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Author Topic: What is important?  (Read 3355 times)
Andres Bonilla
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« on: June 28, 2006, 08:47:43 PM »
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My computer is working really good now but eventually I may have to reformat .People tell me that they back up on one of those 1 gig usb cards. That way when they need to restore all they do is stick this little drive into a usb and save lots of time. When I ask them what do they back up I heard lost mumbo jumbo. Is this possible? If so, what would you guys back up? What about my filters in CS2, my updated drivers for my video card, my  film scanner, my flatbed scaner and all those things that I have done to keep CS2 happy. What would you guys back up to save yourself a lot of time after reformatting?

Thanks,

Andres
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jliechty
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2006, 10:13:29 AM »
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While USB flash drives are nice for transporting documents and other small files, they aren't ideal for backing up photos (for that, you'll need DVD-Rs and/or external hard disks). Backing up is something you should do all of the time, regardless of any need to reformat.

However, something that I've been doing for years that makes reformatting much less of a pain (no need to restore from backups) is to use separate disk drives for the operating system and applications and for data. In particular, I have a 36GB Western Digital Raptor drive to store the OS and applications, and a 300GB Seagate to store pictures and other data. While this data is still backed up to DVD-Rs (and as soon as I can order one, an external hard disk), having it separated from the drive that contains the OS and apps means that I can reinstall the OS without touching the data. In fact, usually I will unplug the data drive while reinstalling the OS to ensure that nothing bad can happen to it accidentally.

Note that you can also implement this scheme on one drive with partitioning. Partitions are best set up with the drive empty before anything is on it, so you may have to back everything up onto DVD-Rs (make sure to VERIFY that they burn correctly!) for one reformatting cycle, but after that the problem will be mitigated. The way you'd probably go about this is to delete your current partition during the Windows installation, then create a new smaller partition for Windows. After the installation, you can create a larger partition in the remaining space and restore your data into it.

An alternative is to consider something like Partition Magic, a program that can resize and create new partitions without reformatting. Beware that these changes can be fatal to your data, so it is extremely important to have backups even though you may not need them.

Briefly, on partition sizes: on an 80GB drive, I'd recommend 20GB/60GB unless you install tons of programs or games. On a larger drive, you could push the OS and apps partition up to 40GB, but usually there's not any reason to make it larger than that.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2006, 10:24:46 AM »
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My philosophy is the following:

- 2 physical internal hard drives, a back up external unit and an external unit for mass storage:

1. a fast and small one (typically Raptor) where the OS is installed with some key productivity software,

2. a larger one for daily work.

3. the system back up unit is a 250 GB Maxtor IEEE1394 external unit,

4. the external unit is currently a NAS Raid 5 1 TB unit. This is fail safe but all the files are further backed up to DVD.

-> the back up strategy for the internal drives is to use the drive 3 above that is large enough to back up at least the C: drive completely. Along with a proper back up software with full restore capability (the maxtor external units come with one). If you are smart enough to create a boot CD, then fully restoring your system in case of catastrophic failure can be done in a matter of minutes.

Using a USB key instead of an external IEEE1394 unit would also work, but 1GB is typically far too small to be able to store the whole C: drive. The external hard drive will end up being cheaper with a much larger capacity.

Regards,
Bernard
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John Camp
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2006, 05:27:10 PM »
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Or, you could shoot Kodachrome.

JC
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2006, 05:50:15 PM »
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Thanks guys! What I got is 2 internal hard drives, my C dirve my F drive my data and I just purchased a Seagate 400 gig external hardrive. The external one comes with some sort of back up sofware, so if I understood right I could back up my C drive into one of the bigger drives and after I reformat my C drive I would use the back up software to restore everything as I had it? Don't I have to reinstall CS2 from its cd? Would a complete back up of C drive into my 60 gig F drive include all my preferences and driver updates?
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2006, 06:03:01 PM »
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Quote
Thanks guys! What I got is 2 internal hard drives, my C dirve my F drive my data and I just purchased a Seagate 400 gig external hardrive. The external one comes with some sort of back up sofware, so if I understood right I could back up my C drive into one of the bigger drives and after I reformat my C drive I would use the back up software to restore everything as I had it? Don't I have to reinstall CS2 from its cd? Would a complete back up of C drive into my 60 gig F drive include all my preferences and driver updates?
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To be able to restore your system from the backup drive, you will have had to create in advance a boot CD using the back up software. You will then have to use the Windows CD again etc...

If eveything works per the plan, this should restore your system disk to the status it was in when you last backed up.

This is of course the important point, if you back up just before reformating you don't gain anything, because the system restore will just be an image of what you wanted to get rid of.

If I may ask, why do you want to reformat your C: drive? I been running a stable Win XP Pro system for 3 years without having to reformat once. And that is with tons of various peripherals (including IEEE1394, USB2, SCSI, parallel,...) and dozens of various softwares that I update on a regular basis. What makes you think that you need to reformat?

Wouldn't a simple defrag do?

Regards,
Bernard
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Andres Bonilla
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« Reply #6 on: June 29, 2006, 08:48:27 PM »
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Thanks for your answwer Bernard. No, my computer is working very well but I have had to reformat before and it is a pain!! My box is over 4 yeras old and I have downloaded and installed lots of drivers. I got a dual layer cd burner that crashed my computer like never before. I made the mistake of calling a tech that cost me almost 500 dollars and he was having a hell of a time getting things to work. At the end I had to exchange the dvd burner and have Best Buy install it for me and fix the audio that was mute. After all this, the dual layer only burns single layer still, my computer is working great. CS2 that has been a nightmare for some people with faster newer computer than mine, works like a charm on my box. I have all the services packs for W2K and all the drivers and firmware to my film scanner, my flatbed scanner, my Epson printer etc.  That is the reason why I wanted to back up this settings before I did something silly and mess things up. At one point I downloaded a hotfix and something went bad because all the sudden I lost  my Internet connection and the computer would restart by itself once a week. So Bernard there is always the possibility that something does not compute.
Sorry for the long post.

Andres
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