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  • Backing up multiple PCs to single external drive

    Posted on MikeyD215 Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Windows Windows 10 Questions: Win10 Backing up multiple PCs to single external drive

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      • #2312437
        MikeyD215
        AskWoody Plus

        Just read Susan’s reminder to create a backup prior to a feature upgrade. I have been planning to do so, but have not got around to it–yet. In anticipation, I bought a 5 TB external Seagate drive at Costco. Here’s the question. I have a desktop and two laptops to backup. The external drive should be large enough to hold the backups of all three machines. But which is the preferred way to create them on the single external drive?

        1.  Partition the external drive into three separate drives, or
        2.  Create three folders, one for each machine’s backup, on the drive.

        Will, either Macrium  or ToDo backup software allow a restore from a partitioned external drive (or from individual folders on a single drive)? As I already use three separate external drives for file history, we need not be concerned with docs, photos, etc., just system and programs.

      • #2312448
        PKCano
        Manager

        An image backup creates an image file.
        Data backup can be done by imaging the data (creates an image file) or by copying files,
        In either case, you are just dealing with files.

        You do not need to partition the backup drive.
        You can create folders to put the files in.
        For example, create folders for disk images “laptop1_20201117” “laptop2_20201117″ and desktop_20201117”
        That way you know which machine it is and the date of the backup.
        You can keep as many backups as you feel necessary – say once a month just before updating for six months.

        For data backup, backup everything under your User folder. The frequency there will depend on how often you add/remove important data. But it can be done in similar manner with folders.

        5 users thanked author for this post.
      • #2312456
        WScarolk
        AskWoody Plus

        I use a single external hard drive to backup and image two computers.  It is not partitioned. I created several folders (but not a folder for each image or backup). I have the following four folders: laptop date backup, laptop disk image, desktop data backup, desktop disk image.

        This system works great for me.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2312466
        MikeyD215
        AskWoody Plus

        On two of the machines, system and programs are on a SSD C:\ drive and all data on HDD D:\ drive. On the third (a laptop) the system and data are all on a HDD C:\ drive. So if I were to do disk images of all three C:\ drives I should be covered. (The third machine, with only the C:\ drive has the least amount of data.) The external drives with file history should suffice for the two machines with D:\ drives.

        Thanks to both of you for your advice, that there is no need to partition the backup drive to hold backups from three different PCs.

      • #2312486
        JohnW
        AskWoody Lounger

        You do not need to partition the backup drive. You can create folders to put the files in. For example, create folders for disk images “laptop1_20201117” “laptop2_20201117″ and desktop_20201117” That way you know which machine it is and the date of the backup. You can keep as many backups as you feel necessary

        This is exactly what I do. Then when doing a restore, it is easy to find the image you want.

        1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #2313894
        anonymous
        Guest

        I use a single 4tb drive to back up most of my 17 pc’s every month, each does it’s backup on a single day except for one pc that has 2 harddrives in it and it does on over 2 different days. I use Macrium Reflect which is free for home users, which I am, and let’s me do an image file as well as a differential backup if I wish.

        A couple of my older pc’s with Win7 that refuse to work with Macrium Reflect so I use Aeomi software and it works great as well. I have not used it enough to determin if I can schedule a backup to happen automatically with it or it but it worked great for a right now image backup.

      • #2313911
        anonymous
        Guest

        Windows 10, using the win 7 backup, creates separate folders on the backup drive using the computer’s name. Unless all three computers have the same name, you won’t need to do anything more than moving the external drive to each computer, running the backup program  and creating a restore disk.

      • #2314082
        WSlarym
        AskWoody Plus

        ? basic question: – how large a backup space does it require to backup one PC drive via the Win7 process?

        awhile back i tried this a couple times with my 1T desktop that only had  a fresh Win-10-pro installed & got messages that my vacant 250gig drive was not large enuf, so it failed

        i.e., if i buy that 8gig costco deal – will i be able to backup 3 laptops each with 300-500 gig drives & 1 desktop with a 1T drive   onto it

        comparably – how about the space needed to do a Macrium Reflect image?

        TIA

      • #2314110
        JohnW
        AskWoody Lounger

        ? basic question: – how large a backup space does it require to backup one PC drive via the Win7 process? awhile back i tried this a couple times with my 1T desktop that only had a fresh Win-10-pro installed & got messages that my vacant 250gig drive was not large enuf, so it failed

        In my experience the Windows 7 image backup file requires a little bit more space on the backup drive than the used space on the drive being backed up.

        By comparison, I use Macrium with intelligent sector copy and medium compression (recommended) enabled. Intelligent sector means it copies only the sectors used by the file system on the disk, excluding Windows pagefile and hibernation files. My example: Used space = 265GB, resulting image size = 203 GB.

      • #2314125
        anonymous
        Guest

        Is Carbonite not an option? Has been pretty foolproof for many of my business clients and is very inexpensive “insurance”

        • #2314130
          PKCano
          Manager

          Does Carbonite do a full disk image. Backup Partitions, OS, Programs and Data?

      • #2315552
        Miller Networks
        AskWoody Plus

        Always remember – an untested backup is almost as good as no backup at all. 😉

        Test restoring files from within the backup.  I usually test restore ZIP or 7Z files as you can then validate the contents after restoring.

        Validate the backup at some other time than when it was performed. (many of the programs mentioned can create a schedule for this)

        Use the bootable thumb drive or bootable backup drive created by the backup software – you can validate the backup there also, which is just one step from actually restoring the complete backup.

         

      • #2315560
        JohnW
        AskWoody Lounger

        Use the bootable thumb drive or bootable backup drive created by the backup software – you can validate the backup there also, which is just one step from actually restoring the complete backup.

        Yes, this is an important step! When you test boot from the recovery media you need to make sure that you can locate and identify the correct source image and the target drive that you are going to restore it to. You would do this after you make your first image.

        If you really, really want to make sure, you can restore the image to a spare blank drive as a test. The spare drive would need to have the same or more capacity than the original source drive.

        Taking these steps would also make you more confident of the entire process, as well as the tools. So when the time comes, you will be ready, and know that you can restore the system successfully! 🙂

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