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How would I clone my hard drive onto a second for a backup?

Lord JezoLord Jezo Registered User regular
How does one do this?

I want to completely clone my primary Windows hard drive onto a second one and keep it out of my machine (or in my machine but powered down) as a backup that I would update every month.

1) Does it need to be the same kind of hard drive or can I get a bigger one, different brand?

2) What sort of software would I need? Do any open source style things exist for this or would I have to buy Norton Ghost or something?

3) To update on a monthly basis would I have to do a complete copy each time or would I be able to do incremental updates to the backup device?

Are there any other ideas?

4) Hi?

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    1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    You can get any hard drive, so long as it's larger than 80gb (multiple backups ftw). The best software I've ever used was Acronis TrueImage. If the system crashes, you can replace the drive, hit F11 (or whatever the hotkey was) while it boots, then load the backup from the "backup" drive. Takes all of 20 minutes and it's like new.

    Acronis has a free promotion going on now, actually. Or did, not sure if it's still on, but it was free earlier this week for a beta version. Think of it like a custom-built PC's personal restore partition. That's really all pre-builts have over custom-built units. But not anymore...

    Oh, saw 3). You can have it do backups on a schedule, erase and overwrite, or add to (incremental). Acronis is VERY powerful!

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    ImprovoloneImprovolone Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    I just checked Acronis TrueImage out, and it's $40, or a free trial. I didn't download the trial though, so I don't know it's limitations.

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    TrentusTrentus Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Check out some of the options listed here.

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    1ddqd1ddqd Registered User regular
    edited August 2008
    Acronis is worth EVERY PENNY of the $40. Speaking from experience here. I made an image of my mp3 drive once, just for fun. It took less than 15 minutes and was around 40gb (drive was at least 3x that at the time, for reference). 2 weeks later, the drive died, restored using Acronis in under 20 minutes to the new drive, EVERY FILE checked out.

    Worth EVERY penny.

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