setting up backup routine on a new computer
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.