Backing Up Data
All right then... we've gotten everything out of the box and have now installed the drive into the external unit. The only thing left is to hook it up to the test system (no-brainer here, it's a USB cable) and set up the backup software.
Anybody who has installed a game can handle this part of the task easily enough. Toss the CD into the drive and let AutoPlay take it from there. Answer the generic questions about where you want the program installed and within 2-3 minutes you've finished. So now what?
Once you start up the utility you're greeted with this screen. I had to bring it down in size a bit, but you can click the image to bring up the full sized page to read the contents easier.
It starts off pretty barren, but since we're just beginning this isn't unexpected. To start the backup process, just click the BACKUP button in the upper left part of the screen. It is the button just below the File menu.
One item of note concerns one of the menus at the top of the utility screen labeled "Schedule". As the name implies, you can have the utility run in the background and keep tabs on your files and do an incremental backup at a schedule that is convenient for you. While I wouldn't have this running on my performance rig, this has a lot of potential on my work system that has a lot of important information. Not only that, but the utility can be set up to scan the files on the source drive(s) and simply make updates to your backed up data. So if you've updated a few files and added a few more while dumped a program or two, the Backup Star will remove the appropriate files and add the new ones while overwriting the data you've updated. This has the potential of removing the excuses for not having a recent backup for your machine.
After you go into the Backup portion of the utility, you can choose to do a full or selective backup. You can also choose to backup multiple drives easily. For our example today, I'll be performing a full backup of the C:\ drive. Since this is a system drive, it will copy all data from the source drive, including those files that Windows will not normally allow you to access.
A quick peek at the listed destination drive above shows you I'm using a 160GB hard drive. Since I'm only backing up a 15GB partition, there isn't any real need to make use of the entire drive for the backup, so I've set up a 30GB partition to handle this chore. This gives me room for the full backup plus ample room for future growth (remember, Partition Magic is still a popular program). This is all accomplished through the backup utility. It repartitions to your specifications and formats the new partition in your choice of FAT32 or NTFS.
Once you get the utility set up, it's off to the races. Backing up our 7.5GB of data took a grand total of 10 minutes and 17 seconds. That is pretty quick for a backup, so time constraints shouldn't be much of an issue if you're thinking it won't be convenient to make regular backups of your data.
As a note on restoring data, you have a couple of options. On one hand you can just open up the backup utility and allow it to copy data from one location to another, or you could just use the Windows Explorer for that matter since this unit shows up as a normal external drive and assigns it a drive letter.
If you've made a full system backup of your bootable drive like we did, however, you have another option. Assuming you have a reasonably modern system capable of booting from the USB drive, you can set the BIOS to this boot sequence and boot from the Backup Star. From there you can restore the bootable partition in its entirety. For those who don't keep an image of their boot partition on hand at all times, this can mean the difference between a simple and quick restoration and a day of lost time for setting up the OS fresh, customizing it to the way we had it before and installing all the programs that you lost because you didn't have a backup handy.
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