128544: setting up backup routine on a new computer

1 reply [Last post]
Joined: 2012-01-12
Posts: 6

Hi Friends,

I'm not sure if I'm posting in the best place, so please feel free to move this, if necessary.  I'm not specifically sharing any best practices, but I have a question about creating a new backup routine, so it's sort of about best practice.  And it's possible I need to be getting support from the hard drive maker.  But I've run into some obstacles going that route.  So I'm hoping you all can point me in the right direction, to get the kind of help I need.

I need to set up a backup routine for a new laptop (Windows 7 Pro, 64-bit).  For the old laptop (Windows 7 Home, 64-bit), I have a large external hard drive (Western Digital My Book) and I used Acronis True Image Home 2011 or 12.  Since I've completely switched over to the new computer, and the other one is across the room, at the moment, I can't remember the specific terminology for the options I used.  But once a week I would just connect the hard drive to the laptop via USB cable, open Acronis, and click Back Up Now.  I do remember that it was not the type of backup where it was backing up constantly, whenever I made any changes on the computer.  The best I could understand about the type of backup, is that the first backup took a looong, long time.  Then the next backup would just include whatever I've done on the computer since the first backup.  Every now and then, it would take an hour or so to run a backup cycle, but most of the time it was 15 to 30 minutes.

I've upgraded to True Image Home 2017, but the download link expired, so I'm waiting for the new link, and then I can install it.  The part where I'm unsure is how to use the same external hard drive to back up the new computer.  It's easily large enough to hold backups for both computers.  And the old computer is still working, mostly, so I don't necessarily want to just erase the disc and start over.  From what little I understand, I think I should put the backups for the new computer on its own partition.  But looking into the WD documentation, when I follow the link to their KB article about formatting and partitioning the drive, it says the drive already comes pre-formatted, so it doesn't need to be partitioned.

But I don't know how the hardware or software could have figured out a few years ago that I would get another computer, and need a new partition for it.  So that's my question.  Do you know if it's possible to partition the external hard drive, after it already has a lot of backup files, backup image, etc.?  If it's not possible then I probably will have to erase it.  In that case, maybe I should partition it from the start, so that a few years from now, when it's time for the next new computer, I will already have a partition for it.  But I keep thinking, in my simple way, and not understanding much about it, it seems like there ought to be a way to just....put a period, draw a line, throw up a wall at the end of whatever is already there, and start adding new stuff on the other side.

Can you all fill in the gaps of my understanding and probably some misunderstanding too?

If I've left out any important info, please just ask, and I'll provide it.

Oh, and I have another related question.  The reason I "side-graded" from Windows 7 Home to Windows 7 Pro, is because I hated Windows 10, and I'm not willing to follow Microsoft into the cloud, with whatever comes after Win10.  So I'm planning to install some Linux distro alongside Windows.  By the time support for windows 7 ends, I'll be mostly on my own on Linux.  And by the time I need the next new computer, it will run Linux alone.

But, while I have both a LInux system and Window 7 Pro on this computer, won't I need to backup both of them separately?  It doesn't look like Acronis offers a Linux version, does it?  But whatever I end up using for backups for Linux, I guess I should probably set up this external hard drive for both the Windows system and the Linux system.  Right?

Ok then, thanks for your patience with my questions which I wouldn't be surprised if they sound weird to you.  And thanks for your help.

All best,


Bobbo_3C0X1's picture
Acronis MVP Volunteer
Joined: 2013-02-27
Posts: 5316

That email is from a third party and the links in that email are only good for 30 days... Downloads for all products are always available: https://www.acronis.com/en-us/support/updates/  

You should also be able to log into your account see any products you've registered and download from there.  The key with any downloads is that they will essentially be "trials" until you properly register them by providing your product key or by logging into the app with your Acornis account where it will then automatically register the product if you have a valid key assigned to that login.

There are 2 ways to backup... 1) From the installed application in Windows - this is an online backup or a "snapshot" of the live OS - this makes scheduling automated backups and grooming old backups easier/automated.  These are pretty reliable and what most people probably use - but keep in mind, the OS is live when these are run so there are alwys additional potential areas of concern such as third party apps causing issues (malware or even AV programs), Windows issues (VSS problems), etc.  For most though, not a proboem.

2) Offline backups using your bootable rescue media (flash drive or DVD/CD). These occur completely outside of the OS and from memory - not the running hard drive.  These are my personal favorite for reliability and I take one anytime I know I'm going to do something major to my system (like upgrade to the next version of Windows 10).

Regardless of the backup method you choose, these create a backup image in proprietary True Image Backup (.tib) format and can be stored wherever you like.  Since you have an external drive, create a folder on your external backup called Acronis Backups and then create a new folder for each backup you want Acronis to take (for instance, 1 for a full disk backup and perhaps another if you wanted to also just backup your user profile more often as a second backup task).  

When restoring/recovering a full disk - use your offline rescue media ALWAYS.  If you want to restore just files/folders that contain only DATA (not applications or OS system files), you can navigate your .tib files from Windows and copy/paste from them to get things like music, documents, movies, pictures, etc. 

LINUX is not supported.  technically, you can backup Linux with your offline media if you do a full disk backup - however, it will likely result in a sector by sector backup - meaning the entire disk - even the blank space on it.

If Linux is on it's own drive, I would use a product like Clonezilla for Linux instead.  If both OSes are on one drive, Acronis can backup up the entire disk with it as well, but will likely result in a sector by sector backup - the entire drive - even the unused space. Personally, I would recommend you use different disks for each OS and keep them separate.  You can even use an icy dock or similar product for easy access to hot swap drives with different OSes.  



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