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external hard drive for backing up pc

Isaac Young
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My first post to this forum. I'm a long time fan of LTT and don't know why it took me this long to join as LTT is the very reason that i started to get into computer building!

 

if any mods want to move this to a different forum, I would appreciate the help. I wasn't sure where to put this.

 

I'm a pc user but i'm primarily a phd student. 

 

I probably care about computing more than the average biochemist phd student but that being said, there is just not that much room in my day for thinking about computers and making them run super smoothly. I try to keep my memory free for the huge plethora of scientific papers that are always open on chrome.

but over time, my workstation has accumulated a lot of programs and apps that I care about.

 

I am just looking for help about backing up my computer.

I do believe that the best solutions for backing stuff up is to keep my data on a cloud (thoughts on this?).. but what I want is to back up my operating system which has proved pretty stable, and back up all the wonderful programs which i use routinely and I just don't want to ever have to start with a clean OS reinstall and go back to ground zero with none of the programs installed that I care about!+

 

I rely heavily on box for cloud storage and have had a wonderful experience with it, accessing and modifying files.. sharing the data between my home and school desktops as well as accessing and using the browser app on other school computers.

 

any thoughts that people have about ensuring that I have the ability to recover everything in the event of hardware failure or data loss in a somewhat timely manner where the NUMBER 1 PRIORITY is that the resources to recover that data are actually reliable unlike built in Microsoft resources like "restore" which I have no idea what it is supposed to do as it never works at all.

 

Maybe what I need is some kind of repository of install files that I can refer to later in the event that I need to do a fresh install...

 

anyways, I'm contemplating a backup hard disk, so I am looking for advice on that too. 

My work computer is a light cheap build that i assembled myself from parts that I bought on newegg/amazon

 

AMD a8-7600 apu

motherboard: gigabyte f2a68hm-h revision 3.1

memory corsair vengeance pro CMY16GX3M2A2133C11 (ddr3 2133mhz 2x8gb)

sandisk 120gb ssd (SDSSDXP-120G-G25

seagate 1TB HDD ST1000DM003

rosewill fbm-01 case

ATX evga 430watt 3 year warranty PSU

 

 

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There are some solutions:
1. manual backup in windows 

https://www.windowscentral.com/how-make-full-backup-windows-10

2. Third party backup solutions:
https://www.acronis.com/en-us/articles/backup-hard-drive/

https://www.paragon-software.com/free/br-free/

https://www.lifewire.com/free-backup-software-tools-2617964

 

An advance realtime backup solution is to have your boot drive in Raid 1.

Using 2 ssd in a raid array, the data will be copied to both disk in real time.

In the case of disaster / malfunction of one of the drive, you still have your system intact in the other one.

But, to use this you must first backup your windows ssd (solution 1), then add the other ssd (same capacity, different brand doesn't matter), enable Raid 1 in bios, create raid array in bios, put the windows installer disk, select troubleshoot, and select restore from image backup from your hdd.

Example in this video:

 

Ryzen 3600 @ 4.5ghz all cores | Asrock B550M Steel Legend | Radeon RX580 | 2x Samsung 16gb c-die 2666 @ 3600mhz cl16 | 500gb WD SN750 | 9 TB HDD | Deepcool Gammax 400 w/ 2 delta 4000rpm push pull | Antec Neo Eco Zen 500w

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Thanks for your detailed reply. I think the raid1 info is great for the hard drive part.. i will also contemplate the other backup options.

 

I suppose we are mostly past the historical problems in Windows where the system just gets so hairy that you feel like you have to reset to get good performance again.

 

If in the future if i upgrade the.. cpu memory motherboard, video card, and case.. will it be basically impossible to boot? Or will Windows be able to just detect the new hardware and fix things without loss of data?

 

Thanks!

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GPU : no problem, change whatever you liked, windows will boot with a universal driver and then you can install the real drivers.

CPU : change cpu on the same platform / socket won't be a problem. If you change platform most certainly you changed the motherboard too.

Motherboard : motherboard will need some adjustment, if not drastically different, won't be a problem, but you will need to reactivate windows as the os key is linked with motherboard key. Windows 10 installers came with a troubleshooter, you can boot to a safe mode, delete previous motherboard drivers and install the new motherboard drivers, most of the time people just install a fresh one for maximum stability.

All other components (memory, pci-e cards etc) is safe.

Data loss will happen if : 

- you format the drive.

- you install / reset windows without preserving old version.

- Harddrive files corrupt / bad sector / failed.

Raid 1 won't help if something happened with the system like a file corruption, as both drive mirror each other, you will get the same corrupted files. It will only protects you in a disaster situation if one drives suddenly failed.

To protect your files, please use automated system backup with incremental features, so you can rewind to your preferred time. Apple called this time machine.

https://www.pcworld.com/article/3258649/storage/why-windows-users-will-never-have-backup-as-easy-as-apples-time-machine.html

Ryzen 3600 @ 4.5ghz all cores | Asrock B550M Steel Legend | Radeon RX580 | 2x Samsung 16gb c-die 2666 @ 3600mhz cl16 | 500gb WD SN750 | 9 TB HDD | Deepcool Gammax 400 w/ 2 delta 4000rpm push pull | Antec Neo Eco Zen 500w

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