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  1. #1
    2 Star Lounger
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    I'm trying to backup my hard drive to an external hard drive (Western Digital Passport, 120 GB).

    I used the backup program in Windows XP (Version 5.1, SP3), but after it had backed up ca. 4 GB, I received a message

    You have either run out of space, or the backup file (.bkf) is too large for this disk.
    Note: if the disk is formatted to FAT 32, the maximum possible size for the backup file is limited to 4 GB.


    Is there a way to format the external hard drive so that it can deal with bigger files? If not, how can I back up using Windows, other than backing up individual files or directories? Or do I need to buy Ghost or Acronis True Image?

    Thanks.

    Joel

  2. #2
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    You can Convert it to NTFS, which doesn't have the maximum-file-size limitation.

    Go into a Command Prompt window and type

    CONVERT e: /FS:NTFS

    replace e: by the drive letter of the external drive, followed by a colon. You may need to add /X as another parameter if Windows needs to dismount the volume first.
    BATcher

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  3. #3
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    Thanks for the quick reply.

    Is this like formatting a drive, which wipes out all of the data? The drive comes with some Western Digital software on it ... do I need to back it up elsewhere, convert to NTFS, and then copy to the drive?

    Joel

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    Plutonium Lounger Medico's Avatar
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    Western Digital shows the procedure to reformat their Ext HD to NTFS.
    BACKUP...BACKUP...BACKUP
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  5. #5
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    Some (old) files cannot be saved to NTFS format, so if you have any oldies and goldies you might move them to a FAT 32 drive to be on the safe side.

    You should check your WD software to see if it includes a superior backup program. You may have struck it rich without knowing it. (While you are at it, check Western Digital Support to be sure you have the latest software.)

    Many backup programs will let you compress to varying degrees. The trade-offs for a higher compression ratio may be longer backup times and greater risk to data integrity.

    It's always handy to remember that for just backing up data, so long as you have it in a single folder or folders, you can just compress it with any conventional compression program (that can handle it) to an external drive. You may have no great need to keep backing up the entire system when it is your data that matters most.

  6. #6
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Joel,

    Good backup software will allow you to breakup the backup into files of varying sizes to fit different media, e.g. CDs, DVDs, etc. Check out Acronis TrueImage. I've been using it for quite a while now and it has all the options you'll need.

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  7. #7
    Super Moderator BATcher's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterg View Post
    Some (old) files cannot be saved to NTFS format...
    Peter, whereever did you get that idea from?!

    The point about using CONVERT rather than FORMAT for this external disk is that the original contents of the disk are preserved (although, amusingly, the usual advice given is that you should back up the files in case of problems!). The downsides are that CONVERT will take longer than FORMAT, and that the resulting hard disk is necessarily badly fragmented, and you might have to do a few runs of a defragmenter to return it to a more efficient state.
    BATcher

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by BATcher View Post
    Peter, whereever did you get that idea from?!

    The point about using CONVERT rather than FORMAT for this external disk is that the original contents of the disk are preserved (although, amusingly, the usual advice given is that you should back up the files in case of problems!). The downsides are that CONVERT will take longer than FORMAT, and that the resulting hard disk is necessarily badly fragmented, and you might have to do a few runs of a defragmenter to return it to a more efficient state.
    Now you have me confused.

    The subject of File Type and NTFS is easily resolved by my conceding the point. I didn't look it up before I posted and I obviously should have. Unless I discover evidence to the contrary, I will take your word for it.

    Convert versus Format is not so easily resolved. You make no distinction between Fast Format and Full Format.To the best of my recollection, Convert might take longer than Fast Format but less time than Full Format. If it is a fairly old drive, a full format (and even a run or two of chkdsk /r) might be preferable. Existing files (and fragmentation) looks like a red herring, as the only files he was worried about were those that came with the drive, and for that the advice was to save them elsewhere temporarily and check for updates.

  9. #9
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    Fellow Loungers:

    Thanks for your advice. I backed up the Western Digital files from the external drive to the hard drive of my computer; converted the drive (which had, in addition to the WD files, an incomplete backup that I had made)to NTFS (Windows found it "dirty" and required that that I run CHDKSK / F first); and was able to back up my entire hard drive using Windows Backup.

    Thanks again!

    Joel

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