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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger KritzX's Avatar
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    Question Use not-empty external HDD for image backup?

    Really need advice here. Is it possible to use a external HDD that has some files in it for external backups? My friend has a 1TB drive, which has 800GB free space. She can't afford another HDD and she uses this one for backing up her files. Can she also use it for image backups? If not many images, will it be possible to create just 1 "Master Image", that is an image created after a complete reinstall of Windows and required software? And if so, can the image be restored later, even if the system isn't bootable? Which imaging software can create images to subfolders in external HDDs? Has anyone ever faced this scenario?

    Thanks for your help!
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  2. #2
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    What you describe it pretty much standard operating procedure. Images are just other [large] files once they are made and can be stored on the same backup drive that other data is on.

    You will need a recovery CD/DVD or USB key relative to the imaging software you are using in the case of the OS being unbootable. I'm sure all of the most popular imaging programs allow one to specify a target subfolder on an external drive for the image(s).

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    KritzX,

    Not a problem at all I do it all the time with Macrium Reflect. I just create a directory on the device and send the images to that directory. I even have an image directory on my NAS device I use for quick C: only images when I'm trying out new uncertain software.
    nas.JPG
    HTH
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    Yes can do that as long as you don't fill up the 800GB. I use Acronis TI 2014 to backup images to a folder on 1TB drive that has lots of other stuff on it. Rather than a master image I recommend periodic backup images so that in the event of a restore she has a current image. Making a master image is fine if you want to be able to set the machine back to factory settings. Most imaging apps allow you to create a bootable CD or USB drive specifically for the case where the machine does not boot. I've restored my machines this way several times. You have several choices such as TI 2014, Macrium Reflect, Shadowprotect.

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  8. #5
    3 Star Lounger KritzX's Avatar
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    F.U.N. downtown, RG and Thomas:

    That's a relief. I've heard many Loungers here talk about imaging, and I'd always assumed that they used a dedicated HDD. My backups are on a WD 1TB drive and I use a WD 500GB drive exclusively for images, so I never thought about whether it was possible to use a non-empty drive. I'll pass along the good news to my friend. I use Macrium Reflect Pro, but my friend needs the free version. Can the free version backup to subfolders as well?

    Thanks so much for your replies guys!
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  9. #6
    3 Star Lounger KritzX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thomasjk View Post
    I recommend periodic backup images so that in the event of a restore she has a current image. Making a master image is fine if you want to be able to set the machine back to factory settings.
    That's a nice thought. I do the same as well, and I'll be sure to pass along the idea to her. Thanks!
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    [QUOTE=KritzX;963446].... I use Macrium Reflect Pro, but my friend needs the free version. Can the free version backup to subfolders as well?..../QUOTE]

    I may be wrong but I am pretty sure the free version only backs up and restores partitions (and the whole drive). There are free backups that do howeer. Easues ToDo comes to mind for free, though I too use MR-Pro.

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    KritzX,

    Yes Macrium Free will allow you to backup and/or image to a folder. HTH
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    3 Star Lounger KritzX's Avatar
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    Thanks for your replies. I've decided to use your suggestion RG and install Macrium Free on my friend's PC. I would have used EaseUS, but since I have very limited experience with that program, it would be difficult for me to troubleshoot problems on my friend's PC, if she has any. I'm familiar enough with Macrium that I can talk her through the necessary steps and procedures, on the phone.

    Once again, thanks for all the contributions and suggestions.
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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    KritzX,

    You might want to give this thread a read. HTH
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  15. #11
    3 Star Lounger KritzX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    KritzX,

    You might want to give this thread a read. HTH
    NICE!

    That seems like a marvellous idea RG! However, I have a few concerns:

    Plug in the USB hard drive and use the partition manager of your choice and delete all partitions.
    The HDD I'm going to set up for my friend already has files and folders! Won't this step just delete all of them?

    Also, the HDD will still function as normal after your procedure right? I mean it can still be detected by Explorer and used for my friend's document and picture backups right? And also it can be used to create Macrium images from within Windows itself right? Or should she always have to boot to WinPE and do her image backups there?

    Questions, questions.

    TIA!
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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    KritzX,

    In your case what you want to to is use your partitioning software of choice (I like EaseUS Partition Master Free) to create free space at the beginning of the drive (the software will move all the files) for the Boot partition. Once this is done you can then use that free space to create a new bootable active partition as mentioned in the post. When using the drive in the future it will just show up in Explorer as 2 drives (The Macrium Boot drive and the Files (existing data backups) drive. HTH
    WDUSB.JPGmrboot.JPG
    You'll note that The Macrium Win PE environment only uses about 160mb. However, I set up the partition to 4GB JIC. Also note it should be a Fat32 partition! The other partition (data) can be NTFS no problem.
    Last edited by RetiredGeek; 2014-08-17 at 15:47.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

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    3 Star Lounger KritzX's Avatar
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    Okay, I get it now. Thanks for your help RG. I'll only be setting up my friend's system next weekend though, so I won't be able to do anything else for now. I'll update this thread as soon as I'm done with the process and let you know how it goes.

    Once again, thank you very much for your invaluable suggestions, RG.
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    Hello, KX.
    You wrote : I'm familiar enough with Macrium that I can talk her through the necessary steps and procedures, on the phone.
    Can I suggest TeamViewer to help you both ? Talking on the phone to help is good but doing the clicks yourself is much better. I use it almost daily to help friends as you want to do. There is a free version for non-commercial users, it will connect her machine to show on yours.
    Have at it. Jean.

  19. #15
    Lounge VIP bobprimak's Avatar
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    Let me get my 2-cents in here.

    First, I would answer about mixing Backup Folders with other data in the phrase "it depends".

    If you have a hard drive which frequently changes data, syncs folders or files, or is connected to a PC while that PC is online, security and data integrity questions could arise. If anything went wrong (including a virus, or syncing issues, or even a power event) I would not want my primary backup drive to get involved in the disaster. Kinda makes Backup and Disaster Recovery seem unreliable, doesn't it?

    Second, Macrium Reflect Free allows the creation of a WinPE recovery disk, which I do recommend. Like the inside-Windows program, this version of the Recovery Disk will allow Exploring of archives and Restoration of Files and Folders without redoing the whole disk or partition from whence they came. This is much more capable than the Linux-based Macrium Reflect Rescue Environment, which is the standard default. Downloading the massive MS WAIK is a one-time deal, until MS updates WAIK itself. Building the WinPE environment is handled automatically inside the desktop Macrium Reflect program, and happens reasonably fast. A new WinPE disk shoulld be made after any Reflect Program Update, and these are frequent.

    So what would I do?

    You'd be amazed how fast a 1TB or even 2TB drive can fill with Reflect Backup Archives. Depending on your system configuration, you may be backing up over 60GB of Windows System and Programs each time. This makes (with reasonable compression) backup archives of 30MB to 40MB in my experience (64-bits Windows 7 Home Premium). So I get on 1TB about two years or less of monthly backups. Less time-span with more frequent backup runs, even if incrementals are used. Probably not much room in there for data backups to share the drive.

    I would use a separate drive for Data Backups, especially if using Windows 8 with its File History options. It only makes sense, for reasons I've posted here.

    I do have a second backup drive for System Backups which mirrors the first one. That's called redundancy, and it's a good idea if you really value your System Backups. Data Backups are less sensitive, as they are always changing. Only some critical data folders or files usually require the "1-2-3" Disaster Recovery safeguards. (One local backup, one copy, and one remotely-located copy, all kept current.)

    Hope this helps with the decision making and planning.
    Last edited by bobprimak; 2014-08-21 at 13:40.
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