Using WD external drive for backup

Fenway16

Well-Known Member
#1
I am planning on using my WD My Book for the Macrium Reflect program. When I do use that drive, do I format it? The reason I ask is this morning I downloaded and installed WD software which WD tech said I should do so not sure what to do about that. Not sure if I can use the drive without some sort of software on it. Thanks so much.
 


patcooke

Microsoft MVP
Staff member
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Microsoft MVP
#2
You do not need to hve any software stored or installed on it but you will need to do a basic format before using it.
 


patcooke

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#3
I assume that you know also that you can run Macrium Reflect under Windows to create an image but to restore from one you need either to "create rescue" media or "add recovery boot menu option." These are both under "other tasks" on Reflect. I recommend you do both as booting to recover from the boot menu is most convenient but if your hard drive has failed completely you will need to have dvd or usb boot version available to run recovery.
 


BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
#4
In my experience, and I have a WD MyBook with lots of Macrium backup image files on it for several different makes/models of computers,
I did not have to format it first. I've run this drive for 4 years or so, and have wiped it clean a few times and have used the WD software and have purposely left it out--didn't seem to make any difference at all, as far as having the capability to restore a Macrium Image back to the computer's hard drive that the backup was made on. The factory format turns out to be NTFS on most of these, though a few models I've seen still come with FAT32. That will still work, as long as you are willing to limit a single partition size to 2GB no more.

@Pat: Yes, he knows this as I've given him multiple links to YouTube videos on how to use Macrium to backup/restore images. Good that you mentioned it nonetheless.

Lastly, the WD software is safe to use.:ohyea: The newer MyBook's and MyCloud's come with WD DRIVE UTILITIES, and there's also a WD DASHBOARD I think it's called. Both are Ok to use, but not necessary to store your Macrium backup images on the drive.;)

Best,:)
<<<BIGBEARJEDI>>>
 


#5
Yes, you need to format it before storing backups there.
 


BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
#6
Sorry, OJ. Let's agree to disagree. Not so!:ohno: I've worked on several My Books and My Cloud drives as I said, and the format is NOT required as far as I've seen!!

BBJ
 


Fenway16

Well-Known Member
#7
So BBJ - no need to format an external backup drive before doing a Macrium restore process??? I would be interested in that answer. My WD 500GB drive doesn't want to work so I am going to do backup on my little external HP drive. It has 118 GB free and does have other "stuff" on it. Can I do a quick win7 backup to that without formatting and getting rid of other stuff? Thanks in advance.
 


patcooke

Microsoft MVP
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#8
Generally speaking drives come formatted nowadays but because I am a person of little faith (despite being a clergyman!) and:

1. Drives also frequently come loaded with manufacturer's software and other bits and pieces and
2. I like to know exactly the state of the drive in terms of content and partitions and
3. It's good to know it's had a full write run before first use . . .

I always do a full format before use. But if your faith (albeit ill-advised) is greater than mine then you can get away without formatting.
 


BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
#9
Hi Fen,
My answer is repeated; IMO you don't need to format 1st; I have like 10 external drives, and I didn't have to format them to save Macrium backup image files on any of them. The Macrium restore works about 99% of the time, unless there is a hardware problem on the machine you are restoring to such as a failing/failed hdd, RAM stick error (memory Leak), or a faulty Mobo.:eek:

Answer to your 2nd question, is also yes, you can use your smaller hdd for the Macrium backup image, as long as you check the capacity of your backup image prior to saving it on that drive. Macrium lets you do this dynamically within the last summary action screen before you hit the FINISH button to kick off the backup process! If your backup image is show say at 80GB and your HDD has 118GB free, you are good to go. If however, you backup image in the summary screen shows 190GB and you only have 118GB free; it won't work obviously as the target backup image file is too big for the amount of free space on your HDD! Pretty simple really.

Pat makes some excellent points however. I don't do it the way he does, but when you format an existing or brand-new external USB HDD, if the drive itself is failing or is faulty, often that format operation will fail and produce some kind of an error message. At this point, in Pat's paradigm, he would probably either test the drive with more advanced diagnostic tools and see if it's failed, and if so, replace it with a new drive, or simply use a different drive that will complete a format without error. If so, he simply wouldn't use that HDD to store critical backup image files in the first place!! (Good idea, right?). I test ANY external HDD I plan to use for this purpose with diagnostic tools BEFORE I start storing backup image files on it; such as WD DRIVE UTILITIES, on WD drives, which most of my external HDDs are. This way, I can avoid the whole formatting step, as I know the drives are good to use before I start storing stuff on them.;) I'm taking the time to explain this, as you can do it either way, and Pat's method certainly has merit and works for him.:) My method works too, at least for me and most of my Students who I've training to be Repair Techs or Repair Engineers. :D

Hope that helps you! Go Patriots!
<<<<BBJ>>>>
 


Fenway16

Well-Known Member
#10
Great info! Thanks so much to both of you. The drive is an HP Pocket Media Drive - 150 GB from 2009. Right now it has some photos, music and other incidentals taking up only 31GB. So I will follow your thoughts regarding formatting as I would like to leave the other "stuff" on it. I will "GoogleEye" a diagnostic utility to make sure it is working ok. Thanks again and YES! Go Pats!!!
 


Fenway16

Well-Known Member
#11
I just did the "check disk" process and it passed. No problems indicated. Is that enough of a diagnostic or do I need another look at it. Thanks.
 


