August 24, 2007
Dear CNET members,
Happy Friday folks! Backing up your hard drive is by far one of the most popular questions submitted to me on a weekly basis. And while we have covered the topic on how to back up your important data in a past edition of the community newsletter (Getting serious about backing up your data), this week's question from "Bill L." is slightly different. Bill's question asks us how he can back up his entire drive and restore his computer to the state it was in when it was last backed up, without having to reinstall Windows, download all of the "patches," get all the drivers, reload all the programs, etc.
Given the answers from our members to your question, Bill, there are many methods to this madness--ranging from imaging/cloning your hard drive (where you would use a specialty software utility to make an exact copy of your current hard drive) to setting up a RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Drives/Disks) 1 configuration. Of all the member-recommended solutions to Bill, I would have to say that the majority of the folks here advised using a hard disk imaging/cloning software utility. While it's not the only solution, it is probably one of the easiest ways of going about it. But don't take my word for it, read for yourselves the number of members mentioning this method. However, these utilities (such as Acronis True Image, Norton Ghost, Paragon Drive Backup) will cost you some money. But if you're serious about backing up your entire drive and your precious time is money, it's worth the investment.
To get this topic started, I have a few selected answers to get you rolling. There are many recommendations, so do read up on all of them and determine which method best suits your needs and abilities. And on that note, I give you a quote from member "Considerate_Guy" who posts, "The hardest part about backups is remembering to do them!" and gives us some info on what's to come from Microsoft as a possible solution.
I hope everyone finds this information from our members valuable. Thanks to all who contributed! Have a fantastic weekend! The topic is open for you to discuss!
Member Question of the Week
I have read the many articles on backing up your computer,
but I have never seen an article that tells me how to do what
I would like to do most, and that is to restore my computer
to the exact same condition it was in before my hard-drive
went belly-up! Well, I should say, to restore it to the state
it was in at the last back-up.
I definitely do not want to have to reinstall Windows,
download all of the "patches," get all the drivers, etc.,
etc. What I really want to do is to keep a back-up of
*everything* so I can put *everything* back the way it was. I
have tried a "restore" before, but was not successful and had
to go through the above tedious procedure.
I will bet you that almost all computer users would like to
know how to do this, and the articles I have seen are not too
clear on whether you can even do it, and if you can't, why
Vote for the most helpful answer
Below are the answers we've selected for you to vote on. Click on the title to read the answer by the member.
Here are the selected submissions grouped in one post.
Click here to vote for Wolfie2k5
Time to vote! Now that you've read our members' answers, which would you consider the most helpful? Click on the button to weigh in on the decision.
Click here to vote for Watzman
Click here to vote for bus
Click here to vote for waytron
For the member whose answer was voted the
most helpful by our community, we will send
this member some cool CNET branded gear.
Previous week's Q&AThe votes are in! Below is the answer voted most helpful by our community to last week's question.
My wife and I had two laptops stolen from our room in an
upscale hotel in Norfolk, Virginia last Saturday night. My
question is somewhat open-ended. Is a concern justified for
identity theft from the info available on the machine? Having
owned the laptops for 1 to 2 years and using them as the
primary home/travel computer, it is safe to say that
everything was on the hard drive. Not only the 20GB of
pictures, nor the finance stuff, or the research database, or
all the cookies, etc.; even the money for the cost of the
computers is poof--gone. What is the concern that the
community would have for such a loss: identity theft, system
hijacking, sleepless nights, having to buy new ones, and so
on. In the future, in case of another loss, what are some
solid security measures I can use to prevent someone from
obtaining what I have on my laptops?
Also, is the hotel responsible for replacement? We knowingly
closed the door behind us when we went out, only to come back
to a door ajar with the laptops and bags gone. We do want the
hotel to review the letter that we will be sending to the
local newspaper and all the travel magazines, in the event
that they deny payment. Any suggestions?
Dave of Onancock, Virginia
Hey Dave, You should be concerned. If I were you, here's what I'd do in three stages. The first two stages should be happening now and pretty close to simultaneously until complete. Part I is Reporting and Damage Control, Part II is Recovery, and Part III is Future Preventative Measures to avoid a similar...
Congratulations to the winner!
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Check out next week's question:
How would one go about encrypting and password protecting specific data files or folders on my PC so that in an event my machine is either accessed physically or through cyberspace intruders, those people will not be able to access or open those particular files. Any details or recommendation would be appreciated. Thank you for your time.
We feature a new question every Friday, and if you have the answer for our member, you can submit it above. If your submission is picked by our members as the most helpful answer, you'll receive some cool CNET branded gear.
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