important documents and copies them to a 2nd drive with a running archive. This gets backed up to CD about every 6 months when I remember to do it.

This way I can restore a previous version of any file, or if one drive crashes entirely, the important documents are stored on the second drive.

The other backup process takes my most important documents, and FTP's them up to my server in 6 hour intervals. While there's always the possibility of a corrupted version being FTP'd, the first backup process should allow me to retrieve an earlier copy.

Everything else... Well, I just keep my install files on hand. Either on a shelf, or as links in my personal Wiki (also on my server).
Sunday, August 15, 2004

Bella, just hire one of those $25 per hour kids to back up your system for you. They won't make mistakes and they're very reliable. After all, that's a wonderful rate for tech support.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

>I just backup my important documents and view crashes and such as Father Computer's reminder to rebuild my system.


Aussie chick
Sunday, August 15, 2004

Uh, "just reinstall the OS" was not the "advice" I was seeking.  TO reiterate, I mirror my drives, and if someone has another way, I'd like to hear. 

I am more interested in a comprehensive OS/Docs/Apps backup, not just a "my docs" backup. 

Anyways, DVD backup is no good.    am using about 20GB currently.

Any comments on Ghost?  What is the process of restoring your build?  Is there some DOS version that extracts your image onto the HD ?

Sunday, August 15, 2004

I partition my hard drive in two. On the D partition I put My Documents and all email and other data. These I back up daily to external USB HD using Second Copy from

After I have installed the OS on the C drive and customized the desktop and registry settings I make a Ghost clone, in 650MB chunks which I keep on another HD on the computer and on CD's. This is in case something breaks while I'm installing other programs. Then I install all other programs and make another Ghost clone.

The result is that when I got a blue screen a couple of years ago, and couldn't easily fix it from the Recovery Console, I simply copied over the full C partition Ghost clone and in 45 minutes was back up and running.

Both Acronis and Powerquest have alternatives to Ghost.

Stephen Jones
Monday, August 16, 2004

I'm not sure if you want to spend any cash, but would setting up a level-1 RAID system be workable? Automatic mirroring, all the time.

Jimmy jojo
Monday, August 16, 2004

I thought of suggesting RAID.

I don't see that RAID is more expensive though, you can get a MoBo with RAID built in. Mine has it...

You get a performance boost to boot.

But it still doesn't help you if a virus wipes out your hard drive. Sorry, Bella, it looks like most of us just don't have the requirements you have, so we lack the experience to advise you.

Try my buddies over at
Monday, August 16, 2004

What about something more expensive, like a Mirra personal server? ;->

I love the idea of this product: unlike most high-tech gear on the market today, it doesn't focus on specifications or features, but solving the problem of the customer. For that they seem to be able to charge a modest premium.

I don't have one but have thought about it: backing up to multiple CDs is too cumbersome to actually do, and I like the idea of an automagic background process like what mirra does.

Monday, August 16, 2004

buy a bloody great big portable USB 2.0 hard drive and read the instructions. That's what I want to do. Meanwhile build a couple of linux/samba fileservers out of some ageing equipment and copy what you want to keep over the network you also just built. You will learn heaps and move onto more interesting problems like what's for dinner.

You can use Ghost to copy disk images onto CDs (useless for modern drive sizes), DVDs (better), or onto fileservers if you have decent bandwidth - 100baseT rather than 10baseT or WiFi). It used to require rebooting into DOS to snapshot the otherwise active Windows files, but you can read more at about how they've moved on. Good product.

Monday, August 16, 2004

format c:/q works great...

Chris Peacock
Monday, August 16, 2004

Amanda and/or rsync.

Aaron F Stanton
Monday, August 16, 2004

Like others, I just have daily backups to FireWire disk and also to main drive array (RAID5), with occasional burns to CD and copies sent by email.

Even if the RAID5 array dies completely, I can (hopefully) get everything off the external HDD or out of the email.

I don't bother backing up Windows, etc as I just accept that it will blow up every couple of years, which is always a great excuse to get a new PC anyway.

Monday, August 16, 2004

I burn CD's.  That's about it. I can do a full restore of my system from apps that I have on CD's, the thing that would affect me the most is a theft of the box, so I have the CD's elsewhere.
Monday, August 16, 2004

My operating system is on a separate partition to most of my programs, as is my data. I image all three partitions to a fourth partition and then archive the image files to CD-R but I really need to get a DVD writer for that now.

I take a weekly backup of my documents to CD-RW. For my most critical data I back up to a 256 MB CF card and to my Pocket PC as and when.

John Topley (
Monday, August 16, 2004

Oh yeah, I have offsite copies of the imaged partitions and I take the CF card to work and on holiday with me!

John Topley (
Monday, August 16, 2004

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