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What is the Best Way to Back Up Multiple Computers to One External Drive

I have 5 different Windows PCs (running both XP & Vista) that I need to back up to one external hard drive.

I'd like some suggestions for software to accomplish this is in the simplest & most reliable manner.

The computers are all on the same wireless network. However, there is no server.
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anuneznyc
Asked:
anuneznyc
2 Solutions
 
Mike_CarrollCommented:
Share the drive through one of the computers and use software like SyncBack to do the actual backup onto the shared external drive. You can get a freeware version of SyncBack here http://www.2brightsparks.com

Simple, effective and free.
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kennyhenaoCommented:
Easiest method is to place that drive on one PC, share it and give rights to "everyone" so that they can write to it.
Then, on each PC, map a drive to that new shared folder.
Then just use NTBackup (included on the OS's listed).
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greyknight17Commented:
Do you want to backup just the files or the complete system itself (with Windows and all the applications and settings)? I think SyncBack only backs up the files themselves. I'm not sure about NTBackup.

You might also want to take a look at Todo Backup which is free as well:

http://www.todo-backup.com/

It has cloning capabilities so you can "image" an entire partition or drive onto your external drive. You can always do a full restore to another hard drive or the same one and it will bring you back to the same exact state Windows was in with all the files and settings intact.

Another program you can use for cloning is Norton Ghost but it's not free. The newer versions allow you to do entire drive/partition backups via the network as well if needed.
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anuneznycAuthor Commented:
Basically I just want a backup solution that will allow me to back up the 5 different PCs to the one external hard drive.
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greyknight17Commented:
Do you want to backup the entire PC or just the files for them? Todo Backup allows you to backup the entire contents of your PC (the partition(s) or drive). SyncBack allows you to selectively choose the files/folders you want to backup.

Both programs are easy to setup and once you have configured them, you can just run them with a few clicks and the backups should begin. I think Todo Backup doesn't require any setup at all since you can just choose the option to backup and select the entire drive/partition. You can set this up for all 5 of your PCs and when the time comes to run the backup, just run the backup job from the program you want.
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anuneznycAuthor Commented:
No, not looking to back up the entire PC. Just the important data files.
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greyknight17Commented:
SyncBack as mentioned by Mike_Carroll will do that job. You can create profiles for the computers to backup specific folders and even set a scheduled time for the backup.
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anuneznycAuthor Commented:
Thanks for the suggestions. I will explore SyncBack.
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