Hard drive question

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I picked up an external hard drive, simple tech, USB, strictly for backups..

The software it came with is unable to distinguish multiple computers... per
their tech support, it's, well, simple!  And that there is third party
software I could buy that could be installed on multiple computers....

What I am getting at is that I have 4 computers and I want to back up My
Documents on each - and this external drive has more than enough space to do
this.. it's all personal stuff, nothing fancy...

Since the software asks for a specific drive to back up to, is it possible
to format this external drive into 4 drives?  4 Partitions?  Partition one
could be Drive 1, partition 2 could be drive 2, etc? In  that way each
computer would back up ONLY to it's specified corresponding drive!




Re: Hard drive question

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Hard to say without knowing what the software actually is.    This drive is
connected to one machine via USB?

A very important consideration is what file format the backup software uses.
If it's proprietary, that's often not particularly helpful.

What I usually do is buy a copy of Avantrix Backup Plus, install it on one
machine, and have it scheduled to reach out and back up the desired data
from each running system to the external disk.  I usually run these as
separate tasks, about a half hour apart.   This gives you separate backup
sets that can be easily retrieved should any particular user need them.
If you prefer, you can get copies for each machine.

Backup Plus has the great advantage of actually using the ZIP file format
for the archives; should anything go wrong, there are many utilities.    And
it's not expensive.

http://www.backupplus.net /

Yes, you have to set up sharing properly first.

You should also note that backing up only the My Documents folder will not
normally back up important personal files, like Outlook or Outlook Express
emails, or the Windows Address Book.  Microsoft helpfully stores these in
folders that are, by default, hidden.   Be sure that you do back up all the
data that you actually want.

As to your question about separate drives - you don't format to create
separate drives. You partition first and then format.   If you are using the
Windows tools, you will have to remove the existing partition and then
create new partitions.


Re: Hard drive question

I agree w/ Patrick, it's hard to be definitive w/o knowing the software.
I've never actually tried to multi-partition an external drive, so I'm not
sure if by doing so you would end up w/ corresponding multiple drive letter
assignments.  You'd just have to experiement and find out.

But even if it doesn't work (and perhaps even if it does, it might not be
the best solution), what you might be able to do is use the SUBST command.
You could define individual folders on that drive, so you'd have something
like this (assuming the drive's assignment is K:):



then use the SUBST command, perhaps in a batch file, with the following:

SUBST K:\Drive1 L:
SUBST K:\Drvie2 M:
SUBST K:\Drvie3 N:


IOW, each folder off the drive is mapped to another local drive letter.  Of
course, you may lose these if you pull the USB drive, so I don't know how
practical it is, but perhaps a batch file would be helpful.  This approach
won't allow you to allocate dedicated space to each computer either, but
that may actually be an advantage (each only consumes exactly what it needs,
no more).


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Re: Hard drive question

On Tue, 21 Nov 2006 15:27:03 -0500, "Uncle Vinnie"

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Maybe, I'd try partitioning it then mapping each partition
to a different shared drive letter, then seeing if the
software likes these shared drive letters.

You could just avoid the software altogether though if all
you want is a copy of each system's My Documents folder then
create a separate folder on the one existing partition for
each system and use a batch file to copy all of them.

Re: Hard drive question

Thanks, all-

Actually, I have been doing just that- copy/paste my docs from each pc under
it's own folder... it's easy but not exactly as automated as backup
software... which allows incremental backup of only changed files... along
the way, Xcopy was suggested.. which I am not exactly sure of how to use..
but the formatting of one drive into 4 came as a thought... I'll give it a
whirl and let you know what happens...


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Re: Hard drive question

*** ugly top-posting fixed ***
Uncle Vinnie wrote:
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Look up xxcopy, at xxcopy.com.  Free.

And please don't top-post.  Your answer belongs after, or
intermixed with, the material to which you reply.

A: Because it fouls the order in which people normally read text.
Q: Why is top-posting such a bad thing?
A: Top-posting.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on usenet and in e-mail?

Re: Hard drive question


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I fully agree - for Usenet posts.

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But I do not agree for running correspondence with one recipient, like
tech support. They want the old material retained for reference and if
you bottom post you have all that old material on top which is really


Rope, Tree, Journalist - some assembly required.

Chain, Pickup, Politician - some assembly required.

Re: Hard drive question

CBFalconer wrote:
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I just downloaded XXcopy....  it may be a viable solution, all our pcs are
on a network, I could be the 'master' and keep the external usb drive
connected to my computer and back up from there....I will try out all these
suggestions!  Thank you!

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I don't want to get too off the initial subject...I will experiment with
Quote-fix/ Outlook Express... re: topquoting... which I am using now for the
first time after delving into you suggestion...I'm used to OE with all it's
quirks- guess since I'm used to to, I never noticed...




Re: Hard drive question

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Rather than your copy/paste manual method you can try a 2 pane file manager like
2x explorer V1.4.1.12


not the xplorer2 offered.

You can have folders on the backup drive for each system and simply select what
you want to backup in one pane and the destination in the other pane and click

"Slightly" manual.  Free if I recall.

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