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  1. #1
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    How to Set Up External USB Portable Hard Drive For Full Image Backup?

    I bought a portable USB 3.0 hard drive enclosure and a 120GB "white label" 2.5" hard drive to use as a low cost portable drive. I want to use it primarily to do a full image back up of Windows 10 and probably for occasional backups of photos, ect. I have never partitioned/formatted a hard drive before but there is a lot of good info on the web about it.

    Drive management recognizes it. I am not sure if I should initialize it as GPT or MBR? How many partitions should it be? I'm thinking two, one for the recovery partition and one for general things. About how big should the recovery partition be?

  2. #2
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    I plugged mine in and used Disk Management to both partition and format it as NTFS. [Windows has problems with FAT32 over 32GB or so.] Then a drive letter can be assigned. I haven't seen USB drives have a problem with MBR and I have several up to 2TB. For use on both Mac OS X and Windows I have used the bootable GPARTED CD to partition and format as FAT32 up to 250GB.

    I should have mentioned that FAT32 has a limit of 4GB minus 1 Byte single file size, may be an issue with backups so NTFS would be necessary.
    Last edited by Berton; 2016-01-05 at 23:06.

  3. #3
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    USB disks come pre-formatted. You should just plug it in and go.
    Many here favour 3rd party backup apps over the Windows built-in.

    cheers, Paul

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul T View Post
    USB disks come pre-formatted. You should just plug it in and go.
    Right, but since the case and drive were assembled by the poster I went with the assumption that there's no way to know if the drive had been previously used.

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    Wasn't sure if that was what had been done.

    cheers, Paul

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    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    I would initialize MBR format NTFS.
    Make sure you have Boot media for a reimage. (With some effort you COULD set up the USB drive as a Linux boot drive that could be used to reimage. I am not suggesting that at this point it is not a beginners project but something to keep in mind for the future.)

    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Jellyby,

    I'd recommend placing Macrium Reflect Free on your hard drive then use it to create the Rescue/Boot media directly on the External drive. Then just create a folder on the External drive (I call it Macrium Images) to store your images in and you have a one device backup machine.

    HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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    Silver Lounger wavy's Avatar
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    RG

    I didnoy know you could do that for a USB HDD. Is that true for the free version? I bought ATI, next iteration I think I am going in the MR direction. I could actually install MR as my backup drive is bootable in an eSATA dock.
    David

    Just because you don't know where you are going doesn't mean any road will get you there.

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    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    David,

    Yes you can I've done it on several USB drives (WD MyBooks, WD MyPassports, and USB dock devices, etc.) both w/the free and paid versions of MR.

    HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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    "I'd recommend placing Macrium Reflect Free on your hard drive then use it to create the Rescue/Boot media directly on the External drive."

    Hey RG! I'm sure you are aware of Macrium Reflect's option to boot right in to the restore feature with out using the Rescue/Boot CD, but thought I would mention it. It's fairly new in the free addition. I love it. Don't have to dig out mt Rescue CD.
    You can find it under Other Tasks!Capture48.JPG

  13. #11
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by holdum333 View Post
    "I'd recommend placing Macrium Reflect Free on your hard drive then use it to create the Rescue/Boot media directly on the External drive."

    Hey RG! I'm sure you are aware of Macrium Reflect's option to boot right in to the restore feature with out using the Rescue/Boot CD, but thought I would mention it. It's fairly new in the free addition. I love it. Don't have to dig out mt Rescue CD.
    You can find it under Other Tasks!Capture48.JPG
    Yes, I'm aware of it but if the hard disk dies that isn't of much use! That's why I recommend putting it directly on the backup HD. You could still boot from the copy on the machine's HD if it wasn't a disk failure but you need the assurance that if the HD fails you can still boot to restore to a new drive. Notice the warning on the dialog box you posted.

    HTH
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    RG

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    Hi RG! Yes sir I agree 100%. You need a Rescue/Boot CD. MR is constantly up dating and improving their program. I've been creating the Rescue CD's from day one and constantly creating new ones. No telling how many I have and most of them boot into MR. I make a new one every time MR suggests it. The new feature is great and didn't know if you were aware of it! I've already used it and every thing went great! I love my MR. Having back up images is the best thing you will ever do.

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    WS Lounge VIP mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RetiredGeek View Post
    Jellyby,

    I'd recommend placing Macrium Reflect Free on your hard drive then use it to create the Rescue/Boot media directly on the External drive. Then just create a folder on the External drive (I call it Macrium Images) to store your images in and you have a one device backup machine.

    HTH
    RG: I already have several backup images, plus other data, on my backup drive. If I create the Rescue/Boot media directly on my backup drive, will I be endangering the data currently residing on that drive?

    Thanks.

  16. #14
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Jim,

    Yes, you need to set it up when your drive is new. Once setup up with your images stored in a separate folder there is no problem updating the rescue media when new versions come out.

    I used to create a separate partition just for the MR and the other one for Images but I discovered that this was un-necessary if you use the procedure above.

    HTH
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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  17. #15
    Super Moderator RetiredGeek's Avatar
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    Hey Y'all,

    I've just finished setting up a brand new WD Blue 1tb bare drive in my iDsonix USB 3.0 drive adapter. In the process I found several things that were lost in my memory (in case you doubt me on this see this post ) about setting up the disk so here's an update.

    If you are booting via UEFI/Safe Boot you MUST have a FAT32 partition of at least 250Mb (yes MegaBytes) MR will use 218 of them. I found that I couldn't get Partition wizard mini-tool to make one less than 533Mb and even then I was stuck with 36 odd Mb that it wouldn't let me put into the NTFS partition, so I added it back into the FAT32 partition so it ended up looking like this:
    MR-GUIBoot.PNG

    Note: You could format the whole drive as FAT32 if it is under 2Tb but I wouldn't recommend that...YMMV!

    Also MR doesn't like GPT on the USB disks so you need to set it up as MBR!

    You also need to make the the FAT32 partition Primary & Active.

    You can make the other (NTFS) partition either Primary or Logical but I think it's better to make it Logical as it will then not show up in the MR dialog as an option for the boot files, which makes things less confusing IMHO.

    Remember to put your Images in the NTFS partition I place them in a folder called Macrium Images with sub folders for different machines (you may not need this level of structure).

    Don't forget to TEST that you can boot from the drive!!!!!!

    HTH
    Last edited by RetiredGeek; 2016-01-06 at 20:59.
    May the Forces of good computing be with you!

    RG

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