Posted: 12/31/2003 4:52:38 AM EDT
What is the best system to back up your computer in case of catastrophic crash? I've considered getting an external USB hard drive and copying the entire HD to the external HD. Would this allow me to plug-in the external HD and get right back to work in case of an internal HD failure?
I don't think you can use an external, USB-connected IDE drive as a boot drive. To my knowlege, no current BIOS will support it. You might have to remove the IDE drive and put it inside the case and on the IDE bus before you can boot it.
However, keeping a backup of all DATA on an external drive is a good idea. You can then plug it into any system that will accept the USB drive and access your files/data.
Oh, and the data rate for USB 1.0 and 1.1 is really too slow for drive use. Make sure you have USB 2.0 and that the external unit is USB 2.0 compatible.
What SJSAMPLE says is true about not being able to boot with a USB. However, if you use something like Norton Ghost to do a backup (this software comes with lots of USB drives) it will make a DOS boot disk that has drivers for the USB drive.
Ghost will do a complete image backup so that your entire operating system and everything will be restored if you have a drive failure.
One problem with USB though, is that USB 1.1 is rather slow. USB 2.0 is MUCH faster, but make sure that your machine has USB 2.0 ports or else it will just work at the 1.1 rate.
P.S. If you only want to backup your important data files, consider some of the shareware programs that you can download that only backup files that have changed in the directories you specify. MUCH faster to do a backup this way, but not as complete.
Got Firewire? (else go USB 2.0)
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Most Intel BIOS motherboards from the last 2-3 years will support directly booting from a USB device. You would still need some sort of software to completely mirror the current boot drive.