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Backing up 2 computers (one with Win7 & one with Win 8.1)


tlcmd
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I would appreciate some advice and sugestions. My wife has a desktop with Win 7 which has a 1TiB HDD and a Laptop running Win 8.1 with a 700 Gig HDD. She has purchased a 2 TiB external hard drive and asked me to back both of her computers up on it.

My gut feeling is to partition the external hard drive and use each computer's back up program to back the computers up to separate  partitions. However, I would like to be able to occasionally bring these backups up to date without having to wipe the HDD and start all over again. So, in order to keep her happy, I'd appreciate some advice.

 

I need to add that she considers her computers to be tools and, like her cars, she wants them to work without necessarily understanding why. 

 

However, I am pretty much a Linux guy, giving up on Windows several years ago, but I've tried to stay as up to date as possible with Windows since my wife is wedded to them. 

 

I would appreciate advice and suggestions, please. I am reposting this on the in 7 forum also.

 

Thanks,

tlcmd

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I don't think you need to partition an external drive to run two different Windows Backup operations to it.  Windows itself identifies the system from which System Image backups are made.  The \WindowsImageBackup root folder will have subfolders named for the system being backed up.

 

If both of the computers are on your LAN, you could share the external drive from one and set up scheduled backup to work via networking.  You'd never need to change where the drive is plugged-in.

 

Or you could get another inexpensive external drive (I'm very fond of Western Digital MyBook drives myself) and dedicate one to each system.  That's actually what I do.

 

-Noel

Edited by NoelC
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NoelC, thanks for the advice. I appreciate it and am glad to know that each will back up to the external drive without partitioning it. If I do connect them via the LAN as you described, whill they each continuously back up or can they be set to do scheduled backups?

Thanks,

tlcmd

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You can schedule system image backups, and if you use the VSS (Volume Shadow Copy) integrated form they will be incremental once the first full one is done.

 

Windows 7 offers a decent UI that you can use to set up scheduled backups.  Go through the "Let me choose" path and uncheck everything in the top part of the dialog and make sure you check the [ ] Include a System image of drives:  Reserved, C: box near the bottom.  That gets you a VSS-integrated system image backup.

 

Windows 8.1 unfortunately eliminated that UI but the same kind of backup is still possible.  You'd have to schedule (with the Task Scheduler) a command similar to the following, which is the one I'm using:

 

wbadmin start backup -allCritical -vssFull -quiet -backupTarget:G:\

 

In the above command, G: is my locally-connected MyBook drive.  You'd use whatever drive letter or network path you need for that.

 

If you want to be able to write to the same USB drive from both systems, you'll likely have to open up permissions (if they're not already open).

 

-Noel

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