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Help me choose an external hard drive, please? How do automatic backups work?

(12 Posts)
SevenAgainstThebes Mon 18-Jul-11 17:46:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

niceguy2 Mon 18-Jul-11 19:20:48

Well firstly do you know roughly how much you want to back up and what your budget is?

For £50 you can get a 750GB drive which I suspect will be suffice for even the kleptomaniac's amongst us.

For £39 you can get 320GB Portable USB Drive which should still be more than enough for the average user.

As for how to back up. The simplest thing to do is to keep copy everything across every so often by dragging & dropping.

You can buy software which will automate it but often I find it's more faff than its worth.

I do use Allways Sync so only changed files are copied. This just saves time rather than copy every file all over again.

Lastly, when buying a drive, I recommend getting a "portable" or 2.5" drive. Try not to get an "desktop" or 3.5" drive. Because the latter needs a seperate power cable which is frankly just annoying.

Cedise Mon 18-Jul-11 19:54:03

I have a 250GB external drive from Maxtor, and I just drag-and-drop everything once every couple of weeks, more often if I've just done a lot of work or if I've just uploaded my photos.

It comes with sync software but it was just a pain and I uninstalled it.

SevenAgainstThebes Mon 18-Jul-11 20:17:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NetworkGuy Mon 18-Jul-11 22:10:32

I'd go for the cheapest (perhaps buy 2). On Ebay there's > a 250 GB < unit for 29.99 (free delivery).

When I say to get two, the approach would be to copy everything onto both drives, then store one at work / with parents/relations or a close friend and then from time to time you'd swap the drives over so you'd have the latest copy and an earlier copy of all your files. I know it's not "ideal" but if a fire broke out, or a burglary, then both the computer and drive could be affected (but not the other drive, not at home).

Maybe buy one now and another in a few months at similar price...

NetworkGuy Mon 18-Jul-11 22:22:22

To answer your 'copy' question, no, there's no easy way to just plug in and know what to copy.

re "Allways Sync" - the function I think you'd be after is the "Synchronization of Local and Removable Device" where the extermal drive is kept up to date with anything which has happened on your main drive.

Copying all of the folders (holding items you want) from the hard drive to the external drive is perhaps the simplest option - it will cause any existing files to be overwritten (you will be prompted to confirm you want to allow overwriting to take place).

One slight "nasty" with software which "keeps in sync" is that if a file went missing from your main drive, there's a chance a synchronisation utility could delete the file from the external drive. I have not tried Allways Sync but might give it a shot!

SevenAgainstThebes Wed 20-Jul-11 16:11:51

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SevenAgainstThebes Wed 20-Jul-11 16:12:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SevenAgainstThebes Wed 20-Jul-11 16:35:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

niceguy2 Wed 20-Jul-11 18:38:39

I'm guessing you have the window still open in explorer. So let's say it's been given a drive letter of F: then somewhere on your desktop you have a folder open with F:

Try closing all the explorer windows before ejecting. To be honest I usually yank mine out after I've copied all the files across and the disk has stopped whirring for a few seconds. Officially though, ejects the way forward smile

SevenAgainstThebes Thu 21-Jul-11 00:53:48

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NetworkGuy Fri 22-Jul-11 09:36:33

A slightly neater way would be to close down the computer and then unplug the drive !!

I've sometimes wondered if anti-virus software is still checking files (because there are both 'daily scans' and 'on access scans' (*) in some software.

(*) so having copied hundreds of files, each gets scanned after copying.

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