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I have a Thinkpad T60 with a 150GIg internal hard drive. XP Pro SP3. I also have a similar hard drive that used to be in another laptop connected via USB. It contains only data.

I have cleared out a lot of duplicate files and now would like to back both up. I have Retrospect and a brand new 1Tbyte drive for this purpose.

Can I back up the whole computer (both drives) but, in case only one fails, can I just restore that drive or do I have to restore both drives at the same time?

I don't understand how partitions work so might I be able to partition the 1T drive and restore each smaller drive independently?


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up vote 2 down vote accepted

If you make images of each drive instead of just copying data, you can restore whichever one you choose separately. There is no need to partition the 1TB drive, just make separate folders for each backup to sort them. Ghost and Acronis True Image are the commercial top dogs right now it seems, for a free solution check out DriveImage XML.

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I thought that doing a backup was basically making a disk image. Am I wrong? – Xavierjazz Oct 20 '09 at 18:57
Well, there are programs that will do incremental backups of files only and not full disk images. I'm assuming you want a full image though. – John T Oct 20 '09 at 19:13
If you're interested: I have windows 7.5 – Xavierjazz Oct 20 '09 at 20:25
I just used Clonezilla for switching to a new HDD in my lappy and it worked pretty well, even thought it's not the prettiest. It does images, so if your going the image route, you can try it - it runs from a LiveCD/USB or a hard drive. – Nathaniel Nov 4 '09 at 2:44

It depends on the backup software you use, but with some (and probably most) software, you wouldn't need to do anyhtnig special to allow the software to restore only one drive. Most software backs up on a per-drive basis (or per-file), and this makes it possible to restore only one drive.

Partitions basically split up one disk into multiple smaller virtual disks, each with its own drive letter. There would be no reason to partition the 1TB drive. If the backup software you use CANNOT restore only one drive from a backup, you can run multiple backups (one of each drive) and restore only one backup. This would still not require yuou to partition the 1TB drive.

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