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Copying entire hard drive

By mmogano ·
Does it make sense to copy my entire hard drive including the Operating System (XP)(used space 15Gb) to a mobile hard drive via USB2 and would this provide me with a complete backup if my drive ever crashed?

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Jules this is a hard one

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Commercial DVD Movies

About 20 years ago I pulled out some Reel to Reel Audio Tape and it was actually breaking up and this was the cheap no name stuff but that Ampex Brand which was at the time supposed to be the best.

It actually cost me a Reel to Reel Tape player as the capstan motor burnt out and when it was replaced it didn't work so I returned it to the QLD suppliers who promptly fixed the thing and it worked for 20 minuter on a 3,600 foot tape so it didn't get too fat into the tape and died again. Apparently the electronics driving the capstan motor where burning out so I sent it to the AU suppliers who claimed that they could fix anything well 6 months latter it arrived back here with no bill 3 capstan motors all in new boxes and still not working with an apology for not being able to repair the professional piece of equipment. Well I never really needed a 16 Track Player anyway.

But for Audio Tape the rules are run them through at least once a year to prevent print through that is where the magnetic storage prints through the actual tape and messes up the rest of the layers that are wound around it. Always check for the tape becoming messy and if it does never put it into a player I learned that one the hard way and am still paying for it.

If the tape has melted together throw it out. Incidentally that particular reel of Ampex was only 5 years old and had been run through the tape player less than 12 months previously so when it does go off it goes quickly.

I've never actually seen any mold on any VHS tape but then again I haven't been using it all that long so given enough time that may change. I've only really been collecting VHS for about 8 years and treat them the same as Audio Tape always stand them on their side in a well venerated cabinet in an Air Conditioned room and away from magnetic fields so far so good Touch Wood and also hose hold wiring as they have a low intensity EM Field surrounding them. I never got involved in the Beta Max VS VHS argument of the time as I still believe that the Open Reel Video is far Superior to any form of Cassette but then again I was working with the high end professional stuff of the day and everything else looks like rubbish in comparison so I never really say any great difference between Beta and VHS except for the fact that all the Professional Tape Cameras in the field where Beta Max at the time but I though that Sony Licensing was way over the top and would cause the alternative format to win.

But to be on the safe side I've transfered all my important VHS off to DVD as even with the best brands of Cassette the tape isn't that good a quality and it's very thin in comparison to the professional tape that used to be used so it is more susceptible to print through and breakage.

Col ]:)

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Mould on video tapes

by jardinier In reply to Commercial DVD Movies

Hi Col

You wouldn't have found mould on your tapes in an 8 year period, but many of mine are much older than that. In the case of Betamax they would of necessity be probably as much as 20 years old because Betamax was already in its death throes by then.

I cannot determine any difference in reproductive quality between my old Betamax tapes and quite new VHS tapes.

However all my tapes are second-hand (mostly ex-rental) but in the case of the Betamax I purchased about two years ago at a garage sale a high quality Sony Betamax player and about 100 tapes for a total price of $20.

Quite a lot of the tapes were already mouldy by then and I chucked quite a few out. As for the ones which I checked yesterday, I had not previously taken most of these out of their cardboard cases so I cannot say whether they were already mouldy or not.

I learnt to my disadvantage that VHS tapes can also become mouldy. I placed a tape in my machine without inspecting it and when I saw all the fuzz on the screen I removed it and found there was a large amount of mould.

In my attempts to clean the tape I stuffed the VHS player and had to buy a new one.

Now I ALWAYS check for mould before inserting a tape and if there is any at all I ditch the tape immediately.

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Kodachrome colour slides

by jardinier In reply to I would however

Forty years and more ago I used to take a lot of my pics on Kodachrome -- especially scenery from trips etc. I was told at the time that the film had a life expectancy of 50 years, but permanent storage could be achieved by separating the primary colours (there were three I think) and making a B & W copy of each of these.

The quality of colour print film at the time was very poor and it was anybody's guess what colours might appear on the prints.

Recently because certain people -- mainly from the USA -- were fascinated by Australia, I took out these slides taken 40 years previously and had some copied onto CD. There was absolutely NO degradation in the original colour slides.

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Windows Backup Utility

by Dave the Computer Guy In reply to Many thanks

One other thing you may want to do, in conjunction with a rescue disk, is use the Windows Backup in Accessories/System Tools to Backup your PC to a file on your removable drive. This way you could have a complete backup of your system on your USB drive in case you ever needed to recover from it. It?s not the most sophisticated backup solution but it works in a pinch and it?s free.

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Are u sure u can do this?

by mmogano In reply to Windows Backup Utility

Hi! I like your suggestion but Hal9000 (above) says you cannot do this, i.e. back up the entire drive - he says Windows will not allow u to do it!

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I think I'm sure

by Dave the Computer Guy In reply to Are u sure u can do this?

Yes I'm sure you can do this as I used to do this on about 20 machines when our company whated a more cost effective solution. If you do a file copy of all your files from one drive to the other you will miss the Windows registry and other data that may be in use. But if you us the Windows Backup under "Start, Program Files, Accessories, System Tools, Backup" you can backup all the info need to recover a windows system. If you use the Wizard the biggest thing you will want to verify is that you have "All information on this computer" selected as well as when it asks to choose a place to save your backup browse to your USB drive and keep the file name as Backup.bkf or name it what ever you want. The backup files created will contain a complete backup of your PC. If you go into advanced mode you will see the button to click to restore your data. Also in the Advanced mode you can setup scheduled time to backup your data and more. The Windows Backup software is actually a scaled down version of Backup Exec that was originally by Seagate then got bought by Veritas and now Symantec owns it as they bought it from Veritas. Hope this all makes sense if not let me know what and I'll try to clarify.

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Actually what I said was

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to Are u sure u can do this?

That you can not copy from Disc to disc as Windows will not allow you top copy used files and even if you do manage to perform a copy it will not be boot able.

If you want to copy from Disc to Disc you'll need to use a piece of software to Clone the drive across. Here of course I'm only talking about Windows from 95 on wards as with Windows 3X you can perform a direct disc to disc copy and have both HDD boot able but this is effectively only a DOS platform.

Backup is slightly different to a straight Disc to Disc copy as it uses its own program to allow you to copy but it isn't all that fast and if you are performing a disc to disc backup it is faster to just Clone the drive.

Col ]:)

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Yes-backup your drive using ..

by haasman In reply to Copying entire hard drive

.. a backup program such as Acronis, Ghost or Stomp. Then separately copy your documents and settings to the same drive and any other user specific folders you have created along the way.

Haasman

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Another Approach

by rkuhn In reply to Yes-backup your drive usi ...

Not truly disaster proof since it is onsite, but buy, be given, hunt down, whatever an older PC and turn it into a server, backup system, you name it.

Plenty of open source software out there to do this.

Then you have a backup system in case your primary system gets hosed. Aka, another on-line PC, additional backup storage, copies of files, etc.

Lastly, if the PC isn't too old, you have the additional benefit of somewhere to house a website, your own email, a firewall (although I'd recommend hardware instead), whatever. Just another PC to play with and have functionality as well.

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Great advice (build a backup appliance)

by netjustin In reply to Another Approach

Antiquated-machines-turned-NAS. This is as close to a perfect solution as you'll ever hear, truly. It's greatest fault, though, is that it's not a removable backup so it doesn't qualify as offsite. Still the cheapest and most convenient form of backup I've ever used.

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