External HD, and saving questions.


Dec 17, 2011
I'm wanting to backup my current PC on another hard drive I have from an old PC. I am going to use a external case with this HD, and copy via USB. My question is this. Once I transfer all files over,including OS,drivers and such. Say later I want to use this saved info to put back on my PC (as backup), will everything still work(like the OS drivers ect..).

As I have never had more than one HD in a PC at a time, how would I go about this by installing the HD inside the case rather using a external HD.

Sorry if this is confussing the way I said it.
you can use windows backup (Ntbackup) to backup your system and user files
with installing hard drive inside the case for the hd's interface it will be either ide or sata. these two interfaces are designed for data transfer and in addition you would plug the 15pin thin power cable to the hard drive

keep in mind when picking out the external enclosure for your hard drive to check what interface your hard drive uses first and then look for the cases that support that interface


Dec 17, 2011
Thanks for the reply. Both HDs are sata. Just to clarify, do I use (Backup) on the external HD. Or just copy all to that HD. Sorry for the noob question,but I have never backed up anything on another HD only on CD/DVD.
A standard backup will back up files, but won't get stuff like partition information and the boot loader. If you want an exact copy of the drive and still have it be bootable, you need to use your backup software to create a disk image. I believe NTbackup can do this, at least it can in win 7.


Sometimes its best to simply backup your important files, like game saves, music, documents, favorites, etc. Then when you want to reload your PC, you can install the operating system and drivers fresh and you'll have a fast and clean PC to work from.

Many times, people want to reload or restore their PC from a backup due to a virus or a slow, unresponsive OS. If you're doing a complete windows 7 backup, then you'll just be backing up the problem.

If you have your driver CD or know where to download drivers for your PC on the internet and you also have your program and windows CD's, i'd suggest going this route. Its more time consuming of course, but its better in the long run.
if you'd like to learn more im including my notes about backup tools

Tools for backing up data on Windows 2000 and XP systems

Automated System Recovery (ASR) is a simple way of backing up and restoring the operating system. Use ASR to recover from a hardware failure or other error that prevents the operating system from loading.
• Use Windows Backup to create the ASR backup.
• ASR backs up the system state data but does not back up user data.
• During the backup, you create a floppy disk that is used along with the backup files and the Windows installation disc during the restore procedure.
In Windows 2000, this feature is called the Emergency Repair Disk (ERD).

Windows Backup (Ntbackup) allows you to select the type of data that you want to backup. You can backup user data or you could also perform a system state backup
• Run Ntbackup.exe or start Windows Backup from the Administrative Tools in the Control Panel..
• Backups can be saved to tape, a network location, or a file.
• Windows Backup cannot back up to recordable disc media (CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, or DVD-RW). To save backups on these media types, perform a backup to a file, then copy the backup file to the disc.
• You can schedule backups to take place at regular times.

Tools to protect Windows Vista

Automatic file backup protects user files and lets you configure a schedule for taking regular backups.
• File backup only backs up user files. It does not back up operating system files or applications.
• You can select files to back up by type (such as pictures, music, or videos), but you cannot back up only specific folders or files.
• After you take a backup, you can add files to the backup. Adding files backs up only the changes (new or modified files) and adds them to the existing backup. A full backup creates a new backup of all the files you specify.
• You can restore all files or selected files from the backup.
• You can only back up files that exist on an NTFS partition.
• You can back up data to hard disk, CD-R, DVD-R, or a network drive. When using CD/DVD discs, you must be present during the backup to insert additional discs. You cannot back up to tape drives or USB flash devices.
• When backing up to a hard disk, you must back up files to a different disk than where the files are stored.
o You cannot back up files to the system or the boot partition.
o The destination disk must be formatted with either FAT32 or NTFS.
• Network backups are not supported on Home editions.
• Backups can be scheduled on all versions except for the Home Basic version (this version supports only manual backups).
In Windows 7, the Windows Backup feature allows you to select individual folders and files, as well as include system files in the backup.

Complete PC Backup and Restore replaces the ASR/ERD feature of previous Windows versions.
• Complete PC Backup creates an image-based snapshot of the entire computer.
• It backs up everything on the system including the operating system, installed programs, drivers, and user data files.
• Complete PC Backup is available in Vista Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions.
• You can select the volumes included in the backup, however the system volume is always included.
• During a restore, the entire system is restored; you cannot select only a portion of the backup to restore.

Additional Tools for backups

System Restore automatically takes snapshots (called restore points) of your system. You can use these restore points to roll back your computer to a specific point-in-time configuration.
• Restore points take snapshots of system files, registry settings, program files, and other batch, script, or executable files. Restore points do not protect user data files.
• Automatic restore points are created in the background at regular intervals (by default once a day) as well as before configuration changes are made such as installing an application, installing an unsigned driver, or making other system changes. You can also manually create a restore point.
• When you restore your system to a restore point, previous settings are restored, while subsequent changes are removed. For example, any applications installed after the restore point are no longer installed.
• User data is not modified when restoring to a restore point. You cannot use a restore point to recover user data, and any changes made since a restore point are retained following the restore.
• System Restore works only on NTFS partitions. Restore points are automatically saved to the same disk.
• System Restore uses up to a percentage of free space on the disk. You can decrease the amount of disk space used, but cannot increase it above the default.
• When the available disk space for restore points is used, older restore points are deleted to make room for newer restore points.
• System Restore is enabled automatically.
• System Restore is available on Windows XP and later.

Previous Versions, also called Shadow Copies, takes snapshots of files and folders and protects against accidental deletion or modification of user data files.
• Previous Versions is available in the Business, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions of Windows Vista/7.
• It is turned on by default, and takes regular backups of files that have changed.
• Backups are saved on the same disk. Previous Versions does not protect against disk failure.
• Previous Versions works on entire folders as well as individual files.
• When you view a previous version of a file, it is opened in Read-only mode. You can browse through a previous version of a folder, navigating the directory structure.
• When you restore previous versions, you can copy the previous version to a new location, or restore it to the same location (overwriting the existing version).
• Previous Versions works only on NTFS partitions.

*System Restore and Previous Versions work only on NTFS formatted partitions.*


Dec 17, 2011
Thank you all for some great learning . I see all points that are made, exspecally with the fressh copies being loaded. Thats where I made a mistake. I got a new gpu and reinstalled the OS with all new drivers/software and such. I had crashing problems after installing the new gpu. I was trying new drivers to help the gpu stop crashing, as I figured bad drivers. To make a long story short, I had to try 2 diffrent gpus (nvidea,ati) utilitys to see if I had a bad gpu. I RMA the new gpu, but had all kinds of drivers and stuff like CCC that would not remove. So I reformated and installed new OS. Aparently I used to many installs, and MS didn't activate windows. I did get that straitened out but thought instead of all new OS installs I would just make a backup. Just in case I ran into other problems.


Jan 6, 2008
An alternative to windows backup you may try Acronis True Image Home 2012.

I have been using it for many years now and I am very satisfied with it.