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The backup CDs I use are 'data only' to safeguard important information in case a problem develops in between system backups. If you are going to archive (e.g., taxes) and may not access backup for a long time - go with CDs. CDs are more stable, and you are less likely to run into trouble with irretrievable data. Always use premium brand-name CDs (or other media). Discount media is more likely to fail.
Disk 'Cloning': For $70 or less, you can back up your entire drive (operating system, programs and data) using "disk cloning" software (Norton Ghost, Paragon Drive Backup, or PowerQuest Drive Image. You can store this "image" of your drive on removable media like CDs and ZIP disks, on tape, or on an external hard drive. You'll still have to spend a lot of time doing backups and most people will end up with a set of at least 10 CDs for each backup, since copy of your drive will take up about 50% of storage space as your drive itself. (That's not size of your whole drive, just part you have filled up.)
You can get more information about disk cloning software at: http://www.powerquest.com/driveimage/ http://www.symantec.com/sabu/ghost/ghost_personal/ http://www.acronis.com/products/trueimage/ http://www.drive-backup.com/
Web: There are on-line services (e.g., www.connected.com) which will automatically back up your computer (either totally or just changed files). This backup and restore option is limited only by speed of your connection to internet. Some people leave their computer on all night to do backups. The reverse process will be more complicated, because you cannot restore directly from web. Many information technology and graphics professionals use web services because of massive files they process each day.
Your backup files are stored on their server. This is good because it is off-site in case of disaster recovery. Unfortunately, your data is only as secure as server it is on. I don't use this option, because I don't think there is any function on internet that is as secure as doing it myself and keeping control over all data at all times. If you don't use massive files, you don't need it.
External Hard Drive (XHD): I chose this option after my crash disaster because I can recreate my entire system without wasted time of restoring my operating system and settings, downloading programs and data from backups, and resetting application customizations, etc.
An external hard drive ($200) with 'disk cloning' software lets you put your entire drive onto your backups. If you don't use ghosting software you can only put programs, and data backups onto external hard drive, not operating system itself. The ghosting software will enable you to make a 'boot disk' just for restoring from external hard drive to your main computer.
This option will allow you to completely restore your computer, if necessary (with no hard drive damage). Or, install a new hard drive on your computer and then restore immediately.
Just plug external hard drive into computer and start backup, which verifies data. Then, you unplug external hard drive. This takes about fifteen minutes total for my backups. After backing up, I store XHD in trunk of my car (in a laptop case for protection). Even if house burns down I still have my entire computer capability just outside in my car.
First, put an XHD ghost of just your operating system and programs with all custom settings. Second, do a ghost of your entire system (operating system, programs and data). Third, do regular working drive data backups. Make sure any programs you ever use are in second XHD backup, and/or in your working hard drive for your 'regular maintenance' backups.
I can get a new computer, copy everything I need and get to work. One possible downside to this; if you have to 'recover' on a new computer with a new system (different configuration and drivers), you will have trouble using restored system until you reload correct drivers and eliminate 'old' ones.
Backup, BackUp, BACKUP! So, how can you combine these different backup choices to work in your particular situation? Take simplest method that will safeguard your information. If all you need is a diskette file box for backups - great!
I use XHD once a week for a programs and data backup. In between I use diskettes or CDs, depending on size of files and how long I want to maintain them. There is enough room on my XHD to put 4 total system-program-data backups of my entire XP system into it. Once, you've done an operating system backup, unless you change your configurations or programs, you don't need to do it again. For regular maintenance, do your working 'data' drive.
If you do nothing, you are guaranteed to have a disaster sooner or later. Choose what works best for you and set a reminder to BACKUP as often as you need to stay sane when it does happen.
For more time saving tips go to http://www.organize.com Copyright 2005 Eve Abbott. All rights reserved.
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