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USB 2.0 hard drives

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After getting to the limit of using tape backups on my home systems, I have decided to go to a different approach using an external hard drive on a USB 2.0 port. Retrospect Express looks like a good way to do the job (I've been using Backup Exec most recently with my tape drive). From what I read, I think that it should work with any external hard drive that is supported on the USB port, and that the drive would not necessarily have to be on the compatibility list since a drive is a drive on Windows XP. Is this correct?




The specific drive I'm looking at is a Maxtor 3000LE with 120Gb of space. It's available for about $260 online, which seems very cost effective. Will this work as a backup target with Retrospect Express?




I'm looking forward to getting away from tapes, as disk capacity has now outstripped tape drive capacity and speed as far as a home system is concerned. I like to do complete backups of my drives, but this is no longer practical since it takes many hours to write to the tape, and that's assuming that there are no errors. I'd still like to use a specific backup program though, instead of just manually dragging files onto the external drive.

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Retrospect universally supports any hard drive that is supported by the Operating System.








Tech Note NO. 503W Backup to Hard Drives-Windows




Retrospect is able to make use of space available on external USB, FireWire, SCSI, or IDE hard drives for backup. Once the drive can be accessed within Windows Explorer it can be used as a backup destination. For information on backing up to a network drive, please see Technical Note No. 309 - Backing Up to File Servers with Retrospect.




To use an external hard drive for backup, you have two options: Either back up to a file backup set stored on the destination hard drive or do a duplicate of your source hard drive to your backup hard drive. This Tech Note is designed to outline the features and limitations of backing up to hard drives. For complete instructions on how to backup or duplicate to hard drives, please see the tutorials at: http://www.dantz.com/tutorials.




File Backup Sets




A file backup set is a single file that contains all the files you have backed up, and that can be stored on any random access device (like a hard disk). Like tape or removable disk backup sets, you can incrementally backup to hard drives and optionally compress your data. The drawback is that hard drives are not removable media and cannot easily be stored off-site for safekeeping. USB or IEEE 1394 (FireWire) drives that are hot swappable offer greater flexibility in this. Incorporating more than one backup drive allows for true media rotation, increasing the security of your backup strategy. Unlike other types of backup sets, a file backup set does not have a separate catalog file. Its catalog is stored internally in the file itself.




A file backup set stored on a Windows volume is limited in size according to the format of that volume:




ß FAT16: 2 GB


ß FAT32: 4 GB


ß NTFS: 1 TB




Unlike other types of backup sets, a file backup set does not have a separate catalog file. Its catalog is stored internally in the file itself. Right-click on your drive in Windows Explorer and get Properties to see the file system.








Retrospect offers another option for copying data to a hard disk: the duplicate feature.




The first duplicate operation will copy all files from the source volume, keeping them in Windows format. Subsequent duplicate operations will be incremental, copying and replacing files that have been modified or are new. Identical files are not copied again.




What is the difference between Backup and Duplicate?




o Backup copies files in a proprietary format only accessible using Retrospect. Duplicate copies files in standard file format so they can be opened or used right on the backup disk without having to go through Retrospect.




o Backups offer optional compression, not available with Duplicates.




o Backups offer optional encryption, not available with Duplicates.




o Backups can save old data incrementally so files deleted from the source are still available in the backup. Duplicate basically keeps a mirror image of the source so each duplicate operation overwrites previous data and only retains the current files.




o Duplicates are always a one-to-one operation; one volume is duplicated to one volume. If you have multiple volumes to duplicate you will have to create an empty folder on the destination for each disk you wish to copy. You can then define those empty folders as "Subvolumes" from within Retrospect. This will allow you to copy Source volume #1 to destination subvolume #1 and Source volume #2 into destination subvolume #2. The Retrospect User's Guide contains detailed instructions on how to configure a folder as a Subvolume.








-1115 (Volume Full)


The destination volume has little or no available storage space. You must free up disk space on the destination before attempting the next backup or duplicate operation. You may encounter a volume full error when a file backup set has reached the maximum size allowed by the disk file system.




-102 (Trouble communicating)


The File Backup Set has reached the maximum file size limit (2 GB, 4 GB or 1 TB). Recycle the existing Backup Set or start a new Backup Set. This error may also occur if the volume is full.




Hangs under XP writing to USB or IEEE 1394 (FireWire) hard disks


Windows XP has a "System Restore" feature turned on by default. To increase backup stability try turn off "System Restore" from System Properties for "all drives" by going to: Control Panels > System > System Restore.









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