Windows XP - Good back up system for home PC

Hi everyone,

I am using Windows XP Home, and I have 40gb hard disk. I have lots of programs on my pc. So, I would like to find a way to back up my hard disk, OS, programs (  if possible - can I?).

SO, if anything happens - eg. crashes.. I can simply start from the Backup. Any solutions...appreciated.

Thanks all
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40gb? Here's what I would do. Go and buy another hard drive.
80gb from Circuit City $40.
160gb from CompUSA $40.

Buy a 3.5" external enclosure usb2.0 . $20

Assemble, copy over your stuff through a batch file or ntbackup
I agree with the above (go get an additional hard drive- they're cheap!!) - but I don't trust NTBAckup--  I would instead use a PC imaging software package, such as Norton GHOST.     It can be set to copy your entire drive to the second drive as a recoverable image.

On occasion, you should ALSO image your PC's primary hard drive to DVD's.    There are rare occurances (fire, water, etc) that could destroy BOTH hard drives..............
neonlightsAuthor Commented:
Hi .. Thanks for both messages.

OK. I will be happy to buy a 160gb from CompUSA ( I beleive it is US $ - but still cheap). canada here.

Let's say in 160 gb, I will have let's say around 120gb free. Can I use this location to write images... from cds? that would be cool.

and How do I get the Norton Ghost, is it freeware? - like that idea of imaging.

.. craylord, would you please give me the exact link for the 3.5" extrernal enclosure.. I should buy..

Final question: I am not much good with hardware setup ... pc assembly - but, learning.. is it easy to set up and configure..

Thank you very much for both responses.

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This one looks like a decent one.

You could use it to write images to, but it probably has better performance than your current hd. I'd recommend putting the 40 into the enclosure and reinstalling onto the 160.

However, you may not even need the enclosure, you could just install it into your pc as a slave drive on the ide cable. Norton ghost isn't freeware. I haven't come across any reliable open source/freeware solutions for Windows yet. Ones that i have seen are no longer around or not supported.
neonlightsAuthor Commented:
Thanks craylord.

I am new to this. please explain what do you mean by "enclosure:

"I'd recommend putting the 40 into the enclosure and reinstalling onto the 160. "

thanks for your patience.

No problem, I would recommend removing the 40GB hd from your pc. Replace it with the 160GB hd. Reinstall Windows XP using the 160GB. Then insert the 40gb hd into the enclosure or add the 40gb as a secondary drive in the pc case. If you want to be using the new drive for cd images, you would have better performance if the 160gb was installed internally into the pc case. Also, make sure your pc has usb 2.0 ports. If it's usb 1.1 it could take a while to transfer large amounts of data.
neonlightsAuthor Commented:

Ok, it is getting tougher.. lol

If I understand correctly:

1) Buy 160 gb hard disk, and 2.0 usb (you mentioned earlier)
2) Remove my 40gb harddisk
3) Replace with my 160 gb
4) Install Windows XP
5) Then, bring the 40gb as a secondary

Where the USB port comes t o play?
My OS is sitting   on 160gb?
My programs? on 40GB?
And how about if I get virus on both disk?

I am very sorry - I know you are right - but, I can not follow you - forget my images.. I will deal with them - All I wanted is to back up my work end of every day - as well as I have a copy of my OS & Programs

Please ask me if you have any questions..?


> Where the USB port comes to play?
Pc's will have usb ports, if you buy the enclosure, this is what the enclosure will use to connect to the pc. If your pc is a few years older (just a guess if the hard drive is a smaller 40gb), then you could have usb connections that are version 1.1 (slower transfer speed). A usb connection will still work regardless if it's 1.1 or 2.0. Again, the usb only comes into play IF you buy the enclosure and put a hd into it.
> My OS is sitting on 160gb?
Yes you would install it again on the 160gb as a fresh install.
> My programs? on 40GB?
Your programs will still be accessible on the 40gb. You will have to reinstall them on the new install. If there is data on the 40, all you would have to do is copy it over. Just post on here, I'll help with any questions.
> And how about if I get virus on both disk?
With a fresh install on the 160gb there would be nothing to load a virus. Unless you opened a virus from the 40gb. But you could install the antivirus on the system and tell it to scan both hard drives.

Free antivirus (you have to tell it to get the latest virus definitions after install)

The benefit to have the 40 as a slave? You can always unplug the 160gb and plug the 40gb back in as the master and boot back into your old system.
neonlightsAuthor Commented:
K, thank you very much craylord.

Will get back to shortly.

With all due respects to craylord and his patient assistance, the easiest approach for a novice is a pre-packaged external hard disk with good backup software like these from Western Digital and Maxtor.  Prices are reasonable when you consider that software is included.
neonlightsAuthor Commented:
willcomp - do you know me.. LOL... Thank you .. I am very thankful for craylord's answer - I think I will be able to do that in a year or so.. once I get to know more pcs....architecture.. I was worring that I might loose all the data from the 40gb.

This sound VERY good to me.. 120gb... software is included.

So, I am going to order that.. sound good to me.
neonlightsAuthor Commented:
one more.. can I be able to do back up my programs.. os..
Yes, software included with both drives will backup OS, programs, and data so you can do a complete restore.  I have no experience with Dantz Retrospect Express included with WD drives, but it is highly rated and appears easy to use as well as doing good backups.  Maxtor One Touch software is excellent.
For personal backups I'd suggest buying a DVD burner ($55, some DVDRW media (rewritable $10) and maybe a copy of Genie backup home $75USD. This way you can keep your backups offsite in case of act of God. I've used and setup Genie backup in several instances and would highly reccomend it.
While I agree with all the excellent advice above, I just want to suggest that you use DVD-R or DVD+R media for any important backups, not DVD/RW media. RW media in my view are very unstable and should not be trusted over any long term, where long term could be anywhere from a few days to a few months.

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neonlightsAuthor Commented:
Thank you bygeek. for your solution. I will go with this 80GB USB 2.0 portable external hard drive for PC desktops with backup software. Sounds very appealing.

Thank you very for all your suggestions and help.

Glad to help.
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