BIGBEARJEDI

Fantastic Member
Premium Supporter
#12
Check Disk is quite inconclusive, especially being an 8 year old drive. You really need advanced diagnostic drive tools usually Linux-based such as GSmartControl or the manufacturer's drive diagnostic. HP doesn't make hard drives themselves, and haven't for many years; so they are using a drive from either WD or Seagate (the only 2 mechanical drive companies today); so you'd have to find out which. You can try and use this link if you want to do that kind of advanced HDD testing here:
Hard Drive Diagnostic Procedure

That's a lot of work, so in this case for your situation, I would use Pat's suggestion of backing up the stuff on that drive to another external drive or to your C: drive if you have space, temporarily, or to a couple of flash drives or DVD disc; format the drive and see if it passes. If it doesn't pass; it's probably failed and shouldn't be used for Backup Image Files as Pat mentioned in his Post. :waah: Replace that drive!! Copy back your files from whatever drive you stored them on and place them on the new replacement external HDD, or if the drive passed, copy them back to where they were on the HP drive. You can then use that drive for Image backups. You probably have room for 1 maybe 2 image backups depending on how big your C: drive used space is. This would be the easier of the 2 methods for you.:up:

That Superbowl the Pats won was probably the most exciting Superbowl game I've seen in 20+ years! WoW!! :applaud::applaud:

Have a Good week!:D
<<<BBJ>>>
 


Fenway16

Well-Known Member
#13
Wow -- great helpful info. I will do as you suggest - I can't thank you enough for all your helpful input. Yes, that was a super super bowl!! Boring for 3 quarters and then BAM! they came back with a vengeance in the 4th. Quite fun. Thanks again BBJ!
 


Fenway16

Well-Known Member
#14
Hi again - did as you suggested this morning. Right clicked on HP drive, did a "quick format" (only option offered), ran for a few minutes and came up with "format successful" or words to that effect. Now nothing on drive and I will proceed with Macrium process. Thanks again.
 


Fenway16

Well-Known Member
#15
The latest of this ongoing saga. I downloaded Macrium this afternoon. It had the option "launch installer after download". I unchecked this as I was running late and didn't know how long the process would take. It said it was creating a zip file but I cannot locate the zip file anywhere on my system. I did a search of "zip" on my c; drive - I found a text file with many lines the last of which is:
Creating ZIP: C:\Users\Patricia\Downloads\Macrium\pe3x64.zip (60 files to add)
Creating hash of component zip: C:\Users\Patricia\Downloads\Macrium\pe3x64.zip
Component download complete
End of component download list
ReflectDL ending

I think I screwed it up. It looks like there are many Zip files. Don't know which one would do the trick. Anyway, should I do a system restore back to yesterday and do another download? As usual, any help will be appreciated. Thanks again.
 


patcooke

Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft MVP
#16
[QUOTE="Anyway, should I do a system restore back to yesterday and do another download? As usual, any help will be appreciated. Thanks again.[/QUOTE]

That's the easy way and probably the quickest. It will ensure that you have the download you need, at the same time cleaning up any shrapnel from the previous attempt.
 


Fenway16

Well-Known Member
#17
As usual nothing seems to work easily for me. I did the sys restore this morning and it promptly blew Chrome away, and my Malwarebytes program. Anyway, went on laptop, dl'd the 2 files, reinstalled on desktop and here I am again. Honestly!! Anyway, I am such a freak about doing anything to this system after all the troubles I have encountered. Lost the drive back in August, reinstalled a new drive, tried system restore disks I made originally and of course, those didn't work. So, after spending $139 to have win7 reinstalled, I am leary about negatively affecting it - as in installing the Macrium program-it is just such a huge download and task it seems. I am going to redo the download however, not un-check the "launch installer after download" box and hope for the best. I did make a windows repair disk this morning just in case. Thank you so much for all of your input. I'll let you know how it goes.
 


patcooke

Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft MVP
#18
You're doing everything right and once you get into a routine of maintaining a minimum of three generations of backups on an external drive you will have a bomb-proof system which you will be able to use to recover your entire system in minutes. Once you get Reflect set up do go into "Other tasks" to create rescue media and also "Add recovery boot menu option" to enable you to optionally boot straight in Reflect.
 


Fenway16

Well-Known Member
#19
Pls explain what you mean by 3 generations of back ups. Say I do a backup today of my system. In a week I do another and date it accordingly. The following week I do the same. Do I now have 3 generations? Doesn't one replace the other - so that you are always left with the most recent one. I guess this is what I find confusing about this image/backup business. Thanks again for all of your expertise and input.
 


patcooke

Microsoft MVP
Staff member
Premium Supporter
Microsoft MVP
#20
The options in maintaining backups fall into two basic categories. One makes a backup then subsequently just maintains a record of changes, the other makes a completely full backup each time. I prefer to do the latter as it gives me complete discrete and separate backups. The three generations enable me to go back to any of the latest three dates on which I backed up. This helps when it may have taken a week or two to discover some file corruption, virus etc in which cas you can recover from each of the three in turn until you find a clean and healthy image. I name each backup with the letter of the drive with its date, eg; dveC170208. I keep all three images on an external drive and also a copy of the most recent on a data partition on the internal drive. It is very convenient to us the internally stored image by by just rebooting from the main menu direct to Reflect. The externally stored images will be needed to go back earlier or in the case your hard drive totals and needs replacing. This is when you will also need the recovery media.
 


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