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Old 19. Jul 2013, 12:18 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Backup program which one free or buy?

Hi,

I have a Dell Inspiron 1545 which just ran My Dell pc checkup. Tests that failed were Smart Short Self Test & Targeted Read Test. I gather my hard drive is going to fail so I need to backup everything? What is recommended for a backup program!

Thanks for your help!!
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Old 19. Jul 2013, 01:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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For cases where it's definitely failing, it's best not to work within Windows or any installed operating system on that drive. LiveCD and WinPE works best, because they run within portable media (CD/DVD/USB) and RAM, not affecting the hard drive until backup. If you're already running Windows on that hard drive, you can copy important files beforehand.

If you want to backup everything, I recommend either PING or Clonezilla. Just download the ISO and burn it onto a CD. Then boot from the CD and backup to a working drive. These ISO images can work off a USB drive with the help of something like UNetbootin. Read here for more information, especially regarding "offline programs".
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Old 19. Jul 2013, 02:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'm lost at this point on where to start? I am not computer savvy for sure so can if you give me step by step instructions I would greatly appreciate it!

Thanks, for any help in this matter.

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Old 19. Jul 2013, 02:36 AM   #4 (permalink)
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If you think your hard drive is failing then I would recommend a file backup program and not a cloning or imaging program.

If you clone or image a hard drive with bad sectors, you clone or image those bad sectors onto whatever new hard drive you install that image onto. So, you're just re-creating the bad hard drive.

I recommend backing up your most important files, pictures, documents, music, etc. using one of the free back-up tools listed over at our main site:

http://www.techsupportalert.com/best...up-program.htm

Or, I'd recommend Mozy; which does both an online backup and a backup to an external hard drive (or CD or DVD) at the same time.
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Old 19. Jul 2013, 05:21 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kendall.a View Post
If you clone or image a hard drive with bad sectors, you clone or image those bad sectors onto whatever new hard drive you install that image onto. So, you're just re-creating the bad hard drive.
Just a thought but if you copy or image files on a bad drive before repairing the files, the file will remain corrupt either way. Bad sectors are a physical issue so bad sectors can't transfer, but the files written to the bad sectors can be corrupt. I would recommend using check disk to repair as much as possible before making backups or images.
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Old 19. Jul 2013, 06:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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This is a complicated issue and there are many opinions on the matter. For a whole discussion on this topic, there are many forums. One such thread can be found here:

http://www.wilderssecurity.com/archi...p/t-82535.html

Bottom line, in my opinion, do not clone or image a bad hard drive without doing some work first. (See above forum for suggestions.)
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Old 19. Jul 2013, 08:53 AM   #7 (permalink)
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dcail, I would first advise getting a second opinion with other programs, whether the hard drive is really failing or not. Here are some programs which you run to determine that. These are all free.

HDD Health: http://panterasoft.com/hdd-health/

Passmark DiskCheckup: http://www.passmark.com/products/diskcheckup.htm
It is free for personal use.

HDD Guardian: http://code.google.com/p/hddguardian/

HD Tune: http://www.hdtune.com/download.html
There is a free version from 2008. You can find that on the download page, with above link.

So, run these programs and get a second opinion, whether the hard disk is really failing, and if it is, how bad is it.

Do you have an external hard drive, where you can backup the data to?

How much data do you have? Where is the data.. in different partitions of the hard drive?

I haven't tried any backup program, and do not know how they work. If there isn't much of data, you can manually take the backup too.

If you do want to use a backup program, the link for the Best Free Backup Program has been provided by kendall in his post. Please follow that to choose a backup program.
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Old 19. Jul 2013, 12:16 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Granted I forgot about bad sectors, but what I was thinking is to backup everything before anything gets worse. Fixing data creates more writes and aren't guaranteed to work, especially on a failing drive. I wouldn't do that before the backup, but I would do it before restoring.

Now where to start:
1. Backup anything important you have to another drive while Windows is running.
2. Download the ISO image of PING and burn it on to a CD. Or alternatively use UNetbootin for USB drives.
3. Reboot, and boot from the CD or USB drive. You can do that by changing the boot order (F2, Del, etc.) or selecting it (F10) in your BIOS before Windows starts if necessary.
4. PING should have clear instructions, but I haven't used it before. Make sure backup drive is also connected and big enough (>= Windows) for the image.
5. After that's done, you can check for errors and then fix if present. Backup / disk image the new data if successful.
6. Restore image onto a new drive. If the backup drive is the only one big enough, you can clone from old drive onto it instead.

@kendall.a: Imaging to a file (if you don't restore) isn't an issue, the thread talks specifically of cloning. Even in that case, the destination drive must have important data that your not willing to format and risk recovery.
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Old 19. Jul 2013, 12:54 PM   #9 (permalink)
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J_L, you are suggesting imaging, assuming that dcail has got a new hard drive, or a spare hard drive... but I don't think that's the case. Even if he does get a new hard drive for the laptop, it will have to be put in the laptop by a technician... and then only he can image onto the newer hard drive, and having never performed imaging before, that is going to be a problem.

So, it would be better in this case, if a backup is done manually, or with the help of a program.. and the exact condition of the hard drive is found out.
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Old 19. Jul 2013, 11:58 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Well if s/he doesn't have a spare hard drive (or even large USB stick or Blu-ray), I don't know why s/he would be asking for backup instructions then. True not everything might go well at first, but it's better to have that image just in case.

While dcail said everything, that may not include Windows or its programs. If that's the case, then backing up only files is sufficient and imaging isn't necessary.
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